<No photo here, sorry>
I’d been having one of those horribly cranky days, you know, when you want to snarl at the world and you hate your work and it’s horrible weather and you want to rip your skin off, etc. And then, just after I put in a contact link, up popped this email that began, Dear Ms. 50datesindelhi. So. Cute. (And, since I know you’re reading #8, please remember that cute is a compliment.) He told me that my blog had been a lifesaver and so he wrote in, though it felt like a cover letter, to see if maybe he had a shot at a date. He ended with a PS:
I didn’t want to start with an abrupt hi/hello so I ended up with dear ms. 50datesindelhi.
Say it with me: So. Cute.
The message totally cured my crankiness–so I guess he returned the favour heh. We emailed back and forth for a couple of days, and then, on Thursday, I was once again drowning in meh. The flatmate had run off to McLeodganj, leaving me home alone with the cat monster, and I just wanted to get out of the house. So I asked him if, since he lived in the neighbourhood, he’d like to go out right now. ‘Ooo, I made the cut,’ he said, quickly followed by assent and that one phrase that strikes dread in my heart: ‘your call on the place..I’m fine with anywhere’.
I demanded that he make some effort and suggest something, and of course he suggested TC, where I’d been the previous night. (This is why you have no photo. There are barely any photos to take of TC, and the parrot is already up…) Eh, fuck it, I thought, and agreed to meet him there at 830. My sister called on my way there and I was yakking away until I parked and got into the lift. At which point I realised that I had a missed call and a text from him. The latter read:
Would you kill me if I stood you up :P
I was speechless. It just wasn’t my day. And boy he’d had such potential! So I shot back:
Yes, because I just got out of the lift
And then I call him, because WTF?? ‘Dude!’ I say, as soon as he answers, ‘Not cool! What happened?’ ‘No, no, I’m in DLF Promenade; I was joking!’ he says and I tch at him before telling him I’m going to find us a table upstairs. Upstairs is, however, full. This is where my early steady patronage of Adchini comes in handy, because my waiter friend there has been sent here and promoted to manager upstairs. ‘Please, sirf do log hain,’ I say to him, and he smiles at me. ‘Ek minute madam,’ he says, before muttering to an underling. In about paanch minute, there’s a table for two that’s been set up in a corner, using some insanely comfy lounge chairs.
My phone rings and it’s him, asking where I am. The chair is really too comfy to get out of so I simply wave frantically and he spots me. He comes over, dressed in a black button-down (yay! shirt!) and tan pants (which, shockingly, I approve of) and I suddenly realise how tall he is. Tall and Tamil. A practically lethal combination for me. I manage to swallow my squeee reaction and shake his hand (without getting up of course). He gets whiskey paani and we settle into a seamless chat.
He grew up outside India, and moved to Delhi for work because he had a bunch of friends here, he tells me, but they’ve mostly left and so he’s at a loose end a lot. I tell him how it took me two years to make friends here–Delhi is so cliquey–and it was very hard to accept that the friends I’d made in college just never had time for me anymore. We moan together about waking up in the morning for the motor and spend a good ten minutes discussing maids and motivating them. I start laughing when I realise this, and he joins me when I point it out. I never thought I’d spend time on a date muttering about maids.
He asks me where he can get proper coffee and I tell him there’s a place in Munirka where the flatmate buys his beans and used to get powder. ‘No, no, to drink,’ he corrects me, so I tell him about A2B in Green Park market. ‘There’s one here?!’ he asks me, in what I hope is awe-filled surprise. I also tell him about the tiny dosai place I once discovered in Munirka village.
Three hours pass in meandering conversation that covers Chennai partying stories (him) (turns out we both know and love the same semi-hidden beach, #ChennaiStreetCred for me), college in Delhi (me), how hard it is sometimes to live in India (us), families (us) and pro kabaddi (which is apparently as much of a craze as the Ice Bucket challenge these days, because it’s on every TV in ever bar I’ve been to lately), among other things.
He tells me, like #6, how hard it is to meet single girls. I tell him about my Dating Archipelago theory, and how I’m meeting people who tell me this and the only explanation I can think of is that there are two layers of married couples that we need to pass to meet other singles, and that’s practically impossible.
It’s late by this point, and he’s yawning, so we get the cheque and head down to the car. He lives on my way so I’m giving him a ride, and he folds all six feet three inches (squee!) of himself into the passenger seat of my tiny car, and we’re off, still deeply involved in our mellow conversation that we soon have to break off because we’re at his gate. I unbuckle my seatbelt so I can give him a proper hug, and in that moment realise how amazing he smells.
‘Let’s do this again sometime,’ I say.