This article is a work of fiction inspired by some real life events :-)
20 years ago
Dressed in a glittering pink, chiffon sari with red lipstick smearing out of my lips, clunking bangles, and a big golden bindi, too large for my tiny forehead, I carefully placed the pallu on my head, partially covering my face and pouted at my reflection in the mirror.
“My doll is looking like a dulhan (bride)”, said my beaming grandmother. “One day a prince will come and sweep you off your feet”.
I blushed. The prince, or the knight in shining armour as some may call it. I had a picture of “My guy” in my head ever since that time. He was drop dead gorgeous, tall, broad, strong, brave, heroic and romantic. The kind of man fairytales are made of…
or Hollywood heroes…
Or Greek Gods…
I met him at a common friend’s party. I know it sounds like a cliché. He was just a random, unnoticeable stranger who was too shy to talk to me. There was nothing striking about his personality. He had average written all over him. He introduced himself but I forgot his name (Kunal).
I did not date average guys…
He was short. Nothing interesting about his facial features. He had a job that he was passionate about. He loved reading and traveling. He liked to go for trekking, was apparently very fit and was off to some place somewhere in some mountains that coming weekend. I was too bored as he tried to tell me more about himself. Numbers were exchanged, much to his joy and my reluctance.
Over the next few months, I met him along with other friends, regularly at movies, clubs, picnics and other hang outs. I preferred to be with the cuter guys. The ones who could charm me with their flattering words. The ones who were trying to impress me. The ones who may not be sincere in their feelings. But were experienced enough to project otherwise…
Kunal and I stayed in touch and developed a rapport. He was never too sweet, but stable and consistent. Not impressive, but always genuine. For he was not playing a game to woo me. He was just being himself. He did not have anything that men expect women to fall for – good looks, money, power… But he had one thing that nobody else I had ever met had – the intent and ability to keep me happy with utmost honesty.
Kunal defied the fundamentals of love as I knew it (or thought I knew). He challenged the notions every romantic movie / novel (that were an integral part of my growing up years) had imbibed in me. There was no attraction at first. I felt nothing when he looked at me (initially). I don’t even recollect the first sight, love at first sight is out of question. There were no sparks and no sleepless nights.
It was a friendship that developed and blossomed, true and real. His sense of responsibility and maturity taught me that love is not about the quest for the perfect person. Maybe it is about recognizing the right person and cherishing them forever.
As I complete my third anniversary with Kunal, here is what I want to tell the world about the man who I proudly show off to the world as my partner.
He respects me for who I am. And does not want me to be somebody else.
He does not judge me for my past. He salutes me for having triumphed despite it.
He is not jealous of the other men who I could be with. He knows that it is him who I have chosen.
As much as he has encouraged me to have my independence, he has never stopped protecting me. Being taken care of by the man I love has not made me any less of a feminist. And being sensitive to a woman who has a mind of her own has not made him any less of a man. He is a secure man.
Maybe love is not always about getting swept off our feet. Sometimes, it is about having somebody who knows how to keep our feet on the ground and yet make life worthwhile with what we have while we chase our dreams. Together we soar, and celebrate being in love, each day, as it comes.
Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.