Ms Anne normally used to wear sleeveless blouse with an almost transparent saree. For us she was like Ms Lily of the ‘Rockford’ story. She was the one we never wanted to miss the class of. She was the one who made us feel like males.
Over a few years, somehow, I developed a guilt pang. A little disturbed, I sought for penance when I finally disclosed it before my confidante, Ruma Di, who lived in my neighborhood.
She wasn’t angry or surprised. Actually she told, “It is ok. A bigger issue to most of the girls is, when one doesn’t find her attractive”.
Came college, came people more generous than Ms Anne..
I understood what are - attitude, snobbishness, insecurity, ostentation and love. I encountered some strange behaviors as well, like - act innocent, show popularity, invite and dump, etc.
I too had love stories or the stories of love. But, obviously I failed before those experts who had mastered the ‘rules of the game’ by that time.
I did learn, though slow, that:
- You love a person if you behave in a manner that makes her/ him happy. (And that includes, sometimes, keeping yourself away if that may keep her/ him happy).
- Don’t treat that person as a moon, mountain or rain. Express your love.
Came job, came marriage and wife..
Some constraints waived off, many more imposed.
Being with wife is like living in a mango orchard. You can have mango pudding, mango juice, mango pickle, mango ice-cream, mango shake, mango etc..but it is mango that you get ‘all the time’.
So if you want to have strawberry or litchi, and if you are imaginative enough, eat mangos imagining you are eating strawberry or litchi etc.
I only see responsibilities and boredom accompanying it.
Today sitting at an almost lonely platform at Haldwani, with a mild sun overhead, I get a feeling of coming too far. I don’t dream anymore, I hardly get surprised over anything. Experience and so-called knowledge has made me a kind of teacher of moral science.
We have been living in a society that idolizes perfection. We recognize either Rama (the best) or Ravana (the worst). For all these years, I have carried both Rama and Ravana inside. In the fight within, I never let Rama die but could never kill Ravana either.
And then came the train…
I got into my favorite side upper berth.
I found an old lady sitting on the lower berth. I found the face familiar. I found Ms Anne.
We talked for some time. She was still so attractive, so self-assured. She told, “You have changed a lot”.
I couldn’t say anything. Indeed I had changed both externally and internally. I felt like crying before she spoke again, “Perhaps you have started expecting too much from yourself and from others. Perhaps you have set too high standards for happiness. Come out it and be happy”.
I got up when the train was coming out of a tunnel.
“…life is like an ice-cream. Enjoy it before it melts”.