#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.