Saturday, July 28, 2007

If I were Woody Allen

"What I am trying to say is this", I started, trying hard not to sound like a jerk that I am but failing miserably. "A decision to marry is not quantifiable. There's no way of saying whether you are in love or not, or whether the marriage will work or not based on any numbers or statistics. And that's precisely why I hate to make that decision"

I could see that she was amused. She wasn't smiling or putting her head to one side and giving me a look like I was nuts. But I knew she was, by the way she was toying with the tea bag that was floating lifelessly inside her porcelain cup of blemished hot water. She continued staring at her cup, her brows knotted together in concentration, as if expecting me to go on. I did.

"I guess it's an occupational hazard", I punctuated it with my usual self-deprecating smile. "You look at life through a two by two matrix and everything in life can be represented as a graph. Whatever cannot be described using three bullet points", and I held out my fingers to emphasize, "is vague, unreasonable and ...".

"So you don't believe in god?", she asked still staring at her cup.

"Well I do. God exists. He's probably not the idol or the lamp that you see in a temple. But yeah, he is there. here. I mean, everywhere".

And this time, she looked at me and smiled. And tilted her head to one side and looked straight at me with just a strand of hair between us that she refused to adjust.

I smiled like an idiot. "Of course, it's different with God. I might not have three bullet points. But there's a clear gap in explaining how life goes on in this world and god fills that gap. A lot of things in the world wouldn't make sense otherwise".

"So, your idea of objectivity is whatever fills the gaps in your subjective understanding of life? God is because he fits in your little picture. And marriage isn't because it doesn't fill any gap?".

"Well, isn't that true for everyone?". And there went all tall claims of uniqueness, of intellectual distinction and of clarity of thought. An easy excuse to any such discussion - that you are a common man, a people's person, one of them. Pretty girl 1. Software Engineer 0. She didn't push it.

It is exactly points like this in a conversation that I love saying something like, "Feels like we are out on an arranged-marriage-interview-date!", or "Imagine if we were seeing each other" or worse still, "Can you imagine both of us being married, Phew!".

It's not that I am visualizing a life of matrimonial and conjugal bliss with the woman in front of me. It's a vague passing thought that's amusing enough to be mentioned to the other person. More often than not (who am I kidding! Everytime), the feeling is not reciprocated. That statement officially falls under the jurisdiction of hitting at her. It's there on the table as a live, squirming, ill-advised orphaned line that the other person wants to ignore but can't leaving no room for any further conversation. And what happens next is always the same - she will want to pay the bill, will always be late for the next engagement within the next five minutes and will not shake hands when she leaves. And all that's left is strange feeling of deja vu. And a distant voice of someone humming the song, "Something stupid". And that my friend is my first bullet point for the fact that God is. (and has an incredibly sadistic but appropriate timing)

"So, do you believe in Marriage?", I asked. Counter attack. I might not get a full point. But we might just settle for a draw.

And inside my head, I started playing out so many different lines that she could use for a reply. She could say, for example,
"What do you think?" (confrontational), "Yes and No" (philosophical), "Let's talk about it" (Managerial, Consensus builder), "Well, if so many people do it, there must be some sense in it" (gullible, lacks depth), "I haven't really given it much of a thought" (flippant, too casual), "I am sure there is" (emotional, crabby).

She said, "Mmm Hmm". Yeah. that's what she said. Mmm. Hmm. Could be an yes, or a no, or "Interesting question" or "don't you have anything better to ask?" or may be she just cleared her throat.

She wasn't beautiful. Not the kind of face that would arrest you in the middle of the road to watch her walk past leaving you smelling the trail of her perfume. But there, in the coffee shop, amidst all that noise and chatter, with a cramped up table in between, she looked striking. Wild locks of black hair with brown lines in between, untied and left to play with in that characteristically carefully careless manner, a clear blemishless face, large expressive eyes and thin wide lips with a natural mild pout.

"And that's an Yes?"

"Yes", she said and smiled. And there was something about that smile, a little glint in the eye that said the affirmation was not just for the question that was asked. It was Yes and it could change everything.
And that my friend is my second and third bullet point for the fact that God is. (and has an incredibly sadistic but appropriate timing)

"Is now the time", I asked myself, "to say something stupid?".