Wednesday, October 26, 2005

One good turn-off

Yesterday's post about book snobs (coupled with Veena accusing me of being the biggest snob of them all - such praise!) made me think about this incident from 6 years back.


The setting is the IIFT campus in Delhi. Falstaff (looking visibly thinner! Sigh) has just got done with his WIMWI interview, and is hanging around waiting for a friend to finish so they can go grab lunch. As the scene opens, a Gorgeous Young Woman (GYW) comes up to Falstaff and strikes up a conversation about his interview, hoping (no doubt) to pick up a few tips for her own [1].

GYW: "Did they ask you any Math?"
Falstaff: (Sure. Want to go in the back and practise multiplication?). "No" (Ah! Falstaff's being his usual eloquent self we see)
GYW: "So what did you talk about?" [2]
Falstaff: "Oh, nothing much. You know. This and that. The usual." (Give her an answer, numbskull) "Let's see. We talked about poetry for a while".
GYW: (in panicked voice)"Poetry?! Are you supposed to know about that?"
Falstaff: "No, no, it's just that it was on my form, that's why. I hardly think they'd require a background in poetry for an MBA admit, do you? Ha! Ha!" (though come to think of it, why not? Bakul, are you listening?)
GYW: "Oh, are you interested in poetry then?"
Falstaff: (smirking. Is a fish interested in water?) "Oh, you could say that, I suppose. I dabble in it a bit" (note to OED editors: dabbling is now defined as staying up night after night spending hours on something)
GYW: "So what did you talk about in poetry?"
Falstaff: "We were talking about Ghalib, actually."
GYW: "Ooh! Ghalib! I just love Ghalib! He's so exquisite."
Falstaff: "Yes, he is, isn't he."
GYW: "I think the Ghazal is such a passionate form of poetry. I just love Urdu poetry."
Falstaff: "Yes, I'm quite fond of it myself." (Take deep breath. Push luck) "So, do you like any English poetry as well?"
GYW: "Some. I haven't read too much."
Falstaff: (smiling indulgently) "Who would be a poet you like, for instance?"
GYW: "Well. I love William Blake."
Falstaff: (Wait. This woman a. Likes Ghalib and Blake b. Is HOT c. May be coming to WIMWI! See what Santa brings you if you're good.) "Really!! So what poems of his do you like." (kicking himself for not having read the Four Zoas that fifth time)
GYW: "I really like Songs of Innocence. There's that poem in there about the Lamb, I don't know if you know it."
Falstaff: (with the air of an astronaut who discovers halfway to the moon that his fuel gauge isn't working) "Ah, yes. Songs of Innocence. Yes, they're not bad (further note to OED editors. Not bad is now defined as make you want to tighten the tie around your neck and hang yourself from the nearest rafter) But have you read some of his later stuff? The marriage of Heaven and Hell? Jerusalem? The Four Zoas? That's what I'm really into."
GYW: (looking puzzled) "Oh. No, I haven't read any of those. To be honest the only Blake I've read is the one about the Lamb. And the one about this little black boy. And wasn't there something about a Tiger." (You don't say. You're sure you're not confusing him with Winnie the Pooh, by any chance. Aaargghhh!!!)
Falstaff: (to sound of heart shattering like glass under a bulldozer) "Ah, well. There you go then. So anyway, we talked about poetry for a bit. In the interview. Oh, and I think that's my friend coming out now. I've got to run. Did you have any other questions about the interview? No? Best of luck then" (Have a nice life!) "So nice meeting you. Bye." (exits, running).

Sigh. And then I wonder why I'm still single.


[1] This was the first time it occured to me that having privileged information might make you more interesting to women. It's an idea that's left its scars.

[2] Why do people ask this? It's ridiculous that people think they can get useful information from the experiences of people totally unlike them. People are always asking me, for instance, whether I studied word lists in preparation for CAT. I didn't, of course, but my point is always that the fact that I didn't doesn't mean that they shouldn't. It's all a function of where you're starting from.


Heh Heh said...

I like footnote 2.
"I didn't. But then I was smarter", is a good reply.
And to people who, because of their insecurity, think that I'm bragging or some nonsense like that: I'm not.

Falstaff said...

Ya, I know. I usually start by telling people what scores I was getting on the CAT before I started preparing. That usually puts it in perspective for them.

meditativerose said...

Another data point to prove I'm so much nicer ... I would just evade the question re the specifics of what I did, and share broad techniques ...

Anyway, Falstaff, am surprised you were so optimistic abt her chances (will chalk it down to the folly of youth) ... by your admission, WIMWI doesn't admit gorgeous young women, they just take HOT men :)

Not like it did me much good ... oh well ...

absolutely clueless said...

u c, gentlemen...if u *had* done that wordlist...u mite've even made it to the elated ranks of us scholarly types (AC bowing 2 the encore)...
oh and do not even talk abt hot men, heart bleeeeds at the though of such gorgeous (scholarly) testosterone gone waste!!!
sob sob!!!

Falstaff said...

MR: Ya, well. To be fair, she did make it to WIMSI, though, of course, that isn't saying much.

Errr...also, point is precisely that it didn't you any good because you're NOT a gorgeous young women.

AC: Right. This would the scholarly types who do some mindless job to make money, as opposed to the non-scholarly types who now do cutting-edge research on business issues. Oh, and talking about scholarly achievement, what was your rank on campus again? somewhere in the double digits, wasn't it?

meditativerose said...

ouch ouch ouch ... and here I was going to make some tame comment on how wordlists clearly didn't help spelling ability ... do you need more evidence of niceness ...

absolutely clueless said...

oye...dont u start on my rank mr "im-also-an-ischol-y-doesnt-T-sleep-with me" boohoo blue blooded and of superior rank and all the minions on my planet will vouch fr it ;)!!!

Heh Heh said...

unfortunately, when T sold his body for grades, he went to the highest bidder.

Falstaff said...

Clueless: oh, it's your planet is it, now? I suppose if we're basing this on Newton's Third Law..

HWSNBF: I know, so unfair. The thing he should have considered is the hidden cost of having to do actual work as well, instead of just getting a free-ride like people in my groups. Sigh.

Mrudula said...

'It's ridiculous that people think they can get useful information from the experiences of people totally unlike them.'

I have absolutely no clue why they do that. On two instances when people did ask me I gave free vent to my imagination. I seriously let it run wild and basked in the momentary panic of my victim.