Blogger's diary

My 77-year-old friend

FOR THE last eight years, each time I’ve strolled into my home compound, my eyes have almost instinctively darted to the balcony on the opposite side, of my building.
Sitting there, always, was my good old friend. He is 77 now, and possibly, the only friend, riding into the sunset. I still remember the one time he had stayed up for me, when I was returning from an ungodly hour at the newspaper, where I worked. It was 1 am, and he startled me, as he called out my name in the pitch black of night. “Jane, goodnight,” he yelled out. hands-699486_1280

The next day, I rang him up, and chided him for being so silly and scaring the wits out of me.
“I thought it was a ghost,” I had said.
“But, I wanted to surprise you kiddo,” he explained.
“No, please don’t do that ever again,” I told him.
I was angry. And, I still don’t know why.

Having said that, he and I share a different bond. Sometimes, he tells me the most absurd things, enough to leave me amused, and anyone else scandalised. I, occasionally, let him know, when he is going overboard. Once, when he asked, “Why I hadn’t been born 50 years earlier”, I gave him a cold response, “You know, we’d still ‘just’ be friends, right?” He never asked that question again.

Then, there were those emails, which he proactively sent me, once in a while, when he saw me, walk out of my building. “Saw you in a red top, yesterday, rang in the evening. Were you at work?”, one mail with the subject Red Riding Hood read.
Another read: “Waking from my siesta yesterday I saw you, grey top on black jeans, going to work, followed five paces behind, by your two brothers. Walking tall, you were dwarfed by them, but never mind, it’s all in the family. Take care kiddo.”

Sometimes, I would tease him for stalking me. “I am the untitled watchman of the building, don’t you know?” he’d say in feeble defence. “I don’t get paid for the job, though.” We’d laugh together.

The last time, we had met was sometime in mid October. He had seen me come home from work, and called out as usual, “Baby girl, come over, if you’re free. I am getting bored as hell.” A year before this, he had lost sensation in his left hand, and that had made him miserable. He couldn’t write emails or share those fine film reviews, he wrote for publications — he is a noted film critic and a former news editor with a leading newspaper. The vacuum was taking a toll.
That day, We had sat in silence for a good five minutes in his balcony. I was browsing through all his handsome, black and white photographs from his 30s. “Why didn’t you marry?” I asked. “So many beautiful women Jane…How do you settle for one?” he joked. That day, he also shared many stories about playing in the cricket club of Cavel (where we live) in the mid 60s and 70s. I promised to come back to hear more.
“Come soon, though. You know my mind… it’s been playing tricks.”

Three months ago, he stopped showing up at the balcony. Initially, I didn’t think much of it, assuming he had gone for a short break to Goa. “But, without letting me know? That would have been impossible.”
It was only in early December that I learned that he was now, bed-ridden and slowly losing memory. Yet, when I met him that day, his pale face immediately broke into a smile, “Jane, right? How are you, kiddo?”
That day, I told myself that I would muster the courage to meet him again – probably the very next day and every day after that. I confess, I waited on this tad too long. It’s not that I didn’t want to. It’s just that I didn’t know how to.

When I decided to see him again, two days ago, nearly a month after that broken promise to myself, I was ready for the worst. He would have forgotten me for sure, I thought. “Steel yourself,” I assured my anxious nerves.

It is discomforting to know that the man, who waved across to me from his balcony every evening and who’d call me if he hadn’t heard from me for more than two days at a stretch, would not remember me or recall my name anymore. It also hurts, because, honestly, in all these years of knowing him, he genuinely cared for me and I doubt, his affection was ever returned in equal measure. To this date, he hasn’t forgotten a single birthday of mine. I, unfortunately, cannot boast of the same lucidity of the mind. Even as I write this, I can’t seem to recall the exact date of his birthday.  The last time, I made up by taking him to Starbucks in my recently-purchased car. He loved the coffee and really digged that cheesecake, but he could not stop at how uncomfortable he felt at enjoying small pleasures in an over-priced coffee chain. I am glad that’s one thing we agreed upon. I promised him another date soon, but again, I reneged. My sorry excuse: work.

