The good old saying "Once bitten, twice shy" seems to have been made for me. To put simply, I was born so that I could do justice to it.
To describe myself (not that anyone's interested), I'm that typical average Indian guy who grew up with his head immersed in books, talking to girls was considered a sin, maintaining those good, constant grades that made my parents happy and proud was my only aim in life.
Right from class 1 to my class 12th board exams, I was expected to produce good marks consistently (which I did), only to become that perfect role model of an ideal, studious boy for my neighbours and relatives to talk about to their children. Not that I didn't care, but I hope their children didn’t turn out the way I was, considering the mess that I am today.
Two years after my 12th Boards, halfway through my engineering college Facebook went live in India. Just like everyone else, I took a jump to Facebook and began exploring it. A few months later, mesmerised with its out of the box features and the way it worked, I started stalking girls. That’s what loser guys like me did back then. All we could do was stalk girls online. While stalking, one day I came across this girl. I saw her name and instantly it struck me that she was the same girl I had met in an adventure camp right after my 10th board exams, some 3-4 years ago.
Without wasting time, I connected with her on social media. Fast forward 8 months and and we were chatting, texting, talking all day, and were certainly more than just “friends”. I used to write poems for her every night before she slept. I was flabbergasted at my new found talent. But then all I cared about back then was her smile and her blushing after reading those lines.
One fine morning I realized that I was in LOVE with her! Yes, me of all people! Remember the old me, an average, introvert guy, afraid of talking to girls? Mind you, I was and still am a decent, handsome looking guy with an an athletic body, six feet, and quite fair complexion. So I could've been with any girl that I wanted to be with (at least that's what I thought back then). But self bragging aside now, I was genuinely in love with this girl. Mera pehla pehle pyaar, romantic songs became my anthem. Hell, I even started learning guitar so that I could compose a song for her! I was into her. I had met the woman of my life. All these feelings and I was still in the third semester of engineering! So much so for future planning.
I mustered up all the courage I could, borrowed some of it from my otherwise cowardly friends, and I confessed my feelings to her in an ice cream parlour on the eve of Valentine's Day! Man, I was turning into a proper Romeo, or for all you Bollywood aficionados, an SRK (...Kkkkkkkkkkiran!!). Her answer was typical, as expected from an Indian girl, "give me some time to think".
Two months into my proposal, I kept waiting and waiting. Still writing those lines for her, still talking like a Romeo-Juliet couple. Judging from her reaction and replies, I expected her to come up with a positive response. I had even started making plans on how to make my friends feel jealous. Two reasons: 1. I’d be the first and probably last guy in the group to have a girlfriend, because all others were ‘chuti***’ and ‘phattus’ when it came to matters involving girls, 2. Damn, she was beautiful and lovely. Her eyes made me delve deeper into them. Days passed. The wait kept killing me. Finally days after nagging and confronting, I asked her for a response. Even today I can see these lines in front of my eyes, "I'm sorry. I have been dating this guy for a while now. I like him. I like you too, as a friend. Friends?"
There was the end of my imaginary love story, or in real world terms, a one-sided love story. I wished her the best and never talked to her again. Then began my painful journey post a break up. The days and months that followed were nothing short of misery for me. Depression, mental trauma, sadness, you name it. I began sulking at almost everything. My grades began to fall. Was the girl to be blamed here? NO! It was me. My expectations and false hopes or maybe my first experience with LOVE. One day I made myself realize, that I had to come out of this, I'll have to start living for myself again. I promised myself I’ll never fall in LOVE again. I was done with it.
Fast forward again six years. Sitting in a small cubicle, with AC in full swing, a coffee mug to keep me warm enough, this girl enters my cubicle (Life?).
I was working with a decent IT firm, was paid handsomely, was the most important member of my team and had a fairly good social circle. My life was AWE-SOME! Work hard, party harder was my new anthem! Who needs real LOVE, when you've got s*** load of money to spend! This girl was a new addition to our team. With the kind of looks she had, an average 24-year-old Indian guy would be going gaga over her. Me? Nah! Remember me six years back? I had given up on LOVE already. LOVE for me, had become an illusion. It was farce.
Days, months, probably a year and a half passed and both of us had become very good friends. At least till the time we were in office. We used to talk for hours when there was no work or when either of us got bored of coding the same stuff. We liked making fun of each other. This was actually the first time post my first break up, that I was actually talking so much to a girl.
