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The Very First Experience.....

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Hopikrishnan, Jan 3, 2021.

  1. Hopikrishnan

    Hopikrishnan Gold IL'ite

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    The first time for anything significant could leave a lasting impression . People tend to remember such a thing for a long time. Here is a short about two NRI friends X and Y —real names of people and towns not used.

    Y’s first marriage alliance was through the tabloid newspaper "India Abroad". A settled family who had migrated to USA when their daughter was primary school-age, was looking for a suitable boy after she had graduated from college. They wanted a boy who had “indian values”, belonging to their caste, community, language background, not too wealthy in India, and would settle in America after marriage. Y had completed his graduate degree, was employed on the OJT* visa, and quite keen on settling in America. He fit all their other criteria in the advert' also. He applied; and they had asked him to come for a visit to their home that is about 4 hours by car. [* Training visa extension for F-1 visa after graduating from a US university]

    Y asks X (who had a newer and more dependable car) to come along. X had known Y in college in India, and got quite curious about what Y has been up to. This was the time when computer science meant punched cards, and taking a bundle of that to the computer center to run that darn thing, and then coming home with a lot of zigzag paper.

    So X & Y go on that drive starting pretty early one Saturday morning. It was summer and they had early sunrises. The plan was to simply drop the victim at the door of the hosts, so he could have their lunch, get through the ordeal, and then X would go and get Y for the ride back. X drops Y off at the door of a nice two story house in a suburb, with a two car garage, patchy lawn, and some grown trees in the backyard. X drives out to the street, waits to make sure the door opened, and desi seeming people came out to greet, and take him in. Then X was off to eat a thali lunch at a desi restaurant in town. X’s plan was to go to some popular tourist sites in town; however, at the foyer of the restaurant, on their bulletin board, there was an indian movie announcement in the local university student center. X decides to go to the movie to kill some time, as well as watch people.

    In those days before personal computers and internet, a communal movie was the way the local desi’s got together on weekend days. They had only one projector, and each reel ended up in an intermission, with people going out of the movie theater to buy samosa /chai from some freelance aunty-uncle, to the rest rooms or outside to smoke. It went on more than 3 hours. After many many reel changes, X gets tired. In one of those reel-breaks, he goes to the phone booth, and calls the suburban house’s number. The aunty who answered asks X to come around to their house right away. When X asked if Y was ready to leave, she insisted that X come right away. X figured he ought to go and extract his buddy. So X goes back.... imagining various things. Recent dose of desi movie (goons standing between hero and his girl) adding to his thoughts.

    When X got to the house, and rang the doorbell, the aunty opens the door, and invites him in. X goes in, sees his friend, the obvious-girl, and two older gents at their dining room table. One balding badly, and the other not so. They looked like they could be brothers. The uncles wanted X to sit at the table. Y and the girl he had come to “see-meet” were sitting on adjacent chairs. X wonders if that meant anything. The aunty came in from the kitchen with the tiffin, and chai for X. X had thought he would pick up Y and scoot. However it was two more hours before the twosome could finagle out.

    X had to sit, eat their tiffin and drink the chai. And they sent their girl out with "the boy" to the backyard while X was there. X had to make small talk with the three grownups at the table. They wanted to know X’s antecedents, birthdate, degree, job, kundli and such. X dodged and weaved, without volunteering much, and asked the uncles some questions about their life, the inflation rate, and whether it was the right time to send money to India. The aunty wished X hadn't run off, but came in earlier, and had lunch with all of them. He told her that he had a nice lunch at their local Taj Palace, and lied that he had other contacts to meet. When she asked X about the restaurant lunch, and got the answer, she wanted to know if Y also ate non-veg food. X had no idea, but presumed that he ought to lie, and did.

    On the drive back, the two didn't talk much until they got on the freeway. And then X realized how he had lost the ability to stay politely social for that long. X asked Y how it all came down during that afternoon. Y wasn't all that clear in his answers. X thought Y had sort of liked the girl, but was quite nervous to say so. After half an hour or so, Y fell off to sleep, and X felt sorry for him, and drove home without the radio the rest of the way, thinking about how he’d tell the story of the day to his curious, questioning wife.

    Two weeks later, Y got his rejection letter in the mail. That uncle (daddy of the girl) had written him a few lines to thank him for coming, and saying that they had decided to continue looking at other responses for their advert'. X only heard this on the phone from Y. They didn't meet that often, except in gatherings of mutual friends, and homes of some desi families in the same town.

    A few years later, X ran into Y in a professional society meeting. Y was married, and had a child as well. They exchanged calling cards, with home addresses, phone numbers scribbled on the back. And about 10 minutes into this chat, Y brought up the memory of their girl-deko-road-trip. X thought one would put that out of one’s mind, and go on with one's life. Y hadn't done that. And it was his first time, Y had said. Y said that he had been rejected a few more times after that, but he cannot remember the faces or details of any of those latter rejections.

