5 years ago, my friend Alyx and i decided to go on a short trip to India. she left the entire planning process to me (why she had left her life in the hands of a 20 year old girl she’d known for only half a year, i still do not know – we are still friends today).
we decided to head to the state of Rajasthan and visited magical places like Jaisalmer, Udaipur and Agra, where the Taj is. Jaipur, or the Pink City as it’s known, was a disappointment and where many local uncouth men had a field day feeling me up (and sparing Alyx, the lucky Chinese bitch) and i felt that Jodhpur, the Blue City was a tad overrated.
when i own a scanner one day, i’ll post the pics up. it’s one of my favourite holidays ever. i’d visit Jaisalmer and Udaipur again, for sure. after i’ve visited all 4,637 places on my Places to See Before I Die list.
it was exhausting, we spent 1 – 3 days in any particular city and spent nights alternating between either a boutique hotel (palace/fort converted into family run hotel) or the cold bunker of a train to our next stop.
i discovered i absolutely abhorred many parts of New Delhi.
i adored some of the locals we came across, especially the ones we met on train rides and those who had no financial agenda. the first was an Indian businessman who spoke impeccable English. we chatted, drank chai and i even felt a little sad when he had to alight at his stop while we had many hours to Jaisalmer still ahead of us. we made friends with the train worker who successfully kept the train clean and tended to the (used and possibly re-used) blankets. he spoke no English and we spoke no Hindi except for the quintessential “meh tumseh pyar karti hun” (i love you) which is as useful as knowing how to say “i like purple” when you need to find a toilet.
on the train ride to Jaisalmer, we slept on foldaway train bunks, there were 6 blue bunks to every section. it was on this night that i noticed the guy sleeping opposite me got reception on his mobile while i was getting so frustrated with mine that i wanted to throw it down on the floor and stomp on it before pissing on it. i asked which network he was using and that was how it started.
instead of getting much needed sleep, we ended up chatting the entire night while the other four people in our section were happily snoozing away, including Alyx. oh for the f*ck of it, let’s just give him a totally random name, saaaay Peter. of course we all know no self-respecting Brahmin Hindu would ever call himself (or his penis) Peter but i don’t care because Peter turned out to be a psycho.
Peter was infinitely charming, unabashedly humorous and not entirely ugly. he was definitely above average, especially since all of India and a little chug-chug-chugging Jaisalmer-bound train was in total darkness at 0200am and yours truly had removed her contact lenses.
my problem was/is, i make friends. or acquaintances, whichever sticks.
Alyx also complained that my friendly demeanour was a come-hither magnet to all would-be rapists. on the other hand, her abrasive ways were an invitation to all murderers of India. as such, we kept the pair of us in balance, so potential rapists and murderers would get confused and we’d return to Singapore alive.
Peter asked where we were heading to and i said, “oh, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur … “, and he got excited and suggested to bring Alyx and i out for dinner when we arrived in Jodhpur. coincidentally, his army barracks was located beside our hotel in Jodhpur.
that night, Alyx was pooped and didn’t wanna go out for dinner – she also didn’t like Peter very much. generally Alyx was/is cautious of all Indian men – and in this way, she’s less naive and open than i.
Peter picked me up on a scooter that was low on gas.
why would you bring the scooter instead of the jeep like you said you would? must be nice to feel my boobs on yer back, buster.
why the hell would you pick up a girl on a scooter low on gas? i forced him to fill the tank up at the petrol station down the road from the hotel because i did not want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere with a guy i barely knew all alone.
then he suggested a restaurant 10 minutes away. i protested and made him bring me to a restaurant that was within eyeshot of the hotel. i’d like to be able to run back screaming if he dropped his pants.
i was exhausted, so i didn’t eat. he insisted i order a whisky or some other alcoholic beverage. do i look like a blistering idiot? i ordered chai and watched him eat palak paneer, curry and god knows what.
the conversation was bizarre, if not a strong indication of what was to follow.
at first it was platonic, we broached general subjects and made jokes.
then it was clear he had other intentions.
he started talking about his family’s astrologer, that his astrologer foresaw that he’d marry a non-Indian. i quickly added that strong Indian blood flowed through my veins, “haven’t you seen my nose?” he was quick to suggest that the astrologer meant citizenship.
right, like the stars in the sky are specific about nationalities and blood-types.
when he asked about my basic belief in God, it became clear he was scoping me out as a potential wife and i was horrified. he’d ordered very strict vegetarian dishes and i assumed he was a Brahmin, a caste of a higher order. i’d dated a Brahmin Nepalese guy 2 years before and knew just how to turn him off, “i’m Muslim, oh by the way, my mom cooks fantastically, i love her beef curry.”
to publicly announce my love for beef, i might as well have spat in his face.
and boy did i think i was such a clever little girl. because now, since he could no longer marry me, he decided he could score instead! no commitment! just one night! perhaps! a night to remember forever! we could make love in the field next to the cow he so reveres and i so love to eat!
