Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Leaping Frogs

In my favorite sitcom Frasier, there's a sketch where Frasier is inspired by the leap year to take 'leaps', by which he means doing something new, or those things that you've always held back from attempting. After all the people he encouraged to take leaps crashed and burned, he chickens out from his own leap- by deciding to sing a simple ditty instead of the complex aria he had originally planned on live TV. When confronted, he frantically spits out, "It's an unwise man who doesn't learn from his own mistakes but it is an absolute idiot who doesn't learn from other people's." It's a really funny bit, especially since he forgets the words to the ditty and bungles his way through it. (Do watch!)

One of the reasons why I so cherish this show is because of these little bits of wisdom that are so breezily inserted into the seemingly light-hearted script. This line, about learning from other people's experiences, for example, is gold.

There are times when we shamelessly exploit this. In school, especially. If a teacher had to be approached, how many of us haven't selected a sacrificial lamb from among our friends, led the poor creature to the door of the staff room, and shoved them in with, "You go first, go ask, go!"? If the specimen came out roasted alive, battered and bruised, then the entire group would scatter like ants. That's how we first learnt to learn from experience.

It also happens when you're in a queue, doesn't it? You're standing in line, looking ahead and you see how the people in front of you get treated by the teller. If it's a disgruntled government employee snapping at everyone like a pitbull on a diet, you know there's no point smiling at the person when it's your turn. You also find out that you'll get a dirty death glare if you don't tender the exact change. Many are the times I have been terrified into digging into my purse for coins long before I reached the spot.

In spite of all this experience, however, I recently decided to take a leap of my own. I joined Tinder.
For those of you who aren't familiar with it, it's a dating app that displays people who have signed up to it within a certain radius of your location. Swiping left rejects the profile, swiping right can lead to a match, and you start chatting.

Three days in, and I feel like one of Frasier's unfortunate friends. At first, I took one look at the dozens and dozens of men lined up to chat and seriously considered "It's Raining Men" for my ringtone. In fact, I felt a growing inferiority complex reading the descriptions. 'Entrepreneur', 'Adrenaline Junkie', 'Designer', 'Free Spirit', 'Nomad', 'Adventure freak'... sometimes all in one profile! It sounded like these hordes of men were all jumping off cliffs, flying through the air with makeshift wings, wading through rivers teeming with life, catching fish with their teeth and still making a few lakhs a month by selling their incredible designs. Reality is not just an eye-opener, it also spits in that open eye. For this, I blame evolution. Maturity should have had an organ all of its own. Then at least some people could get transplants. Now, there's no hope for them. None at all.

So now, it's not raining at all. Or rather, I curled my lip at the whole scenario and went indoors. Goodbye, Tinder! Leaping isn't for everyone. For frogs, yes. For all the Tarzans on Tinder, yes. My feet's on the ground for now.

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