As they say, I suddenly started getting that vibe. But I was sure not to rush things. I went on with the flow. One fine day, I came to know that this girl had a boyfriend in the States and that they've been in a long distance relationship for 4-5 years and are getting hitched. It was news to me since we both had become very good friends and probably shared everything. Well at least that's what I thought until I heard this news. I remained calm. I was happy for her, genuinely.
Few days before Christmas, she told me something I could never imagine. She had been trying to tell me for days now, but my work schedule came in the way. Finally, she opened up. She liked me! She had a thing for me but was reluctant to say it because she feared she would love my friendship. shocked! I was actually numb. Yes, I did like her too but then I wanted to take it slow. First, the news of her getting hitched and then this. All this was too much for me to handle. Why confess your feelings to me when you are getting married?
This was serious stuff now. We had a long discussion over this. I patiently heard what all she had to say. I just had two things to say her: 1. Why wait a year to confess? 2. Left with no choice, I respected her feelings for me but vowed to remain good friends with her. A few months later, she was supposed to resign and leave to be with her family before her 'Big Fat' Indian wedding, so we both decided to spend as much time as we could together, being super nice to each other, because we both knew the end was near. End? They say the 'end is a new beginning'. In our case, it was the beginning of the worst time to follow in our lives.
In the two and a half months that followed, she resigned, we went on a good 3-4 dates, became even better friends. However all this while, I remained firm and adamant, telling myself no matter how much I liked her, she was going away, getting married, so there's no future for the two of you. But, 'Dil hai ki maanta nahi'! Yeah, my romanticism was starting to ooze out yet again. The day before her last working day in the firm, I got a very bad feeling. I was sad. Two days later, I won't be able to see her. I won't be able to chat with her, have fun talks, skip work. My otherwise dull life, which had become lively because of her, stared at me laughing!
After work that day, I sent her a text, expressing whatever I was feeling inside me. That made her weak. I was too selfish that time, probably afraid of letting her go away, and quite apprehensive of the dull life staring at me again. She eventually ended up postponing her return trip home by 4-5 days. And trust me; those 4-5 days changed my life.
The very next day after her resignation a few of us went out. A late night out over coffee, discussing random shit and future lives. While returning, I insisted her on staying at my place since it was late night.
My roommate who was also friends with her, went straight to his room and slept. We were alone in the hall. Deep inside that's what we wanted, but showed it with a rather cute and a mischievous smile to each other. It was almost 2 am. Songs kept playing on the television, a wave of mist; cool breeze blew from the open balcony. We went out in the balcony, and kept staring at the sky full of stars holding each other’s hands. The only sound I could hear was that of my heart beating really fast, in an otherwise silent atmosphere. We went inside, and she asked me if we could dance. Dance? Why not! We danced along hugging each other. I so wished to stay in that moment forever. The comfort and the warmth that I got in her arms, it’s difficult to put into words. It was a beautiful, lovely moment. We looked into each other’s eyes and realized that yes, we both are meant to be together. We were instantly into each other. We went to my room and then it all happened. Yes, we all are mature enough to understand what could’ve happened.
It was probably the best morning ever the next day. We were so in love, so much in awe of each other’s beauty, we went from ‘good friends’ to ‘soulmates’ overnight. The two days that she stayed we made sure to spend as much time as possible with each other. All this was happening but the fact remained that she was to get married in four months.
The two days went by like two seconds and it was time for her to pack up and leave for her hometown. “Goodbyes aren’t easy”, I learnt this firsthand that day. We bid farewell, expecting never to see each other in life, cherishing and keeping the moments we had with ourselves. The song “I don’t wanna miss a thing” by Aerosmith, her favorite, kept on playing in my car while returning, constantly reminding me of what I was going to miss. Tears were rolling down my eyes. With every breath I took, I could feel her aroma. My heart was crying out to me to turn the car around and go back to her, to hold her hands and never let her go. I wish now that I had done something.
The next four months would bring a storm in our lives! Our day used to start with how much more we’ve been missing each other, how much we love each other and would end with fighting over what needs to be done about the situation. Because, she was still due to get married. Our minds wanted us to part ways, but our hearts were weaved into one by the unbreakable thread called LOVE. The fact that I was still working forced her to come visit me every 15-20 days so that we could sort things out. However, that sorting things out used to end up in telling each other that living without the other was getting difficult now.
We were more in LOVE than ever before. She tried talking to her parents a couple of times but the outcome was as expected, typical drama and threatening dialogues and what not. All this was compounded by the fact that she had fought with her parents for the guy she was about to get married to! Yes, she was already going for a love marriage, and then was about to fight with them again for another love? Would have definitely worked in a Bollywood flick, but this was real life, not reel life. But in all this chaos and melodrama, I was very supportive of her. I had loved her because of who she was. I didn’t care about her past, good or bad. All I knew was that she loved me and I loved her back even more.
