Place: kalyana mandapam, chennai
Finally, the marriage is taking place today. I was waiting so long for this. And now it’s happening. First big occasion in my life. All the pre-marriage ceremonies were going on. It’s a Brahmin marriage. So needless to say about the ceremonies. Yes, she is a Brahmin. My angel. I was restlessly waiting to get a glimpse of her in her wedding saree. I was pretending to be chatting with my friends but my eyes were searching for her. Still 30 minutes to go for the auspicious time. Damn. That’s a long way. I thought I could do a little flashback of my life.
With her. 7 years ago.
Place: 12th grade chemistry lab, school, some developing town in TN.
Generally I’m quite a reserved person. I don’t speak to girls much.(like most of the TN guys). I used to be the topper in school. So all girls speak to me only to clarify their doubts regarding studies. She studied with me from class 3. Now we were in class 12. That’s 10 years. But we would’ve spoken hardly 10 times. It was yet another regular day in chemistry lab. All of us were fighting with pipettes and burettes and some solutions. Being a topper, obviously I fought harder than others. After class I went near the basin to drain the resultant solution. Good timing. She was already there. She saw me with her cute eyes.
She: hi padips (studious), got the output???
Me: ya… you??
She: me too. I wanna ask you something??
Me(surprised): why. whats that? Ask.
She: why is that you don’t speak to girls much?
Me(stammering): I…i…I don’t know. Not like that.
She: you know what? I really like you very much. I wanted to be friends with you. But don’t know how you’ll take it. I was hesitant for long time. Now I told. Please accept me as your friend. Please please.
Completely taken aback. I never expected this from her. I was expecting something like ‘what is the color change to record the pH of the solution?’.
Me: ya sure.. I fell for the girlish cuteness on her smile.
Me: ok bye.. I’ve to complete the record notebook. See you later.
Yes I was such a dumb head. I was so happy for the next few weeks. I never spoke to her after that lab incident. I always wanted to speak. But didn’t know how, when and what. I wanted her phone number desperately. We didn’t have any mobile phones that time. Somehow I got her landline number through my friend’s friend who is her friend. I gave her a ring and literally my hands were trembling when I did so. I was praying that her mom or dad shouldn’t pick the phone. Someone said hello. Thank god it was her. I spoke to her the first time on phone. I was happy that I did my part on becoming her friend. So, that’s how our friendship journey begun.
Today: Finally my wait was over. The priest at the center of the marriage hall asked the bride to come forward. There she came. With a maroon silk saree draped around her beautifully in madisar style. I could see the fear of getting married, on her cute round face. The fear of being the center of attraction. She looked beautiful more than ever. Marvelous, stupendous, cute, classy, elegant…. I scolded myself for my lack of words and my poor vocabulary. She sat at the center of the stage. She was smiling. I looked at my watch. Another 20 minutes left for calling the groom to stage. I thought that’s enough time to rewind how we both ended up here in this situation.
4 years ago:
Place: college, Chennai.
Both of us got into the top university of the state as we scored well in our board exam. That’s the default college where all toppers of the state study. So no one could blame me that I chose the same college as her’s. Our friendship journey, thus continued and we became more and more close. I liked her for the way she was. Innocence at its peak. She loved the way I cared about her. I advice her a lot. I was so happy that I got such a friend. I didn’t know why but I never had any love feelings on her. She was my best friend and I was so happy with it. In fact content with it. Until………. One day
She: I wanted to say you something personally.
Me: what is that?
She: first assure me you won’t mistake me or get angry.
Me: sure tell.
She: I fear I may fall in love with you da.
OH MY GOD. What the hell did she say now?
Me: what? She: no da. You are so close to me. and you take care of me so much. I fear all these will make me fall in love with you.
Me: so you are going to love me? or leave me?
She: no da how can I love you. You are my best friend. Before I could respond
She: ok leave it da. I am embarrassed to speak about it. Needn’t speak about this anymore. Don’t worry I’ll be alright. I’ll be your old friend. It’s just that I’m new to this kind of affection.
So I was not allowed to speak about it anymore. Could a guy be the same after such a thing told by a girl???? Everything around me changed. You have to be guy to experience how it felt. Guys fall just for a girl’s smile. But now this girl had told me that she may fall in love with me. Oh my god.. I was in heaven. As a Java programmer, I should say I was instantiated. I was expecting her to propose me any day. At least I was expecting her to speak about this topic. But she never did. She also refused to speak when I myself ask anything related to it. I thought I should give her a break. May be she was afraid of taking such a huge decision now. I know about her. She is innocent and afraid about making decisions. So let me wait. Where is she going to go? Waiting is pleasure in love. I was not the same old friend from that day. My ringtone changed from “Swat kats” theme to “SMS movie theme” (oru paarvaiyil). Suddenly she appeared beautiful to my eyes. She was always beautiful. But why didn’t I notice it till now? “Surya” will be a perfect match for her. I look like “Dhanush”. But even Dhanush got his chance to act with “Shriya” and “Genelia”. So why won’t I get a girl like her? I became possessive on her from that day. I cannot accept her being close to any other guy. I used to admire her in every dress she wore. I waited to see her every day.
