Reminiscence of life

"While I celebrate seven years of being rejected, she might not even recall that on this very day, she mercilessly rejected a boy's proposal and broke his heart," said a man standing next to me, in a shaky voice, on the Mangalore beach. He was crying. Like a man does when all hopes lead to dead-end. The cry in which there would be no tears, but trembling voice embodying the emotions.

His hands raised in despair, walking precariously on the huge boulders that were thrown into the Arabian Sea in a symmetrical order at the convening points of Thanirbahvi and Panamboor beaches. He called his own name loud, "R****** what have you done to yourself" and almost in secret whisper he called her name... and with the increasing decibel of sound, he would say, "Why did you do this to me?" He said this for at least ten times and all those times he made sure that, her name was censored.

I did not mind him much. Took my tripod and camera out and tried to balance it on that uneven surface.  In few minutes, the tiny Sun would rest into the vast heart of the sea and relax in the deep and darkest place of the sea until the next morning :)

In a trial and error method, I adjusted the aperture and played with the ISO. After nearly eight clicks, I was satisfied with the settings of my camera. 'Perfect’, I said to myself. The Mangalore beach and setting sun have never disappointed me, when it comes to posing. Like a perfect model, she would dress up with different shades of orange and red dresses. As part of make-up, she would just puff some clouds on her cheeks and then the high tides would cat-walk towards the sand to the tunes played by the smooth breeze.

Today, she was completely in red. She was in middle of the clouds that was roughly shaped as heart, yes the same shape that the lovers use to convey all meaningless things. The red rays of sun were only emerging out from the top end where as the pointed shape of the heart made by cloud was white over a light orange background. The portion of sea in front of me had completely turned red, as if she has slit some demon’s throat and his blood was floating on the water. 

I first clicked just the Sun's picture and zoomed out just a little to capture tiny bit of sea at its bottom. The 17-300 mm lens was further zoomed out and keeping the dying sun in the left top third eye rule, I covered the vast sea to show - with what majesty was the tiny Sun fighting vainly. Sun’s death was inevitable!

The Sun was left with final breaths; the upper most part of Sun's circumference was at the sea-level and in my frame, it was just few centimetres above the bottom left, the sun was not in total focus. It was looking just like light spot without any shape. While majority of the frame had covered Sea, the object that was actually in focus was the light house bidding adieu to Sun by its light as if saying, 'not to worry friend, I am there for you...'

If not for the stupid man who was so far, within two nanoseconds away from my frame, I would have clicked the perfect picture. Click, goes my button, and with that, even the sun into the water. Needless to say that I could not get what I wished for. However, he got what he deserved, a mouthful from me. From Ba*****rd to Mo**** Fu****..., I was fuming, just like the Sun when he is right on our head.

The man walked out of the frame and far from me even without looking at me... with just his hand raised, as if meaning to say sorry. I was still fuming and frustrated of losing such a good shot.

Meanwhile, he settled down on the beach, staring at the sea even in that darkness.

I packed in my tools into the bag, and shed my anger as there was nothing I could do over the lost opportunity. I felt bad for scolding that man... walking towards my car, I stopped at him and said sorry.

"I did not mean to say those words. It was just a spurt of anger of losing....", and even without letting me complete my sentence he said, "I can understand that I should not have come in the middle of your frame." He sounded like a mature man with a level head on his shoulders.

I shook his hand and introduced myself to him and he told me his name. He was a journalist, working with one of the best newspapers in the nation. Curiosity was bustling in me to know his love story and the reason behind his cry and disappointment. "All fine with you mate? Hope your girl is all right. Is she alive..." before I could ask him the last question he spoke with urgency... "She is perfectly fine. She is happy and working fine in a newspaper office."
"Oh, she is also a journalist like you?" I asked him astonished.

For the first time in the entire evening, or the past two hours that we met, he smiled. He was decently dressed. Average looking with some five ft nine inches tall and slim built.

"But you were almost crying there”, I asked my next question. He kept silent for a long time. I thought he was not interested in telling me further. I walked few steps away from him, while he had tucked his face deep into his palms.
"What will you do knowing my one sided love story", a voice from that cupped palms came. I turned towards him and said, "Nothing... it is just that I have never heard a journalist's love story. I did not know that they have so much time for love too!" He laughed at my ignorance and foolishness. His smile said something which could be equated to ‘are journalists not humans?’