A week ago, during a chat over coffee, a friend had mentioned to me, how in every relationship there is one who is always giving, and one, who’s receiving. At the time, I had over-confidently proclaimed that this hadn’t been the case in my life, and that I had little to complain about the friends I’ve had and those I have kept. Little did I know, that here I was, doing not just as much as my old man – always receiving his kindness, but grudgingly parting with my own.

As I entered the bedroom, where he has been lying for the last three months, I could feel a wave of emotions, engulf me. There, he was, shriveled, smaller and nothing of the glorious, old man, I remember. I sat on the sofa opposite his, he darted a cold look, then, stared at the ceiling, and looked back at me again. “You finally came,” his voice was hoarse and incoherent. I nodded. I really had nothing to say. “I love those polka dots on your black top,” he said, looking at my shirt. “But, I think you always looked better in red kiddo.”

 

 

 

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Blogger's diary

For the love of a simple man

THERE WAS once a princess, who serendipitously encounters a frog in a pond. She didn’t know that it would transform into a young and handsohum1some prince, if she kissed it. The frog didn’t tell her so – it wasn’t part of the deal. But, if I remember the fairy tale vaguely, the unrelenting frog managed to befriend the reluctant damsel and seal a magical, happily ever after for both of them. Right now, heady from the after effects of watching the lovely-in-bits film Simran, this story just came to mind and how.

While everyone is going hammer and tongs about Kangana Ranaut, who undeniably stole the show with her jaw-drapping portrayal of the gambling addict Guju girl Praful Patel, I went home feeling good about one more character – her love interest Sameer, played by the uncoventionally-striking Sohum Shah.

Sameer’s character, which my friend aptly described as being very loose and artless on paper, came to life with Sohum’s startling rendition. It brings to mind a man, I would love to know.

The fault in our stars is that we so very often don’t take to such men. Bollywood has taught us to find hope in the glowing, loud, witty, often commitment-phobic, sometimes boorish, and handsomely cut, who can strike a conversation effortlessly and break into a dance to woo the woman he fantasizes. But, what about the man, we’d define as being too simple to make an impression on the 70 mm screen? He is ambitious, but not greedily so. He wants a well-paying job, a suitable career, a home of his own and a lover, whom he knows he’d marry someday. He understands love, not like we know it – to him, it’s an amalgamation of great conversation, warm company and a person, to come back to. He can’t dance to save his life, and isn’t someone, who writes fabulous poetry. He is god-fearing, disciplined and makes no bones about hiding it. Overall, there is zero pretense about the way he lives. And, because of all this, and more, he comes across as boring. Sameer is real, because he exists, and we don’t want to find him because it’s easier to not give him a chance, than creating the snazzy, smacking-of-intelligence, pelvic-thrusting guy. And, we don’t like easy right. At least, Bollywood doesn’t. Machismo wins, hands down any day.  sohum

Thanks to Sameer, I found some break from this clutter. Sameer is the frog to our Simran. Even in the prim and proper image of the innocent (aka paavam) guy-next-door, you see traits of infectious charm and intelligence. He makes the lady smile, not because he is flirtatious or feeding her with his wit, but because he is a good observer of her. He pursues, without being too pushy. He cares, without judging. And, most importantly, he sees the wings that make her fly (remember, the river scene), and doesn’t mind being the wind beneath them. There is a moment in the film, where you see his heroism, and it becomes too difficult even for our protagonist to handle. And, all I want to know is why.

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backpacking, gokarna, Hampi, Travel Diaries

In Hampi, we trust

NOW that I am 30, let me share a small secret with you: I keep no secrets at all. We all remember Chinese whispers right? I hated that game as a child. You tell friend 1 something, then friend 1 goes and tells friend 2 something else, and then people extend the favour by sharing it with friends 3, 4 and 5. By the time, friend 10 knows all about it, the story isn’t meant to be same. So, if I said ‘I loveeee Leonardo DiCaprio (whom I do btw)’, when friend 10 learns of it, it turns out to be more like, ‘Jane’s star sign is Leo and she hates capris because it makes her look fat. She also loves Titanic and believes that Rose should have drowned.’