Today: They’ll be calling the groom any time now. I was getting ready. My brother’s daughter came running towards me and told that the priest asked the groom to come to the stage. I lifted her and walked towards the stage. My angel saw me coming. With a lovely smile she greeted me with her eyes… I went near the stage….
6 months ago.
Place: Chennai .
College days were over. I was working in a software company. A more responsible person now. So was she. I never regretted my decision of waiting. We were excellent friends through these years. Caring and supporting each other more than ever. I was still confused about the right time to express my feelings. Obviously afraid of the consequences. But damn sure she would accept me anyway. How the hell would she refuse me? I was her most beloved person for almost 6 years now. It was my birthday. I had a few surprises from my close friends(including her). We all met after a long time. It was a pleasant evening and we were enjoying it at Marina. She was playfully teasing the sea waves from touching her feet. I had her mobile in my hand. Casually browsing the pictures and videos in her phone gallery, I came across this particular video suddenly. It was her in the video and she recorded it on her own. She started speaking on the video. It was addressed to me.
“She: Hi da…., a very beloved birthday wishes to my beloved friend ever. I want to…………” Suddenly she snatched the phone from my hand.
She: hello sir,,, what are you doing?? These things are supposed to be surprises….
Me: hey gimme that.. don’t worry I’ll react as if I’m surprised. Shall I say ‘Oh My God?’ after seeing that? Or else temme what you would like to hear. I’ll react accordingly.
She: No just wait till night. Can’t give it now.
So once again I was excited in life. I got the wildest imaginations about what could that be. I was restless. I wanna know it soon. Adding fuel, some of my friends even commented that my surprises were not finished and my biggest surprise is yet to come. Damn How can a guy wait? Somehow I got the feeling that its her proposal. The video was for four minutes. Wasn’t four minutes enough for proposing? How should I react? I shouldn’t accept immediately. Let me have some fun. All sort of craziest thoughts circled my head. Finally I saw the video. Absolute disappointment. It was the usual stuff of how much she values me and my friendship, blah , blah… complete four minutes of praising our friendship. The surprises which my friends meant came from my parents. I had to appreciate her for the effort she put in for making my birthday memorable. I was lucky. But not lucky enough. Again I was instantiated. May be referenced this time. More than ever. I can’t wait more. I felt the time has come. But I thought I should wait a month more. It’ll be her birthday next month. I thought of giving myself as her gift. I started dreaming on how to propose her. I couldn’t sleep properly anymore. As wise men said, for the first time reality became more beautiful than dreams. A few days were left for her birthday and so I haven’t proposed yet. My cell phone beeped and it was a message from her.
She: hey you know what?? They started seeing alliance for me.
That was the most shocking news of my life. What the hell… My heart felt very heavy. Damn… I couldn’t bare the pain. I didn’t know how to react. But eventually my reaction was
Me: Wow that’s great. So when’ll be ur marriage then?
She: mostly by next April or May.
Immediately I started counting the number of days left. That’s hardly six months. I was not able to digest it. Just 6 months. I didn’t know whether I should propose now. All these years I had a strong belief that she’ll obviously accept when I propose. All those beliefs shattered. Then she added
She: my dad spoke to me yesterday. He almost broke down. He told how much he values me and said I should earn respect for the family. He asked me not to love anyone. By the way, which dad asks his daughter to love someone? I was sitting in my room lonely thinking of my fate. I wanted to cry badly. I couldn’t sleep. I was sure she won’t accept now if I propose. I decided against it. My days became the slowest ever. I wanted to share my sorrow with someone. Unluckily all my friends were her friends too. I couldn’t take risk on that. My cell beeped again.
She: you won’t feel ah? That I’ll be leaving you in another 6 months. I’ll miss you very much.
Me: no I won’t. I know this’ll happen and I was prepared for it. You’ll have to leave your dad, mom and bro. It’s just like that. But Six months is too little time. Anyway I’ll manage. (Blatant lie)
She: so you won’t feel?
Me: I’m saying no na. Then what?
She: Imagine right now I fall in love with someone. That time will you feel?
Me: why? What difference does that make from the previous question? I’ll feel the same only. I told la someday its gonna happen anyway. Then what?
She: no… me selecting someone is different from my parents selecting someone. If I select someone myself, won’t you feel why is that someone not you……. I mean I was so close to you more than anyone else. I wanted to change the topic. I don’t want to speak about it anymore. I’ll surely break down. I seriously got no idea what girls mean or want. The most mysterious creatures…..
Me: so how would you like ur husband to be? How should he look?
She: well obviously like all girls expect he should be fair and handsome . I never felt myself handsome in my entire life. First time ever I started feeling inferior about my appearance. Maybe that’s why she didn’t want me, I thought to myself.
Me: and what should be his status? Like salary etc.
She: he should earn at least 75k and he should own a house and a car. Now that’s four times my salary and I don’t even a own a bike. Inferior and more inferior.
