The calendar is flipping in the evening breeze and my eyes move towards today’s date. 16th May. Suddenly for no good reason I am feeling overwhelmed. Something niggles at me and makes me vaguely restless. I slowly walk to the balcony over looking the evening sea and then it all divulges upon me.
I have heard some say that you hear only what your heart wants you to and see only that you’re your mind draws. It is true for in spite of the raucous my son is creating with his friends on account of the world cup running on TV, I can see two young people sitting under the stars on a warm march night by the steps of a lonely temple. I can hear his voice clearly floating over the dark silence, saying that he would grow his hair. I see a young girl with a ponytail laughing and telling him that she would then give him a nice red satin ribbon on his birthday. The promise of him driving down miles to meet her on that day because no day, least of all his birthday would be even near remotely complete without her, admits silly girlish giggles fills my head. As I watch them walk down the deserted road barely even touching each other, talking about all and sundry, I know that I am watching a much younger me living a small dream then.
They say young love believes so much in itself that nothing else matters. It did not matter then. Nor did anything matter much later when I still held on to that one night dream and thought a fairy tale romance would pick up where it was left sooner or later. I held on to same fantasy when he moved away and deliberately lost touch. The remnants of the same dream made me give us second chance years later before we just slipped into being strangers. Soon afterwards as I got down to meticulously destroying every memory of him, I still held on to that one fairy tale night. In some ways it was my way of holding on to the more youthful, full of zest me. All I wanted was a grand dream, full of hope, love and colour. You see that is what young love is all about; Needy, heady and full of purpose.
Ironically I have till date not wished him once on his birthday and I remember getting up to tear drenched pillows on many of my birthdays after that night, wondering hard if he remembered anything at all from then. The times we did wish each other (via mail or msg) we worked hard and succeeded at being polite and impersonal. One birthday saw me receive three words “Have a blast” over email which were turned over and broken down with friends till I realized that it was nothing but just that. Years rolled over, I got married and moved away and cut off all ties to my past in earnest; the orkut account was deleted, his name was blocked on all messenger lists, the phone number erased and mine changed. I remember wishing then, in my disappointment over broken dreams that he would pine away for me and never find happiness with anyone else, all the while trying to forget him. But like they say no part of your past can be completely exorcised because after all it is a collection of these experiences and stops in journey of life that get you where you are today. The feeling is heightened today, decades later, when I know I don’t have to strain too hard to hear that solitary giggle or see that pair of sharp glittering eyes. It all comes alive too easily.
The phone rings in the background. It must be my sister-in-law asking about our plan for the evening. It is her promotion party and I am yet pick a gift for her. I quickly tear the leaf of the calendar and move to 17 May, silently hoping that he is as happy as I am and that love has touched his life again just like it has mine. Sometimes young love can be unintentionally vengeful and mean and I wish I had not cursed him for so long and so hard. I look at the blue ocean and hope that the waves would carry my good wishes to him and move on…