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The Introverts’ Bible For Flirting

About Arun Coimbatore

Arun is a screenwriter from Tamil Nadu. He has written for a few short films and telefilms and contributed to a movie called Veruli that released few months back.

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Prologue

The courier boy delivered the book to Raju at his sixth floor apartment. Raju had just moved in four days back. Even though it was slightly over-priced for a single-bedroom apartment, he bought it because it was closer to his office. He was 25 years old and came to this city on a transfer-with-promotion three months back.

He asked the courier boy to keep the change and took the parcel in. As Raju uncovered the parcel, he remembered the conversation he had had with his manager at the cafeteria a few days back.

“See man,” the manager had said, “You are a sweet chap, the highest earner in the team. You are successful, but success is nothing without a woman in life, man. You need to have a girlfriend, get laid, go out…..”

The Manager took a puff of smoke and continued, “You have to get off your throne and go towards the woman or remain a virgin….simple as that….”

He came closer and whispered, “You have to flirt man, you have to flirt. That’s the golden word. Learn to flirt.”

 

Part I

At 25, Raju was just beginning to worry about never having a girlfriend. First time in his entire life, he was always thinking about women. Every morning he woke up with an erotic dream, yearning for physical intimacy. He was seriously determined to have a girlfriend and lose his virginity this year. “THE INTROVERTS’ BIBLE FOR FLIRTING” was the title of a self-help book Raju ordered on Amazon.

He started reading it and the first chapter instructed the reader to do a task. The reader has to say at least a “hello” to three random women per day, to whom he feels attracted to; at least a “hello” if not a conversation, and a minimum of three women per day for 21 days. Raju had to complete this exercise for 21 days before going to the second chapter. “Easy-Peasy,” he thought.

Next morning, he went to the hypermarket, collected things, and as he was waiting at the queue to pay the bill….. “There you go,” he told himself, looking at the ponytailed girl managing the cash counter. As the queue got shorter, Raju adjusted his hair, adjusted his T-shirt, and started breathing heavy. As it was a Sunday morning and the place was bustling, the ponytailed girl was working at a breakneck speed – tagging, billing, and receiving cash. As Raju’s turn came, even without lifting her head, she was processing things from his cart with machine-like speed and precision.

“Hello,” Raju uttered.
The perplexed Ponytail looked up. “What?”
Raju went defensive immediately. “Errr……Hello…..Just a hello….I mean….”

The Ponytail resumed billing without much heed. Raju was sweating like he ran a marathon.

“This is not easy-peasy after all boss,” he told himself when he came out of the hypermarket.

The second Hello of the day happened right in front of his door, near the elevator. He had been noticing this beautiful woman since he moved in, apparently elder than him, residing next door. She mostly kept to herself, did not talk much. She was waiting for the elevator. Raju composed himself and went near her. He said a Hello with a forced smile. She very sweetly and responded with a smiling Hello, but he was in for a shock when he learned that she was waiting for her 4-year-old daughter coming up by the elevator. “Anyway, second one done for the day thankfully.” He thought.

He was returning from an evening walk when the third encounter happened at the ATM. Inside the ATM was this cute, well-nourished girl with a backpack. Raju, in a hurry to complete the task for the day, cleared his throat and entered the ATM.

“Hello….,” he said.
She shouted in a shrill voice. “Wait yaa, I am not going to take the machine with me okay. Like, wait a minute. My god!”

Raju came back to his apartment and threw the book into the bin. “My foot,” he shouted.

 

Part II

Like how every drug has an effect and a side effect, Raju’s one day of self-help exercise did have some side effects nevertheless. The next-door lady smiled at him whenever she saw him over the subsequent days. It felt oddly pleasant and sweet even though an “extramarital affair” situation was out of question. From things that came to his attention in the next 5 days, he learned that she was from Assam, working in a software company in the city.

The next Friday evening, she was waiting for the elevator at the ground floor along with a few other residents. She was just back from her office apparently. She readily smiled when she saw Raju approaching. “Hi” they said to each other. The elevator opened and all of them entered. She had her back against a corner, fitting in the middle of two handrails. Raju placed himself opposite her, facing her from front. He was fiddling with his phone while the rest of the people were placed behind him. Just before the doors closed, two men brought a large washing-machine to be taken up. They shoved the washing-machine inside the elevator and got inside. This pushed Raju precariously closer to the lady, so his face was just few centimeters away from her’s.

The elevator moved up one floor, the doors opened again, and an old man piled on despite protests from the people already inside, pinning everyone against each other. This pushed Raju even closer to her, both their bodies pressed and his nose just millimeters from her face. Everybody else was looking the other way.

