Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Caught off guard

Today, something made me remember him.

My master's course includes certain workshops now and then. They are optional, so the attendance is really really low. Most students, especially those who work full time and attend night classes, do not take the trouble to travel all the way to the west for these workshops. In fact, the university actually provides free dinner after these workshops to entice more students to attend them. But all in vain.

So it was no surprise therefore, when a couple of months ago, a total of 3 students from my class attended a workshop meant for 25.

When I entered the lab, he was the only one sitting there. Thankful to see one familiar face, I went and sat next to him. He looked thankful to have spotted me too.

"Hi!" I said.

"Hi! You're from my Research Methodology class!"


"Errr... we never spoke before..." He extended his hand.

Before I could take it, there was an announcement from the instructor, "Errr... let's wait a few more minutes, maybe some more people are on the way. There's dinner outside... " She said, but you could see that hope had died in her eyes. Both of us felt sorry for her but we couldn't help laughing at the pathetic attendance.

Usually, my classmates and I don't have time to interact in class as most of them rush into the classroom late because they got delayed at work. So this was the first time I actually had an opportunity to talk to a classmate as we waited for 'those who would never turn up'.

We got to talking, and talked about everything, about how some of the professors were so cruel, about how the full-timers had such an easy life, about how little sleep the part-timers got, and how scared both of us were about the three projects that were due that week.

Our most vulnerable side was open to each other.

And somehow, we connected. You know -- it's that moment when you know you connect with someone, when you feel that you could be great friends? Well, we had that. We gave each other the "I like you. We could be great friends." look. It was nice and comforting to have found someone in class whom I could sit down and talk to, compared to the zillions of nerds (and not to mention, pregnant women by the dozen, who freak me out with all the birth talk).

We kept making jokes throughout the workshop, and soon it was time for dinner. We continued our conversation and both of us agreed that it was actually the food that was driving people away from the workshops. We found each other's jokes funny. We laughed at a lot of things.

Then suddenly it struck both of us -- we did not know each other's names!

"Sorry I forgot to introduce myself, I'm Sayesha."

"Me too! Hi, I'm JS." And he gave me his business card. I furtively dug out mine and gave it to him.

And suddenly the whole world froze as we looked at each other's business cards at the exact moment.

Deja vu. And both of us felt it.

And at the same instant, both of us realised that we had done the exact same thing months ago.

"You are Sayesha?? Sayesha from X publishing company??"

"You are JS?? JS from Y tourist attraction place??"

It was a true Salaam|Namaste type Nick-Hambar moment.

And I realised why his face looked SO familiar. I had seen him before. And not in my classroom.

Here's our story.

Many many months ago, Sayesha, the editor of a children's magazine at company X and JS, the PR manager of company Y were working on a collaboration Z. His company was to provide free tickets to their tourist attraction place for the young readers of the magazine. In return, we would provide ad space in the magazine. Disagreements over the number of free tickets led to the decision that they would increase the number of tickets in return for us doing a free write-up for them.

I had finished the entire write-up when he dropped the bomb. They wanted an extension, as they could not meet my deadlines. I had wanted to advertise the free tickets in the issue that was going to be out during the school holidays, cos it was the perfect timing. They wanted it later, which would have been smack in the middle of school exams, when such an offer would absolutely go to waste (besides getting us flak from angry parents). He thought I was being a bad-ass unreasonable editor who was too hung up about deadlines. I thought he was being a bad-ass unreasonable PR manager who had no respect for magazine deadlines and kids' exams. And thus, we parted ways, crushing each other's business cards.

And collaboration Z fell through. And we were both so pissed off, we decided to call the whole thing off.

Zoom to the present. Here were the same guy and the girl who had stormed away from each other once upon a time, sitting there, making jokes, laughing, and connecting, and becoming friends.

What a contrast. Each of us now liked the same person he/she had thoroughly disliked the last time they'd met!