She: and preferably I want a groom from foreign countries. Like Singapore. But not U.S. Well I’ve been out of TN 5 times at the maximum and never crossed Karnataka or Kerala. Inferiority kills me. I wanted to hide my face somewhere. In one way I was happy that at least I could make up a reason for the unanswered question of ‘why not me?’. I couldn’t message her anymore. I gave some excuse and told will continue later. I wished that later never came. But it did come. She asked the same question which I didn’t want to answer. The same what if she selected someone by herself and that’s not me. Me: why should I feel for that. Its your choice and as a friend I’ll help you in making that decision. That’s it.
She: so you never thought why you shouldn’t be the one I select?
I don’t wanna answer. I was losing my control. What the hell she wanted….. but she continued
She: ok what if I fall in love with any of my friends other than you? Like sachin, dharan or parthi? They are my friends too. When I decide to love a friend, wont you feel why that friend is not you….
My situation was like that of simbu’s when he says “yenna try panra jessi????” (what are you trying ‘jessi’?) Me: so that means you have some feelings for one among them. She: no I didn’t mean like that. I just gave an example.
Me: so if you choose among them, who has the highest probability?
I didn’t wanna ask this question. But somehow it came. But I never expected an answer. In fact I don’t want an answer for it. But she answered.
She: obviously sachin. I’m more close to him than parthi and dharan. That was it. The first thing that came to my mind was that sachin is a Brahmin. So I had another reason to make up. Frustration, fear of losing her, inferiority and now newly added possessiveness made me lose my control.
Me: FYI, I’m more close than sachin.
She: ya, but I can’t love you la….
Me: why is that?
She: you are my best friend da.
She: how can someone love their best friend da?
Me: on which planet or culture, did they frame that rule? I haven’t heard about it.
She: no da… how can a girl be intimate with her best friend?
Me: so a girl can be intimate with her other friends but not best friend?
She: no I said sachin as an example only.
Me: ok leave about him. So you are ready to be intimate with some stranger your dad shows but not with your friend who does everything and anything to make you happy?
She: I’ll feel embarrassed to think my friend in that way.
Me: just now you accepted you’ve chance of falling in love with sachin. Won’t you feel embarrassed with him? She: what happened to you suddenly? Just now you too said, you won’t feel, when I get married and you are prepared for it nu…
Me: It’s really sad you can’t find that it was a lie..
She: so you’ll feel then?
Me: what the hell you thought of me? some robot without a heart? Even robots love nowadays.
She: then why did you tell a lie?
Me: what difference will that make now? You have your own “only Friend-no Lover” theory.
She: seriously I can’t love you da. I never thought you like that.
Me: silly girls. You expect your husband to be a good friend. But you won’t accept a good friend to be your husband .
She: you won’t understand it. Please leave this topic. I’m sorry for asking you that question.
Me: yes I don’t understand. I really don’t understand. But you??? Either you don’t wanna understand or act as if you don’t understand. I accept I don’t have the money. I’m not good looking. I don’t live in Singapore, but I just bet you one thing… no one will ever care for you like I do. No one can keep you happy more than I do.
She: just leave me alone please.
Yes I left her alone. I didn’t disturb her after that. I was hurt. I had no courage or hope that I’ll convince her. I started maintaining distance from her. I should practice to live a life sans her. I knew it’ll be difficult. Sometimes she used to ask why am I not the old friend anymore. She asked as if she don’t know the reason.
Today: She sat on her dad’s lap as in Brahmin’s tradition. She didn’t lift her face. She was constantly seeing down, like any other girl during marriage. The priest passed the sacred thread (thaali). I had a lump on my throat. Then………….. HE collected the ‘thaali’ and put three knots. Yes…. “HE”…. A fair and handsome looking guy working in ‘Google’ and earning 1.25L. The couple is likely to go to Europe in a few days. I wished them good luck and left the marriage hall soon. I couldn’t stay there more. I never drank in my life. I had no reason why I didn’t. May be because she doesn’t like it. But that day I did. She is no more mine. I can’t disturb her anymore the way I used to. I can’t share my deepest secrets with her. I can’t be the first one to wish her ‘happy birthday’ every year. I don’t have a shoulder to cry anymore. I can’t tease her for her new hairstyle. She is gonna be close with someone else. She is not gonna ask ‘are you ok now?’, for every hour, whenever I fall ill. She is not gonna share the gossips with me anymore. She is not gonna ask me how her new dress looks, even though she knows my answer will be ‘it sucks’. And above all, to be modest, being an ordinary guy with all human feelings, I really can’t accept the fact that someone is gonna enjoy her today.
Few months later: My cell phone rang. And yes it’s a sad love theme song now (“Pogadhey” in yuvan’s husky voice). It was her. I spoke to her after a very long time and it was some ordinary greetings between two distant strangers. She was happy with her new life. And I’m happy to know that. Towards the end of the conversation, unexpectedly she asked
She: when are you gonna marry? You shall love someone la. To get over the feelings. If you miss me so much….
Me: why? You framed your own rule and asked “how can a best friend become a husband?”. I’ll love a girl and what if she frames her own rule and asks “how can a lover become a husband?”. I hung up the phone immediately……