It was one of the good days. She woke to him nuzzling her neck, whispering sorry for what he had said yesterday. She teared up and he kissed them away. All forgiven and forgotten.
They stayed in bed late, him talking about one of his students who just refused to look at his books and was forever disrupting class. From the way he said it, he loved this kid! His crazy antics but he said it with an air of pretence exasperation, like how he would really want the kid to just shut up and study. She told him of the new book that she was reading and how it was making her feel all warm and gooey inside, it was the story of a teenager starting life afresh with her family in Alaska. She went on to tell him about how as parents sometimes they ruined lives in the name of love but that was also what forged characters of steel in their children. She told him how conflicted she felt when she read things like this.
For once, after a very long time, they listened to each other. It felt like home, after a very very long time.
That gruesome scar on his face,
Suddenly becomes so much more desirable when you come to know that he got burnt trying to save a child,
Those chipped front teeth
You find funnier when she tells you she fell on her face drunk dancing,
That hideous wristband on someone
Becomes much more than a rubbery stretchy thing, when you get to know it was of their child
Who succumbed to terminal illness.
When you know the stories behind imperfections,
Why do they seem perfect?
What if the gruesome scar was a birth mark,
Or the chipped front teeth just the way they grew,
Or the wristband, just a wristband.
We would judge them differently, is it not?
If stories make it easy to accept, find the story.
Sometimes not having a story, is also a story.
What takes effort is love
Hate, are easy.
It’s super easy to do the easy thing.
We stick to the hard things as long as they are easy.
The moment it gets tough, you ask – is this worth it?
That point, precisely then is the tipping point.
If you decide to stay, stay.
Be in it with all abandon.
Pick the difficult route,
It’s got the best sceneries
It’s got the best experiences
And it makes you you.
There is no shame in asking for help
There is no shame in asking “silly” questions
There is no shame in not knowing what to do all the time.
It is shameful though-
If you choose to ignore a plea for help,
If you laugh at a question to which you clearly think you know the answer
If you think you always know everything.
We. Us. Humans.
In all our wisdom. We are infinitely finite.
We can’t possibly know everything there is to know or do or feel or think.
That’s why there are so many of us.
To make us parts of a whole.
To make us whole.
Listen, ask, spill, talk, cry, hug, listen.
Be human. Unapologetically.
When I look back, I have never been on a first date first date. In the past relationships, we had known each other since school or undergrad, so things just flowed into one another. We used to hang out, and then we watched movies or we ate ice cream. But the romance of the first date was never there. I never missed it. I didn’t know it existed.
I went on a first date yesterday. We sat holding hands in the cab. We watched a play. My first live theatre. It was in a language neither of us understood, but the artistes were par excellence. So much so that their expressions said it all. Language wasn’t a barrier. It was an open show, under a colourful canopy. It was chilly and cold. My hands were freezing and my thighs were shaking. It was cold. He asked if I’d like his jacket. I politely declined. I didn’t want him to be cold too.
The show finished. It was a beautiful experience. The depth of emotion was new to me, especially one portrayed in person, in flesh and blood.
We hung out near the food stalls. We chatted on and off. He insisted on the jacket then. It felt snug. Warm. Like a hug.
We got a cab back to my place and held hands in the cab.
We spoke at length about the play. About the emotions and its relevance to society. About what we can do as individuals to raise strong children.
Somewhere during the date, we stopped being him and I, and became us. It was in that moment, when he looked right into my eyes and said – what is it that you want to say but are worried I may not like it.
I told him. He didn’t like it. What he said. I didn’t like it.
But unlike before, instead of that being an issue, we chose to disagree and moved on to other topics. Being right or wrong was inconsequential to us. Being heard was more important.
He dropped me home. There was a long hug. And a kiss on the forehead. And a whispered wish- Good night.