Just because this time, it was a different setting and we had both let our guards down.

Weird, huh?

And I could not help but wonder. It's amazing how our feelings for someone can change so drastically when they let their guard down.


ABiasForAction said...

Did it again.Here I am the double first-comment-on-the-blog winner..on two consecutive days.

ABiasForAction said...

There are two parts to the conclusion.
1. As you said, that you did let your guard down and as a result you came to know him better.

2. But you let your guard down because you had no preconceived notions about him as you didnot recognize him at first.In the business situation it were not the same two persons.
We lose two many potential friends because we shut them off due to preconcieved biases.
Something similar happened to me few months ago where I was grossly misunderstood.

Anonymous said...

i was here!

Sayesha said...

Actually, what I am amazed is that in both meetings, I knew nothing about the guy! (Even in the second one, since we did not recognise each other, it really was like meeting someone for the first time). So the preconceived notion thing does not really hold. I thoroughly disliked him in the first meeting because he had his guard on, and really liked him in the second, because I saw his vulnerable side... I'm very amazed... :)

And now you're gone?
And that's all you had to say? :)

Sahil said...

I don't think its about letting your guard down to realise that you both could be best of friends. I think it was because of the situation. Two people can meet in one situation and dislike each other a lot, but placed in another situation and they can even fall in love with each other.

Imagine if I had just started reading your blog, and you had no idea who i was. And suppose I absolutely loved your blog (which I do) and sent you an email saying "You wanna be freinds?", you'd think I was a CIG without doubt. But in the current situation we have, we're friends.

Different situations, different results.

ABiasForAction said...

thats what exactly I meant.In the first case you and him had your respective business roles to don. In the second case it was just you and him as a person.

Sahil, situations differs because of circumstances and also because of state of mind. As the learned say, Its all in the mind.

Sayesha said...

I think the reason why we connected so quickly was because we let our guards down. The situation did play a part but not the main one. If he and I had been just as arrogant and 'on-guard' as we'd been in the first meeting, I'm sure we'd have hated each other (yet again!) :)

Sayesha said...

//But in the current situation we have, we're friends.

We are?

ps: Kidding! I think we are too. :)

Sayesha said...

// situations differ because of circumstances and also because of state of mind.

That's so true... :)

ABiasForAction said...

Sayesha..Donot forget that I am a Simple Minded Indian ( see my profile in case of doubt).
Anyway..You do write pretty well to bring out the abstract topics as these.

BP said...

Well, I guess people show different sides of themselves in different situations.
E.g. Sometimes friends who end up working together discover a side of the other that they don't particularly like, which inevitably affects their friendship.
So it's sometimes easier to be superficial friends with someone whom you don't really know, than someone whom you know too well.

ABiasForAction said...

Do you think it is worth the effort to be superficial friends.Infact they are not even called friends, they are called acquaintances. Friendship is NOT a product of convinence.

BP said...

No, I'm not saying that. It's just that sometimes you'll discover that the friendship is superficial IF the situation arises where you realise that your friend wasn't who you thought he/she was due to some circumstance or another in which you witness his/her 'other side'. One POSSIBLE scenario would be if you started working together in a professional environment. Of course, true friendship can surpass all hiccups.

PuNeEt said...

Oh.. god...
is this true...

world is small

Great yaar...
ur life not less adventurous than a bollywood movie ;-)

take care

R said...

weird... but interesting!!

Unknown said...

I was so expecting that guy to become hostile once again, after seeing your card!...But good that it didnt turn out that way!

Thanu said...

Jaise bi hain u made a new friend, now that is the thing to celebrate and cherish.

PS: U took word verification off?

Anonymous said...

Sometimes a "face"explains a lot, when you see a person all yours "interpretation"about that guy who bore in your mind, came to an end!

Shobana said...

that must have been really amusing:)
do u believe in conicidences?