Thank you friend: The one who forgot the plot, changed the story or was simply, plain deaf and could not articulate whispers into simple English sentences. You got the Titanic bit right though! Let me put it mildly: Jack deserved to live. Rose: I am not so sure.

To save myself from the grief that such games cause me (yes like seriously, DiCaprio and capris… yeh kya comparison hain bhai?), I am never hush, hush about events and people in my life. I probably have like just ten close friends, half of whom are my BFFs, and mostly, they all know everything about me. So, everyone knows I’d like to write another book someday (now you know too). All my girls know whom I am absolutely crushing on lately (Clue: Could be DiCaprio). The world also knows I just turned 30 (I made it a point to do a pre-birthday announcement on my blog). And of course, those who really mattered knew I was heading on my first backpacking trip to Hampi and Gokarna.

My mum, who isn’t one to let me go, attributed my ‘backpacking condition’ to quarter-life crisis. But, surprisingly, she didn’t stop me this time and that was such a big relief. I am no crazy traveller. I like breaks, mostly short, because I get homesick very soon. And, I enjoy soul-stirring conversations, so, I choose my travel company very, very wisely.

Hampi was within shouting distance (a night-long bus from Mumbai to Hospet in Karnataka) and suited my travel plans. I had heard about the temple ruins of Vijaya Nagara – once among the richest in the world and the jewel in the crown of Krishnadevaraya’s Vijaynagara empire – through a friend and it had been on my mind for a while now.

Part of growing old is reminding oneself that everything in life will someday be okay. And, of course, we all want things to be fine, right? A month ago, when I was at my ridiculous best, I made a call to one of BFFs, and asked, ‘Would you like to elope for a few days?’ I like people who don’t say ‘no’ when that’s exactly what you want to hear. Because, I think I might have been a mild wreck when I asked her that, and I probably just made that proposition to assuage what or how I was feeling. Had she said, ‘NO’, I already had Plan B up my sleeve, which was mostly on the lines of ‘let me try and get busier at work’ or ‘write more feature stories that only I read’. But, all thanks to her, she didn’t. Other best friends, hers and mine, also joined later. This trip happened. And so, onward we went, first breathing the history of Hampi, doing yoga on the mountains (à la Taal), gorging on Nutella pancakes, sipping ginger honey lemon tea, before cooling our heels off on the beaches of Gokarna – a seven-hour bus ride away from Hampi. I found three other travel sisters. I got time to go clickety clack with my DSLR and because, I barely managed to take my own pictures, I am now sifting through photos of my back taken from other people’s lenses.

I also met Anjaa, a rickshaw driver, who was the first person we came across as soon as we got down from the bus at Hospet. I knew instantly that he would be our best friend through this short journey. He has a charming smile. He is extremely shy of women. He can also use a DSLR. And, he knows Hampi like he knows his Gods. There’s something reassuring about people who understand God. They treat everyone well – not out of fear, but for the love of what this supreme force created.

Hope you enjoy the filter-free pictures.

With love,

A 30-year-young

 

 

 

 

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Blogger's diary, nostalgia, Ranting

Turning 30, having babies, and other big plans…

30kmIN ABOUT two weeks, I’ll be turning 30 and, I’d be lying if I said that I am not looking forward to it. I am not among those, who shy away from getting older. I like to celebrate that day, sometimes ridiculously and embarrassingly in grand fashion. In that department, I’m still a five-year-old. Those close to me would know, how my birthday has me excited at least two months ahead of time. Of course, now, with age and work, that countdown process seems rather tedious. Between ‘work-eating-gym-again more work-eating-sleep’ time, my brain finds little space for ‘50 days to go’ reminders. These days, my girlfriends do that job for me, and I’m like, “Aah, yes! Is it?”

