Here is the fifth part of my journey in life with Asperger’s Syndrome. As always, it is never too late to start reading the earlier parts, if you have not read them yet: https://ashwinkumar1989net.wordpress.com/2017/05/09/my-experiences-as-an-aspie-part-one/ , https://ashwinkumar1989net.wordpress.com/2017/05/10/my-experiences-as-an-aspie-part-two/ , https://ashwinkumar1989net.wordpress.com/2017/05/12/my-experiences-as-an-aspie-part-three/ and https://ashwinkumar1989net.wordpress.com/2017/05/25/my-experiences-as-an-aspie-part-four/.
I used to be friends with a guy in Bangalore(originally from Mumbai), who is more than 10 years older to me. I first met him on Facebook towards the latter half of 2010 – that time I knew him as a fellow railfan. He was also the admin of a railfan group in FB, and added me to that group. One day during the 2nd week of December, we had a long debate involving trains; which marked the beginning of our friendship. He introduced me to a new concept called “nose-to-nose” (or simply “n2n”) – which meant (according to him) that the competition between two people (especially during heated debates) is so high that their noses would touch each other. At that time, I was curious rather than suspicious. We kept having more debates (again related to trains) and on a few occasions we went “n2n” again – on one such occasion he involved another railfan as well.
Then, towards the end of January 2011; we had another heated debate – this time on “Cricket vs Football”. This time the debate was so hot that we even took our shirts off, and viewed each other’s hairy chests (by sending each other pics of our chests). All these conversations were on Facebook, but I was really naive and oblivious to his true intentions (in no small part due to being an Aspie). Much later, he asked me if I thought these things were gay, and I replied in the negative – partly out of ignorance/naivety, and partly because I didn’t want to hurt him. After I joined IFMR, I got busy with studies as well as making friends with my new classmates ; so didn’t have time for chatting with this guy (except for pinging each other on rare occasions).
After I got my first job towards the end of May 2013, we got in touch again. I came to know that he was also a HR (specifically a Recruiter). In July 2014, he informed me that he was the admin of a HR group in Whatsapp; and asked me if I wanted to be part of it. I was keen on making more friends (especially if they were in a similar profession); so I replied in the affirmative. I ended up making a few close friends(mostly from Chennai), and quite a few acquaintances. This guy and I also resumed our “n2n”s, and we became close friends. Then, in January 2015, he made me the joint admin of the group(there were 3 other joint admins). Later, he revealed to me that the reason for making me joint admin was that we would be in regular touch with each other – which meant more opportunity for “n2n”s.
In February, we met (face-to-face 😀 ) for the first time; in Bangalore. I was to take an overnight train to Yeshwantpur(YPR) and spend some time at his house, and then the two of us would go to Bangalore City(SBC) and spend some time railfanning; after which I would take the Double Decker express back to Chennai. Apparently my friend’s parents didn’t know about his railfanning, though they knew of his interest in trains. So he asked me to pretend (when I came to his house) that I had gone to Mysore to meet another friend, and then taken a train to YPR – so that his parents would not come to know that the true purpose of my trip was to spend time railfanning with my friend. Since he had called me to his house, I felt that it would not be good if I went empty-handed. So, I went to Spencer Plaza and bought a Tirupathi idol for his parents, before boarding the train from Chennai Central.
My friend was kind enough to pick me up with his scooter from YPR. At his home I took bath, dressed and had breakfast prepared by his mother. I liked his parents, though could not speak much with his father. His mother seemed to take an interest in my welfare, and suggested that I took up a training course on sales at her FMCG firm as an add-on to my job. However, I felt I didn’t have time for that; moreover I was not really keen to get into Sales/Marketing. My friend and I then secretly had a real “n2n” (including nose rubbing) in a bathroom. I felt weird, but I was still under the impression that it was a “brotherly” thing. Then we had a really good railfanning session at SBC before I took the DD express back to Chennai.
I was not finding it easy being the joint admin of the Whatsapp HR group as well as handling the stress at my workplace. Sometimes, the stress made me lazy and thus neglect my joint admin duties. Eventually, my friend relieved me of my joint admin duties in April; though it was officially given out in the group that I had resigned. His family was apparently undergoing some financial problems, so I had to loan him money. I also had to book bus tickets for him using my Debit Card. Meanwhile, we kept having our “n2n” sessions, even going bare-chested again on quite a few occasions. He even created a Whatsapp group for the “n2n” sessions, and added quite a few people to it.
My friend then quit his job because of the stressful environment at the workplace, and took up another job at Pune( it involved Recruitment as well as Business Development, and he could get a transfer to the Bangalore office if the company obtained clients there). After I left my job at Chennai and came back to Mumbai, I met him for the second time; at the beginning of November, in Pune. He was staying at his one of his aunts’ place, and we met after his aunt went out. We again had an “n2n” before a fine railfanning session(including lunch) at Pune station; after which I returned to Mumbai by train. Apparently, it seemed my friend’s new company had no Bangalore office;moreover they lacked professionalism – the MD would bring his baby to office everyday, and the baby’s wailing would make it really difficult(not to mention awkward) when my friend made calls to candidates.
