I’ve always been a bit of a tomboy.
I hate that word – ‘Tomboy’. It’s so definitive and I don’t like the way it looks. But, yeah, I’ve never been a girly girl and because of that, in my growing years, boys never treated me like that, like a girly girl. I was just Juhi, one of the boys. Anyway, the reason I’m talking about this is because in the autumn of 2002, I had to go to Sydney with 29 other people for a 10 week training program.
I think in a week I was friends with Olivia, Sanjay & Rashid. Friends as in, – ‘Oh my God, where have you guys been all my life, you guys are the best, lets be BFF’s’ – kinda deal.
So we get to Sydney and our training begins. I had never been to Australia before so I was all wide eyed and bushy tailed about everything. As were the others. We were living in the heart of the city, right behind Hyde Park & everyday after class, we’d run around and explore the city and then spend all our money on alcohol. The first couple of weeks went by fine, till one day, Sanjay came up to me and said that he liked this girl ( I think her name was Prachi.. or Preeti .. or Sheeba) and that he’d like to ask her out. And that I shouldn’t tell anybody. So I said ‘Sure’ and went straight to Olivia’s room to tell her “OHMYGOD YOUWILLNOTBELIEVEWHATSANJAYJUSTTOLDME”.
Yep. I’m that girl.
So, we decided, that we could not let this happen. I mean, Preeti was a nice girl, sweet even, but she was so dull. Almost lobotomized.. I mean, what was the point of it all? That was just ridiculous, so, I was sent on a mission to tell Sheeba (or Shilpa or Smiley) something that would, well, make her not like Sanjay. And we could put all this behind us. Now I don’t know how I got trapped into being the messenger, because I am not a ‘Lets play a prank’ kinda person. I like to read and watch movies. Pranks are for plebeians. I must have been high.
So, I call Smiley ( or Silky .. or Jhilmil.. ) and ask her what she’s doing, she said – nothing – so I asked her if I could have dinner with her in her room cos my friends were missing. She said – Sure – So there I was, in her room, staring at this Gigantor Pink Teddy Bear, trying to keep it together (Who keeps lifesize pink teddy bears in their rooms?! Who?!) … casual banter…. – how’s training – great great – yeah – Man, the weather’s awesome – yeah, yeah it is – hmmm – Nice teddy bear – Thanks – So hey, Did you know Sanjay’s gay? – – - – - –
That was it. Subtle. And it was done.
Sanjay asked her out for dinner, she said no.
He asked her out for lunch, she said no.
He asked her out for breakfast, tea, coffee, campa cola, she said no, no, no.
Rashid, Ollie and I were ecstatic. Our plan had worked. Yay! We would never have to hang out with Jhilmil and lose our friend to her.
It’s just that, after a week or two, Sanjay found out what had happened. I don’t know how he found out but he did. And I think Ollie & Rashid claimed to have nothing to do with it and pointed all fingers at me. And of course, if Sanjay had backtracked, Silky would have told him that it was ME who came and chatted her up one fine evening. And so, I had no idea about any of this and what was going to happen to li’l old me. No one told me anything.
I hate my friends.
So one evening I was minding my own business and hanging out in my room, when there was a knock. I opened to the door to Sanjay. “Oh hey Sanju” – I’m quite certain he spoke some stuff for the next few minutes but I don’t know what those words were cos he was barking them at me. I think he started with ‘You bastard…..’ and I kinda knew I was in trouble. At some point I started to laugh, because, you know, it was funny. I think that’s when he found a scarf, and he took me to the bathroom and he tied my hands around the shower and put the shower on cold and left. After about 5 minutes of shrieking Ollie & Rashid came and untied me. Phewph. But Sanjay’s wrath was not over.
Enter – Kapildev Chandrakant Parpillewar.
Kapildev thought he was the bees knees.
But he wasn’t.
He was annoying, sniveling, talkative and slap worthy.
The next day I remember sitting at my desk when I saw Kapildev stand up from across my cubicle and smile at me. So… I smiled back. He didn’t sit down. He continued to stand and smile. So I looked behind me. Nothing. He was smiling at me. I tried to not look in his direction. After a while I heard him speak. To me. “What is up?” – “What?” – that was me. He said “ What is up, would you like to have a lunch with me?” – “What?” – that was still me. Did he just ask me out to lunch? “WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE A LUNCH WITH ME?” – he was shouting. Oh God. I was about to respond when I heard giggling from the cubicles right in front of me. I knew something was up. I stood up, and I saw Sanjay & Rashid in hysterics. And it all fell in place. Revenge is a dish best served cold. And this was cold blooded.
Basically Sanjay had told Kapildev that I was crazy about him and I was this stuck up, angry girl, so it would be best that Kapildev be very insistent and ask me out, because eventually I’d give in, because I lourved him.
So Kapildev was extremely persistent. He followed me everywhere that day. He even chased me when I sprinted to finance to lose his trail. It wasn’t ending. At the coffee machine he said ‘Why are so angry all the time, it’s a beautiful world.’ I swear some coffee came out of my nose.
Anyway, let’s just say it took a week to end this all. Of course I had to go and explain things to a certain Prachi. Of course, when I went to the vending machine to get a can of cola, Sanjay was hiding behind a wall, and as soon as Kapildev walked by, Sanjay lifted me and flung me like a cat at Kapildev. It was very awkward. He smiled a lot. It took a lot of convincing, but finally I did manage to explain to Kapildev that I wasn’t in love with him, regardless of my actions this past week.
And in the end, Sanjay figured Prachi wasn’t really his type and we were back to being the merry bunch. And Sydney was a whole lot of fun with a heap of adventures. I’ll write about how I killed some sharks with my bare hands and saved some surfers in another chapter.