Thursday, November 11, 2010


It’s a bit like walking a high tight-rope. In the beginning, you fear you might fall. You take shaky first steps…your whole being taut like the rope, trembling with excitement and fear…fear of failing and falling… of hurting. But you want to get to the other end so much that you keep taking the next step. It’s scary, but such a thrill. Then somewhere between now and the end of the rope you realise that the path is too difficult, too long.

You want to go back…you stop, and as you do, the rope quakes and rebels under your feet…you look back and realise you’ve come too far…there would be no looking back now. So, you take the next step forward. It is then that the body and the rope begin to find a rhythm on their own. You relax, trusting your feet and the rope, a little more and before you know it, you are walking without fear…your eyes leave your feet, secure in the knowledge that the rope would be there and your feet will find it. For the first time, you take a full breath and realise that the air is sweeter up here, the view prettier…prettier than you’d ever imagined it’d be when you first started walking…that’s what it’s like to find love and keep it. Like walking a tight rope…

You keep walking. It’s so easy now…you could do it with your eyes closed, on one leg or hand, but what you always need to remember is that it isn’t the path that became easier…it was you who got better and better and better. The day you stop getting better, the tightrope will get shorter. And the day you become careless, or put too much dead weight on that rope, or worse, try to cling and clench in fear, you could still fall…the rope could break yet, and you’d fall hard… and you could get very hurt. Now isn’t that what love is like…

I found that out in the very nick of time….

Many years ago, I used to know this girl. She would catch the sunbeams in her hair and the starlight in her eyes – a bubbling fountain of happiness that I knew just had to be mine. But she was such a goddess, and I a mere slave to her charms that I saw no reason why she would deign to be with me. And yet, time and fate played hands so kind that there she was, sitting next to me, to my sins and station, she was in love and blind. The stars, yes the ones in her eyes, they were kind, and I for a while couldn’t believe that the love of my life was indeed a part of my life. Life was a rainbow until I walked into a cloud of green.

I knew myself not to be worthy of her goodness and so was afraid that she’d see through me one day, and know that I wasn’t good enough for her, that there were many far more worthy of her love. So what did I do? I began to fear the truth and tried to hide it from her. But how could I hide it from myself? Every time she spoke to some one, I feared that she’d find him better, more fun, more interesting, more capable. I couldn’t keep others from meeting her, so, I tried to keep her from meeting them. In the beginning I tried subtle manipulations, but when that didn’t work, my frustrations would go off like a spark and light up my fears… I’d explode in anger, with accusations, and lament my unfulfilled expectations. I criticised her laughter and told her the ‘truths’ about men. But if she were to laugh again, it would scald my soul, making me spew smoke and venom. I’m ashamed of the man I had become…

Shocked to see that gentle creature she’d learnt to love transform into an ogre of jealous rage, she’d go quiet. I knew she was confused and dismayed by what she’d seen and heard. And with each passing occasion, her confusion would grow, sad and then bitter…

I loved her, and yet for that love I’d make her cry, until one day I stopped myself in the middle of another diatribe, and asked myself, what was I doing? More importantly, what was she doing with a selfish fool like me? She ought to walk out on me and my insecurities right now. And if she hasn’t, she soon will…hell, I’ll make her if she doesn’t. Darn, what could I do?

Well, I can’t build Rapunzel an ivory tower and keep her away from all who seek her, but I could be her prince, the one she chose above all others. Why, I was that prince until I got too jealous to notice. And if I think she’s too good for me…that there were others who were smarter, wittier and ‘better’, the only way for me was to better myself. To try and be smarter, wittier, more poetic, more romantic than any man, or woman, she could ever hope to meet. And from that day to this, I’ve been trying, (and trust me, that’s all it takes: just try). Ever since, this tight-rope walk has been the most beautiful walk of my life.

We’ve been married for twelve years now, and fifteen since that day, but there hasn’t been a moment again that I ever stumbled into that green cloud again. I’ve become a better man than I ever hoped to be.

“To better oneself for the sake of the other…that’s what love is all about,” I told Samaira. She’d been married to Rohit for a year now, but when I met the couple last week at a friend’s house-warming, something had gone out of their magical chemistry. Samaira spoke to me (and don’t ask me why the girls talk to me, for that’s another humble story). She didn’t understand why Rohit suddenly seemed too busy. “He just comes home and watches TV. Earlier, he’d surprise me with dinner or a movie; we’d hold hands and talk, but now, he’s happier holding a ‘remote’. Before the wedding, he’d walk till the ends of the earth to catch a glimpse of my little finger and now he’s too lazy to walk from the bedroom to the kitchen even if I call him…”

“That’s the problem,” I told her. “The fact that you are in the kitchen (and here’s a little secret about your men, ladies), the fact that you are available. That makes a man lazy and relaxed. Easy to be around, but easy and boring… It’s insecurity that brings out the best, and the worst, in a good man. He needs to worship you, admire you. Sure, you’re his best-friend, but unlike his other friends, you’re also his goddess. If you get down from that pedestal you lose your halo. If he can’t look up to you, he won’t look at you, Samaira.”

It’s this dance, where the man strives to be his best, better than all other suitors, be it the fifth week or decade of love, that keeps him interested in the chase, and in love. “And in this dance, Samaira, for him to keep wanting to be worthy of your love, you’ll have to be worthy of that pedestal. Familiarity ruins romance. You’ve got to keep growing a soul more beautiful than yesterday’s, each passing day. And a new haircut, dress or botox-jab just won’t do it.”

I guess it is this shared evolution and exploration that keeps couples interested, together and in love with each other. It is this dance that makes us and the world better. Maybe old Freud did have a point aft er all. I’m too young, and know too little to preach about love, but if you’ve ever been in my shoes or Samaira’s, perhaps these thoughts would help. So long and keep dancing the good dance…


1 comment:

  1. Hello Sir,

    The following paragraph "We’ve been married for twelve years now, and fifteen since that day, but there hasn’t been a moment again that I ever stumbled into that green cloud again. I’ve become a better man than I ever hoped to be."

    I think it should read : "We’ve been married for FIFTEEN years now, and TWELVE since that day, but there hasn’t been a moment again that I ever stumbled into that green cloud again. I’ve become a better man than I ever hoped to be."


    Shitij Yadav
    UGP 1998-2001