i remained polite the entire night while dropping hints as heavy as a medicine ball dropping on your fractured foot. apparently his head was as dense as a medicine ball.
he started coming on so strongly (despite telling him of how much i adored my then petit-ami, now hubby Ravi), i wanted to run back to the hotel, flailing my arms wildly in the air. i also sensed an edge about him that worried me, i knew i couldn’t be rude.
back at the hotel, we continued chatting way past the hotel’s curfew of 2300pm. apparently many hotels closed their gates at 2300pm after a tourist was murdered by a psychopathic local.
he spoke with the hotel manager and won himself extra time with me. lucky bastard! i was just suicidal at this point. (next morning, i found out how he won these extra hours – by promising 500Rs to the hotel manager.)
he suggested dark corners to sit in, i suggested the open lobby, the stairs, and the brightly lit garden. he sat too close and insisted we chatted more although i was explaining how exhausted i was, that i had a 0715 train to catch.
on the stairs, my pants got caught on the rough cement and tore right below my ass. he must have been praying real hard to his voodoo astrologer.
“you tore your pants? oooh? let me see.”
huuuuuum, right. by now, i was planning all kinds of escape routes including Streetfighter inspired cartwheels through the air and into my room.
if we were staying at the Marriott, i could have easily asked the hotel manager to escort Peter out but we were at a small, family-run boutique hotel where the doors and windows were as secure as a hamster cage.
we moved to the garden where it was a lot brighter and the stairs to my room was in plain sight. while he chatted happily for another painful hour, i was looking up at my room window wishing i could teleport myself into the bed where Alyx was drooling to dreams of hunky Chinese surferboys. and finally, i got my break. he had to go to the toilet or something and i told him explicitly i had to go too cos it was so late.
i ran up to the room so fast, i might have teleported myself up. 5 minutes later, he called my room, angry that i had left.
chill out, mister, have a chicken wing.
he burst into such a ballistic rage, i knew i was right in being polite the entire night. i explained, “i told ya i had to go, i’m so exhausted and my train’s leaving in 4 hours and i have a long day ahead of me. thanks for chai, goodnight and ride back safely.”
the next morning, when i first found out about the 500Rs deal, i also found out that he was so mad, he didn’t pay the hotel manager the promised bribe and told him that i would be making that payment. nice going, Casanova. i didn’t pay, i gave the hotel manager Peter’s number and told him to get that money from him.
how could i be so right about other people we met on that trip, and so wrong about this guy?
that experience absolutely freaked me out, and i know that if something was different in any way at all that night or if the stars weren’t watching out for me, that i wouldn’t have made it safely back to the comfort of Alyx and our humble room.
over the next few years, i’d tell this story to friends whenever we exchanged stories about psychos and freaks. coincidentally, i’d just retold this story to two of my friends a month ago, telling them about “this cuckoo guy” to which Iram replied “he was cuckoo, because he wanted to fuck-oo”. yeah, it’s funny now, but it wasn’t funny then when you could hear a pin drop that night in Jodhpur.
imagine my surprise then when last week, i received an email from a complete stranger looking for me – if you could see the number of random email addresses he’d sent that email to with all kinds of combinations to my name, you’d know he was really determined. i’d completely forgotten his name, his face, everything but the story.
it was him, after five entire years, and he was quick to add me to his MSN Messenger. i deliberated blocking him, but i thought, “let’s see what he’s got to say.”
Ravi thinks my faith in 2nd chances will prove fatal one day.
but who knows, he might be dying and wanted to say sorry – i wouldn’t have cared for it either anyhoo, because if he really was dying and wanted to apologise, he’d be doing it to feel good about himself which fits perfectly with the kind of person i understood him to be by the end of that night in Jodhpur.
when he dropped me the first IM, i communicated to my gf that i’d give him 72 hours to exhibit signs of a freak, then i’ll block him. 15 minutes later, i reduced that 2nd chance to 48 hours. 15 minutes later, after seeing pics of his wife and daughter and how he was reminiscing romantically about me without acknowledging how psychotic he was, i reduced that 2nd chance to 24 hours. he apologised for that night, that he “should have behaved better”, but that i “should have said so directly” that i was not interested.
how do you tell a psychotic asshole in denial he’s an asshole? he’d never believe it. and my, was he quick to forget how mad he was when i left. and how about my adoring accolades of Ravi while he was stuffing his face with palak paneer?
after glorifying the way i look and how i have not changed a bit, he went on to say Ravi looks older.
okay, yes, my husband is older, 12 years older, but he doesn’t look his age by a large chunk. and he’s such a daaaaaarling.
and then he dared to compare his sorry ass to the love of my life, “you could have had me if you didn’t leave. i think i am better than him.”
happily, i blocked him.
if he does not understand today that i do not want him now, how could he have understood that i didn’t want him, his nose booger or his Peter back then either? “should have said so directly”, my juicy ass.
i haven’t lost faith in 2nd chances. as long as MSN keeps the “Block Contact” option.
think i’ll give our future daughters absolutely common names so psychopathic self-serving freaks can’t track ’em on the Internet.