Friday, February 23, 2007

T-10


Mid 2006:

And then we laughed.

Not because the point in question was funny, but because we had surprised ourselves with the confessions. And since the alcohol had left no room for straight faces, we fell back on laughter to rescue ourselves from the intensity of that moment.

“So now we both know. Wow!”

“Yes, we do.”

“ You know, TS, this is exactly why I’ve hated coffee, always. Why couldn’t we have just done this earlier?”

“Hmmm… maybe we should’ve. But how in the world was I to know you’re carrying as much baggage as I am?”

“Oh, c’mon! You knew it all along!”

“If I had known, wouldn’t I have skipped the coffee/conversation routine and jumped straight to the alcohol/confession bit?”

“Maybe. I don’t know. You men can be quite vague sometimes. Oh, by the way I’ve decided to stay here in India for good. I’m not going back to DC.”
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2004:

We hadn’t met in 3 years, but when T-10 came to Delhi that winter she tracked me down because she still remembered by old home phone number.

The phone conversation was quite formal and mechanical but we decided to catch up anyway. Despite our history, I was a little apprehensive because this was the first time we were meeting, if you know what I mean. She didn’t know I smoked, or drank, or did drugs, or that I had had a girlfriend for almost 3 years.

So for starters, to be on the safe side, I decided to be proper and meet her for a quick cup of coffee. The word quick gave us an easy escape route to both of us in case we felt ‘uncomfortable’ with the situation.

In the middle of that quick cup of coffee at Flavours:

Phone call.

“TS, I gotta rush! I’m staying at this girl’s house and she needs to go and so I need to stay in and she won’t be back till after dark and her dog needs to be fed and…”

“And?”

“Long story! I’ll tell you in the car. I hope you can drop me?”

“Yes, how else were you planning on going?”

That night I had a recurring dream, which I used to have up until 1998.
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1998:

Consumed by emotion, I decided to send her flowers on Valentine’s Day. I thought it would be the perfect day to formalize the relationship and let her know that I wanted to meet her, marry her, have kids with her.

I was 14, and a self-proclaimed adult. And for the last 3 years (2 years after she had changed her school), we had kept in touch through phone (she had managed to get my phone number from a common friend). It was always T-10 who called, every fortnight or so, and we would have these marathon phone conversations full of intimacy, laughter and baby talk until her parents would back from work.

I thought my case was pretty strong. To add to that, a casual conversation with my mother led me to believe that T-10 was my girlfriend because it was she who called me, and not the other way round. And that I had every right to send her flowers.

So I called the local flower delivery guy and had a dozen red roses delivered to her doorstep. I know she got them because for the next 6 months, she didn’t call. And when she did, this is the conversation that followed:

“TS, I know that my behaviour towards you may have led you to believe many things which weren’t necessarily true. Its not your fault but whatever happened wasn’t right! And I hope we can get past this little incident without denting our friendship.”

“Of course we can T-10. I’m sorry about the whole thing.”

"I'm sorry too."

"Listen I gotta rush right now so I'll call you over the weekend?"

"Sure. Bye."

I didn't know then that it would be 6 years before we would get to know each other all over again. When I look back, I keep asking myself why I never tried to call her myself considering I still remember that old phone number of hers.
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1992 and 1993:

By far the most significant years of my life (except for 2001, because that’s when I met my current girlfriend P).

(It was the year my family shifted to Sarita Vihar, our current place of residence. It is a DDA colony on the Southeast tip of New Delhi, and back then it was an almost suburban area of the ‘new’ New Delhi. When we moved there we left behind hardship, memories of my father and a hand-to-mouth lifestyle, which had haunted us in that cramped one bedroom flat of Lajpat Nagar.)

The most significant event was, of course, that this is the year I first met T-10. I call her T-10 because that was the new school-bus route assigned to me when I shifted to Sarita Vihar, and we got to know each other because she also traveled in the same bus.

In the first year that we traveled together, she and I became good friends. We would chat, play antakshari and do almost everything you can associate with a platonic relationship between two 8-year-olds. But secretly-secretly, I would look at her and smile to myself, thinking about the kids we would have someday.

God, however, had other plans for us.

During the second year of our friendship, she was made the head-girl of primary school. Out of the 4897238947238 girls in class V, they had chosen HER! And to add insult to injury, they decided not to make li'l old TS head-boy. WTF???