I never doubted her love in spite of her supposed relationship, because we’re humans after all. We have feelings and those can change any time, whether you’re married, unmarried or a widow. Time was running out for was. And so was my patience with the situation. I asked her to make a choice. And so she did. She chose her parents, her boyfriend over me, whom she loved more than anyone else. All those flirtatious talks, those feelings, all gone in a flash! I quietly accepted her decision. I was raging inside. I wanted to make her understand what she meant to me. That my love for her would never cease to exist. I tried making one last effort to convince her, to let me talk to her parents. In the end she was doing it for her parents!
Few days later, she got married! I was shattered, heartbroken. Yet again. The girl that I saw my future with, who was my world went away with another man. To compound more misery on me, a wedding picture of her was shared on a group by a common friend. I’d be honest; I wanted to DIE that very moment.
The next few days, months, it was a struggle and a fight to come out of the depression, trauma and the pain of yet another heartbreak. This time it felt even more because I honestly felt I had found the woman of my life.
She was the only one who understood me after my mother. I used to scroll over our pictures, our lovely chats, the lines that I wrote for her, the songs that I sang for her, which I still remember made her laugh like a riot. I’ll never forget the love with which she used to prepare breakfast for me, the little ‘I Love You’ note that she used to hide in one of the lunch boxes, the impromptu call during my office hours to let me know that she loved me! I’d be honest here, there’s a small drop of tear in my eye right now, as I’m remembering our beautiful past. I’ll refrain myself from remembering anything more.
The contact frequency went from every second, to twice a day, to once a fortnight, to monthly. She’s been married for eight months as of today. We haven’t spoken for a long, long time now. Probably never will. Maybe she’s doing great with her guy. Maybe she’s happy with the life she’s living. Maybe!
I always wanted and would still want all the happiness in the world for her. I am jealous that I won’t be a part of her happiness or the reason for her happiness anymore. But I loved her, still do and will love her forever. Eight months on, I still haven’t moved on, though I’ve been keeping a very brave face and telling contrasting things to my close friends. I have always wanted to say her lot of things. But never got the opportunity to open my heart out to her. Things ended abruptly and on a very bad note and I couldn’t tell her anything.
I hope ‘my baby’ wherever you are, you read this.
A close friend asked me if I am over you, I just smiled. The idea of me loving someone else is a blur right now, and my heart is currently living inside a thought that I can never love somebody more than you. As much as I wanted to say “I am over you, I don’t care anymore” and I mean it, I can’t. Because, I still care.
Moving on for me is merely an acceptance of what has happened with no regret for what never will. And for a person who loves too much, I can truthfully say that one can never really get over someone who once meant the world to them. We can just get used to the pain and feeling of missing someone until we make ourselves comfortable in it, and I believe that a tiny spark of hope can always reborn what we thought is already dead-love.
It’s been almost a year since everything ended but I can still remember the vast happiness I had when I was with you and I just want to say that I miss you. I miss those deep eyes that washed away all my doubts whenever I looked at them. I miss how my hand seemed to perfectly fit yours along with the feeling of home and contentment whenever you held mine. I miss your voice, your voice that used to light up my day every time you sang for me those random songs even if you always apologized because your voice was never that good. I miss that. I miss you. I miss those random warm, tight hugs we gave each other. I miss your tender touch. I miss your beautiful smile. I’d still go lengths for that smile. I miss those moments when we used to glance at each other and smile because we both knew words were not enough to explain what we felt.
Love, if ever the time comes when you remember me and come back, just know that I am always here, waiting. However, love, if the time comes when you come back and see me loving someone else, just know that it took me too much courage to open my heart to another girl again.
I know I’ll be in love again. But for now, I’ll continue holding on to what you said that If we are meant to be, love will lead us back and that your intuition tells you that we’d still be together. But I guess it’s time to move on. I’ll smile for you again because I know that one day, I’ll be seeing you. Until then, I will be missing you. I am not asking for you to come back. I see you are very happy now and it somehow eases the feeling of longing for your presence, for your happiness is my delight even if I am not a part of it.
Today, with an amalgam of all these thoughts in my heart, I have decided to move forward in my life. I had to, at least for my own sake. After labouring for four years working in the IT industry, I’ve decided to go for my Master’s in the States. I have the belief and the confidence that I’ll do very well, just like I always had. It was time for me to focus on myself, for myself. Maybe I needed a diversion or a distraction from what had or has been occupying my mind of late.