The Irony and The Ecstasy (Fable - 21)
Greetings from The City I Love Most! Life’s just getting curiouser and curiouser and I’m getting dizzy with the happiness that’s magically working its way around me. In retrospect, a few things stand crystal clear.
A series of seemingly unrelated yet similar incidents corroborated that thought.
Number One was the week long trip to Ajmer, which turned out to be nostalgia on acid! That’s the thing about the city where you’re born and have spent a considerable amount of time. It’s a small town. Teeny-tiny, ho-hum, boring, staid like all other small towns in its league. For That Woman, Ajmer was the city where she always went back to in more ways than one. First it was vacations with grandparents, and later, for the latter half of her schooling. This year it’s been exactly 10 years since she passed out of school and going back was a shock. And the strangely happy realization that no matter how far you go, where you live or what career you choose, you will be bound to your roots and the place you come from. You will share an inexplicable bond with the people of that city even if they don’t know what sushi is and Barista is yet to show up there. The current crop of kids in her boarding school are the same pretentious little snobs that they were, but with cooler contraband items. Like iPods and cell phones! It was so refreshing to be around them, meeting old teachers and hearing them tell you how proud they are of you. As the school’s best debater, you felt invincible when you won the Inter-School trophy and took great pride in defeating that other pretentious little school from Doon! You had a terribly politically incorrect language and the cool insouciance that came from the belief that the only way to go now is up, up and away. The debating challenge was a week away and the school was all abuzz. The only tangible competition was still from “that school in Doon” while “the vernie schools don’t even figure!” That Woman heard this and smiled. How many times had she wanted to use that word, ‘vernie’ to describe random people she met during the course of her work, and because of that didn’t want to really deal with them more than was necessary. People who had bad grammar, bad pronunciations and, well, vernie accents, and their emails were filled with all sorts of spelling mistakes! But she did not have that wonderful safety net of being in school. Instead she called herself an intellectual snob, which in effect meant that the people she was being an intellectual snob with were vernies! But then, you live and you learn and you realize you can’t use certain words in polite company. (Though you can, in your head!) Then you sit there and reminisce and realize that when you're young, your whole life is about having fun, being impossibly reckless and recklessly impossible at competitive events. Then you grow up and learn to be cautious (you could fall ill or for the wrong guy) and politically correct and impeccably polite and you practice the fine art of killing them with kindness. You look before you leap and sometimes you don't leap at all because there's not always a safety net. When did it stop being fun and start being scary and dreary? Where had all that magic and charm gone? And when? This was a time better than any to seriously think of all that magic in our own lives which we see highlighted in feel-good films and books and we snicker cynically.
No more that. Because magic is that exact moment when you step out of the rut, look around and realize that life is a hell of a lot more interesting than just working, making money and trying to get ahead.
Magic is, stepping out of the plane, at Delhi airport and see a beautiful soft misty rain falling lightly. Putting a smile on That Woman’s face as she drove out of the airport to see everything looking so fresh, so green and CLEAN! And when you take the left from West End to Shanti Niketan, you can actually smell the freshly mown grass! And nothing else could top that except a heartwarming, real life love story that makes credible all such lines as: Love conquers all. Someone somewhere is made for you. Love will find a way. Love at first sight…
Actually, make that TWO real life love stories that make credible… you get the drift.
Two years ago, Cynical Hot Babe met Gorgeous Talented Boy and sparks flew. Instantly. For both of them. And they made a lovely pair. The kind that walks down the street hand in hand, talking animatedly, oblivious to the world and the fact that they had missed the right turn that would take them to the restaurant they were meeting That Woman for dinner. They seemed happy, laughed a lot, got touchy-feely a lot and drank a lot. All three of them, in fact, and then went home slightly tipsy and talked till early morning. After which, Cynical Hot Babe and Gorgeous Talented Boy went for a walk and on the way back, he took her to the neighborhood church to check it out.
