Young and Stupid – Chapter VI


Chapter VI


As was the case with most major events in my life, when the moment arrived I unexpectedly froze. My mind wanted to go ahead and initiate a kiss but the body refused to co-ordinate. Somehow I recuperated from my momentary paralysis and turned to her. “Close your eyes stupid!” a voice inside my head said. I did so, unsure how I would navigate from there on. I moved ever so slowly, careful not to make a fool of myself. How stupid it would look if I missed! I peeped stealthily with one eye and saw I was going the right way. I decided it was time to take the plunge; I closed my eyes and leaned in. A feeling of nervous anticipation seeped in as I was moments away from kissing her. What would it be like?Would the proverbial fireworks go off? The tension was reaching a crescendo and then it happened!

She screamed out, “What the hell are you doing?”

Quite a weird thing to say when you’re about to kiss, I thought as I opened my eyes. She sat there almost arched backwards, her eyes bloodshot and her face getting redder with every passing second.


Look what you’ve done!”


I hadn’t realized that I had made a faux pas yet. But soon enough I saw that I had made a major boo-boo. Somewhere between my thoughts of what a first kiss would be like, my unknowing elbow had knocked the tea cup over and spilled the concoction it contained all over her majesty’s outfit for the evening. I looked at her in horror when realization finally dawned upon me. Any second now the tea cup would come crashing down on my head, I had to either duck or say something witty to save my skin.

Uhh, it doesn’t really look all that bad you know. In fact I can hardly tell.” (GREAT COME BACK EINSTEIN)

That was a brand new t-shirt.” she growled


I’m really really really sorry. I’m going to make it up to you. I swear.” But she wasn’t listening, she was busy ranting.


…It was such a cute tee . I fell in love with it right when I saw it. You know how many girls I had to fight off to get this one at the end-of-season sale?”


I’m sure it must have been hard, it’s a really great tee, no wonder everyone wanted it.” (SHUT UP! SHUT UP NOW YOU IDIOT)


My t-shirt, you ruined it, see how you ruined it. Such great fitting and that too for 40% off. And the fabric…..the fabric….” her voice started to get shaky.


Oh no! This isn’t a good sign. Oh God please don’t let her…..” I hadn’t even finished my prayer as she burst into tears.

I was officially screwed now. If embarrassing myself and ruining my girlfriend’s clothes wasn’t enough, I now had to face my worst fear, dealing with a sobbing girl. It couldn’t get any worse, this was a worst case scenario, this was the mother of all disasters, a massacre yes that’s what it was. There was no way to rise above this one. Even Hallmark didn’t make ‘Sorry I spilled tea all over you’ cards. Game over, this was the end of the road. I wanted to cry louder than she was, but then the voice inside my head intervened yet again.


Don’t give up. You may think of this as a disaster but this is actually a good thing.”


This has to be the worst epiphany ever” I thought. “How the hell is that gigantic tea stain on her shirt a good thing?”


Remember young one! Daag acche hain! Surf excel hai na! Ting tong.” and so saying the voice faded away.

I turned to my sobbing girlfriend with a new found dose of confidence and quipped,

Baby, I know a way to make everything alright. Take your shirt off!”


You perv!” she roared, about to throw the cup at me.


So I can wash it! you don’t have to take every damn thing literally.” I said shielding my head with the tray.


And what am I going to wear until then? You don’t have any girl clothes lying around in your closet….or at least I hope you don’t.”


Just wear one of my t-shirts na.” I opened my closet and literally tossed the first thing I could lay my hands on to her.


Chee what a jhataak orange t-shirt this is? Why did you buy this?”


You think I’m that stupid”, I said straightening my elegant royal blue shirt. “One of my aunts gifted me this. I hate it as much as the next guy. Besides I think you should wear it just in case we have any other accidents. Now give me your t-shirt quick.”


Shouldn’t you be leaving the room sometime now?” she said in a flat tone.


Oh yeah, sorry!” I left the room red-faced.

