A Toast To An African Giraffe With A Long Neck & A Bushy Bush Hair…..
A few days ago my sister-from-another mother Kiran Furtado came down all the way from Dubai, UAE to visit me on the island of Koh Samui, Thailand.
I have known Kiran for nearly 21 years. She was the person who experienced ‘Hate-At-First-Sight’ when she saw me. And she experienced this wonderful feeling when she saw me on stage in 1997 trying to win the Mr. Mangalore Youth Competition — a sort of beauty pageant for young boys.
Those days being 20 years old, I had some very important goals to achieve in life.
Very important life changing goals.
Goals like flirting with girls, dating girls and impressing even more girls.
And I worked very hard to achieve these goals.
So in order to achieve these goals, I tried my best to look good, sound good and make everyone feel good. And I managed to achieve this by trying different hair styles, practicing cheesy one-liners & working out in the gym. It was under these circumstance that Kiran first experienced the “Loy Machedo effect” — that too on the 1997 stage of Mr. Mangalore Youth Festival, in Mangalore, India.
So the equation was:
Loy Machedo = Playboy
Kiran Furtado = Playboy Killer.
So as I stepped down the stage after my spectacular performance, I saw her walking with her friends towards me.
She was this really tall woman with a black bushy collection of hair. And when walked — her bushy bush hair on top of her head would bob up and down. To me it looked more like a Giraffe walking with an impressive hair do.
So given that she was a ‘girl’, as soon as I saw her — I tried my best to be ‘nice’ and ‘charming.
However, Kiran being tomboy aka anti-playboy — she hated anything that was cute, cheesy and cringe-worthy…. like me. So the minute I opened my mouth to talk — she let me know she wanted to slap me from Bombay to Belgrade because she found me so irritating. Given how stupid I was, I thought she wanted me to try even harder to impress her. And so I did exactly that — tried harder to impress her with my “I’m-gods-gift-to-women” attitude — to which she nearly ended up jumping on me cat-woman style in order to kill me.
Given that I didn’t have insurance coverage, I decided to quickly end the conversation and escaped her wrath. And so that was my first experience with Kiran Furtado.
Fast forward 3 years later.
From Mangalore I moved back to my country of residence (at that time) Dubai, UAE. I had just joined my first MNC — Citibank that too the sales department which boasted of more than 180+ women and 2 men — with me being the man number 2.
I was ecstatic!
Finally, a job environment that suited my requirements!
Girls, girls and girls all around.
Well…. to be honest, it was more like aunties, married women, big women, bigger women, really big big big women, old women and going to retire women. But then again — at least it wasn’t an all male-dominated department.
So I was happy.
Something was better than nothing. Given that I was mama’s boy — I didn’t mind it anyways.
On that particular day, I was chatting and talking (in case you do not know by now — I am super talkative) my heart away, when suddenly I saw this tall woman — who looked like a giraffe, with a bushy bush hair bobbing up and down and walking towards me.
I was like…. “didn’t I see this creature somewhere before…..”
The minute she saw me, the first words from my mouth were “You???”
And she screamed “YOU!!!” — not a very pleasant feeling for either of us.
It was only then we both realized that we both were the new recruits in the sales department. And now to our horror — we were both colleagues.
Talk about shitty luck!
Kiran Furtado wasn’t too pleased to experience my moronic face, potty personality & cheesy one-liners. And I personally didn’t want to get beaten up by this tall African giraffe with tall neck and a bushy bush haired monstrosity. So we both kept away from each other.
But this is the part where it got strange.
As I got to know Kiran more and more, I realized she was one of the most genuine, honest, sincere & simple people in the entire department. She never spoke behind anyone’s back and she always brought in a feeling of joy to everyone.
Me on the other hand — well, I was a disaster waiting to happen. But in hindsight, I would say, she saw me for who I truly was. Beyond the layers of trying to portray a supercool, super-stylish & super-sexy playboy — she saw me as a immature young man who was lost but had a good heart. And who needed guidance.
So in the most unexpected turn of events — she unconsciously decided to adopt me as her little friend whom she would guide and prevent from getting hurt.
It was more like a relationship between a man and his dog.
Kiran was the man.
I was the dog.
But that is how we became friends.
As time passed, we both witnessed changes in each others life.
I saw her bloom from becoming a silly, impulsive tomboy, to becoming a woman, wife, single mother who experienced the ups & downs — to finally getting remarried to her true love, reaching the pinnacle of her career and settling down with the family.