Point is, it’s finally happening — That Big Three Oh. And, I am not dreading it. But, the mind has to day-dream, ponder and rue occasionally. During one such contemplative moment, I looked back to the start of the decade, one that’s soon ending. And, that’s when I figured that as happy as I am now, my 21-year-old self wouldn’t have liked this version of me. Naah! Not at all! In fact, she’d hate and resist me!

When I was 20, I had big plans, like really, really big plans for a woman of my age. Tell me, which person would otherwise have their life chalked out so clearly, year for year, date for date. I remember once, how my mum had broached marriage talk, and I defiantly said, “I am not going to get into this jhamela until I am 25”. Then, to make my stand very clear, I doled out juvenile predictions: Marriage by 26. One kid by 27. And, another may be, just before I hit 30. Quit job at 35, freelance soon after. I was also going to have a house of my own, a big Xmas Tree (irrelevant how this detail was important) and an awesome make-believe life in Canada or Australia. So, typical, right!

Of course, I had conveniently forgotten to fit a lot of things into this ‘big plan’ – like what would my career look like, would I ever be able to rustle up a meal for myself [let alone for my family], how would I deal with rejections in love or any unexpected failure in life.

Living like I had, fresh out of college, naive, inexperienced, sucker for mush and fairytale endings with crazy maternal-instincts brimming, I thought I could conquer my fantasies at the snap of my fingers, when and how I wished.

But, it’s this same immaturity that saw me through my 20s. The desire to have all that I had wished for – earnestly hoping each birthday that this year would be different from the last – only made me more purposeful. Surprisingly, this goal set me up on another, unforeseen plane.

Some two years ago, when I dived into a pool from the perilous edge of a mountain, while undertaking a rather, brave canyoning trip in Oman, I thought all my plans were going to come undone. In that moment of sinking deep and hitting the rocky crevices of the natural pool, I feared I would break my leg and never rise again. But, I did wade up and swim back to the surface.

Now, that I am here, safe and out of danger, I realised that in between wanting to have a dreamy wedding and so many babies, I had also written a book, moved countries, churned inspiring bylines, cooked meals in the kitchen, walked down the cobblestone pathways of Greece, trekked through the mountains, broken my heart (probably unknowingly broken someone else’s), bought a car, chatted with my favourite writers, introduced hundreds of young girls to the world of journalism, returned to my first love Mumbai and made many, many new soul friends.  One of the other bigger lessons I learnt in my 20s, was to stop resisting or opposing the idea of something, no matter how much I disliked it.

And, because this 21-year-old version of me had never thought that this decade would pan out like this, she would look down at this life with great trepidation. She’d think I had been defeated and lost. Obviously, then, she wouldn’t have known that I was hoarding beautiful, little memories that I would eventually hang on that big Xmas Tree — the one I wished to have someday.

Until then, I am making new plans for the 30s. And, I probably already know it will look different when I turn 40.

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Blogger's diary

Let us leave the single woman alone…

HOW I landed here? Last year, this time, I was in the throes of writing a story, which I thought was taking good direction. It was a story that had a girl, another person, and may be a few more. The cast was good, the plot riveting and had me completely invested. Then, something happened, and I lost control of this tale. Within a few hours, the ice that I held in the palm of my hand melted, and the water began to trickle out, swiftly. I tried locking my fingers into a fist, hoping that something would stay, may be a drop or two. But, nothing, nada.

woman

It’s been nearly a year, and I don’t have the courage to look back at what I have written. Right now, there is only me. The other characters are a distant memory. How I landed here, I don’t know. But, here’s what happened. Here’s how it probably went wrong.

My protagonist is a woman. She’s confident, intelligent and gorgeous to the eyes that don’t stereotype. She’s not copiously talented, but is a Jack of all trades – always accomplishing in order to keep busy. She could have been a decent musician, but never pursued it with zealous passion. She loves long walks, and secretly, thrives on day dreaming. She is mostly indulgent: she loves coffee, books and chocolate. She is single (somehow, has always been). She is also a writer, like me.