A couple of minutes later she tossed the t-shirt out of the door, I headed straight to the washing machine with it. As I soaked the soiled t-shirt in soap water, I heard her yell again. I rushed to the room wondering what had happened now.

You spilled it on my pants too, IDIOT!!”


I opened my closet and stepped out of the room saying, “You know the routine”. A minute later she came and dumped her jeans into the washing machine. All I could do now was wait and pray that surf excel saved the day. I had no clue what to say to her, I had gone from a romantic to a dhobi all thanks to a wretched tea-cup.

I’m really sorry, I mean it.”


It’s okay, just forget it now. Let’s just dry and iron my clothes and I’m going home after that.”


I had already caused enough troubles this evening to ask her to stay back.


You go wait inside; I’ll come back when this is done.” I meekly said.


She left without a word while the machine washed and spun and dried and finally spewed out the soap water. Somewhere hope went down the drain with it. I prayed as opened the lid. “Oh God please let the stains be gone!” I picked up the shriveled up t-shirt and unfurled it. SUCCESS! The giant stain had disappeared. For once the commercials were right. I quickly took the jeans out and inspected them too. Affirmative, my plan had worked. All I had to do now was iron them and they’d be good as new, maybe I could salvage some pride after all. I rushed to the room and headed straight to the ironing board. I was about to start when she cut in saying, “Let me have that, you might burn a hole in it for all I know.”

I was a little hurt at that, but I felt I deserved it. She finished ironing it and carefully inspected it from each angle, and then held it up to the light straining her eyes to find even the tiniest speck on her beloved discounted t-shirt. I had obviously done a good job, but she wouldn’t admit that. She simply asked me to leave the room again as she prepared to change back into her original avatar. I turned around and was about to leave the room when the door bell rang. We froze….




Young and Stupid – Chapter V


Chapter V


Even though the rickshaw-wallah drove like a nervous 18 yr old at a driving test, we were home before we knew it. I got out first, paid our chauffeur for the evening and thanked him. He reciprocated the gesture. I then held my hand out for her and escorted her to the gate as the rickshaw revved and whizzed away in the background. The evening was progressing wonderfully, but now we were about to enter a land where we would have to watch our steps, lest we be watched. I rummaged through my pockets for my keys as leaned to her ear and carefully explained the next leg of the plan.


Okay, here’s the deal. We have to be really careful from hereon. My house is in the last wing which means we need to get from Wing 1 to Wing 3 without being noticed. If we go together, the chances of being spotted are multiplied tenfold. There are far too many vantage points. I can name the old man on the 2nd floor in wing 1 & the Secretary’s house in wing 2 just off the top of my head. Try and understand the gravity of the situation. One false move and we’ll be the talk of the town. Therefore we MUST and I say MUST follow what I say? Do you copy?” I said (feeling like an army general).


Did you just say ‘do you copy’? And what on earth is a vantage point?” she looked at me in bewilderment.


Ahh mademoiselle, you are far too innocent for this harsh world. Just go round the back while I head from the front gate and open the door for you, okay?”


Say like that na, idiot!” she knocked me on the head and then she giggled and walked towards the gate that led to the back of the building.


I took a deep breath and charged to my wing. I searched for ‘watching eyes’ as I passed wings 1 and 2. They were either uninterested this evening or hidden too well for me to spot them. I reached my door and opened it making as little noise as possible. I wasn’t going to let a creaky door spoil my careful preparations. I unlocked the door and waited for her to come with bated breath but there wasn’t a sign of her. Half a minute passed, still nothing. I started to get worried again, but I couldn’t go and see what was going on either, that would be too risky. She arrived just as I was about to hit the panic button.


Nice building”, she said as she casually strolled in.


I shook my head, “By the time this evening is done you’re going to give me a heart attack for sure!”


I carefully closed the door and then turned to her.

We made it! We got in here without being spotted!” I said ecstatically.


