A couple of years back, I had a roommate who shared many interests with me. I loved spending time with her. She was unlike anything I've ever seen. She was smart, intelligent and caring.
We were inseparable. We went out to movies, cooked our favorite cuisines, danced on stupid songs. We did everything together!
In the evenings, I waited on her with the patience of a toddler. She would call me as soon as she had left her office, and I happily ditched my laptop and ran to the kitchen, to make us some pasta & coffee. (we were a bunch of unhealthy people!)
We took our plate, coffee mugs and yoga mat to the terrace, and there, under a starlit sky, we happily grazed on our dinner. While she loved the creaminess of a cheesy-white pasta, I was more of a tangy person who enjoyed everything in red sauce. But since we always ate from the same plate, she carried a mozzarella bar to the terrace, and shredded a little of it on every spoon-full.
On certain days, she ordered a bottle of red wine. She would stick her nose deep into the glass, close her eyes and breathe in the flavors. She drank it real slowly, appreciating every sip like it was an elixir of immortality. I would stick to the usual coffee or coca-cola. Once the bottles were opened, and the drinks poured, we lost ourselves in long conversations about food, politics and books.
She looked prettier with some wine in her. Occasionally, between a few laughs, her eyes got so glittery that I had problem differentiating them from the stars. She and I shared a mutual love for Murakami.
One night, she came into my room and handed me "Norwegian Wood" by the famous Japanese author. In the dim light of my lamp, she looked both sad and frightened. When I asked what's the matter with her, she sighed, "I find the story about this young protagonist quite hollow & depressing, and a part of this book, the HOLLOWNESS to be precise, seems like my very own."
I pushed my hands deeper into the pockets of my jeans in search of an answer but when I couldn't find anything there except a few old candies & chewing gums, I promised her, " I will stay up all night and finish this book so we can have a little talk tomorrow." And, I did.
However, in the morning, we couldn't discuss Murakami as she had had a big fight with her Boyfriend. Sorry, I forgot to tell you about this guy whom she had been dating for the last 7 years. He used to live nearby, was an engineer by profession, and visited our house on weekends and on certain special occasions.
He seemed like a really nice fellow. Things looked great between them, and therefore, when I saw her ranting about the big stuff- hollowness, loneliness and boredom- I couldn't stop myself from asking, "Hey, what is wrong?"
"His presence doesn't matter to me. It doesn't spark any passion within me. How do I say it! Well….umm…. I guess, he isn't enough for me. I am not saying he isn't sweet. Or, he doesn't do anything to keep me happy. He in facts has a sweet hidden feminine side that is quite adorable. Sometimes, he even makes me breakfast. But…but anyone can make you a cup of tea. What is the big deal in it! One doesn't have to put much efforts into making tea. I am looking for a partner who would do more than that! Someone who can hold a great conversation, knows about stars & galaxies and is hell funny ."
I realized, she was looking for someone who would do more substantial things than cook a meal, get drunk and make love. I was amazed to hear her out. At that moment it hit me that she probably believed love to be something much better, bigger and grander than a cup of tea.
She believed that love cannot be found on a plate decorated with warm food by an ordinary looking man who wears knickers and shirts. It is to be found on a far off island, in the arms of an exotic man with whom you share an instant chemistry.
But hey diary, I don't think that is right. Because there is none lovelier than the person who wakes up early morning to fix you some tea & sandwiches. The problem is that we are so starstruck with Hollywood movies and their big wild gestures that nothing, no amount of effort, is ever enough for us.
Love isn't chasing a woman in the name of obsession or celebrating Valentine's day once a year in an expensive restaurant, or saying I love you every moment of every day.
It is the little things we do with love without asking why. It is the way we close our eyes at night and wonder what more we can do for our loved ones to make their lives safer and more comfortable.
It is the extra spoon of sugar I add to my mother's tea because I know she likes her tea extra sweet. SIGH!