1. I never could understand why people read a story to find out the ending. The story I tell never has an ending. The fact is I have got only one story to tell time and again; you see, a broken heart doesn’t have two names whose ever it is. That story doesn’t have an ending, because in my view, life goes on... They say, in the end it all turns out good. Well, not for me! Never has been!! I am dreamer, a day dreamer and my dreams never ended happily ever after. No matter how good things looked, I always looked for some sort of blemish in a story. So that it could turn into tragedy. So that, so that... I could... could have a reason to move on. Oh, that’s that – a reason to move on. Some talk to their mirror, others talk to people. As for me, I talk through my stories. But we all seek redemption, don’t we?
2. a. The biggest irony of life happens to be NOT with a person who feels lonely among crowd but with a person who feels lonely when he is alone. Even in the presence of memories you made in past, if you manage to feel lonely then you know it’s not just the present but your past also that has cheated on you. I do have memories – good and bad; but they all seem worthless in her absence. We never looked at each other at the same time. I looked at her when she was not looking and perhaps she also did the same. I always have believed that she looked at me the same way I did, but now in retrospect, I am not sure. Till that day, I was sure there was no one else in her life but me. It occurred in a flash. She was smiling but her sorrow showed in her eyes. We can never realize the intensity of our love until there is a separation. I guess it was also the day of her realization as it was for me. I always wished to see my reflection in her eyes and when I did see her eyes, there was no place for me. I realized I didn’t have a single memory of her alone; there always was him. Perhaps I always knew it but I chose not to realize till that day. I never could understand the reason for and plight of those who drink to forget their sorrows; I used to drink because life was a gift. Perhaps that was the first day I drank to forget someone who had been the reason for my happiness. I had a friend who, while drinking, always kept his glass half full. He used to pour more before finishing the glass and never filled the glass to the brim. His theory was interesting. A half glass symbolized his way of life – filled with a little of satisfaction and empty for want of a little more. He used to say, “The glass is only half full, the wisdom lies in letting it be.” I tried to do it in my life and failed dreadfully. As much as I poured, my glass was always empty.
b. Let me start this with a cliché. There are two kinds of people in this world, those who blame others for their burdens and failures and those who own their burdens. I respect the later ones. I am self made man and by that I mean I own my failures and successes equally well. I don’t see anyone to whom I can accredit my successes and certainly no one to whom I can blame for my failures. I call this self-awareness. There’s only one thing I don’t want to own – I don’t know if it is failure or success and certainly not mine. I would always want it to be her success or her failure and perhaps it was both a bit. It all started when we were friends and before I knew it she became part of my very existence. I don’t know what she saw in a man like me. I remember asking myself if I could let someone else dictate my existence. They say men fall in love through eyes and women through ears. The mistake both of them make is that they turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to their own hearts. As much as I would like to deny I have to accept that I made that mistake.
3. a. In a relationship the one, who falls in love the more, has more to lose and is always the person who loses in the end, too. I had failed myself the day there was a difference in what I wanted and what I did. The costliest decision of a life for a person is the trade-off between what one wants and what one expects from oneself. I expected myself to be a part of her happiness. I never did anything for myself. Whatever I did, I did it for her happiness. It was not a sacrifice; it was selfishness for my own happiness; at least that’s what I thought. If she was not happy how could I be happy? You see I would have lost both ways and I had, already. For long I deluded myself into thinking that my happiness was associated with her happiness. I cannot lie to myself anymore. I wanted to be able to kiss her forehead. I wanted to lie down with her back pressed against my chest and her head touching my cheeks. I wanted to wake up and see her sleeping, the first thing in morning. I wanted to tease her and enjoy her being annoyed. I wanted to be that person in whose arms she would cry if she was hurt. I wanted to run my fingers through her hair so that she could cry to forget her pains. Most importantly I wanted a prerogative over her: a prerogative to love her, a prerogative to make love to her.
