In November 2017, I had just turned 26 and it was a typical Monday. I rushed to the morning office cab pick-up point, afraid that I might miss my ride. Luckily, the cab arrived on time and I greeted my fellow passengers, including a new girl who was seated in my usual spot. I said hello and she smiled back, then I settled in behind her. Curious about her, I asked Ajay, who was sitting diagonally from me, if he knew her. He didn’t, so I assumed she was a new addition to our carpool.
I put on my earphones to listen to music and noticed that the girl in front of me had opened the window to let in a chilly morning breeze that carried a lovely jasmine scent. She smelled divine! Our commute to work took an hour as usual, and we chatted about office politics, movies, and other topics. However, the new girl remained silent and kept to herself throughout the ride. This continued for several days. There were nine of us in the cab, and we had been commuting together for over a year.
A few days later, during our Friday evening commute home, we decided to play Uno to pass the time. As we were setting up the game, one of us invited the new girl to join us. She agreed and introduced herself with a warm smile. “Hi! My name’s Priya. I’ve recently joined the company. I have a medical doctor’s education and manage the Pharmacovigilance team. My husband and I moved to Bangalore from Mysore a few months ago.” she said, looking at each one of us. We exchanged our own introductions and quickly got into the game.
As we played, Priya showed her competitive side. We all had a great time getting to know her better and welcomed her into our group. The game became intense, and eventually, it was just Priya, Sarah, and me left with cards in our hands. Sarah was the first to put down her last card and declared herself out. Priya and I had two cards each. Priya had been a bit arrogant in the previous games, so everyone was rooting for me to win. Ajay subtly signaled to me that Priya’s cards were all numbered, not special cards.
Without waiting for her reaction, I played a reverse card and a draw 4 card and won the game. Everyone cheered and laughed except for Priya, who accused me and Ajay of cheating. No one supported her, and she was angry and upset. She put her cards down, put in her earphones, and refused to talk to anyone for the rest of the ride. When her stop came, she got out of the cab quickly without saying goodbye.
The next day, I regretted how we had treated Priya and decided to apologize to her. I got her number from the common cab WhatsApp group and texted her to say sorry for my behavior during the game. I didn’t get a reply, so I planned to apologize in person during our Monday morning commute. The following day, she responded with a simple “It’s Ok.” Sensing that she was still upset, I texted back, promising not to cheat again.
Her immediate response was to call me a liar and insist that I had cheated. We began to trade insults and sarcastic memes, and I found her wit and humor delightful. Priya was extremely competitive and always wanted to win, which I found out later in an amazing way. Our texting and conversations during our commute continued for a few weeks, and while Priya never brought up her personal life, our conversations were always funny, and sarcastic and were getting borderline dirty.
Priya was older than me, married, no kids so I steered our conversation to something else when it tended to touch awkward topics. We talked about work and things happening in the cab as well, and I didn’t mind that she didn’t share anything personal. I was enjoying trading funny little insults immensely and she absolutely enjoyed it. She made fun of my intelligence, I made fun of her height, etc.
A few months later, one evening with our back-and-forth texting banter, she sent me a sarcastic meme making fun of me, I sent “Fuck you” to which she immediately replied – “Maybe you should!”.
Me: “What!? Lol. Shut up.”
Priya: “You should fuck me!”
I had heard her say the word fuck a million times but when she said the word fuck in this context – I was dumbfounded. Is she toying with me or does she mean it? My brain was doing those mental gymnastics on what to reply and my cock had dibs on the blood supply on a minuscule chance of getting laid.