I’ve recently spent a lot of time thinking about relationships. This is unusual for someone who’s been incapable of making a long-term commitment to anything except the Batman franchise. No seriously, my track record is a disaster of Vivek Oberoi-proportions, and the blame for that lies naturally, on the city’s local trains.
I’ll explain. You see, a typical Mumbai love story goes like this:
Boy meets Girl. They fall in love. Boy and Girl happen to live in two different areas, separated from each other by what seems to be the entire Asian landmass. Boy braves local train to meet Girl, even though he’s not being entirely faithful, as is evident from the fellow commuter’s briefcase making love to his bottom. So Boy stops commuting to meet Girl. Girl gets angry. When Girl gets angry, volcano explodes on Jupiter. No wait, that’s Sabu. But you get the idea.
(Relationships are easier in cities like Delhi, where apparently, one doesn’t need a lady’s permission to have intimate relations with her.)
Honestly, if I had a buck for every time I came across a local long-distance love story, I’d be able to buy that goddamn MRF blimp (or as it’s known these days, Yuvraj Singh.) Over the years, I’ve seen Borivali date Belapur, Walkeshwar waltz with Juhu and Colaba go off to meet Andheri, only to die of monoxide poisoning along the way.
Some lucky ones get to date within their own postal code, but even then, practical issues keep popping up like eunuchs at a signal. For example, real-estate prices in the city have ensured that now along with rents equalling the GDP of a small African nation, you also have to hand over one kidney to your landlord. (On the plus side, it needn’t be your own kidney.)
Also, many areas (i.e. areas that *you* want to live in) treat young bachelors the same way a father might treat Shoaib Malik if he came asking for his daughter’s hand.
Therefore, it’s quite common to see people my age (25 while sober, 16 otherwise) and older still living with their parents. This gives rise to an important question: Where do couples go to discuss deep questions like ‘Oh baby, who’s your paternal figure?’
Well, Mumbaikars aren’t short of imagination. I once chanced upon a couple at a popular hillside in New Bombay, making love on a narrow rocky ledge that overlooked a steep valley. Had they rolled about even slightly, they would’ve fallen off, thus adding a whole new dimension to the word ‘climax’. Also, this was happening at four in the afternoon, with the girl lying bare-backed on the blisteringly hot rock. (A frying-pan fetish, maybe?)
Of course, many urban couples avoid all this by living in together. But live-in relationships can get dangerous. The concept of willingly moving in with your girlfriend reminds me of that drunken guy who – also willingly, mind you – wandered into the elephant’s enclosure at Byculla zoo last week, only to be crushed to death for leaving the toilet seat up.
So as you can see, love isn’t easy. If you, dear reader, are having problems and are wondering what to do, just remember, it’s all about being mature and asking yourself one very important question – What would Batman do?
(Note: This was my HT column dated 4th April 2010.)