We were moving hastily the many gifts wrapped in colorful papers given to the bride and the groom. It was an open arena reception, a simple one filled with immediate family members and well wishers. There was a devout band playing songs all along and the king of foods being served at the other side. Everything perfect until rain, an unexpected and uninvited visitor came along. Much to annoyance of the hosts but to everyone’s joy. Its been a cruel summer and everything.

One of my best friend’s brother was getting married and it was an important day for all of us. I know that my friends would kill me if I skipped the event but I never wanted to go there in the first place because she was also going to the reception. She, here is that special lady in your life, that someone you don’t get to meet often and wish you had never met. Its that one woman you had fallen deeply in love with for no particular reason whatsoever. You know that fate bought her to you. Paulo Coelho’s Alchemist finally makes sense, you understand that the whole universe conspired to bring her to you.

We were playing a silly game some years back at Gandhi mandapam. It went like this, you were supposed to look at your opponents face doing nothing. Whoever smiled, winked, looked away or did anything first lost the game. When it was my turn I was looking into her eyes trying to win but destiny had other plans. Have you ever looked into someone’s eyes and felt that there is something mysterious and comfortable about them ? The more I looked into her eyes there was this building feeling of novelty like never before. Its like finding something that you were searching your whole life for. Her eyes were magic, smiling, kind and inviting. They truly were windows to her naked soul, precious, sacred and beautiful. I was falling deep within her and I wanted to do that forever. Just look at her, into her eyes. I don’t remember who won that day but I knew that I was the loser. Ever since, I took every opportunity to look into to her eyes and every time I did, it felt strange for they were home. I was always home.

Its hard to hide love if you are close friends with the person you love. There is no greater curse than the chain of events that follow when a woman is uninspired by the love of a man. Years pass and normal life would become a hollow dream, you don’t see her often, no more late night friendly conversations and you become the least contacted person on her contacts list. Everyone teased you with her name, you took long lonely walks reminiscing in the warmth of her memories and these memories saved you from shipwreck. Your friends dissuade your feelings. You are found guilty of ruining a beautiful relationship with a wonderful woman. Time went by causing ripples everywhere but nothing happens between you two. Madness prevails through the cracks and crevices of your broken self, you pray for miracles and they are called miracles for a reason.

And so rain came all of a sudden and we were tasked with moving all the wedding gifts to the safety of a Huyndai i10’s rear boot. She was carrying some of the presents along with me but before we could secure all the gifts, rain beat us to it. Half drenched, we ran towards the building that stood on the right side of the ground. Four of us along with others took to the corridor. It was a school of some kind and the classrooms had no doors. The corridor was too small to shelter all of us that little drops of rain still hit us, carried by crosswinds. Few kids were clearly enjoying all this and they did all sorts of monkey tricks by running in and out of the empty classrooms.

The view from the dark corridor was beautiful. Silhouettes of large trees, gushing sound of rain, the growing puddles that reflected light and the fresh smell of soil it had inspired. I was shivering and stood leaning over a window sill and there she was busy talking to the other two women. I was curious to know what the rain did to her. She was still beautiful, smiling gently and occasionally enjoying the weather.

I wanted to talk to her but knew that I would only make it worse by asking her anything. The universe is very cruel, it was raining, she was wearing a saree and I was madly in love with her. What can be more distracting and beautiful than a woman in a saree?

Inexplicable!

It was once in a lifetime opportunity and I wanted to take her to the corner and ask either of the two things, if she’d choose to marry me or if she would like to have coffee? The second question sounded less dangerous and affirmative. I was rehearsing the entire conversation with different scenarios and everything seemed far from reality to yield a positive note. I knew that I would jeopardize the relationship of whatever remains between us by asking any of the above questions.

I couldn’t stand there anymore, every passing second becoming more significant and irreversible. The rain did something to me. I envied the tiny threads swinging joyously on the hem of her saree, the water droplets that fell from her bangles, light that lit her face in darkness and the gentle air that carried the sound of her voice. I was so in love with all things she was and there she was, few inches away from me. Close but not close enough, the heavens laughed their hearts out at the irony causing sudden rains in summer. It was as if the universe was mocking at me. Something had to be done. I chose to walk away from her. Its been long since I saw her but I chose to walk away from her in order to save everyone. I said my goodbyes to the other two ladies and managed to slip “Good Saree by the way” to her before running away. For a moment our eyes met. Sudden warmth, even in darkness her eyes were magic and forever they are to me perhaps!

I hated myself, it should have been “You look beautiful in Saree”.

How distracting.

I reluctantly moved away from the shelter of the corridor and stepped into rain. I was not in a hurry. The thing about rain is that it is a catalyst to your thoughts. Rain makes you happy when you are standing with her but it makes you sad when you must leave her. Walking from the corridor to the parking became a gargantuan task, as if my weight quadrupled with every step that took me away from her. I cursed myself for playing that stupid game with her many years back. I hated myself for falling in love with her because now there was no escape. There was no other woman to replace her. How foolish, but can you even replace one person for another?? I thought people were stupid to build monuments and silly enough to go to war for women and there I was. You can’t measure love with the size of buildings and the number of lives lost can you?

I reached the parking.

I was riding my bike back home and it was raining heavily. Tears rolling down, cold and my body revolting to stop for shelter, I didn’t let go of the accelerator, I was fast enough for raindrops to hurt my skin. The bike went on crusading against all odds.

Its very special. But come on! It was raining, she was wearing a saree and I was in love with her.

Love is more than anything out there, its mighty and humble enough at the same time to be the tiny molecules of Uranium that can destroy worlds yet found in soil which people spat and step on almost everyday. Its wickedly beautiful, selfishly selfless, its the breaking of angels from heavens, a retrieved reformation, the renaissance of our lives, a fading flute of musical melodrama, its lights out everywhere and a reminder of the powerlessness of man over the ways of the universe, its the Frankenstein’s monster, an instant trip to your deathbed and a harbinger of all things evanescent. Love is the most austere force in the entire universe, its an ancient being with so much power, not created by breaking of stars or collision of mindless galaxies but born of the human mind. Its purely everything dead but still living. A scientifically impossible creature, reminder of humanity’s most powerful weapon that its possible for a human to become addicted to another human beyond conditions, measure and reason. This ancient being moves with grace, power and benevolence but beneath all that, every atom of the creature is built with pain and the indomitable will power of the broken. The insides of the creature, a bottomless pit that consumes and encompasses all kinds of love, spiritual love, musical love, artistic love, plain love, broken love, motherly love, unsaid love. Every love that ever existed, forged as the spirit of this ancient creature. Whenever there is new love in the universe, when a baby is born, when the first rain drops reach the soil, a single leaf sprouts in barren lands and every time a foolish boy playfully looks into a girl’s eyes, the ancient being is summoned. This ancient creature manifests in every single act of creation, preservation and destruction. Sometimes it takes the form of a human and so with me it took her form becoming a tormenting behemoth inside the little of my mind. It feeds on unspoken words, thoughts and memories, living only to eat me alive which I shall endure till the end of my time for I have fallen deeply in love with the ancient being.

Just another guy!