Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Too Much

One of my friends is in the very, very early stages of a relationship. She can talk about the boy for hours at end. She is in that stage when every nod, every gesture, every line of his every email, is scanned, analyzed and filed-away-for-further-discussion-later. Watching her can be amusing but tiring. But we are all giving her time and being patient. It’s her time and we will wait. “Soon this will end” we think. Not in a mean way but in a knowing way. Soon she will calm down and we will then cease to be just subscribers to her love-life daily. She is giving so much that it’s scary. An impatient kind of common friend tells her “Fast-forward to the kiss and then to 3rd base and leave all those emails out” and as I laugh and nod I also think “Boy, did I read every line of every email 50 times too?” and then of course Mr.Gabby never wrote too much. I would write pages and pages and I usually got 5 lines back. Sometimes, it would be broken into 2 paragraphs to make it look like he had actually switched topics. I would skim the lines, realize he was in literal pain while having to write those 5 lines and then sadly note how that pain had all been for nothing. But I would analyze the early phone calls, my friends would pass judgment-calls and opinions and I would never really listen. Because girls rarely share for input, they share because they can’t hold it in. They love the saying-it-out-loud part. Every time you say it, it gets bigger in your head. But I digress; let me go back to the fresh-crush girlfriend. She is reading a lot into his every action. Old problem, nothing new. Women are thinking of kids and the mixing-of-the-laundry while men are thinking about Saturday night and sometimes Sunday morning too if they’re feeling particularly foresighted. My piece is not so much about the difference in the way we think but in the effect that can have. As I listen and nod and absorb with growing alarm how my friend is rearranging her life to allow for circumstances when the boy can get down on that bent knee with ease, I think of Tanya.

Tanya was of a small-town mentality. Though she hailed from Mumbai, India’s fashion capital, I’m guessing it was her upbringing….or maybe she lived in a suburb which she never quite got out of. I don’t know the actual reason behind her nature but it was nevertheless appealingly sweet and a little bit naïve. She had moved to my town for her undergraduate studies and seemed well settled in her mauve painted room in the newer of the 2 girls’ hostels. We were never the closest of friends but we had a decent rapport…and her very dry sense of humor was something I admired, and she thought me to be cool or something because she sometimes copied what I said and maybe it’s my overactive imagination but she often even dressed like me. It was flattering, I should admit, but disconcerting. We were a little too old for the ape-ing business. But anyway, this is not about me and her, though it serves its purpose of giving you an idea of her nature. There was a boy of course. And the boy would chat with us during Engineering Drawing II. It was mostly because he was very bad at it and while chatting he could stare at our ED sheets and rush back as fast as he could and put down what he memorized. I once offered him my back-of-the-envelope-sketch so this process could be made more time-efficient and we would all not have to bother with the small talk. He gratefully nodded and offered his fully completed Physics assignment after removing the staple (copier-ready, in case you were wondering) and those were the beginnings of a solid friendship right there. Tanya did not seem to mind his dwindling chat sessions too. I remember seeing her approach him in a couple of hall-days (socials) and mention his name a few times in conversations, but that was it, I thought.

Many semesters later Tanya went home for an extended period of time because she was chronically depressed. Therapy did not help and after she returned she missed classes and exams and did her own thing. There was then this one attempt at hurting herself physically. The boy’s name was mentioned again and though I will never know for sure, many suspected that this indeed was a case of unrequited love. She apparently felt so much for him and he could not help that he did not reciprocate. For 3 years she had built her world around him. Her father came down and took her back to Bombay. I have no idea where she is now and whether she ever completed college. She left suddenly leaving no trace of her whereabouts. The school I went to for my undergraduate studies is one of considerable acclaim in India and securing an admission to the place and then leaving without completing your course is almost unheard of. There are very few and sparse cases and this is one of the two I know of personally. I wonder if paying closer attention might have helped her. I don’t know; college does weird things to people and though some lives get connected in permanent bonds, it’s mostly like knots here and there at uneven spots, and if one of you doesn’t stop and tie another knot soon enough, the lives will go their own ways, too busy to reconnect. And that’s what happened to us. College definitely turned out unexpectedly for her, doing more damage than good. Going to college and meeting people isn't supposed to do harm. What does real harm is giving too much, too soon.


Anonymous HiredGun said...

Heh, it is a physical condition. Check this out in today's NYTimes (too bad the link dies in a week).


First post? (Homage to slashdot :)

3:49 PM  
Blogger Peg said...