Eventually, he rejoined his ex-company in Bangalore; after working in the new company at Pune for just 3-4 months! :O Meanwhile, our friendship also cooled off somewhat during the first half of 2016. He removed me from the Whatsapp HR group, and also seemed to have quit Facebook. He had a close friend in Bangalore – the guy is from Kerala and (along with his wife) was staying temporarily in my friend’s place in Bangalore – till he and his wife got a place of their own. One fine day in April, this guy messaged me in Whatsapp saying that my friend had blocked me from Facebook, because of what happened between the two of us at Pune! :O
I demanded this guy to explain what he was talking about. He told me that my friend and I had sex in Pune, and he was gay! :O Moreover, my friend’s mother had advised him to keep away from people like me, and was feeling really sad about the Tirupathi idol gift! I was in shock and rage, especially as I had just come home from my office in Malad West and was tired – from my commute of more than an hour involving taking two buses and an auto. I felt that thus guy(I nicknamed him ‘Insufferable Git’) was creating problems between me and my friend. ‘Insufferable Git’ then created a Whatsapp group for just the three of us – me, my friend and him. The purpose of creating the group was to find out the truth.
I felt sure that ‘I.G’ would be proven wrong and my friend would defend me. However, I was sadly proven wrong. My friend claimed that I had booked a hotel room in Pune and had had sex with him! :O I couldn’t imagine that a HR professional like him could stoop to this level and defame his friend with the lamest of lies! He went on further to say that he was completely new to Pune, and I found it easy to book a hotel room because of my immense knowledge of Pune! My “friend” then denounced my friendship saying that I had betrayed his trust! Wow, way to go! What a brilliant way to take advantage of a friend who has helped you in your times of need; and then throw him when you don’t need him any longer! Its not difficult at all, especially when that friend is an Aspie like me; who is oblivious to most social situations!
In spite of all this claims by my “friend”, I still harboured a hope that he was still a good guy – but was probably poisoned by “I.G”. This chat in Whatsapp happened in the middle of the week. Later, I tried to ping my “friend” in Whatsapp but he had blocked me. I then texted him and told him that he was wrong to say what he said; and also reminded him to return my money(which he still hasn’t). I didn’t get any reply from him. This was on Sunday. I was feeling helpless and frustrated; so lost it completely and threw my HTC phone on the ground – the screen shattered. I sent very angry and threatening texts to both these guys from my Nokia Lumia phone. Fortunately, that evening I had the relief of a session with my counsellor, even though it was on Skype and not face-to-face.
I explained to my counsellor what had happened, and she said that my “friend” saw the “n2n” as equivalent to kissing; but felt he was completely on the wrong all the same, having taken advantage of me in such a bad manner. Look, I don’t have a problem with the LGBT community – in fact I feel marriages in this community need to be legalized in our country; and the community should have the same freedom as heterosexuals do. However, for a friend (no matter gay or straight) to have used me in such a way as this guy did; was repugnant. He led me into believing that our “n2n” sessions were brotherly, when in fact he wanted a gay partner. Then, on finding out that I was straight after all; he dumped me as a friend and made ridiculous accusations about sex; in the end claiming that I had betrayed his trust – when the reality was that the opposite had happened ! He also owes me money (in addition – the cost of bus tickets booked through my Debit card!).
Meanwhile, even after the session with my counsellor; my anger and frustration had not satiated yet – I put up an angry Facebook status condemning my “friend”. I then spoke to my family friend(if you remember, I had mentioned her in Part 3). She advised me to be careful in choosing friends, as otherwise I would be taken for a ride – and also to break off the friendship with that guy. She also advised me to delete the Facebook status(which I did), because people who didn’t know me well would otherwise assume that there was something wrong with me only and not my “friend”. Fortunately, the next day there was better news – my “friend” and his mother spoke to me. He said sorry, and his mother suggested me to move on with my life and leave this incident behind – a classic “let bygones be bygones” statement. I wasn’t convinced, but she also kept telling me that “I.G” was not in the wrong – he was only trying to set things right.
I then told sorry to “I.G” for my anger towards him. I realized he was actually trying to help me by showing the true nature of my “friend” to me – and he was trying to make amends for my “friend”‘s behaviour. I haven’t met him (face-to-face) yet, but now he is a friend of mine. He revealed to me that my “friend” was attracted to him as well, and was trying to get him to do “n2n” and all that stuff – but he was putting up with it only because he and his wife were staying in my “friend”‘s place till they got a home of their own in Bangalore. My new friend sounded sincere to me, especially when he said later that he requested only one thing from me – “not to break this friendship between us”. I likewise find him nice to interact – he is a railfan as well; and keeps sending motivating and joking forwards on a frequent basis.
Well, this marks the end of a rather eventful Part 5. I am afraid I am not done with my experiences as an Aspie yet, even now! Stay tuned for Part 6!