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Fifty First Dates (a Valentine's Day special)

While Valentine's Day is all about spreading love, the focus in the recent years has been narrowing down on spreading romantic love, which is just one kind of love.

But, romantic or not, all love has laughter as an integral part of it.

So, this Valentine's Day, I thought of re-imagining some of the dates I've been on in the form of titles of FRIENDS episodes.

This is a teaser to my new long-form writing project of the year with a working title of 'Fifty First Dates'. Whether it will be a comedy or a tragedy is something I haven't yet decided.

Meanwhile, here we go:

The one where it all started
This one, like a Bollywood movie, had everything. There were the innocent hero and heroine, and their unsuspecting parents, and the ugly and jealous villain, a woman shedding tears after feeling betrayed. I should have read the signs indicating all the possible drama and stayed out, but then I wouldn't have had a story.

The one where I didn't read between the lines
This was the first time I had someone come over to my place, but she insisted on using lyrics from Hindi songs to communicate at a time when my Hindi was laughable at best and non-existent at worst. It was only years later that I understood what I had been expected to read between the lines.

The one in the coffee shop
This was at a time when coffee shops were still new in Bangalore and a time when it was a luxury to go to one, given my student status. Funnily enough, this was also a time when it was 'cool' for coffee shops to play Bollywood music to entertain their guests. Only later did the focus shift to conversation and the tag line 'A lot can happen over coffee' come along. Needless to say, what happened with me over coffee was exactly the opposite of a lot.

The one with THE ONE
This one had me preferring chocolate fudge over coffee (given that a lot hadn't been happening over coffee), and while there have been plenty of dates with the one, the first one has its significance. It is more deeply entrenched in my life than I can imagine as I still encounter reminders of it multiple times a day.

The one with the Math teacher
While this one had a math teacher playing a significant part, I should rein your mind in before it wanders and tell you that the math teacher wasn't on the date. But there is now a Coffee Day in Bangalore named after the math teacher.

The one with the movie moment
While the one where it all started had an entire movie, this one had just a movie moment. But it was more powerful than the entire movie from earlier.

The one with the first kiss
This one came along just about in time to dispel any doubts over my sexual orientation.

The one with the train and the snake
This one had a lot more than just the train and the snake, but I'm just thankful that all I had to do was jump and not really go after the snake.

The one with all the unbridled emotion
This one finally managed to wipe the poker face off me and brought out a full spectrum of emotions.

The one with the ring
This one was played out as it happened (within a standard deviation) in a somewhat recent Bollywood movie that then took me to a Mediterranean island.

The one when we were on a break
You have to have watched FRIENDS for this to make sense to you. But this was the one with the break. Or was it the break-up?

The one with the tantrums
It was after this one that I really started to get the memes on 'When she says this, she actually means that'.

The one with the serial killer
This one had a non-zero probability of me never returning home alive again. Enough said.

The one with the Turk
Thankfully, she wasn't Ottoman.

The one with the itemized bill-splitter
This one was one where I had missed the courtesy of offering to pay the bill, to which she took offense and insisted that we split the bill, not in half, but in proportion of what we ate. Turned out the waiter wasn't a Math whiz and failed to find a calculator to divide 1674 in a 3:5 ratio, and we ended up splitting the bill in half after all. I think this was a case of mutual relief when neither of us called back the other afterwards.

The one with another one back-to-back
This one taught me a valuable lesson - if you plan a date with a scheduled end time, you are increasing the probability of missing out on something you might enjoy (if you get the drift).

The one where I was a writer
Well, I was a writer in all the others as well, but in this one, I was only a writer, as in my day-job was to write. It didn't go as well as I'd expected.

The one with the fa-a-a-
Another FRIENDS reference here.
Monica: "Why did you break-up with her?"
Chandler: "Because she was fa-a-a-"
Monica (with a stern look): "Did you break up with her because she was fat?"
Chandler (with a stupefied look): "I said fa-a-a-"

The one with two languages
This was one where, for nearly half an hour, she kept talking in Hindi and I kept responding in English. Finally, I gave up, downed my drink and went home.

The one with the fish wrapped in banana leaf
This was refreshingly interesting one that led me to signing up for a year long project on something I had never imagined I'd enjoy.

The one that wasn't
This one was when I was still warming up to Tinder and, after deciding on a place and time to meet, I decided I was better off playing football instead.

The actual chapters in the book may or may not be titled similar to FRIENDS episodes.

Happy Valentine's Day!

PS: If you're wondering why I'm talking about the next before getting the previous one out, I'm nearly done with the first draft and am currently reviewing it with a publisher. You'll see it soon either through them or as a self-publication from me.

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