It’s hard not to believe in Love at first sight! We have an entire film-industry that relentlessly pushes that idea down our throat! I was one of those however who didn’t quite buy into that whole notion of “falling in love”.
My only significant relationship till that point was with a woman, and there was no “falling” involved there! It was a conscious decision taken by 2 adults who collectively decided we could make a life together. Shared ideas, shared career goals, common interests (for the most part) – that was the idea! And it took us over a year of numerous “dates” over icecream and Cheese Omelettes at Vohuman’s to get to that stage! So “first sight” wala Love was just another stupid concept that Yash Chopra peddled in his silly movies! Until that is, insanity hit me like a bolt of Lightning!
July 30, 2011 – that was the day my life changed for ever! The day began with an old friend calling up to pester me to join him for a road-trip. It ended with me sitting sleeplessly outside a tent beside a river, wondering why a stranger I just met a couple of hours back was occupying so much mind-space! In life we often come to a crossroad where we need to make a choice and our choice determines the course of our life from that point onwards! Who knew, that innocuous choice of saying yes to a road-trip would have such a profound impact? I sometimes wish life had a rewind button, so I could go back to that moment and take a different course! I wish that morning, I had switched off the phone and gone back to sleep! Sadly, that’s not how life works! Que Sera Sera!
My hag in Bangalore, an annoying Tam-Bram with a talent for sarccy commentary, was the first to use the “L” word a week later. “Aiyyo! Is my Big Mo in Love?!” she asked! How I wish she hadn’t! Because perhaps it wasn’t! Perhaps other friends were right when they called it infatuation! Yeah! Perhaps that what it was! Perhaps Javed Akhtar is right – its only LOVE when it runs both ways, otherwise its “just” infatuation!
Whatever it was, I let my emotions get the better of me! What followed was 3 frustrating years where an endless cycle of false-hope and despair sucked me into a whirlpool. The more time I spent with him, the more time I wanted to spend with him! Four out of Five thoughts I had would be about him – and no, not sexual – that would come much later! Perhaps there always was an emotional intimacy void which he had filled and now I was hooked! I was seeing things that didn’t exist and was making decisions based on that! I was cancelling important business meetings if it meant missing a movie with him! I was choosing a house to rent based on improving the chances of meeting him everyday! At one point I thought introducing sex into the friendship would help direct the relationship to where I wanted it! Ofcourse it didn’t! If anything it made the closure that much more difficult! It was like the whole rational thought process had taken a holiday!
My professional career was in a mess and I knew I was in trouble! I thought putting a physical distance between us and shifting to a different city will help with recovery. It did, but only to an extent! One evening, he calls me to invite me to his wedding. That was enough to trigger another bout of insanity – I downed 4 pegs and took my jeep out at midnight setting course for the Himalayas – all alone and completely impromptu! I didn’t know where I was headed, i just wanted to get out! Nearly crashed that night on the Highway! The Himalaya’s calmed me for a while- but I was chain smoking ganja and drinking almost throughout – trying to find a way to numb the pain! That perhaps resulted in me coming down with severe Asthma combined with high BP. The local doctor diagnosed “water in the lungs” and rushed me in an ambulance to the Army Hospital. I remember wishing as I was being wheeled in, that it would soon be all over! THAT was perhaps the lowest point!
Its been slightly over a year since then now. Have I recovered? I don’t think its possible to fully recover. The scars will always be there, but I need to make my peace with them! I don’t rule out the possibility of meeting someone tomorrow. But I don’t think I am ever going to be able to allow myself to “fall in love” ever again. Having dropped the ball once, I am paranoid about loosing it again!
Looking back, the most frustrating part of the whole experience is the impact it has had on the one thing that I had going for me – my professional career! Whatever the personal situation was, I was on a career track that was leading somewhere. Confident to the point of being arrogant, it was like the sky was no limit for my ambition! That can-do confidence has been shattered!
I had shifted from Mumbai to Bangalore in 2010 with big plans of setting up a product company and playing the entrepreneur game! And after that, I had even bigger plans! I was on track: setting up an office, building a team! And then this happens! All I wanted after that was to build a cosy home-stay deep in some forest and “settle down”! I was chasing a mirage that didn’t exist! A willing suspension of rational thought, leading to almost inevitable failure with lasting consequences!
That, to me is the most dangerous part of this emotion called “LOVE”! Being attracted or feeling connected to someone is one thing! Liking his/her company is also fine! But never let a person, ANY PERSON, acquire the kind of hold on you that leads to the suspension of rational thought and diverts you from your goal! Have a firm grasp on your emotions, and if you ever feel it slipping, walking away from that situation is probably the best solution!
Being in love is often not enough! Maybe in films, but not so much in real life. Having shared values, shared goals in life is equally if not more important! Which is why falling in love with a man who identifies as straight is a dangerous exercise! The most you can expect out of it is a nice time, but certainly not a relationship! Sit down and set your personal and professional goals independently, and keep one eye on them always!