Sunday, 10 November 2013
We fell in love so quickly that there was no time to think it through. No time to analyze if he'd fit my definitions of love. If he could be "The One". No time, how would there be? We were never off the phone. Months later it makes perfect sense though, I had to fall in love with him.Why? Because he makes me happy. From 812 kms away he can make me feel loved. Somedays we barely talk, and on others we talk only to fight and crib about the lack of time. But even on those days when we are snapping at each other there is a part of me that knows I wouldn't want it any other way. He is home. My person, the only one in the world who I could say anything to and he would still hold me tight and say he loves me.
(a chat from the first few months)
P and me were friends because of this very blog, its hard to believe that something I started out of plain boredom gave me the most important person in my life. So maybe it is true then, everything does happen for a reason. He's working for the Government of India in the defence forces. And I can't begin to explain such a pain in the wrong places that is. He has tough life, tough schedule and a very busy day. Every day the routine tires him, I wonder if he forgets me sometimes but he never forgets to remind me that he doesn't. I would love to be my demanding self, and many times I am but after a while I just don't have the heart to be.
In the first 6 months of our relationship he had to go for his first training. Which meant no calls, no texts and, not even the once in a blue moon skype call. We in any case had a long distance relationship which meant seeing each other only after months and several long STD bills. We thought it would be easy, the extra space would help us do our own thing too. But it was tough, very tough.
We wrote letters to each other. The really long ones, the 1000 words and more. The short ones just to say "I love you. And I am thinking of you." The one liners after a fight, the pages full of words which couldn't ever really capture how we felt. On days when he had time he sent multiple letters at once, the postman often joked with him, why write so much just make a quick phonecall in secret instead. But we preferred the letters, we could speak at length in them. Sometimes when the words ran out we sent things. The bracelet he made for me out of twigs, so delicately put together. It fit my hand perfectly like his would if he was here. The target sheet he stole for me from range practice. He was getting good at it, almost hitting the centre once in a while. The little cards I made for him each one with a reason why I loved him;
For that smile, when I do something stupid
For that phone call in the middle of the night just to say I love you. (Even when I don't remember it the next day)
For the way you believe in us
For the way you say "Let's not fight. I love you"
For each time you say "Listen" with the south indian accent and it sounds like "Lizzen"
We wrote of the bad days and the good ones. The time when I had the worst day at work, everything went wrong that day. Writing to him helped, it always does. Almost like he was listening and offering comfort. I wrote of the graduation ceremony he missed, as I threw my cap in the air for a momentary second I scanned the crowd hoping to see him. He wrote about his seniors, the cool guys and even the strict ones. He sent me sketches of the fighter planes he learnt about, each one distinct from the other (though I could never tell the difference). The letter he wrote in Shudh Bhojpuri! I remember reading it over and over and laughing till my stomach hurt. The drawings he made of all the possible positions that the seniors instructed them to make the most famous being the "Crab Walk","Side Roll" and "Murga"
We wrote cause we had no other way. He wrote about the friends he made. He observed whenever he made a new friend they were never standing, always rolling on the floor, or with their legs in the air, or simply lying down after the several push-ups and crunches. Once I put my scent on the letter I wrote to him, it is very cheesy when you think about it, but the smile it brought on his face was totally worth it. Besides he likes cheese. As a gesture of sweet reciprocation he sent me a tradeable WWE card. I have no clue how he managed to or why, but it was cute. I sent him a photo of me, that he kept in his wallet. A bookmark, I had painted myself that he kept in his textbooks, somehow I was everywhere even when I wasn't. I used to pick up free postcards from restaurants and send him those once in a while to break the monotony. It was only later that I knew he had to earn all the letters I wrote to him. 50 pushups for letters from the mother, 30 if they were from dad and 100 if they were from the girlfriend. The standards often changed on the time of the day and the mood of the seniors. He did each one eagerly, waiting to know what I had written this time.
Our story has it all, the distance, the age gap, differences in religion and of course parents who resort to melodrama at the drop of a hat. Right out of a movie, someone might say. But somehow the choice is obvious, it can't be otherwise, even the melodrama is worth it. So if you ask me what our day of love is I would say, it keeps evolving. Maybe it was the day I first spoke to him and thought he was full of hot air, or maybe the day he said I love you for the first time. It probably is the time he came back from the academy to see me and I was blushing like it was the first time all over again. Maybe it was the day he left, and I cried myself to sleep in his jacket because it would mean a few more months without him. Or maybe our Platinum Day of Love is yet to come. Because I'm in love with the memories we are yet to make.
Wednesday, 6 November 2013
This was my childhood home where I spent those hot summer vacations. You know the age when the sun doesn't bother you. The carefree years. Its hard to imagine now that I once loved this place. In one of the distant and quaint villages of Gujarat, hidden somewhere far off from the developing cities and expressways there was a building I called home. It was like those vintage bungalows amidst trees and innumerable small houses, each having rattling noises of its own. The vessels clanging in the kitchen, the children being a riot, the old radio playing the tunes of the day, or just the creaking of granddad’s chair – the noises that somehow together spelt peace.
