Have you ever looked into the eyes of a sailor, fresh at sea, when he finds out that a storm is coming? There’s fear, excitement, confusion, but above all, the belief he will take home a story worth telling. You were that storm; I was the sailor.
You know, life really isn’t that promising when you prefer spinning a cocoon around yourself to having conversations with people. You reign over your kingdom of solitude, where you don’t have to hide yourself or prove your worth; you aren’t intimidated by the protocols of society or its nosy attitude. I thought I was happy with where my life was headed, till you walked in, with your all your sunshine, into my dull, cloudy day.
3 Months ago:
“Since it’s your first session, you’ll be performing dissections in pairs. Make sure you have your partners ready before you get to the lab,” the professor said before she left.
I knew for a fact, dissections are disgusting; but having to do it with a stranger definitely escalated my problems to a whole new level. I tried to look around to make sure everyone had their partners, so I could quietly be done with anatomy lab all by myself. That was when you knocked the doors to my heart.
“Looking for a partner?” you asked from behind. I looked back, to catch you smiling. That smile was something I was going to remember, for a very long time. Looking at that innocent face, it would have felt like a sin, had I denied your offer. For the first time in my life, I trusted my instinct more than my mind, and managed to smile back.
“Cool, I’m Sameera, from Bangalore. And you are?”
Oh, no. This is going to be bad, I thought.
“I’m Karthik, from Bangalore as well. Nice to meet you.” I wouldn’t let my thoughts stop me from being nice to strangers.
“Oh my God! What are the chances? Two random strangers meet at the UCMS, and they both are from the same city. And now we’re lab partners. This is brilliant.”
Oh boy, this story was not about to go down the way it should have. I knew I’d be in trouble soon enough.
I’ll tell you why. The first time I looked at you, I wanted to talk to you. If time would stand still while you listened to me speak, I would spend every last bit of all the energy I had speaking to you. A few moments ago, I knew absolutely nothing about you, not even your name, and yet, something told me I could trust you, with my eyes closed. And if a mere smile could do that to me, I could only imagine what could come of getting to know you.
2 Months ago:
“So, do we meet at 8 tonight for dinner?” your text came in.
Well, excited as I was, socializing wasn’t exactly my turf. “I was thinking of ordering something in. Thanks though,” I replied, with one of those monkey emoticons.
“I was confirming the time. Not if you’re up for hanging out. See you at 8.”
Since I did not have another option, I promptly walked down the hostel gate before you’d start yelling from outside the building.
“Karthik, do you mind if I call my roommate from your phone? This damned phone has some weird battery issues.” I handed you the phone before you finished your sentence. It was too soon to be too quick, and I cursed myself for that. Anyway, it probably skipped your mind while you were focused on buying dinner for your roommate.
“Hey, how boring are you? You’ve stored my contact as ‘Sameera’. I mean, who even does that? Here, I’ve renamed it as Sam.”
To be honest, I hated it when people even touched my personal belongings. Somehow, it felt right when you did, as though you had the rights to, like you owned me. It made me wonder if this was reality indeed. I could never understand what kept us together, for you were everything that I wasn’t. I was cold and irritable, you were warm and cosy. You were the fun-loving shade to my anti-social self, the talkative to my quiet, the morning tea to my midnight coffee, the rock music to my poignant melody, the chaos to my order. You were the reason I learnt to embrace the chaos within.
15 Days ago:
“Hey, what’s wrong?” She didn’t have to say it out loud for me to know.
“I don’t need your sympathy. I like to deal with my issues on my own,” you said, wiping your tears, as I sat down next to you.
“It really helps when there’s someone you can share it with; someone who can empathize with you. You’ve taught me that. I’m not going anywhere else till you feel better. People like me are great at being quiet, if that’s what you need.”
Neither of us spoke a word after that. But as you intertwined your fingers with mine, it was the deepest conversation I had had in a while. Thinking of it, I realized, in the little more than two months I met you, I’d grown to know the side of you most people in your circles barely do. Sometimes, I would think I was privileged to see this quiet, deep, yet intense side of yours. At other times, it felt as though you were a mirror, only reflecting the emotion of the person trying to read into you. Somehow, taking the journey with you this far, a pure gut feeling told me there was more to you than that met the eye, and I was glad you had picked me to reveal yourself. And no matter what happened next, your name would be there on a lot of pages in my life, and the very thought was enough to give me the peace I needed.
“Happy birthday, Karthik!” you wished me, with a warm embrace.
“Thanks, Sam,” I muttered, trying to get as uncomfortable as I could.
“So, what do you want for your birthday? Whatever you ask for, it’ll be done,” you said, albeit mischievously.
I only want you, I thought. “I’ll think about it and let you know.”
“Are you an idiot?” Surbhi literally shouted over the phone, a while later.
“Calm down. It’s not like I’m an expert at such stuff. It’s possible she’s just being friendly with me. And you’re making me over-think it. So, I’ll get on with my life if you stop trying to set me up.” My best friend honestly does over-think everything.
“So it’s my fault now? You’re such a guy. I’m not going to force you, but trust me on this one. Or just listen to your heart for once.”
And it was in a burst of that impulse that I texted you. “Can we meet tomorrow? 38 Barracks at 1900.”
“You’re on.” The reply came.
“I’ve wanted to tell you something for a while now.” I sent another text, trying to clear the air. If things were meant to go wrong, it might as well happen now.
“It’s funny how I just literally typed out the same thing. xD” Your reply threw me into a frenzy of thoughts. You have no idea how difficult it was to survive the remainder of that day.
It is going to be so, so awkward. I should probably just go back to my room, and tell her I’m sick, I thought.
Sure, be the guy who stood Sam up in a ridiculously posh restaurant. My head would have exploded, if you hadn’t walked in just then.
All it took was one glance, and your eyes worked its magic. Your eyes opened up my heart in ways I didn’t even know was possible. I was thankful to the universe, for every event in the great cosmos had conspired in unison to lead our lives up to this moment. It was a long while before I broke out of your trance. By that time, you were standing in front of me, looking as beautiful as you could ever be.
You reached out to my neck. As I shuddered, you laughed, shook your head and set my collar straight. “What doofus wears a spotless white shirt and doesn’t fold the collar right?” You went back and took your seat as I smiled sheepishly.
“So, how do we go about this?” you ask.
“How do we go about what?” I’d never been this tensed in my whole life.
“You wanted to tell me something, right?”
“Yes. So…” I stammer.
“So, where do we begin?”
To read the parallel from a female Point Of View, do read:
by Manasi Shanbhag.