I sat next to him, with eagerness to hear a journalist’s love story. "Do not think of a happy ending of my story. It is a story of a failure and a man rejected," he started. Without giving me a chance to respond, he said again. "Had it been successful, instead of being on the cradle of beach I would have been in her arms today..." And for the next few seconds, he went into silence mode.

His voice was charged up. He had some joy in narrating the story there after. The smile did not leave him then. He was a charm to see then on wards. "I was doing my bachelors and she was my classmate. We were in a class of 53. There were only 8 boys and rest were girls and the college demography was almost reverse of the Indian ratio of girls. For every one boy, there were potential three girls to date. And I chose her, only her”.

"She was not the most beautiful girl this world has ever seen, but she was pretty. She was intelligent, matured, level headed..., and more over she was my kind of girl. That explains why I fell for her. In other words, I did not have a choice of not falling for her. Even today there are friends who say that she is arrogant, has attitude problem... but you see I had this 'lovetaract' where my feelings had covered my eyes to see logic in their words. And who the hell will think of logic and all when you see such beauty.

I do not properly remember the day or situation when I first saw her, for my love was not love at first sight. But I do remember the day I fell in her love. It was 14 July 2006, Friday, morning 8:54 (six minutes before the class started). The rainy season had just started in the coastal region. There was cool breeze running while the rain drops were just sprinkling.

I was standing outside the class enjoying the weather along with friends. When she came climbing down the steps, adjusting her untied hairs. I did not see her as an angel walking down the aisle. She wasn't like the first ray of light that busted out of cloudy sky, a night after heavy rains. There was no aura around her. Neither did she shine like a drop of dew seen early morning on those red roses nor did I feel her to be the crescent moon on a star-less night. She looked just like any other girl. However, the only difference was, she had the power to bewitch me for that moment and forever.

Though she was under the blue umbrella, her white dress was wet, just a little bit, enough to show how beautiful she was. How curvy and how make-up free!

A cool breeze swept even at Panamboor beach. He rubbed his shoulder with palms. By now, his smile had turned into happiness. He was almost reliving the events that happened some eight-years-ago (almost a year before he proposed her.) "It may rain," I said. His answer was simple "let it rain. I love coastal rains..."

He started again. "Then and there I was gone, sold old and ruined forever. I wish that rain had never come; I wish I was inside the classroom. I wish I never went to that college or best I never existed..." Few more seconds of silence again.

"I was not myself thereafter. I was almost in her control. It was just that she did not know that she had the control keys with her, so much so, that in the middle of my second year of course, I went to the head of the department of the subject which she had taken and asked him if I could join that course leaving my favourite computer science subject. That was the only class that separated us in the college.

"Things started turning bad on my side. I started becoming a poet. Whatever I could not dare to speak to her, I started jotting them down on a piece of paper. What started on piece of paper ended up in not just one but two books, most of them in praise of her beauty. On her smile itself, I must have written some 20 poems.

"It was evident that I was not concentrating on my course subjects as much I was concentrating on her. While the English lecturers were teaching romanticism and modern poems, I was busy, during the class hours, writing my own verses on her beauty and hymns explaining my devotion to her."
He turned towards me and said in a husky voice, "The only important lesson I learnt from the poetry classes was that no great poet had ever won a heart of the girl he liked. Be it Wordsworth, Shakespeare, Yeats, the list is endless ... Most of my friends, even today tease me, 'you turned out a great poet, thanks to that girl and not because of your lines.' 
I smiled, he sniggered and started his narration.

"Like any other college love story, everyone else noticed my feeling for her apart from the person concerned. You must have read that SMS- 'If a boy likes a girl in college, apart from the girl everyone else know about it and if a girl loves a boy in College, except the boy no one else knows about it.' well something similar was my case”.

"Every time, I made some special appearance in the class, cracked a joke, made fool of myself... while my friends’ vocal cords remained silent, their eyes used to say only one thing 'we know why 'the f***' you are doing this!' And she was like- nothing is happening around her.

