Staying with the strong woman…
It has been two years since that day and her words still echo in my head….
“Because….because I am scared. You scare me. I am happy when I am with you. And I am scared to be happy, because once you’re happy it can be taken away from you….”
Scared of being happy?
Oh! It hurt me so….
She had been this way for so long that she was scared of being happy….
I had to change this. And I would!
It took hours of consoling and convincing. I had to make her believe that she deserved to be happy. That she had only two options; either be scared or live. She needed to LIVE.
And finally, she said, I love you!
It was the best day of my life. She confessed her love for me that day! I was on seventh heaven. I was euphoric to an extent that I didn’t even know what to do and what not. Everything felt perfect. If this world was my kingdom, I wanted her to be the Queen and rule on my behalf.
I belonged to Bollywood and so it felt like I’d finally reached my happy ending. What I didn’t know was reality was far away from our fairy tales. Falling in love is the easy part, keeping the relationship alive is the real challenge. And I had chosen to fall for someone who wasn’t very normal.
There were times I didn’t know where I stood in her life. She meant so much to me. I couldn’t spend a day without meeting her or talking to her. I needed her advice in everything. I needed her opinion and aprroval even before I decided to have a haircut.
And did this not happen between all lovers? The girl was the boss in all these things and the guy protected her and took her out on dates.
However, in our case nothing like that happened. She needed no protection. I knew and accepted that. I was rather proud too. But that didn’t mean she needed to fight alone. When it came to taking care of her family, she considered it to be only her responsibility. When it came to dates forget paying the bills; she could not let me even hold the doors and pull chairs for her. She would always try to outrun me so that I didn’t get the chance to. I wanted to make her feel special, but she would say,
“Don’t make me feel special in things that hold no significance. Chivalry is the last thing I want from you!”
I didn’t know that over these years, she had developed these negative ideas about men in general that now even though she trusted me, she couldn’t let me do anything for her. Yes, I agree she had learned to be so independent the hard way with men everywhere to put her down. Yes, I agree she had faced this gender bias to an extent that she loathed chauvinism. But that did not mean I wouldn’t get hurt everytime she kept me out of her little troubles!
Could someone please tell her, I am not her father. I am not one of the men who wanted to rape her. I am not one of the men of who thought she was weak. I am not one of the men who paid her less because she was a woman. I am not a man who wanted her to fight her way all alone!
I am here to love her. I am here to share everything. I am not here only for the good times. I am here to kiss her scars. Her life is like a garland of paper flowers, beautiful from a distance but unreal when you get closer. I am here to scent her life; not replace it with perishable flowers….
“This is exactly what breaks me. You never give up. Whether it is about being a friend, or it is about loving me. I always test your patience and you always stay. It breaks me, overwhelms me. You literally testify that I could walk forever without a word, without a promise and you would walk along. How do I stay away from such love? Tell me, how?”
She had told me this. But I need to tell her that I am tried of not giving up. I am tired of being patient. Nothing has changed. She welcomes me wholeheartedly when everything is right, but won’t even share her huge problems. I need her to trust me completely. I am tired of having her parts, I want the whole of her now. I want us to be more than we are. I want a commitment. A promise at least. My unconditional love has a limit and it has been reached.
Today, I think I am going to do that.
One thing I’ve to appreciate about her and that is she is always on time. We both never made each other wait. As she entered the restaurant, I looked at her face and knew something was up. Confronting her was put aside. She looked worried.
“What happened?” I asked as she took her seat.
She just shook her head.
“What?” I asked again.
She just shook her head and changed the subject.
All the confrontation was coming back.
I still didn’t say anything. She looked worried and did not need me to fight with her right now. Maybe she could do with some jokes and a change of mood.
We were chit chatting when her phone began to ring. I am not really a prying head but I just happened to see who was calling.
The caller ID said. Why was she talking to an inspector?
As she kept the phone she looked relieved to some extent.
“Why was an inspector calling you?” I could refrain no longer.
She sighed. But spoke.
“My father has been calling my mother since a week and threatening her. Now, she has faced a lot so she actually got pretty scared. And so I lodged a police complaint. Now they finally traced his location and are going to take action.”
“And you didn’t think it was important for me to know this?”
“I didn’t want to bother you, Sameer!”
I’d had enough of this. I stood up, placed some money on the table and walked off.
“What is wrong?”
I stopped in my tracks as I heard that question.