To me, my lady was perfect, well-rounded, sharp and non-malleable.

But, I made an egregious mistake. Even before I could complete creating my beautiful character, I introduced a few men to this story. They were all rough around the edges. For some reason, I hadn’t bothered giving them the kind of traits I had gifted my lead character. For instance, one of them was cute, and that was where it ended. The other was a liberated soul, even my pen couldn’t tame. The third one was well turned-out, but I forgot how to define this person beyond that.

When my protagonist meets them at different points in her life, she believes she is in love. Each time, she thinks, FINALLY. But, with each finally, comes another one, and then another one. And, suddenly, she realises there is no ‘finality’ to this. She is falling in, she is falling out. She is meeting men, she is seeing them out. Nobody stayed. Nobody was meant to.

Around her, life was moving, fast, faster, fastest. Someone suggested that she see a doctor. Someone told her she needed to get married. Someone asked her why she showed zero interest in men. Someone advised her to quit her job, and go travel. She tried little of everything, but met with no success. Then, one day, a sense of hopelessness overcame her and she broke down.

And, this is when my ink ran dry and my plot deflated.

This evening, I went back to this story. It was hidden for nearly a year in a personal folder on my D drive. What a terrible plot. What a lovely woman. What was she doing, when she was so complete? Why was she searching, when there was nothing to be found? Who was she appeasing? What was she craving?

I looked at my character one more time and on an impulse, handed over my pen to her. She is a writer, like me. Somehow, I trust, she will do a good job.

Here’s a bestseller you should be awaiting.

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Blogger's diary

One more year. A few more lessons.

jane

Thank you 2017!

AND there we go again. My Facebook timeline is bursting to the seams with people bidding good bye to the old year, talking about lessons they have learned, the loves they have lost, the new ones they gained and the travels they have made. It’s surprising and almost overwhelming to see how most of us look at December 31st as that day in the time of year to look inwards and introspect. It’s like that report card you got in school; just that the grades aren’t marked on paper. The failures, the Bs and As are visible in the way you lived your life, through the measure of your successes professionally and personally, and how you healed from the emotional or physical upheavals (if any) that the year brought along.
Personally, I loved this year. It wasn’t dramatic. It wasn’t life-altering. It wasn’t disturbing. It was happy in bits and parts, and upsetting on a few occasions. Nonetheless, as I write my last post for this year, I am smiling. And, that possibly to me means that this year held great promise. Like most of you, I also took back a few lessons that I hope to carry forward to the next.

Appreciate the dusk and dawn:
I mean, literally, respect the rising of the sun, and the coming in of night. For those who follow me on Instagram, you’d have noticed that of late, I have been obsessing over sunrises and sunsets. One reason being that my job with the evening edition of a newspaper requires me to wake up very early each day. When I leave home for work, I often witness the spectacular view of the sun, rising out. By the time am home, it’s ready to sink down and disappear under the horizon of the Arabian Sea. Might I mention that whatever I see is so beautiful that it often holds me captive, even if for a few odd seconds. Often, we tend to get so caught up in the grind of our daily chores that we forget to see what surrounds us. Somewhere, though not within close proximity, this could be someone’s last sunrise or another person’s first. Let’s not forget to savour the colours every new day brings. Thank the sun for it woke you up that day, and be grateful to the stars, because it didn’t wrap you in complete darkness.

