Number Thirteen: The Doppelganger.

 

13 Doppelganger
Art Work: Siddha Kannur.

Churchgate

It’s a blind date, but I can recognize him anywhere. I’ve been told we look alike, but Thirteen, a writer with twinkling eyes is younger, brighter and happier. How do I know?

He’s waving at me across the station – dopey grin with a cornucopia of curls – and also I’ve only spent the last two days guiltlessly stalking him on Facebook. I laughed out loud with his status updates, sighed at his vacation pictures, pondered over his notes, judged his check-ins, scrutinized every freckle on his face, every friend on his list – well, you know the gist. His life is an open book. I am surprised by how minimal his privacy settings are. Do you know that one quirk we all adhere to?

We keep our friends close, our enemies closer, and our Facebook friends closest. Do I want other gay men to know who else I am flirting with? Our friend lists are like our little black books: full of old conquests, exes, one-night stands and those standalones whom you occasionally flirt with on messenger but have no intentions of meeting. Would I share my address book, lay it out bare? Not at all. It’s an unspoken rule: Hide your friends like you hide your prescription meds.

‘Hi!’ says the boy, he sounds breathless. How long was I breaking the fourth wall?

‘Hi!’ I grin back, full of hope. He was in the neighborhood, I was in the neighborhood – we decided to make the most of it – plus it makes a great story to tell. The greatest love stories begin at train stations.

‘Do you want to take this one?’ he asks, pointing at the train that’s just pulled in. Waves of people rush past, but we don’t lose each other. At least not yet.

‘Lead the way,’ I say.

He grins.

Grant Road

His work as an intern with a reputed tabloid – writes blurbs and whatnots – helps him earn a byline every now and then. There is a lot of ‘go get-me-some-coffee’ and ‘did-you-call-that-celebrity?’ or some ‘have-you-written-the-review-I-asked-you-to-write?’ if he’s lucky, but he’s always wanted to be a writer and he knows that’s how writers start. I cough involuntarily. Is that what he really wants to do?

No.

He wants to write stories about food – talk about it the way people talk about love – all-consumingly. Taste is an emotion – can a bit of chocolate tart give you butterflies in your stomach? Do you whimper with pleasure when you dig into a portion of freshly made Eggs Benedict? If your answer is yes, He is the right question.

Wait. Has he seen Ratatouille?

‘Everyone asks me that,’ he sighs. He loves food and even though he’s only a home baker, it is – hello, when do we get married?

He laughs aloud, and tells me I am funny.

Bombay Central

He’s telling me the perfect way to bake brownies (Let your eggs sit out of the fridge for a half hour before baking. They ensure that the brownies are gooey, and have a delicious crust) when –

‘You should come over for dinner sometime, I cook really well.’

Would there be brownies? I ask. We both giggle. A horde of travellers gets off the emptying train, but we don’t move apart.

Lower Parel

It’s difficult to discern whether you’ve made an impression on someone when you are being closely watched by everyone around you. A hundred pair of eyes. His are large and expressive, full of hope that I am too scared to crush.

‘Can I tell you something, you promise you won’t tell anyone?’

Uh-oh. I don’t like secrets that I can’t share.

‘The last time I went out on a date, I almost got mauled in an auto rickshaw,’ he blushes. I laugh loudly. The men around us are not amused. What did he do then?

He pushed him away (The him-in-question being a feisty television producer quite like number Eleven), jumped out of the rickshaw and never looked back once. Every gay man is a collection of short stories. Snippets shared over unlimited sangria and cigarette breaks or discussed behind dinner plates and closed bedroom doors. He is an anthology.

The train ride ahead is full of them – an S&M loving architect who designs celebrity homes. A thirty-something media mogul who has a weakness for twenty two year olds. A young fresh-faced doctor who had his first kiss at the age of twenty-one. If I weren’t in a northbound local back home, I would have thought I was auditioning for an episode of Gossip Girl. I take my chances and tell him so. He scrunches his eyebrows. Did I say something wrong? Did I lose my chance?

