You will survive.

When you broke up with me, I worried about how you would do without me. We were never a stereotypical couple and our breakup wasn’t because of hate or malign or any such thing. We were just not able to make each other happy anymore. We were practical about it. We broke up. It was hard but it had to be done. I understood that. But it didn’t stop me from wondering how you would do without me. I was always your confidante. I was the one who was always there to comfort you in your lows and hug you when you thought you were falling apart. I believed you when you said you couldn’t imagine living without me six months ago cause I knew it was what you really felt. Now I wonder how much of that is still true. You may find someone else to take my place, to comfort you, to wipe away your tears but I wonder if you will be okay with them; if you will be okay without me.

But that thought lasted only for a few minutes. All it took was reminding myself that you are a survivor to make me realize that you were going to okay without me.

You are a survivor. You have always been. You survived pain, breaking of trust, sexual assault, emotional downfall, depression and even your ex cheating on you. You survived some terrible things. You did that cause you are a survivor. You survived it and you found a way, a method, a trick that you taught yourself to survive all the future calamities of heart. And those will come in handy. You survived pain and suffering and loneliness. You sure can survive without love, comfort and warmth. Bear in mind they are not the same thing. Pain is not the same as absence of joy; loneliness is not the same as absence of love. Absence of love doesn’t eat you up and depress you; it just empties you and prepares you for the next adventure. Absence of joy means you are not ecstatic right now; it doesn’t mean you are in pain. There are sad emotions, a neutral state and happy emotions. You survived some terribly sad emotions. The absence of some happy emotions that my absence will result into, won’t kill you. It would make you empty for a while and then someone will come along and acquire that space. You have survived love being snatched away from you even when you fought for it and gave it your all. So this breakup, where you willingly let love go away, wouldn’t be that hard for you to survive.

Trust me, you will survive.

I don’t want a forever

“I don’t want your ‘forever’. They don’t last”, she interrupted me and spoiled my ‘moment’.

We were watching a romantic movie at my place and discussing how some cliches in movies are stupid and others, not so. The protagonist or rather, the guy(cause we just had an argument about how it was wrong to call the guy a protagonist as a love story involves two people) had just proposed to the girl and promised her that he would be there beside her forever. It was a cliche that movies and movie watchers are now used to. Ending a movie with a guy and girl getting together after facing all the obstacles that love brings with it and then promising forever is a nice cliche and something that people never really get bored of.

As the movie ended and the credentials rolled up the screen, we started talking about the cliche that is ‘forever’.
‘Well, that was a nice cliche’, I said.
‘I liked it as a child but I don’t enjoy it anymore. We need to grow out of it and start being realistic. We need to get out of this ‘forever’ bullshit and start teaching our kids that the future is not necessarily always happy.’
‘Well, yeah. But I like it. It is something that everyone should aspire for. Being with someone for the entire life; the promise of eternity, that kind of love is huge and the kind of stuff people should hope to achieve.’
‘I think we need to be realistic. This kind of love is difficult to exist in today’s world. With a growing percentage of population constantly breaking up and divorcing, we need to accept that the times have changed. We need to teach our kids the basic values and let them decide what kind of future they want to have.’
‘I agree but I still like this cliche. This is how love should be. Like ours. I love you and want to be with you forever. What’s wrong with th…’ I had retorted. I agree it was not the ideal setting to propose to your girlfriend but I wasn’t proposing. I was merely stating the fact. We both knew we loved each other. We hadn’t talked about marriage but we both knew that it was on the cards. We were in a happy relationship aside from the occasional moments when we couldn’t stand each other. I thought it was a forever kind of thing. And even though it was not the ideal kind of setting to say those things, I thought it would win me the argument(or discussion, as she would have corrected me). But she interrupted me and spoiled my moment.

I wanted to say something and defend myself but I didn’t know what to say. No one knows what the future holds and a ‘forever’ is just an empty promise but I still wanted to be with her till the end of time. I started to say something but she cut me off again.

‘Don’t!’ she interjected. ‘Don’t even try to convince me that we will have a forever. I am not some 13 year old who will get convinced of it. I am not a teen and I don’t want your ‘forever’s’ she vented out in frustration.

She paused for a second and took a moment to compose herself after that staunch outburst of her emotion and calmly tried to put forth her point, ‘I don’t want you to just stay with me because you once promised or because a piece of paper says so. I don’t want us to be together because getting separated would involve heartbreak or pain or some paper work. That will be disrespectful to me. If you stay with me because of a promise or because you think I wouldn’t be able to live without you, I would not be happy with that. If you are unhappy in the relationship, I don’t want you to stay. I don’t want you to resent every moment of this relationship just because of a promise you once made. We are independent adults who have lives of our own. We will survive the hardships of life. I don’t want our relationship to feel like a prison. I want you to be with me because at every moment in life, you wanted to be with me; because even in the moments when I made your life miserable, I was worth it. I don’t want a promise of forever. I want a right now.’