Don’t stop falling in love:
And when I say this, I just don’t mean the romantic kind of love. Learn to love people, animals, books, cooking, music, your home, your life. Don’t make excuses for what happened in the past, and how someone spurned you, and did not reciprocate the way you wanted them to. In doing so, you’re only limiting your own experience of love. I know so many people who take a step back, wrap themselves in a cocoon and hibernate for a while, till they feel they are ready to love again. They forget that a handful of people are waiting for them and patiently holding on. Latch on to them before it’s too late. You never know if they are coming back. Meanwhile, tell yourself that each year, you will learn to love somebody or something new. The newness in love is as pleasurable as love itself. This year, I met so many new people that it was impossible not to fall in love with them. I also learned to love the idea of jogging. That experience has been liberating. Yes, find love that gives you those imagined wings and leaves you beaming from ear to ear. Not the kind that suffocates you, and forces you to be someone else.

Learn to forgive and say sorry:
People come and go, and some leave you hurt. It makes sense to hold a grudge against those who don’t leave behind a good aftertaste in your life. But, I’d rather forgive and move on than hold on to that bitter pill. What I can’t help, however, is forgetting the pain they have caused me. And, that’s important to shield yourself from future hurt from the same person, or somebody else, who shows an indication of vexing you, and robbing you off your peace of mind. Just this Christmas, a former friend called up to wish me after suddenly disappearing from my life without any explanation. I remember how upset I was on receiving the call, but politely wished the person back without making my anxiety known. Truth is, the people who hurt you don’t deserve to know that they pained you. What they need is help. And because they don’t know that, the least you could do is mask your own grief and move on.
Meanwhile, accept your faults too. Learn to say sorry, when you have knowingly or unknowingly upset the people who matter to you. I consider sorry to be one of the most powerful verbal weapons. They say that it cannot bring the dead back to life, but it can do a world of a difference to those living.

Take care of your health:
“You” is always priority. And, this is one of the greatest lessons I took away from 2016. Earlier in the year, when my mum fell ill unexpectedly, I knew how much it had rattled all of us in the family. It’s then that I realised that her well-being was so important to us. My mum had forgotten to prioritise her own health, in the process of giving. It’s so important to snatch an hour each day for yourself, only to listen to your body and mind. Meditate, exercise, dance and do everything it takes to create a healthier and happier version of yourself. I started the year with jogging on Mumbai’s roads, and have now taken to gymming – something I reluctantly took on, following an injury. I have learnt to appreciate the fragility of my body, and I’m slowly nursing it back to health. Eat like a king, exercise like his army. Do whatever it takes to keep your kingdom happy.

Thank people:
Learn to be grateful. It doesn’t take much to say a thank you. I say most of my thank yous to my parents, brothers and friends, not just because they help me sail through each day, but also because they add meaning to my life. Most importantly, I say thank you to God. I firmly believe that there is a miraculous power out there that’s constantly guiding and shaping our lives. One might not be religious or pray enough, but it would be a pity if you didn’t acknowledge a miracle that happened to you. If you can’t say thank you, the least you could do is return the gesture with a warm smile. Any sign of genuine gratitude is always welcome. And its effects are far-reaching and the consequences, beautiful.

All in good time
My best friend and I joke about how each New Year’s Eve at the stroke of midnight, we assure ourselves that this is going to be our year. We will find true love, take up a job that makes us happy, go travel, write that book, probably get married and what not. Not everything falls into place, and I guess that’s fine. In 2015, I was halfway close to completing my book, but the very next year, I couldn’t move beyond a chapter. It made me sad, and I knew I was struggling with it. But, I think when we invest too much energy into the hows and whys, we loose track of the goal itself. Things will happen to us, only when the time is right. We need to keep faith, observe the changes around us, allow things and people to happen to us and appreciate life as it plays in front of us. While all dreams and desires take its own course, we forget to see all the other new things that weren’t part of our plan, attach to us like a magnet. This year, I enjoyed a coffee date (over an interview) with my favourite author Jerry Pinto. It wasn’t part of the plan. At least, I hadn’t entered 2016, assuming this secret wish would get fulfilled. It happened, and so do other things. Keep the wishes going.

Here’s wishing you a gorgeous, blissful and healthy 2017. Savour another new year, and the lessons and people it brings to you. Don’t forget to dream, smile and live.

Spread the love,

Jane

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Blogger's diary

How about some old-fashioned love?

