Dating Diaries- Part I The Coffee Shop Conundrum…

Dating someone happens to be quite an adventure. The reason I consider it to be an adventure is: you don’t know what you’d be bumping into. You don’t know the person. You aren’t aware of his/her tastes and preferences. So, to top it all, there’s a considerable degree of uncertainty that ends up making the experience memorable and exciting.

In all fairness, a romantic date is not something all of us are privileged enough to experience. Only a few are able to experience it while the rest of us are left wishing to get a taste of it while staring our way into the depths of the oblivion.

For a guy such as myself who has never experienced the thrills and spills of dating a girl, the opportunity came out of nowhere.  Let me give you some context before I start bombarding you with my earth-shattering experiences.

The Prelude:

I am a transcriber by profession and work at a content marketing firm. The office happens to be located in Delhi’s Pitampura area, just about five kilometers away from my house. To be honest, my happiness knew no bounds when I got this job. The office happened to be nearby, which meant I could save a lot of money which would have otherwise been spent in commuting to the workplace.

I take a shared Uber cab in the morning simply because it happens to be cheaper than hiring an independent cab.  During the routine pilgrimage, I met a girl. We met in August last year. Our first meeting turned out to be quite uneventful. Since both of us were complete strangers, we didn’t bother speaking, but our eyes must have met quite a few times that day.

The Beginning

Days kept passing by and both of us kept meeting each other. As our interactions grew, we started moving past the usual hellos and heys. She appeared a bit shy. (I would like to believe that.) She didn’t really open up until recently.

Back in December, we shared our phone numbers. It was followed by an unending saga of text messages. For the past 10 days, my phone has been buzzing quite frequently. The messages don’t stop. The conversations just go on and on and on. Our conversations are like a river i.e. never-ending.

Now, let us come to the dating episode. During one of the days in early January, she texted me saying that she wanted to meet me. I, out of shyness, tried to avoid the meeting by cooking up various excuses.

Despite my resistance, she remained firm. It felt as if she wanted to meet me out of desperation. My phone’s message box was being flooded with messages. After being overpowered by a thousand fragments of broken thoughts, I finally gave in and agreed to meet her.

It was a working day and I had to apply for a sudden short leave in order to materialize the date. We decided to meet at one of the Café Coffee Day outlets in Jwala Heri Market (West Delhi). We were to meet at 4 pm. I must confess that I was scared. It was the 5th day of January 2019, but I was sweating profusely.

I wasn’t scared out of shyness, but because, in the past, my encounters with girls had been disastrous. It is hard for me to be close and I can’t help it. I find it hard to start a conversation. And that day, it happened to be no different.

The Shyness, the Nervy Moments, and Everything in Between

Okay, so as far as the date is concerned, it was no less than a life and death situation for me. The reason I consider it to be a life-death situation is: I didn’t know how to react. When I entered the coffee shop, she was already there, with her eyes glued to the coffee shop’s main entrance. For the first time in my professional career, I had been late for an ‘appointment’, albeit by just a couple of minutes.

It was a sunny afternoon in January with occasional gusts of wind kissing my cheeks. Our date began with a few glaring stares. I guess she too was just as nervous as I was. Our conversation began with the usual hi and hellos and shifted to our mutual love affair with coffee. The regular pauses in her voice made me realise the extent of insecurity prevalent in her mind. She wasn’t comfortable. I could clearly figure that out. Her eyes were an epitome of insecurity and fragility. Nearly 10 minutes had passed and yet both of us couldn’t manage to strike a conversation. Both of us kept scrolling through the WhatsApp conversations in our attempts to look busy.

After more than 15 minutes of indomitable silence, I managed to break the shackles and asked her if she wanted something to eat. She, in the softest of voices, replied that a hearty cup of coffee is what she wanted and asked me if I would be kind enough to go and place the order.

After the order was placed, silence began creeping into our heads once again. This time, quite surprisingly, she ended up breaking the monotony and asked me if I had a girlfriend. I wanted to tell her that having a girlfriend is nothing short of a luxury for an introvert such as myself but ended up opting for an easier escape by simply nodding my head sideways.

She told me how she had been prone to allergies and that she avoided eating out. The sorrow of not being able to complete her higher education due to personal problems could also be clearly seen in her eyes. She told me that she couldn’t complete her graduation as she had to relocate all the way to the United States during the 2nd year of her Bachelor’s Degree Programme.

The conversation then shifted to how our respective families are doing. How many sisters and how many brothers and so on. These questions were followed by a few predictable answers. Just then, a young girl of about 22 served coffee and within no time, both of us could be seen smiling at each other whilst sipping the divine liquid. I call it a divine liquid because it helped ease our nerves and we could now talk freely. Within no time, we were discussing pop culture, films, a shared love for Punjabi pop music, etc. That coffee must have contained magic, for both of us couldn’t stop talking after sipping it. Our tongues ran berserk and all the cautions were thrown to the wind.

We kept talking and the time kept passing like an overflowing river of sand. A knot was tied. There was a certain degree of warmth which, in all fairness, seemed to have engulfed us. Both of us didn’t bother moving. Everything remained still. Even our hearts must have skipped a few beats. The experience was worth it. I got an opportunity to open up after ages.

After an hour and a half of endless banter and gossip, the time had come for both of us to part ways. As we made our way out of the coffee shop, a bond was established. A few threads got entangled. It was all worth it. The experience helped me get over my fright.

And soon enough, goodbyes were being waved. For me, the ‘meeting’ had ended, whereas for here, it had just begun.

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