“You have the audacity to ask me what is wrong? Don’t you know? Why am I even in your life, Kaira? You don’t even want to “bother” me with such a big issue. If you’re going to handle everything on your own then why are we even together? Tell me! And its not only this. Its your entire attitude towards this relationship. Have you ever expressed how much I mean to you? Or do I really mean anything to you? Yes, I promised an unconditional love. But I didn’t know at that time that the condition would be to love you conveniently during your good days and enjoying my own life when you’ll have a bad day! Last time I was sick you came over to look after me. But when you’re sick, you don’t even skip work, forget letting me know about it! You don’t even let me take care of you. Am I asking a lot? Its been two years and I still have no idea where do I stand in your life!”
And then, I walked away.
I didn’t wait for her to explain. I didn’t even wait to look at her face. For if I had, I didn’t know what I would have done.
She didn’t call me for hours.
I waited like a fool. Looking at my phone every five minutes.
When it finally rang, I was so angry that I didn’t pick up.
Once. Twice. Thrice.
Ten. Twenty. Thirty missed calls.
Yes! I WAS THIS ANGRY.
And then one message got me. It was from her colleague. It said she had fainted on the sets.
I rushed. I rushed like my tail was on fire.
I loved her, still. Unconditionally!
When I reached the sets she was currently working on. I could find no one. And then, I saw her. Hale and hearty.
“I knew you would come,” she said.
This was it. What was she doing? Using my love for her to make everything fine? This was not going to work!
I didn’t say a word and turned.
The lights went out.
I froze where I was.
And then, I heard my name.
No, not from behind where she stood. But from everywhere in that dance hall. My name on the microphone with beats in the back ground.
I turned as the spot light pointed on the stage.
I realised it was the same set I’d met her for the first time. The same stage when I’d seen her dancing and fallen for her.
It was as if life had completed one full circle.
I stood there, waiting.
The sound system echoed.
Beats and words. Words that she had recorded.
And then, she danced on the plain words that came out of her mouth. She danced for me, for us.
Of course, it was the only way she expressed!
“Sameer,” the room echoed, ” I am sorry. I am sorry that I failed. Not to love but to make you feel loved.
I am sorry that I didn’t share. That I didn’t let you care.
I am sorry that I waited. Waited for you to hurt me and go. How could someone like you love someone like, me, I didn’t know?
I kept telling myself, I shouldn’t hold my hopes too high. Because, when I had learned to handle everything on my own, infinite times I had to try.
I told myself, I shouldn’t let my heart undo my patterns. Because I’ll have to do it again when the worst happens.
Yes, I am sorry I was waiting for you to go. Even though deep down you won’t I did know!
I am sorry, I didn’t tell you that I liked you even before we met! I was bewildered to have you when I hadn’t even imagined a famous star like you I could get….
I am sorry I didn’t tell you that it touched me when you followed my cab just to make sure I was safe even when I had screamed at you so bad!
I am sorry that I didn’t tell you that your jokes made me smile at night when I was sad.
I am sorry that I didn’t express that I was highly insecure whenever you were surrounded by women.
I am sorry that I went on that Spain trip alone when coming along was your clear intention.
I am sorry I didn’t let go off my past and make you my future.
I am sorry for every time I didn’t express my love for you with words and gestures.
I am sorry I didn’t even do a thing as simple as making a promise.
I am sorry that I built a wall around me and didn’t allow you to climb the fortress.
But now, if you let me, now, if you don’t go, I promise to try and do everything I didn’t.
Because, I love you!
Please stay, Sameer.
I was frozen. I couldn’t guess the dance form if it was contemporary or lyrical. I was too dazed to think about THAT. What did I just see? Kaira Sharma expressing herself!! How could I not melt? How could I go? How could I not run up to her and engulf her in my arms? She had taken my breath away. Ironically, she was my ventilator too.
She was a strong woman. Not because she wasn’t weak anywhere. But because she had the strength to accept her weaknesses, her faults, her flaws and work on them. Nobody is perfect. Not her, not me! We are all learning, we are all growing.
Kaira kept her promise. She did try. Its been two more years since then and a lot has changed.
She still runs away quickly before I can open the car door for her. She would pull the chair for me if I do that for her. She still travels alone at least once a year. She still gets suspicious and insecure and instead of confronting me assumes that she is no longer important to me and she should stay clear. It still hurts at times. I start feeling that all my efforts are in vain and she would never care enough.
But she does care. She tries to push her limits for me. She likes to do little things that could be counted as romantic. Its her effort that melts me down and I forget all the hurt. She has also come to realise that she doesn’t have to do everything alone. Now that I am there, and would always be; her troubles can be divided, her smiles multiplied!
Being with her is not easy. Being with her is not simple. But being without her….its impossible!