Meanwhile, That Woman was trying to get out of a really bad relationship but the guy was clingier than Velcro, and even noisier whenever she attempted to peel him off. No matter how gingerly! Gorgeous Talented Boy proved to be a great friend in her times of turmoil and anxiety. They became close friends, so much so, that Cynical Hot Babe joked that Gorgeous Talented Boy should be dating That Woman instead. As time went by, she confessed to That Woman that all was not right in heaven and she really didn’t see herself and Gorgeous Talented Boy as quite “there!” Apparently, their mental make-up and maturity levels were totally out of sync. “He can be my closest friend, we talk about everything, he says the most awesome things about me, is really caring, makes me feel really sexy… but there’s something amiss and I’ve been thinking about it for a long time but still don’t know!” Cynical Hot Babe confessed to That Woman after 6 months. And sitting as she was, in the middle of a bad relationship, obviously the grass seemed greener on the other side and she psycho-babbled some deep, life-altering words to Cynical Hot Babe about the joys of being with a wonderful guy. Knowing fully well that when it came to relationships, very few can really be honest with each other, living as we all are in glass houses. And if you threw a stone, it might cruelly and magically turn into a boomerang and hit you right back! But that didn’t solve Cynical Hot Babe’s problem and in another couple of months, she broke up with Gorgeous Talented Boy. It wasn’t easy. It never is. Especially when there never was a bad moment in the relationship, but just the feeling that the crucial X Factor is amiss. But if both parties are willing to be mature and give it a serious thought, it’s actually possible to “be great friends” instead of just saying it for the sake of keeping the cliché intact for posterity. Which is what That Woman did. In her second attempt to break-up with Mr. Noisy Velcro she used all those clichés, right from, “It’s not you, it’s me,” to “But we can remain good friends,” and like it happens he saw through them and refused to part. He clung on. And soon Gorgeous Talented Boy’s studio became the sanctuary where That Woman would seek shelter from and have long soul searching-cum-bitching sessions with Cynical Hot Babe and him.
The three of them indeed became close friends.
Soon, Gorgeous Talented Boy met Smart French Girl and fell in love. When the others met them, a few months down in the relationship, they immediately saw how they were so perfect for each other. And Cynical Hot Babe pointed out that he’d found that X Factor with her which the two of them had lacked. But there were other issues. Smart French Girl lived in France, and had to leave after her visa expired an year later. The Long Distance Relationship became another ritual they got into, realized its demerits and broke up. Gorgeous Talented Boy was heartbroken.
Meanwhile, a regular networking meeting Cynical Hot Babe and That Woman had with a TV producer turned out to be one of destiny’s biggest success stories ever. TV producer turned out to be a Funny Intelligent Guy who, That Woman thought, instantly liked Cynical Hot Babe.
“Are you crazy?” Cynical Hot Babe snapped back at her when she expressed her opinion. “Stop looking for potential couples and matchmaking wherever we go. This was strictly business, you get that?”
Now, it’s been exactly a year since those famous last words were said. And about 11 months, since they were taken back graciously, when Cynical Hot Babe and Funny Intelligent Guy started seeing each other. It began like all great relationships do, but what carried it to another level completely was the fact that both of them discovered, in each other, that X Factor which their earlier relationships had lacked. And once that part was figured, they defied all odds and intellectual causality and fell in LURRRRRVE in the cheesiest, corniest, sweetest, mushiest way possible! And when I say love, I mean Real Love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can't-live-without-each-other, till-death-do-us-part love.
Of course, Gorgeous Talented Boy gave his seal of approval to Cynical Babe’s soulmate, while remembering Smart French Girl oh so wistfully. As did That Woman and she and Funny Intelligent Guy became New Best Friends who shared confidences, angst and lots of funny stories about Mr. Velcro (who was finally far away in the distant past) and stood by each other in moments of crisis. Cynical Babe had indeed never been happier and her cynicism wore off a little and she smiled a lot easier. And often for no reason at all!
