The First Time I Met Her I Realized That Einstein’s Theory Of Relativity Is Real, I Swear
As I made my way to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on 20th of May 2015, I knew this trip would be special. It was a short trip back home and was planned in haste. It was my chance to just unwind with mom, dad, and sister before I begin the academic rigours of a new semester. I had also packed for a 2-day trip to Bangalore to meet up with my college buddies. But then I was also sneaking off to meet someone else in Bangalore.
Someone, the Internet had introduced me to. Someone, I had eventually developed a huge crush on. Someone whose writing I simply adored. Someone, I had never personally met. Yeah! You read that right; I had never met her before.Share this quote
Isn’t it amazing what the Internet is capable of accomplishing these days? Needless to say, I had goosebumps as I boarded for the international leg of my journey from Newark to New Delhi. It was exciting for sure but I was also was a tad bit nervous. What if she feels I’m too boring or dumb or an idiot and simply cuts short our much-dreamt of meet? What if I’m just not interesting enough for her? What if I say or do something to offend her? My insecurities about this pseudo-blind date had also led me to ask the venerable wise men and women on Quora.
"Just be yourself," they said in unison! And so I would try to be me.Share this quote
I wanted to get her something and I knew those cheesy gifts like chocolates or flowers won’t cut it, and besides I’m not that kind of a guy, so why fake it? But what will be a precious gift that I can give to her which will let her know me even more? Finally, I decided to get her a piece of my memory from a recent trip to Chile. I took a small denomination Chilean Peso currency note, a piece of volcanic rock that I had collected during my experiments there, a key chain that I had purchased from a small village fair in Patagonia, a postcard that I had tried sending her from there but couldn’t and last but not the least, a piece of dark chocolate as a gesture for a special friend. I guess I am a bit cheesy after all. I wonder what she would think? Maybe it was all trash for her? I would get to know only when I meet her but the thinking cat in my mind was in no mood to stop.
Few people knew about my secret plans for my Bangalore trip as I had kept it under wraps. In fact, as of now when I am flying back to Atlanta, it is just my mom and my best bud who know about my meeting with her. You must be wondering why so secretive about it?
Well, the answer is quite simple. I AM PARANOID.
I’m paranoid about what people may think. I know, I know it’s shallow of me. Let me tell you, I’m trying my level best to get over it but for now, I am a slave to this paranoia. I agree that living in the US has made me admire the sense of independence and free thinking on which this country thrives on. But as the Old man once said, “Old habits (in this case 'thought process’) die hard.”Share this quote
Remember the thinking cat in my mind that I talked about was still haunting me. A thousand questions were going through my head. Why was I so keen on meeting her? What was I expecting from this meeting? Where would this date lead us to? Are we there to call each other “US”? As I deliberated on these questions things became clearer. I was meeting her because I liked her and wanted to see what it feels like to meet her in the flesh. As simple as that?
I know it is quite ironic that I was able to come to a conclusion about liking a person that I had never met. So let me rephrase, I liked her “digital” side. I don’t know how she would be in person. Maybe I was naive.Share this quote
Well, you can’t entirely blame me for that. I being the eternal shy nerd had never gone on a date, let alone be in a relationship. In fact, until some years ago I was a very good Dr. Raj Koothrapalli’s real life knockoff! I knew I would be nothing but a fool if I was expecting this to go somewhere. We both concurred on that. But does liking a person necessarily have to lead somewhere? Can’t we platonically like someone of the opposite sex? I guess we are programmed to think in evolutionary terms. Hail Darwin! If so why did I “like” her? I mean what made her different?
