article by chetan bhagat (5 pt sm1 fame) can engineers be touchy
Can engineers be 'Touchy feely'?
Can engineers be 'Touchy feely'? Apparently they
can... says author Chetan Bhagat
I remember the incident - I was in a restaurant, and
one girl in our group was especially charming. So I,
like any other male, tried to put on a wooing act. You
know the routine, a nanosecond extra eye contact, a
few more nods to whatever she says, and attempts to
throw in those one-liners which you know you wouldn't
if she weren't there.
And it seemed to be working. She leaned forward when
she spoke to me, and every now and again, we'd have a
small conversation of our own, separate from our
group. She laughed at my approach with the fork and
knife, and I teased her about her hair band, which had
little teddy bears. Yes, we were flirting. A while
later, she asked me the question - what did I study? I
said engineering, without any particular meaning
attached to it. And then like a cold metal rail, she
went stiff. My jokes weren't funny any more. Her eyes
wandered to everyone else. What was it?
Why? Why? Why?
Two days later, I still couldn't get over my great
start that had dissipated listlessly upon mentioning
my education. Engineer? What was wrong with that? My
mom had wanted me to become one since I was five! I
had to call her. 'So what happened to you that day,
hot and cold, missie?' And then she said, trying to be
nice, 'Well, it's just that I am skeptical about
engineers as friends. I don't know, they can be, you
know, very logical and everything... not very touchy
Not touchy-feely. Now what the heck did that mean?
Well, she obviously did not mean it literally, since
girls don't really suggest that sort of stuff,
certainly not in the first meeting across the table. I
guessed it was something to do with feelings, sort of
having an emotional side. The stereotype being, the
nerdy guy who sees relationships like laws of physics,
to whom love is just a bunch of chemicals going crazy
in your brain, and getting to know a person means
obtaining their bio-data.
It's time to set the record straight.
It's true that a lot of what engineers study (and they
end up studying quite a lot), has to do with
formulaes, laws and numbers. No matter how hard we
try, some of the vocabulary we read all day gets into
our language. So when my mother said, 'Are you getting
married next year or not?' I was liable to say, 'Well,
at this moment in time, the probability is relatively
low,' and felt it was completely normal to say it. And
when my sister went sari shopping and couldn't explain
the shade she wanted, I told the shopkeeper the
percentages of pink, orange and red in the sari.
Yet, ladies, I don't think we're bad at relationships,
love and getting to know people. We too, can be
touchy-feely, as that is part of our education as
well. The reason for this is that most engineering
students live in the ultimate educator - boy's
hostels. Now, let me explain how this plays into this
'touchy-feely' thing. Relationships. Imagine eating,
sleeping, brushing your teeth, bathing (ok rarely this
one) and partying with the same people all the time.
So, when you are kicking that bathroom door down for
the tenth time, or when you stand in line for
'gulab-jamuns' in the mess, and when you are done with
the vodka bottle and sharing all your secrets, you
know it is good practice. Yes, hostels maketh the man.
So, next time you are in a flirtatious situation with
the techno types, go on, flirt a bit more. Of course,
I am biased towards my kind, but if you find the
conversation turning too geeky, just ask them, 'So,
what were your hostel days like?' and chances are,
you'll see a heart behind the calculator. Coming back
to my missie, I thought of what would make me win her
over. Flowers... too cheesy. Music... don't know her
taste (nor trust mine). Teddy bears... don't even go
there. Desperate for some good lines, I just turned it
right back at her. 'Yes, I know what you are saying
about engineers. The thing is, unless people with
depth like you start hanging out with us, we won't get
any better. Can you meet me some time for some
touchy/feely... oops, I mean coffee/tea?' She giggled.
When they giggle, you have won. Hence proved.!
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