Thursday, May 05, 2005

That's how I knew this story would break my heart...

Standing on a chair and two cushions– I peered at daddy’s bookshelf. If daddy noticed what I was doing, he didn’t react. He continued sitting in his armchair and reading whatever he was… Smoke from constant drags on his cigarette making a blurred picture around him…



I looked at all the books there. My eyes fell on one of them- it could be because it was the thinnest among the lot… or… it could be that it was white in color and different from the red and black ones that found popularity on his bookshelf… I don’t remember exactly…

Pulling that one out, I jumped down.

“Love Story”, Erich Segal.

I opened the book… I found written inside…

“Dearest R;

May you never know the pangs of unreciprocated love…

Love;
V”


Looking up I saw daddy looking at me.

“Have you ever heard of this book?”

“Ummm Hmmmm”, as in the negative.

“Hmmm…. Come here”

I knew something interesting was coming up. Because daddy had called me in that there’s-a-story-coming-up voice…

This is what I heard that day… lying on my stomach on the floor of daddy’s study…

“What can I say about a 20 year-old girl? That she was beautiful. And kind. That she loved Mohamed Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar? And him?

It was the beginning of yet another college year… 1977 would be this remarkable in his life he never knew when he met his friends after their vacations and thumped their backs in happiness.

Law college- the name brought shudders to every college girl, politician and parent! And it was but natural that she would be warned by her seniors on the topic called ‘Law college boys’.

A few uneventful months passed in that summer of 1977. He didn’t do much- just the routine stuff- bashed up a few guys, was in turn bashed up… spent a night in jail… petrified all the girls in college…got crazy drunk all nights… tried marijuana… rebelled against the system… Yeah the first few months were uneventful…

Girls were always the topic… and on one such topic came up her name. She was from another university… but still she was considered one of the prettiest looking girls who joined that year…

“You should see her”, his friend said.

“I’ve seen many…”, he said arrogantly.

“So have we”, his friend quickly defended. “But there’s something very innocent… charmingly so about her… I don’t know… but we all like her…”

“Have you talked to her?”, he asked

“Oh no... The poor thing... She would be terrified…”

“Oh! When has that ever stopped us before?”

He won the round of conversation. Next morning found them all at the bus stop near the ladies hostel of her University.

“Oh God…!!! There they come!!! Was wondering where these wretched guys were all these days…”, one of her seniors whispered loudly to the waiting gang of scared first years.

She look a sidelong glance at him… through dark eyes lined heavily with khol… and put her head down again when she caught fourteen pair of eyes staring steadily at her direction…

He pulled his bike onto the main stand and started crossing the road. One of his friends caught his hand and pulled him back…

“Don’t. Don’t do anything… We’ve asked around and she really is one nice girl… and its no act of hers, the wide eyed look she gave us all…”

Pulling away, he crossed the almost empty road.

Walking up to her, he said, “If at all I marry anyone… it will be you”

He could hear collective gasps from both sides of the road as he walked back to his waiting friends…

The bikes roared to life and went their way… She clutched on a friend of hers and stood there stunned…

She didn’t go to college that day. All this wasn’t common in 1977. Especially not in Kerala. Definitely not in her life…

Lying on her cot and with a splitting headache, she heard her class mate yell out her name. Jumping out of bed, she ran in the direction of the voice.

“Come to college now…”, her class mate panted breathlessly.

“Am not feeling too well”, she said.

“You’ll feel worse if you see what’s there on our college notice board. He’s written a letter to you and posted it on our board for the whole world to read…”

She ran out of hostel. She didn’t wait for the bus… she ran out without her slippers… she ran all the way till her college…

A crowd- partly amused, partly interested, mostly curious stood in front of the notice board. She pushed her way through… and found on the green board, his letter…”



Daddy stopped his recital… both of us didn’t speak for sometime after.

I broke the silence… I had so many questions to ask…

“Did he tell her he’ll marry her with just one look at her?

“Well… he did take four or five looks actually…”

“But why didn’t he tell her that he loved her? Why marriage?”

“Ah… I don’t know… It could be that maybe he was scared too… and he said the first things that came to his mind… It could be that he forgot the one liner he’s prepared before he crossed the street…”

“But how could he love her just like that?”

“He doesn’t know to this day… But he’s glad, for he learnt to love her more each passing day…”

“Can you love someone without knowing anything at all about the person?”
“He did…”

“Did she love him back?”

“He thinks so…”

“No… I want to know what happened after that… After she found his letter on the notice board?”

“But then… that’s her story…”

I smiled at daddy.

