The song inspired in different ways to the hearts of the millions. For me it was another song talking of the nation. It was the song to be listened to every morning during the school prayers and it meant the same - every day, every year. Back in the school days it was more of compulsion that one is expected to listen to it with full attention. However, all those who grew up from the school days, would sync their thoughts with me when I speak of compulsion being overpowered by our own time of day dreaming. It is during the morning prayers in the school that our mind forays into diverse aspects while our lips still act the compulsion – just to please those maniacs waiting for every chance to prove their hold of power on us – PT master and the school teachers.
Through the years, I grew up listening to the same song and saw one of the similar mornings whilst being a student of Class X. It was that phase of life when we started understanding the power of opposite gender while feeling the million butterflies in our stomach. The phase of infatuation, crush, puppy love, etc, etc, etc and one always believed that it was all about LOVE.
It was one of the beautiful January mornings and indeed was truly a mesmerizing day. The cool breeze swayed the trees gently. The leaves fell from the surrounding trees as though they had specially been called to be part of the grandeur play for the day. The warm sunlight showed its presence thus successful in creating a warm feeling within. In short the morning fulfilled every criterion to be called as a beautiful romantic morning. And then….
“Vande Matharam….Vande Matheram…”
It was a familiar voice being echoed in the ground. However that morning it sounded with more appeal. The voice somehow made a connection to my heart and my eyes started focusing on the source of the angelic voice. She stood there on the elevated platform and gave her full justice for the morning remembering the nation’s pride. Something, somehow and somewhere it made sense to me that I wanted her to be part of my life. Well this is exactly what happens when Cupid, who was asleep for most of my life till then, suddenly wanted to shower his presence to me to believe his existence. So I believed, but I wanted to be part of her life listening to her singing my entire life.
Thus started my 1st love story; owing to that January morning.
I dint know who she was, nor did I ever see her before in the school campus. But from that day onwards all I wanted to know was Her - her thoughts, her likes, dislikes what she dreamt of, etc, etc, etc. I wanted to know all about her and it became evident to my friends around of my sudden interest.
What I came to know was satisfying. The worst fear for anyone who is stuck in the webby trap is whether the one they dream of has anyone whom they dream about. She was single. Thank God for that, but I had helluva competition. She was one of the best singers in the school, and what more she was a trained dancer and one of the studious lot in her class. We were in the same grade but different sections – thus both of us were of the same age. This mattered a lot to me as my thoughts were ranging from taking her to my mom and spending my time till the death bed and beyond. (Re-emphasizing on the unknown difference between puppy love and love)
She had a group of friends, like everyone else. They did everything together from eating, playing to hanging out.
Now I had a task in hand. How do I make myself visible to her and what should be the approach? Clueless. As I never was in such a situation and dint have any idea how anyone would approach and make them appear as the best guy ever. Hmmm…
She liked – music and singing. I nominated myself for a singing competition just to show her that I hail from a family full of singers. I practiced quite a bit for the competition and the day came when I was sitting in one of the corners and she walks upto the stage to give her performance. Result – I was spell bound. She wasn’t Lata Mangeshkar, but she was herself to me and I loved every bit of the song and her voice. And then I heard my name being called and I refused to react to the name given to me by my mother. The call for my name repeated thrice and an announcement was made – “those who can’t sing, request them to not nominate themselves” Thud!!! Attempt for the 1st impression failed miserably, but I was still glad that she dint know me to face the embarrassment.
I learnt that she went for her singing classes after school hours. Well I cant obviously join her singing classes as I dint fit into their requirement quite right. So the next option was the Veena class that was held right next door. A thought crossed my mind, atleast I can join Veena class and get to see her. I enrolled myself going against my uncle and dint inform my friends of the same. (A special mention of the ways men behave when it comes to impressing someone. They’d go to any length to impress someone but will always keep that as a secret to their friends – reason - they don’t want to be called as the guy who’l give up spending time with his friends and instead go to some music class to impress a girl)
The music class was really an opening to whole new world, as from there, I developed a special interest towards playing instruments, which I manage to play at times off late. However, joining the Veena class was a huge success as she noticed me coming for the classes and started exchanging smiles. But we never spoke to each other. Unfortunately I had to drop out of the class when my tutor instructed me to buy a Veena class to practice at home and without which she would not encourage teaching any further. Well cal it my bad luck, my pocket money couldn’t afford to buy a Veena. So I quit.