Not exactly Fort Knox you know?” she said as she warmly hugged me. She could have squeezed every little bit of life out of me there and it would have still felt wonderful.


You’re going to remember this one for a long time. I can bet my last buck you will.” I beamed with confidence.


I think you’ve already spent it. And by the way, you can thank me later for saving you the blushes at the bus stop.” she mocked me.


If someone hadn’t messed up the directions in the first place, I wouldn’t have had to go to the bus stop! How on earth did you manage to lose your way this time?”


Oh…nothing much, just a little diversion.” she casually said.


Accha, let’s hear the rest of that”


Arrey why are you wasting time now? The important thing is I am safe and sound, right?”


Of course, of course safety first, but I can sense there is an embarrassing story behind that nonchalance of yours.”


Non-what? Why do you keep confusing me with all these words?”


Okay then I ask you in layman’s terms. Spill it Missy!”


But nothing happened….”


Sure sure….now can we have the truth!”


She paused for a second then sighed and finally gave up. She put on her puppy face and said,

Promise you won’t laugh?”


You know I can’t lie to that face! Of course my dearest….I will laugh.”


No, it’s not fair it wasn’t my fault, it was all because of that stupid dog. I just went to pat it on the head and it just started barking like crazy. I tried to calm it down but it just got louder and louder.”


There, there strays can get mean.” I consoled her.


Chee, why’d I play with strays in that dirty gully? It was a nice Pomeranian, you now the furry, gushy-vushy-mushy ones….soo cute!”


Did you just say, ‘gushy-vushy-mushy’?” I laughed holding my sides.


Listen na, so I thought it would be nice and harmless, but that started to chase me. So I ran. And all those people on the road, they’re watching the tamasha they didn’t even bother to help!” she complained.


Stop it! You’re killing me here!” I was falling off my seat.


You too! Useless! Laugh! Don’t even wait for me to finish the story. You’re not even concerned how I tackled that beast!”


You mean the gushy-vushy-mushy beast”, I broke out into another fit of laughter.


She was embarrassed thoroughly but couldn’t help laughing either.


Cartoon!” she said as she whacked me on the head.


Please finish the rest of the story.” I said trying to regain my breath.


Well the damn thing was tugging at the end of my pants, I tried to fight it off but its jaws were locked on tightly. I just swung my leg and it went flying into the gutter. It was so funny. I mean, I felt bad for it, but then the evil thing chased me and made a mockery out of me”


Jeez, why do all the fun things happen when I’m not around?” I laughed hysterically banging my fists on the table.


Yeah and then a couple of minutes later a guy with a leash comes and asks me. Excuse me, I saw my dog running this way, did you see it? I just pointed in the other direction and scooted from there.”


You come here!”


We hugged chuckling like in-mates at an asylum.


For all that trouble you had to go through, I have a great time in store for you.” I said leading her to my room. I switched on the music player. The plan was now coming towards fruition.


How thoughtful of you to play the Bee Gees instead of all that screaming and yelling you usually listen to!”


Anything for you, your highness. You just wait here while I serve the main course for the evening.”


I headed to the kitchen and picked up the pre-arranged masterpiece and turned towards my room. I knocked on the door as I entered. The look on her face was what they call ‘priceless’. She sat in amazement as I placed the tray on the table and sat next to her. Talkative as she usually was, she was speechless then.


You….you didn’t have to go through all of this.” she gathered the words somehow and blushingly said.