‘Are you team Blair Waldorf or team Serena van der Woodsen?’ he asks. I sigh. I think I should just go buy him a ring.

Mahim

He’s heading off to London in two months. Is he now?

Yes, for a writing program – and then he can kiss the internship goodbye. It’s going to be so exciting- the pubs, the food, the clothes, the English life, the aww’s instead of the aah’s – can you believe all the tea and scones I will have?

‘You should come visit if you are in that part of the world,’ he says to me. The train screeches to a halt in unison. I’ve never appreciated a signal so much.

It might be too soon to tell him that I am broke, but I know that he’s going to go places. Over the next couple of years, he will finish his Masters degree, work with a popular food magazine, start his own blog and get his heart broken multiple times. But where do we start?

With me.

On cue, a disembodied voice tells us that Bandra is next. Are we there yet already?

Bandra

It’s time. One of us has to go. ‘Do I see you again?’ one of us asks. It’s a pity that the two of us have different destinations to head to. The other one nods.

He beams as he gets off the train, and waves at me through the sea of faces that separate us. I wave past the faceless men and women, as the train pulls at my heartstrings. The others fade away, he doesn’t.

He texts me later, saying that I had him at hello. So did he, I almost tell him.

I never hit ‘Send‘.

 

The Date-o-meter: 8/10

Does this have a sequel? : Yes.

If this date were a song, it would be: ‘Wonderwall’ By Oasis.

 

 

 

 

Guymate Of The Week: Kaushik Vaideeswaran, Scientist.

 

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Our Guymate of the week!

Name: Kaushik Vaideeswaran

 

This is how young I am (your age): 26

 

The ‘What-Do-You-Do’: Pretend to be intelligent, and be a scientist.

 

The ‘Why-Do-You-Do’: Because people buy it!

 

Where did that ‘Big Idea’ come from? : Self-denial, and a smart brain.

 

My Favorite fashion mantra: Go with your instincts. But if your instincts suck, that’s not my fault.

 

My favourite life mantra: Everything happens for a reason. Even heartburn.

 

My Hogwarts House/ Game Of Thrones family: Gryffindor. Where else would a peacock like me fit in?

Am I reading something now? :
Ralf Koenig’s The Killer Condom

 

Am I doing someone now? : Always!
On a Friday night, you’ll see me at: Your place? Or mine?

 

On a Sunday afternoon, you’d see me at: Brunch with sunglasses on because the sun hurts my eyes.

Continue reading Guymate Of The Week: Kaushik Vaideeswaran, Scientist.

Salvation Star’s Taboo Soiree: Saturday Night Fever.

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What: Salvation Star’s Taboo Soiree

Where: The White Owl Brewery and Bistro, Lower Parel

When:  9:30 pm onwards, Saturday, 21st November 2015.

Why: Cute boys, great music, and these beautiful cocktail deals that make us weep with joy and break into Broadway performances of ‘Happy Days Are Here Again’. What else can one ask for on a Saturday night?

See you there?

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20 Other things Not To Say On A First Date

20 other things to not say

  1. ‘I think you might be going bald.’
  2. ‘Well, technically, we are still together. Do you think this would count as cheating?’
  3. ‘Wow, the people who take your profile pictures on Facebook do a really good job!’
  4. Okay, don’t look now, but that waiter has the cutest butt in the world.’
  5. ‘I am so sorry I couldn’t return your call last night, I was on a date.’
  6. ‘But how can you like Gossip Girl?’
  7. ‘I see that you are friends with my ex on Facebook…’
  8. ‘So funny thing, I Googled you.’
  9. “ I am vegan.’
  10. ‘So sorry for being on the call – you were saying something? Is that so? Tell me more. Oh wait. I have to take this call, hang on. Hello?’
  11. ‘I have a strange feeling that we’ve met before. Did we have a threesome in 2009?’
  12. ‘I am so sorry for not paying attention, but there’s something stuck between your teeth.’
  13. ‘ Something tells me I am going to meet the love of my life soon, I know I’ll have to kiss many frogs till then, but I know I’ll find my prince in the end. Are you fine? You look sick.’
  14. ‘Do you want to see me snort beer from my nose?’
  15. ‘ ‘I think I saw your shirt in Zara’s sale last season.’
  16. ‘I think I am still in love with my ex-boyfriend.’
  17. ‘I am sorry but I think I am getting distracted by the pimple by your nose…’
  18. ‘I might have dinner plans with some friends later. You won’t mind, would you?’
  19. ‘Do you think it would be weird if I ask you to be my boyfriend?’
  20. ‘Wow, you drink a lot of beer, don’t you? Now I know why your face looks so heavy.’

