Who doesn’t love a love story. It could be a fictitious one or a real, I have always found an audience for a love story.
When we were in college, all my hostel mates would sit around me, to listen to the love stories I would concoct for them. Most of them being single then, it made for a fine way to pass time. I would imagine the boy- tall, lean, athletic, dark hair, eye shape, fashion sense. Hell, with my description, I would leave little to their imagination. I would then imagine the ‘meet-cute’- how their paths would cross, the first words, the blossoming friendship, the growing attachment and then a finale- which would by default always be wonderful and magical. These would be times when these then single girls would return to their rooms, hopeful and a little bit in love with the dream I spun.
(If anyone one of the IHM hostel girls- batch 2007 are reading this and would like to either deny or corroborate the effect, please do comment)
While I would draw these beautiful love story for others, I would forever cherish one sweet story for myself. Today seems to be a good day to share it with you all-
This one started 11 years ago. On this very day (hence, the post)- October 5, 2015. Actually, lets back track. It started few months before, perhaps during a rather boring lecture when instead of falling asleep, a girl thought it would be so much better to fall in love. Well not love, but she was a teenager, so you know the drill. She thought this one boy in her class deserved much of her attention. And why not, he was tall, handsome, dripped of sincerity and kindness, pretty much the text book stuff for a good looking good boy.
You know how girls like to talk and share. Well, so did this one. And innocently enough, she confessed to her classmate about her crush on the tall boy. You should know something about the girl. She wasn’t this conventional pretty slim girl in fact pretty much the opposite. She had this vivacious boisterous personality, mostly to mask her constant self doubt about her body shape. But since no one knew her at this college, she chose to be the person she always wanted to be. (More about her later. perhaps another post. Let me know if you would be interested.)
So it was the confession which pretty much cocked things up. The classmate’s then boyfriend was great pals with tall boy and she thought “how wonderful it would be to double date!”. And suddenly, just like that, the tall boy knew. The girl was mortified. she has been ‘crushing’ boys all her life, never having to face any of them. But she could see that this one was walking towards her.
Well, the nerves had already given up and all she needed was a charming nudge from the tall boy to blurt out her real feelings. It was out in the open. He knew. And she definitely knew that he knew. Are you with me??
Now to put things in perspective, all of this happening to a boy who is 21 years old and a girl who is 19 years old. In the first few months of college. And we go back to October 5, 2004.
I can’t say what went inside the tall boys head. But a few days after this incident, on a beach front albeit a supremely dirty one, the tall boy asked the girl a question that would change her life from whatever she though she knew. At 7:05 PM on Tuesday, October 05, 2015, things will never be the same again.
I am talking about Nikhil and I.
This here is a 2004 version of us. With friends on a trip to Alibaug. I can say that now. I kept this trip a secret for a long long time. We did not know a thing about eachother as individuals, not counting family, history and such.
A friend took this picture of us. We are now students in second year of college. By now, I am so far gone… smitten out of my boots and mind. And I still did not know even half of him. But I knew that he was one of the nicest people I had met so far. and he was beginning to like me just the way I am.
By third year, we were officially a couple. Inseparable since first year college, apparently planning a future together. I was then told that should we marry, I would need to get my ears pierced (the Kashmiri way). oh it was such a issue because he refused to don the bengali traditional dulha ‘topor’. The irony is that I did get them pierced and now he doesn’t care if I wear anything in them.
And then we graduated. With no plans or talks about our future so far. Except for the mandatory dreamy talks of what life would be like and how much money we would like to earn. But we survived the three years of college. Of course not without fair share of fights and shouts. But in the end, we had also become really great friends and which lot hasn’t fought and still stayed thick?
We then moved to murkier ground. From being with each other every waking hour, we got separated for our first jobs. Him in Mumbai while I in Delhi. But it was cool. In fact, I had such a great time in this long distance relationship that I recommend it to everyone. It was then, when I finally learnt how to think without Nikhil near me. It was also the time, I devised creative ways to go to Mumbai several times to be with him. But I also learnt how to live away from him, still have fun and go to bed missing him and loving him more.
Then enters the truly adult phase of our lives together. Now in the same city, we were living in separate houses. Challenges a plenty, we learnt a lesson through it all. We saw eachother in times of sorrow, failure, new jobs, more jobs, no money, some money, weight lose, weight gain (as can be seen in the photos) family acceptance and what not.
Eventually my mother got restless. Inching towards a decade of being ‘special friends’ (yes, she said that!) and yet no sign of a future. How can that be!!! Quickly, lets throw a grand party. Dress up the boy and girl. Get the guests horribly drunk while getting the couple engaged. The fate is sealed. Parents were pleased and we both a bit broke.
But the courtship continued and we became even better friends now. We shared our passion for food, for music, for lazing around, for enjoying eachothers company. And I still did not know the half of him. Which kept me on my toes and alert for new information.
And then came the inevitable. Another grand party and this time we both were truly broke. Well, Nikhil, more than I. We were now closing a decade and we had to make the move. Why I speak so casually of this wedding is because even though it was a sacred ceremony tying us in a union forever. Even though I knew little of him, his thoughts and inner working of his mind. I knew I wanted to be with him since I first came to be with him. So wedding or not, this was man would laugh at my jokes and forever find me funny. And I knew I will be with him.
Then something fantastic happened. I woke up next to him and I realized I would get to do this every day of my life. And instead of dread and boredom, I was looking forward to it- His company, his absurd jokes, his total lack of understanding that I am woman and not one his chum pals, his calling me ‘chotey’/ ‘small’, his OCD in the kitchen. We took this fantastic trip to Goa and I fell in love with him a bit more. If that was even possible.
And the we completed a year. Just like that… whoosh went past a year of being married. And I can finally I say I have been granted sanction into his inner sanctum.. into his heart and mind. With little expertise and no arrogance, I think I know him bit better. I also realised that this closeted man who shares little and expresses even less knows a lot about me. More than he even let on. More than marriage, I begin to understand this relationship as a partnership and as a friendship. One that is fiercely loyal, extremely honest, terribly demanding but eternally loving.
That’s us now. After 11 years. Just two kids. Forever.
PS- there is a chance Nikhil will hate this post. He is a horribly private person. And I am quite the opposite. But it’s my blog and he is my life. So tough!