Many years later, when I hear do-gooders prating about the importance of giving back to the society, I would remember what I told Krishnapriya when I was seventeen. We were discussing our grand plans for the future. I told her:
I will become a pro novelist when I grow up. The day my novel hits the New York Times best-seller list, I will drop my day job, and move to that beautiful bubble of mine. But, will I ever be entertaining guests in my seaside villa? Of course not! It is sacred. It is not to be touched.
She said that I was being too selfish. “You won’t part with your dollars, not even with those underprivileged children in Africa?” she asked me. I told her that you cannot be so rich without serving people. “But, what about actors and rock stars? Do they too serve our masses?” she asked me. I said, “They do, my dearest child. They drive the passion of millions.”, and she replied helplessly, “But….but, you think too much.”
But, did the 17 year old me know that the communist people in the government would later have ingenious plans to block the revenge of the nerds? No. I was too innocent to entertain such thoughts. Today, I know that the jealous people in the government are actively scheming to impose something called the “super rich tax”. Though they whine too much about the plight of people who are stupid, that is just a foil. The real objects of their hatred are people who are smarter than them. I know it because I had observed many leftist people in action. The leftist people in my old Magazine did everything to make sure that my articles are not as beautiful as my seaside villa.
When I was traveling in the train the next morning, I felt that the winter sun was dappling the greenery all around me. And I remembered her.
The year was 2004, and we used to wait for someone to write in our scrapbooks.
It was on one such evening “Queen of Darkness” added me on Orkut. Her Orkut profile intro read:
“I got long legs. They work just fine. I also love my feet, which is very small and pretty.
I uplift depressed souls. I have enormous compassion. People do not notice. But, when you think of the salvation that comes at the end, it feels so nice.
And I love Ayn Rand.”
A friend had written a testimonial for her:
“She has a mind that is extraordinarily complex for a girl of her age. But, if you mess with her, she will never forget it. She will never let you forget it either.”
She was the owner of an Orkut community: “Sapiosexuals”. I looked up the definition of “Sapiosexual” in The Urban Dictionary. It read:
“One who finds intelligence the most sexually attractive feature. I want an incisive, inquisitive, insightful, irreverent mind. I want someone for whom philosophical discussion is foreplay. I want someone who sometimes makes me go ouch due to their wit and evil sense of humor. I want someone that I can reach out and touch randomly. I want someone I can cuddle with. I decided all that means that I am Sapiosexual.”
Her twelve-year-old brothers profile intro read:
“I love Philosophy. I also love my sister though she can be quite bossy.”
I knew her. Once upon a time, I knew her as “Cutiekrishna”. We first met in a Yahoo chat room, and I still remember our first conversation. When I asked her, “Can we talk? I think we might get along well.” she retorted, “You’re right there, Shanu. We might. But then, we just might.” I felt a pang of dread. She soon became my Sarcasm teacher, because I loved it—-and because she was all of twelve years old then. When I asked her how she found me on Orkut, she said evasively that she saw me in someone’s profile, in a contemptuous tone. But, I knew that it was a lie.
She went to school in the same city where I was studying computer engineering. She had big eyes, big lashes and everything. And a Teddy Bear.
She talked like a philosopher. When I heard her often saying that “Co-ordinate geometry sucks”, I asked her, “But, you are only 12?” She said that her father’s idea of amusement was teaching her Calculus and Co-Ordinate Geometry.
The first day we talked, I argued with all my power and passion that happiness can only be achieved by being perfectly logical and rational. She asked: “Are you logical and rational?” I nodded cheerfully: “Yes”. “Now, are you happy?” I was silent, because in my teens, I was anything, but happy. When I argued endlessly for my positions, listing my premises one by one, she would say, “Once in a while, you should take your fingers off the keyboard and pay attention to what I say too.”
When she asked what I look for in a girl, I said that I want someone with whom I can discuss philosophy all night long. It is such philosophical discussions that turn me on, I said. She said, “I knew a sixty year old man. I still miss him, and the philosophical discussions I once had with him. It still turns me on.” And then she sent a smiley that resembled a scooter driven by an insect. It was only after many years I understood that she was kicking my ass.
She was leagues ahead of kids of my age in intelligence and maturity. “But, what is the point in being smart among all those dumb people?” she once asked me.
When I once said, “People tell me that I am the coldest person on earth. But, you sound colder than me.”, she replied, “It is for my own safety.” She said, “I am too mean to people, but they still like me. I am not nice to you because otherwise you will stop loving me as much as you do now.”
She often said, “You are a fast learner, Shanu.You are a fast learner.”
Her IQ , I estimated, was at least 50 points higher than that of senior girls in my college. When I used to say that she is smarter than anyone I have ever known, she would reply: “But, it is so nice of you to rub it in! Believe me, I am flattered. Now, shall we please move on?”
Boys of her class, she said, drops pens on the floor, near her desk, just to look up her skirt while picking it up. “The boy who sits behind me used to do it all the time. He left the school last year. Otherwise I would have slapped him hard across his face.” she said. I enjoyed the thought of being slapped by her. When I used to say, “I’ll slap you”, she would retort, “You can’t.” Later, I would notice that girls in her school do not wear skirts. When I asked about it, she suddenly disappeared.
