After a long time I went on an OKC date. #12 wrote to me after stalking my profile for a while. He’d been reading the blog he said, and had found me and had been working up the courage to write. He’s from Bombay and his profile said so. He has a nice photo and a pleasant profile, and when he wrote it was 2 days after I’d gone out with #11, who’d been a spur of the moment thing after a while, and I was beginning to worry about the future of this whole project.
He was engaging and fairly articulate, and wrote me a nice introductory email asking me out. I replied favourably, though I’m not sure why, and we emailed a bit back and forth. My life at this point went completely insane (this was around the end of August) because of work and I barely had time to look at my email, let alone engage in conversation and see if we had chemistry. Ah fuck it. I thought to myself, and decided we might as well meet.
‘I can do lunch,’ he assured me when I told him my Saturday evening was booked, ‘but I can’t drink because I’ve got <endurance thing> tomorrow.’ (I’m not doing some privacy thing here; I genuinely don’t remember what it was called!) ‘Well excellent,’ I said. ‘Then we can go to Naivedyam.’
When I first moved to Delhi in 2010 I was introduced to the wonder that is Naivedyam, a truly well-named restaurant if there ever was one. They give you applam to nibble on while they fetch your food, and some rasam to wash it down. Their pongal is genuinely ghee pongal and the upma! Don’t get me started on the upma. But they don’t serve booze, and all these non-vegetarian hegemony imposers always want to go to Gunpowder if you suggest south Indian food, so I never get to go.
Saturday dawned mildly hungover thanks to an impromptu dance party my cousin and I had engaged in the previous night, and I thought fondly of the dosai awaiting me as I drove to HKV. I sat down and told him where I was, before returning to my book. Some time later, there was a man standing at my table looking at me. It took me a couple of minutes to realise it was him–he looked different from his photo. Maybe it was an old one or something. We shook hands (sometimes I can’t believe I do this on dates!) and he sat down.
We made polite conversation about south Indian food and how hard it is to get in Delhi. He told me how he grew up in small towns in north India, and that his family has moved to Bombay fairly recently, but he was back in the NCR, in Noida in fact. We chatted amicably and then the food arrived and we proceeded to inhale it. We weren’t stuck for conversation; it was perfectly pleasant. It was just… nothing. Like hanging out with my mother’s colleague’s son who was in town.
I was half asleep by the time I was done, between hangover and carb overload, and I had to go meet someone else (we’d been delayed an hour) so we parted way amicably in the parking lot, him to see a man about a bicycle and me to run errands.