Blame it on my mother, who never cooked noodles. Or blame it on my father who never taught us to use forks. But, I somehow never got use to the idea of eating noodles.
As providence would have it, this very noodles came to haunt me when i was a grown up and earning a five figure salary.
She was a journalist with a reputed Indian newspaper – The New Indian Express – and known to hob-nob with the best in showbiz. Now, you may be led to suspect that I tried to get closer to her for her money or contacts. But that was not the case.
It was pure love. And of course some lust. She was pretty and this explained my affection for her. And thats was about it.
Ok, I will desist from noodling around and come to the point. We had just got talking and I was trying to persuade her to a date. With much difficulty, she agreed. The condition was, I was not to touch her, and make `funny` attempts.
We met at Spencers. Spent time breaking the ice. Soon we were talking about our relationship. Well, atleast I was.
Sometimes I got the impression she wanted to get over with this whole `Date` thing. But I was not going to give in. Afterall, she had agreed to this meeting after a persuation that lasted nine months. Now, you may think, I was patient. But the truth is, I never found another girl.
During our conversation, I was telling her how hard I work. And how everybody at office appreciates my work. And how, I was likely to be promoted.
I think she was pretty excited on hearing this as she kept nodding her head, even as she stared at the people walking in and out of the various shops.
Finally, she asked, “Ok, where are we going for dinner.”
Actually, it was my mistake. It was seven already.
We walked up to my Yamaha which was parked outside. The happy young man in me gave away five bucks to the guy clad in khakis, looking after all the bikes. When I realised the financial folly, it was pretty late.
At first she insisted on sitting on my bike. Said, “I donot want to be seen sitting on your bike. There are many of my relatives living in Chennai.”
I understood how she would have felt. Afterall, all girls do not like to be spotted with the guy they intend to marry – before the marriage. But as the restaurant was atleast 14 kilometers away, an autorickshaw was not a logical solution.
After half an hour of driving, we were at the restaurant.
Her first words at the restaurant were, “Eeeks, this place smells of chicken.” I assume she was a vegetarian.
We sat down at our table, and it was time to place our order. And the gentlemen that the waiters are, the man standing us asked the lady, “What would madam have for dinner.”
“Vegetable noodles,” pat came the reply. Then she turned towards me and quipped,”I just love noodles.” This got my testosterone flowing, and I blurted out,”Make it two!” Even as I said it, I had a smile on my face.
The plates arrived and we went for our forks. I noticed, forks are actually like trishuls (hindi for tridents). She had already started, and I started at her for a few microseconds, for those elusive hints on how to eat noodles.
She was fluent and went about the task at hand with a surgeon like precision. I was stranded. This was the first time in my life, I was having noodles. And that too with a fork.
I tried. I tried again. I innovated. But nothing seemed to work. Girls being slow eaters, I could keep pace with her for a while. But as she warmed up. My inability to pick up the noodles with a fork was exposed.
Twenty minutes later, she had cleaned up her plate. Mine was still half full. Being an optimist, that is how I saw it.
I was already feeling the presure. Here I was sitting before a girl well versed with the ways of the world – and of course the use of fork and I was not even able to finish a plate of noodles.
Through the corner of my eye, I noticed, she was looking at me. That chilled me, for I also saw the expression on her face. Then she said,”Why dont you try your hand. It might be easy.” With these words, my castle came tumbling down.
After the date was over, I dropped her at her apartment. We spoke little on the way. And since she has never called me. The last time I called her, her friend picked up the phone and said, she had gone out to buy dinner.
Now, I would not know if she had vegetable noodles that night.