It was all worth the look on your face”, I said handing a cup of tea to her. She gazed into my eyes as she held it. She then rested her head on my shoulder. The words “Perfect Moment” flashed before my eyes. False alarm again I thought being ever the cynic but this time it was really happening. The moment was here…




Young and Stupid – Chapter IV


Chapter IV


As I lay on the couch all I could think about was her. In a few minutes she’d be here. I would open the door and compliment her; she would blush as she entered. I would then kiss her hand and present her with a rose (how gentlemanly of me!). She would compliment my shirt and I’d dismiss it saying, “Oh I just threw on the first thing I saw“. Then I’d lead her to my room and there we’d spend the rest of the evening lost in each other (not to mention tea and biscuits and the solitary chocolate). This was going to be a day she would never forget. And in all fairness every first should be an everlasting memory. Speaking of firsts, we could have quite a few of those today. Handshake hugs wouldn’t make the cut today, nothing short of warm, loving bear hugs this evening! Maybe I’d peck her on the cheek if she let me. And if it all went really well, we might just have our first kiss. It all sounded very romantic, but I wasn’t quite sure how to initiate a kiss. Everyone always said that when the time is right, you just know it. I could have sworn that it was ‘the right time’ on a million other occasions but my timing had always been bad. Hence I never mustered the courage to try something like that. My friends found it rather odd that we hadn’t even kissed despite dating for so long. I hadn’t really lost much sleep over it, but it had been at the back of my mind. Maybe today I’d have a chance.

Half an hour had passed since the phone call and as expected, she hadn’t arrived yet. I decided to spend the remainder of the wait watching TV, but since nothing but re-runs of the previous night’s soaps were on air, I decided otherwise. Instead I picked up the newspaper and started solving the crossword. Maybe I’d find some new words to impress her with.

Today’s crossword didn’t seem like much of a challenge. A mere 10 mins of down and across was all it took to have it all figured out. Riding high on a wave of confidence, I decided to venture into uncharted territory…Su-Doku. Numbers weren’t my forte, but today there wasn’t anything that I couldn’t do. I glanced at the watch and realized that it had almost been an hour since the phone call. I was a bit worried but tried to maintain my composure. ‘She’ll be here any minute now.’ I calmed myself. A minute passed, then two, and then five….still no sign of her. Was she going to show up at all? Was she serious when she said ‘there’s always room for second thoughts’? Oh God, please don’t let there be another guy, I’ll never joke about something like that again. I had just about lost my marbles when the phone rang. It was her.

Where are you? Everything’s okay na? You had me so worried, you know?” I snapped


I’m sorry, I really am.” she said apologetically


Arrey…now don’t be sorry, you should have called me earlier na? You knew I was waiting.”


Yes but you didn’t have to get all angry. I’m confused as it is.” she defended herself.


Okay baba, I’m sorry bas. Now would Her Highness be kind enough to inform me where she is and how long she intends to take to arrive here?”


You won’t get mad at me again, will you?”


I won’t. You have my word. You can have my head chopped off should I dishonor my word!”


That won’t be necessary, you’re kind of cute. Now be a good knight and pick me up from the bus stop on the road that goes to the station.” she giggled.


How the devil did you manage to get yourself there? That’s not even on the way to my house!”


Well you’ll have to get here to find out, kind sir! I’ll be waiting.”


I hung up thoroughly confused. How could she manage to screw up such basic directions? There was only one person who could explain that and she was waiting at the bus stop. I locked the door and left walking as fast as I could and hailed the first rickshaw I could see.

Bus stop. Jaldi, bhaiyya” I said.


The driver was more than happy to turn the meter and put the pedal to the medal. Rickshaw-wallahs always enjoyed driving like maniacs especially with the passengers’ consent. After my rickshaw ride from hell I reached the bus-stop. I couldn’t decide whether to get down kiss her or kiss the ground. Mr. Schumacher demanded Rs.15 for the ordeal. Damn it! I didn’t have my wallet. I certainly couldn’t ask her majesty to pay. I started rummaging through my pockets praying that I would find some long forgotten Gandhi somewhere. She understood the situation and intervened saying,

Why don’t we take this back to your place? I’ll pay. After all, if it wasn’t for me you wouldn’t have had to come here in the first place.”


The driver looked more than happy to take us for another roller-coaster ride.


I sighed…“Chalo bhaiyya. Let’s go back where we came from.”


Haan sahab, ekdum fast leke chaloonga.” he said stressing on ‘fast’.


