She had met him that evening, and chatted for hours that just did not seem long enough. They dug out memories, laughed at silly and goofy things they did and those that they could but did not. Amused at the flush of youth that engulfed them, they became teenagers once again.
She caught herself unawares that night, thinking of the time long past… a time when no care in the world existed, nor mattered except the matters of the heart. The time when she fell in love for the first time. The time when she was touched tenderly, kissed for the very first time, and caressed lovingly. The moments that were frozen in time.
And then she looked by her side, towards the love of her life, her best friend, her lover and her biggest strength. Somehow things did not feel out-of-place.. the moments then and the moments now kind of existed in congruence. Both men were by her side at different times and both made her more beautiful, made her the woman she was, and she is. She silently thanked both of them for being the people they are. One a dear friend, and another her soul mate.
The story of our getting together and marriage is on my site and his in bits and pieces. I am linking (do go to the original posts and read comments) and reproducing the bits trying to give it some semblance of timeline so this post will be disjointed but it might interest a few 🙂
There are a lot of gaps and perhaps someday we will fill them and re-publish.
Some names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals
One afternoon when Priya came to my home. I had been expecting her. We were to write some articles and finish the editing of our club’s (Rotaract club of Nagpur West) newsletter (Perceptions). She was the editor for English section along with another Rotaractor, who (in her words) “ thinks himself to be very smart but he is intelligent and very likeable isn’t he?”
Both of us were in First years of our graduation and he was a year older to us, studying at the local Medical College. She had been interacting with him since quite some time, she even felt that he “somewhat” cares about her else why would he give her such sneer remarks – to the people who he did not care about, he just ignored. Like he did with me – I knew he was Sangita’s best friend. He perhaps never noticed me.
Priya felt she must do something about it and so she had written a small story of herself and him (of course with pseudo names) and was planning to get it published in the local newspaper. She was a regular “guest writer” in the Magazine section of our small town local newspaper so for her it was “no big deal” getting the story published. She was tickled, very excited and quiet expectant at what the outcome could be, being Mills and Boons fan. That day no work happened. She did not even bother to look at the articles and poems I had for the club newsletter.
I sometimes wonder if I still am that patient a listener.
A week later (on Sunday) afternoon she came by very thrilled – the story had got published and she had gone around his house several times on her moped so see any signs of life – she told me she did not go inside his house as she wanted to see his reaction to the story in the evening (The Rotaract meetings happened every Sunday evening) She could barely hold her excitement, her heart racing fast, but because she did not want to be alone at the meeting venue she had come to my place so that we can go to the meeting together.
4 PM, meeting venue. We reached before anyone else did. The President came, Secretary came, Members came, no sign of him… then she gasped. Held my hand tight. There he was on his black Hero Honda, with his trademark tilt of a head, parked his vehicle right beside us. Looked at me, smiled and Sangita said, let’s go inside and start the meeting.
He did not even look at her. Later she told me, very bitterly, it did not matter.
Wonder what she will say if she finds out that 7 years after this incidence, I married him.
How and what made us get married to each other is another very interesting story.
I have not heard from her since ages, last time I called her she was busy shifting back to India from another country and we could hardly talk.
Cute and petite, she was the life of our group. Her anecdotes with smatterings of “uno bola, to fir main boli” in typical Hyderabadi style kept the conversation alive. We called her “Hauli” a slang for cutely silly. She loved the road side Chinese food and I would very often gate crash on her roadside dining dates which she went with her “Quack”. Her boyfriend “Quack” was a friend of mine studying to be a doctor. I still don’t know if I was an intrusion, but I was close enough to both of them to be allowed to do that.
Today as I sit and reminiscence our college days on this rainy morning, I remember how we sat listening to Cliff Richards re-winding and playing the same songs again and again on a similar morning when we suddenly realized we were late for the lecture, got on to our bikes and ran to the college. She had this annoying habit of driving her bike on the footpath most of the time but that day she rode really fast and on the road.
It so happened that all our resolve and seriousness of attending the lecture was taken away with the drizzle and gentle breeze and we decided to meet up with the rest of the gang to eat hot samosas. The Samosa stall lady was right there with hot treats and tea ready for us. All that was needed was another anecdote from her about her recent trip home and she with her knack for storytelling kept us all rolling with laughter.
Next year she shifted colleges, but we continued meeting. We were together for another three years before she left the city to go back to her hometown. She kept writing, regularly at first then sporadically. Long letters in her special way describing in details her life there. She always ended her letters with the words “friends forever”
Yes, Alpana, we are friends forever. “Can miles truly separate you from friends? If you want to be with someone you love aren’t you already there?”
I found this picture of her yesterday taken by me almost 13 years ago at a friend’s farmhouse. She was 21 I was 22 ….
The hilarious part is that these pics were taken to show to the prospective grooms which her parents were searching. We were great friends (well already more than friends but had never considered marriage as an option at all!
In fact we were on a rather self-destructive path hoping to go down in a blaze of glory abiding by the wishes of our parents. Both of us were heartbroken from our respective *first really serious* love affairs. Our belief in love was shaken to the core “Whats love got to do with it” was the theme song for those days.
