I believe in big love because I’ve experienced (or still do?) it. I’ve had that massive love. That all-consuming love. That ‘I can’t believe this exists in the physical realm of this planet’ kind of love.
The kind of love that erupts into an uncontrollable blaze and then simmers down to embers and burns quietly, comfortably, for years to come (or maybe it lasts for a lifetime). The kind of love they write novels and symphonies about. The kind of love that teaches you more than you thought you could ever learn, and gives back infinitely, much more than it takes.
It is the ‘Love of your life’ kind of love. But the problem was: he never loved me back. Here is my story: I am a Bong, born and brought up in Kolkata. I completed my Engineering in computers in Kolkata itself and joined a company “X” as a fresher in Mumbai and there I met him. Prish was an introvert yet popular, and I was this outgoing, outspoken, super ambitious, badass girl. Maybe because of this difference in our nature, he got intrigued about me and we started talking. Our conversations grew more into friendly banters, leg-pulling, sharing techie-talks and ideas, it even progressed to deeper, meaningful heart-to-hearts. We shared everything about our lives with each other, just like friends do. I already had a boyfriend in my life then, Akash.
I met him during my engineering days and he was good to me. He loved me and cared for me and was always there to comfort me whenever I needed it. I didn't love him back the same way but we had been friends for a long time, ever since college and I had a soft corner for him. Coincidentally, Akash was placed in another software company in Mumbai itself. Prish had a girlfriend then too, Hemali. He loved her intensely. They too were college buddies. Prish shared his love story with me in great depth. He never hid anything from me, since the very beginning of our friendship. Even though I knew everything about his relationship right from the start, I still fell for him deep and hard. I don’t know how, when and why it happened.
All I remember is that I fell in love, that soul-wrenching, all-consuming, massive love. I wasn’t ready to accept my feelings even to myself, so I tried hiding it at first. But as they say, “Love can't be hidden for long. Sooner or later, it has to come out and brave it's way under the sun.”
He sensed it too. I had started calling him more, I wanted to spend all my time with him. But that wasn’t possible for him for obvious reasons. He had his priorities; his family, his girlfriend, his friends, his life. He started to push me away and made it clear to me that he won’t ever be able to love me back the same way. We started fighting over silly things and would stop talking to each other for months. Finally, when I couldn’t hold back anymore, I would surrender my ego and run back to him. Sometimes he would talk to me, sometimes he wouldn’t. At times, he wouldn’t pick up my call and I would keep calling him like a maniac, about 100 times in a span of 1 hour. I would do all sorts of over the top things that people do when they’re in love - sending red roses to him on Valentine’s day etc.
I made use of every opportunity to make him feel special, and yes, special he was.
So there I was, all alone in that throat-choking, heart-melting love. My first love, and the last one as well. He was not there, he was never there. He never loved me back. So I finally decided to take my situation to a third person - my best friend in office. She was a sensible girl and tried putting some sense in my head.
But I was far-out from any logical reasoning. I was flying. I was experiencing love for the first time. It was magical.
Prish was constantly there in my mind. I literally used to take each breath of mine with him on my mind. I was like Alice, roaming around alone in that wonderland. I used to smile for no reason, used to talk to myself, I have spent sleepless nights after nights with his thoughts running around in my head. My head was heavy, and my heart was filled with that overpowering love. Months passed by and the feeling got stronger with each passing day. Sometimes reality used to strike me hard and I would start drifting into depression, a real hard-core one.
I started finding solace in alcohol because when I was high, my pain used to go away and I felt momentarily relieved.
But I knew this wasn’t healthy. So, I went ahead and consulted a good psychiatrist. I had sessions after sessions with her. She had prescribed me pills to calm down my nerves. She gave me breathing exercises to follow and listened to my stories. I used to feel relaxed when I was with her and so life went on. I refused to give into negativity, I was this all positive vibrant girl who always believed in happy endings. So, I decided to move on.
With all this going on in my life, Akash began to sense the change in me. I didn’t want to see him, I didn’t want to go out with him or with anyone for that matter. That outgoing girl in me no longer existed. I had locked myself within the four walls of my room.
I never went out or discussed anything in depth with him but I told him briefly that I was not in love with him. It didn't make much sense to me to give him more details as I was anyway in a one-sided relationship. So, I tried pushing Akash away. But he didn’t give up, no matter how hard I tried. At that point in time, I needed someone who would love that broken me unconditionally, and I thought that is what I needed to heal myself. Yes, it was selfish. I was being selfish. I couldn’t love Akash back. I tried. I really tried but I failed miserably. He was my friend but nothing more. I was always honest with him and would tell him in great lengths that I don’t love him the same way and will never be able to love him back the way he wants me to.
But even after all this, he still wanted to marry me and I thought that this way, I will be able to move on from Prish as well. So, I agreed.
He spoke to his family and his family met mine. They already knew that we were friends and happily agreed. So, I was getting married. Deep down, something had not felt right to me about this marriage. I was just using this marriage to move on from Prish. But still I went ahead with it. Everyone around me, including my family, was happy. I didn’t plan much or do anything exciting for my big day.