Manish Kumar said...

hmmmmm really interesting sayesha!
.. bumping into same guy but without a preconceived image producing diff vibes...good for u:)

amit said...

yeah, when u let down ur guard, u tend to bring ur real feelings which makes the person sitting in front of u feel better. the trust n confidence gradually builds up. Since the pre-conceioved notions r absent, it becomes easier fr both to know each other well.

but remember the adage - ' mom says dont talk to strangers'...;)

Sayesha said...

#Simple minded Indian,
Thanks :)

It actually goes back to my ;on guard' theory acually, when two friends are working together, they're trying to get something done, as opposed to having a usual friendly banter, and that puts them on guard, which may not be a very 'likeable' trait to have in a friend.

I don't think Banana is talking about creating superficial friendships on purpose.

Ah, I was right! :)
That's true, and I have seen that happen. Sometimes, when I see a friend in a professional environment, on guard to the point that they would not so much stab you in the back, but watch as someone else does that, then you kinda see their 'on guard' side, which is not a pretty one. And you like them less. Has happened to me! :(

Yeah man, my movie is a typical masala flick! In production still, but super-hit already! ;)

Yeah... weird but interesting :)

#Vik H,
Naah, both of us acted like mature individuals and laughed the incident off :)

Yeah, that's true! :)
ps: Took WV off, cos it was giving me some problems, and also cos the anon ads have mysteriously disappeared (shhh!) If they come back, I will turn it back on.

Actually in this case, during both meetings, I had no preconceived notions about him or his face. It was all behaviour :)

//do u believe in conicidences?

Do I?? Let's just say my life runs on coincidences! ;)


//yeah, when u let down ur guard, u tend to bring ur real feelings which makes the person sitting in front of u feel better. the trust n confidence gradually builds up.

I totally agree. :)

//but remember the adage - ' mom says dont talk to strangers'...;)

I'm talking to you, aren't I? ;)

Abi said...

so what came of it?! did u guys reschedule the giveaway?

virdi said...

world is a small place sayesha... very small... :-)

people with beatiful hands can't stay away from me for long... ;-)


Sayesha said...

Naah, we just got pissed and stormed off. Binned the collab. :)

And now, I'm not gonna bring it up again, even though we're friends :)

Praji, people with big hearts should travel to Singapore soon to meet people with beautiful hands! :)

Leon said...

Weird indeed.. But I can actually imagine it happening.

And uh.. I forget to get the name of the person I'm talking to until the very end too.. EVERY damned time..

Want to take those tests below.. especially that blogger one.. :p.. Will do after my exams..

Anonymous said...

Reply kar..I wanna sleep!

Vikram said...

Did I see someone mention beautiful hands?

I'm there. :P

Sayesha said...

Hehe.. good luck for your results. And your results! ;)

#Someone whom I know,
Pehle itna sara nautanki and now 'reply kar'?? Ab kya reply karna. It was your decision to go off, my dear.

Sayesha said...

Hahahahahaha! :D
I have to makhan maro you man... Sabse pehle reviews toh tu hi likhega! ;)

Alu paratha for breakfast, anyone? :D

Vikram said...

//Alu paratha for breakfast, anyone?

I'm there again.

Kaala Kavva said...

hota hai hota hai...

enimies become friends and friends become enimies...

its all a part of the game :D

Anonymous said...

Nice story! Never had a similar experience though. I think I am a pretty good judge of 'first impressions', even in a confrontational situation.

No more wv?? It used to make me feel...alive :(


Sayesha said...

Hahaha! Maloom tha! :D

Sahi bola tu! :)

Thanks :)

ps: Don't worry, as soon as the anonymous buggers start bugging me again with their ceiling fan ads, I will make you feel not so dead again! ;)

Raj said...

Its good when someone you dislike turns out to be a nice person but it sucks you finally realize that your first impression was correct and that person actually deserves all your hatred.

Sayesha said...

Gosh I couldn't agree with you more!!!! :O

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