The storm had abated. Sleep and sanity restored. The question that went on in a loop: "Was it even love?"
I wonder why I put myself through these sporadic instances of total loss of reasoning; from which I come out with a battered and bruised ego, drained of precious energy and time, priorities gone awry, mind plagued with self-doubt, sabotaging my goals in life, repenting in leisure the consequences of my impulsive actions, a memory tarnished with unpleasantness, questioning my decisions and choices, and most importantly making a fool of myself.
Why do I do it?
Because fools rush in. I fall in love too easily; initial triggers may be a smile, kindness, intellect, assertiveness, a love for books, sarcasm and sometimes even questionable wit! The person is just incidental; I am more often in love with the idea of being in love.
But I don't realize it until it’s too late; till I sit back, put my feet up, take off my rose-tinted shades and analyze why I do what I do.
The Current Tally Of Romantic Follies: (excluding the momentary infatuations that last no longer than a week)
1. 1997-Being a Conformist and Crushing on the Teacher:
A humongous crush on my history teacher which lead to nothing more than remembering the Mughals and Chandragupta for posterity. I studied history with a fervor that would have taken me to great academic heights had I applied it ever again!
Why did I rush in?
He was the only person who noticed the timid girl everyone overlooked in a class full of boisterous students, and boosted her self-confidence with kind words of encouragement.
2. 1999-The Movie
I wasn't aware of the movies that would follow, and the non-entity he would become. But when "Pyar Mein Kabhi Kabhi" came out, I was overcome with admiration for the intense, brooding and caterpillar-browed Sanjay Suri (What was I thinking!!!). I tried to immortalize his influence in my hormone-ridden teenage years by writing odes of love and pasting his photograph in my diary, which my sister later displayed in front of my guffawing friends.
Why did I rush in?
All the schoolgirls fantasized about the blue-eyed poster boys of romance Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio (Titanic was a craze then) and on the home-front Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan (it was before the debut of Hrithik Roshan). I had to find and love the underdog. I had to be contrary.
3. 2005-Blush of First Love:
I was all of nineteen years, shy and awkward. And there he was on my computer screen, talking to me about books and movies, hearing about my day and making me double up with laughter with his quick wit. We met only thrice and wrote long letters and emails. The long distance tired him after a year. I failed to understand why trivial details like distance mattered when two people were in love. My flabby cerebrum gathered much later that I was the only one who was in love. I spent the next six months digging up the songs one is supposed to listen in times of extreme anguish and hearing them in a loop. I couldn’t take to the bottle, and it was physically impossible for me to grow a beard. But other than that I resembled Devdas in entirety.
Why did I rush in?
It was the love of an unsullied heart. Simple.
4.2008-The Rogue with Superficial Charm:
You meet a person, you share hometowns and your old school, he charms you with his undivided attention, you are wary of his intentions, but he becomes your friend, he says he loves you, you laugh it off, he repeats until you believe, you feel obliged to reciprocate his love, you get to know his family, you talk to his friends, you compare notes about growing up, he meets your friends and your family, and he puts a ring on your finger. Nowhere in the story would you feel the need to hire a private eye to do a background check on the person whose ring you wear. Then inconsistencies in conversations crop up and to your horror you find yourself at the center of the web of lies and deceit he had spun around you. Job, education, fidelity...everything was a farce. You go through denial, anguish, anger, disappointment, shame and feelings of worthlessness for lack of good judgement. It ends abruptly; leaving you with a violently disordered life and a distrustful heart.
Why did I rush in?
After the fiasco of my first love, I was flooded with wise words of well-meaning people who cared about me. My hippocampus was receptive to only one, "You'd be better off marrying the one who loves you than the one whom you love." Bad advice. Wrong man. Flawed judgement.
5. 2011-The Butterflies in My Adrenals and Tibia:
I had started a new phase of my life, coming out of the shell I had retreated to three years ago. But I steeled my resolve never to be carried away by the idiosyncrasies of my heart. Murphy smirked and applied his laws on me during the last month of my internship. There was this ordinary face in the crowd, a tongue that vocalized so fast that I had to beg his pardon thrice before I could note down anything he said, and a sarcasm and smirk that highly annoyed me. I detested his ordering the interns around, stressing on military camp punctuality. But gradually I liked working with him. I was his 'Woman' Friday, in strictly Robinson Crusoe context. But I was still unaware of the dirty trick Cupid would play on me.
I struggled to curb my feelings of extreme elation every time he walked into the ward, or said something appreciative, or crinkled his eyes in laughter, or told me random happenings of his day, or elongated the vowels in my name adorably, or just sat there with a frown of intense concentration. I couldn't explain why my heart somersaulted if by some happy accident he came for his evening duty early or our duties coincided. Butterflies not only inhabited my stomach, but my jejunum, spleen, adrenals and pisiform bone too. I kept asking myself what I saw in this guy. Why would I like someone I barely know and whose relationship status remained elusive to me? But the ways of the heart had flummoxed mankind since eternity and I was born human too despite the reasoning power of a gorilla; I just had the harmonious uniformity of falling for the underdog and the wrong one too. My internship ended. But I couldn't still the frenzy of emotions that threatened to overpower me. I knew I was going to be impulsive and would cringe in shame later. Apparently there are no limits to idiocy. I confessed to him what his thoughts were doing to me. It was a leap of faith even when the other shore donned the cloak of invisibility. I wasn't expecting a confession of an undying love for me (there was still some residue of good sense in me) and I was prepared for the rejection (I'm not pretty, smart or sassy), or that he had a girlfriend or worse, a wife. But he never replied. One year has gone by now. What stung me was his abject inconsideration for the words that took me all the courage I had to write. My feelings weren't even worth a reply; I was totally non-existent in his world. That hurt, bad.
Why did I rush in?
There was this somewhat rude boy, with a perpetual frown and impish gaze, and he made me happy by just being there. I know it wasn't love (too strong a word), or lust (there was no scope for anything remotely sexual when you see a person disheveled after umpteen night duties at the hospital), or infatuation (too feeble a word), or obsession (I don’t make any attempts to see him or contact him). It was a girly butterflies-in-the-stomach, smile-lighting-up-the-room, laughter-ringing-in-my-ears, I-want-to-know-all-about-you and I-feel-good-when-you-are-around feeling.
And I'm still waiting for it to fade. It has faded finally!
I hadn’t been fortunate when it comes to matters of the heart, and my belief of finding the love of my life seems cruel every passing year. But I am not writing off the existence of love. It’s there; I see it in the lives of those around me. It has only eluded me.
But considering my consistency of falling in love (or whatever it is) and doing something stupid every three years, I am dreading 2014.
(Photo Courtesy: 'Fools Rush In' by Gil Conradis)