Simma down

Sunday, December 03, 2017

"Tinder has ruined this generation", piped Xenia as she changed her car gear. She says that with empathy, knowing very well that it's all that I am doing in the eternal pursuit of finding a distraction worthy enough to blend in comfortably with my hobbies.

We're on a road that I've possibly never seen, and sure as hell never been sober while traveling on it, that she insists on calling "home".

"Ghar aa gaye yaar ab to", she says and switches her hand from the gear to her phone and turns off the GPS. "I know the way from here". I'd be lying if I said I had any idea where we were at. Apparently, it was just off Khan Market.

I am tempted to ask her, how's she so clairvoyant about life, things and certainly the direction in which that car (and our lives) are headed but I focus on the road and try to think if I've been there before.

"How did you meet him?"

She's on her way to meet the man she's dating. It's been five months since they first got together, a quickie after a family dinner that resulted into this. Truth be told, she timed the stint for no longer than a month.

It's a little after 6 pm and she's been kind enough to offer to me to drop home. Strike that, I requested her to drop me midway. I could do with a familiar face and some conversation, my cooling off period from a wild weekend that involved meeting over hundred odd people.

Xenia went to an acquaintance's house party with one of her party friends. Party friends are the kind of people you take with you to parties because they're fun as hell and know how to have a great time, In the people Pyramid, they are the opposite of awkward friends who you chill with on a Saturday night in the guise of playing Scrabble.

He happened to be there and knew a few odd people, exactly like Xenia. Both of them had nobody in common, yet they caught each other's eye. They talked for fifteen minutes, exchanged numbers and got around talking on the phone later. He tried meeting her for date but she was a bit too skeptical about seeing a guy who she had no idea about.

"He showed up for fifteen minutes and..."

"The rest as they say is history?"


Got me thinking, when was the last time I saw anyone for the first time who I didn't meet off Tinder. Easy enough, it was last night and I harassed him to play Taboo with us. Poor guy, he looked traumatized each time it was his turn to go and perform. By the end of the evening, I could tell he's never showing up as a plus one with anyone for atleast a week.

To make matters worse, I got his name wrong for most part of the evening.

I don't seem to understand why we as a collective generation in this city are sucking at making an impression. This includes me, probably on top of the list. I can blame myself for being out of practice, for resigning myself to meeting the same people (when I do) at a familiar space and never venturing out of it. I'm an old soul and I've made peace with this amount of fun. I don't need more to have a rockingggg timeeeee!

Can I blame Tinder? Maybe.
Do I blame other people. For sure.

There's no space, opportunity or the safety to make these impressions and be at the receiving end of it. Call me a hypochondriac and blame me for pointing my finger out but even if I want to be at the receiving end of this, I'm too terrified to step out and do it. Earlier today, a bunch of us were at this upmarket hotel, attending an upmarket sundowner bazaar of sorts. I had a Bratwurst to tend to while the rest of the girls were down with a drink and a smoke. We had huddled in a corner when one of us looked up at a man who had passed us.

"He groped me" she looked shell shocked.

"Did you see it?" she asked us all. Only one of us had, and that took close to 45 seconds for any one of us to come down to a reaction. Rage.

We were all too stunned to react, to move and to challenge him to asking why or how dare he walk into her space and do that.

At some point, the guy had the nerve to return back to the spot. This time, she confronted him. He had mud all over his face and on his clothes. Xenia speculated, "He's drunk out of his mind", almost as if it's an excuse to let him be. To be honest, I'd have said the same if I hadn't lived this horror with her.

The girl who had been groped wasn't going to step back. She asked him why he did what he did, after calling him out from a distance. He calmly walked to us, started talking, as if we are old friends with the man. Asked us if the bazaar was going to be on tomorrow as well.

"Can you please leave us alone. You're in our space.", Xenia and another friend added assertively.

He continued to stay.

By this time, the girl who had been groped repeated the same and added, "We'll have to call the security".


In a gathering of over thousands of Delhi and expat elite, this man had the nerve to grope a friend, overstay his welcome when five of us had huddled together right in the center of things, a lawn, with complete security.

I was quiet all throughout. Too stunned to react, almost as if I relived what went down with me a year ago in a supposed friend's car. While this was on, I saw a guard walk by and rushed to him. By the time I alerted him to the situation, the culprit lost his last nerve and ran in the crowd to blend with them and escaped us all.

This, ladies and gentlemen, happened a few hours ago today. Xenia was driving me because I thought it's safe to get the hell out of the place with someone I know, to as far as I can go, without allowing myself to share a space with an unknown man. That's Delhi for you. That's Delhi for me.

I stay in what qualifies as a highbrow neighbourhood with the best of market, pubs, lounges etc just a few meters away. If I truly want, I just need to step out. Dressed well, in clear make up and dewy skin, all I need to bring is my face, to make a long lasting impression. One Green Apple Shisha and a few beers in, I can clack my heels around and eye fuck men who probably can't differentiate between "your" and "you're". They'll be just as receptive and we can possibly exchange numbers and take this forward.

However, there's a reason my standards don't allow me to succumb to drawing the attention of men who use multiple exclamations as a substitute to a question mark. There's a reason my pickup line (100% original) continues to be, "Would you like to punctuate me?"

I digress, but I am a pissant when it comes to men and more often than not, my patience doesn't allow me to go out of my way and allow someone to make an impression. More often than not, it's their demeanour which gets to me. This man could have approached us politely for a conversation, instead, brushing and feeling up a friend's arse is hardly the way to go about it. While I understand, a misplaced punctuation in a post party text is all it takes to get my head out of the person's text window (that's what she said?), this behaviour is not how you take things forward with anyone.

What I'm badly trying to explain is that, as a city, Delhi has failed to give me spots to meet anyone IRL and take things forward organically. The apps that are there can only serve a limited purpose, if you're in for a quickie and have balls the size of King Solomon to allow a stranger to do you and you do back. I admit, I'm a prude. I like things the old fashioned way, where you do meet the person in a setting unfamiliar and both of you are just as out of character as the orange flavoured vodka you're offered. There are things to talk about, there's stuff to look out for.

However, the city we are at offers nothing. It doesn't offer opportunities, it doesn't offer safe space and sure as hell, doesn't offer men who you can trust.

Everytime I am in half a mind to meet a guy off a dating app, my friends closely vet and bring to a no. Their judgement, as harsh as it maybe, keeps things relatively safe.

However, to what extent?

Does one stop stepping out altogether? Grow old in the eternal hope that someone bumps into you while you're buying groceries at the nearest General Store and hopefully doesn't brush their hand up your ass and punctuates their text properly?

I'm onto you.

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