Raju had never been so physically close to a young woman. “What a pleasant twist of fate this is,” he thought. For a moment, she made eye contact with Raju and smiled. The doors closed and the elevator started moving up. She smiled at him again and this time Raju impulsively brought his face closer and started kissing her lips. The kiss lasted for about 5 seconds. Nobody was watching. She smiled wider after the kiss. Then he kissed her again, 2 seconds this time. Doors opened at the fifth floor and everyone including the washing-machine got off.

Both stood silently, now standing apart, she controlling her smile, and he the shame. They both smiled at each other as if nothing happened. They got off at the sixth floor and walked away.

Raju locked the door and washed his face. He couldn’t believe what just happened. “If I was forcing myself on her, why was she smiling all the way?” he asked himself. Thousand questions arose in his mind. “What a shameful thing did I just do to a married woman,” he thought. An extramarital thing was still strictly out of question for Raju.

After about three hours, the calling-bell rang. Raju opened the door to find her standing with a platter of what looked like sweets.

“It was my girl’s birthday yesterday, Assamese sweets, I made them.” She said.
Raju smiled nervously. “Yeah.. sure, sure…..please.”

Raju took the platter, and since she was still standing there, he moved from the door. “Please come in, please.”
She walked in. Raju consciously left the door wide open.
“Nice furnishing.” She said.
Raju muttered a “Thank you.”
“May I know your name?” She asked.
“Raju…and you are?”
“My name is Shoma.  Your family ?”
Raju’s tension was coming down. “My parents and elder sister are at my native town, a small town down south.”
Shoma, looking at the microwave owen asked, “You cook ?”
Raju smiled. “Yeah sometimes.”
Shoma was in a mood to talk. “When are you getting married ?”
“After my sister, maybe after 3 years.” Raju had no idea where this was heading.
Shoma nodded her head. “Okay. Nice meeting you.”
Just when Shoma was about to leave, Raju countered, “What about your husband? I have never seen him.”
Shoma said softly, “He is in Assam.”
“When is he coming?” Raju felt the tension hovering again.
“He is not coming.” Shoma was as direct as she could be. ”He left us for another woman. We are separated. I am sorry.”
Raju could see Shoma’s eyes glistening.

After about 5 seconds of awkward silence, Raju gathered the courage to speak. “One minute.”

He reached for the door, closed it shut, and pulled her towards him, this time kissing patiently and passionately.

THE INTROVERTS’ BIBLE FOR FLIRTING was not a bad book after all.

The courier boy delivered the book to Raju at his sixth floor apartment. Raju had just moved in four days back. Even though it was slightly over-priced for a single-bedroom apartment, he bought it because it was closer to his office. He was 25 years old and came to this city on a transfer-with-promotion three months back.

He asked the courier boy to keep the change and took the parcel in. As Raju uncovered the parcel, he remembered the conversation he had had with his manager at the cafeteria a few days back.

“See man,” the manager had said, “You are a sweet chap, the highest earner in the team. You are successful, but success is nothing without a woman in life, man. You need to have a girlfriend, get laid, go out…..”

The Manager took a puff of smoke and continued, “You have to get off your throne and go towards the woman or remain a virgin….simple as that….”

He came closer and whispered, “You have to flirt man, you have to flirt. That’s the golden word. Learn to flirt.”

At 25, Raju was just beginning to worry about never having a girlfriend. First time in his entire life, he was always thinking about women. Every morning he woke up with an erotic dream, yearning for physical intimacy. He was seriously determined to have a girlfriend and lose his virginity this year. “THE INTROVERTS’ BIBLE FOR FLIRTING” was the title of a self-help book Raju ordered on Amazon

He started reading it and the first chapter instructed the reader to do a task. The reader has to say at least a “hello” to three random women per day, to whom he feels attracted to; at least a “hello” if not a conversation, and a minimum of three women per day for 21 days. Raju had to complete this exercise for 21 days before going to the second chapter. “Easy-Peasy,” he thought.

Next morning, he went to the hypermarket, collected things, and as he was waiting at the queue to pay the bill….. “There you go,” he told himself, looking at the ponytailed girl managing the cash counter. As the queue got shorter, Raju adjusted his hair, adjusted his T-shirt, and started breathing heavy. As it was a Sunday morning and the place was bustling, the ponytailed girl was working at a breakneck speed – tagging, billing, and receiving cash. As Raju’s turn came, even without lifting her head, she was processing things from his cart with machine-like speed and precision.

“Hello,” Raju uttered.
The perplexed Ponytail looked up. “What?”
Raju went defensive immediately. “Errr……Hello…..Just a hello….I mean….”

The Ponytail resumed billing without much heed. Raju was sweating like he ran a marathon.