I guess I am back to square one but when you come to think of it, it was the fact that we shared a similar cultural background and appreciated the environment that we were brought up in which made me like her. I could just message her about my cravings for Masala Dosa in the middle of the night and she would understand and empathize. I could ramble on to her in our mother tongue and we would both feel good. I could share some ponderings of mine with her and she would appreciate. At least I hope she did. She was the only one among the people I call friends who did not make fun of my fascination with contemporary history and politics. In fact, she was appreciative of my views on these. So wasn’t this platonic enough to “like” someone? Yeah, it is true that most of these things wouldn’t be possible without today’s technology. But didn’t technology also serve its purpose in this case by bringing two people closer? Maybe I am being too dramatic and filmy over here but it seems that everything just fits in for the particular moment which will define it all.
For some of you that can include her in the count, this may sound like trash. But hey I’m just 23 (will turn 24 next week!) don’t expect me to belt out philosophical wisdom. I’m no Bertrand Russell, deal with it! If anything these are ramblings that have somehow made it to the digital canvas of my iPad! If it weren’t for her I would have probably not been writing this. So there you go!
Then the day finally came when the hero of this story finally met the heroine in Bangalore. And met and met. Over cups of coffee, piping hot masala dosas, and delicious street food chaat, we met. My meeting with her was the embodiment of Einstein’s theory of relativity.Share this quote
I’m no physicist nor do I claim to understand Einstein’s theory of relativity in its entirety. All I know is Einstein had once remarked, “if you’re sitting on a hot plate, a minute seems like an hour but if you are sitting next to a beautiful lady even an hour seems like a minute that’s relativity”. This makes me think that Einstein wasn’t just a great mind, he was a guy with romantic feelings as well.
Coming back to my feelings, Einstein’s theory of relativity was working in full swing that day. To say the least, she was beautiful in every sense. We spoke about this and about that. From Christopher Nolan and black holes to Kannada folklore to her latest tinder conquests, we spoke about everything. I tried being myself as I was advised. Was it working? I don’t know. If only I could ask her. At least she didn’t run away. I must have done something right.
Despite my reluctance, she very endearingly coaxed me into riding pillion with her on her scooter. As she whizzed past quirky Bangalore traffic, I felt strands of her hair lash across my face in mathematical harmony bringing with them a faint whiff of fragrance which left me guiltily yearning for more. I felt my apprehensions of riding pillion on a two-wheeler melt away when she finally maneuvered her scooter to the parking lot of Starbucks Coffee. I came off thinking I would definitely not mind taking more such rides with strands of her hair involved in their little dance!
We bonded over my favorite White Chocolate Mocha which was obviously my recommendation but she seemed to be on the fence about that. Then I gave her the stuff I’d got her. She seemed quite appreciative. I hope she keeps it. She asked me to write her name in Kannada on the blank postcard I’d got her. I hesitantly obliged making some stupid mistakes which sent her into tears of laughter. I quoted Carl Sagan and his “pale blue dot” and she listened. In fact she was more attentive to what I had to say than I expected. Most of my friends would have laughed me off by now. But here she was exclaiming “nerdgasm!”
Then she held my hand. Wait! What? A pretty girl held the nerd kid's hand? Uh huh. Yes, she did. To say the least, it felt surreal. Carl Sagan seems to have done the trick! :D (She concurs!). Then we walked and walked, her hand in my hand with our fingers brushing against each other mischievously entwining at times. Oh! Did it feel good or what? I’m actually averse to strangers touching me. In fact, my friends often use this as a weapon against me to get me to do things. But this felt different; this was very different because I liked this touch. No! I loved this touch.
We exchanged ideas and theories. The more we talked the more I was getting sure that she enjoyed my company. It was finally time and my friends were calling me. I seemed to have completely forgotten that I had to meet them as well. Oh I wish that I didn’t have to. I took her leave but decided not to let her leave from my heart. As I had made my way to the auto, I gathered all the memories that our improbable encounter had gotten with it.
I was on my way to meet my friends in peak Bangalore traffic, a voice inside my head asked.
“So what did you achieve?”
“Meeting a very dear friend and making one whole day memorable for days to come I replied. Isn’t that enough for one day?”
“Don’t you have other dear friends? Then why just her?”
I thought for a second and then I replied, “Why not?”