The Misunderstood Man

With a contented sigh, Nishigandha got into bed and reached for her computer, hoping she would bump into some friend online. It had been a long day and she could do with some bantering and reminiscing. Opening her mailbox, she saw a mail from the online matrimonial site she had registered on. The mail said that ‘Topgun’ liked her profile and that she should log into her account to find out more.

‘Topgun’ was 34 to her 31 years. He had a post graduate degree in aeronautical engineering and had spent a good part of his life in Canada. He had moved back to India a few years ago and now lived in Mumbai, working for an airline company. Well that explained the ‘Topgun’ sobriquet. Moving the cursor down to the ‘accept / decline’ option, Nishi considered her next steps carefully.

She had put up her profile on this popular matrimonial site reluctantly. Admittedly, she was lonely and wanted companionship. Plus, at 31, she was under pressure from her family to tie the knot. But the arranged marriage route did not appeal to her. That was when her best friend had suggested the internet.

“Doesn’t it seem like shopping on Ebay?” Nishi said.

“Look at the positive side Nishi” her friend replied. “You’re in the driving seat. You decide who is eligible. You decide if you want to contact them or not. You can search for likeminded people. And you can avoid the horoscope matching, dowry hunting sods you have been presented with so far.” And so she had done it.

Two months later, Nishi had all but given up when Topgun entered her virtual space. His profile was well written though the photograph was not very clear. Deciding to take the plunge, Nishi clicked ‘Accept’ and shut down her computer.

A day later, there was a reply: “ Hi! Thanks for accepting my request. Lets take this a step further. Please mail me at . I’m also available at the same id for chat on messenger if you like’. Nishi sent him a polite reply and added his id to her messenger list.

And that’s how it began-with polite missives, moving on to friendly, humourous mails and finally to flirtatious banter on chat. Topgun, better known as Bob, was a funny guy and Nishi began to look forward to their daily chats. A week later, they were talking over phone. That’s when Nishi began feeling uneasy.

Bob on the phone seemed different from Bob on email or chat. At least his language did. He used an awful lot of profanity! That too in Hindi. Nishi was not a prude. But she did object to the use of crass language with people she had only just met. Also, somehow profanity sounded more offensive when spoken in Hindi. So she requested Bob to refrain from using profanity.

“I feel uncomfortable with it”, she said.

“Why?! Come on! Don’t be so pseudo” said Bob.

Perhaps she was being too school marmish about this. She checked with her best friend.

“Guys tend to do that Nishi”, replied her friend who had two older brothers. “Don’t give too much importance to it. Or else he’ll do it more to annoy you”.

The burgeoning romance soon took a turn for the worse. Bob seemed intent on infusing sexual overtones to their conversations. Nishi once again protested.

“Please! I feel uncomfortable with the direction this conversation is taking”

“ Don’t be so prudish. If we get married, we’re going to have sex! It’s a natural thing.”

And so Nishi kept quiet, thinking that she was being too old fashioned. Besides, when Bob wasn’t using profanity or making lewd suggestions, he was wonderful to talk to.

Later that evening, Nishi was still at office, completing an urgent report. All others had left and she was the only one in office. Just then, a chat window opened up with a ping. It was Bob.

“Hi! What’s up?”

“Nothing special. I’m working on a report which I have to send off in an hour. What’s up with you?”

“I’m in office too. Thinking about you….”

“Shouldn’t you be getting back home? The traffic in Mumbai is bad. I should be heading home soon. Others have left”

A web cam invitation popped up.

“Accept the invitation. I want to show you something.”

Nishi should have refused the invitation. She really should have. As fate would have it, she didn’t.

And there it was! She couldn’t believe her eyes! The phone rang and she answered it in a shocked haze. It was Bob.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing Bob?! Are you out of your mind!”

“Oh come on Nishi! Don’t be so pseudo. This is very natural”
“Natural?!....There is nothing natural about your behaviour. It is sick. Absolutely sick….”, spluttered Nishi when she was interrupted by Bob.

“The car is parked” he said in a satisfied tone.

Fighting down nausea, Nishi disconnected her phone and went home.

She ignored all the calls from Bob but could not escape from the text message. It was a one liner, his usual: “Don’t be so pseudo”

Nishi saw red. Enough was enough. This had to be answered. She opened her mailbox and began pounding away.

The stunt you pulled today was sick. It is clear that you have no respect for women. And I don’t want to be with a man who has no respect for me and my wishes. If that makes me pseudo, so be it. I wear the badge with pride.
This is goodbye.

After sending the mail, she blocked his id and shut down her computer with a satisfied snap.

The next morning, she saw an SMS from Bob. “Hey! If you don’t want to stay in touch, that’s fine. But I think you have totally misunderstood me.”

“Oh yeah?!” thought Nishi angrily. “How does one ‘misunderstand’ an erect penis staring at you from the webcam?”

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9 Responses to The Misunderstood Man

  1. I quite like the idea of this series. Well written piece!

  2. Sandhya says:

    These things are happening in internet, Deepa. And with very young people too. Very well written.

  3. ani_aset says:

    very well written deepa..i liked it

  4. wow... nicely done! i thought this was a narrative of a real-life experience of one of your friends -- until i read the post below it explaining it's your new fiction series. i'm so impressed by your writing talents and can't wait for the next chapter!!!

  5. Sunny says:

    Good piece ... I'm glad atleast someone came out, if only in fiction, to put light on this stark naked reality of the internet and the chat rooms. Some or the other ways, I guess every girl who's been net savvy early in life has come accross these situations online.

    I wish guys were more sensible ... LOL ... but then Guys are Guys ...

    Reminds me of the line from the movie 'Jhankar Beats'. "Men only want one thing." ( I hope I was decent in this post) ;-)

  6. Sunny says:

    Please do leave your footprints on my blog too ... Would love to have suggestions on improvement.

  7. I quite like the idea of this series. Well written piece!