(The first episode here)
We were meeting the "old fashioned way". That meant no cellphone number exchanges and just a short email to say when and where. I was busy finalising the house (which is beautiful by the way, even if it is four floors up and I'm wheezing like a bitch by the time I get there. We move in on October 2, if the moving guys haven't taken a holiday for Gandhi's birthday) so I was very, very late. Almost fifty minutes after our stipulated 9 pm time. So I go to Flame's and look around and I do see two guys sitting alone, only they look very strange--with mustaches and kinda old looking (Not a discrimination here, I'm sure guys with mustaches are very nice and all, but I can't see myself with one). So I go downstairs to the Cafe Coffee Day right next door and there's a guy with curly hair, kinda tall and yay, no mustache, only he's waiting outside and doesn't look like he's waiting for someone he's never met.
I go into CCD and look around. Nope, no guy waiting there, there's a couple of girls chattering over cappuccino, there's another boy with a girl, gazing into each others' eyes. I call Priya. "Dude, he hasn't showed." "Awwww," she says, "But I can't come meet you, coz I'm having dinner with my mom." So I go back outside and the guy there is looking up and looking quizzical. I grow balls rapidly and march up to him and say, "Um... Zayed?" "eM?" he asks, looking delighted, and I'm really happy he's pronounced it "M" like the letter and not the separate "e" "M" that some people do.
Zayed has mailed me off of the blog id a couple of weeks ago and we have struck up an interesting email conversation. I've already Googled him, so I know the basics--where he went to college and what he does now. He, on the other hand, has no clue about me. We talk about Bob Dylan and J.D Salinger and the weather these days and where we like to go out and memories from our childhood and pretty soon, we decide to move the conversation to real time. I'm looking forward to it, but I'm also a little apprehensive. This is so not me, meeting someone I've met online? I haven't done that since I was in school or something. We depend on our friends to introduce us to people, to say, "Oh this guy's okay." Net rendezvous is for the lonely people and my friends look at me with barely contained laughter when I tell them about my "blind date."
As it turns out, we have a fabulous time. We share stories and I like the way he digresses rapidly from one story to another and we're having real animated discussions and a real conversation. "I'd rather not read your blog now that I know you," he says and I smile and nod. We talk about cricket (yechh) and the Beatles Anthology (mmmm) and the movies and how we grew up and past lives and past loves. It's a little surreal, to be having this intimate discussion with someone you've only known for a couple of hours, but it's also a little liberating.
And so then we run out of smokes and by the time we get back into the market the cigarette stalls are all shut. So he takes me to this place called Twentyfourseven in Lajpat Nagar. "It's like a whole new world!" he says. And we go in and it really is like a whole new world. It's midnight and the place is bustling and there's frozen pizza and slush machines and medicine and DVDs and racks and racks of blessed smokes. I'm enchanted already.
And then I drop him off and we're listening to Bittersweet Symphony and singing along at the top of our voices. And we agree that we're going to be friends. And it was nice--taking that chance on a random email id. And while I'm still not an advocate of Shaadi.com or anything, I do know now, that you never know. When connecting over cable wires is going to lead to connecting in real life.
And that's the beginning, I suspect, of a longer story.