” Dear Karthik ,”
Imagine a time , a place , an age where everything was perfect. Imagine the softest of piano music playing in your ears. Close your eyes and imagine embracing something that gives your immense warmth and peace. Imagine that memory. Imagine the tiniest of glimmer in the eyes, the gentle wrinkle that forms on the paradigm ends of the mouth when one smiles. Imagine what it meant , it felt to be blissfully happy.
It was such a time for me. The year , now a faded memory. It probably was a saturday. It had always been a saturday.
The drive back home was the same. I had decided to hit the open highway. The sun was at its warmest best. The car’s bluetooth speaker system had kept the call connected. We were busy continuing the conversation from the previous evening. The foundation of the future had started to appear. The road ahead felt like it would be a two year stint in the United Kingdom. Was I excited ? Not really. It was an escape at the best. The excitement or better still, the anxiety had come from a different direction. Like a dense thick monsoon rain in Kerala, the call had come after a draughted haitus of more than a year. It was the year when I was the most miserable that I had ever been. Now that I look back, I’ve endured worse years now. Back then, it was the worst.
The phone had rung. The nice pleasantaries had been exchanged quickly at great epic pace. The question of what’s new hopped over the horizon. UK.
” Always remember “
The conversation around the UK had spilled over to the next day. The previous evening I had a good laugh over her reference to ‘BringHam’. It was the magical land of chocolates and even then I knew Bringham didn’t exist. Birmingham does, Bring ham is verb and an object. I didn’t see a point to correct her. I enjoyed the folly. It was a rare oddity to catch her blunder. I remember the moment to be sweet. She spoke at great lengths about the chocolate factory. She walked me through her desire of being plagued by diabetes. She’d risk it all for chocolate. She went on about she didn’t care about the effects of such a massive sugar high on her system. None of that mattered.
The day came to a dawn. The call had died. The thoughts had come alive. I had two more days to go before I left behind the past. Or so I thought. There little voice of hope squeaked. If hope was a person, that person would have been seriously and gravely damaged from all the beating and bruising endured. I had grown wiser and smarter. I had learnt to respect reality. Things just didn’t Happen. I had managed to suppress hope and steer ahead with a poker face. Two more days and we could continue being strangers. Two more days and we’d no longer exist in one another’s universe. Two more days.
” That I “
The music turned back on, the car sang a lovely soothing lullaby. With hope dying a very slow dramatic death, with pragmatic mind sitting depressed in another corner, with life singing a tune of an optimistic new tomorrow, the music abruptly stopped. A call had interrupted the sound of music.
I can’t do this anymore, She declared. I’m seeing someone else.
It felt like an eternity had passed while I was trying to soak in the words that I had heard. I believe she must have walked me through how the bloke was, where they had met, how their innocent casual flirtations had blossomed into something tangible and something serious. I don’t know. I was hearing the words. I wasn’t listening. I couldn’t comprehend. Grief had took over. Pain had conquered once again. Tears had swelled up. I parked the car. I knew it wasn’t the time to pick a fight. It was the time to be an adult and accept.
Why are you telling me this dude? I asked
I can’t talk to you Karthik. Talking to you makes me feel guilty. It feels like I’m cheating on him.
Imagine all the peace in the world that you read in the begining. Now imagine HULK smashing it all to a million tiny bits and pieces. I wanted to lash out. I wanted to beast out. I wanted the comfort of screaming at another human. I wanted the peace of dehumanising myself for a moment again.
Remember, I said. The last time we fought, you said all that you were left with was the ugliness of the fights. I wanted to part away from your life with a few happy memories. I wanted to separate from you with you smiling. If you want my blessings for the new relationship, you have it. Best of luck. I really do wish that when you turn back time and look into the past, all you remember are these two days.
These two days we’ve smiled. We realised that we were good friends who enjoyed each other’s company. We realised how nice it felt to be together. Like all nice things come to an end, I’ll just call this the end. It would have lasted for two more days anyways. Thanks for being a part of my life.
Karthik….. I heard her say one last time. I had cut the call. The phone never rang that way ever again.
“Smile my best”
It’s been a decade now. I had the fortune of bumping into her at a mall back in chennai. She wasn’t my girl anymore. She was a wonderful mum of a bright young lad. Words weren’t spoken. Glances were averted. The silver lining, I finally got to meet her mother. She had a nice smile. It runs in the family.
All the regrets and pains of the past, I wouldn’t change a thing. There is the merit to have tried and lost than never having knowing what it meant to feel an emotion. Winning and losing are an outcome. The journey of experiencing emotions, the cycle of tears and smiles makes me a human. Acknowledging that fragile existence is so enlightening. Each failure of the past feels insignificant when we stack up all the failures in a chronological order. Every new day, we do something bigger, something newer. Each new defeat is first met with a worthy battle of a challenging fight.
One such new challenge was moving houses. I’ve never moved homes. I had to pack, unpack, sort and unsort things. My eyes fell over this battered piece of envelop. The envelop was handed to me. I was instructed to get home and read it. There wasn’t a point to ripping it open immediately and gorging through the sublime mundane words that might have been etched in ink on a common piece of writing paper. For years, through life’s many storms and broken dreams, I had kept it protected and cherised.
” When you are around.. Yours…………….. “
I picked it up. For a brief moment I had travelled backward and forward across that span of the decade. Enjoying the memories, burdened by them, pained and saddened, smling at the simplest romantic jester that I had been. I didn’t want that anymore. I gave it a read one last time.
” Dear Karthik
Always remember, I smile my best when you are around.
Bringham didn’t exist back then, I didn’t see a point in giving it an extended new life. I reached out to the black bag and binned the letter.
And just like that, a part of me that I had kept alive for the better part of the last decade Died. No tears were shed. A silent insignificant death without a soul to witness the departure.
There is no changing the past. There is no changing the future. There is no point in lamenting in the present. I had bigger challenges to overcome. Bags to pack, house to vacate and a new home to step into.