Sunday, March 02, 2008

Don't date that BPO babe

Rachel's my girl. She's Rachna by day, Rachel by night. Confused? Don't be. Rachna works in a call-center and Rachel is her westernised moniker for professional purposes.

Rachel's a pretty girl, very cosmopolitan. Intelligent to boot. And I wish I had never dated her. Think I am crazy? Well I have my reasons. In fact, 10 of them:

1) She is not Rachna anymore. Not even at home. She likes to be called Rachel all the time. I miss my girl.

2) While the world sleeps, Rachel awakens and… goes to work . And it's when I'm in my deepest slumber that she calls and insists on love talk. Neighbours raise their eyebrows and mouth words like 'loose morals'. After all, middle class morality says, no maiden from a respectable family goes gallivanting in the middle of the night. I don't care, she doesn't care, but I do wish she wouldn't keep sighing about the liberal West.

3) She practices her weird call-center accent on me. I mean, I love to be of help in her work, but now she seems to use it all the time. Believe me…that twang is really mind-blowing.

4) Rachel has got used to croissants, pasta and chocolate truffles. That's the kind of food at her workplace and it is free. But I have to foot the bill at restaurants she now wants to eat at.

5) Then she works off those calories at the office gym. So do the men at her workplace. Lately she has been eyeing the little roll around my middle with pronounced unhappiness. Me? Exercise? I'd rather live a loveless life.

6) She wants 23 roses on Valentine's Day - one more than Mary (once Meera) got. Plus a teddy bear, perfume, all branded. She spends hours shopping for it, I pick up the tab. I mean, Valentine's Day? Whoever heard of it?

7) She gave up Jagjit Singh for Robbie Williams. Threw out Shah Rukh and developed a crush on Enrique Iglesias instead. What if after marriage she decides she doesn't like a desi husband after all?

8) Weekend for Rachel is defined the American way. Work hard through the week and then party hard. I work hard during the week and then…work hard during the weekend. She wants to party, take in a film, live it up. I am pooped.

9) Rachel is due for promotion. She is good at what she does - transforming an irate customer into an affable pal in seconds. Problem: She treats me like one too. When I am a little miffed, she purrs: "How may I help you?'

10) This one's important. I am just not good enough any more. Last month, she dated a colleague with an equally jarring accent. And promptly had a crush on him. That's the third this year.

Still think I am crazy?

(Wrote this piece for The Times of India some years ago)

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