She liked – Sanskrit. Damn, then I understood how difficult it is to impress someone. I hated the subject as it was simply beyond my boundary of being approachable. Fortunately the language was being thought by the same teacher, so I had a chance and it clicked.
It was one of the early evenings, after finishing our school hours, I used to wait in the cycle stand by my cycle. Once she passed through the stand I would then take my cycle out and go for a long ride until I catch up following her. NO I was not a stalker. My friends were by side all along as they dint have any other choice. So they would wait patiently. One of the similar evenings, I saw her walking alone. It was that evening when I gathered all the courage and went upto her to get introduced. As I approached her my heart did a full thump dance. I did now understand the state of mind but it refused to open up and talk. So I stood there in front of her, making sounds like …ah..hmm..er. Maybe the fact that she had shooed away many guys who came to get introduced added more tension. I was not ready for a NO even for an introduction. Girls invariably understood this conversation and the situation became more troublesome when she just gave a smile. I had no idea what was that smile for. Was it a lull before the storm or was it the beginning of a new era in my life. Either ways I was clueless and at the same time dead NUMB.
Me : “Hi, I am Sudarshan from section G. Wanted a help from you.”
She : “ahaan. What is it?”
Me : “got to know that your section is ahead by a lesson in Sanskrit. Wanted to know if I can borrow your notes to copy.”
She : “ok. But I need the notes in 2 days, if that’s fine with you”
Me (covering my excitement) : “not an issue, I shall ensure that”
So there I managed to have my first conversation with this beautiful lady. Back home, all I did was turn page by page to see her handwriting, and flip in the last pages to see if she had written anything interesting. A special mention for my behavior in looking at the last pages - back in school days, the last pages were always meant for scribbling the thoughts that went through during the class hours. Match making with the crush’s names. Playing dots, etc. My search was only to find out if I by chance featured in her books. It was a big disappointment though it was obvious.
The next day I made a deliberate attempt to cross her path. And Bingo!!! she gave a smile. This time it was more of relief that she recognized me out of the lot. This was an achievement. It was a celebration time for me and my friends. The 1st story was taking a shape. I then started passing obvious looks at her. Exchanged the books more often and somewhere in between I asked for her number and I got it without any refusal. Bingo again!!!
Then it became a practice that I used to deliberately bump into her and end up talking to her post the school hours. Once she reached her nest, I began calling her from the coin booth (a phone booth where one gets to make a call by inserting a rupee coin for 3 minutes). I had a stock of rupee coins and all my friends started collecting coins for me. We spoke at length on different topics.
All this was happening in matter of 15 days. By then the news spread like a wild fire and most of the students in our grade got to know that we talk post our school hrs. Every love story needs to have a grey character. All of a sudden I started getting threatening letters and words by the guys who were considered to be the bullies of our school. And all I thought was “What the heck??? Why can’t they just be happy for me??”
Somehow, I managed to walk out all of the controversies and the threats. And it was time for me to disclose my feelings to her. Phew. Test of the time and I dint know how to gear up. Thanks to my best friend we came out with a very innovative way of expressing. We came out with a “Love Application”. Hilarious as it may sound but this was the fact that we wrote a love application and a left a space in the end for her to fill up whether it was yes or a no.
It was one of the worst feared days of my life, as I was not too sure of the reaction. What would she do? Slap me or kiss me, remained a big question mark in my mind. I somehow gathered tonnes of guts and placed the “Love Application” in her Sanskrit notes and passed on the book to her on my way back home. I dint look back and dint call that evening either. That was the worst night as well.
The next morning was again the morning of unseen fears, unseen reactions. I was a silent lamb and was mostly confined to my classroom. It was the best days of my friends as they had their time of their life looking at my situation.
