Have you ever acted on an impulse?
I am sure you have. So have I. In fact, I just did an impulsive thing yesterday. For someone who claims to be so diligent and meticulous in planning out his daily activities (“Only in plan, mind you, not in action“, said the master procrastinator), and future, and life in general, I sure do act on my impulses a lot. And the thing to know about impulses is, they can go either way. You either burn your fingers (maybe more) or you come out looking like a mastermind genius.
The last time I acted on an impulse, I ended up moving nearly 7,600 km across the planet with no real concrete plan, or a place to live, or the knowledge of the local language. The jury is still out on that one. Stay tuned to find out what happens with that.
Yesterday, I went to Amsterdam. To meet her.
Did you know Novi as the guy who would travel four hours by bus to spend two hours with somebody? Now you do, because she is special.
Amsterdam obviously looked prettier than the last time I was here with a few guys from RWTH. She and I simply walked the streets, and talked, for two hours. There was so much to catch up on.
The day started out the worst. First, I missed my bus, so I had to catch the next bus. The new ticket (one way) cost me an additional €36 (the original ticket price was €28 both ways). I caught up with the earlier bus in Eindhoven and switched buses (because it takes a shorter route and reaches sooner and I already had a ticket), so I literally paid €36 for Aachen to Eindhoven. Then, as soon as I sat in the bus, I realised I left my brand new €4.99 scarf in the previous bus. I was in such a bad mood, and was cursing myself. And my knack for impulse.
But eventually, it was worth it. 🙂
I was constantly checking my watch (discreetly, of course) because I did not want to repeat the mistake and miss the bus again. I did not pay attention to the story she was narrating in that moment. But she is so adorable.
I have no right to blame my impulses, especially when our very relationship was built on one (credit to her for pointing that out, for it had nearly slipped out of memory). But hey, what is data and technology for, eh? I went on Facebook, and scrolled back far enough, to find this gem:
Call it a social experiment if you will, or just plain creepy (“I used to be a douchebag and a jerk, well, what do you know?“), I frankly have no recollection of what my thoughts and expectations were at the time. I was perfectly sober and in my full senses, unfortunately, no excuses there. But I’m glad I did it, and I’m gladder that she was brave (crazy?) enough to respond. That was impulsive on both our part.
Call it destiny, but the way I see it, I could have sent that text to any other stranger out there on the internet, but I sent it to her (yeah, I don’t remember how I narrowed it, however. Knowing me, I am pretty sure it wasn’t as random as it seems). Impulse and luck, kids. That is all you need.
Please do not try this at home.
It helped my cause that we have zero mutual friends. I think that was one of the criteria for my “social experiment”. I did not have to fear being judged by somebody who knew me from before. But having known her now, I had nothing to be afraid of. She is one of the sweetest people in the world I have ever come across.
Besides, we have absolutely nothing in common. We are literally poles apart in personality and temperament.
Over the years, we have been on four “dates”, and talked for countless hours over the phone. She’s a great listener. Oh trust me, she is. I’m usually not as talkative with people I only meet up with on years whose numbers form a series in which their difference is in arithmetic progression (“2012, 2013, 2015, 2018, … 2022? It’s a series! No? Come on, this is 10th standard NTSE stuff!“), but with her, I seem to have no inhibitions whatsoever.
The other thing she is good at, is telling you exactly what you need to hear, while being downright forthcoming and honest about it. Right? I know what you’re thinking. I don’t know how she does it either, but I have a feeling those skills will take her a long way in that career in sales she is aspiring for. Just yesterday, when I was in the midst of telling her how I might as well have earned a PhD in procrastination in what is my 3rd attempt at a masters in engineering (“Story of my 20s, really”), she casually told me “I’ve had it easy in life, most people struggle hard and work their ass off to get the opportunities I have, and many never even make it in their lifetime”, while also telling me “I have no idea how good I am, a fool who does not make use of his ability”. Well, not those exact words. I wish I could reproduce it here for what was the hardest hitting pep talk I have ever received. The woman talks like a shrink. Oh yeah, that is another career alternative she could be ace at.
In fact, she was the real inspiration behind me starting this blog all those years ago:
This time, however, she wants me to write a book. She’s upping the stakes, guys. I’m not ready for it.
If there is one thing I regret, it is not reciprocating enough, or in the same manner in the relationship. I often feel (and more so after each of those four “dates”) that I talk non-stop like a selfish moron. I don’t know half as much about her as she does about me. I would if I had cared to listen. Perhaps that is something I learnt I have a lot to work on. My listening skills take a beating when I don’t feel shy or inhibited or introverted (“She reckons I am not an introvert, say whaaaaaaat“), and that is her fault for making me so comfortable in her presence, but I want to change that. I shall strive to pay attention to listen more in future.
There was a while when we seemed to have grown apart, for no particular fault or reason. There are also times when we aren’t in touch for months, sometimes years. But that is the beauty of our relationship. The farther apart we go, it only seems to bring us closer the next time we get together, for there is that much more to catch up on.
That, to me, is Shilpa. Because sometimes, even if on an impulse, all you need in life is somebody who can be your echo.
Shilpamma and the Art of Flirting