Falling in Love With Her
I fell in love with her when I saw the way she could make her mother laugh the most musical laugh with her first baby steps in the old mossy park. She needed so little to keep her happy – one bedtime story, one doll, one old photograph. She would spend hours saving drowning ants from muddy puddles during monsoon. She would spend days reading books upside down. She would open the refrigerator time and again just to see when the lights turned off. She would stare out of the train windows and examine gravely why the trees nearby whizzed past and those far away went so slowly. She smiled silly smiles in her sleep – as if her imaginary friend was tickling her. She chased fireflies at night and butterflies in the day. She could never finish the lunch Mom packed for her, so she would give it away to her friends. She drooled in the middle of family gatherings and was never embarrassed. She had her flaws. And I loved her then.
I fell in love with her when she stood up for herself against the middle school bullies. She resented them and was not afraid to show it, unlike her friends who preferred to stay silent and endure the torture. She got up from her chair, made her way across the room and slapped them hard at the school assembly. When everyone tried to fit in, she remained calmly and unapologetically herself. When everyone was crushing on the newest addition to the blonde guys’ team, she was irrevocably in love with Hugo and Wilde. When everyone was busy learning how to swear, she was busy fine-tuning her vocabulary for the national SpellBee contest. When Ritu Aunty told her that she was impure during her periods and so, shouldn’t be allowed to visit the temple, she laughed and explained to her the entire biology textbook. When she was asked to choose between computer science engineering and medicine, she opted for science journalism. She was inscrutable. She spit convention on the face. She made her mistakes. And I loved her then.
I fell in love with her when she asked me an unanswerable question: “They say love makes artists of even the least creative of souls. What about the artists? What does love do to the poets, lyricists, singers, writers, painters and dancers? Does it design them? Or does it destroy them slowly, letting their hearts bleed a painful death from all that overdose of art?” She had her doubts. And I loved her then.
She stumbled, she was swept off the shore, she hit rock bottom. But she never drowned. She went underwater. But she never stayed submerged for long. She had never needed anyone to tell her how beautiful she was; she had never required reassurance. She believed in herself through pain and heartbreaks. Her faith never failed to bounce back.
And I was the only one who had the privilege of watching her through it all – right from the beginning till the end. No one knows her story better than I do. And she places more trust in my judgement, than all her trust for all other people combined.
So, here’s to my favourite companion, here’s to my valentine. Here’s to me…
Image source: flickr.com