Dear Girl in Purple,
Let me start at the bottom-line itself: I don’t like you. I don’t like you because you brought to the surface the very facet of my being that I dreaded the most – that being: acute paranoia, extreme wariness of public embarrassment, and of course my utter discomfort in the mere presence of a girl. Remember this – I have tried all my life to shield these aspects from public knowledge. For me these are more covert than perhaps the existence of the Holy Grail.
Alas, though, as all this is now a thing of the past.
You make me feel pathetic and miserable. I mean, how difficult is it to walk up to a cute girl in a coffee shop and say “hello” or whatever else might be fitting. What is the risk I am playing against? No probable solution of the Schrödinger’s equation will make my saying “hello” lead to a nuclear holocaust. Life is not like the Butterfly Effect. But my utterly female-terrorised brain makes me believe otherwise. Or maybe, it’s just that guys who talk of solutions to Schrödinger’s equations just aren’t meant to talk up to a girl. You know, till this day I used to be proud of the fact that I am kind of nerdy (and among the few people who understand and appreciate the “round chicken in vacuum” joke). Now I am beginning to wonder about that too.
At this point, let me state the bare essentials about the occasion. It is necessitated since you are not expected to remember the rendezvous that never really materialised. After all, it was me drooling over you, and not the other way round. I was hanging out in CCD with a couple of my friends (one of whom does not believe in long term relationships, and the other has been committed to a single girl for the past two years), when you walked in. All I would have remembered was that you were wearing purple top, but for the fact that my friend drew attention to your floaters. In navy jargon (and also creepy guys jargon), you sat at my 12 o’ clock position, sideways such that I stood witness to your right profile. When you walked in I said to myself, (and of-course to my friends as well) “She’s kinda cute!” When you smiled, I said, “She’s really cute!” – This time just to myself.
As all guys banters go, my friend wagered me 50 bucks to walk up and talk to you. Had I been 5 years younger, I would have perhaps taken the bet for the sheer heck of it. But I am much older, more mature and outrageously more conscious of public humiliation. What started of a humble refusal, built up into a ridiculous awkwardness, finally leading to my mockery at the hands of these dear friends of mine. The 50 buck wager was promptly retracted and was followed by emotional cajoling.
“Consider this: 15 years down the line, when we start our company we hire this girl. You see her and you wonder where have you seen her earlier. You realise it’s the same girl but you find out that she’s married and has two kids. What then? She could be the one. How can you let that go?”
That’s my friend trying to extract sumptuous advantage of my belief in the concept of THE ONE – both: Matrix type and romantic type. While the bait was tempting (you could have been THE ONE, you still can be), I lacked a bit too much spine to have fallen prey. Or maybe, that was my single-mindedness. In the meantime, you ordered sandwich – and I judged you. Because I judge everyone who orders sandwiches at CCD. Then you ordered mineral water and I judged you again. This time because I judge everyone who orders mineral water (at any place). Eventually, you did manage to regain some lost ground by quarrelling with the staff over the bill. But that’s for later.
My friends kept provoking me, poking at every hidden nook and corner of my personality and self-respect. Honestly, I didn’t have much left by this time. But I consoled myself with the fact that talking to a female stranger is like driving in the rain. When the first few drops hit you, you are like “oh shit! Not again.” but after a while you enjoy the heavy downpour and hope it happens again the next time. This was my first few drops. I would take it step by step and would soon be able to do this easily. It was just a matter of losing my “talk to a stranger girl in a public place” virginity. Indeed this was a chance to do so, but I got cold feet.
“Go for it. It’s the safest bet.’
“How’s it a safe bet? There are people around.”
“So, what do you want? People vanish like in Barjatya movies with music playing in the background?”
“No, I don’t want the music but I don’t want people watching my humiliation either. She’s not my biggest problem, they are.”
“You are going to let go of the chance to talk to a girl, whom you think might just be the cutest ever – why because you are scared of public embarrassment.”
