I have just woken up. Just opened my eyes. And as if on cue, a thought flashes across my mind. The thought of her. And this has been the case for many mornings now. The ‘her’ in question is not my girlfriend, present or ‘ex’, neither is our relationship one that you wish will turn romantic in the near or distant future. So hopeless is my case that I wish I can somehow let my emotions for her slip out and put it in front of South African fast bowlers to give our boys some company in their tragic exile! So if you’re ready, let me begin my tale. Better grab some popcorn as its going to be a long one!
It was the early days of summer last year when I first met her at my new work place. Quite a small, little bundle of joy she is. It wasn’t love at first sight though, neither did I feel strings of my heart being tugged. She was quite jittery and nervous whenever she was in my vicinity. Very often passing a nervous smile, making eye contact and then quickly dismissing it as soon as I took notice. I couldn’t help but wryly smile, avoiding her detection. Oh, that feeling! Those days were quite very different from the usual mundane ones.
My mornings were made brighter by her wishing me ‘good morning’ every day and a ‘bye’ before we both left work. Simple things but it felt so good. It was only a matter of time before we connected on Facebook. And then began long sessions of sharing thoughts with the virtual avatars of ourselves. I was amazed at the ease with which she conversed, considering her usual nervous self. We got along quite well. Every evening, for the next few months, when I got home and checked into my online profile, the one thing I found without fail was a ‘hi’ from her. I must admit I loved it and these were the moments that made me addicted to her.
These were the moments that made me realize 5 years after a bad break-up that love can happen twice! And that was when I let my guard slip. Something which I deeply regret now. I should have checked my emotions. Why? Because the team she was a part of was to leave for better shores pretty soon. I knew this. I knew we may never meet again after she’s gone. But I did nothing to stop myself, for to be honest, it felt good to feel that same way after so many years. To wake up knowing that in a few hours, I shall see the face that has been lighting up my life. It felt good to know that when I reach home, I will have a text to reply back to. I knew I will miss her pretty badly once she’s gone but I didn’t want to face that reality before it actually came knocking.
Days passed on and it was time for an official lunch party at our workplace which I was unsure to attend as I was a bit under the weather. She was quite pumped up about it as she was in the group which was organising the party. The night before, I told her why I couldn’t go. She said she wants to see me no matter what. I could have gulped down bottles of cough syrup and strips of aspirin just to be near her. Astonishingly, I felt a lot better the following morning, or at least fit enough to go and I am glad I did. I sat with all of my colleagues. My eyes frantically searching for a glimpse of her but I didn’t see her till that moment!
That moment, when out of the blue, she appeared near the doorway, a few yards from me. Her eyes met mine. And I, like never before got transfixed onto her eyes and then it happened. She smiled. She smiled at me and it was not just the usual smile that greeted me every morning. It was something else. A smile which I had never seen before. For that brief moment, under the sun, she appeared to me as the most beautiful creation that I had ever set my eyes on. It’s a shame I am no Da Vinci for that smile deserved a work of art as it could give the ‘Mona Lisa’ a run for its money. The moment passed but not before making me realize that I had fallen for her. I was in love. A love that was forbidden; the reasons being the society and the barriers it has created around us. I knew nothing could happen between us no matter how dearly I wanted it to; for there are issues that is beyond the scope of this article. As incomplete as it may seem, that’s the best I can describe the problems that haunted me.
A few days later, that dreaded day finally came when she was to bid goodbye. I didn’t want the day to end. I wrote her a memo. She bought me lunch consisting of my favourite Chinese noodles that she cooked, a taste I’ll never forget. That day we sat at the same table for the first time. We talked about stuff we never talked about. She showed me a few family pics, mostly her mom. But all this while, my mind was engulfed with just one thought – Should I let her go without letting her know how I feel? And even if I do tell her, what good will it do considering the problems (which better remain a secret with me) which might arise if she responds in the affirmative?
All that time, I stared at her face which I might never see again. I wanted to hold her and tell her to just be with me because her smile has been the oxygen I had been breathing all these days.But then self-realization occurred and it dawned on me that maybe I shouldn’t tell her anything. Maybe to her I was just a happy book whose pages she might turn when sitting idle and that’s it. Maybe she doesn’t feel the same way about me. Maybe she too was just a book for me. But of course I knew she was so much more. She left and I was left behind to pick up the broken pieces of my heart once more. All those sad Bollywood songs became my constant companion once again. The sleepless nights, the feeling of emptiness and a strange urge to eat biryani (although I now know this wasn’t because of her leaving) surrounded me.
But even then this distance felt different as she left me with are happy memories. Those chats, those secret glances, that smile for me. She was the best thing that happened to me. Having said that, even today, quite a few weeks since we last met, just a passing thought of her doesn’t fail to bring a bright smile on my face. Even while I am writing this, I can’t help but smile for I am writing this for her. Whoever said one sided love only gives pain!
Her name? Well, I feel her real name doesn’t do her justice. Because she’s as vibrant, joyous and colourful as a butterfly, I call her or rather used to call her ‘Titli’. My Titli, I wish I could say…
By Sumit Das (firstname.lastname@example.org)