Thursday, September 15, 2011


Every good story, I’m told, has a set-up, then a problem or a hurdle if you will, and then the climax. So this one is not going to be a good story, because the problem is the set-up, and we can’t talk about the climax. It’s a family magazine after all. But I’m going to tell it anyway because it is important… Doubly so for you if you think it isn’t. But it is absolutely vital for you if you are the kind who would publicly trash the idea of what I’m about to tell you and then slink away into a corner and hurriedly flip to this page to see if it makes sense… any sense whatsoever. And mark my words, in red if you please, for if you are going to do any of the above, consider this page some much needed therapy.

Now that I’m done with the hard sell, here’s the setup…

AP was one of the brightest students I’ve ever taught in a class room. He is tall, pleasantly tanned, well boned and fairly fit. When he is being a good boy, he speaks well enough to both entertain and inspire. He has read more books than you might have seen and seen more movies than you might have read about. And yet he is cool enough to stand toe to toe and go a few rounds with you in the muay-thai ring and he might bloody his nose but he won’t sully his reputation. So he is a nerdy-jock, or a jock-nerd, whichever the case may be, and a very interesting character but for all the time he was here with us, he couldn’t manage to land himself in a decent relationship. He might lash out by saying he never really cared much for a ‘decent’ relationship anyway but if you looked into those big brown eyes long enough, you’d know he was lying, more to himself than to you actually, but lying nevertheless.

Now, read what is to come very carefully for this could be you. AP could make the ladies laugh, he would listen like he meant it, and he could talk about the all the stars from Bandra to Beverly Hills, and all their toys and their trysts with bright blue pills. So what gives?

Why would a man who is a good talker, a good looker, a good listener and gets a tick on nearly every box that counts still go back home to an empty room or his guy friends if they had the time? Why should a man like him fail to keep even if he could find true love?

The second case file is from the family folder. It’s a cousin who is right now living in Singapore, alone and unfulfilled as far as we can tell from here, though he does make a fair show of being too happy and busy for a real relationship. This chap has an ivy-league education, a job that pays him for being smart and aware and he cruised into his thirties a short while back in a swanky new BMW convertible. So he has it all going for him you’d think, but here’s what the women he has been friends with for years, like the chorus of muses from a Greek tragedy, have to say about him… “He is a show off! How do you talk to him? He just won’t listen! Granted, he is an interesting character. But do I need a lecture about blood diamonds and Gujarati millionaires and the Antwerp diamond industry just because I happened to wear diamonds to our date? He is a great guy, has a good sense of humour and is really nice, but why would life be fun if I’m stuck with a guy who has a TV screen on his head that’s stuck on CNN and I don’t even have the remote? Sometimes I think he knows so much that he has forgotten how to feel…”

Now what do you do?

Ladies, before we go any further, you need to know that these stories aren’t just an effort to help my fellow men understand themselves better, but also their unheard cry for meaning and understanding. These are good boys who would make wonderful partners. Unfortunately they are misunderstood and are lost. They would need your help and your understanding, and the rest of this piece, to find their way back into your hearts…

So going back to the set up, let me wrap up part one of this story with a tail to this tale.

This one’s about a guy my wife used to know when she was in her teens. She didn’t like him much. But I’ve heard it said that this guy really liked her. But my wife, she couldn’t stand him. What was the matter with him? Well I was curious and so I asked her and she said “he was a pain to be around. Such a desperate show off... I knew he liked me.... And he was the nice sort but I could throw up as soon as I’d see him...”

As you can see, there’s a pattern here but here’s the first twist in the tale and that is the modern day fact that today, my wife is married to this very man who she once hated. You’ll be happy to know that she doesn’t throw up as often as promised either and by most accounts, including her own, she is happier than she’s ever been.

Ostensibly, there would seem to be a lesson lying in wait somewhere in there, for all three of us. But who is to know if my fortunes are a result of my methods or a moment of masochistic madness by the lady in question. Anyway, that is a story for the week to come when we explore that dark zone of enlightenment that lies between the problem and the climax. Until then, hang in there and check if your life is set up a bit like our setup. God bless if it is and God bless if it ain’t....


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