“Yes, indeed! It’s a democracy. The opinion of the public matters. Plus I am scared of her friend. She is scary. Plus this is stupid small-town mentality public. They won’t even clap like in the movies. Add all that up and then you’ll know.”
Well, it was not working for them and it was not working for me. So, what are friends for? When they realised that their threatening and cajoling is not going to work, they decided to take matters in their own hands. They called for a napkin and started to pen down a letter addressed to you. It is from that letter that I am borrowing the salutation and the signature. I could have the reproduced the entire content of the napkin (after all I still have it). But I would rather you read it off my friends’ blog who actually wrote it.
While they were creating words to make the stupid ass that’s me look good, we exchanged three eye-contacts. Now these eye-contacts might just be my presumption, and in reality you would have just looked at the weird guy who was spilling coffee on himself. Still I choose to believe till corrected otherwise that those were three eye contacts. Once the napkin letter was done, the question of the plan of action followed. Suggested alternatives included rolling it up into a ball and throwing it at you, taking it up to the waiter and asking him to put it into your bill and pinning it up on the café notice board.
“We have done our bit. Now its your turn.”
“I cant take it up to the waiter. He’ll judge me.”
“WTF! With this attitude you will never get a girl in your entire life. I might never get married – YOU will NEVER get a girl.”
“This is my first time. I will learn. I am just a bit slow at this. I am like Darsheel in a way.”
“Use that as a pick up line. Go there. Make contorted faces and sing, “tumko kabhi batlata nahi, par andhere se darta …..””
“Yeah. The next time I will write down the napkin myself. The time after that I will contemplate giving it to the girl. The time after that I might actually walk up to her. And maybe, just maybe the time after I might actually give it to her.”
That was followed by a few fits of laughter that made you turn once again and take notice. Eventually, all I could manage was walking up to the notice board and pinning it up. As I walked back from the board, you and your friend did take notice. So much so, that you friend had to twist her neck full 1700 to see what was going on. Then you giggled and for a moment we thought “Mission Accomplished”. But that was not to be. Soon you got back to your conversation and I sighed. Over the next 20 minutes, you walked up to the cash counter twice. Both times my friends urged me to get to you when you were out of your habitat, all by yourself – obviously I didn’t. My friend brought back the napkin from the notice board when you called for the bill so that we could follow the Waiter-wala MO. I chickened out again. I went to pin it up again to attract attention. Well, it was all a lost cause by then. Maybe the altercation with the staff put you off and you were no more interested in what these random coffee house people had put up on the notice board. And then you walked out. We picked up the napkin from the board (again) and tried to follow you, but you had already disappeared in the twilight.
Yes I know I acted like a seven-year-old; probably even worse. I know I am dumb and stupid and ridiculously naïve. Maybe I am just romantically challenged, and you will probably find a more accurate version of the non-happening in my friend’s account with no care for my self-respect. In short I am nothing short of a sad pathetic loser. In all my life till now, excluding you, I have found a total of 6 real-life, non-celebrity girls really nice/cute/sweet and haven’t told the same to either one of them. (Blog warning: Girls, watch out for this space. There might be public letters of appreciation addressed to you.) I couldn’t speak 7 words to you then and now I am writing a 1700 word blog in your memory. Whatever it is, it was nice to have been sitting in the same 50-feet-airconditioned radius as you. (And now I am talking like a stalker.)
Either which way, if by some cosmic law you do end up reading this some day I want you to know that: on that un-fateful evening in that non-happening place the creepy guy sitting across the room thought for a moment that you were the cutest the girl he had ever seen till then. (Although, he soon realised this not to be so true, but he does maintain that you are among the better ones.) And I really hope to see you again some day.
From the shy, sophisticated guy in red._______________________________
PS: Read here my friend's version of the story (or something like that) : http://the-shadow-of-dreams.blogspot.com/2008/07/beyond-girl-in-purple-i-begin-this.html