Love: eye to eye

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I was looking into her eyes, trying to decipher what she was thinking. She was looking back and was probably thinking the same (or that’s at least what I think). This went on probably for a few seconds, but if you have been in such a situation, you will probably know that it feels much longer than that. The metacognition phase was kicking in my head and I was not thinking about what she was thinking but rather I was thinking now that why did I think that she was thinking about what I was thinking and is there a possibility that she was thinking on the same level as mine and knew that I was not thinking about what she was thinking but rather I was thinking now about why did I think that she was thinking about what I was thinking.

As you can see, things were getting a bit too meta and I was falling into this recursive train of thought until a song starts playing out in the background of my head that rescued me. Probably, you may have heard this song before, if you haven’t, I would warn you before you click and listen to it, as it is very likely that next time you look into the eyes of your loved one, you would start hearing this song in background and you would start laughing, and then you would need to explain how you once read this post and were introduced to this song that starts to play in back of your head whenever you look into someone’s eyes for a bit too long. So, coming back to my story, listening to that song playing in my head, I ended up smiling from ear to ear. And such a smile doesn’t go unnoticed even though she was looking at my eyes. And then came the question which snapped me out of that song.

She: Why are you smiling?

Me (caught off guard but thinking it would be weird to explain the real reason): I am smiling because of you.

She (without a delay): Why?

Me (thinking fast on my feet now): You ask me why.. (using the tactic to repeat the question to get time to think of a response, probably heard it in a tech talk)… why because I like spending time with you.

She (smiles but persists like a relentless interrogator): Why?

Me (thinking hard about all romantic catchy phrases from SRK movies): Because I feel very happy when I am with you and there’s nothing else I would prefer than being with you.

She (silent awww… or at least that’s what I think, followed by a softer but same response): Why?

Me (running out of ideas): Why? Because I love you.

She: Why?

At that moment, I was at my wits’ end because I didn’t know how to respond to her last why, because my expectations were based on the movies I have watched. I don’t remember ever (ever like never ever) watching a movie where someone had said “I love you” and got back a response “why”. In the Bollywood movies, more than often it’s followed by a duet song or in the Hollywood movies, by a passionate kiss or love-making. But life ain’t a movie, That’s why man, I say don’t trust the movies. At that moment, I was thinking how that moment would be a perfect addition to the meme set of expectation vs reality and that thought made me smiling from ear to ear again. And then she repeated her question again.

She: Why are you smiling?

It seemed like a moment of deja vu. I felt a strong urge to repeat the same response I had to this question earlier and see if the entire conversation would play out itself again. However, I managed to curb that urge and uttered my response probably influenced by the song which was playing earlier in my head.

Me: I love you because you have got spectacular eyes, sensual sensational eyes, when I see your eyes and my eyes in your eyes, I feel the love flowing my eyes to your eyes. Aye, I love you, eye to eye.

I am not sure if she was convinced by my eyeful response but the moral of the story is don’t trust the movies, man and always be ready to answer why to why when you make contact eye to eye.

Confession

Reading Time: 4 minutes

(The concluding part – continuing from ‘Dream or Reality’)

And that’s how ‘the dream’ smiled upon me and I thanked the heavens (and I imagine that He smiled as well and acknowledged my thanks) for letting me witness that pleasant sight from a close distance (unlike school days). And then we talked (the way schoolmates begin their conversation) about the good old school days, reminiscing the notorious acts, blushing on remembering the embarrassing moments and then inquiring each other the whereabouts of other classmates. Interestingly, how often it happens in a conversation that we talk mostly about the “pleasant past” or “promising future”. On second thoughts, it happens perhaps because often the present didn’t turn out to be as pleasant as it promised.

Having almost exhausted our past memories and tracking down all the old classmates, our conversation shifted towards what happened in our personal lives. She told about her experience of studying in United States, her experience of working for an international firm for last 3 years, how she felt alienated staying away from India and that now she has decided to move back to India for good to settle down here. Hearing her rich cultural experiences, I felt that she has already experienced the whole world. On the other hand, I had to struggle around to make a living in this world. I recounted my experiences of how I struggled to get admit into any of the reputed engineering colleges in the city. Then, I decided to pursue language and communication in one of the arts colleges in the city and how I struggled there as well and just managed to scrap through with a Masters degree and after that the struggle of finding a profession to make my living. After spending a few months in frustration of unemployment, one day I decided that I should try out doing freelancing writing works. With the freelancing writing jobs, I finally started earning and how success in one of the freelancing jingle-writing contest turned out to be a career-defining moment for me. From then on, the Destiny has been kind enough to smoothen out the struggles in my life to a great extent. And now, the ‘promising future’ had prospects of a 1-year contract of a jingle-writer in an international firm based in United States.