To me, it just felt like any other day and I got married. We didn’t go for a honeymoon or anything fancy. Immediately after the wedding, I fell immensely ill.
I was in bed for a whole month. When I recovered, I concentrated hard on my career and travelled to London for an assignment for about two years almost immediately. For those two years, I was all alone there. No Akash and definitely no Prish, just me and Prish’s overwhelming thoughts. With my marriage, I had an imaginary break up with Prish in my mind. I suppressed every desire that I had to see him or call him. While I was in London, I only spoke to Prish about twice in the span of those two years. In the meantime, back here in India, Prish got married to his girlfriend Hemali. He called me to invite me and showed me a website that he designed for Hemali. There were some lovely paragraphs on it about how he felt for her and it had their picture together. Ahhh that day! That was the saddest day of my life.
My tears wouldn’t stop. I felt like dying. I went back to alcohol again. Every day I used to drink, and it went on for months. Alcohol helped me numb the pain for a while, but it didn’t go away permanently.
As they say, distance and time heals everything. I hoped for it to heal me but didn’t happen. I was still standing at the same place. My imaginary breakup happened with a person whom, no matter what I do, I could not get over. Not a day went by when he didn't cross my mind or my heart didn’t feel heavy with his presence. It literally drove me mad. So instead, I told myself that I am fine, and that I will move on with some more time. But who I was kidding? I was fine only until I would hear that song, see that photo, or yearn to share something with him, or wake up thinking about him and this would haunt me every damn day, and then I would end up right back to square one.
This was different; this was the feeling you get when you know something must end right now but doesn’t seem to be over yet. You can't end that chapter because you know you can't stop reading and re-reading it. You don’t want to let go - not yet, and maybe not ever.
But still I held on to my logical thinking and called Akash, my husband, over to London to spend some time with me. I wanted to things to work out, but it never happened because something was off. He just wasn't Prish. I deliberately indulged in physical intimacy with Akash thinking that it might help me move on from Prish. But nah! All my attempts of moving on failed miserably. I was still right there, holding onto that one-sided love. Finally I came back to India to be in the same office once again with Prish. I was already married for two years then and both sides of our families started talking about growing our family.
I gave in thinking that a little baby is all I needed to move on. So, we planned the baby and I was a mom within a year.
In between my pregnancy, Prish started letting his guard down with me, thinking that I must have moved on. Our natural camaraderie had returned. However, right before my delivery, he too went out of India for an assignment. I thought it was the best chance for me to move on and God is finally showing me a way. So, I asked Akash to take a transfer to some other city, and gave him a lame excuse, like Mumbai is expensive and raising our kid here would be difficult, just so that I could leave that office, that city and those memories behind. Akash obliged. He had taken a transfer to Pune. I resigned from my job and relocated with him. I had my baby in Pune and then joined a different company here with high hopes of finally moving on from Prish. During this while, I spoke to Prish very rarely with the delusionary hope that the lesser I speak to him, the easier it will get for me to move on. I still firmly hold on to the hope that one fine day I will be alright, I will be healed, I will be freed from this pain. He would call me or message/whatsapp me sometimes. We wished each other on our birthdays and occasions.
Today, as I am writing my story here, I am a mother of a six-year-old beautiful girl, but I still have not managed to move on. I haven't spoken to Prish in the past two years but I still long to.
So, I called him yesterday and told him how I am still stuck and haven’t succeeded in moving on. He understands me, gives me a sympathetic ear and tells me that he misses me too as a friend. He says that I am one of his very special friends whom he deeply cares for.
So here I am, still right there where I was twelve years back.
The connection with Prish is so real and strong and magnetic that I am constantly pulled back towards it. The relationship never got its due closure. I try to find distractions and push away what I feel to be a sane adult and functioning enough human being in order to be able to survive in life. Some people will be outraged upon reading this and would claim that, “This is not how love is supposed to be,” or, “If you were mature or sensible about love, it wouldn't be this hard.”
But I beg to differ, and would counter this claim with, “How do you know? Just because things were easy for you doesn't mean they will be easy for everyone else. Just because your ship was intact doesn’t mean that other people do not struggle to sail with holes in their ships.”
People are very complicated and love is sometimes messy. Some people come into our lives only for a particular period of time, but make an impact that no one else can ever quite match up to or replace.
And who are we to call those people anything but the loves of our lives?
Who are we to downplay their significance, to rewrite their memories, to alter the ways in which they changed us for the better, simply because our paths diverged?
Maybe we just ought to be grateful that we got to meet these people at all. That we got to love them. That we got to learn from them. That we got to have our lives expand and flourish as a result of having known them.
Meeting and letting go of the love of our lives doesn’t have to be our life’s single greatest tragedy, or does it?
After all, some people never get to meet the love of their life at all, isn’t it? Note: This is an honest confession about my life. I would like to hear from you what you think. I would appreciate any advice that would help me heal. You think I will heal, right? The pain will go away, right? Or won’t it?