He picked up his pen. It had been a long time since he had written something worthwhile. Random scribbles were strewn all across the pages of his diary- thoughts that had looked so promising, epiphanies that appeared so beautiful, and words whose order just looked like magic. As he leafed through the pages searching for an empty one, the beautiful idea that had occurred to him kept on growing in his mind. But as his eyes hopped on to a clear white empty page, a strange feeling started seeping into him. What if it didn’t turn out well just like it didn’t during his previous efforts? He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. His pen now felt heavier.
The struggle between the duality in his thoughts was sharp and violent. His thoughts twisted and twirled around each other in the basement of his heart. But soon they had travelled all across from his heart and brain and reached his long, slender fingers that held the pen. His face showed no signs of the tumultuous struggle that his thoughts were undergoing in his fingers. He knew the struggle wouldn’t last long. He had to make a choice soon or all will be lost. He blinked and then involuntarily his fingers stretched and the tip of his pen touched the virgin paper. It felt electric.
The next drop of ink was going to be decisive. It would either start a story or would lead to a continuous random scribble yet again. He blinked again. A new struggle had started in his brain. He blinked yet again. His fingers wobbled to and fro instinctively, as the drops of ink were arranged in definite patterns.
And thus he started weaving a love story- a story that one would fall in love with every time one read it. It would present love in all its beauty, loveliness and more importantly in its truth. But then he knew that it was one of the biggest challenges he had ever faced. The simplest reason being that he didn’t believe in love. For him love was as real as the famed ether in vacuum. He never thought of love, he had to imagine it. He considered all romantic works as works of fantasy and all lovers as delusional people running after a mirage.
And he was facing the challenge boldly as words kept flowing out of his pen one after the other.
“She didn’t notice him when she first saw him. He sat facing her, with a crumpled paper in his hand. There were twenty other students seated around the conference table, waiting for the debate to start. She was confident of her arguments and of herself. She was discussing a point of contention with her team-mate, when she felt the boy sitting in front looking at her. As soon as she looked at him, he turned away to look again at the crumpled paper in his hand. He was clad in a bit dirty white uniform with a puny little maroon tie hanging around his neck. His hair seemed neat and short and his face looked pale and skinny. She looked around the room. She noticed many other boys, dressed neatly in bright uniforms and smiling away proudly. They looked more handsome and more elite than the boy with the crumbled piece of paper. She didn’t give it much thought and started focusing on the debate at hand.”
He scribbled the entire paragraph he had written with a bold stroke. Somehow the development wasn’t what he was trying to weave. He started once again.
“They met in a train. She sat on the window seat looking at the far away hills and villages. He came loaded with heavy luggage that took much time for him to stack them away. But once he had done it and sat down on his seat, he couldn’t help staring at the fair lady sitting in front of her, and didn’t even bother to look at the beautiful river that the train was crossing then and which flickered like a wind in the lady’s eyes.”
He struck the entire paragraph, this time with a bold straight line running across the entire length of it. This wasn’t what he had imagined it to be. He began again.
“But strangers are strangers only when they meet. For before meeting they do not even exist for each other. And thus when she met him, she didn’t even spare a thought for him. And even when he walked up to her, it didn’t seem anything special. But when he spoke to her for the first time, she felt as if she had met him before somewhere. That maybe they had met sometime without realizing that they will ever meet again. That maybe they weren’t strangers after all.”
He did it again. This time he almost copied the previous line and made it run through the entire paragraph. With a strange vivacity flickering in his eyes, he began again.
“Whenever the wind blew, it made a slurry sound that seemed to irritate her. She neatly arranged her hair every now and then behind her ears. But the wind would again tousle them out in the open. As she made her way through the empty streets which bore a famished look in the absence of the sun, she kept calculating her next two hours’ schedule.
And then when she was waiting at the cross-road for the green light to glow, suddenly a rushing car whizzed past her like a hurricane and ruffled her hair. She tucked her hair beneath her ears again and looked up. What she saw first surprised her and then made her tremble. A few feet away from where she stood, red patches and drops were spattered on the road. Her eyes followed the red patches which seemed to grow in rosiness, and stopped at a still body lying on the road with its head all black and red. The car that had windswept her hair had also hit this man.
She ran and stooped towards him. He was unconscious but his heart was beating very faintly. She looked all around her hoping to find a car or maybe even another human being; but found nothing except the pedestrian signal turning green. She looked far away where the road came out from the skies and saw the shape of a car moving steadily towards her. She had some hope. The man had some hope.”
He felt like striking out the paragraph with a deep and black line across it. He thought a bit why he wanted to strike it out. In the momentary mental negotiations his pessimistic side won by a huge margin. A line was soon drawn through the paragraph that was supposed to wash it away to invisibility.
He put his pen down. The muse in him was still sleeping. All was not well. His love story was as difficult as love becoming more than just a fable. He lay back on his rocking chair and closed his eyes thinking why he wasn’t able to make his characters fall in love. Why his characters seemed to be only looking at each other? Why they weren’t making a beautiful move that would give way to a sullen and shining love? Was he forcing his characters too much? Would they ever fall in love? Or was it that he failed to create a perfect ambience? These thoughts and many more clouded his head. Soon he fell into a deep slumber.
It was the rustling of the pages of his diary that woke him up. When he woke up he started looking around frantically. Drops of sweat were visible on his forehead. His eyes were now wide open and looked astounded. He looked all around the room. He then stooped forward and picked up the pages of his diary and started leafing through his notes. He saw the pieces that he had struck out and the paragraphs which he didn’t consider to be good enough. He realized it was one of the strangest dreams that he had ever had. He almost started relapsing into a delusional dream state. He sat back on his rocking chair and closed his eyes again.
His recent dream came back all at once:
“It was snowing all around. The streets would have been utterly lonely but for the two figures that stood shivering in the snowfall in the middle of the road. They stood there holding on to their jackets tightly and their eyes locked in an unbroken embrace.
As the snow kept on piling up in layers on the earth, he spoke in a soft nervous voice,
“When I first saw you I couldn’t resist looking at you; one of the reasons why I couldn’t remember my arguments in that debate. Even though my timid self went back home with an empty heart, I never ever forgot those eyes of yours. And when our paths crossed again in a train, I could not believe my eyes. Of course, we were strangers then. But somehow I felt that someone was trying to forge a bond between us like some invisible cloak. But again I also felt that a strange power was working against us. I often felt that our story could have developed into a beautiful tale. But someone didn’t just want that.
And when I spoke to you for the first time, I again sensed this same stinking spirit hovering around us. Why wouldn’t it let us develop our bond?
But, when you saved my life, the most fateful day of my life became the most momentous one. I knew that our destinies were not just intersecting but rather merging into a beautiful life. And it is with great courage and hope that I ask you- will you mind spending the rest of your life with me?”
A tear came down her eyes. Almost simultaneously a smile lit up her face. And then their lips met in an eternal embrace.”