“This is not easy-peasy after all boss,” he told himself when he came out of the hypermarket.

The second Hello of the day happened right in front of his door, near the elevator. He had been noticing this beautiful woman since he moved in, apparently elder than him, residing next door. She mostly kept to herself, did not talk much. She was waiting for the elevator. Raju composed himself and went near her. He said a Hello with a forced smile. She very sweetly and responded with a smiling Hello, but he was in for a shock when he learned that she was waiting for her 4-year-old daughter coming up by the elevator. “Anyway, second one done for the day thankfully.” He thought.

He was returning from an evening walk when the third encounter happened at the ATM. Inside the ATM was this cute, well-nourished girl with a backpack. Raju, in a hurry to complete the task for the day, cleared his throat and entered the ATM.

“Hello….,” he said.
She shouted in a shrill voice. “Wait yaa, I am not going to take the machine with me okay. Like, wait a minute. My god!”

Raju came back to his apartment and threw the book into the bin. “My foot,” he shouted.

Like how every drug has an effect and a side effect, Raju’s one day of self-help exercise did have some side effects nevertheless. The next-door lady smiled at him whenever she saw him over the subsequent days. It felt oddly pleasant and sweet even though an “extramarital affair” situation was out of question. From things that came to his attention in the next 5 days, he learned that she was from Assam, working in a software company in the city.

The next Friday evening, she was waiting for the elevator at the ground floor along with a few other residents. She was just back from her office apparently. She readily smiled when she saw Raju approaching. “Hi” they said to each other. The elevator opened and all of them entered. She had her back against a corner, fitting in the middle of two handrails. Raju placed himself opposite her, facing her from front. He was fiddling with his phone while the rest of the people were placed behind him. Just before the doors closed, two men brought a large washing-machine to be taken up. They shoved the washing-machine inside the elevator and got inside. This pushed Raju precariously closer to the lady, so his face was just few centimeters away from her’s.

The elevator moved up one floor, the doors opened again, and an old man piled on despite protests from the people already inside, pinning everyone against each other. This pushed Raju even closer to her, both their bodies pressed and his nose just millimeters from her face. Everybody else was looking the other way.

Raju had never been so physically close to a young woman. “What a pleasant twist of fate this is,” he thought. For a moment, she made eye contact with Raju and smiled. The doors closed and the elevator started moving up. She smiled at him again and this time Raju impulsively brought his face closer and started kissing her lips. The kiss lasted for about 5 seconds. Nobody was watching. She smiled wider after the kiss. Then he kissed her again, 2 seconds this time. Doors opened at the fifth floor and everyone including the washing-machine got off.

Both stood silently, now standing apart, she controlling her smile, and he the shame. They both smiled at each other as if nothing happened. They got off at the sixth floor and walked away.

Raju locked the door and washed his face. He couldn’t believe what just happened. “If I was forcing myself on her, why was she smiling all the way?” he asked himself. Thousand questions arose in his mind. “What a shameful thing did I just do to a married woman,” he thought. An extramarital thing was still strictly out of question for Raju.

After about three hours, the calling-bell rang. Raju opened the door to find her standing with a platter of what looked like sweets.

“It was my girl’s birthday yesterday, Assamese sweets, I made them.” She said.
Raju smiled nervously. “Yeah.. sure, sure…..please.”

Raju took the platter, and since she was still standing there, he moved from the door. “Please come in, please.”
She walked in. Raju consciously left the door wide open.
“Nice furnishing.” She said.
Raju muttered a “Thank you.”
“May I know your name?” She asked.
“Raju…and you are?”
“My name is Shoma.  Your family ?”
Raju’s tension was coming down. “My parents and elder sister are at my native town, a small town down south.”
Shoma, looking at the microwave owen asked, “You cook ?”
Raju smiled. “Yeah sometimes.”
Shoma was in a mood to talk. “When are you getting married ?”
“After my sister, maybe after 3 years.” Raju had no idea where this was heading.
Shoma nodded her head. “Okay. Nice meeting you.”
Just when Shoma was about to leave, Raju countered, “What about your husband? I have never seen him.”
Shoma said softly, “He is in Assam.”
“When is he coming?” Raju felt the tension hovering again.
“He is not coming.” Shoma was as direct as she could be. ”He left us for another woman. We are separated. I am sorry.”
Raju could see Shoma’s eyes glistening.

After about 5 seconds of awkward silence, Raju gathered the courage to speak. “One minute.”

He reached for the door, closed it shut, and pulled her towards him, this time kissing patiently and passionately.

THE INTROVERTS’ BIBLE FOR FLIRTING was not a bad book after all.

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