The 9 Times I stopped worrying and almost fell in LOVE
The One With The End
My palms were sweaty, knees weak and arms were heavy. There was vomit on my sweater already along with some confetti. It was time for me to take my medicines and call it a night. Amogh took the crying kid from my arms and asked Gowtham to accompany me to my room.
It was a long walk to my room and we started talking about the birthday celebrations of his younger sibling, who had just created the modern art on my sweater. Gowtham was surprisingly solemn during the entire conversation and he seemed a bit flustered. Once I was in my room, I changed into something that didn’t smell funny and settled into my armchair. I placed my hat on the stand and was lighting my pipe when Gowtham cleared his throat a bit louder than required. A bit of prodding ensued before him telling me, that he wanted to ask a question, a life matter question.
“Arjun Thatha, everyone seems to think of your marriage as the IDEAL one and are awestruck when talking about your relationship. Your love story is a type of folklore now. You married your childhood sweetheart and had an enriching marriage. My question is, you must have surely come across many women in your life, how did you know Paati was the one??? Or was she really the One??? How were you so sure that this was love and most importantly, how could you love just one person your entire life??? Are there signs that I should notice? I am at the crossroads of my life AT… You’ve always had answers to all my questions… Don’t use this time to disappoint me… Is it possible to love just one person my entire life. How did you manage??? Or did you actually only love Paati??? ”
Well, I listened to his questions patiently. It was okay for him to know. I wish I’d known the answers for all these questions when I was his age.
“Dei Kanna… I’ll tell you… to the best of my limited knowledge… but first… go get my glasses… I think I’ve left it in the party hall… Get some ice-cream too… ”
While waiting for him, I leaned back on my chair and went into a reverie. One that never ceases to bring a smile on my creaked lips.
Yes, my love story was almost folklore now. Especially after the book I wrote about it on our 25th wedding anniversary. It was meant to be a gift to my wife, but somehow it garnered more steam than I ever thought it would. The success spurred me on to write more. The more I wrote, the more I fell in love with her.
But to give a true answer to Gowtham, I’d have to tell him things that she never knew. I’d have to tell him about those stories. They were the stories wherein I saw myself and my beliefs in a new light.
The timing of his question couldn’t have been better.
This was the day I first met her all those years back; her birthday. The day I fell in love with those dimples when she smiled, her eyes when they looked at me, her voice when it called out my name, the nose-ring that seemed to be the cynosure of my eyes and that single strand of hair that caressed her cheek. The day when I suddenly seemed to understand the feeling that I’d read about in poems and heard about in songs. The day I realised what to be in love actually felt like.
The birthday which she now shared with that wailing kid. Actually the kid reminded me of her a lot and it wasn’t just the birthday that they shared. They had the same name too…
It had been 50 years since I first heard that name and 15 years since I last uttered it.