Sunday, May 30, 2004

A Tale of A Lapse

The dictionary defines the term lapse as
(a) To fall from a previous level or standard, as of accomplishment, quality, or conduct
(b) To come to an end, especially gradually or temporarily

No this is not a lapse of policy but a lapse of reason. Let me back up a bit and set the context for the narrative I am to present you.All this is a collection of events refracted through my mind.

Somewhere in those deep networks of my neurons is stored a picture of my soul mate.The one everyone thinks of as `the` mate for them.Here I am on this quest with my thoughts flowing like Jonathan Livingston Seagull.I had a memory of happiness of that company.I see myself being complete in that so-called fantasy.I have dreams of the golden falcon descending on me and taking me up to heaven.I forget but there is a vedic term to this picture too.

I have this wonderful sketch of a haunted past that reverbrates throughout my mind when I activate thoughts of it.It was highly debatable as to my picture was based on reality or not.I could say I was certifiable schizophrenic as time passed by.People have given up on me as a hopeless romantic for vivdly describing these things which apparently contracdict their own version of stories about me.

Zoom in Now to the present.Now there is a girl whom I have been interacting for the past couple of years now and then occassionally.Met her at grad school and have been chatting occasionally.
I can recollect the incident where we first came across.I was describing "Yoga Vaasishta" to a co-worker in the lab and suddenly this girl asks me to quote the source.Apparently I hit a nerve when I was talking about the text and its relation to human happiness and how we cling for an assured bandwidth of happiness all the time.

After that we occasionally went out to grab some coffee or lunch.It was always a burrito or some rice given my South Indian inclinations towards food.We exchanged views in an apparently chaotic way.Me, always trying to encrypt my meaning in nonsense and she trying to push me for clarity and indeed come clear as to my intention.Little was I to know that this was to be the framework of interaction.

The phone calls flowed in pretty much the same vein but surprisingly she didnt get bored.This cryptic communication was one of my subconscious way of self-defense.Avoid Liability as much as possible.The question was what was I protecting and is it worth protecting?I was surprised at her comfort level with all the crap I was putting her through.In my world the rule was if some one gives you a bucket of crap you give him back one dozen.

Of Late I complained about the mediocrity of her work atmosphere and she agreed seeking some help in her search for job.I was doing something right at my workplace that people were ready to hire me or any of my references for what it is worth.Funny that I always thought that my advice was free and worth every penny of it.It was good that I could pull a string to get her into a more competitive atmosphere.

Somehow my contact with the species of the opposite kind diminished as I progressed through my career.I should admit I was kind of haboring half hearted opinions of getting hitched with her.
Thinking of which I was asked her idea of marriage and she said she was gonna go get hitched by the end of the year.This set in a dilemma of shakespearan proportions in me.

I was thinking to myself I hardly know this person and yet as soon as she said she was trying to get wedded I started to take that I should hurry in my proposal to her.The next thing is if I do it before I get her a job it would be deemed as arrogance of power on my part and morally I wouldnt be willing to take on such a proposal.Then what.She hardly knows me either but nevertheless she seems to understand something deep inside of me that sometimes I myself hardly understand.This has in turn fueled much greater plans than were warranted.

What was I to do?.I went ahead and referred me as my good friend and almost made sure she gets the job.I am sure she would appreciate that our association could be of some assistance to her.Parallely something inside of me insisted I should insinuate my idea of hooking up with her.Well nobody's fool and she took the cues in her stride and kept the priority about the job.

I have been premeditating thought of how best I could present the idea as such.As far as I con recollect I havent been in this situation.My thoughts were like "Well..What would any other boy in my place do?".Hallmark says express it with flowers and cards.No.I am too old for that.I thought I would do it simply the way it comes to me.

Finally the stage was set in a local cafe.We exchanged pleasantries upon plesantries.Then I injected inanities into the conversation.All through this I was very conscious of the point I got to drive home the point about my proposal and she zeroed in by asking me why exactly would I be interested in her marital settlement.I brought upon my insinuations in a crystallized form and asked what does she think of them.She came back to me sayin if I have something to say I should with no more brow-beating.While I was bracing up myself to spit it out she encouraged me to discuss the things I had in mind for her.

I came clean saying I am a coward.I honestly was fearing the idea of rejection.The keen interest to preserve whatever self-esteem or some intangible attribute I was trying to keep secure.Finally I cowed in.The shell must break before the bird can fly as our poet laureate said.Even then I could only muster enough courage to put forward a meta-proposal.That is proposing her to consider what if I proposed her.I was patting myself for my wit. I said exactly that I wasnt gonna propose the same day but someday I will.

She retored back saying somehting on the lines of "Et tu, Brutus" and proceeded to say more when I interrupted her not to say anything more.I saw something of this response in too many movies and stuff.I was also a human with human tendencies.Whats so freaky about it.Reminds me of people categorizing me to fit their pigeon-holes of visualization.Incidentally I was to learn that she viewed our replationship to be platonic.

I was visibly agitated and extremely self-conscious.Why is it so hard to accept the result of a half-hearted effort when I know that half of me is against it.Then comes the acceptance of truth.I said "You Know.I would be lying if I dont agree if this is a infatuation for the lack of better word". She saw this as back-pedaling on my earlier stance.A dozen or so trains of though were racing through my cranium.Whats happening and Whats to be done?Cajole?.She started explaining something else that I couldnt care to listen.She was coming through in waves.More or less imploring me to calm down.

There was nothing offbeat in all this.I see that in my asking her, my freedom to plead her acceptance and she came back asserting her freedom to reject.I should say I saw a certain air of haughtiness or some kind of gloat when we were returning to parking lot.Or that could just have been me.

I told her a story I read in Sulekha as to a person tossing a coin not expecting to decide on the outcome based on heads or tails but the fact that all your choices boil to one when the coin's kinetic energy is zero.She gave me a high five for this story but I requested her to leave immediately.I gave her a crude analogy of relief at this resolution and went back to cafe to grab some water.

One the way back there was a guy whom I never seen before complimented me that had a wonderful smile.I replied saying that it was a grin, more like a Cheshire Cat.The cat may be gone but its smile remains.The cat in question here zooms back to the face I have carried through out.No.This girl wasnt the right one.I know the question of sour grapes comes into picture but this was one thing I was clear about.But then what is it that has lured me all through.The mind? The physical features?Peer Pressure to be with a girl? I cant be too sure.I should have also allowed the time for her to explain which could have solved certain hanging questions.

I returned to shopping groceries and lie on my couch thinking about the entire fiasco.Situation Normal,All fouled up(The Polite Version).To me it damaged a certain part of yourself but curiously I feel relieved.Something akin to Tom Petty's "Free Fallin".I felt embarassed and almost close to ashamed at this but how do people normally cope with this kind of stuff which is potrayed routinely in our culture like movies and stories.I dont know but this sure has shaken some of my perceptions as to the nature of platonic relationships.I think I am old and wise.

I go pursuing on the hallowed image in my mind of the soul-mate despite this lapse.

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