While me on the other hand — she witnessed me go from being a orangutan in heat who was jumping from one tree branch to another — be it my career, my relationships, my belief, my appearance or my lifestyle — after 4 marriages, getting tattooed from head to toe, nearly attempting suicide, losing everything and to finally being the global online brand I ended up being today.
But we still kept in touch.
I think in hindsight, if there was anything that was most endearing to me — it was that in my toughest, hardest and darkest moments, Kiran Furtado was there for me, holding my hand and not letting go. She was the friend whom I could go to in my moment of need. And she was there for me when I had no one.
If I can highlight 2 incidents in my life with her that show her character, her courage and her carefree attitude — well, read on.
THE WEDDING GAFFE GIRAFFE?
When Kiran decided to marry the love of her life Prakash, I was naturally chosen as the EMCEE for her wedding reception. And I was also honored with speaking a few words and raising the toast. Given that I was a ‘good speaker’ (or so I thought) I decided to impress everyone with my intellect & humor by taking it impromptu (yes, the trait of stupidity is very strong when you are young).
So after, asking everyone in the hall to stand and raise their glass to toast to the Bride & Groom, I described Kiran — who was truly dressed up immaculate — in the most romantic, elegant and timeless manner by stating…..
“When I first saw Kiran, I saw this tall African giraffe with a long neck and a bushy bush hair walking towards me……. and today she is still this wonderfully tall giraffe with bushy bush hair”
As I raised my glass and looked at the audience — there was pin drop silence.
No one said a word.
Everyone was looking at me with their eyes as big as saucers.
I knew I said something wrong.
But I wasn’t able to (at that point of time) pinpoint what exactly did I say wrong.
I turned around to look at Kiran & her husband who were standing on the stage for help…..
Kiran being a fast thinker — immediately she took the microphone, she not only laughed it off, she replied to my toast graciously stating “Only Loy could get away with such an introduction” to which everyone laughed.
Trust me — it cut the tension like a knife.
And I was saved from total embarrassment.
To this day, I do not know what came over me.
I don’t know if it was the Red Bull, the excitement or the stupidity but I had no idea what I was blabbering on the microphone.
Had it been anyone else, they would have hated me for ruining such an important moment.
But not Kiran Furtado.
Incident #2: THE ‘SAY CHEESE FUNERAL”
This is another embarrassing moment in my life which I doubt I will forget.
Kiran’s dad — who was a businessman, had just passed away suddenly due to health complications. It happened so suddenly that no one even knew what or how to go about next. Given the person Kiran Furtado was — she took charge of the entire situation, handled the creditors, debtors and everyone else. And she managed to accomplish this herculean task within a few days.
Trust me when I say this — she managed to accomplish in a few days what 10 men couldn’t have done in months. But given who Kiran was — she did it.
Finally, it came to the burial and final rites. And I was with her when the entire family and friends came in together. That day at the funeral, Kiran handed over a professional canon camera for me to take pictures. Even though I had never used a professional camera until then, I still decided to do my best for her. After all — it was all about ‘point & shoot’.
How hard could that be?
I was doing a fair good job until the ceremony was done with.
As people were walking away, Kiran Furtado and her family were the last to leave. As they were leaving, Kiran walked up to me and requested me to take a final picture of her, her mom and the entire family together for one last picture.
Naturally, I was eager and more than happy to take this final, important and memorable shot. So I decided to impress everyone once again with my leadership skills.
So as everyone came together to stand together united for one last final moment — I took the camera, gestured for everyone to come together with my left hand, looked right into the camera and then shouted loudly at the top of my voice……
“EVERYONE SMILE & SAY CHEEEEESE”
No sooner, I realized what I said, I looked at everyone in pure horror.
Everyone’s eyes were big as saucers.
There was a look of shock & disbelief.
Everyone was like….. “Did he just say what he just said?”
And then there was a camera flash.
The snap was taken.
Everyone else looked at me in total and absolute shock & disbelief.
And I look at everyone in shock & disbelief.
I stood there like an idiot not knowing if I should shoot myself or run away.
I looked at Kiran who were standing with her family….almost instantly Kiran replied…..“Only Loy can come up with an idea” to which it broke the tension…. and everyone laughed through their tears.
Once again, Kiran saved me the embarrassment of a lifetime….
Fast forward to today…..
It was a few days ago that Kiran travelled all the way from Dubai, UAE with her daughter just to come and meet me and my wifey.
It had been nearly 18 months since we saw or even spoke to each other.
The longest ever in our lifetime at least.
And I was surprised that she did want to come down.
Given how busy her life, her career and her family life was — I didn’t expect her to come. Because come on — if you are talking about normal, everyday folks — they are not one to take 3,000kms holidays just to meet a friend for no reason. No one does that. Not even family.
