A Night At Home
By Abhishek Mehrotra
He couldn't understand it. What had gone wrong? Again. After hours of concentrated effort, wads of cash and countless counselling sessions, things were exactly the same as they had been this time last year. He had sacrificed so much received so little. Waves of self pity and self contempt crashed upon him and soon his face and chest were drenched. How could it be?! It was perfect he had been sure it would work this year and yet it hadn't. What were they looking for? His mails had gone unanswered; telephoning was out of the question.
He went through his profile again. He had described himself with humorous self-deprecation. He had confessed himself to be a libertarian and an agnostic. And it was true. He had looked up the meaning of the words and they were exactly what he was. He had to be. It was what everyone was these days. If you weren't one of them you stood absolutely no chance. In activities and interest, he had positioned himself carefully he played tennis and football, avidly followed politics you could have quizzed him on the latest political sex scandals across the globe and he would have answered them as nonchalantly as he updated his status. He liked travelling (His Map showed he had been to 54% of the world - he liked Google Earth) and was very interested in lateral thinking he had figured out that it was a midget who took the elevator every day. The lateral thinking bit was particularly ingenuous or so he had thought.
Books they had been a little tricky. But if you followed the right forums, got the right feeds, it was quite easy. He had cleverly chosen a collection of humour, classic literature, history and philosophy. Of course The Fountainhead was there. That was a no-brainer. Anyone who was anyone had read it. It was the intellectual's bible. He had liked it actually it had struck a chord with him he was sure only a few could identify with the book the way he had. So they really couldn't fault him for authenticity. The movies Ah! Those had been his trump card. He had been a movie buff since he could remember. He had displayed a rare taste all time epics, marvellous directors jostled for space with forgotten masterpieces. He had to have stood out. This was his differentiation.
Of course, there were all the other regular features. He had been voted most sexy by 790 friends, been sent thousands of gifts, had taken most of the quizzes and scored highly on them (General knowledge was one of the things he prided himself on most he even got a 100/100 for the "how many celebrity children do you know" quiz). He was most likely to be involved in a threesome, most likely to go on to be a Mars explorer, most likely to help a three-legged puppy and most likely to be able to detect the difference between Chateau Margaux and Chateau Haut-Brion by just sniffing them. These were only the most notable "Most Likely " of course there were hundreds of others. He had far surpassed the minimum requirements in all categories. His picture had been carefully chosen his mom had sifted painstakingly through all of them and picked the best one. He had then used his favourite image editing software to make a few subtle changes the rules were strict and the picture had to be at least 75% authentic.
After all this work, he had sent his complete profile to KYBY (Know Yourself, Be Yourself), the best company for vetting profiles. They had gone from a start-up to a billion dollar company in 6 months 3 days. These guys were geniuses. They simply did not miss. It cost him $2000 dollars, but it had seemed worth it at that time.
Now it did not. He stared at the glossy envelope in his lap.
To: Jack Crick,
The letter lay open on the desk.
Sounded interesting. Perhaps he would check it out tomorrow.
It was late. He had not slept for three days in giddy anticipation of this letter. And here it was. He put it back in the envelope. The monitor's light was too bright. He switched it off. He stood and stretched. He felt free. The wait was over. He had been taking sleeping pills he got off the net to help him sleep two a night. They had not worked obviously. Tonight, perhaps he would take a stronger dose.QLRS Vol. 7 No. 3 Jul 2008