In the present age of technology and social media, the virtual people are becoming more important than the real ones. Also, we crave and value virtual appreciation more than that of real life. I was surprised to find likes of few people, whom I didn’t know at all. One was Kamal Virdi from Delhi. I was intrigued and opened her profile. It was a newly created account with just 12 friends. The profile picture displayed a blooming rose. I clicked on ‘About’ and found out that she was 10 years younger than me and was single. I sent her a friend request. After all, she had liked my pic! I sent the request and forgot.
She accepted the request after a week. I got a notification after a few days that it’s her birthday. Instead of posting on her wall, I sent her a greeting through private message. May be she was online, she immediately replied. I was just curious, so I asked her whereabouts and she replied that she’s from Delhi. She was one of those monosyllabic talkers, who reply with ‘hmms’ and ‘k’. I always find it very irritating and hate such guys, but I just loved the way she replied a single hmm to my 4 line message, punched out painstakingly on my new cellphone, which I was still to get used to.
After a week or so, I again tried to talk to her. Sometimes you get attracted to someone inexplicably. It’s usually asexual. I’m usually a very reserved guy, but I told her everything about me. Although, I didn’t know anything about her myself as I couldn’t gather the courage to ask. I told her that I’m a repairs architect and tried to impress her with the varied knowledge about various things. People are always impressed with someone’s general knowledge, but in fact, nothing in the world is as useless as the general knowledge. If I say that the speed of light is 3 lakh km per second, people will get impressed by my general knowledge. If I tell them how to work out the Bending Moment of a simply supported beam, they will yawn, because it’s ‘Specialized Knowledge’. She was suitably awed, but still was taciturn about her. I used one of my regular icebreakers. I have many hobbies and usually I find a common hobby with virtually anyone. I asked her about her hobbies. She replied “Traveling, reading and swimming.” I can’t call myself a traveler by any stretch of imagination as I even hate to travel till the market. Reading and swimming were common. So, I decided to reserve these trumps and asked about the places she has travelled. She began her long list and ended up saying that she’s coming to Bombay next month. I didn’t know why, but I was secretly pleased. I thought that I was falling in love with this frugal talker. I then started about reading and swimming. She was suitably impressed by how well read I was!
I met my friend Ashish that evening and told him about her and my feelings. He laughed and said that she’s just another girl, who’s flirting with me. She must be flirting with many other guys, along with me. I was upset to hear this and left in a huff.
Next day, I again messaged her and tried to open her up. I asked her about her opinion about online affairs. She was kind of shocked. She asked me that I was married and father of two kids, how can I even contemplate such a thing! I cursed myself and immediately covered my tracks and said that one of my friends Ashish was having an online affair. Then, I changed the topic about her visit next month. I had lots of hopes balanced on that visit. She said that she doesn’t have any friends in Bombay and hoped that I’ll help her. That was what I originally had in my mind and readily agreed. I was desperately waiting for her visit!
When I told Ashish about this, his smiling face suddenly became serious. “Rakesh,” he said, “I don’t like this, buddy. This girl doesn’t sound right. She’s just using you for her advantage. She will just make you splurge money on her during her visit and act that she’s in love with you. Why don’t you quit now, when it’s easy? There’s nothing but trouble in future. By the way, has she ever sent you any photo of hers?”
“No.” I admitted. “Although, she will send me one, once she gets it clicked.”
“You mean, she doesn’t have a single picture of hers?” he asked incredulously. “I don’t like the sound of this. She seems to have nefarious designs and is just out to con some poor married guy, who’s in search of some online fun. And, you are the unlucky target.”
I knew that he was just jealous that I found love online, whereas he was just satisfied by liking posts of random girls. I laughed and left him to his own jealous brooding.
I started counting days when she will arrive. I started deliberating on what should I wear to cast a favorable impression. I have read somewhere that the first impression is always lasting, or something like this. Finally the day arrived when she was supposed to come to Bombay. I reached Borivali station to receive her. I bought a bouquet of rosebud for her. I had sent her several of my photos and was reasonably confident that she will recognize me. I also described my dress in details, so that she was not confused.
The passengers began to alight from the train. I stood at a conspicuous spot, so that she can see me. A number of Punjabi families and individuals passed past me and the platform was nearly deserted. My heart started to sink. A giant Sardar came to me and said politely, “Excuse me!” My first intention was to ask him to go to hell, but I was intimidated by his bulk and nodded brusquely. He asked, “Are you Rakesh?”
I got scared. Did she send some relative and was this a ploy to blackmail me? My first intention was to deny but I found myself nodding my head.
He thrust a huge hand towards me and smiled. “Hi! I’m Kamal. Kamaljeet Singh Virdi. Yaar! It’s so hot! Let’s have a cold beer somewhere! You got flowers for your wife! So cool!”
Ashish was right, I thought disgustingly! It was a huge damned frame up job!