Ok! First the updates. People who asked me about Mickey sometime ago.... well he is getting married next month. :) I wouldn't say it was him 'who gave a fair chance to life', but rather his life has been more than fair to him. I don't know what to say, the story just completed itself. Is life indeed so predictable or I am a good story teller; I don't have an answer to any of those questions and many others. But yes, in Mickey's words (to me)... "this is our year, its been special for both of us and will be cherished always always and always." Wish you a great journey ahead, and to me as well :).
Going back to today's story!! If I were to say, I want love just enough to last me in my memories for the lifetime, how much does that really mean?
Aashna was my neighbor in one of the many stations we have lived in, thanks to my dad being an army man. She was 3 years older than me but I never ended up calling her 'Didi' or anything to that effect. She was a girl I looked up to, I idolized. I had just stepped into my teenage and she seemed to have been there and done that. I don't remember a single evening when I wouldn't have gone to see her. Evening was the time, when she would get dressed to go out 'with friends'. I watched her spend hours and hours selecting her dress, trying each one and showing it to me; not that she needed any opinion. And then another hour in getting the lipstick right and the eye-liner perfect and the mascara just enough. I personally wasn't the ones (I still am not) who would spend that much time to look in a certain way, if I were to go out with friends, so it was all quite interesting to me.
Weekends were the time when I would again go to see her, 'coz she used to me tell me her stories and gossip then. I wasn't her age, I am sure she didn't even trust that I understood her random gossip, but I know I was a close confidant to her. One evening she told me she had a boyfriend. I wasn't shocked really, but I did acknowledge inside my head that was indeed a bold thing to do. At that time, having a boyfriend was a real Big Deal to me. Those days, the grapevine would sound something like "you know, there is a guy in 8th standard in St. Anselms', he proposed Nitika (who would be in 7th Std in St. Mary's) in their school bus..." That was NEWS, and here was this girl who was telling me right in my face that see was seeing someone. In my confusion about whether she was immoral (please bear in mind my teenage sensibilities) or whether she was bold, I admired her.
From there started some endless evenings where, for the first time, I saw love from such a close distance...
She met this guy at her school feat. She was at the Juke Box stall. This dude and a couple of friends came along to play a song for a guy who was crazy about a girl they met in the feat. They requested a song, forgot to pay for it and coolly walked away. Our lady announced their names on the loudspeaker in the entire feat and dedicated a song to them, "Buddy! Can you spare a dime?"
Aakash came back and paid up. From there on, they started talking, then calling each other and it grew. One fine day, both of them knew they loved each other. In fact, it was Aakash who brought that up one day.
"What do you think about all this time that we spend together? Do you know what are we headed to? Is there something going on about this in your head?"
She said, "Are you trying to say that we are in love? 'Coz I am not very sure about myself. Maybe we have got too used to each other. Moreover, I am looking for commitment and I don't think that's your intention."
"Hmm! You are right. I am not looking at it from a commitment perspective. But this time that we have been spending together, doesn't that mean anything to you? Maybe we would never be together again, but isn't this phase a memory worth cherishing for a lifetime? The love that we would have between us would be enough to last us for the rest of our lives."
That probably was the second longest night we both sat up talking. She was trying to defy his logic in her head and she couldn't. She was right on her part about the 'commitment' thing and he didn't sound wrong on his part either. She did like spending time with him. There was no scheme in her mind, and didn't appear to be one in his mind too. She couldn't find an argument to counter his. And I being an incapable accomplice, couldn't advice her. I didn't know that, just saying 'I Love U' could be such a complex affair.
One night she came back crying. "Deepa he has been flunking in his 12th grade for past 2 yrs. What do I do about him now?" That was such a shocker. He didn't appear to be one of those flunky kinds. I asked her, "Aashna, do you really love him?" She nodded in a yes. "Can you not help him? If its your love then why not take efforts to make it work?" To me that was the most logical thing to advice. She loved him, then why should she hate him because he couldn't pass his 12th grade. Yes, she could have given up after trying to make him clear and he was still not getting there...
This girl did it. In her 11th Std she took efforts on his studies as well and saw him through.
After sometime it was the talk of the town. Convenient truths were told back home and these things carried on. Aashna and Aakash were a pair.
Aashna's mother also became a party to this. To her, Aakash was her future son-in-law. And why not! His father owned an 'Export House'. They had a 3 BHK apartment in NOIDA , a farm house near Chandigarh and a cottage in Amby Valley. And after her mom got in between it was a royal screw-up.
A woman from a decade old generation was trying to help her daughter in this generation to get her 'non-committal' boyfriend to marry her. And the daughter fully knew in the heart of hearts that 'commitment' was the last thing on the list when she got into this and she could have never told this fact to Mom. Somewhere, the daughter wanted to believe her mother's theories about how love can conquer all and she lost the sight of reality.
Meanwhile, Aakash started getting itchy about the friendly aunt. Unwittingly he started staying away from Aashna and that hurt her. There would be times when she would call him and he would have made other plans with his friends. If she got irritated on some occasion he would do something special and keep the hearth burning. They must have split and got back 'n' number of times in that phase.
One evening Aakash called up. His mother wanted him to get engaged to a relatives daughter. The relatives were quite well-off. And the daughter wasn't that bad either. There was no reason for Aakash to say 'No' to her. And of course there was no commitment to Aashna.
She called him and he came. She knew how crazy she had been for him, and he was aware all the time as well. She said, "I know there was no commitment between both of us, but the time and moments that we have spent together, do they mean anything to you? If you can cherish these memories for a lifetime, am I lesser than these memories even that you can't keep ME instead of them with you for the rest of your life?"
"I know baby, how much it hurts, I am not happy either. I can't go against my mother's wish. There is no reason I have to say 'No' to her proposal. And we were supposed to love each other 'Just Enough' remember?"
"And could you just tell me how much of love is just enough?" That night Aashna came back home. She was as white as a ghost. She was feverish the whole night and talking non-stop. That was the longest night I stayed up with her.
That night I knew, when it comes to love, your right may not be right for someone else. And nobody bothers if he/she has wronged you, because there are no rules. Please take care when you are playing the game, no one is responsible for you here. NO ONE!