The slice of village life I kept hidden from my city friends, I don’t think I have ever mentioned this in detail to anyone. No one knew where I disappeared for a fortnight each year and came back tanned like a Dorito. It was my own secret adventure just like one of the many Enid Blyton books I carried with me here but never got to read. There was not an idle moment here, the village brimmed with life. A stark contrast to the fast paced concrete jungle where I came from. This house had seen a lot, the walls spoke volumes, the marks the children made on the wooden panel surrounding the door marking their height each summer also marked the years gone by. The clay vessels that we played with. And the pretentious tea we served to the old and young alike. This building I once loved. If only that one night hadn’t changed everything.
I was 8 , it was the rains that took him. Not once have I enjoyed that familiar pitter patter on my window since that day. The rains bring bad news I always say, and maybe they do. Maybe its the skies crying over the bad news. Maybe rains are a sign of destruction, maybe its His best illusion. That night I didn’t sleep at all. I don’t remember anything except that all night I was trying to wake my 6 month old sister, I pinched her awake every time she slept. Something was wrong, he slept and didn’t wake up I didn’t want her to do the same to me. The happy faces I usually saw here now had darkened expressions of deep sorrow. Why were they crying? It was finally raining. The hot summers were gone, and yet no one seemed happy.
The alley that led to my home was crowded with people, I tried to acknowledge the familiar faces but no one smiled at me today, I had probably grown taller than last time and they just didn’t recognize me. My mother held my hand tightly while we waded the crowd. As we got nearer I could hear wailing women and now I was scared. We walked into that door I knew so well, with elephants and horses carved into the thick wood and the door knob that I had picked when the last one broke. My mother didn’t bother to abandon her footwear in the verandah, something that struck me as odd. As we entered I saw that white mattress and he lied there lifeless, my 50 year old neighbour saw my mother and hugged her as she cried and my mother still holding my hand in hers fell to the floor near him. My aunt was there too her eyes red, my uncle perplexed and in some kind of shock. As my mother lost control I didn’t know if I had to cry too. My dad decided to take me away from this. But I saw him, his face blue. It had been 5 minutes since I had come home and he didn’t bother to look at me. I was now upset. Maybe I had to wake him up. I moved towards him but something inside me stirred with fear, some kind of instinct that tells you something was wrong.
I was 3 burning with fever, I was to start school the coming June. The panic was evident on his face. He was probably just tired of my constant crying. He walked 10 kms and back for the medicine I needed, that day he was some kind of a hero.
I was 5, atop his shoulder. It was Rakshabandhan, which meant lot of sweets and gifts for me back then. My mother tied him the rakhi I had picked. It had to be a Pokemon Rakhi, it didn’t matter if he was a little over 24. We were just about to say our goodbyes when I decided to pull at the curtains in the living room, the entire rod and the cloth that hung on it came crashing on me. I was about to cry when he came and picked me up and said “What?, are you going to cry now. Wuss!” and I didn’t cry.
I was 7, we had reached home after the celebratory dinner. He had bought his first car, it was obviously a reason to celebrate. As I got down from the car holding the icecream we bought on the way home I felt the door shut on my hand. I was screaming for exactly 3 seconds when he realised what had happened, got hold of me and released my hand. I was now looking at the swelling which had appeared over my tiny fingers with tears welling in my eyes. He had the same panic on his face, he always had when I was in any kind of pain and he decided to mock hit the car, I joined him while he asked my mother to rub ice on my hand, he couldn’t even bare to look at it. Should have known that car was evil.
Today as I sit in the same house, I sometimes feel his presence. Sometimes even now when I wake up in the car to realise we’ve reached home. In that moment between sleep and wakefulness I expect him to come and hug me tight and say “Finally, what took you’ll so long” Sometimes I feel blessed, I had good 8 years with him, all my sister has is a photo here and there and a vague account of what he was from the things we say, when we fondly bring him up. I never say anything. For a year after he was gone, I spotted him in various crowds. In the market where we went to buy vegetables, I saw that tall and lean figure with ruffled hair, he was so tall always easy to spot. Sometimes I even saw him at school during break though it would be odd if he was wearing the school uniform. I never had the heart to chase the stranger I thought was him, the fear of being disappointed was too much. Instead I decided to believe it was indeed him in the crowded spaces, and he was only looking after us. A superhero lurking in the corners looking out for a crisis. He was my hero and maybe these four walls remind me of him, and maybe I still somewhere hope that one day he’ll come walking back like he always does with the stride in his walk and his ruffled hair, so tall and easy to spot and then I’ll call it home again.