"You know what’s wrong with you, Miss Whoever-you-are? You’re chicken, you’ve got no guts. You’re afraid to stick out your chin and say, “Okay, life’s a fact, people do fall in love, people do belong to each other, because that’s the only chance anybody’s got for real happiness.” You call yourself a free spirit, a “wild thing,” and you’re terrified somebody’s gonna stick you in a cage. Well baby, you’re already in that cage. You built it yourself. And it’s not bounded in the west by Tulip, Texas, or in the east by Somali-land. It’s wherever you go. Because no matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself. ”
There are many side effects of being good at penmanship but one of the most taxing of them is the constant stream of request you receive from friends and family to help them with their docs. I can't count how many speeches ,CVs ,Cover letters,SOP,party invitations, Resignation Letter and farewell speech I have ghost written . In my college days I used to be a busy man writing Valentine cards and love notes during V Day and Friendship Days. I used to enjoy it initially, It got somewhat mechanical later on but i keep on complying with requests as my schedule and energy allowed. However I was under the impression that I have seen all sort of request . So I was pleasantly surprised when I received an unusual request from an ex colleague of mine .She pinged me couple of month back.We weren't in touch for long time .We used to work together long back , when I was fresh out of college. I had a vague recollection of her.A sweet little non descriptive girl of fair skin tone . somewhat shy but ambitious and hardworking. She had borrowed my copy of Pickwick Paper and returned it only when i explicitly asked for it (twice) while leaving job. She had pinged me because she wanted me to help her with filling up registration form on matrimonial website. This was new to me . So I agreed to help her in exchange of a weekend breakfast at Kaffia . so we meet at appointed hour , after 10-20 minute of catching up and remembering the good time at out first jobs . we got down to business . that's when I realized that I was in for some rude shock.
Deal was that I will provide the appropriate words, some well written broad theme for write up , some quotes and She will fill in the details.She pulled out her notepad and we started with writing brief indicative words to highlight desired personality traits for potential partner. she explained that she is a shy, reclusive , un reasonable at times , moody ,rude with a me first attitude (only child syndrome at work here) so She wants some one who is socially charming , not very assertive ,who pamper her and don't think too much of her action .to quote her verbatim "you know na ..husband material ..not an intellectual type.just put it in such words that it doesn't come across like a pappu,rest I will handle" . She had done her research right , she said that she want some one who is professionally accomplished but not aggressive . To my great surprise she said (and i am quoting her verbatim)"Guys from infy and programmer type because they are "manageable" MBA type are not Manageable". (Holy God!!) .
In short she was looking for someone who can put up with her abuse , Human equivalent of a doormat. while I appreciated her honesty and clarity of thought but I was amused to see her line of thinking .I looked at her, wide eyed.
"What ? Why you are looking at me like that ?" She said
"Well Nothing .. nothing just a bit surprised to hear your thought I guess " I said
"You think I am acting mean , scheming and calculative don't you ? " she asked with a total calmness
"Yes ..In a way" I said as politely as possible.
"I guess I am , All my friends say i am difficult person and I don't have many friends.I know myself, I am spoiled by my parents I want same from my partner.its too late for me to change and I think I am not asking for too much I can find someone". She said ..nonstop seemingly talking to justify herself to herself.
"Ya you can always find a sucker" I said attacking her on personal front .I shouldn't .
"Sucker ?? You call it sucker ? I think its compatibility . I will be compatible with a person like that " She said.
"Yeah,Like a crack head is compatible with drugs. That's not compatibility.its a type of hopeless dependence,an addiction,and trust me it will only get worse as year roll on" I said
"see you can deny right now ..if you feel like its beneath your dignity " She said ,clipping me off in the middle of sentence .
I didn't deny , maybe because it would have been very awkward , may be because of some social rule of politeness drilled in to my head or may be because something in me told me that She don't believe it .she is just being "practical" .
" Have you wondered how your spouse will feel about it ? if he got to know why you choose to marry him ? " I enquired
"He will never know .Actually That's why I asked you to help, I can't talk all this to my immediate social circle , we hardly talk na so you are just like stranger " She said with a apologetic smile . I was fucked in day light on breakfast table .
"I feel like a pen whore hired in exchange for a breakfast" I said sarcastically ( It Cost 150 INR in case you are interested).
I wasn't very keen to help her now . I was feeling like a fellow conspirator , helping her to set a trap of word to lure someone . but romantic in me somewhere believe that she was just overwhelmed by the social pressure and anxiety associated with wedding so against my better judgment I tried to explain implication of her action .
"You are not understanding the long term effect of your choice here " I said, in a big brother tone " from your way of speaking it looks like that you won't be respecting this person very much . you are starting the process with a compromise . is it a good idea ? seriously ? why would you like to spend your life with someone you don't respect and who don't inspire you .from what little I remember of our time together you used to be very inspired by our MD, he was your role model. he was not at all like that" I guess I was trying to reproach her .
"You don't understand how things are . I read your blog you are a romantic . I am not . Life run like that only .no one is perfect ."she said with firm conviction.
"Well if your are OK with imperfect Life than you are living one right now ..why you want to drag someone into it " I was agitated.
"See if you don't wanna help me ,say so. I don't want a lecture" She was visibly upset and uncomfortable.
"All right. I will " I said and for next 20 minute or so helped her in drafting some content . it was mechanical ,a formality because I was stuck there .She knew it too. We bid adieu after that . I doubt I will see her again any time soon. I am sure that I am not getting invited to her wedding .I didn't finished the breakfast too .
I decided to take a walk home . during that 5 Km walk from Kafia to my place I was thinking about her . I realized that Her flaw was that she was naive enough to admit her ulterior motives wasn't verbose enough to sugarcoat it . but fundamentally her line of thinking was not very different from many folks I encountered in life .some of them were very close to my heart .
Strangely I thought of my fave romantic movie "serendipity ". I remembered that about a year and half back a friend had asked me that "Why i like the movie so much ? how its different from any other nicely done love story" . I had no convincing answer to him at that time . But today I have . In that movie protagonist Jonathan Trager calls off his wedding even when he know that he won't be getting his soul mate . same was the case with female lead . they both realised that they don't love the person they are going to marry .so they act honest to other person and call things off . eventually find each other in a serendipitous way . they were not calculative. They were true to them self . That's what I like about the movie .I was happy that my gut reaction in cafe was in line with my inner standard of morality .
I know Life is not a movie. I know that serendipity is a very uncertain approach to life . but for now I choose it over being calculative.for my Ex colleague , I hope good sense prevail to her and she change her prespective . I have one last thing to say to girls (and boys) like her and its based on my personal experience " Every human being have a breaking point , everyone develop a spine, a backbone over a course of time and when HE/She will develop that your calculation will fail you. Make your choices carefully"