It’s not easy to get a girlfriend in Bangalore. It’s even harder to keep one.
She used to work in my office. To put it in a better way-we worked together. She was a developer and I a coder. She was funny, sexy, cool, and confident and I was not. She was on her way up and me-lets just say I wasn’t.
When she agreed to go out with me, everybody showed genuine disbelief. Myself included. I just stood there with a loss of words and came up with something silly like, ‘Cool!’. She had giggled. They always do. But then I made what I call a super awesome comeback and made her giggle a little more and fixed up a date. And that was that.
‘She’s using you man!’, Wilfred had told me when I had broken the news to him. He sat next to me in the office. He loved football and loved Amisha Patel even more. He had an opinion about everybody and everything. He was a gossip queen. And also he lied a lot. “No she’s not. And even if she is, I don’t care”, I had replied with all the annoyance I could summon in two seconds.
But seriously I didn’t care. I really didn’t. Her ex was a finance guy who worked on the seventh floor and had an MBA degree from a shady institute whose name sounded like Sunny or Happy or something cornier. He liberally used double entendre right from the cafeteria to the boardroom. But the guy apparently had a way with numbers and the guys on the tenth floor were happy about it. ‘Mr. Bottomline’ as he was affectionately called by the female staff, had relentless pursued her and she had relented. But they had broken up in six months. Apparently someone from HR too, had relented-much later than her. I knew this because Wilfred knew this. And Wilfred knew everything.
Our first date was like most first dates-uncomfortable, tense and at times embarrassing. For me it was all three. But she didn’t mind. She gave me a two out of five and asked me to promise her that the next one would be better. And I did. And it was. A Shahrukh Khan movie, a stroll in the mall and a dinner in a Punjabi restaurant. Safe. I was in and she was too.
She liked Sidney Sheldon, SRK, Priyanka Chopra and Backsteet Boys. She thought Metallica was a girl. ‘Is she like Madonna?’ she had enquired. Her favourite movie was Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. She liked Forum better than Garuda Mall-‘Its just better’, she had observed. She used words like ‘anyways’ and ‘precisely’ all the time. She always wore a watch on the right hand. She said that she liked me a lot. I believed her.
‘She’s still using you man. She’s gonna go back to whatshisname’, Wilfred had repeated after I had told him that I was planning an expensive date on Valentines Day. He also informed me that Mr. Bottomline had saved the company like a zillion dollars and avoided a major lay-off. The guys on the tenth floor were planning to move him to the eighth. It was that or an extended stay in Europe. That bastard. She really hated him. She always let me know how much she hated him. It was kinda amusing. I used to come up with really funny jokes about him. Funnily, she didn’t find them funny.
‘No she’s not. She told me she was over him on our last date. And besides, why would she care if he’s headed off to Europe. He’s stupid. She told me that. Mr. Bottomline- I wonder why they call him that’
Today morning I woke up with a smile on my face. It was the first time that had happened. I actually had a date on Yash Chopra’s favourite day. I had it all figured out. Right to the minutest detail. I was gonna buy 23 roses- one for each time she had gone out with the formerly worlds-most-eligible-loser. Then I was gonna take her to an expensive restaurant in Indiranagar. It was gonna be perfect.
I had managed to get real Swiss chocolates from a guy I knew in finance. She loved Swiss chocolates. She had told me that. I had bought a new shirt for the date. I did buy 23 roses. Man they were expensive! I even bought a huge bouquet just in case.
She lived in Kormangala. I was supposed to pick her up. It was tricky to make my way through the traffic not messing up the bouquet. Many people offered expletives in Kannada. I returned the favour in Marathi. Couples were already getting comfortable. Not too comfortable though. Some outfits were calling on them in the Lord’s name.
I made it in time to her place. She lived in an apartment complex. Romeos with half of southern India’s flowers were already there picking up there respective Juliets. Understandably there was a rush at the elevator. I resisted the urge to take the stairs. A sweaty and panting version of me wouldn’t exactly be a welcome sight. So I stayed in the queue for the elevator with a dozen other thoughtful individuals. I fought with a guy who had a smaller bouquet than mine. I won.
The elevator was small and stuffy. All the guys were reeking with the Axes and Zataks and Bruts. I felt like throwing up. I made a funny expression at the guy next to me who responded by finding something interesting in the elevator safety manual. Slowly I made it to her floor.
As I got out of the elevator I made my way through the hallway, trying to figure out where to go. For a moment I forgot her surname. Then I remembered. I headed to her apartment. Apartment B-23-C.
She was already at the door. She looked stunning. She was wearing a Punjabi dress for the first time since we had started going out. I had not expected that. Her hair was not tied up. That was a first too. She was wearing pretty earrings. My girlfriend looked beautiful.
She had another bouquet at her feet. It was way bigger than mine. She had a smile on her face that I had never seen before. With her head resting gently on his chest and her hand resting firmly on his bottom, Mr. Bottomline was giving himself the high five and punching the air.
Mr. Bottomline – I get the name now.