 

I was a bit shocked but not at all surprised. She was a remarkable, strong, independent woman with a mind of her own. That is what I loved about her in the first place. I loved how she could think independently and not get influenced by the society and its stupid, generations-old laws. I loved how she talked about changing the future generation by giving them the knowledge and trusting them to choose their own life. And I loved how she wanted our relationship to be honest and pure. I should have known that all these cliches that society imposes upon us wouldn’t be agreeable to  her. I understood what she was saying and my respect for her multiplied. It’ s weird how after a fight or argument or ‘discussion’, you start loving the person more. (That is if your relationship survives the fight, of course.) I leaned in towards her, smiling uncontrollably, and said, ‘Fine! Lets be together right now. Because, I love you right now’ and we kissed. That kiss making me wanting to add, ‘for all the ‘right now’s of the future’ but I resisted.

Fiction 4

‘Why are you so hard?’ she almost screamed out of frustration. He wished it was meant in a sexual way. Although that would have been embarrassing, but it would be easy to explain or deal with. This was not meant in that way. She meant it in a personal sense. She was frustrated with him. It was so tough to figure him out. He wouldn’t open up, he wouldn’t talk much, he wouldn’t share his feelings with her and still he would act like it was her fault. She had given him a birthday gift which had been the toughest thing to do for her since she had decided to date him. It was actually the first time, in their 8 month relationship, that she had realized how she didn’t know him that well and how the entire relationship was just one sided. She was investing it all in the relationship. It was like if a book was written on their relationship, you could call it her biography. She was surprised to realize it and also felt a little bad thinking that she was overshadowing the relationship. She didn’t like it. Only later she realized that it was his nature and not her fault. He didn’t like to talk much about himself and his likes and dislikes. It was all about her. She had, after much struggle, found something for him. She had known that he loved cricket so she decided to give him a book that had the story of his favorite cricket player. She had found about the book and heard good things about it. She thought he would love it and would be really excited about it. But he reacted in such a bad way that she just wanted to kick him in the groin and storm out. She didn’t though. She stayed. Not only that, she had cooked him his favorite delicacy Chicken Tikka but when he saw it he commented that he was in the mood for some pasta today. She couldn’t take it anymore. Why was it so hard to make him happy? He made her so happy at times and she wanted to reciprocate it by doing something nice for him but she always failed. And today, when she thought she was about to be successful in making him happy and giving him a good birthday gift, he appears to have not liked it. She couldn’t take it anymore. ‘Why are you so hard?’ she repeated, not screaming this time but genuinely asking. ‘Why are you so difficult to please? Why couldn’t you be happy at the fact that I cooked for you knowing that I never cook for anyone? Why can’t you understand that you don’t talk much and you are not the expressive kind of person and that makes it harder to shop for you? Why can’t you appreciate the effort that I make? Why is it hard to make you happy?’ She just gave in. Letting it all out. She just couldn’t keep it all in.

He stood there listening to her patiently. He knew what she meant. He had understood it when she said it the first time. He already knew he wasn’t easy to be with. Also, that he was a very insecure person and found it hard to discuss his life and secrets with others. There was only one person whom he could actually tell all his secrets to and that had taken him many years to be able to do so. In that perspective, she was very new to him and although he loved her (or at least thought so) he couldn’t just tell her things about him. He just couldn’t; not that he didn’t want to but he just couldn’t. Her final sentence was the last nail in the coffin. The moment she said, ‘Why is it hard to make you happy?’ he knew she was the girl for him. He was a much screwed up person. He wouldn’t tell people what he wanted (mainly because he himself didn’t know) but he would expect them to understand it. He was like that and he knew it.

He thought for a moment before replying. He carefully thought of what he would say because he knew that it would matter and it had to be perfect so as he doesn’t lose her. He really didn’t want to lose her. He contemplated a few things, gathered his thoughts and spoke in the earnest possible way he could. ‘I am sorry’ he started, ‘I am sorry that I disappointed you today and I am sorry that I make it so tough for you. I know that I am messed up and I know that I am tough to get along with and I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be to be in a relationship with someone and not know what they think or feel most of the time.’ He stopped for a moment to gauge her reaction but she didn’t react. She was listening very intently may be saving everything she had to say for the end. He continued nevertheless, ‘It has been very tough living like this. I don’t trust people very often and I don’t feel comfortable confiding in them all my secrets and likes and dislikes. Some times that is because I don’t think the other person will appreciate it but most of the times it is because I don’t think the other person will respect it. I am a weird person with not-so-normal likes and dislikes and I have always thought that keeping your secrets to yourself is better than telling it to people. I know I don’t talk much and that must be hard and disappointing for you. Till now I have only trusted one person with my life because no one else came close enough and no one else seemed interested. But that seems to be changing. I would like to share my life with you. I would like to give my all to this relationship. I feel like talking to you and sharing my life with you. You seem to understand things which no one else does. You seem to care. Very few people in my life have tried to understand me and cared for me. You seem to be one of them. I don’t want to lose this. I want to hold on to this” he trailed off. “I don’t want to lose you. I love you’ he added before she could say anything. She looked at him and waited for him to stare back into her eyes. He felt ashamed and was nervously looking down. Very slowly, he looked up into her eyes. She looked into his eyes and saw it. She saw the love. She knew it was true love. He looked at her with expectant eyes. ‘I love you too, you fool’ she said and moved forward to kiss him. He kissed her back. Nothing more needed to be said. All the feelings, all the emotions, everything was conveyed in that kiss. Kisses after fights are the most passionate ones and this one was no exception. They kissed till they could; only stopping to breathe.

k

Fiction #2 Are you lost?

