I don’t know if it was love or infatuation. I sometimes wonder — had my parents not asked me that question, would I have ever fallen for that trap. Five years ago my parents were very busy finding a perfect match for me. That was only normal, I was 24 at that time and belonging to a simple middle class family my parents’ motto was to get me married before I turned 25. I was also okay with it as all my friends were getting married and were planning to settle down. I too was in the mood to get married. I remember my parents asking me.
“Is there someone in your life that you like?”
And I was like — “Oh my God I never thought my parents will be so open minded.”
That day I decided, I should have made one boyfriend at least, but since there was no one in my life I was forced to say a big fat NO to them. I know my parents were happy hearing this, their daughter had never crossed her ‘limits’. So just like any other girl, I was also waiting for my Prince Charming to step into my life so we could live happily ever after.
But then something happened and I was not the same girl again.
I got admission in PhD in a reputed institute that year and my parents were very happy. I was happy too and I welcomed this change and packed my bags to shift into a hostel. I got very busy here in college with the studies, my parents’ search was still on and they kept telling me about the boys I had absolutely no interest in. I told them to decide first and then tell me, only then will I come home to go forward with it. They too seemed okay with the idea and started working on the same. In the meantime I was doing good for myself — with my research.
Then one fine day I met one of my seniors through a common friend. He was a nice guy, very intelligent and hardworking. We exchanged phone numbers and everything seemed okay, it was a casual meeting. After that meeting, we became acquaintances, so a hi and bye relationship started very casually. Next he started messaging me on a regular basis, some messages I never even bothered to read. So far so good. He would normally ask me for coffee and I will deny as I was very busy with my research, and after coming back to the hostel, my only aim was to sleep.
Then one day he called me to tell me about his research and how he was moving to Singapore in four months. I was happy for him. He asked me again for a cup of coffee and I said Yes this time. We met and chatted, he told me about his research ideas. I told him mine and soon we started talking about our personal lives. I told him about my family, my plans and he told me about his. He told me that he is an alcoholic and I was like REALLY?
We started talking more on Facebook and texts, soon I found myself waiting for his calls and messages. The days we didn’t talk I felt incomplete. In just two months we became very good friends. We discussed everything — our family, friends, research, his ex-girlfriend and ofcourse alcohol.
One night at 11 pm in winters, he called me and asked me to meet him at the cafeteria. I denied, but he was persistent. I figured he was drunk, I denied again but he said he is standing in front of my hostel. First time in my life I was feeling scared meeting him. I went and saw him in a shirt and trouser in such cold weather. I gave him my shawl and we walked. My heartbeat was faster and I really didn’t know what to say.
We still walked for an hour around the campus silently and in the end he said, “Jana jaruri hai kya”.
But I had to leave because of strict hostel timings. I left the shawl with him and left. I don’t know, but something happened that day.. what they call MAGIC. I was smiling by myself the whole day and I realized that I was in love. I had a feeling I was the happiest person in the world that day. He called me and asked if I had reached safely. I said ‘Yes’ and ‘Goodnight’. That night I realized what people meant by ‘Sleepless nights in love’. Next day we met in the morning.
I noticed he liked me too. It wasn’t too difficult to decode his smirk.
My brain was telling me that I am going in the wrong direction. He was moving abroad in two months, he was an alcoholic, my parents were looking for a boy for me and also may be he didn’t love and it’s all in my head. But nothing mattered at that point.
Our meetings, phone calls and messages to each other increased exponentially. He never said that he loved me and neither did I. But, we were already in an adult relationship, anybody who’d listen to our phone conversations could tell. I remember him telling me once — “You should stay away from me as seeing you brings all the bad thoughts in my head.” I on the other hand was enjoying my first love. I don’t know, I was just going with the flow in life, without thinking what will happen in the future. Never in my life had I felt so special.
His date of departure was coming closer and his thesis work was still pending. We could only talk at night now. One day I called him, he sounded tensed. He said he’ll call after some time. I waited, he called after one hour. I asked him what happened and he said, “Bahot panga ho gaya hai”. He told me that one of his friends had read his emails and messages exchanged between him and his friend’s wife. I was stunned for a second.
I said, “You exchange messages with your friend’s wife. How dare you? You can’t interfere in somebody’s married life yaar.” I cut the phone and we stopped talking.
I got the shock of my life that day. I laughed at myself in my head. Somewhere inside of me, I knew that this was supposed to happen one day, we were not committed. He never said ‘I love you’ to me. In the next 5 days I learnt the meaning of patience and self control in my life. He was leaving in 15 days and I didn’t even look at him anymore.
Love is really a strange thing. A day before he was leaving I got a message from him, “You left me the time I needed you the most.” Something inside me broke down that day. I left him really? He was the one who was exchanging messages with his friend’s wife and I left him. I don’t know what happened but I cried that day. Maybe I was going through a breakup of a relationship which was closest to my heart.
After a month or so we chatted again on facebook, with a turmoil in my heart, I spoke very patiently. We didn’t discuss his friend’s event again and he sent me a link to a song, my brain still knew that this relationship will never work but my heart said otherwise. In the meantime, my parents stepped into the picture and asked me to meet a boy that they had selected for me. I took a decision with my brain this time and stopped talking to him. I needed empty space to let someone else in.
I blocked him, changed my phone number and tried my level best to lose every contact with him. He also never tried to contact me again. I met the boy my parents had selected for me and said No to him. But I couldn’t have said No to everybody. After six months or so, I thought I am ready for marriage and finally said Yes to a decent guy. I tried to be happy and forget him.
He taught me love, patience, self control and I was unable to hate him.
On the first night of my marriage, I discovered that my husband was impotent. But, I didn’t feel bad because may be nothing can break you when you’re already broken. I again went with the flow in my life. I am still going with the flow. A sexless and childless marriage is going great. I have learnt to laugh at my problems.
This is the irony of life. Sometime ago there was a boy who would go crazy if I touched him and here is a boy — my husband, who finds excuses to not touch me. I don’t know what else my life wants to teach me but you know what, I’m a brave girl and it’s only me who is responsible for my happiness. With all this drama in my life, I found myself and I learnt to love myself for still smiling with all the problems. I just want everyone around me to be happy. I have made peace with my past and have accepted my present. Sometimes, this is the only option you are left with.
The pain in my heart vanishes when I support my husband in overcoming his weaknesses.
I still miss my first love but I just want him to be happy, happy wherever he is (somewhere in the US, I think). I just want to wish him all the best and I hope he wins a Nobel prize and I will be glad to see him on TV. I want to say this to him — Just try to make a balance between your alcohol and your passion for work. And thank you for teaching me what LOVE means.