The Solvable Ones…

There are some problems that can be solved. For example let me describe a a typical incident focusing on the differences between Male perceptions and Female perceptions. Both these creatures belong to same species, but their thought processes are entirely different.

Take a case into consideration where a guy named Bablu is attracted to a girl named Babli. He asks her out to a movie; she accepts; they have a pretty good time. A few days later he asks her out to dinner, and again they enjoy themselves. They continue to see each other regularly, and after a while neither one of them is seeing anybody else.

And then, one evening when they’re driving home, a thought occurs to Babli, and, without really thinking, she says it aloud: “Do you realize that, as of tonight, we’ve been seeing each other for exactly six months?”

And then there is a silence. To Babli, it seems like a very loud silence. She thinks to herself: Jeez, I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he’s been feeling confined by our relationship; maybe he thinks I’m trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he doesn’t want, or isn’t sure of.

And Bablu is thinking: Gosh. Six months.

Babli is thinking: But, hey, I’m not so sure I want this kind of relationship, either. Sometimes I wish I had a little more space, so I’d have time to think about whether I really want us to keep going the way we are, moving steadily towards . . . I mean, where are we going? Are we just going to keep seeing each other at this level of intimacy? Are we heading towards marriage? Towards having children? Towards being together for lifetime? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really even know this person?

And Bablu is thinking: . . . so that means it was . . . let’s see . . . February when we started going out, which was right after I had the new bike, which means . . . lemme check the odometer . . . Whoa! I am way overdue for an oil change here.

And Babli is thinking: He’s upset. I can see it on his face. Maybe I’m reading this completely wrong. Maybe he wants more from our relationship, more intimacy, more commitment; maybe he has sensed — even before I sensed it — that I was feeling some reservations. Yes, I bet that’s it. That’s why he’s so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. He’s afraid of being rejected.

And Bablu is thinking: And I’m gonna have them look at the gears again. I don’t care what those morons say; it’s still not shifting correctly. And they better not try to blame it on the bad handling this time. What bad handling? This damn thing is shifting like a goddamn garbage truck, and I paid those incompetent thieves 1200 bucks to get it repaired.

And Babli is thinking: He’s angry. And I don’t blame him. I’d be angry, too. God, I feel so guilty, putting him through this, but I can’t help the way I feel. I’m just not sure.

And Bablu is thinking: They’ll probably say it’s only a 90-day warranty. That’s exactly what they’re gonna say, the scumbags.

And Babli is thinking: Maybe I’m just too idealistic, waiting for a knight to come riding up on his white horse, when I’m sitting right next to a perfectly good person, a person I enjoy being with, a person I truly do care about, a person who seems to truly care about me. A person who is in pain because of my self-centered, school-girl’s romantic fantasy.

And Bablu is thinking: Warranty? They want a warranty? I’ll give them a goddamn warranty. I’ll take their warranty and stick it right up their . . .

“Bablu,” Babli says aloud
“What?” says Bablu startled
“Please don’t torture yourself like this,” she says, her eyes beginning to brim with tears. “Maybe I should never have . . . Oh God, I feel so . . . “(She breaks down, sobbing.)
“What?” says Bablu
“I’m such a fool,” Babli sobs. “I mean, I know there’s no knight. I really know that. It’s silly. There’s no knight, and there’s no horse.”
“There’s no horse ????” says Bablu
“You think I’m a fool, don’t you?” Babli says
“No!” says Bablu, glad to finally know the correct answer
“It’s just that . . . It’s that I . . . I need some time,” Babli says
(There is a 15-second pause while Bablu, thinking as fast as he can, tries to come up with a safe response. Finally he comes up with one that he thinks might work.)
“Yes,” he says.
(Babli, deeply moved, touches his hand.)
“Oh, Bablu, do you really feel that way?” she says.
“What way?” says Bablu.
“That way about time,” says Babli.
“Oh,” says Bablu. “Yes.”
(Babli turns to face him and gazes deeply into his eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next, especially if it involves a horse. At last she speaks.)
“Thank you, Bablu,” she says.
“Thank you,” says Bablu.

Then he takes her home, and she lies on her bed, a conflicted, tortured soul, and weeps until dawn, whereas when Bablu gets back to his place, he opens a bag of Ruffles, turns on the TV, and immediately becomes deeply involved in a rerun of a tennis match between two Czechoslovakians he never heard of. A tiny voice in the far recesses of his mind tells him that something major was going on back there in the car, but he is pretty sure there is no way he would ever understand what, and so he figures it’s better if he doesn’t think about it. (Precisely that also forms Bablu’s policy regarding world hunger.)

The next day Babli will call her closest friend, or perhaps two of them, and they will talk about this situation for six straight hours. In painstaking detail, they will analyze everything she said and everything he said, going over it time and time again, exploring every word, expression, and gesture for nuances of meaning, considering every possible ramification. They will continue to discuss this subject, off and on, for weeks, maybe months, never reaching any definite conclusions, but never getting bored with it, either.

Meanwhile, Bablu, while playing table tennis one day with a mutual friend of his and Babli’s, will pause just before serving, frown, and say: “Ashu, did Babli ever own a horse?”

This is a problem that can be solved. The problem that cannot be solved is when Babli does not get along with Bablu and his parents… This would mark the end of a chapter in Bablu’s life…

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