The Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean a thing to me personally and I have never celebrated it. Except for one time when Muthalik and co. were out in arms against the couples in Mangalore who wanted to celebrate the day. My mode of celebration (or protest) was music though (check out the song “Let them sleep“). This year, I take the opportunity to recall all the good and bad memories of my boyhood, teenage and early adulthood crushes and infatuations. These memories, good or bad, have only added value to my life at the end.
The first crush I had was to a girl who used to come for group song practice sessions. I was too shy even to take a straight look at her and would put up a serious-about-music look myself. The group was a mix of senior and junior boys and girls and obviously there would be senior fellows eying on girls who spent too much time on talking than singing and they made jokes to impress the opposite sex. I, being the “good guy” was rather irritated of all these. Then this girl whom I mentioned would take a note of this and would ask the other girls to stop talking and start singing. The “good guy” was impressed that the girl focused on music and took a notice of my feelings. Later on I found out that she has an interest in literature too, which was an added reason to be more impressed. However, it was just a crush and I did not even know how to express it.
In my boyhood, there was another girl who used to come for music competitions in several stages. She was tall, lean, fair, had cropped hair and a very peaceful look on her face. I saw her for a few music competitions and there was something about her that attracted me so much. Perhaps it is how peaceful she looked. Or perhaps it is just that she did not have a giggly girlish thing about her. She did not seem to talk too much. And I did not know anything about her – her name, where she came from or anything. I just observed her with some kind of curiosity from a distance. I would even imagine going out together.
During the teenage, there was this girl from the local neighborhood. I had to help a team for Christmas carol choir practice that year. Though my gang of friends used to take a note of this girl, I never had a chance to interact with her. So there I had my chance with the choir practice. Occasional smiles and gestures were passed to each other and I could see her friend noticing the whole thing. I could see the girls whispering to each other, looking at me and giggling at times. I would do anything to impress her, would go to her house to call her for practice sessions and would make silly jokes when we traveled together for singing competitions. She was beautiful and I remember writing in my old diary at that time that “she looked like an angel in those white robes” when I saw her one day. That was probably the first one-way love affair but I was sure she had something going for me too. Probably, she wanted to hear from me first. But I, being the shy guy I was, blew off that chance.
Then came a pen friend, from a distance. We wrote to each other. I sent her a hand-painted birthday card for her birthday and that really impressed her. The inland letters from her moved way to heart-shaped papers. I would try hard to improve my English writing skills because her language seemed scarily perfect. That was the time I quit college and was working as a gold smith. She would insist me to continue the studies. And one day she gave me her phone number. I was earning very little those days, just about 600 bucks a month, but I spent so much of it on the phone calls. Scariest part was when she spoke English and I had a hard time understanding what she said. Then finally one day I went to her hometown to meet her. There she was! A typical NRI child, not so cute but all so modern. She came with her friend wearing a black T and jeans. I could tell from the shock on her face that she did not expect a short, lean, un-interesting guy who stood before her. Then came the worst moment. She said some of her friends would come along soon and she did not want me to tell them that I am her so-called pen friend. I just had to pretend I’m just a casual friend of her friend. She did not speak a word thereafter. I just sat there, humiliated.
Then came Internet and one chat friend. Again, phone calls and offline meetings. Then the first kiss which went just great. I remember sending her a cheesy message that evening which said “you made me feel like a man”, which was a rip-off from the Celine Dion song “you made me feel like a woman” from the album “Falling into you”. There was a personal record of a phone call that lasted 10 hours one day- from 10 at night to 8 in the morning. Many adventures followed and I enjoyed every bit of it. Everything about that relationship was too perfect to be real and obviously it began to break up. In an year and a half, we realized that we would be better being just friends.
Then there was one, who did brighten up each of my day with her words. A lovely girl. A good soul. A wonderful friend. By that time I had passed the boyish notions about love but was still looking for a soul-mate. I thought this girl would fit my life like a T emotionally but then there were many other things I considered and I realized it would be totally unreasonable. Moreover, I did not want to humiliate her a bit with telling her about what I thought of her. We remain good friends.
This valentine’s day, I remember them all. I thank them for the whole thing because at a time when my life had nothing interesting going on, the thoughts and dreams about them kept me alive. Some of them helped me learn a lesson or two about life too. And if you ask me, I would never regret any part of it.
Today I have a lovely wife who could tell what I am thinking or if my mood is changing by just one look at my face. With her I know that the tiny fights we have would only strengthen our relationship. And just a tight hug would do to ease out any problem between ourselves. To her, I toast on this valentine’s day.
Here is a song I had posted earlier which I think would be perfect for the occasion. Have a good day, everyone. Oh, and about the post title? That’s a Willie Nelson song. You should check it out.