At the onset, let me clarify that though this post might draw reference to Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya (a film I absolutely adore) or Ekk Deewana Tha (I am yet to see it), it is neither a review of either of them nor a comparative analysis between the two. This post is purely about the sour emotion called Love. Well, I am not being cynical because I am single at 25, a week after Valentine’s Day, but this is just a hate note for the overhyped emotion that eventually seems to drive most things around us.
There’s a school of thought that says Love at first sight doesn’t exist, because, if it’s so, it has to be attraction. Well, do a boy and girl really fall in love without attraction? Then, we think that standing in the 21st century, differences cropping out of religion-caste-community et al are archaic. Or they happen only in ignorant communities and khap panchayats. But, the frequent occurrence of the same even in our so-called educated society only defies the thought that we have moved ahead of these trivial differences. In a time, were we envision a global village, the sad reality looms large that we are at times almost as antiquated in our thoughts as the histories we censure.
A few months back, one of my dearest friends called me around 10 in the night, drunk (not an infrequent thing for him) and said, “Bhai, ek movie dekha. Pehle bhi dekha tha. I hated it then. But this time I sat through it. Tu bhi dekh. Tamil movie par subtitled hai.” More often than not, I attach his inebriated banter without much gravity, but this time I heeded. Not because he sounded earnest or anything, but because I trust his taste in art and movies. Three hours of Youtube streaming and teary eyed watching later, I rang him and said, ‘Fuck you man, you should have told me what’s the movie about. It’s about you.’
During our two years of MBA, we might not have shared a room, but our friendship grew with every project that we worked together (which was at least one every week and even included a play, the first and only one till now in the history of IIFT, performed at MICA’s Spotlight). However, we connected even more strongly when we took jobs and settled in different cities. We called and sms-ed frequently, managing to even create ruckus on stupid group chain mails. Standing today, we are not only close friends but deep confidantes. And I have seen him through a heart-break, something that had left me shattered, because I had not only felt his story closely but bore testimony to the sincerity with which he loved her.
It might be tough to believe that Karthik can be so crazily in love with a girl as dichotomous in her mind as Jessie is. But I could connect everytime he said, ‘Why did I fall in love with Jessie, of all girls?’ Everytime, she walked away, I could feel the yearning invigorate within his heart. For my friend, the beginning of love was possibly much simpler. He didn’t have to wait at the gate to catch a glimpse of her. Rather, they met away from prying eyes, in the idyllic setting for romance – a residential engineering college. In his words, she was a pretty damsel who excelled in studies while he was a hopeless wicked guy who found ways to meet her. As I had taunted him, that given the fact he is no Hrithik Roshan, he was lucky enough to woo a pretty girl in an engineering college (since we know that not many of the former exist in such a place). However, things didn’t remain as innocuous when the girl announced that she is betrothed to a guy. She went back home, during the vacation for a formal engagement ceremony but ended up confessing her relation with him and severing the match her parents had arranged. In an orthodox South Indian Muslim family, the revelation was everything but welcome news. Though they couldn’t convince their daughter to get engaged, the news spread to Delhi, where my friend’s family (Tamil Pillai-s) resided. My friend received severe threats from the guy who felt cheated (and rightly so) at being rejected during the engagement. My friend’s father, who was then involved with Delhi Police, got a constable to tow along with him outside the college premises.
As Jessie and Karthik pushed their relation under the carpet, meeting covertly at the DOP’s flat, my friend and his lover also sublimed the effect of the turmoil by maintaining a discreet silence about each other. Things improved as peace was restored for the parents thought their children had kept the murky affair behind and moved ahead – in this case, the boy in his MBA and the girl in her IT job. But peace is as short lived as adolescent infatuation. And distance doesn’t always make the heart grow fonder. With time spent away from each other, fledgling careers in recession struck economy and obvious allusions to get married at her family front, their relation had inconspicuously metamorphosed into a burden, crutched under the enervated arms of love.A few months after he had joined his job at Hyderabad (pretty much as Karthik joined his first AD work in Goa), my friend got a call informing him that she doesn’t want to linger on to this relation. It was not worth trying any further! He left everything to travel overnight from Hyderabad to Chennai only to convince her otherwise. However, she was in no mood to relent. He tried hard to change her mind, but she was too bogged down by her problems at home to carry on further with him.
He left Chennai, literally empty handed, devastated by the loss he had been too puerile to predict. He boarded a wrong train and reached an altogether different city somewhere in Karnataka, when he realised that Hyderabad and Chennai both were far behind. The next day, he returned to his work city and called me to apprise of this event. At first, I was too flabbergasted to even react. For some time, the news just declined to sink in. No, it couldn’t be happening to him. I had seen how much the love meant to him. I had seen the sparkle in his eyes or heard the exulted timbre in his voice everytime we talked about her. To me, his love ending like this was a blow against the very existence of the feeling. If it could happen to him after all this, I might very well marry a stranger and spend my entire life wondering if she were the right woman.
That night, over the course of watching Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya, I felt like getting a voyeuristic recap of my dear friend’s life. I may not have travelled with him in a boat on the backwaters of Kerala, but had integrally linked myself to it. After a not so amicable end to my first relation which lasted for 6 years, a major reason of which was my inclination towards filmmaking, I had redeemed my faith in love by seeing the earnestness in which they maintained their relation. But when things in his life came to a staggering end, I realise Love is indeed a sour emotion.
I am sure we were not the only guys who went through a bad break up. I am sure there have been many a couple who succumbed to multiple forces eating into their hearts. Yet, when he called me around a month back, and said that she had given birth to twins and had even sent him a mail to be friends, I found no reason to console him. On the contrary, I heard myself saying, ‘Tune mail ka reply diya toh taang todh dunga tera.’ And everytime that he now fruitlessly tries to fall in love with an airhostess or a waitress in Israel, I only pray that he musters enough courage to move on, sans the baggage of the previous relation.For a fickle minded rascal like me, it’s much easier to stay happy by himself. For every other guy who gives up everything post a break-up, ‘Dude, get a life! Stop asking yourself “why I fell in love with her” and find someone better.’
Though I had been eager to watch Ek Deewana Tha, a part of me had always been sceptical about seeing Prateik Babbar and a firang resurrect characters that had been so special to me in VTV. Simbu as Karthik brought every nuance of the character alive. And Trisha – well, I had fallen in love with her. The reviews have only reinstated my doubt regarding EDT and now I am even more dubious about watching it. May be, I would just roll over with my laptop and see VTV all over again.
Unfilled streets, dimlit stars
Smileless faces hover
Alone walking am I, and
They know it’s all over
Never did I say no
All I needed was a year
You couldn’t afford that
Left, calling me a liar
Arrogant I, didn’t protest
Should have, couldn’t you suggest?
Borne with guilt will now I remain
Away from you, sunk in pain
Still waiting for your message
Staring at my mail box
But you won’t turn up, I know
Blame me for all that’s lost
Perhaps the new guy is better
Would yield to your whims
Remove my memories, will he?
Won’t be so easy, or so it seems
Boarded a wrong train home
Lost my way again tonight
Weary and hungry, came misty eyed
Dozed away, turning on the light
Selected another caller tune
Ain’t a love song an’more
Changing things that have you
Attempting at leading a life new
Everyone suggests a solution
I haven’t got a clue
They say I should regain myself
But I know, I’m lost with you…
PS: This post might not be the most suitable one for a community where people so enthusiastically talk about movies, but I decided to write it only because a movie happened to be so close to my life. As far as the poem is concerned, though I ain’t a great poet, I decided to write it for my friend.