It was in the Sanskrit class, that I knew something was wrong. The teacher came silently to me and held my ears and asked me is it what I come to school for??? Background to this teacher – my sister was his favorite student and he had a special place for me only for that reason. But that wild smile on his face when he asked me the question shook me left right and centre. The bell rang at the right time and he was swarmed with students to clarify doubts. At the same time I saw her passing by my class along with her friends and followed by her classmates. Every person had a look and that look was specially cast on me.
It was lunch time and we had to get out of the class. When we stepped down from the stairs she was standing along with her friends. With a look to bite us off. I knew at once that things were not alright. Nevertheless I was ready for the consequences (a never say never die attitude of every man). I walked by and heard my name being called by one of her friends. Post which she just gave me a smile. Trust me that dint help my situation. It was adding more fuel to my condition.
I dint get any response for my letter. Our study holiday started immediately with just 1 day break for our send off. Well its proven fact that a lot happens over a Send Off. And it did happen to me as well.
It was that time of the year when everyone scribbled on the Slam book, a book of memories to be stored for a life time. I did have mine too. While I was asking one of my friends to fill up one of the pages, I heard someone calling me from the 2nd floor. I turned to see her friend waving at me and I found my angel standing next to her in a saree and man what she looked.
Her friend wanted me to write in her slam book and I handed mine to her. Post which, I was walking down, without making much of a conversation when they came to me and she handed over my “Love Application”. I froze as I held a note of the application where she wrote her response in pencil. Rest of the application she chose to keep it with her.
As soon as they left, my friends came over in excitement to read her response. And I read –
“……….. I am glad to know you as a person, but it is too early to think of a relationship now. I want to remain a friend of yours and we can possibly revisit on the same thought after 4-5 years. But we will definitely keep in touch………..”
To the world it was a failure of my love story. But the only thing I saw was revisit on our thoughts after 4-5 years. We ended up talking almost everyday over the phone. The hopes on the statement dint die in the next 2-3 years of my life. We were definitely not going around. However we started becoming good friends and spoke of many things. And then we lost in touch with each other for sometime.
In between these years lots of changes happened in my life and I joined the engineering course only to find her best friends being part of the same college. We started hanging out again and would laugh at all those situations of my puppy love being dealt in school days.
The entire friends circle met up regularly at each ones house, we went for outings, movies, café coffee day, parks, to eat chaat and sweets. We had the best of the best times in our college life. She was the one who thought me how to make Veg fried rice and biriyani and till date it remains one of my delicacies that I can charm anyone with.
Then came the time when she was to get married and she chose on the option of getting married to the 1st guy she met. An IIT grad and well settled and moreover he looked like Sanjay Suri – every girl’s heartthrob then, one of bolywood actor. What more can a girl ask for. That instance the thought of 4-5 years came into my mind, but then again I had matured enough to understand that it would take long time for me to settle. Also, we both had never spoken about revisiting the statement made by her. So I was not ready to loose a good friend by digging old matters and those silly promises. I chose to be the good friend and went for the wedding.
Till the last minute of the wedding I was only thinking of the bollywood climax where the marriage breaks off and I go and tell her family that I am ready to marry her even though I am just a student. Before I could go further with the next scene we were called to put the akshatha (rice grains to be thrown on the wedded couple) and they were declared husband and wife. Then and there I killed my puppy love and gave a life long path to the friend in me and we remained the best of friends.
Thus ended my 1st love story; owing to those wedding vows.
I know her from the last 14 years and till date we remain the best of friends. And I am glad that it ended this way.
Beep Beep (1st message of the day)
“1 message received”
“Eno madthaideeya? En samachara? Girlfriends ella araamana?” (“what are you doing? What’s the latest news? How are your girlfriends?)
Beep Beep (last message for that night)
“Will you please listen to us and quit smoking. All are thinking for your good health. Don’t be silly and listen to us. All of us are concerned about your health”
And the argument continued…..
As the wise old man says – “One’s mind always knows when to accept reality and let go of the memories; for it will lead to a new path for a new relationship”
In my case, it was a new friendship – one among the best I have.