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5 years back one unassuming, petite figure staggered on to the podium in Club. She laughed nervously, words stumbled out of her mouth, almost as if talking did not come naturally to her. If I hadn’t seen her after that I would have probably died thinking Divya Ganeshan was a nervous, introverted, shy person, who talks only when talked to, who makes people feel uncomfortable around her because of her inability to break the ice. Mea culpa.

If Divya had been born in the early ’80s, I would have no doubt in believing that was the inspiration for Scrappy-Doo. She is tiny, she talks non-stop and often ends up taking on ‘villains’ many times her size. If she had a bugle, I can swear she’d do a Ta dadada ta daaa and run off shouting Lemme at ’em! I’ll splat ’em! Yeah, she’s scrappy! But curiously, she detests dogs. If you have seen some of the people she’s taken on in college – Spike, Bounce, Giri – you would be in no doubt of her bravado (and their magnanimity). Unfortunately, the calamity is least at the seismic center and most at the most vulnerable spot – yours truly.

She’s always the first one to talk. She opens with a bold sweeping claim, argues vehemently for it, sticks to it till she senses she’s going under water and just when you think she’s going to concede, she lands a punch, often in your stomach. Her humor quotient intrigues me the most and if I were researching mutations, I am sure I would be working on her funny gene. Yeah she has a very active one, thanks to her mom no doubt, but here’s the interesting thing – it functions properly as long as there are no stimulating external factors. The minute these stimuli are recognized, not only does the gene shut off, it takes over another function – it starts inhibiting your funny gene. Phenotypically, she will say something that will have you in splits, but the minute she realizes that you think she’s funny, she will come up with such gems that you wish you were beating her in an argument. That hurts a lot less. And the spirit-crushing Flop maara? and Aiyyo mokkai! Remind me to laugh on Sunday. I have known hordes of aspiring comedians get crushed under her brutal retorts and one, Pourush Choudhary, still wakes up in the middle of the night, sweating and palpitating, undoubtedly suffering from a barb inflicted by her in college.

All things said, she’s a wonderful person, as long as she has her daily dose of coffee, which is anywhere between 10 small cups and 15 large ones, and gossip. If she’s denied her coffee, very much like she’s denied gossip, she’ll get cranky. If you are not a coffee person, there cannot be a better coffee-coach than Divya. The passion with which she talks about coffee, drinks coffee, orders the coffee-guy to make coffee would have better serve a struggling artist.

If you’ve met her just the one time and decided she’s a bore, I pity you. If you’ve met her the 2nd time and are thinking about meeting her the 3rd time, I’ll kill you.

So I raise my cup of steaming hot, strong filter coffee in a toast to the funnest and funniest girl I’ve ever met – Divya Ganeshan!

Happy Birthday! 🙂

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