Neglectfully I have not read the entire post but something struck me in the first few sentences...

"When you see through love's illusions, there lies the danger
and your perfect lover looks like a perfect fool.
So you go running off in search of a perfect stranger while the loneliness seems to spring from your life like a fountain from a pool...." Jackson Browne

Sorry it just came to mind with the thought that surfaced in those first few sentences!!

7:22 PM  
Anonymous you-know-me said...

Welcome back Gabby....not a post I expected at all. Have you seen the movie "Too Much Too Soon"?

8:00 PM  
Anonymous sqrl/NT said...

And you are back!!! nice. I really felt sad for this girl when I read your post. I think many of us have built castles in the air for no reason at all.. for some of us dreams to become reality, while for others they turn in to a harsh reality..
But I think that as long as we can breathe, we really can take anything and everything in our stride..and a guy who doesnt reciprocate your feelings is the LAST thing that should make anyone change their life..

8:24 PM  
Blogger AmitL said...

That's sooo cute,Gabby.Do I get an impression of u being a wee bit jealous of your friend, since u used to get just 5 lines in exchange for your long 'pages and pages'?:)Err,do I read some 'foresight'in the line 'while men are thinking about Saturday night and sometimes Sunday morning too if they’re feeling particularly foresighted.'or,was it just an (un)'innocent' remark?

8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gab is back. And let the gab begin! Ha Ha!

Engineering Drawing brings back memories for me too. Had a love-fate relationship with it!

9:16 PM  
Blogger anumita said...

e-mails? Didn't you write precious letters by hand? To be stored, smelt, read, folded and kept away?
Tanya must have been a very intense person in her own way. And bbay does have all sorts, you know.
Good to have you writing again.

9:21 PM  
Anonymous you-know-me-too said...


9:27 PM  
Blogger shub said...

YAY! Gabby! back already? or posting from paris?

9:45 PM  
Blogger KJ said...

u back already or posting from paris.

weh i was engaged my fiance (now my hubby) used to write me a letter which would go as
" how are u? hope all ok at ur end. how are ur mom & dad & ur bro? my regds to all. am feeling very sleepy / tired. bye"

THAT's it. after getting this kind of letter for 4-5 times i TOLD him it woud be better if he photocopies the letter & just writes the new date. even his emails were the same like the letter. why are men so lazy?



10:35 PM  
Anonymous Twilight Fairy said...

ED II? Mech engr eh? :)

11:10 PM  
Blogger sanguine said...

hey gabby , how are you ?
we had a similiar situation with a junior in my college. she got married to someone else , arranged match . got divorced eventually. but after that she did her masters and now she is with someone from her college only. and is happy now.
hope tanya is too.

12:58 AM  
Blogger Miss Sea said...

Love the way u write :)

how old is this friend of urs? or is this behaviour irrespective of age?

1:07 AM  
Blogger Rhyncus said...

Engg Drawing is an insidious way of breaking down perfectly normal humans. I've always held that and today you confirm it. To think of how close I came to destroying lives makes me shudder. There is something about the sheets (Full Imperial Japan TK, I think they were called) probably. And all those sharp instruments lying about.

1:47 AM  
Blogger Sudipta Chatterjee said...

Gratisgab, I liked the "Because girls rarely share for input, they share because they can’t hold it in" bit most. That explained a lot of things to me :)

Oh, BTW, I pity your friend. I don't think people can(should) be that desperate. If you want loong responses to mails, you must probably marry a blogger :))

4:16 AM  
Blogger Pallavi said...

hmmm tanya reminds me of Deeps my friend..

my hubby used to write one liners most of the time,.. and here I was writing pages and pages.. LOL.. but I have all the one liners... fool that i am...

LOL crushes are like rising high and falling hard SIGH.. reminds me of my school days... :)

4:56 AM  
Blogger The Man Who Wasnt There said...

Gabby I maynot be too old to comment at the marital business et al but still cant help noticing doesnt ALL things seem a waste of time when one is at the other side of the fence?:)
Ah! tell me about unrequited love and the depression it can cost....I personally would take a cautious stand on it before dismissing it as silly.Unfortunately been there done that. Not really sure the guy(s) can be blamed for it...."Love" does mean different things to both the sexes...It is an extremely thin rope to walk on....and shld the guy be accused of causing the depression and shld be made to carry the cross all thro' his life for something he unintentionally has caused? Why do women complicate "love" so much? (It is not a sexist remark...)
A bit perturbed Girish...!

