The drop of red reflected a story – an epic. Not one of battles and war and ancient times like the Mahabharat or Ramayan. But nevertheless, of an ancient tale rewrote and retold a bazillion times. That of love, the root cause of all problems, even in the Mahabharat and the Ramayan. Well, Ramayan was out and out a love story. So what if ultimately the lovers never united again? Even Mahabharat. The war would have never taken place had Draupadi’s not provoked her five loving husbands to take back-breaking vows just to calm her down. And so was this epic a story of love. Unrequited, unfruitful, unsuccessful and even unconfessed, but of love. And the saddest part perhaps is that the story was of my life.
It was a November morning, and I remember it well because it was the last complete week before my school life came to an end. I remember it also because I had been desperately trying to establish an acquaintance with her. I was waiting in the canteen, hopeful of her showing up. Couple of days ago one of our few common friends had made her listen to my some of my songs which he had recorded in those blank cassettes characteristic of the last decade, and then carried it around with his custom made Simon and Garfunkel collection in his walkman which was really a pocket cassette player where you had to plug in earphones to listen. Prior to that incident, she had never known of me and after this, she wanted to meet me. And so I was waiting, awaiting her arrival in the canteen.
Actually, to speak the truth, I had fallen for her at the first sight, when she, a newcomer, had set foot to the side of the seniors. That first glimpse of her, oh god, had made my heart flutter like never before. But I was an immensely anti-social person, unaware of and unskilled in the art of striking conversations, especially with people who were strangers. So I waited for an opportune moment. For it had at that point seemed a cakewalk. But it was not.
In the whole of my senior year, a moment to showcase myself never came around. I waited and waited and the year almost came to an end, but an opportunity never came. As the year approached its end, I finally found a chance. To sing before the whole school one last time. And it had been one of my most heartfelt performances. For it was meant to be for her.
But then, if everything happened according to our wishes, we would’ve stopped fearing the almighty who ensures to screw up with people once in a while. And it so happened that she was absent on that fateful day. And hence I had to wait till this good friend of mine made her listen to my songs.
Anyway, as I had been waiting, I saw this friend of mine approaching me, her by his side. And as soon as our eyes locked, she went all hysterical and started blabbering. And I, quite overwhelmed, this time not because of my anti-sociality but because I was flustered and didn’t know what to do. We finally came to know each others’ name and struck up a friendship.
We had hit it off instantaneously. We bonded over writing poems, reading books and watching superheroes kick ass. We bonded over taking our imaginations to the next level and trying to walk over ledges. We bonded over each-others’ madness. And in the beginning it felt wonderful. It did and memories of those initial conversations can still lighten me up on my worst times.
But how long can people survive on madness? We realised that our madnesses belonged to different universes. And I realised that slowly but surely we had begun to drift apart. She had at one point said that she didn’t believe in love. A statement which had stopped me from confessing while I could have. But then, one fine day, she gave me a missed call. But the mobile company had recently cut our outgoing line for faltering on payment by a couple of days. It was Christmas night and in Tura it was difficult to find a phone booth open at that time of the day and the year when there were really just three. Nevertheless I did venture out of my way, and thankfully I remembered that there was a Pay-Phone in the newly opened neighborhood corner store. So I went there and put a one rupee coin in to make a call.
In the third attempt, the call went through. She asked whether I was busy, that she needed a help with something. And then she muttered it out, “There’s this guy I recently met at an event, and he is super talented. He just shared some of his work with me and wanted to see my poems. And I do not know which one to show. If you could help…” I felt a stone crushing my heart to a pulp. Here was my crush, asking for help to impress another guy, possibly her crush. But I anyway helped, and was honest in my answer.
They say in Hindi that the world runs on hope, and so I kept hoping. The year ended soon and the new year came around. And as we wished each other, she mentioned, “I feel Christ will be really kind this year. I was the first one to wish him.” And that confirmed my exit. The person who had once said that she didn’t know love was now head over heels in love with another guy, and seeing her die for his affection, I finally decided to kill my feelings for her. And in an instant, we grew apart. I never even had the chance of confessing my feelings.
But all this was ten years ago. That magnanimously talented musician (turned out he made electronic music) now works under my label. And that’s how I git invited to his wedding. And there after ten fleeting years, as he applied the hue of vermilion on her forehead, I saw probably the shortest episode of my yet unfulfilled love-life unfold itself as the most intense epic on this earth. Of course it was playing all in my head, but that need not mean it was not real.
P. S. – Firstly, i duely apologize for not posting for over a month.
Secondly, this story is written by my very good friend http://www.rhassanahmadaullah.wordpress.com as he doesn’t post in English here. (actually because I couldn’t resist sharing such good piece of literature)
Thirdly, wait for my next blog post named Outcast. 🙂