Blind dates and giant wheels



This incident happened more than a decade back. A lot can happen on a blind date especially if the blind date is on a giant wheel. For me, what happened was a case of extreme phobia and my inability to focus on the gentleman who I was setup on the blind date with. This blind dating experience was in IIT KGP(year 2005), where we went for their annual spring fest. The process of setting one up on a blind date was simple. On signing up at the blind date booth, you had to wear a badge which had the name of a celebrity. You then had to look at guy’s chests(not embarrassing at all) to find the name of the male celebrity that the female celebrity(whose badge you had worn) was dating. Well, the thing about blind dates is that….well….they are blind. As much as the much-prophesied quote about love being blind and all, there is an element of choice involved when falling in love with someone. My friend had worn a badge which read ‘Aishwariya Rai’. When she saw her ‘Salman Khan’ hovering around, she quickly removed the badge and darted from the scene of blindness into light.

I don’t remember the celebrity name I was wearing. All I remember is that no darting from the scene happened. My blind date walked towards me. Now don’t start imagining a Bollywood film where the hero walks in wearing sunglasses, his clothes well pressed, muscles popping out of everywhere and a jawline that seems godly. Movies set up unreal expectations about everything, including how ‘the walk’ should be and how the ‘walk’ should induce a typhoon which should blow the girl’s hair in a systematic fashion, not messing up her hair in any way. This guy with his ordinary walk introduced himself. I can’t remember his name as of now. So, I will name him BD – Blind date.

Once I found my blind date, we had to pick a chit together and it would reveal the details as to the venue of the blind date. We picked out a chit and it turned out that our blind date was on a giant wheel. I have to confess that this wasn’t as big a giant wheel as the one from where I escaped death decade and a half back. As I sat on this medium sized giant wheel, from where if I should fall, I would just break a bone or maybe sprain a ligament or something.

I feel a lot of sympathy for sprains. It must be so depressing for them, with no real identity. Sure, sprains hurt, but everyone just says ‘It is just a sprain and not a fracture.’ It must feel like a sidekick to the main villain. Everyone is scared of the villain, the sidekick is a person with a permanent identity crisis. Now, this giant wheel started and BD started asking questions. I replied, but fear had its grip on me as the giant wheel started rotating faster. Fear is irrational, so forget the last paragraph about sprains and their identity crisis.

My subconscious was busy reminding me of the time when I had gone to a local fair(mela) in my hometown. I was about 5 years old at that time. Me, my mother and my sister sat on a giant wheel. This giant wheel would put the blind date giant wheel to shame. It was the height where you would not really worry about bird droppings. Not that you need to worry too much about bird droppings anyway. I mean, it is your choice. Life is short, choose your worries wisely. If you must worry about bird droppings, go ahead!

The giant wheel started. Me, my mom and my sister held on to the rickety iron bar tightly. The only learning I got from the incident that I am about to narrate is that one should never wear clothes that don’t have spikes on them or are not declared skid proof on a giant wheel(not that I had time to purchase skid proof clothes for the blind date). As we reached the top, my non skid proof clothes started giving way. I started slipping inch by inch as we started the descent. Since the giant wheel was descending at such speed downwards, I was off my seat and dangling from the giant wheel car, clutching on to my Mom’s hand while she tried pulling me up. She shrieked for help, but the guy operating the giant wheel was in his candy…errr…paan world. He was busy chewing and somehow missed us. I never make fun of movies in which actors find themselves dangling from a cliff. It happens to us ordinary people too. We went another round with me dangling. By then, I think I became pretty comfortable with where I was. Or perhaps I had passed out with my eyes open. The paan world guy finally stopped the giant wheel. We got off and till date I feel a little traumatised when I think of the incident.

Back to Kharagpur, my blind date got over soon. For me this blind date was neuro-associated with the giant wheel incident, which meant that I would be reminded of cliffs and no bird droppings zone, whenever I looked at BD.

Well, even otherwise, no sparks flew.

That evening we had to attend a concert in campus. We were pretty excited. This time, we took a lot of time getting dressed. Indian Ocean was playing and for some strange reason, me and my friends thought that we would be the center of attention. Why else would we spend almost an hour and a half, agonising over every little item of clothing which we were to wear? We reached the entry gate to the main campus and there it was. A queue longer than most banks in India would be having due to the demonetisation. We stood at the tail end and stared at the line which was hardly moving. There were loud chants and cheers going off in the main auditorium, the place where our bums should have been. We saw a few guys from another college, who seemed almost illegally cheerful for people who were stranded in a queue. They were singing a song which sounded catchy as hell. We(the girls from our college) surrounded them. The guys from our college were nowhere to be seen.

We started singing along. The lyrics consisted of two names – a gentleman named Baburao and a lady named Gangubehen. Now, the rest of the sounds in the song seemed like a bit of a hi-fi music effect. We started singing the song like parrots, copying the music effects and everything. One guy whispered to another – ‘These girls are pretty cool.’ Of course, we were cool. We didn’t realise that they had measured our coolness basis the song we were singing, which we later came to know had extremely questionable lyrics. But before this startling discovery as to the meaning and implications of the song, we had already sung it in every nook and corner of the college. The last I remember singing the song was at 7 in the morning, after the fest was over. No wonder people on their way to their classes on bicycles, kept turning back and staring at us like the characters of Ekta Kapoor serials do, before they drop their respective plates in utmost horror.


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