The twain shall meet


There is never a moment of dullness when the opposites meet

“I hid the camera, is there anything else that I should hide?” The preparation for Vipul’s visit started with this. Vipul and Dr. K and polar opposites in two ways. Vipul’s cardinal philosophy is: if I see a button, I press it. Inevitably, he has a history of ipods, laptops and other devices crashing with his interventions. The highlight of this trip being the crash of the ticketing machine at the railway station; he could simply not resist playing with while he waited to be picked up. Dr. K on the other hand has an intense inability to press buttons. For example, it is not unusual to hear things like:

K: Oh God!!! Why is this mail not going?

Vipul: Did you press the send button?!

K: This is FRUSTRATING…why is this machine not working?

Vip: did you turn it on?

Naturally, there was paranoia before Vipul’s visit. “If Vipul is going to sit in the front, I am going to remove the window shades and put it away. He will definitely play with it…is there anything else I should put away?” Such preparations were of course followed with due death threats as soon as he arrived, asking him to keep off gadgets – especially while she drives the car. The preparations could not keep Vipul from his discovery trail, and he went on to spot the camera, play with the fridge and learned to handle her Mac.

I guess nature has a way of balancing things, and it did so with another case of opposite traits: Vipul is the perennial non-decider while Dr. K is the do something about it, and do it now kind of an action-girl.

K: Do you want coffee Vipul?

Vipul: umm…

…umm…

…I don’t know…

…umm…

K: Do you want it or not?

Vipul: [intimidated, and wanting to get over it] I think I want to get sunglasses.

K: Coffee?

V: umm…may be…

K: OK?

V: OK.

K: Soy milk, regular milk, fat free milk or lactose free milk?

V: umm…

K: and brown sugar or calorie free?

V: About the sunglasses…

The coffee was had and not long after we were headed to the mall, a favourite hang-out place for Vipul. What he did not expect was that the action-girl would have made a list of stores that sell sunglasses. We visited all of them, and he tried dozens.

K: Do you like these?

V: Umm…

K: Yes or No? I think these look good on you, and the price is good.

V: Umm…

K: What?

V: I wanted to get some shorts for the Gym. The one I have is not good.

K: Sunglasses?!

V: umm…Did you see the sunglasses that the hero was wearing in [some] movie? I want one like that.

K: What do they look like?

Vip: I don’t know, I don’t remember.

He escaped this time, but was whisked away to the cloth store and he ended with t-shirts, shorts and other stuff. His attempts to avoid buying things also led to getting more things including an assortment of medicines and cosmetic stuff. He even applied for health insurance. But he avoided getting the sunglasses.

Next morning…

K: What would you like for breakfast?

Vip: Umm…

K: By the way, I saw a clip of the movie you told me about and found those sunglasses for you online.

The noose was on his neck and he had no way out.

Vip: Ok, I’ll go to Albany and check it out.

Being quick to action, that was totally unacceptable to Dr. K.

K: No. Come here, I’ve filled out your details. Just put in your credit card number.

V: Umm..

K: What’s that number?!

Vipul thus left with a bag of goodies and slimmer purse. He discovered a few new buttons in our house that we had not noticed, and the only thing he crashed was the ticket vending machine. We look forward to having him back, and when the twains meet there will be no dearth of drama for the bystander.


About Vivek Srinivasan

I work with the Program on Liberation Technology at Stanford University. Before this, I worked with the Right to Food Campaign and other rights based campaigns in India. To learn more, click here.

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