Posted June 28, 2012on:
‘Look at my face! Do you see it??’
‘Yes, of course, one can see ghastly things from a distance too. But, I don’t think you should beat yourself up about it.’
‘Yes, I have seen your parents, and I think we can safely blame the genes.’
‘What, pimples are hereditary?’
‘Pimples? I was talking about your horrid face. And it’s now so close to my face that I am scared that gravitational force will soon take over. Move away!’
‘No, I mean, do you not see the pimple?’
‘Well, I see you. Does that count as seeing a pimple?’
‘Come along, now! The one on my nose. How big is it?’
‘That’s a pimple? I thought it was your nose.’
‘Shh, here she comes now! Quick, give me something to cover my nose!’
‘Here, take this book and bury your nose in it. Wow, I never knew we could apply that phrase literally too!’
She came, gave me a thin smile, and turned her attention upon the just-bloomed bookworm.
‘Wow, Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky! One of my favourites. I never leave the house without it. What do you think of the book? Top notch, eh?’
To which, my pimple-afflicted friend drew his head back as his hands fell to his sides, groaned in a muffled sort of way like a hippopotamus under water, and sneezed. The entire sequence was completed before the book hit the floor. He looked like an oriental dragon with phlegming nostrils. She, on the other hand, looked worse than an unused car which had become the communal loo for birds. A sharp look, and a tight slap later, I endeavoured to explain things to him, as he had no clue how, and why he sneezed in a manner that would have put thunderbolts to shame.
‘I just took that book out of my locker. It’s been there, untouched and dusty, for 4 years now!’
‘Though, I think it has done you good.’
‘Yes, the pimple’s burst.’
‘Now you look like Rudolph, the reindeer, who has just heard about global warming.’
I was waiting for another ‘Oh’, just as you are. But, it seems there’s a limit to how many different ways you can pronounce it.
‘Who is she, anyway?’, I asked.
‘I don’t know her name. I saw her smiling at me during lunch yesterday, and I thought I would make a move.’
‘She doesn’t even look good.’
‘Hey, are you one of those shallow people too, who base everything on external beauty? Can’t you, for a moment, comprehend that a man and a woman can like each other just because they have common interests, and can understand and respect each other’s views??’
‘Ah, so, what are her hobbies?’
‘Well, she apparently likes Ukrainian authors, and I like the way my lips pucker up when I say Ukraine.’
‘Ukrainian? Fyodor Dostoyevsky was Russian.’
‘It doesn’t matter. I have my heart set upon winning the lissom maiden’s hand.’
‘Are we in a time machine of some kind? Because I think we are back in 1833, when that phrase was last used.’
Arguments were as lost on him as aerobics lessons are on a polar bear. The couple were as opposite in views as Laurel and Hardy were in weight. She was a hardcore environmentalist; he used the printer to print up hundreds of copies of an essay simply titled, ”23 Million trees bear the brunt of injudicious printing every year. What can you do about it?”. She loved animals more than humans; he won the yearly “Who can pin this firecracker to the dog’s tail?” contest for 9 years in a row, and had written a three-part treatise on various strategies he employed. She loved books; he used books as substitutes for Frisbees. She was always prim and proper; with his taste in clothes, his eligibility for the quarterly “Best dressed ragamuffin parade” would have been in question. She had a dainty way about whatever she did; stone crushers in a quarry would have been out-decibelled by the noise his jaws produced while he ate. All these cogent arguments of mine went on deaf ears. He was still convinced that she was, as he put it, “his jiggly, wiggly, squiggly damsel”.
In the course of the next few weeks, many time-tested strategies were put to test. They ranged from banal ones like sending her flowers, and chocolates anonymously, to extremely complicated ones like the time when he tried choreographing a few fish to spell out her name within a heart. Miraculously, they got the heart correct, but inside it was the word “Seaweed”. Fed up with all these antics, I proffered some advice on how to woo the fair lass.
‘Where everything else fails,’ I said, ‘chivalry works. Follow her wherever she goes, and at any point of time, if you think she’s in trouble, step in.’
Two weeks later, he was following her bicycle from a distance when, through his binoculars, he noticed a quick movement in her pillion basket. He zoomed in (binocularly, and distance-wise), and to his consternation, he saw the smooth, patterned skin and the black fangs of a snake.
Like the late Michael Jackson, he too thought, ‘This is it!’, and rushed forward to rescue her from the vile reptile. Running like the wind, he rushed ahead of her, slowed her down, pulled her off the bicycle, picked up a stout stick, and whacked the snake a couple of times. She screamed her head off. He dropped the stick, and hugged her, repeating that everything would be all right. She tried to push him away, but he held her tighter, explaining that she was in shock, and she should calm down.
‘What in God’s name did you just do?’, she asked, pushing him away after her third attempt.
‘Oh, it’s nothing, you don’t have to thank me’, he said, with the air of a person who regularly had breakfast with rattlesnakes.
‘Thank you? THANK YOU?? You just killed Richard, you idiot!’
‘Richard? I think you are still in shock. Here, have some chocolate.’
‘That was my pet snake, King Richard the fifth. I was taking him for his daily slither.’
‘You mean, you knew the snake was there?’
‘Don’t call it “the snake”, you ignorant ape!’, she shouted, before picking King Richard the fifth up, and cycling away furiously.
‘It’s ok, there are other proverbial fish in the sea’, I said, a couple of days after this incident, ‘just forget about her, and go on with your life.’
He mumbled something about not liking fish, before walking away.
‘Hi, do you have a minute?’, asked a voice from behind me. It was her, the past-object of his affections.
‘Yes, sure, tell me.’
‘Can you tell me which snake farm you bought Richard from, and gave him to me? Even after two whacks on his head, he’s alive and robust. I want to get him a friend to keep him company.’