Previous: Going South: The BlogLand Chronicles - 2
"Hi!" said Manish as he came in to BlogLand and sat down with Anil and me.
"Hello," I replied. "And Happy People Again Day."
"Ouch!" he groaned. "That's the pits."
"Oh, come on," I said. "Anil didn't like it either. I thought it was a good one."
"Well, in that case, your sense of humour is probably dead," said Anil.
"Anyway," he continued. "Guess who I'm taking to see King Kong tonight."
"You have a date?" asked Manish, surprised.
"You're going out with that internet girl again?" I said.
"Why do you have a problem with her, anyway?"
"You're going out with someone you met on the internet?" Manish had a lot of catching up to do.
"Yes he is," I replied. "And I don't have a problem with her personally, but I just don't think it's safe."
"Man, you're paranoid. I'm not a five-year-old!"
"How did you meet her?" asked Manish.
"In an internet chat room," I replied for Anil.
His eyes widened as he looked at me and then at Anil. "Cool!"
"So you don't think there's anything wrong with meeting someone you know only through a chat room?" I asked.
"Of course not," he replied. "People have been making friends without meeting them for a very long time now. First there were pen-friends, then phone-friends, then email and chat friends, and now people meet through blogs and SMS. The medium may be changing, but the concept is the same. There has always been an element of risk involved, but as long as you take the usual precautions, it's no big deal."
Anil smiled. "Okay, you win," I sighed. "Hope you enjoy your evening."
"How come you're taking her to an action movie, though?" asked Manish. "Shouldn't you have picked a chick-flick or something?"
"Oh, the movie was her pick. I was going to suggest Chicken Little. But once she suggested King Kong, I thought I'd keep my mouth shut."
We all laughed. That's the problem with stereotypes. Lots of men like poetry, and lots of women prefer sports. But while women are free to display masculine interests, the reverse can get a man laughed at. A man who knows how to knit a sweater will probably pretend he doesn't know how to hold a knitting needle.
"Ugh!" came a voice from the next table. Mike was slowly closing a book and putting it down on his table with a disgusted look on his face.
"Was it that bad?" Anil asked him.
"Extremely," said Mike as he turned to look at us.
"Which book?" I asked.
"One Night @ The Call Centre," he replied. "Chetan Bhagat. The guy's first book was quite readable, even if it wasn't spectacular. This one is the pits. Some parts are nice, but the rest..."
He obviously was finding it hard to put his feelings into words.
"How about that other book your were reading," said Anil. "Inscrutable Americans, I think it was?"
"Oh, that was really good," Mike said immediately. "Wonderfully written. Anurag Mathur is extremely funny most of the time, and can get quite serious too when he wants to." He turned to look at the book he had just finished reading. "But this..." He looked like he had been forced to bite a live frog.
"Well," I said. "Hope you have something better to read next. You shouldn't have to end People Again Day with something that makes you look like that."
"People what day?" said Mike. "Oh. Republic. That was pathetic."
Manish and Anil laughed. "I really think you should give it up," said Anil. "It really is a bad joke."
"Fine!" I shrugged.
Next: Baby Talk: The BlogLand Chronicles - 4