Since I have been a child, I have always imagined people to be pieces of a gigantic jigsaw puzzle.
Okay, that’s a steaming pile of rubbish. Scrap that.
Since I began watching Hollywood romantic comedy, naked men and women in bed from a very early age (albeit accidentally,) my mind was filled with quixotic notions of relationships from the time I could not even spell, penis.
[Now that I have grown up, I like to think of Enid Blyton as a visionary. She had in mind something far perverted, far advanced for its time, when she decided to pen down the Famous Five. I mean, the younger brother is a Dick, and George, short for Georgina, is a girl who hates to acknowledge her feminine identity, and may just be borderline lesbian. My childhood lies in tatters.]
As such, I could not fathom why I was turned out of the entertainment room (that had a grand piano, and an old television, and no stripper pole, sadly) of the officer’s club in our sleepy, lethargic town – when all I was watching was two young people take a shower in the middle of a cold, dark night (Joshua Tree). Eventually, word spread that the prodigious son of a certain Mr Ghosh, had been watching adult content in the gentlemen’s club and was beyond saving. Or why my mother had thrown me out of the room, in front of my smug cousins, when all that was happening was Shah Rukh lay ensconced with Rani Mukherjee under a blanket (Chalte Chalte.) I think my curiosity was driven more by my eagerness to find out why my parents reacted the way that they did, when they did, than what was actually happening on screen.
As such, I grew up having a ludicrously fancy notion of how people eventually found each other and lived happily ever after. Of course I later realised that, it was more a case of ill-fitting pieces hurriedly forcing each other’s protrusions into each other’s cavities, until a very comical, unnatural image of the world was created. Of course, these pieces kept on realigning themselves until they somehow managed to find a better fit and render a somewhat acceptable image of the world, in their eyes. So yes, it is not an immaculate image at the end of massive soul searching – in fact, left to themselves, it is akin to an asymmetrical, unacceptable solution, rapidly put together by an impossibly retarded five year old.
So this piece, serves as my comical understanding of all the couples that I have seen – since I began absorbing the concept of a lover, to the point when I decided to call it a day, after two failed and one reasonably successful attempt.
The Lessons in Feminism and Class: Take my ex and me for instance. An incredibly classy, virtuous and feministic woman way ahead of time, stuck with a retarded, boorish, thick skinned guy who looked more like a daily labourer in comparison to her. Of course, I had to be incredibly cautious with my marginally chauvinistic comments, lest they be analysed and dissected for hours in phone calls that lasted through several hours, my snores and my intermittent gasps for breath, as I woke up in cold sweat, in the middle of her never ending critique of how I was being incredibly unreasonable. Her fascination with pronunciation often confused me – sometimes I’d think she was more in love with the Oxford English dictionary, than she was with me.
The Dictatorship: My fear of extremely strong women is partly due to the last relationship I was in, and partly due to this incredibly authoritarian relationship I witnessed in school. The lunch, play and the study schedules of my poor friend was tightly regulated by his domineering girlfriend. For him, life was a struggle between a priceless hour of cricket or dinner with his friends, and eighteen hours of a roller coaster ride with his endearing girlfriend – which included composing Shakespearesque works of literature, to mitigating threats of imminent suicide on a daily basis.
They are happily married now.
The Lessons in Sign Language: These two were part of an incredibly close knit group of our friends in post grad. The years separating them had little bearing my poor friend’s hilarious attempts to project to the world that he had the final say in the relationship – he clearly didn’t. The lady was a black-belt and a fashionista of few words. They had devised an ingenious way to communicate – she would use discreet gestures to signal to the old chap her displeasure over a certain statement of his, or that he had exhausted his daily quota of hours spent socialising. He would halt mid-sentence, turn a deaf ear to our very vocal disgruntlement, and follow her back into their room with his tail between his legs. In hindsight, these two turned out to be among the closest to what I considered as friends, in post grad. They had a seamless understanding, a characteristic warmth; she exuded a maturity beyond her years, while Monty played the perfect foil.
They still have miles to go before they can even dream of attaining the level of understanding that my poor cousins have with their father. They communicate through incoherent noises, like frigging chimpanzees.
The Toppers: Rourav and Esha’s collective CGPA was more than the remaining three of us combined. Their romance blossomed, not under the trees or the dark alleys of our college, but under the lambent lights of the college library. Their stories were writ not in the impassioned clichés that we mortals limited ourselves to, but in the quivering curves and the complicated verses of differential calculus. While we commoners watched dreamy eyed, as Hugh Grant picked up his lady love at the airport– they’d throw off their books in rapturous embrace, as Richard Dawkins delivered the lecture on God and science.
Both of them turned out to be incredible human beings, and ended up making the final days of college a little harder to swallow. They have taken their romance to the next level, as they pursue their PhDs in New York.
The Stars: I envied these two, because in a way – Aseem and Gargi represented a life I wished I had had in post grad. They were always in the middle of things – over time, we could not imagine our parties, our late night sessions without these two. Make no mistake, these two were high up the pecking order in academics, although how the absolutely amoral bastard ended up with the gold medal in Business Ethics, was beyond me. In a way, they represented everything that our educational system was not – an education, an understanding of subjects that went far beyond the tethers of grades and good graces. Aseem made more sense when he was stoned, compared to when he was sober – unfortunately, the rest of us would not be in a state to comprehend half of what he’d say. It took me a long time to realise how much I’d miss these two – unfortunately, only when I was hugging them during the farewell – did I realise how much time had been lost in misunderstandings, and my inertia when it came to forging new relationships. In the two days that Sampriti had spent with us, she had bonded more than I had begun to, in the two years of post-grad.
Maybe, in the not too distant future.
Notable couples that could have been, include – Asim and his lady love from first year – something that would have been an experience, as he represented the stoic knight of the 1800s, who’d struggle to adhere to his incredible standards, and spend the rest of his days in moping around the wing in solitude, too chivalrous to swallow his failure in wooing the girl he’d been after for an entire year. In hindsight, I should have knocked.
Of course, the assholes that we were, we finally dragged him down to our level, by the time we left college.
The Social Media: Finally we come to, Sampriti and me. We love adulation. We love to see the likes and comments pouring in, when we upload our pictures on social media. All the declarations of love, is in fact, an overcompensation for the millennia spent miles away. In real life though, the situation is quite contrary – we end up behaving like an incredibly normal couple, running comically short on time. It is like teaching an army of badgers their parts in the Christmas play – on the final day, everyone is doing whatever they like, and you are helplessly standing in the corner with your face buried in your hands. Still, there are those incredibly magical moments when the individual brilliances of the badgers steal your hearts away. We end up pigeonholing making crazy love (like they show in those movies – at least we try), eating out, drinking and getting high, like our ship is capsizing and we have moments left to live; and yet at the end of it all, there is that one sparkling moment, when the world is still, and like ballet dancers on an ice rink, we continue to twirl around each other, lost in the echo of our dreams and kisses.
It is sweet, but in hindsight – I’d probably like to have more time with her, in life than on Facebook.
So you see, it is absolutely unlike that perfect jigsaw puzzle. It is in fact, akin to those streaks of paint on an ordinary canvas that make no sense at all – but when you step back, you let out a gasp as you notice the incredible truth as the mindless, random, incoherent streaks come together to reveal a composition worth a thousand jigsaw puzzles.
Pic courtesy: xkcd.com