“Shall I ask her?”

Daddy smiled back. He knew I wouldn’t…

I didn’t.

I walked out of the room with ‘Love story’ in my hands …Into my bedroom and propping the pillow on the bed and leaning against it, I opened Erich Segals’ ‘Love Story’ and ran my fingers through the writing inside…

Opening the next page I read…

“What can I say about a 25 year-old girl who died? That she was beautiful. And brilliant. That she loved Mozart and Bach. And the Beatles…”

17 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Simply magnificent... I dunno for others... but for me you have the gift to carry me away... to a wonderful place only you have the key...

1:35 AM  
Blogger arvindiyer said...

Ahhhhh...I remember that day...when someone game that book and We sat and read it together...
*sniff sniff* I know u hate me...But U didn;t have to get me all thinkin again....
*walks back to corner of the room*

3:09 AM  
Blogger Cheeru said...

You are a mysterious girl. Everytime you surprise me in a new way !!!

11:21 PM  
Blogger Kraz Arkin said...

I really am glad we stumbled onto each others spaces...

11:48 PM  
Blogger clash said...

70's rock!!

7:17 AM  
Blogger Arvind Iyer said...

*I am not aware of the blogger-protocol, about where I am supposed to reply to comments. So this is THE REPLY.*

My VSNL account at Delhi does not permit me to freely browse stuff. Albeit your page LOOKS good, I haven't read a single word yet (ok. maybe a few). I am going to enjoy reading your stuff. I am glad what I wrote made you laugh (at least inside the head).
Should come up with a new 'kissa' pretty soon.

bye

4:06 AM  
Blogger manuscrypts said...

..theres something more to this story.. some untold bit??...
have read it around 3 times now, looking for something, a connection that i have missed...but otherwise i'm speechless..this is brilliant stuff :)

1:53 AM  
Anonymous Aravind. said...

Very nice flowing writing style.And good use of images too.Havent read Love Story.So maybe I am unable to understand the post in its entirety.

2:03 AM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Anon: Wonderful place...?Better than Mauritius? But seriously- thank you...

Arvind(the lean mean one!): Man, dont you worry... Let's read love story together when we meet... ;o)

Amit: I know you meant that as a compliment- coz I asked you what you actually said! So-thank you!

Kraz : The feeling is mutual...

Cllaasssh (I hope the L's and s's are right in number!) : They did!

Arvind Iyer: You are supposed to reply to comments in your own blog! :o)

Manu: There is more... And I will write it all down one day I hope... Thank you.

Aravind(Man- there are so many namesakes' in my blog now!): Thank you... but there is nothing from love story in MY story except- "What can I say about a 25 year-old girl who died? That she was beautiful. And brilliant. That she loved Mozart and Bach. And the Beatles…”

And the book itself-which was a gift from dad to mom!

2:21 AM  
Blogger Reva said...

Lovely!! Poornima. I realize slowly that I know you more because of your blogs. I loved this the most - “He doesn’t know to this day… But he’s glad, for he learnt to love her more each passing day…”

5:44 AM  
Blogger glimmer said...

"i don't want to lose you" is all i told him. but that changed my entire world. just 5 hours and i made the mortal decision of my life which i knew would remain immortal like my love...

how the hell do u write this poornima? i am "how can she think like me?" but seriously buddy...how do u think like me??? or rather how do u give life to my thoughts? love u da! take care and keep writing!

7:32 AM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Reva: Man, you dont know me when I talk 19 to the dozen to you everyday? When I wake up every morn and come and put my arms around you and say, "I dont want to go to office today"? When I mail you telling you that I want to eat carrot halwa so come home soon and make that for me? Hmm... maybe I should blog more often!


Dhanya: I do? Well, that's a nice thing then. It makes me quite sane to think that others too think the way I do! Thank you...

2:26 AM  
Anonymous Harpreet said...

Loved the story, Indianised. You write well.

6:47 AM  
Blogger Reva said...

Poornima.. know u more.. not 'know u'..
Well.. whatever reason - Blogging more often is definitely a good decision! :))

11:24 PM  
Blogger Priyanka said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:35 PM  
Blogger Priyanka said...

I have heard this lovely incident from you so many times - the first perhaps during one of the boring lectures during SOM days - but I never had enough of this or any other narrative of yours.... Now I am glad that you have put to words so many of them....dont know if we will meet again in life - would definitely want to - till then your blogs will keep me going!!

9:40 PM  
Blogger Poornima said...

India: The world has shrunk and we will meet! :)

10:13 PM  

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