Tuesday, April 10, 2012


When the Girl Who Reads dated the Guy Who Quizzes

Kids, a couple of weeks ago, I made an appeal to members of the fairer sex to date a guy who quizzes. Some of you will have read that post and if you are dispossessed of the Y chromosome, then are probably trying to contact your old quiz teacher to find out where exactly that guy who knew the capital of Burkina Faso in second-grade is. As is wont with most of my arguments, the said post was cogent, articulate and replete with convincing factoids, while maintaining the delicate balance between brevity and detail. In the interests of society, I have decided to lay out snippets of some of the outstanding reviews that I got on the same:

“This post will change your life”- L’iff

“Compelling, convincing, complete. Call Me” – Mallika Haydon

“You should certainly date a guy who quizzes. And make sure your dates are in Gujarat. Gir Forest, Sabarmati Ashram, Dandiya- Gujarat is beautiful. Go to Gujarat…” – Amitabh Bachchan

Among all the rave reviews, one young Jedi Knight had a useful suggestion to make. He opined that it might be a worthwhile thought experiment to figure out what would happen if a girl who reads dated a guy who quizzes. Inspired by Robert Downey Jr.’s If A then B metal exercises, I proceeded to conduct one of my own. Had Vinay Kumar chosen to do the same against David Warner, he would have politely told Kris Srikanth that 4 overs were good enough for him, thank you very much. But I digress. Let love not take a back-seat to cricket and let us imaginatively refer to the two parties concerned as Girl Who Reads (GWR) and Guy Who Quizzes (GWQ). Any resemblance to constructors of India airports is purely co-incidental.

I have it from fairly reliable sources that a library or book-store would be a reasonable place for this story to start. So let’s go with a book-store. In Gujarat. GWR has picked out the following- Anna Karenina, Jude the Obscure, Poems of Robert Frost and one of the latest New York Times bestsellers. GWQ, and this description is more accurate, has a coffee-table book each on a History of Rock music and types of Beer, The Grapes of Wrath, The Art of War, Sandman vol. 1, Rabbit Redux and because optimism always reigns supreme, Moby Dick and Don Quixote.

For once in the history of GWQ, the fates smile, and both our protagonists reach the billing counter at around the same time.

GWR: Oh Don Quixote. Nice choice.

GWQ (after checking the entire store to make sure the remark was addressed to him): Ah yes. (And in an uncharacteristic bout of confidence) And I’ve got Moby Dick too. The beer book magically gets pushed to an unobtrusive corner.

GWR: That’s cool. I found Jude the Obscure here. Been looking for it for ages but most stores didn’t seem to have it.

GWQ: Maybe because it’s obscure (Gawd. Did I just say that?)

GWR: Giggle giggle

GWQ: (Huh! That actually worked) By the way, Jude the Obscure is also one of the first examples of a live-in relationship being described in literature.

GWR: You don’t say so? I didn’t know that.

GWQ: And Anna Karenina? Capital capital. All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, eh?

GWR: I know. I’m just waiting to get started on it. You liked Anna Karenina?

GWQ: (Do I look as though my name is Ashok Rajaraman?) Well, I haven’t actually read it…

GWR: (Disappointed) Oh. But still, it’s good to meet someone who doesn’t think I’m muddling up Anna Kournikova’s name when I talk about this.

GWQ: Ha ha. Joke.

GWR: Giggle giggle

By now, you have undoubtedly observed the blossoming chemistry between our protagonists. Talk turns to the works of Ayn Rand (where GWQ is quick to point out that the Fountainhead was initially being named the Second-handers), Orhan Pamuk and Herman Hesse. GWR is in her element now- her eyes sparkle, her hands dance, she’s positively gushing. GWQ says “I know. Snow” (more giggles go here) and then plays the strong and silent man to perfection, having long mastered the art of nodding at the right moment. Love, as they say, is very much in the air. Ethan Hawke and July Delpy couldn’t have hit it off better, which in retrospect, would probably have been a good thing- it would have saved us over two hours of incessant chatter in the form of Before Sunrise. And if you’re a Karan Johar fan, then a song sequence goes here where GWR and GWQ proclaim their undying love for each other. In 3 different countries.

Talk soon turns to poetry. “Which is your favourite poem?” GWR demands

GWQ: (The whole of Gunda- Mera naam Ibu Hatela in particular). Uh, there’s one by William Ernest Henley. Very inspirational. I, uh, forget the name. Ends with “I am the captain of my fate, I am the master of my soul”.

GWR hasn’t seen Invictus. Cupid- 1, Rest of the World- 0.

GWR: This was fun, GWQ. Shall we go get a bite to eat?

GWQ: (Mentally dancing to Pyaar ki Pungi) Capital idea. Let me carry your books for you.

The young couple glide towards the exit. There is talk of Thackeray, T.S. Eliot and Khalil Gibran. Supreme devotion towards Asimov, Wodehouse or JKR has thankfully not been mentioned yet. Cupid- 2, Rest of the World- 0. If you strain your ears, you might even here a couple of violins playing.

Suddenly, the music ceases. “Uh, GWR. Can we do this some other time? There’s a United-Spurs match in the next half hour…”

Cupid 2, Rest of the World- Jackpot.

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