Two months ago, Smart French Girl called up Gorgeous Talented Boy from Paris and confessed, even though she dated other men, she felt really miserable without him. And when he admitted to being equally miserable, in spite of dating other women too, both of them felt happier than ever. Soon Smart French Girl was on a plane to India and into the arms of Gorgeous Talented Boy who immediately proposed marriage and she accepted and even as you read these words, they’re already a happily married couple, living in bliss and planning a life in India and France.
That Woman, always a sucker for romance, grinned happily at the news of their wedding while wiping away the feel-good tears. It was yet another magical feeling when your closest friends, your support system, are in that happy phase where nothing seems impossible, everything falls in place just so and all cynicism and irony is cast aside. When they can bask in the joy and thrill of being in love, being with The One and the subsequent feeling of being invincible! Reveling in every nanosecond of the pleasure, havoc and confusion that comes with it. Indulging in all the fabulously cheesy love rituals because they’re there and one must save all clichés for posterity.
What do we learn from the real-life stories of Gorgeous Talented Boy and Cynical Hot Babe? That indeed, Someone Somewhere is made for you… Love will Find a way… And love indeed conquers all! And these are not clichés, but what people like to think of as clichés. Especially when they’re trying to be uber-logical, really intelligent, highly erudite and all that. They will never be caught dead admitting how much a cheesy, sentimental love story warms our hearts. But even a hundred years from now, people will still be buying red roses, singing mushy songs, holding hands watching mushy movies, exchanging lovey-dovey looks while hearing “their song” and celebrating Valentine’s Day. For, in real life, relationships don’t particularly follow any pattern, logic, or heed warnings. We are so often ruled by our hearts, often we land up in trouble, but then we also recover quickly and move on.
Just like That Woman had done after Mr. Velcro was finally out of her life and into oblivion. She’d moved to Bombay. In retrospect, she realized that Cynical Hot Babe had found The Love of Her Life in Funny Intelligent Guy, on Day 2.
Of course, That Woman didn’t know it back then when she had written this post, lamenting about her woes while wishin’ and hopin’ that they’d find a cozy, fully furnished, sea-facing apartment fitting their budget.
And voila! A year down the line, they did. Among other things, the proverb, “Be careful about what you want, ‘cos you might just get it!” finally started making a bit of sense too. And yes, now she also knows why they say it’s meant to be scary. In life, as in films, things often fall in place with a neat precision that totally warms the cockles of our heart. Sometimes it takes a year, sometimes longer, sometimes on Day 2! There isn’t any ONE full circle that gets completed. Life comprises a whole bunch of concentric circles and each representing every little hope, dream and ambition we have for ourselves. And coming full circle also means Happy Endings. For Cynical Hot Babe, finding a soulmate was easier than finding a perfect house. For That Woman, finding the perfect house had taken a year. And finding a Soulmate would probably take ten. Considering that the most important thing in a Soulmate is Soul, there was no one yet who seemed to possess one in any way, shape or form.
But then, she was too busy preening about the new apartment and clucking gleefully and satisfactorily like Mother Hen at the Full Circles her best friends’ lives had come to.
Maybe, if she detailed the story a bit, highlighted the dramatic points, made Smart French Girl’s phone call and the flight back a bit melodramatic, interesting supporting characters (like herself) and of course a few rocking songs, it would be a wholesome mushy film script with the perfect Happy Ending. The kind that would have repeat-watch value, will make tonnes of money and have loser journalists and jobless ‘intellectuals’ nitpicking for weeks on end about how clichéd it all is and… Hang on, wasn’t she supposed to be on a holiday? When thoughts of work shall not be entertained.
She looked out of her window to see this glorious evening in Delhi when the light turns golden at around six-thirty, and the way it glitters on certain leaves and windows, making the reddish sandstone walls glow with gold dust. It throws everything else into deep shadow, makes your throat catch and you think, from now on, I’m not going to be ordinary or do ordinary things.
There is magic in my life!
P.S. Sometime in July, this blog completed a year. And since I forgot to do a “Happy Birthday, Blog” type post, I’m making up for it by gifting it a whole new look. Thanks to Megha, the cool rockstar chica!