This article was written six years back when I used to work for Indian Express as a sports journalist. Found it in one of my old CDs and thought it was good enough for an Ouchmytoe read (after a bit of editing). Mind you, the names have been changed to avoid lawsuits.
I was new, and was just getting used to the school building & authorities. Before enrolling me in school, my father had extolled its merits. I was in grade ten – a big boy.
Just because he wasn`t great in studies he wanted me to excel (aren`t all pops like that?). What high ambitions, he had.
On my second day at school, a girl walked up to me and said, “I think I love you. Do you love me?” Her name was Babita Krishnamurthy and she was my classmate.
I didn`t remember seeing her in class. I said so. She gave me two days time to think and was gone.
I spoke to a few of my new friends and when she wasn`t looking pointed at her – exactly like Judas at the Last Supper. They convinced me that it would be a good idea to agree.
“But I do not like her. And I do not even know her name,” I protested. “Who cares man,” they shouted in unison.
“Think of all those greeting cards you will get at regular intervals,” Arun said.
“The tasty lunch she would bring from her house,” Rajah exclaimed.
“Those pastries she would buy you from Sundaram Iyengar bakery, Bhoopathy remarked.
“She could also draw paramecium for you on your biology practicals,” Sundaresan chipped in. Sundaresan had a thing for the Biology madam and was always hell bent on impressing her.
The deal was tempting, and when Babita emerged from behind the shadows two days later, I said, “I do”. She was ecstatic.
Seeing her excited, I was a little worried. Probably she expected something from me – if cards, tasty lunches, pastries & paramecium were on my agenda, I was sure she had hers.
“What do you expect from me?” I asked.
“Just be there for me.” She replied.
I did not a sleep that night. Probably she was a canny lady, waiting to pounce on me with her demands when I least expected them. The demands never came.
We started coming to school a little earlier and spent time together. In the evenings, we would go home together. She had a red BSA SLR (a popular model in the early nineties). I had to cross her house to reach mine, but was careful never to go too close to her house. She had said it could be a little dangerous, for her mother was protective. The last boy she had seen her daughter with had lost three of his milk teeth.
We lost count of days and weeks and later months in our blinded love for each other. I got to admit that the more time I spent with her the more in love I was.
Everything was hunky-dory till we went to a movie together. To tell you the truth, there were two other boys accompanying us. I was taking her out, and since she would not come alone, I had to arrange for two more friends to join us. They were happy to help me. I have a feeling it had something to do with the fact that I was paying for their tickets and would get them the customary popcorn too.
We were an hour into the movie and one of the boys whispered into my ears: “Did you hold her hand?”
“Did you touch her?” he rephrased his question for my convenience.
An indignant me asked, “No. Why?”
“Act like a man. Touch her. If you do not hold her hand, she would never come out with you again,” he said confidently.
I lost track of the movie from then on. The next one-hour was spent in darkness…not knowing what to do. Being a man quite chaste, I did not hold her hand. I wanted to hold her hand and walk on the green…but only after our marriage.
Eventually, the hormones won. The moment I placed my hand over hers on the armrest, she left the theatre in a huff, and refused to see me. I had to rush behind her. What doesn`t need a mention here is the fact that I had to check with my friends on how the movie ended.
Two days after the movie I got a letter from Babita in which said she could no longer be my girl friend. I was shattered. But as it is in such cases, I could not do anything.
Since then, I have always been confused as to what a woman wants. Even Mel Gibson`s movie failed to register. Guess this is why at 25 I am still a virgin. Well, almost.
*Present: I have been married for 25 months, and still don`t know what women want. Yesterday, Rekha`s friend Pavithra came home and I had clear instructions: “Be good to her. Smile at her. Talk to her.” I did all that…but after Pavithra left, Rekha said: “High time you stopped flirting with my friends.”
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