b. I envy people who have ability to believe God, to have faith in someone. If nothing else, one has a hope to hang on. When you believe in yourself and nothing else, there is no one, no hope to hang on to. I could never put my trust in anyone, neither in God nor in love. It was after a lot of let downs I had realized that I CAN love someone but I cannot FALL in love. That’s the side effect of being a loner. I was a loner out of choice because I was afraid of being emotionally vulnerable. I could never come to terms with the idea of putting myself into someone’s control. My father had taught me never to trust anyone but myself. What he forgot to add was to trust myself to trust someone else. I saw the ocean for the very first time, she was there. It was the day I wanted to tell her. But the vastness of ocean had dawned upon me, I was speechless. It made me feel how small I was. She was beautiful and I had a face of one whom no one had wanted to look twice. Beauty was not the only thing; I guess I might be beautiful to her if to no one else. But there was much more to it. I was poor. My poverty was not an issue for her but for my own self-esteem. It should have ended that day. Whole of my life I have been running from realities of life. I deluded myself into believing that this is what being free is. But one thing you should know is that running isn’t freedom.
4. a. I don’t know what happened first – he left her or she came close to me. It didn’t matter at that time but now it seems to be important. She had a past but it didn’t count. She longed for someone else, I longed for her. Longing for something we couldn’t get was the common thing that brought us together. There could be thousand reasons to be with someone but to forget someone else is not a good enough reason. Often it happens that fairer sex is adept at hiding their pain. Someone ought to learn from her how to hide tears with a wide smile. But I knew her so much that I could see it right through her eyes to her soul. I used to cringe like a calf being slaughtered whenever I saw her eyes. The bluest eyes I ever saw! I cringed not because her eyes were filled with grief but because that grief was for someone else. The irony of being sacrificial is that in the end there is no one to cry for you but you. The good thing was that in those days it used to rain every day and it wasn’t a coincidence that I managed to get wet in the rain every day. Whether you hide them or not, tears always feel a little warm on cheeks.
b. When we win something we start believing that it was because of our own ability that we won. The biggest delusion man ever has is belief in his own contribution. I will regret that I didn’t make an effort to win this time. The most important thing in life is not the victory or the money or fame or self respect. Most important are the people. But at that time, very conveniently, I preferred to ignore what I always believed in. Now I preferred a race for money. My life had become a to-do list and it was not a choice, trust me. I wouldn’t have been able to live this life any other way. I absorbed myself in work and it became both the ends and means for me. That kept me occupied and helped me forget her, even if momentarily. I couldn’t have forgotten her otherwise. There is a difference between doing what you love and loving what you do. I had to make do with later. If I had realized this earlier I would have made it count. Life is but an endless regret.
5. a. They said we see what we want to see, they never said we don’t see what we don’t want to see. A person would be standing in front of you with his whole life behind him. But since you could only see a part of it, you assume it’s the whole. The fact is we are never interested in understanding someone, we assume them to be what we want them to be. Although it serves a purpose, going to dates has never been my forte. I never could understand the logic behind it. I mean, nobody knows what’s right or wrong with themselves how could someone else guess about it on a table in candle light. And of course if it was just a matter of finding the right things and making it work, then why not choose a random person from the crowd and get along with it. I was hanging on a single hope that a day would come when in her heart I may fill the space he is still occupying. But she wanted to see him in me because she was not ready to give up that space to anyone else. I always have believed that to love is to find happiness. But this belief has always been at odds for me. What I thought to be love turned out to be hypocrisy of our vanity.
b. I never expected life to be fair to me. But the least I expected was not to deny me the right of my chance at it. I always got what I wanted. But now, life was overwhelming me. I am not sure if at all chance was given to me or I lost it. She seemed to be happy with him but perhaps she still had hope on me. I stared at her for long then I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. I wanted to remember this for long – her smell, what she was wearing, her hair, her face, everything about her. I hoped that this would be enough for me to hang on. I hoped that I will be able to sleep at night now. I hoped that this would be last time we see each other. A person who has always been winner in everything can’t understand what it is to come all the way and come in second. For me, being last is far easier than coming second. When you are second, you have to face the person who beat you. That’s the most difficult thing for a winner. Now I happened to be the other person in her life – the second place. He was a better person than me in that respect. Courage was another thing. We both were looking for happiness but his way was to search for meaning of his life and I was after joy. I felt hollow in front of his pure emotion. My ego is my biggest flaw, I can think of no other reason why I thought she has no use of me now.
