There are times in our life when we bump into a stranger with whom we want to make a connection, share a word or two, but with the frenzied pace of the world we live in, it’s nearly impossible. Who has the time to stop by and chat when there are more important things going on…money to earn, exams to give, travels to take, family to raise. And then God plays a mischievous trick, adding some flavour to our boring, routine lives. And we’ve one of those bluemonic experiences that’s called “serendipity”, a fortunate accident. One of those incidents least expected but leaving us with a lingering feeling of contentment long after it’s over.
I remember the first time I met him. He was my cousin’s friend and my cousin introduced me to him as a spoiled brat of a sister. He grinned at the remark. And the smile…it started my serendipity! It was on an autumn morning; warm, cozy atmosphere due to hustle and bustle going on in our home for my cousin sister’s upcoming wedding. People jostling about running wedding errands…but strangely they had a smile while they carried out their tasks. Maybe it was the festive mood or maybe it was my imagination because I had started seeing everything through rose-colored glasses!
I was a confused kid of fifteen then (it’s a different issue that I’m still confused about most things)…looking at the hectic activity all around me. Amidst all the frenzy, I saw him. A feeling, as never before, took hold of me. I have a porous soul and he osmosed into me. Every nerve, every sense reached out towards him.
And ever since that moment for the rest of the days till the wedding, I carried him with me. Always. “Is this love?” I wondered. I couldn’t define it. Because I along with every other human being, can only feel it. He devoured my every waking moment and reined my dreams. But the weight of this intangible, invisible thing called love didn’t weigh me down. In fact, it uplifted me…every time I thought about him. I was scared that X-Rays can detect his 6 feet frame wrapped in 6 inches of my heart! I didn’t want anyone to know. He was mine, my own treasure. He was so much a part of me, I was becoming him. Dreamy-eyed, stupid grin…I was a sight!
My cousins sensed something was amiss. Maybe it was the idiotic grin plastered on my face 24/7 that gave away the state of my mind. But all those feelings faded into nothingness. He never knew. It was a wordless first meeting. Perhaps, back then he didn’t even acknowledge my existence. I’m one of those persons who tend to blend into the crowd quite well and go unnoticed. And my emotions when it came to love had always been controlled, very controlled. I walked past him, stood next to him, gave him a bored look without a trace of him knowing what he was doing to me. I could never take the risk of him knowing it ever. I would be doomed. Ridiculed in his eyes. I wasn’t afraid he would hate me. The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference. And I wouldn’t have been able to tolerate his indifference.
A week went by. The wedding was over. My cousin left for her honeymoon. And here I was experiencing the first brush of love or infatuation, whatever it was! He never knew how happy he had made me unknowingly. The shy glances, the knowing smile, laughing uncontrollably at my “not so funny” jokes. I loved everything about him. I must have been so obvious at times. And even if he had sensed it, he didn’t show it.
We met again, long after my crush sank into oblivion and my world no longer revolved around his smile! We talked a lot, met often. He read voraciously and that created a bond between us. A friendship had begun. He got a job, moved to another city. I got busy with my studies. We kept in touch through the occasional phone call or email. Few months back, he called me to share the news that he’s getting married. I’m writing this on the eve of his wedding thinking about the “fortunate accident” that had occurred in another wedding few years back. Strange are the ways of God bringing us reasons to smile, memories to cherish in ways we least expect. So, be open to every little experience of life. I’ve an ear-to-ear grin now reminiscing about something.
FICTION: Written in December,2006 for the college fest literary event