Nahi bhaiyya, abhi to hamari shaadi bhi nahi hui.” she said and both of us broke out into a fit of laughter. We then hugged me and she kissed me on the cheek saying “Thank you brave sir!”


It was an honor, your majesty.” I took her hand in mine and paused a moment to let it all sink in. Our most memorable evening had just begun….


Young and Stupid – Chapter III


Chapter III

My plans for the evening were simple. No fuss required. Just some nice music, some good snacks, maybe flowers, maybe chocolates too. Then again, a little surprise gift would be thoughtful as well. Flowers, chocolates and gifts, it all sounded so perfect… until I checked my wallet that is. I discovered that I had a grand total of….Rs.30 on me. I felt like a balloon that suddenly had all its air released. I sank to the couch tempted to bury my head in a pillow and cry the evening away but the ‘manly man’ in me refused to let me give up. After all necessity breeds invention. Once again I found myself in a sticky spot with nothing but my ‘quick wit’ to save me. And then an idea struck me like a tonne of bricks. Why not just take some cash from the cupboard? I’d save up by the end of the week and mom wouldn’t have to know. Yes, that was it. I felt proud of myself for thinking up a solution so fast. I gallantly marched into mom’s room and turned towards the cupboard. There it stood before me. All that separated me from having the necessary financial resources for an evening to remember was a puny metal door. It shan’t dare ruin my plans, NO SIREÉ! As I moved closer to it, I noticed something rectangular and yellow on the door that I hadn’t noticed before. On further observation I discovered that it was a post-it. It said something. I peeled it off the door, read it and then tore it to bits in a fit of rage. I still couldn’t believe what Mom had written on it, “The keys are with me, don’t bother trying to open it. Besides, why would you need the cash? Not like you are up to something!…Love, Mom” . The cheekiness did not stop there; she actually drew a smiley face on the post-it! This meant war. So that’s how we’re playing this then. Fine, I’ll make sure nothing comes in between me and my memorable evening. There would be no compromises whatsoever!

On second thoughts, maybe there would be some compromises, actually a lot of them. The grand preparations had come down to Tea & Biscuits (The finest cream biscuits from the local baniya. Nothing less!), and a 5 buck Dairy Milk. All that was missing now was flowers. Where would I find those now? I wondered as I paced to and fro in the living room. Just then, something outside the window caught my attention. Why it was my dear neighbours rose plant. I recalled how excited Mrs. Nosy was when she brought the sapling home, and how dearly she watered it each day. She even started talking to it after hearing something on TV about how plants grow better if you converse with them. Bearing that in mind, I was surprised at the fact that it actually had 2 roses in full bloom. Needless to say I did pluck them. Two birds with one stone I thought, not only would my lady-love be pleased, my arch-nemesis, Mrs. Nosey – Neighbour would be crest-fallen. I laughed like an evil villain and it actually felt good. This evening was going to be marvelous, simply marvelous I tell you!

All that was left to do now was to dress up and look handsome. (Of course that was the easy part!) I opened my closet and took out the first thing I laid my hands on. Ugh! The orange t-shirt chachi gifted me last birthday! NO WAY! Okay, take 2 – the formal shirt which Mom had picked out for me (saying that it made me look like a ‘nice boy’). ‘Definitely not wearing that!’ I almost said aloud. Third time lucky I concluded, as I took out the long sleeved royal blue shirt. I wasn’t too fond of but I remembered her telling me that she found it cute when I wore it once back when we weren’t seeing each other. I could use some of the vintage charm today. I chuckled as I repeated the words ‘vintage charm’; it had only been 7 months since we started ‘dating’. A quick shower later, I started to tidy up the place. Then I carefully selected the music. I would have chosen Metallica, but she could have retaliated with Michael Learns to Rock if she heard James Hetfield greet her. I settled for a 70s-90s Hits CD. It was common ground. I remembered how she said she was surprised that I listened to that kind of music. I of course assured that I swore by the Bee Gees (although I wouldn’t be able to tell them apart from ABBA if anything other than “How Deep is Your Love” was played).

