Stalking And Social Media

We met our late friend Kam’s younger sister, Ravi, for a meal last night in central London. They knew all these sorts of places. So while she had been to this restaurant previously, we hadn’t: La Porte des Indes:

Screen capture of Google.
Screen capture of Google.

It’s a French-Indian place behind Marble Arch tube station. If you are ever in that part of London, it is worth a try. (I also warn you, it is pricey.) Waiting for her to appear, we discovered, as you see on the Google page I captured above, that they do indeed make excellent cocktails:

A "Black Pearl." At La Porte des Indes. [Photo by me, 2016.]
A “Black Pearl.” At La Porte des Indes. [Photo by me, 2016.]

We had not seen Ravi in person in over three years. She looked much the same. She’s terribly sweet, always sharply dressed (I always felt the need not to look too “casual” around both her and her late sister) and she arrived and sauntered over to the table exactly as we expected.

This was the first time in all the years we’d known her that we’d socialized with her without her older sister present, or at least hovering somewhere nearby. We had never noticed this so much before either: Unsurprisingly she has the occasional mannerism her late sister had, and she uses words as her sister did. It was a spooky sensation at times.

Naturally she has had a rough few years since her sister’s 2014 death. They did so much together – they were essentially the other’s best friend. In fact, they had often traveled together, and always reminded us of the women friends in the British Airways onboard safety video:

British Airways safety video. Screen capture of YouTube.
British Airways safety video. Screen capture of YouTube.

The most hilarious part of that was we felt we could identify which of them was which.

As we got comfortable after she turned up, we got the “toughest” part of the evening out of the way: We discussed the deaths of both her sister and my mother.

After that, we tried to keep matters lighter. She joked about her Louboutins at one point. She also thanked me for writing about her late sister in one of my books: “She’d so love that!”

As we also reviewed how we had had a difficult time actually “getting together” in recent months and now finally had managed it, I seized the opportunity to ask her about Facebook for herself – as I had years ago asked her sister.

Facebook helped, I said, all of us to know where we are for ease of contact and helps keep friends “closer.” But as her sister had, she declined to join it. I had always understood her sister had been “fearful” of it, so I tried to reassure her that it would be only us. My personal Facebook, I said, is only friends and family, people I know and trust, and not open to the public.

She still said “No.” She went on to explain briefly that she had had a huge problem on Facebook when she had been on it for a short time some years ago. She did not go into details – and I didn’t push – but she inferred clearly that she had been stalked (by a man).

I suppose many of us view social media so casually now that we can forget – especially a man like myself. Being stalked is a terrible problem of course for some women. She had obviously experienced that, so I said I fully understood why she wished to steer clear of social media and we moved on conversationally.

After leaving her and arriving home last night, a couple of text messages came in from her. (“Great to see you,” etc.) It felt weirdly much like we would have received from her late sister.

Earlier at the restaurant, she had updated me on her newest mobile phone number. She’d had to change it more than once over the stalker and I had only an email address for her. As she typed her new number directly into my phone, she smiled and said, “See, we’re *connected* now.”

Have a good weekend, wherever you are in the world. 🙂

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Author: “Conventions: The Garden At Paris,” “Passports,” “Frontiers,” and “Distances.” British Airways frequent flier. Lover of the Catskill Mountains...and the 1700s. New novel of 1797-1805, "Tomorrow The Grace," due out in 2019.