Let’s do the dating thing. I say Coffee? You say YUP. I spend the next hour wondering what Yup means
before deciding it’s a version of Yes.

On time, wondering if it’s desperate, we meet. We talk of things slight acquaintances say-Mumbai weather. Andheri traffic. The waiter interrupts to take our order. We order & return to “You were saying?”

Then you or I will say or do something incredibly wrong. Can you take the saying wrong part please? I’m rather proud of my words but I have no illusions of grace. That’s settled then. You can say something slightly politically incorrect, while I fidget on the sofa making those sounds. Embarrassment comes to our table like unwelcome friends when you’re out on a date.

You charm me by not even noticing while I impress you with my intelligent jokes that are about people like us but not you & me. That done we settle into the comfort of I like this person so much! Before realising it’s only a date. Not even that, it was just supposed to be coffee.

We go back to staring at our drinks-not-coffee hoping to forget this companionable bridge that we almost built. This time you knock over the glass while I say something stupid like doesn’t beer taste just like piss? Beer is what you’re having.

We laugh the laugh of people who’re nervous together. Or maybe we just like each other’s laughs. It’s hard to fall in love over coffee & pretend that’s not happening. But we’re working it so an hour passes. We really do get along quite nicely.

When the bill arrives, an awkward shuffle but the waiter hands it to you because they always do that. I hope you know then worry you think I’m cheap so I insist more forcefully than needed that I asked you out. You stare. I know this is no more a fun game of emotional hide-and-seek.

When we leave, you don’t hold the door for me. I wonder if you did before. It doesn’t matter, still I wonder. You search my face for the same thing I was looking for a minute ago. 1 min off sync.

We book our cabs. Mine arrives first. Grateful, I get in. You say I really did have a nice time. I smile & say YUP as my cab zooms away.


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