We did not think we were in love with each other – we were just satisfying a need, hmmm… we still are we still are!!
How it all began is another warm memory which perhaps I will write some other day and then, maybe someday I will write how we decided to get married and then fell in love. No! my mind is not playing tricks on the sequence of events. For the interested here is another picture from that series
Dinner at Dum Pukht Restaurant, one of the finest dinner I have ever had. I do not know if it was the magic of the evening, the company I had or the fact that just a little while back we had decided to get married to each other. I was wearing white silk saree with the blue border, adorned with a sparkling necklace and a ring in my finger which he gave me and the song playing (tonight I celebrate my love for you) was perfect for the evening. We sat and talked for a long time and the next few days of togetherness just flew by. Its been 15 years and yet it still feels like yesterday.
It was summer of 1991, they were young, both of them heartbroken. Her boyfriend had copped the excuse “I love you, but I can’t marry you”, his girlfriend a bit less pathetic said, “I love you but I love my dad more”. Oh! yes, they were very good friends.
So they would sit through evenings at her place or his, listening to each other cribbing and songs like “Eye of the tiger” or “West Side” playing in the background. They were searching for that elusive “feel alive” feeling. Coincidentally a 15 day hang gliding camp was organized by a local adventure club. Both of them signed up. It involved getting up real early, 4:45am, driving 35km to the launch site, the last 5km of which was dirt road with gravel randomly strewn over it.
He would drive his mobike in the semi-darkness, full throttle, not hitting the brakes for anything, supremely confident of his driving skills, she would cling on to the pillion seat trusting him completely. The adrenaline rush was awesome – they would then climb the hillock, sit to catch their breath, watching as the sun came up in all its glory.
On the third day, she suggested something. He asked “Why?” she replied “Because I want it…” recklessness evolved into an unbridled passion.
From there is took us nearly 2 years to acknowledge we were “In Love” and one more year for us to convince our parents about us being the right choice for each other – Nine years ago on 11th May, me and Swati signed that register in the court which gave us the legal status of husband and wife.
Night of 18th Sept 1993, A day prior to my birthday, I had flown to Mumbai to meet Swati, since all the money was spent on the air fare we were staying at Rashid Mansion, Dockyard Road in the house of Rayomond S. Framose – fondly called Rayo by most. Swati had taken the keys from him – he had said that he would be out for a while…I was meeting Swati after a gap of almost 6 months and those were the pre-net days – no email, no chat, no mobile, could not afford to talk more than once a week!! It was a passionate evening and we were soon exhausted. At around 1:30 am we were woken up by very gentle and soothing rendering of “Strangers in the night” on piano, this was followed by “Annie’s song”, it was Rayo playing two of Swati’s all time favourite. After which Rayo just got up and went out again without saying a word. The music was lovely at the same time had strains of anguish which we could not place…
We lay awake for a long long time in each others arms not saying a word, in the comforting cocoon of our love.
It was next day afternoon when Rayo retruned that we learnt that the day prior he had spent at the death bed of a very dear friend – she had cancer… …
It was he who had said the you have family and friends in concentric circles around you, the inner most circle is most dear to you and will also hurt you the most, the key lies in placing the correct radius for everyone.
Swati recalled this today morning – wanted to share it with a certain someone but was not sure of the radius… …
Around 12 years back I announced to my parents and he to his father that we want to get married to each other. The parents as expected absolutely refused. There were regular scenes at home both his and mine. Massive emotional blackmail. What they show in movies is nothing!!
Not only there was the question of religion – but also the fact that he was in love with my best friend. His father knew this and so did my mother.
How we fell in love with each other is a different story I wont write that here…But, we gave ourselves around an year to fall in love and then decided to get married.
We knew before we announced our plans that there is bound to be an opposition. We persisted. Two years passed, parents relented when we announced (on March 21st 1994) that on 11th May 1994 we will be married in court.
We choose to get married in court because of two basic reasons: Marrying out of community also means change of customs and wedding rituals. Keeping everyone happy in such circumstances is impossible.
My relatives who from word of mouth had become aware that I wanted to marry that muslim boy who use to come home, had already made my mother miserable by taunting her and saying things that they shouldnt have. I refused to entertain such relatives on the happy occasion of my wedding. I refused to let my parents spend lakhs of rupees in the wedding reception for such unworthy relatives who will at the end say “this was not good, that was bad and the food was such and such and see how she was smiling all the time looking at her groom” (This actually happened a couple of months back -somebody I know too married out of cast and her wedding was traditional 5 day wedding with haldi, mehndi, and the works. The relatives said all those nasty things and perhaps more)
So, We got married in court on 11th may 1994 in presence of his father, my father and some of the relatives who shamelessly broke in despite telling them we wanted it to be private – these were the very people who kept taunting my mother all the time.
After marriage we had lunch at my parents place where close relatives were invited and then at 2 PM I was at his place.
A long time ago, there was a young girl, in love with a boy who said he loved her but can not marry her for reasons not known. The girl was sad, disappointed and angry at being rejected and knew she must learn to deal with it. It was one evening in the month of October she stood on the lakeside and wrote these words…