Once we talked till 5 O Clock in the morning, and I feared that my mother will come downstairs and find me chatting the whole night. She asked me to wait as she had to change her clothes. “Half done” she told me. My heart started beating really fast. “Tops off or shorts off?” I asked. “Look, we are flirting. I am not in to this.” she said. “I am sorry. I did not intend that.”, I said apologetically. “It is Okay. By the way, tops off” was her reply. Months later, she would say: “But, we weren’t really flirting. That is not flirting.” And I would sit there wondering what exactly is flirting. I still do not know. Years later when I asked about it again, she said, “I used to be really kiddish.”
In one of those days, I heard that she had broken the heart of a 17 year old Punjabi boy she met on Yahoo chat. Long after she ditched him, the boys in his class would call her up to say that he is not having any food. “How can a 17 year old boy be that dumb? I calmly listened at first, but when they started abusing me, I proved that my vocabulary is not bad either. But, I still reply to his messages.” she said.
She said, “The only reason I talk to you is that you find me so adorable.”, and when I am silent, she would say, “Deny it.” Months later, I would ask, “But, is that the only reason you talk to me?”, and she would reply after a deep, ominous silence, “Let me think about it.”
Once I introduced her to a super-senior of mine to whom she said something sarcastically. When he said that he did not understand, she said, “But, I did not expect you of all the people to get it.” When I told her that he is a senior of mine in college, she said, “Hehe. Too dumb to be a senior, though. Why do you even talk to him? He is so demented.” On her brother, she once said, “He is too dumb to be my brother, but I still love him.”
One day, a 15-year-old mutual friend of ours called me up to cheerfully announce that she was suspended from her school. When I told her that he used to wonder whether she is actually thirteen, she said, “When I met him first, he was as dumb as a ten-year-old. But, I never doubted whether he is a fifteen-year-old. I was fair to him. So, why is he not fair to me?” They used to talk too much on phone, but she had to stop when his parents found out, and said that she cannot call. But, when I asked the reason, she said, “I am over talking to stupid people. I have outgrown that phase.”
After asking her why she did not go to school that day, I said, “Perhaps your parents know that you are a smart child who does not need nobody’s help.” She nodded and turned silent. After a while, she asked whether “Mr. As-dumb-as-a-ten-year-old” had said anything to me. The school authorities had decreed that she take rest for two weeks. Her class teacher failed to appreciate her sarcasm when she lashed out: “I can, of course, understand the frustrations of a forty-five year old virgin.”
“They gave me two weeks. My mother does not punish me because she fears that I will hit her back. But, she says that I need counseling”, she said. When I was a boy, my mother used to say that she felt nervous while punishing a boy who had grown tall, though I had started loving the hard touch of her hand. It felt so good. Ah, those rose-colored glasses.
She often began conversations along these lines: “I know what many boys who talk to me want. I know you too well. Do not worry. You can marry me when I grow up. Just wait. It might happen.” I would burn in shame, speechless—and then I would lie in my bed for hours, with unpleasant butterflies in my stomach, hoping that someday I might forget it. But, then, I just might. In those days, when my mother removed the curtains of my room, I would do everything to keep my room dark.
It was hard for me to not like someone who could see through me that well. I would deny, and hem and haw. I used to pretend not to understand when she hid the whip from me. After a few months, I would bring it up in the middle of a conversation, all of a sudden–because, there was no way I could forget that humiliation. She would laugh and say: “But, I did not mean it at all. Are you still not able to forget it? Does it hurt because it is all true?” I ended up being convinced of this—As much as I appreciate being understood, it would have been better if she had kept her mouth shut.
She once came to my college for a quiz program. She later said, “The girls were nice. But, the boys looked like, well, nerds.” When I met her first, she had said that she was tall, with long hair and everything. When I told her that this is not true at all, she said, “I was 12 then, and I was tall for my age. I also had long, straight hair then.” And after a while she said, “You know, your blog sucks”. When I said that it is better than any blog I have ever read, she said, “Yes. Sure. Everything is relative.” She had once said that she liked my post “Unconditional Love”, and that it is a great privilege to be praised by her. Soon, in the middle of a conversation, she started saying, “I’m pretty. I know it.” This was also when she started being cruelly sarcastic.
When I stopped talking to her, one day she removed me from her list. When I tried to talk to her again, she said, “Do not call me your dearest child. I am very sorry too.” She was someone who would never ever forget an insult or injury. Once you mess with her, all you can do is to wait and see her nibble you to death. By then, both of us had honed our skills in hurling hidden insults to the largest extent possible. It was from her I learned to hurl insults that would rip people out of existence, and stay with them as their secret shame till they are taken to the graveyard. Perhaps the old saying that man’s great works bear the persistent marks of pain is true.This explains why I have such a long line of detractors (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) though they will never tell you that.
I still think of her with deep affection uncharacteristic of me, because she was the only person I had found impressive. There, I have nothing but contempt for almost all others I have ever known, whether village idiots or academic economists. I am still not over her, and probably will never ever be!
Years later, when I poked her on Facebook, I gathered that she was studying in some stupid engineering college in Tamil Nadu. A few days later, I tried to find out whether her college info remains intact. She had removed it.
I had expected it, because I have some insight into such people.