5:17 AM  
Blogger gAMe said...

Well .... hi ... love ritings rock .... c ya arnd http://students.iiit.net/~suryakant/cgi-bin

6:34 AM  
Blogger Akruti said...

Well,i have seen and dealth with people like Tanya,probably some kind of insecurity or too much of bonding which they assume on their own or dream about leads to this kind of depression.My students who are into postgraduation but at times when i still se them raw and dreaming abt somethingrosy ahead in life i feel a bit scared.not wrong to dream,but what is worth of it is all needed,somone who till yesterday wanted to make it big in studies and life today breaksdown for emotiona reason? unfortunately until we are in their position we cannot feel or know how it is all like:)
by the way,u r linked now:) so now i wont forget u r blog:)

7:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My friend went through a similar breakdown in college. It wasn't so extreme but it still scarred her for life. Too much too soon is so accurate. It happens to the sheltered ones.

Good to have you back Gabby!


8:08 AM  
Anonymous Ash said...

Hey Gabbie, glad to have you back :)

You're right about the gilrs gabbing thing, its just a need that all of us have to share, to have it out in the open, na ?

And I can just imagine your expression on receiving Mr Gabby's 5-line letters, lol ! Luckily, I can't complain about that since our Trixy can be quite eloquent when he wants ! :)

As for Tanya, its an all-too-familiar story. Happens to the best of us. But I think most of us have the strenght and will to live, and manage to move on with aching hearts. Hope she did too.

8:22 AM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

Hiredgun - Good to see you. Thanks for the link. Yes the world's going crazy and it's not our fault!

Peg - That was a beautiful quote. Now read the whole post and give us some more :)

you-know-me - knowing me, you still expected a post about my vacation? :) No I haven't seen that movie. Is it along these lines too?

sqrl/nt - God I agree. It's where it should least be. Makes it all so useless. I've seen guys do it too but either they keep it all bottled or I don't know enough of the senti-types to have noticed this much.

amitji - there's nothing innocent here. at least i think so :)...ah, the 5 lines didn't bother me much. it was like i could see the effort put in so it was like his sweat and blood JUST FOR ME! LOL!

Anon - And the gab shalt not ebb! It's good to be back. :)

Anumita - Nah, never wrote the nice old fashioned letter to the real one. hmmm...the exes, they got these good bits...LOL! bbay is a crazy mix I give it to ya.

you-know-me-too - your name still creeps me out man/girl....thanks for the welcome...

shub - not from paris hon. very much back on home turf. missed your cranky posts :)

kj - LOL! AND we have to come up with the practical solutions to their problems!

t fairy - no. close but no. :)

sanguine - i'm good. life always sucks a bit post-vacation but that's normal. how are you? hope tanya found her peace too. i wish i knew.

tipsy topsy - welcome! & thank you. this was in undergraduate school. so i'll say somewhat between 18-22. it's was that age alright.

rhyncus - Don't! ED was LOVELY. I adored the subject. It's a pity I got to do it only in my first year of college :(...So how many Tanya-hearts did you break?

sudipta - Thanks. It's a revealing line I thought so too. :) Please take everything I write with a dollop of salt though. so how long are your emails to your lady?

pallavi - i've kept the one-liners too...o why are we made this way?! LOL

girish - old is gold. (boy it's been ages since i said that) and yes, it's all a waste of time when it's so one-sided. the heart it doesn't listen they say. Tanya was a smart girl no doubt in everything else, yet she ended up doing something so foolish...I don't blame the guy at all...for all i know, he mustn't have had a clue...

game - thanks for the link...love ritings rock? :)

akruti - thanks for linking me. yes, smart young people who lose it all and have these breakdowns, tears your heart doesn't it? i just hope she has moved on and found her peace. it's hard to believe "everything happens for the better" most times...

Shobha - Where's have you been lady? Long time...& yes, it does happen to the sheltered ones mostly. There's always a first time right..?

Thanks for the warm welcome everyone. It's good to be back!

8:53 AM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

Ash - Thanks hon. Yes you are right about Trixy, you have your long letters for life :)...I on the other hand will have Mr.Gabby making it up to me in other imaginative ways :)

The out-in-the-open thing, yes, so true. Our blogs are testimonial :)

8:57 AM  
Blogger Rhyncus said...

None broken. I don't think they cared enough. If only they had known this latent eloquence then...

