#10: Doppelganger

#10 wrote to me on the blog. When I saw the header in gmail I had a minor heart attack because he has my last name. And his name starts with the same letter as mine. And he grew up in the city I grew up in! Once I calmed down though I wrote back, because he seemed very nice, if a little stream of consciousness. Actually, very stream of consciousness heh. I don’t think I have fully understood any of his emails. But he seemed nice so I wrote back. And nice he was.

We arranged to go have dinner at TN Bhavan on a Friday evening, since he wasn’t drinking and we were both thrilled at the chance to eat proper south Indian food, only I forgot it was a friend’s birthday and had to push it to Sunday. Sunday rolled around and I was sleep deprived and cranky and very reluctant to schlep all the way to central Delhi so I asked if he’d mind Monkey Bar, since it was closer to both of us. He agreed and so I picked him up from the metro at 7 on Sunday and off we went.

He looks so very Tamil; in fact he even reminds me vaguely of various uncles and cousins though we are NOT ahem related. It turns out he grew up fairly close to where I did, though he was in the Tamil ghetto part and I was outside it heh. ‘I’m very loud,’ he tells me as we enter Monkey Bar, but that turns out to be a good thing because Monkey Bar is loud as ever. He isn’t kidding though; he achieves a volume that impresses me, and I’m loud!

‘You’re number 10!’ I tell him. ‘Congratulations!’ This makes him laugh. I ask him about how he ended up in Delhi and he tells me the winding route he took. He wanted to work in advertising but it didn’t happen, so now he’s in Pr. He’s lived in Bangalore and Hyderabad and now Delhi. Well, to be accurate, Gurgaon, in a PG that’s five minutes from work. ‘I’m judging you,’ I tell him. ‘No adult over 27 with a reasonable income should live in a hostel! And your income is definitely reasonable.’ He protests that he’s just moved–it’s been only 2 months–and he wants to figure out what he wants to do before he gets a house. And then his father can come live with him.

He tells me that he used to meditate two hours a day when he was in Bangalore. That’s a bit excessive I think to myself, but I guess to each their own. ‘Delhi doesn’t have enough parks,’ he complains, at which point I erupt in righteous defence. ‘Delhi is the world’s second greenest capital. Every neighbourhood has parks. Most main roads are tree lined. You’re talking nonsense,’ I say forcefully. ‘It’s your own damn fault for choosing to live in Gurgaon.’ My vehemence amuses him.

I ask him if he has any questions for me–does he want to know about my past, my history etc. ‘No,’ he says, ‘I’m fine with what you tell me.’ This is not a very positive thing in my book, because it’s a first date; both of you need to make some effort to get to know the other person. If you’re so disengaged as to not even want to ask anything–the whole you’ll tell me what you want to logic is balls, because the point is to find out about things you have in common or disastrously not in common–then why go on the date. Still, he’s quite happy to answer my questions so the conversation doesn’t flag.

We talk about Delhi’s cliqueyness. I tell him how much I miss the way that back home, if you call someone, and they’re headed out they just take you with them. There’s none of this ridiculous scheduling and careful mixing and other bullshit in Delhi that makes you stay home in your PJs all the time. He shouts in agreement.

It has been a ridiculous week at work and I’m just exhausted and, for the first time in four years, hating the thought of going to work the next day. I keep yawning and apologising for it. And eventually I’m too tired to think of things to talk about, and so i regretfully ask if we can go because I’m destroyed. He’s a great sport about it and we continue to chat on our way to the metro, where we part amicably before I go home and collapse into bed.

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10 thoughts on “#10: Doppelganger

  1. Tamil boy #3.

    I am keen on asking questions either. It feels forced out and artificial. List popping off one’s head. It’s the kind of conversation I hear from friends meeting prospective brides. I prefer natural process of discovery.

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    • haha yes! what to do apparently there is some synergy no?

      three responses.
      1. sure, it takes all kinds. it’s just that i personally find this a bit blah because well it’s nice to feel like the other person is interested in you.
      2. classic lazy boy excuse. one extreme or the other. why must to be magic or interrogation? why can’t it be mutual curiosity and exploration?
      3. what is with this need for passivity guys so often have? oh its like an interrogation so i will be passive and let someone do the cognitive work of finding common group and once they’ve done THAT i can engage with them. after all if it isn’t found and i tried to find it then i’ll have wasted my time. do you do this with new guys you meet also? i won’t ask you where you’re from or what you like to do because it’s like an arranged marriage meeting? so many women are accused of having unrealistic expectations but can you tell me this isn’t one? we’ll meet and just magically conversation will flow. balls. you call it natural? every time you don’t have to make an effort it’s because the other person is making the effort. there is no such thing as a magically sparked and flowing conversation. somebody has to say hi my name, what’s your name, step up to the plate and take it on yourself sometimes. there is absolutely no part of any relationship, especially sexual-romantic ones, that happens naturally at the beginning. (this is not directed directly at you haan, though in some way of course i hope you are open to hearing it. i’m just tired of this excuse. so it became rant. please adjust.)

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  2. It’s alright. I’m open to hear. I guess I wasn’t clear :)

    There’s an equilibrium one must achieve between popping questions randomly in conversation and being too curious. Often times I can carry conversation on about randomly disconnected things and not pry too much while learning about people. If we’re talking movies and you express interest in a particular one, it leads me to talk about other movies you may like. I may talk about the book that inspired the movie, it may pique your interest or it may bore you. There’s something to be learnt from the response either way without having asked a question. But if we’re talking about movies and you pop the question: “Hey, how many girlfriends have you had before?” because you’re in a hurry to exhaust a list of questions you’ve decided to ask – the experience goes dull quickly. I’m 29 and some of these women were younger, so it could’ve been an issue of maturity (I don’t know). But here are some things I usually meander away from:

    1. Expectations (Job/Life/Family/Parents etc)
    2. Past relationships – mine and theirs
    3. Ambitions – I am not the ambitious type and balk at talk of lofty ambitions

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    • Haan fair enough. But to get to the point where you’re talking about movies you need to know that the other person is interested in movies. Which I, for one, am not. Still I’m into stories so I can talk amt movies for a bit. But if you just launch off… Then what?
      Good God do people just ask things like that?? Come on be nice and tell me about one such experience so you can launch the new section
      This is not to say I don’t ask these things but in their time and place. And more like, so how come you’re single? Or have you ever had a relationship?

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      • I was exaggerating there to force my point – but yes, it is usually asked as ‘how come you’re single?’. Comes off to me as if something were wrong with me. I must say I don’t just sit quiet or go blank (always) and do make an effort genuinely to get to the other side. But more often than not, I’ve met those who want to talk-at-me rather than talk-to-me. I haven’t dated in a while (been at least a year or more, just came back on OKC remember?) and my memory of those dates is hazy at best. But if I do meet someone I’ll send out an email for your new section. :)

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      • Well I find that I rarely have to ask that if the other person is making an effort. It’s one of those desperation things…

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