She appeared very fascinated by my story of struggles in life (like a foreigner appears fascinated by the story of struggles of a poor guy) and I was fascinated by her story of riches in life (like a poor guy fascinated by the wealthy foreigner giving tips liberally). Although, whatever I told about my life so far was true and not dramatized, I did hide a few inner thoughts which were related to her like how she always appeared as a dream to me and that I was looking forward to the job opportunity in US as a chance to finally get rich enough to feel worthy enough of trying to reveal my feelings about her and propose her.

When we realized we have already spent considerable time hunting down the memory lanes instead of hunting down places for rent, we bid each other good-bye and I promised to meet up soon to help her with house-hunt next time (the future did look promising to me that time!). While I met her a few times in this regard of house-hunting, internally I was feeling helpless in making a crucial decision in life in which there was a conflict of interest between career and ‘dream’.

Just when I had thought, that my career path shall lead me towards her and I would have a perfect life, Life tried to test me by pitting my career against my dream and asking me to take a decision (while it was smiling mischievously seeing my indecisiveness). I knew that staying back in India wasn’t conducive to my career growth and I would hardly be able to make my ends meet. And the career of jingle-writing was highly unpredictable and one never knows when one would run out of creative ideas or get lost in the competitive world out there. As this famous jingle suggest, “when on a roll, make the most on a payroll”, the 1-year contract was kind of my first “permanent” job and I wanted to make the most of it. However, when I had first received the offer of this contract, I didn’t have such thoughts then. At that time, I was rather more excited by the prospect of working in United States and hence, the hope of seeing her and proposing her (like the perfectly laid out plans one often has of promising future). But now, when I realize that she has moved back to India, I had to reassess what are the other favorable reasons for accepting this contract.

We often curse Life for putting us in such troublesome spots but we don’t realize that how such times could be a blessing in disguise where we are forced to prioritize the things in our life as it turned out for me. And after giving much thought to logic and emotion, I decided to accept the 1-year contract and fly away from the dream. It wasn’t the case that I didn’t wish to stay back with her in India but I realized that I hated the struggles I had faced so far more than I loved her. I realized that perhaps I didn’t even love her. Maybe, I was just inspired by her because she seemed to have led such an effortless life where she got what she wished for – rosy childhood, quality education, international exposure, well-paid job. And I also wished to lead along such a life (doing it in the comfort of her company was more like an additional bonus). Having confessed to self about priorities in life, I realized how I had been fooling myself with this dream which was merely a way of inspiring self to get over the struggles in life. Hence, I decided to accept that contract and move out of her contact as well by showing reluctance in communication. If we meet again, I shall say that Destiny has been kind to me.

Dream or Reality

Reading Time: 2 minutes

(Continuing from the last part, Chasing the dream, in his own words)

It was yet another weekend where I was still working, trying to complete my latest assignment – the assignment of coming up with jingles for baby products for e-Baby (It sounds like e-Bay but to my disappointment babies are not auctioned here). The harder I tried to think about jingles for baby products, the more my thoughts drifted towards thinking about the process in which sometimes baby is an end product (Perhaps the last night’s social drinking effect was still hanging around). The only jingle which was incessantly repeating in my head at that time was the jingle that “the baby producer” (the baby-product manager of e-Baby) made about me – ‘the guy who mingles yet stays single is the guy who writes our jingles’. I decided that in order to complete my assignment, I must go and have a cup of coffee to stop my wandering thoughts.

*Tring – Tring*

Hello? Who is it?

Didn’t you save my number when I gave it to you that day?

Oh… Daisy! I must have missed it (and I thought that was a dream!)

(Laughs) O God! And I was waiting for you to call me.

So, what’s up?

Nothing exciting, just looking for a house for rent this weekend. The city seems to have changed so much since I left India.

(Yes and so have I)

Do you need my help in house-hunting? I could come over.

Are you free this weekend?

(Lying) Yes, of course. And it shall give us a chance of catching up once again (and convincing self that it wasn’t a dream).

Okay. Then let’s meet at that theater behind our school in an hour.

Cool. Let’s meet at that theater (where my classmates often sneaked through to watch the morning shows) in an hour.

And that conversation changed my course of thoughts from thinking about the jingles to thoughts about her. I dashed off to our meeting venue as soon as possible. I had reached the venue about 20 minutes before the time she was supposed to arrive. I started taking a look around at this old theater which seemed abandoned now with the advent of so many multiplexes in the city. Surprisingly, there were still a few old posters (of the times of my school days) hanging onto the walls of the courtyard of the theater. And more surprisingly, I found that the ticket counter was open and I walked towards it to find which movie was getting screened at this haunted theater. Not surprisingly, it was one of those morning shows movies. I was admiring the poster of that movie when I was suddenly caught off guard by her.

So, you would like to watch this movie?

I didn’t actually need to turn around to know that it was her but I turned around slowly with the flushed look of a student caught doodling in the class by the teacher. She looked at me for a few moments with those stern eyes of such a teacher before she broke into an infectious smile which comforted me and made me grin sheepishly about that scene. Then, we laughed together about the entire episode.

Those were the cherished moments that are still imprinted in my memory.  

(to be contd…)