    In case you missed our first list of twenty things not to say on a first date, read them here.

Number Twelve : The It-Boy

Art  Work: Siddha Kannur
Art Work: Siddha Kannur

Twelve. Where do I begin?

Grindr’s geo-location tag says that he stays three blocks away. For gay men, that’s the same as being next door neighbours. ‘Three blocks?’ one might say, ‘Think of that as three hundred and sixty two meters to someone who could possibly be the next love of your life.’ Any closer, and he could practically duck-walk his way home, in thirty minutes or less. There’s a pizza commercial in there somewhere.

His name flashes on my phone – ‘What are you doing now ‘. Is that a question? Does it have an answer?

Continue reading Number Twelve : The It-Boy

The Eden Festival : Time for Garden State.

Eden Festival

What: The Eden Festival – designed as an oasis in the middle of Mumbai and an escape from hectic urban life, The Eden Artfest has set a benchmark for urban music and art festivals. It’s a cultural playground, this one.

Where: Tote On Turf, Mahalaxmi

When: 14th and 15th November, 2015.
Why: It combines three of our favorite things – music, art and fashion (and my one-way relationship with alcohol). What else does one want? (red velvet cupcakes, but hey, this is not the time.)

Who needs another reason to go here?

You don’t need to go all the way to Pune for this (cough, cough, looking at you NH7 Weekender.) Book your tickets here.

Topman on Jabong: The five must-buys your closet needs!

While everyone in Delhi is going crazy about H&M opening in India, our fashion expert, The Guystyler is obsessing over the ridiculously amazing discounts over on Topman products at Jabong. Here’s an excerpt from his recent preview of the sale:

“Always a personal favorite, I can’t be happier that Jabong’s made TOPMAN go live in India. Their collection here might not be as outrageously cool and funky as it is overseas, but they’ve got the basics covered and that’s what they do best. Here is a list of 5 items that you NEED to buy from the big TOPMAN sale going on at Jabong right now:

  1. Jeans – Where else would you get super comfortable jeans for as low as INR 2022? Topman’s premium quality jeans are on maximum 40% discount and are worth every single rupee.  Guess we won’t have to sell that arm and leg after all.Jeans
  2. T-Shirts – I have been wearing Topman T-shirts for quite sometime now and I must say that in addition to their quirky designs, the quality is impeccable. In fact, I am wearing one right now while writing this article. With sale prices as low as INR 474, you need to buy one of these. (Or multiple, if you’ve got the space for it in your closet.)collage
  3. Underwear – A pack of 3 for INR 1000 is not a bad deal at all. Topman’s underwear are super cute, with the brand name printed almost on all of them. What’s better than telling your lover you wear fancy underwear? Telling your lover that you wear fancy Topman underwear.Underwear
  4. Sweatshirts – Be it hoodies in various plain colors or printed ones, you know you can count on Topman sweatshirts to keep you warm in this changing weather (If winter ever comes, that is). Hoodies start from INR 1800, and I start from scratch right now.Sweatshirts
  5. Bags – Ranging from basic wallets (starting from INR 1100) to delicious black backpacks (Ranging from INR 1500 to 2800) and also the lone (but beautifully snazzy) duffel bag, Topman’s bag collection doesn’t disappoint, even if boyfriends do.Bags

Now that you know what to buy from Topman, what are you waiting for? Head over to Jabong and make those credit cards weep (or not really.) Don’t know where to go? Well, we’ve got a secret portal right here.

Chop chop, happy shopping!