And even though I had decided she was the one, I went into denial and convinced myself otherwise. No head-girl was going to risk dating a sissy house-captain.

Everyday, until she changed schools in 1994, I loved her (yes, secretly-secretly). And when she finally left (without telling me), a very uncomfortable dream began to haunt my sleep.
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Yesterday:

“TS! Why aren’t you gay??? I’ve always wanted a gay best friend and you’d be sooo perfect!”

“And what makes you think that T-10???”

“I don’t know. I just have a feeling you’d make a perfect George!”

“Hey, HEY, H-E-Y!!! Just because I have a pair of pink boxer shorts does not mean I’m gay. Like someone once said, Metrosexual but Heterosexual!”

“Tracy, Meha! Don’t you think he’d fit the part?”

The two women conveniently looked away, allowing me to save that iota of self-respect that I had left.

There was a moment of silence. And then of course the alcohol took complete control of me and I blurted:

“Well if I were to sleep with a man, it would have to be Johnny Depp.”

There was another moment of silence.

The girls gave me a quick, rather puzzled look and immediately shifted their focus back to T-10 and her tale of woe.
---

At night, as I was trying to fall off to sleep, I couldn't help but think of everything T-10 has meant to me. A lot of first times of my life revolve around her existence. And no matter where life takes me, I know her presence in the happiest of my memories (the kinds that make you go Awww) will carry me through the most difficult of times in the years to come. That and how I will always love her deeply, simply because she was the first.
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Note from the author:

Dearest T-10, on a more personal note:


- Since I didn’t make you sound remotely psychotic (an adjective we both know describes you best), you simply MUST take me out to dinner.

- Oh, and the post miraculously omits any details of your RED stilettos. (Lets make that dinner AND JD shall we?)


- Also, there is no mention of the time you BIT me on my arm in class V. Do you know I still have to pass that scar off as a stretch mark to avoid becoming a locker room legend? (For this one, I will settle for no less than a mention on your epitaph.)

- And FYI, I still have that dream. You wouldn't happen to know any good shrinks, or would you?

32 comments:

mannat said...

i lika! very very well written. love the way it flows and the way u've connected it. as usual... it's awesome tanmay.

Sush said...

is it a surprise or a coincident, that all these years you put down here, belong to the sacred part of my life too...exactly those very years...but well...good for you :) and I hope T-10 wears her stilletoes and doesnt bite you again :). fun post to read. dropped in from Ujz's!

The i-Man said...

Devine!

Raindrop said...

Enjoyed that post.

You seem to be fairly obsessed with red stilettos. :)

You're blogrolled too!

Szerelem said...

Aww...such a cute post.
And red stilettos.....i want to go shoe shopping now!

Suchintya said...

being friends with the first... congratulations!!! :)

P said...

Tanmay Sahay..this post absolutely commands me to become an obsessive, complusive, psycotic (can I use that one for myself too), neurotic, attention-starved, freud-come-to-my-rescue-girlfriend..however, just cant help smiling at each paragraph, knowing the person you are, and people who helped you get here..absolutely loved this one (almost shed a tear too, but that just might have been out of pure jealousy:))).. love n hugs...

Anonymous said...

TS, you ass, tune socha bhi ki, need_freud_kinda_brave_front or not, P ke dil pe kya beetega? Nostalgia ought not to be at the cost of hurting the most precious one, neh?

Anonymous said...

OMG!! cho-chweeeeet!

:(

Glittering_Girl said...

I don't know what to say, just wondering if I should let him know? It's so god damn hard- it IS very hard. But, yes, the first is THE first. Yeah, I know, smiling alone looking at that person.. Hmm.. You write awesome.. Should I let him know, what do you reckon? It's a different story. I also wonder, how with such ease you can write your experiences like these..

Wonderfully written.. flash back.. and everything!
:)
Have a cheerful day, Tanmay!

Anonymous said...

came here by accident..dont even rem how now!!
i read ur posts..n im simply in love with ur writing!
the way uv described ur experiences made me rememmber my first love..its just a strong implulse to get in contact with him now!
anyway...
thnks for making my day! n bringing a smile on my face after ages!!

t said...

what do u know?... I am now forced to rethink about my fascination with coffee/conversation routine... the alcohol/confession drill sounds alluring...
Jokes apart... fantastic... the back n forth movement in time has been handled skillfully. It blends and becomes ONE, WHOLE... It all falls back into place... the cosmic way...

TS said...

@Mannat, i-Man: Thanks.

