I am in airport, thanks to my cab driver. About 40 minutes ago, I was in a state of panic as I looked at the stagnant road filled with lifeless trucks. The driver of Uber cab tells me that I will miss my flight and there was no denying the fact. He told me horror story of a family stuck in traffic jam for 3 hours. He became quite perplexed with the situation himself and started shouting loudly. "Yelling" could be an even better choice of verb. I asked him not to yell. It had an inverse effect. I had obviously insulted him deeply. He started shouting that there was no need for him to be concerned and reminded himself that it was I and not him that was going to miss the flight. Somewhere he seems to be suggesting that this was all useless and we should go back home and take a nap. He took a turn to make the cab part of dead trail but then his compassionate sense prevailed and he took the U turn. His mind seemed to be processing our options at the speed to light and he said - I will drive in the wrong side of the road for entire duration of Rajouri but you will have to pay if policemen catch him. He also called his friend to verify if this was a feasible option and he confirmed that it was risky but a risk worth taking. Finally he looked at the oncoming traffic intensely and said it was a big risk and I will have to pay a thousand bucks for him to do it.
I suddenly realized where it was going. I resorted to negotiation. 500? And then 700 but he wouldn't buzz. It was simply a question of risk and reward. His car, his life, his children's lives were at stake if something was to happen to him or his car. I said I was taking the risk too. Pushed to the corner I said yes.
After traveling on the wrong side of the road for about a 100 meters, he got the cab to usual route to airport and I knew I had been taken for a ride.
I maintained silence as he called up his friend telling him how he took biggest risk of his life by travelling in wrong direction. I evaluated my options and felt the only choice I had was how I should feel once this episode was over. This was life with its ups and downs. Good side was that I reached airport quite ahead of time and that gave me a lot of time to think about what had happened the previous (actually this very) night.
V had come back and it was decided that we would drink. I had had three pegs of whiskey the previous night and I had thrown up. Also I did not want to get too drunk in order to be able to get up early to catch my 7 AM flight. So we decided to have beers. Later I would need some whiskey to process reality.
V told me what the mood of NY office was. About Central Park.
Then B joined us. V showed off Double Black label: brand of whiskey he had brought with him. I remarked how we would have taken off all of our clothes if we were women in a James Bond movie.
Things took a turn for interesting and B started to narrate a story that now runs like a dream sequence in my mind. I remember watching Walter White reminiscing in Breaking Bad and saying "What are the odds?"
U pings B around a question on a company event that she helps manage. She later organizes a meeting with him to discuss the matter further. B is surprised when she mentions that she thinks that he is awkward around her and she wanted to make sure that everything was fine between them. B says that everything is fine. He is generally "in his zone" and that could have left that impression on her. She suggests that they start afresh and goes on to introduce herself. B follows her initiative and introduces himself. They must have had a basic Q&A session afterward because I remember B mentioning U asking him where he lived and finding it pretty impressive that he lived alone. This meeting ends.
Afterward, U pings B again, saying that she has a confession to make. B suggests that they meet again but U insists that is not required. She tells him that she used company event as an excuse to talk to him. B does not know how to react to that but does pretty well in asking if she wanted to exchange numbers. She takes time and finally says that she shares her number only with family and close friends. There is no no in this answer.
And that is the story so far.
I asked B why he told us about this when it was so intimate. But I knew. V is one of his closest friends. More importantly, B thought I was interested in U. I confirmed that I was.
I requested him not to share this with anyone and respect U's expectation that it will stay between two of them. Respect is the keyword here. I can only imagine how difficult it could be to put yourself in that vulnerable spot and express your feelings. If that expression is not met with a dignified response, it can push you deeper inside the shell. Apart from that U is also a friend, so I need to protect her interests. I told him she was top of the line gal and he should go for her.
He asked me how I was interested in U and still wanted him to do as he pleased. I told him that I asked her once.
We told him that it is alright to be feeling flattered and he should enjoy it while it lasts.
V was there too and he must have appreciated sensitiveness of the whole situation. One can always depend on him when the situation arises.
I had few interactions with U during those two days and now I would successfully correlate everything that I saw in her with her turbulent state of mind.
On Thursday afternoon, while we were having lunch, U passed by with a cup of tea and told us that she was having a terrible headache. On a side note, later, on my way to meeting room, I would see her and B in another meeting room - again what are the odds?
On Friday, we were expected to decorate our bays to celebrate Diwali. Our team won a prize, BTW. It was kind of expected that U would make a trip to our bay but she did not. I went up a couple of times and it looked as if she was most busy person in dh. She was on phone and did not seem interested in festivities at all. Later in the evening she wished us Happy Diwali from outside of the glass door.
I was not sure if B telling us about this was a good thing or not. Now I am pretty sure that it was a good thing because it gives so much insight into U psyche. For one, we haven't had that lunch so far and I was willing to attribute it to her lack of initiative. I'm clearly wrong. Women can take initiatives when they want to.
Also she is complex and much is going on with her that I'm not aware of. On multiple occasions, she has confessed to be not very trusting of people in general. It will be fascinating to know series of events that led her to B. Maybe, it is a case of instant attraction but she just did not seem like that sort of girl. B has that boyish charm. U is womanly and mature. It will be interesting to observe.
I have been trying to strategize my behavior toward U in coming days. Am I hurt? How do I compare against B? How do I compare against everyone else?
I saw this lecture on sociological imagination that tries to answer the question: why are we here? We have a biography - our little orbits - and we are part of a history and a lot of our biography is influenced by history of our times. In turn, our collective biographies shape our history.
One way of evaluating this whole episode could be to say that it is a story of three individuals and the outcome is direct result of how these three individuals interacted with each other. I could have done something and the result could have been different. It is definitely part of the puzzle. Sociological imagination tells you that there are factors in play that individuals don't have control on. For example, there are factors that influence liking that I have little control on. It has made me less critical of myself and demystified the idea of love a little.
Back to the question of how I should interact with U in coming days. For a considerable time now, I have tried to be best version of myself. I have been non judgemental, patient and funny. I have been prompt to respond to her requests. To be honest, I might even have been happy. One strategy could be to maintain this. This would also be very boring. I have zeroed in on the cold treatment.
I have thought about potential justifications for why I chose to write it into a blog post. I have very limited and controlled readership. I have been careful to start off the post with relatively boring tale of my journey to airport and it is likely that even few readers I have will not bother to complete this post. There was also a need to document this historic moment in this blog which has turned very personal of late. These are all good reasons. My favorite: I'm breaking bad.