9:37 AM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

rhyncus - too little, too late? :)...hmmm hermit stories might not cut it...your growing-up one would have definitely sealed a deal though

9:40 AM  
Anonymous Curious said...

You mention exes? *Perking up*

9:42 AM  
Blogger anantha said...


10:53 AM  
Anonymous burf said...

hey gabby tnx a ton for this one:-

"What does real harm is giving too much, too soon." :(

11:20 AM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

Curious - Ah, here for the gossip I see :) Read my posts too please once a while, will make me feel good you know.

Anti - Thanks for the insightful comment. Returning the favor huh? *Grin*

burf - Ouch. Touched a raw nerve with that line did I? Sorry!

11:38 AM  
Anonymous Ashok said...

LOL @ "copier-ready". I like the practicality of the transaction there.

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Every time you say it, it gets bigger in your head."

Heh heh, VERY TRUE.


11:44 AM  
Blogger anantha said...

lol Gabby.. all this relationship thingies confuse me.. am still a 26 yr old single south indian male without a serious relationship ever.. and what would I know about such things...

2:29 PM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

ashok - how else could we make time for the important stuff? ;)

passer-by - It does doesn't it? *At last, passer-by lets on that "it's" a female!*

Anti - See, I don't see why not..you should hang with Mr.Gabby and Pi sometime...at 26 (which was not very long ago actually) they were on the hot pursuit of the fair ladies :)...Ah I miss Alpha, she would have confirmed this animatedly!

3:08 PM  
Blogger anantha said...

Hmmmmm thanx for the invite.. Next time when I am in Boston, perhaps :D

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Gratis, it's good to see you writing and commenting again. I missed my daily read.


3:24 PM  
Anonymous Curious said...

I do read your stuff, pretty regularly. But I'm Curious, after all. :D

3:33 PM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

Peggy - Thanks! Yes here I am...commenting away...!

Curious - After all. :)

3:59 PM  
Blogger Akruti said...

u r right,i hate it when ppl say "everything happens for a reason or for better" not all times i guess.Emotional strength is not possible for many probably because of situations or family backgrounds or anything.well,sometimes problems can break u instead of making u stronger:)
and plz call me neelima{blogworld knows me as neels} akruti is my blogname:)

10:37 PM  
Blogger The Reporter said...

Very insightful. Yeah, giving too much too soon definitely hurts, should always take it slow, no? So how DID Mr.Gabby woo you? :) Can we have a post on that also? :)

You're right when you say that girls don't really listen to what advice they get from the other girls :D Haven't I tried enough! :)

And finally, this is one beautiful line - I don’t know; college does weird things to people and though some lives get connected in permanent bonds, it’s mostly like knots here and there at uneven spots, and if one of you doesn’t stop and tie another knot soon enough, the lives will go their own ways, too busy to reconnect

10:54 PM  
Blogger Sudipta Chatterjee said...

Gabby, I wish there was one... but anyway I don't think I'd have written any longer mails than the 5-liners :)

3:30 AM  
Anonymous herhighness said...

What does real harm is giving too much, too soon.

That sums it up beautifully...lovely post


5:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll like to know how much of your writing is fiction and how much of it is real.

a regular reader

7:34 AM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

Neelima - You have asked me this before! I'm sorry...your handle throws me off, will try to keep the name-behind-the-name in mind :)

coolcat - ah, history, full of stories there...that will be one way of getting more than a grunt or a "hmmmm" out of Mr.Gabby!!! & thanks, I wanted to put that line in a better fashion but nothing was coming and i don't like spending too much time on a piece so i left it feeling a little "compromised".... so I'm glad you liked it.

sudipta - you a blogger man...you can throw her a bigger bone..!

herhighness - thanks much. long time, how're you?

regular-reader - Your guess is as good as mine. In other words, that, I will never tell :)

10:23 AM  
Blogger Prerona said...

sometime back u left me a message saying u were gonna mail? what happened? :(

1:18 PM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

Ricercar - I did? I'm sorry I've been a little lost lately...totally disorganized. Were we talking about something specific? I've mailed only 1 blogger to date so I'm surprised I said I would write and didn't! Please refresh my memory!

1:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gratis, the reason I ask is I want to know if you have
a) an interesting life with something happening to all your friends/spouse/yourself.. OR
b) a super active imagination


2:03 PM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

regular-reader - I know why you are asking. And I'm saying, I won't tell :)

2:05 PM  
Anonymous Arjun said...

ave gg,

Nicely constructed and written as usual. If I'm not mistaken, the organization and writeup of the post is for the benefit of u'r readers and the import is to serve as a reminder for yourself. Ai-t-je raison ?