In the midst of all the noise and hustle that the city so naturally generates, I saw her standing on the sidewalk of the road looking here and there, searching for someone or waiting for someone. She looked confused. May be she was just lost and didn’t know which path to take. I walked up to her. She didn’t even notice me walking up to her. She was just lost in her own little confusion. I walked up to her and said ‘Excuse me, can I help you in any way? You seem like you have landed up at the wrong place. Are you looking for some address or destination that I can guide you to?’ She looked at me first with a little surprise and then with an amused look. I didn’t know what to say so I just started explaining myself before she could start judging me. ‘I’m sorry I didn’t mean to intrude. I just saw you from over there and you looked confused so I thought you might be lost. Are you lost?’ She looked at me and waited for a second as if framing the sentence in her mind before saying it and then said ‘Well, not today, no! But yeah I kinda think I’m lost; in the general sense of the word. I think I’m lost in life. I don’t have any idea of what I’m doing with my life. I think I am lost there.’ As she said this I just felt out of place and started feeling awkward. I cursed myself for having come up and asked her anything and for putting myself in such a position. I didn’t know what to say to her. I looked at her and saw a puzzled expression. She was waiting for me to respond. I didn’t have anything. This was much unexpected. I came up with a feeble ‘Well, aren’t we all?’ She smiled on hearing that which was a relief for me. She then dived into a conversation with me. She told me that she loved this part of town; the buildings, the cafes and the people and how they are very helpful to strangers. She asked me if I lived nearby and what I did for a living and I told her a little about myself. When I walked up to her, I swear, I had no intention of asking her out or dating her or anything; it was purely out of the need to help others. But now that we had exchanged this blip of good conversation I felt like asking her out for coffee. I was just mustering the courage to ask her if she would like to consider joining me for a coffee at one of the nearby cafe when she looked over my shoulder and smiled and waved at someone. A tall, good looking guy was standing on the other side of the road. ‘That is who I was looking for and waiting for’ she said and added ‘It was nice to converse with you’ and left. I stood there with a question that would never be answered and a moment I will always remember. As she left, she turned around and said ‘See you around’. I smiled. I kept thinking how I was just a way to pass her time while she was waiting for someone. I didn’t feel bad or diminished or used in any way. She was not rude in any way. She was polite and courteous to me. It felt good to have a nice conversation with a stranger. To just meet people once, spend a good time (no matter how short the time is) and make a good memory feels good. It just makes your day, in some cases, your week. I remembered what she had said about this city and the people and thought how true and apt it felt right now ‘I love this city. I love how you can have a conversation with a stranger like he/she was an old friend’ she had said. Indeed, I loved this city too.

Fiction #1

“Am I kissable?” she blurted out, without thinking twice. It just came out. She didn’t intend to ask that question but it just came out. They were sitting on the park bench and staring at the setting sun. He was checking out some girls who were passing by and wasn’t really paying attention to her. She had been thinking about it for quite a while now and just said it out loud without realizing it. Now that she had said it, she felt awkward. With that one question she let all her insecurities , all her vulnerabilities out. She felt naked. She felt ashamed.

He knew the question was not meant for him but for the guy she had been dating for quite some time now. He realized that they hadn’t kissed each other and that she felt weird and insecure and hence, asked the question. It was weird coming from her because normally she didn’t like to talk about her boyfriend. She felt that there was something wrong with her and that’s why he hadn’t kissed her. She just wanted to know if that was the case.

He could have kissed her right then and there and showed her how kissable she was but he was just the friend.  The question was not meant for him. He looked at her and saw how uncomfortable asking that question had made her feel. He could see from the shame in her eyes and awkward twitching of her jaw that she was really embarrassed. “Sometimes… when a guy isn’t kissing you, it is not because he doesn’t want to kiss you. Sometimes, it is just that he doesn’t think he deserves you. He just doesn’t think he is worthy of you. He might want to kiss you more than anything in the world but when he looks at your face he feels belittled by your beauty and diminished by your intelligence and just questions himself if he really deserves you. Sometimes, he is just wondering if he is allowed to kiss you. Sometimes, he is just afraid to lose you and doesn’t want to take that risk. He just doesn’t want to give you a reason to leave him. ‘What if she doesn’t want to kiss me?’, ‘What if she doesn’t enjoy it?’, ‘What if she thinks I am being horny?’ he keeps wondering. Sometimes, he is just afraid and that is the reason he is not kissing you. Sometimes, he is just being stupid and over-thinking it but he is just unable to gather the courage. Sometimes, it is just him and not you.” he thought of saying. Funny how he couldn’t even muster the courage to say that.

He ended up replying with a “Hey, don’t worry! You are a good girl and if there is a problem, it is with him not you.”

She wasn’t satisfied with the answer but she made do.