You know how it goes. Boy meets girl. They fall in love and live happily ever after. But for me, it was a little different. If I were a Bollywood character, I would be like Kajol in DDLJ before she got all dolled up as the sati-savitri types.
I’m a great friend to have. I will stick by you through thick and thin and douchebag boyfriends who can’t keep it in their pants and bitchy girlfriends who tear you to pieces the moment you turn your back. My mom used to say I would be so pretty, if only I bothered to make an effort. By this she meant dresses and salwar suits and kajal and lipstick. But I like my ripped jeans and sneakers.
I was also the type that boys love to be friends with. Girlfriend, not so much. In any case, my dream guy would be like Farhan Akhtar in Rock On, so it wasn’t like I felt that I was missing out on much because the guys I knew weren’t hitting on me.
Anyway, back to the story. Or rather, the story that almost was not.
We were both in the same Eco class. The prof asked a question and picked on me to answer. I didn’t know it. Which was okay, really, but I actually got flustered a stammered a bit when telling my professor that. As I flushed, with the whole class looking at me, I heard a snicker.
I turned around and saw he was laughing at me. I glared, the prof asked him whether he knew the answer. He was the hero type. Tall, well-built – the kind you would imagine was all brawn and no brain. But in his case, he had both. He did have the answer to the question, and he nailed it.
That began a college rivalry that would go down in history! We both wanted to head the college fest committee (I won that one). We both wanted to win the class elections (he beat me there). And so it went on. My friends were sick and tired of me ranting over him. It wasn’t that he was rude. Just very, very annoying.
College ended and real life began. He would pop up on my FB feed, doing annoyingly well. Jetting off to the States for for his post grad and MBA and landing a job at a Goldman Sachs kind of place. I went the marketing route, ending up at a top ad agency.
A few years later, it was my sister’s wedding. And guess who the groom’s best friend was? I kid you not, my life was turning out to be a clichéd Bollywood flick!
I had not met him for over a decade. I was hanging with my bestie at the cocktail. He came over and said hi to her. She turned around and said, “You remember S?” I swear to God his jaw fell. Okay, so I was wearing a skimpy lehenga choli and was looking “so pretty” as my mom said. But even then – seriously, dude – I was not that badly dressed in college. All through the functions, I would catch him staring, trying to place me. But when I would look, he would turn away - it was hilarious.
Anyway, the shaadi happened. Life was back to normal.
Three weeks later, as I was stepping out of a night club, walking to my car, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I flipped around, jumping out of my skin – it was quite late at night. “Hey,”, he smiled, “your card slipped out of your bag.”
He realized I was quite shaken. “You are not in too much of a state to drive, you wanna give me company while I smoke?”
It was one of the things I never liked about him.
He looked at my face and laughed! “Acchha, baba – I know you don’t like smokers – how about we talk for a second?”
So we sat down on the trunk of my car and talked. And talked. Before we knew it, the sun was rising.
That was the beginning of my love story. That annoying know-it-all became the love of my life.