Tanya, unfortunately belongs to a not so small sample space in the social framework in India which was consciously engendered to nurture commitment, but didn’t account for situations arising from poor ED skills which consequently ends up creating misfits who fall through the cracks.

The case is typical.
The cause: Small-town mentality. Little interaction with the opposite sex. Not extremely good-looking which translates to not too much attention. Introverted intense personality which could be the result of suppression or the perhaps the negative residues of aggressive influences.
The effect: A hard fall to the first person of the opposite sex who has a decent conv with the said person.
Guys and gals are both afflicted. I’d say guys more than gals given the inevitable skewed sex ratio in engineering conditions.
The cure: There isn’t and shouldn’t be one. After the episode, one can then look down to see two feet planted on firm ground. Its all good….

p.s: Dont u think u just answered regular-reader's q? There could be only one reason why you wouldn't want to tell :)?

p.s: I think there's another person with the same name as I who comments here...gonna start calling myself NC.

12:08 AM  
Blogger manuscrypts said...

but maybe, you dont have too much control over the giving ...

4:16 AM  
Blogger Prerona said...

its ok ... i mustve gotten mixed up with someone else then. replied to ur comment.

7:14 AM  
Blogger Prerona said...

but u dont even know for sure what happened to her, right?

9:08 AM  
Blogger thennavan said...

Humko yahan aisa kuch bhi nahin hota and so don't make us poor souls jealous by talking about "people in relationships" :-)

12:53 PM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

Arjun/NC - So there's two of you?!!! ..& I agree...after an episode, if it hasn't broken you, you're way better at handling the whole thing... The earlier the heartbreak, the easier it is to move on...don't you think? My first crush at 12 or 13 is a sweet memory because it lastest only as long as it did and I emerged virtually unscathed..for Tanya it signifies a ruined education and painful therapy...

& no, there could be more than one reason I'm not telling regular-reader what he/she wants to know...:) think! :)

Manu - Maybe. It's crazy when you're right in the middle of it I agree....I just wish that at least when it's killing you, the sense of control is rediscovered...

Ricercar - I know she lost out on graduating from a school she worked very, very hard to get into. Bringing herself back from that kind of depression must have been an herculean task..I know she could have done without all that. That's enough of a loss I think. Don't you?

thennavan - maybe I should write about cricket and get you and anti back as regular readers huh? :)..On second thoughts if I write about sports I might drive ya'll away for life! LOL

10:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

College definitely changes people..some for the good, some for worse and some..well in ways one just cannot explain.
I hope Tanya was able to get her life back on track again.


3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Gabby

Nice post.. had me thinking back to similar episodes from college...

on the topic of boyfriends.. do check this one out http://www.from-the-horses-mouth.blogspot.com/

8:44 PM  
Blogger phatichar said...

Oh boy, too many people have already spoken their bit, I guess. But yeah, giving too much too soon often ends up in a broken heart, or even if not that drastic, maybe a disappointed heart that kinda lingers on your brain for quite some time. I donno about the 'girl-gabbing' part, Anu was always the quiet kinda girl...but yeah she would speak her mind at times without mincing words.

Good to have ya back.. enjoy!

11:46 PM  
Blogger Suhail said...

In my support of your future claim to authordom and famedom, I have book-tagged you. Kindly, spread the virus. Cheers !

9:25 AM  
Blogger anantha said...

Gabby: You've got a reader for life in me. So don't worry. But I can't comment on things like relationships...I'll never understand them.

3:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Off topic but ... Considerable Acclaim? Hall Day? IITK ? :)

12:24 AM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

Ashwin - I've been trying to find out about her but nothing so far...

Hokey-Pokey - Thanks & welcome! Checked out your story and enjoyed it! Love the candle on a box of truffles idea :)

Phatichar - Your wife Anu is a rare find boy, keep her :)...But nah, I was kidding about the girls gabbing thing. See they weird way I write, even I'm not sure when I'm serious and when I'm trying to be funny...:(

suhail - Hai Bhagwan, Et to? It's coming, it's coming...

Anti - Thanks man *all moved*! And I'm here just to help you understand :)

Anon - :)

7:25 AM  
Blogger tilotamma said...


4:51 PM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

tilotamma - not M.

1:50 PM  
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10:33 PM  

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