Following a conversation with Harbhajan last night, I was reminded of one of our earlier conversations, three years back. Mansoor had also been present at that conversation, and somehow for me that represented some sort of a landmark. Barring the odd stray conversation, that was the first time I had been involved in a deep conversation with other guys about the theory of relationships. I don’t know why but before that I somehow used to reserve such conversations only for women.
Back when we were getting to know each other, the only thing that Harbhajan and I would talk about was about JEE mugging, about problem number 487 in “Problems in General Physics” by I E Irodov, and occasionally mimicing the accent of one or the other profs in our JEE coaching factory. Going forward, we had talked about CGPA, very occasionally about careers, and of late (leading up to that day in April 2006) about investment banking interviews.
It was similar fare with Mansoor also, and also with most of the other guys I was good friends with. We would talk about the usual “conversation-makers” – cricket, football, politics and cinema. During my brief stay in England, weather also got added to the list of topics we talked about. And of course, there was bitching, which was something we all loved to do, and which I had taken a special liking for.
Conversations with women, however, used to be different. The bitching was definitely there – in fact I managed to impress quite a few women with my bitching skills (and I used the same skills to depress quite a few women also) – but the “usual stuff” was absent. What also got added, though, was stuff like theory of relationships. Stuff like cribbing about “life issues” (regarding “normal issues” i was an equal opportunity cribber – didn’t distinguish between various classes of cribbees). Trying to analyze relationships while leaving out the bitching aspect of it.
Because of this distinction of topic of conversation, the bar for a woman to become my friend was set extremely high, because of which I had few female friends. Using orkut classification, most of the women I knew were either acquaintances (most) or good friends (very few); there were few friends. Also, my refusal to discuss “life issues” with other guys (among whom I had a large number of both friends and “good friends”) meant that my options for conversation were limited when I wanted to discuss life issues.
What I don’t understand is how I got into that kind of a distinction in the first place. I fail to figure out why I used to make this distinction about topic of conversation between men and women. Moreover, I fail to figure out what happened to me that pleasant April night in Jayanagar when I opened up to Mansoor and Harbhajan. Since then, I’ve been treating women I have no romantic interest in on par with men, and I think that is the way things should be. Also, maybe things were the same over ten years back in higher secondary – no distinction.
I don’t know what had happened to me then, because of which I turned out the way I did. And I don’t know what happened to make me change back. All I know is that in the intervening period, I had some strange policies because of which I suffered. Oh, and I must mention that most of that “intervening period” was spent in IIT Madras, whose gender ratio is well-known.