My friends always teased me for being a bookworm. It’s true—my life was all about books and the stories I read in them. No wonder, my idea about life, love and relationship was shaped by what I had read. I dreamt of meeting a ‘knight in shining armour’ and someone ‘tall dark and handsome’.
Then Rahul came to my life. He was the friend, philosopher and guide. The bespectacled and quiet boy. It didn’t take us long to become friends and once we completed our schooling, our joy knew no bound when we learned that we were admitted to the same college and later did our engineering from the same institute. We headed our separate ways when we got jobs in two different cities but we never grew out of touch.
Imagine my surprise, when on one fine day, I found him knocking at my doors unannounced. He traveled over 2,000 kms to wish me on my birthday and propose to me. I was transfixed when he said he had been in love with me for a long time but could not confess his feelings. Seeing me shocked, he regained his composure and told me that he would accept my rejection as well.
“I don’t know, Rahul. I like you but love is a completely different thing. This is not love. This is not how people in love feel,” I replied.
“What is love then?” he asked.
“I don’t know. But this is not love. Love just happens” I sighed as the image of Rhett Butler, Mr. Rochester and Heathcliffe floated across my mind.
True to his words, he took the rejection in good sport. We stayed friends like before. Both of us met a lot of people. I had a few relationships, fell in love and fell out of it as well. Somewhere in between, we lost touch.
Ten years later, I bumped into him at the airport. He had the same boyish grin and still wore glasses, which seemed to have grown thicker. Just like long lost friends, we stood transfixed knowing not what to do.
“You haven’t changed,” I said breaking the ice.
“And you have,” he replied as his eyes traveled to my short-cropped hair. “How are you? And how is life?”
“Same as usual. I got a transfer and am traveling to a new city for work,” I replied trying to avoid my personal life, which was a mess.
Somehow, he sniffed my discomfort and spoke hesitantly. “Ah! The same workaholic like always. I am here with my family. Come, meet my daughter and wife,” he said pointing to a petite woman in her mid-thirties and a little girl sitting next to her.
It was my time to hesitate. Something passed between us and we both smiled. As I walked with him to meet his family, I learned the most important lesson about relationships: Love never happens, you have to make it happen!
In Rahul’s eyes I saw the love he had for his wife and daughter. And I knew, he had made it happen.
-By R K Kashyap