Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tooth and nail

“Spank me,” said the note from suitably mysterious woman a few tables yonder, sitting pretty with her bunch of friends. The recipient was a friend of mine, who, by no stretch of imagination was an Adonis. I was amused. Why him then, we wondered. But more importantly, I was thinking, “What did he do to earn it?

Turns out not much, except he was in possession of that serial killer gizmo called Blue tooth. He was just sending out the right signals, pun unintended. And there was a whole community receiving it.
For the uninitiated, the blue tooth is a feature on your mobile phone that senses its gadget equivalent within a certain radius. And it seems to be the latest catalyst in the pick up circles, or so I am told. The modus operandi goes something like this: Girl with blue tooth enters club. Boy with blue tooth enters club. Girl gets alert on her blue tooth. She looks up, scans the place, and takes in the new entrants. By a process of elimination and eye contact, she finally zeroes in on blue toothed boy. To take it further, she sends him an sms. Or a note. And the deal is struck.
(Note: Boy can also send aforementioned signals to girl.)

I had just read about guerilla dating and the art of ambushing a suitable member of the opposite sex in a public place, and was suitably intrigued. May be the randomness of it all blows my mind. May be I am slower than I think—to give you an example, the beau and I had endless conversations spanning a couple of months about single malts, Men’s magazines, kitsch hindi movies, the great suburban divide and lasting childhood memories before we realised we spoke the same language, and started dating. If we were insta-blue tooth networked, I wonder if we’d have lasted this long.

Coming back to the girl who wanted to be spanked, it felt like that the laws of human behaviour had all changed while I wasn’t looking. It is no longer about cutesy stuff, romance or poetry. The rules of dating now resemble the law of the jungle. Survival of the fittest seems to be the only prevailing ethic. It is simply about sifting ‘potential serial killer types’ from ‘sperms you like to introduce to your egg’ types. It’s a place where rules are meant to be broken, and paradigms shifted. It is about complete disregard to the ‘this seat is taken’ policy, at least going by what one notices at clubs and other hangouts these days.

It reminded me of a certain menace I encountered a few months ago in a club. Now this hulk wanted to buy me a drink even though I made it quite clear not once, but twice that I was drinking water. When I finally confronted him about his pass, he said quite nonchalantly that he normally gave a woman the right of refusal three times before he decided it was a no. Quite magnanimous, I must say!

Recently my colleague noticed my phone and exclaimed, “You have blue tooth!” I felt like I was caught with ecstasy or something

I am clearly in a different zone, I thought. Or may be I am just old fashioned.

Friday, June 15, 2007

He says, she says

It’s an arduous task choreographing a relationship with a near 24X7 job, usually when your ‘day off’ is mostly a theory. I don’t know how I do it, most of my friends wonder how I manage, but miracles do happen, and this is one of those…

On the bright side, at least I know when my day ends (small joys of not being in advertising) unlike the beau who ends up burning the midnight oil more often than he cares to notice. Plus he is under the impression that anywhere north of Worli is visa restricted, and his idea of movie watching is INOX.
I always thought I was the adventurer, the eternal vagabond, the one who is game for anything, but all evidence seems to point otherwise, and I seem to emerge the ‘practical one,’ at least in this relationship.
Let me give you an example: On the rare day that our astrological charts coincide and the gods conspire to give the beau and me some exclusive time together, this is what happens..

He: “Honey, what would you like to do today…?
Me: (still shocked that I have a day off) Nothing, hopefully….
He: Okay, I have a plan. How about we go for breakfast at Banyan cafĂ©? Then we can just hop across to that cheese shop near Amarsons and pick up some gorgeous cheese. May be we can even stop at Moshes and pick up some multi-grain bread to go with it… And while we are at it, we can stop by at Ruby Tuesdays for a quick drink… what use of our membership if we never end up going? And, guess what, I have some microwavable popcorn, so let’s go to Big Bazaar and pick up a microwave, so we can make popcorn while watching your favourite DVD. And then we can chill…and then may be Bunty and Babli can also join us for the movie, and we can play cards for a bit and then it will be just time to watch the Man U match….how is that?
Me: (speechless)
He: So how does that sound?
Me: (thinking) Sounds more like a nervous breakdown
Me: (saying)…Umm.. sounds like a fun plan…
Of course, none of the above is intended to happen, or happens in the sequence that it is supposed to. Also, geographically, the aforementioned items are not exactly compatible, so that makes it harder for them to coexist on one sheet of paper.

