The man I am married to is not my first love. He is nothing like me, nothing like the “Rahul” Shah Rukh Khan had made me fall for so desperately, nothing like …
I fell in love for the first time when I was a teenager. Well, at least it looked like ‘love’ back then. It wasn’t. It was one of those crushes that dwindle out of memory just as soon as they get out of sight.
I got into a “relationship” – the serious kind – in my mid-20s. Turned out to be a violent one, left me emotionally drained, physically broken. The left arm I fractured after his vehement push, still hurts in chilly winters.
I had turned averse to relationships post that. Never wanted one, never hoped for one. Good books, cinema, the corporate race, and politics kept me occupied.
I was getting myself checked-in, he was standing right behind me. Unkempt hair, dirty but sturdy shoes, and untucked shirt. Oh! How I detest men who don’t tuck their shirts in!
After the security check, I saw him again, wandering, looking around, lost. And then his eyes settled on me, and, not sure why, found an air of familiarity in me.
“Hi, I was standing behind you at the check-in line. Could you show me the way to gate number 21A, please? Its my first time at this airport.”
‘At an airport full of attendants, you want me to show you the way to your gate. Next time look for a better excuse.’ I didn’t say, I just thought to myself. Feigning politeness, I asked him to come along. I was scheduled for the very next gate.
My flight was delayed for 2 hours, his for over 90 minutes. Turbulent skies. We were seated beside each other. I took out a novel, he dived into his smart phone. We talked casually at intervals, nothing special. Nothing worth the memory, but we still we ended up exchanging numbers (Disclaimer: Sharing number with strangers is not the best practice though)
“Landed” his text popped up just as the flight hit the runway at Netaji Subhash Chandra International airport.
“Yep, long back.”
Then it occurred to me, I hadn’t even asked where he was flying to. Yes, I am that self-centered. Not a good quality to have. He had landed in Swami Vivekananda Airport, Raipur.
People have so much to share about their initial conversations, their first texts. But there is not a single outstanding moment or a “moment of epiphany” in our relationship. We would talk about useless things.
I hailed from one of those Bengali Brahmin families that like to believe they form the “intellectual lot” of the society. He had a rowdy business background of North India. I had a library at home, he wouldn’t care to lift a book to save his life. We realized we are poles apart. We realized we have nothing in common. And then, one fine morning, we realized, we would make a great couple together.
He doesn’t play the violin, doesn’t dance, has no love for poetry or literature. He can be bestowed with the title of the most unromantic man on earth. An anti-climax to all my Shah Rukh Khan’ian fantasies. A delightful start to lifelong realities. He is not the man of my dreams. He is my truth. And a beautiful one indeed. The one, I am convinced, was chosen by destiny for me. And the universe brought him to me through postponed fights caught in turbulent skies.
We plan life in great details, forgetting there is only so much about our destinies that we have control on. When I look back, I thank the heavens for not answering my prayers of early romances, instead, sending me the one they knew was best for me: a pilot who took charge of my flight caught in turbulent skies, and brought it to a safe landing.