IF a man wrote you a letter, professing his love for you, what would you do? If you shared his sentiments, would you write back to him, letting him know that you felt the same? If not, would you still consider writing to him, explaining your point of view? Or, to cut matters short, finding absolutely no meaning in such a wasteful exercise in penmanship, would you drop him a WhatsApp instead:

“*Smiley face*. Sweet letter. But…*Smiley face again* You deserve better. *Another smiley because I don’t know what to say*. *Puzzled look..God this is now getting very awkward.* Okay, I don’t think I am ready. *sad face*.”

Truth is: Nobody is ever writing any of those letters to you; at least, not in the day and age of Twitter, where 40 characters are just about enough to tell your side of the story. Anything more is considered negative marking. To see my self-worth reduce with every extra word I type on that Twitter text bar hurts, so, after struggling with it for years together, I eventually quit that space. Now, my Twitter handle is a showpiece with no added meaning or value — just a silent proof of my existence in the larger scheme of things.

letterGetting back to where I started, my parents just celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary yesterday. I asked them how they feel about crossing another glorious benchmark and they both looked at each other and smiled. I’ve seen them do that before — that smile I mean — and this silent communion feels comforting. They fell in love at a time when phone conversations were a privilege enjoyed only by a handful. Their affection for each other survived despite no computers to Skype call or smartphones to exchange minute by minute Whatsapp updates. If they missed the other, they wrote poetry. And, they didn’t have Facebook to share these sweet-nothings. They still don’t understand what it means to wish your better-half Happy Anniversary or Happy Birthday on Instagram, because they’d rather kiss and tell instead. They courted for three years, before they got married. In those three years, they met sparingly because they lived in different countries. My mom can actually count the number of times they met, on her fingers. But, she tells me that before she married my dad, she had never known anyone so deeply. I always wondered how that could have been possible.
Ten years ago, after endless prodding, my mom finally revealed their backstory. Digging into her old treasury, she handed me a sheaf of letters that they had written to each other over those three years. I was spellbound. Sometimes, they had a fight, and the arguments would continue for months at a stretch through the letters, until the issue was forgotten. On other occasions, they would be so diabetically sweet, that you’d find it very hard to consume such mush. Come to think of it, they expended a lot of energy into these meticulously written letters. But, that was how they experienced love. Oh! How I romanticize their story. But, trust me, there isn’t an iota of exaggeration to this.

Some days ago, I read a heartwarming book. It involves an Indian theatre artiste and a simple Irish lady. The book is a collection of letters he wrote to her during a span of 10 years, somewhere in the 1950s, when they enjoyed a whirlwind romance. He loved her, he claimed. Though, I personally believe, not as much as the woman. She raised his love child with little animosity for him. He, instead, chose to cut-off, afraid of how such news would be received back home in India. They would eventually keep in touch, and continued to remain good friends till before he died. But, there was love, and this, she is confident about. It is only love that can keep a soul in denial of his affection still attached to a person, who is so fully aware of what and how she feels, I gauged from what the lady told me when I reached out to her, out of sheer curiosity. I read and re-read the letters he wrote her, and I probably know where she got that assurance from. He immortalised his love for her in words, when he most felt it for her. Everything else then was secondary.

As I write this absolutely meaningless post, while trying to jot down the random conversations in my head, I am thinking about the love that my parents experienced while being together for three decades, and the love this Irish lady enjoyed sparingly. I find no difference. May be, that’s what’s absolutely adoring about that old-fashioned love. It doesn’t rely on bizarre emojis or memories made on Facebook, to make a point. It’s methodical, poetic and enduring. Patience today is hard to come by. We are an age that loves to swipe – right or left, but we have to make it quick. For everything else, there is block or delete.

PS. Meanwhile, all isn’t lost in this world. My girlfriends and I are obsessed with writing letters to each other. It’s a timely reminder of how much we care; it’s the gift we want to give to the world, but hold on to, for only a deserving few.

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