Fact is, the beau is a planner – he loves having a list of things he has not done, and thrives on reminders—they rule his life. So while his reminders pile up into an ever burgeoning list, I am just happy to take each day as it comes.

It’s not that I am a homebody. But given a choice, I think the beau would like to run a casino, and I, a bookshop. While he dwells in noise and clutter (he whines playing PS2 at anything less than volume level 32), I on the other hand revel in quietude and minimalism.

What keeps us together? For one, he makes me laugh. And he has a list of ten thousand things to do as long as he inhabits the planet. I just about know ten.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Loansome tonight

Every day I get an average of five calls and six text messages from random banks, financial institutions, quacks, offering me personal loans to buy anything I want – a new house, a new car, a new face, a new body.. whatever.

Does anyone ever say, “Yes, please, I’d like two—can you make it medium rare…?”

Usually, I announce my verdict in about 10 seconds. “Sorry, I don’t need the money. I am renouncing the world soon,” I say. They sound confused, and continue to blabber, and I hang up.

But recently, I succumbed to upgrading my most luxurious material possession—my car, and the saga of paperwork that followed reminded me of how much I really want to give it all up.

I would have happily emptied my bank balance, signed off my mutual funds and fixed deposits, paid cash down and driven home in my passion red Xing, if I had my way. But fiscal interferences in the form of my CA, some money-wise friends and some hustling car financers prevailed, and I went down the long road. EMIs seemed to be the only way to add a dash of glamour to my spotless credit record.
After scribbling a list of numbers on a piece of paper and staring at it in stoned silence, Mr. Car Finance says, “Three year loan is really good for you. My man will come tomorrow..”

He does. Wearing his trousers at his breast. Smelling like he hadn’t had a bath in four days. Don’t even get me started on his hair. He opens his mouth, and a thousand pods of garlic roll out. He thrusts the car finance agreement at me, apart from an assortment of forms— my day goes from bad to worse, and my irritation index soars above the sensex. Apart from my cat’s birth certificate and the brand of condom my mosquito uses, I have to pretty much list every gory detail, with ‘supportings.’

I sign at 200 odd places. And after the first five, it doesn’t look like me at all. Seriously, why does signing your own name make you feel like a forger sometimes?

He remarks (more garlic breath), “Aapka signature bahut basic hain na?”

I quickly cover the next few cheques with my other hand as I clumsily sign on, lest he copies my practised flourish, and runs away with my fortune.

Madam..one more thing,” he adds with the glint of a Nazi. “You also have to sign 36 cheques..”

I instantly switch to a one-year loan (I am too spent to sign 36 cheques). I also reach a point when I am so asphyxiated by his breath that I ask him to wait in the reception area. He says, “Sorry to irritate you, but one more signature…”

Why did I subject myself to such Naziness, I have no idea. May be it’s fashionable. May be it makes me look better on paper. May be it earns me the famous tax relief or depreciation, or whatever the money pundits say to get you to spend more money.

I think it’s over, but I am wrong. A few days later, as I am lounging at home in my microshorts with face pack on, the bell rings. Mr.Verification is at my door. He asks me if I live there. I say, what do you think, this is my ghost? He has this look of “you can’t even keep your face on, how can we give you a loan?” He then asks me for more trivia, this time about my religion and the area in square feet of my microscopic house, and why my dad and I don’t share a last name, even though I am still single. I am dying to scream, but my face pack resists. He leaves after I threaten to sue him for harassment.

Phew! I hear I have finally been approved, but dude, where is my car?