And on top of that — she wasn’t necessarily my ‘relative’ per se that she had to travel all the way just to meet me.
So yeah, I was surprised.
However, when she did come down to meet me — I have to admit — I was…. not happy!
Rather, I was miserable!
Yeah, because for 1 full week, I couldn’t work at all.
Me — Mr. Productive, Mr. Productivity Hack & Mr. be-online-24–7 couldn’t work stick to his normal routine at all! And I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, HATED IT!!!
The whole day was spent doing unproductive tasks like talking, shopping, going around, talking about memories and old times. And spending time with her, my wife and myself — just made me miserable!
This wasn’t my style of living!
I HATED IT!!!
Imagine….Being a productivity freak, a guy who keeps preaching and teaching about hacks, quacks and facts of life the last thing I wanted to do was ‘nothing’.
So it was really tough on me. But whenever I saw Kiran, I kept reminding myself — this was me and her in Dubai, UAE.
This was me in Koh Samui, Thailand.
And this was her from Dubai, UAE — who had travelled all the way just to meet me!
And then when I fed my head this logic — I calmed down a bit.
But every single day, I kept counting when she would leave so that I could get back to my ‘work’.
I know — I’m an asshole!
I think the most difficult part was that I had to constantly remind myself that not everything focused only on productivity, productivity hacks and a productive life.
So Kiran Furtado and I spoke to each other everyday for every hour and for every minute just about everything. Even when we had nothing to speak about. But we spend time with each other — Me, my wifey, Kiran & her daughter.
Man…it was BOORING!!!
So after the painful 5 days or so, when it was her time to leave (thankfully!), I looked at her for one last time.
Kiran stood there with her daughter.
While I stood there opposite to her with my wifey.
It reminded me of the time I stood in front of her at the stage in Mangalore, India facing her as a young man who was trying to impress the girls.
It reminded me of the time I stood in front of her in Citibank, where I was trying hard to impress the women.
It reminded me of the time I stood like an idiot on her wedding date where I tried to be funny but bombed and ruined her wedding toast.
It reminded me of the time I stood like a fool who blabbered the wrong words at the wrong time when I tried to click a picture of the family.
Once again, I stood in front of Kiran Furtado.
This time however, we were older and wiser.
We looked at each other.
And we hugged each other for probably the one last time.
I am not sure if either of us wanted to shed a tear or be sad, but I could say it was a unspoken statement between us. We didn’t say much other than just the customary ‘You take care’ and ‘Be safe’.
And just like that….we parted ways.
As I left her hotel room with my wifey and we walked, it just dawned on me that this was most probably the last time I would ever see Kiran.
Maybe never again.
As I walked further into the pitch black night with my wifey, it slowly sunk in that life had taken a different phase. It was time for me, for her and for all of us to move on.
20 years ago, Kiran Furtado — a young, single, adventurous tomboy of a young woman saw a young, careless, idiotic, attention seeking, girl-chasing, ‘smarter-than-thou’ chap called Loy Machedo trying to score points with the ladies.
20 years later, the same Kiran Furtado was now a much older woman, with a beautiful young daughter, responsibilities on her shoulder and many plans ahead of her. While Loy Machedo…. well…was a much more older man now — someone who had totally changed, transformed and evolved into what no one even remotely imagined.
As I whizzed through all the memories that me and Kiran shared, I just knew that the next phase in my life was calling — Fatherhood, responsibilities & yes, family. Ironically, after being a playboy for all those years — I was now going to be a Father of a daughter.
I suppose the first order of the day would be to show her a picture of me when I was young and tell my baby daughter — “you see a boy who looks like this, you run away, far, far, far, far away from him. He is BAD BAD BAD BAD for you!”
Yeah…that would be my 1st lesson to my daughter…..
As I thought about all this….
For the one last time, I stopped where I was.
I turned around to look at where I left Kiran Furtado.
My heart was heavy.
My mind was numb.
My feelings….just blank.
It finally dawned on me — this was the end for me and Kiran.
A relationship spanning 20 plus years.
All over within a few more seconds.
It finally started to sink in that I would never get to meet Kiran again.
This was our last meeting.
This was our reality.
It was sad.
It was heartbreaking.
I was tempted to go back and give her a hug once again.
But then I knew if I did — I would cry.
So I decided it was best to just walk ahead.
As I looked up at the pitch black the black dark sky,
I raised my non-existent wine glass for one last time…..
“To a really tall African Giraffe with a long neck & bushy bush hair….my sister from another mother — Kiran Furtado”
And with that…. I walked away from my past…..into the night… my future.