Two incidents in the space of three weeks that has me completely muddled in the head.
Incident One – A & N had their joint birthday bash in Mumbai in early December last. A couple of us boarded the bus on a Friday night and begun having fun the moment we hit their home the next afternoon. A, being a darling and always on the look out for me, had invited among others, L, who was the lady in question I was supposed to woo over the course of the night long party. I certainly did my bit. I sat in a corner. I hardly spoke a word. And when I had to fill L’s glass with some fizzy drink, it was such a task that I actually took the glass from her, turned away to bring some stability to terribly shaking hands, before I proceeded to manage to fill her glass up.
A and R, her sister, were ruthless in their effort to get L and me together. Every now and again, there would be stern looks coming my way, vigorous shaking of the head to get me to move to a vicinity that would at least be in normal audible range of L. And every game we played, A would dictate, "Noel and you are partners", "Ruth and you are a team". Then "L, D is your partner" said so sweetly it would not raise any suspicion, that something was going on. I can bet my last paisa that L had not missed any of the calisthenics of either A or R, and all the maneuvering to make me her partner in every single game played that night, or get me to sit near her, and how eventually her glass always ended up with me to perform re filling duties, no matter how far away from L or the damn bar I was at.
The next morning, I am sitting up in bed with my chin in my hands, and I see A standing in front of me with a look that translates to, "if I wasn’t brought up so well, I would slit your throat" She then whispers to me, but managing clearly in that whisper to let me know how mad she is, "L is awake in that room, you are awake here, why aren’t the two of you talking?" I mean, what is one supposed to do. L walks out and A joins her and they start talking and I listen intently. The rest of the people sleeping all around us were quite still and unmoving, pretty much dead to the world, or so I thought at that point.
Eventually everybody woke up, and had breakfast and L said bye to everyone and left. I simply waved to her from my usual corner seat. When the door closed on her, the entire room full of people turned on me and gave me the 9th degree. It turns out that nobody was really asleep and were pretending to do so, since L and A and me were sitting around and were hoping that I would have a conversation with her. Quite decent of them really, if you ask me.
The penny dropped then. The hot blooded males at the gathering hardly ever paid any attention to L the entire night or the next morning either although it was against their normal nature obviously. Strict instructions from A to all, that L was solely my prerogative.Imagine the bloody set up. Every single person there knew that L was "off limits", including L herself.
Moving on, as we were leaving to the bus stop to get the bus back to Bangalore, that evening, A gave me L’s number along with a pre written text to send her – imagine the faith A and the rest have in my abilities to get things right – which I did once we had begun our return journey. To my surprise I did receive a reply and a sweet one at that. So the text messaging continued late into the night. L even admitted that I was much better on the phone than I was in person. I shall take what I get, and won’t get too greedy.
We reached Bangalore. And I text messaged her to let her know that since she had asked me to do so. There was no response. After I got home and later rushed to work, I sent another text asking if I could get her email. No response again.
The following day I checked with A.
A said that I was a "stalker". And that I should have left L alone. That I shouldn’t have communicated so much. Imagine my state. First I get battered by all at the gathering for not communicating. And then when I simply replied to texts from L after initiating only the very first one, it constituted "stalking"!!!!!!! If that was the case, why did so many questions about my bloody life come my way from L?!!! And what about all the history she voluntarily offered about herself?!!!!
In any case, that was the last of L. Thankfully A and N still continue to be my close friends, although the vigour with which A looks out for me, isn’t the same any more I can tell.
Incident Two - A few days prior to this New Year, one of my MBA mates who resurfaced after almost 10 years, introduced some of us to her other friend circle. The usual conversations followed and eventually everybody wanted to know what everybody else was doing on New Year eve. One lady got talking to me a little more than the others. And eventually I was told that since neither of us had anything planned why not plan something together.
On 31st, she called me while on her way to work. And we decided where we would head out to, to usher in the New Year and what time I would be collecting her later that evening. Once that was settled, although I was itching to either call her or text her, I had learned my lesson from just a few weeks prior, and so did not communicate at all.
Around 8 in the evening I called the lady to her intimate that I would be coming around as we had planned. She goes, "oh, I have made other plans for the evening. Since you didn’t bother to call me during the day, I didn’t think you were interested in meeting me"
Conclusion – There is no conclusion is there?!!!!!! I am not even sure what lessons to pick up. Do I communicate? Do I not communicate? If so, how much do I communicate? Is it polite to not reply to a question thereby fulfilling the criteria of not being a "stalker", or do I keep a conversation going to show that I am interested?
I have these two great pals. Both of them have known me for ten years or so now. Both are married and have lives of their own, but manage to fit me in to their schedules whenever possible without too many complaints. And they tolerate me. And I shall simply stick with them as long as they will have me.
Simply trod the tried and tested path, and screw the road less traveled.That’s the perfect lesson to be imbibing.