6. a. We ignore life in all its forms when we are happy or rather when we think we are happy. Life happens when something is taken from us that we desire. I faced questions which in the past to me were tragedies of common man. Everyone who has ever fallen in love thinks that break-up and separation is not for them, their love was true love not a lame summer love. Well, the thing with clichés is that they may seem lame but they strike very hard; Ignorance is bliss. She was gone – it seemed like a long sleep. For a moment, I thought I died; I couldn’t feel anything. I am not upset with life, perhaps life is upset with me. But I have no complaints. How could I complaint about her leaving me? I asked a single moment from her and she already had given much more than that. I never put condition of life long relationship and she never intended to do that. I will never regret that it ended; instead I would always be grateful for the moments that I cherished – the moments in which I lived years of happiness because she was there with me. Einstein was wrong. Time doesn’t flee when you are with your love, it slows down.
b. I like sleeping alone but I don’t like to wake up alone. I always had a dream in half sleep just before waking up. I dreamt that when I wake up, my eyes would meet another pair of eyes – deep green and a pair of smiling lips would wish me good morning. But now every day I wake up in my own house and I feel I don’t belong here; these walls, furniture, bed, windows, everything – these were made for us together, not me alone. I won’t deny I was disappointed. I shouldn’t have been; this was my choice after all. Let me reveal the secret of a happy life to you: Have no desires of your own and don’t expect anything from anyone. But then is life really worth living? The tragedy with desires is that they never end. They are eternal just like the flow of river. I wonder if my love could have been like that. We are not imperfect because we are always in want of more, but because we always want something other than what we have.
7. a. I know it’s incredibly wishful to compare life with a battle. The tragedy of common man is that we glamorize our struggles with heroicness; maybe for the want of being grandeur. But the fact is struggles are not life. Struggles are the tragedy of common man not a great man. To feel otherwise is delusional. The tragedy with me is that I was alone before and I am alone afterwards. I never found respite from my solitude. My solitude hasn’t pained me as much as the fact that this solitude had to go waste in such a way. In the end, she was unhappy. I didn’t have the fear of losing her to someone else, what hurt me was her surrender to situations. Her surrender was my surrender. For fairer sex, as much it is easy to come close, it’s even easier to move on. Tears and sobs can get you through. It would be extremely presumptuous on my part if I believe that it was as easy with her. But what about me? You think life can be as easy as stories? Moving on is not so easy in real life; the fact is that I still am not looking for closure. I will wait. I don’t know how long...
b. I was aghast and angry. “You are not supposed to be here! It ended a long time ago!!”, I shouted at her. “But It didn’t, for me”, she let out a feeble cry. She was in tears. She hesitated for a moment and heralded in single breath, “I got married and we are moving to Canada.” A tear came out of my eye; the only one, from a single eye. ‘we’ is a strange term; it used to be me in her ‘we’ and now somebody replaced me. I wanted to show my anger, I wanted to be frustrated, and I wanted to shout at her. “Congratulations, I am really happy for you”, was all I could muster up to say. Perhaps she had come to see me for the last time as the girl I loved. She was wrong, mere geographies couldn’t take her from me. It is for me to decide if she is the girl I love or if she is just another girl. To love her not - that will always be my prerogative, not her. She hesitatingly twitched her arms a little in some subtle way, as if giving some indication. Perhaps she wanted to embrace me, to clinch me from my world like the very first time she did. But instead she kept looking at me. And I at her! She was as beautiful as she was the first time I saw her. And then she left. I could never understand why she came...