@Sush: Quite a coincidene eh? Hope your memories are as sweet as mine, if not sweeter.

@Raindrop: Yes, YES, Y-E-S!!! And thanks.

@Szerelem: Maybe I should buy a pair and keep it on my shoe rack. Just for the viewing pleasure. How do I pronounce 'Szerelem?' (I'm quite uninformed you see.)

@Suchintya: I know. Everyone seems to think that. Maybe it was chance but then again, maybe not.

@P: Thank you thank you. About that tear, don't lie! I know YOU.

@Anonymous: Please read P's comment. And thanks for the consideration.

@Anonymous: Thanks. I'm glad you liked it.

@Glittering Girl: Of course you must. There is nothing to lose. Plus I believe we should voice our feelings, simply because it helps with closure.

@Anonymous: It is readers like you that make this space worthwile. Thanks a million... :)

@T: Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Ps said...

So well written.As usual.Loved it.
Would love to know the scenario after 12 years of marriage and two kids :-)What the heck, let me give tell you--yep, you will still remember the first.Always :-)

iksha said...

This was so well written - you have a way with words, dont you! Glad to be back and reading!

diyadear said...

Hi Ts,
came to check which level u meant.On seeing scorpio i got it ;)
hey one more thing till last week i had the same look n feel for my blog. :)

Shalini said...

I hail thee O locker room legend!!

Hehe! What I liked about this post is that it flows smoothly and effortlessly. And you sound honest while sharing your memories of the 'first' with your readers.

The flashback was also a good attempt!

And yeah, here is the best part of this post...

"...for a quick cup of coffee. The word quick gave us an easy escape route to both of us in case we felt ‘uncomfortable’ with the situation."... Beautiful!!!!

Shalini

iz said...

You have pink boxer shorts???? Did you ever lose a twin in teh kumbh mela?

And btw, after reading P's comment, I have realised that you have the most perfect woman ever. You better hang on tight.

astha said...

The stuff I've been missing! Loved reading it...and I have to say, your girl friend rocks! You're a lucky guy :)

Jane Doe said...

:) :S
Look what you've done! On top of the gorgeous rain, I read this! Its beautiful... I want to be someone's T 10! Damn. And I know I just cannot let my T 10 know..... or T 10s.. hahahaha! :)

Szerelem said...

Hmmm....how do you pronounce Szerelem? Like Szerelem...(??) Yes that's circular, I know!
It's actually Hungarian (for 'Love') and if you've seen the English Patient there's a song in it called 'szerelem, szerelem'.

Dan said...

Holy Toledo! This was a great post!

And regarding those pink boxer shorts. I must have them. What are your demands?

viren said...

It's becoming harder to keep on showering you with praises for every blog you write. Don't know what to say bro. So from now on I'm going to invent a new word describing how i felt about your post.
For this one it is.." Mushelicious"

The i-Man said...

haha, good one dan!

waiting for the next one dude :)

hedonistic hobo said...

a come back post like none other. loved the way it all connected and flowed. but most of all loved this epic ode to a time tested friendship. i'm also listening to the "love songs of the 80s" while reading this so naturally my emotions are a bit ahead of me.
brava! brava!

Anonymous said...

me again..anonymous! lol

ur most welcome..n
i just wantd to appreciate ur writing.. again...now i regularly visit your blog whenever im feeling blue! thnks for making my day...yet again!:)

calm ocean said...

amateurish in all ways.. jus like a teenagers personal journal is.

ankita said...

o man..how cud i miss dis one..

i wonder wat took me sooo long 2 read it?

all i wud like 2 say is dat..

its fantabulous..
perhaps one of d nicest pieces iv ever read!:)

ASHAR said...

Hey TS, gosh for those 5 minutes (yeahhh well i took 5 mins) I read the post..took me back to my own insane experiences with my FirstLove(and i amnt that old too..so it wasn't exactly a long time back)
AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME..n im talkin abt your write-up :)

GO TS!!!!

TS said...

@Everyone: Thanks, all of you.

And Dan, the Pink Boxer Shorts stay put... ;)

bhaskar... said...

You have written a tale which come right from the heart... Its truly divine ( the tale ) and it takes a lot of courage to be friends with your first.. kudos dude....

Chimera said...

i notice that you have this habit of writing in reverse chronological order and yes, this was really beautiful esp. because you were able to capture that beautiful feeling so wonderfully in words.