I then headed to the kitchen. Now I was no Gordon Ramsey or Jamie Oliver (or even our Desi super-chef Sanjeev Kapoor for that matter), but if a good cuppa and toast could qualify as culinary masterpieces, I could give them a run for their money any day. I decided not to be too ambitious though. Just some tea would do fine. Less is more like they say. A couple of minutes later tea was ready. I decided to flaunt my artistic skills as I arranged the biscuits on the plate. I made a heart first. Too corny! I considered making a smiley face, but I already had a bad experience with one of those not too long ago. I just arranged them in a circle and put one in the middle. I couldn’t look at it and say, Voila! That’s my ‘Ulysses’, but it wasn’t an eye-sore either. Then I took one of the roses, which my neighbour had so generously supplied me with for the evening and cut the thorns off. There it lay on the platter in all its long stemmed glory. I gazed at my creation, and it was good! I rested. Conserve your strength little one, you are just about to witness the most memorable evening of your life!

Young and Stupid – Chapter II


I rushed straight to the phone at break-neck speed and punched the numbers almost automatically. The phone rang as I waited impatiently. 5 rings later, no one had answered the yet. I started to panic. All the efforts I put in to convince Mom were about to go to waste.

I started a mental countdown….5….4….3….21 1/2, 1….3/4ths ! Damn it answer the phone, 1/4th……I was about to hang up in despair as she answered the phone.


Hello”, she said in a faint sleepy voice.


What took you so long to answer the phone!”, I roared.


Who is this? And why are you shouting?”, she still sounded confused.


What do you mean, who is this? You mean there is another guy?!”


(Voice recognition kicked in that point)


One idiot is enough”, she said as she stretched yawningly.


Very funny. Guess what, I finally convinced mom to leave me home all by myself.”


Oh, so she finally decided to disown you and leave home! Told you so didn’t I?, she giggled.


No madam, what I meant to say I have the place to myself till at least 8 o’ clock. Isn’t that cool?”


Great now we can talk as much as we want to and you won’t have to hang up!”


I wanted to bang the receiver on my head, but chose otherwise.


No dear, guess again”


You want me to call you back? Okay, I can do that, no one’s home anyway.”


I can’t believe how this isn’t obvious. Do I have to spell it out for you?”


Wait a minute…you mean……mad or what? No no no, what if your mom finds out, or my mom

for that matter. I can’t sorry!”


Will you stop being a bhartiya naari for once. I’m just calling you over for the evening, I’m not asking you to elope.” I teasingly said.


You’re crazy, you’re going to get both of us killed for this you know!”


So you’re coming then….great! I have the whole thing planned out. You just come here looking pretty as usual.”


You and your compliments. I wonder how I fell for someone so filmy.”


It’s too late to regret over that, you should have thought of it when I asked you out.”


There’s always room for second thoughts.” she giggled again.


Hmm, maybe we should discuss this over tea at my place, what say?”


Sounds like a plan, I’ll be there in 30 mins.”


30 mins? You live 5 minutes away! Oh and madam, do you even know what building I live in?”


You’re there na, you come and pick me up.”


Sure and stroll into my building with my girlfriend, my neighbours would love that wouldn’t they?”


Fine fine I’ll come on my own.”


I explained the directions to her, she seemed to understand them, or at least she did a good job of pretending to do so. I looked at the watch. She said that she’d take half an hour, but if I were to go by past experience, it meant nothing less than 45 mins to an hour. Enough time to prepare. I paused for a moment to let it all sink in. I felt nervous, yet excited. Not the first time I had felt this way in this relationship. I’d always wanted to have her over at my place and now when it was finally about to happen, I couldn’t bring myself to believe it. But I decided to be optimistic for once, the plan had gone off smoothly so far, there wasn’t a reason why it shouldn’t now. Everything will be fine, I reassured myself…