Bad was about to turn worse when one of my 'friendly enemy ' threatened to break this news to her. I feared and at the same time felt happy. At least by this, someone would be conveying my feelings to her. Then, I realised what would be the repercussions.

It was April 25, 2007, Wednesday afternoon 3:38. We had finished our English exam on that day and had 10 days gap for the next exam. I asked her for an appointment. And as assured, she came on time at the decided place - Near the Journalism department HOD's chamber. To my 'bad luck', she was wearing the same white dress and was looking stunning, making me nervous and resulting in words stumbling in the mouth itself. I was almost stammering. I don't know what exactly I said, but this is what I intended to say. And without beating around the bush I said, "I have feelings for you. Maybe I know your response, but it is just that I do not want a third person to tell you this. That is why I am jumping the gun and telling you my feelings”.

She laughed, for almost 45 long seconds, and then said, “I knew this was the case, by your behaviour. But seriously, I don't have any such feelings for you”. She just said what I already knew. She did not even take a nanosecond time for the reply. It was as if pre-loaded.

It started to drizzle in Panamboor. We did not move an inch from our place. I just made sure that my camera was safe and turned towards him.

"I did not stop liking her. What I stopped was to make it obvious to my friends. We were under the same roof, but not alone. We were together for eight hours, but not with each other. We looked at each other, and I feared that someone else would also be looking at us. We behaved as if we were two strangers but friends because we were studying in the same class.

"For some reasons, even after rejection, I could not accept what she had said. I knew her decision was final and I don't have even an iota of chance of winning her love.  But something in my heart did not allow me to kill those feelings for her. I did follow her, literally.

"Every evening after college hours, I had one major work. I could skip breathing and afford not doing that work. She used to live in a town near our college and used to catch a private bus to go home. My duty was to escort her to the bus stop.

"While she walked on the footpath on the left side of road, I was following her on the right side, some 100 feet behind. All I wanted to see is her waving hands to her friends at the bus stand with a bright smile on face. I always assumed that 'Tata' was for me.

"It was not easy being so. But I did not have a choice. I was just trying to help myself to be happy. I seriously did not know what it is called- the way I was feeling. I was told that love is when two hearts have feelings for each other, but what do they call when only one person has love filled in his heart and another person do not even have a heart- One side love?

I tried hard to stop liking her. I wanted to live my life and not carry her in my heart. I tried to kill my inspiration. I stopped writing poems. But nothing worked. The more I tried to put my pen down, more beautiful did the line come up. I was stubborn, I did not write them. I just hummed them and forgot them. And make myself a promise of not repeating such mistake.

I am such an unlucky lover. I was supposed to go to a nearby town for withdrawal of money from the ATM in the same town she lived, the day I proposed her. And the bus I was sitting had only one more seat left and that was next to me. The bus did not move for the next 10 minutes. Frustrated, I got into the bus and after two minutes, she came to the stop, climbed the bus and sat in the small-sized seat where I was sitting. And the bus left the stop, the very next second without giving me a chance to react. Thousands of such incidents have happened. "I always console myself by saying that I missed her by a whisker."  

He turned towards me and said, there are very few things I fear and one thing I fear the least is being rejected. I did not drop my love then; I am not dropping it now. I shall continue to love her... ever and forever. But this time, I shall not propose her, nor do I expect her to come to me. I do not want her anymore physically to like her. I know how to live and love her without her being with me. Seven years has taught me that.

"Tomorrow, if she comes to me with feelings for me, I may just walk away from her without saying yes."

We both were drenched completely, till our underwear. While I was trembling to speak, his voice modulation was solid. The rain made it difficult for me to notice whether he was crying or not. His voice did not give any indication, but his taking away of eyes from me did arise doubt.    

He spoke again, "This is it, my love story- a story of missed chance.
Another half an hour was spent in trying to get some more not so important details. But he was adamant in not revealing the most important information- her name. He would say the same answer for any number of times I asked him to reveal her name. "One side lover does not have the right and permission to reveal the girl's name. Just like you cannot reveal your account’s password for security reasons and she is my password."

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Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Has not excavated fully. There are half baked feelings, desires and ambitions. But a heart to complete and compel.

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