    X and Y had kept in touch. When on family road-trips, Y had even come to stay at X’s house with his wife and kids. Fast forward a few decades... there are computers, and the internet. Facebook has been choosing, and suggesting friends that we hardly know. A few years ago X went to Y’s daughter's wedding. The X’s were staying at a hotel, and Y went to the lounge with X for a nightcap drink. And he told X that he has learnt a lot about that girl from more than 3 decades ago, the one who had rejected him in his first girl-dekko. X was obviously stunned. However, X asked some questions to find out how much Y knew. He knew where she lived, worked, about her husband, and what her children did in college, the lot -- just via the internet. Naturally X asked him why Y had bothered. Y said that it become like a timepass, a few minutes now and then to browse the internet to see how all those characters in a distant reality show are doing. And then X happens to be the only one with whom Y could share.

    When X went back to the room that night, his wife noticed:”You look like you had done something sneaky…. did you two smoke ?”. X decided to lie: said “sorry”, went to the bathroom to brush teeth, and use the Listerine mouth-gargle from the tiny bottle.

    And that wasn’t all. Y had lost his wife in 2019; sold his house and moved to a senior apartment community not too far from his married daughter’s house. His daughter had called to let X’s know of her father’s address and phone. And then the X’s had called him and chatted a few times during the past couple of years. X had wondered, but not asked, if Y was still keeping up with the internet information on that rejector, who is now a triple grandmother, and probably doesn’t even know that she has been a “subject of interest” for decades.

    On the first of 2021, Y calls X’s on whatsapp, to wish them a happy new year. Small talk about retirement life, masks, vaccine, etc…follow. And then, when X’s wife leaves the chat, without any prompts from X, Y also tells that “her” husband had passed away during November, and Y had gone to the internet link at the obituary, to post a simple, boilerplate condolence message — the first note or letter he had ever written to/for “her”. The widow may not even know or recognize the name of the person who posted that — likely assume that it was a contact of her husband’s. X didn’t really know how to react to this news from Y. X mumbles something, and gathered that Y wasn’t listening. Then X tells Y to keep in touch as they concluded the call. Y might have taken that “keep in touch” quite differently than X had intended.

    -----------------------------------------​
    X is thoroughly unaccustomed to keeping secrets from Mrs. X. He simply cannot do it. She can look at his face, and know that he is hiding something. She usually suspects that he had drunk too much or had bummed a cigarette from someone at a bar. But the news about Y is just too much for X to keep to himself for long. X got lots of questions:
    • Do people generally like to have (or imagine they could have) a besotted one somewhere, so long as she/he is not a physical threat or a danger ?
    • Is Y a stalker ?
    • Is it stalking if one is not walking around, behind a stalkee, jumping in and out of shadows ?
    • Can a ~70 fellow in a senior home even capable-of or like stalking for a hobby ?
    • If a woman is stalked on the internet, and the stalker almost needs a walker to get about, is it still a stalk ?
    • Should X tell his wife about Y, and the apparent life long stalking behavior ?
     
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  2. hrastro

    hrastro Platinum IL'ite

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    Y could be called a stalker if he is spending ALL his time, energy and emotions for information regarding the stalkee..

    The scenario could be -
    One fine day some particular tea or colour or random music reminds Y of this girl. He thinks about her and looks up the internet... And he finds information that is freely available!

    After an year, something else triggers the memory and again he thinks of her and looks up the internet and finds some update.

    X speaks to Y once in a few years.
    In the X&Y friendship, this is probably one of the common interesting memory they can connect about. So Y brings up the story with X every time he meets and gives him the updates that are freely available on the internet... Y brings it up because X is the only person he can bring it up with! X was there with him and met those people. They are not faceless nameless people for X.

    If the story is only this much, then it is not a "life long stalking" behaviour!

    Also, at the age of Y (at least 60+ I presume), he let things be for at least 40 years before he went "a-stalking" on the internet... I feel it is just "what might have been", "the one who got away" & "just timepass"

    Keep Smiling

    HR
     
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  3. Hopikrishnan

    Hopikrishnan Gold IL'ite

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    Good God!! Thanks for the read & response !!
    Y and X are 70+ year olds...
    A proper desi story would have Y going to meet that long-ago-rejector to get reacquainted, and if the screenplay writer can wing it, "she" would accept him now, and they'd go on to use the same brand of denture cleaner forever after.
    :roflmao:

    A while back I watched the movie "The Intern" about a 70 year old widower, who has had a high enough position (when he was working) in the corporate world, becomes bored after his retirement and widowerhood, and wants to find something to occupy himself. He joins a dot-com company as an intern, and so on. Because it is an american movie, they needed to twist and drive the story to have the old man meet another grandma at work so that they can join and have a romantic relationship. This is not something that anyone could advice in real life. Or should we? Like Aamir Khan did in one of his "satyameva jayate" episodes.
     

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