December 2019. As the train pulled out of the Bhubhaneswar railway station, I felt this strange pit in my stomach. One that has been relatively unfamiliar to me for some years. The last time when I must have felt the same was when I was 16 and left for college, some 2000 kilometers away from home. I couldn't tell what this feeling was. I surmised that to be me simply missing you. It's a peculiar thing, specially since we hadn't just fallen in love and were not reeling in swathes of romanticizing endorphins. We lived together, saw each other everyday, and were about to spend only a few weeks away from each other, while visiting respective families back home in India. Yet, my tummy had developed a knot, at the onset of a little hiatus from you.
This brought forth a moment from almost a decade ago; a memory that is still clear as ice. December 2010. It was our first time meeting each other, after about six months of dating online. As I waved at you, boarding the bus to get back home, to a city all the way across the state, I caught a glimpse of the look in your eyes: one fused with despair and a subtle sadness that was all held back by a formidable consolation. It was the look of someone who was sad but did not want to look so for the fear of hurting a loved one. As the bus pulled away, I instantly knew I had something special on my hands - someone whose eyes had the light of love and longing for me.
These two moments punctuate our story well enough; One, which on hand, has been rife with struggle from when we were far apart, fighting and failing in the face of long-distance circumstances. On the other ironic hand, our story is also peppered with ease, a trait that I amusingly notice in our "chemistry", every time we meet. An ease; that renders no difference between dates at McDonalds and fancy restaurants, that makes drives in rush hour traffic seem as peaceful as beachside motorcycle rides, that makes calling it a night at 10 PM on a Saturday the best party ever, that completely negates the need for a hip crowd on a dance floor, I could go on.
But our times apart did not withdraw themselves away. It took resolve, faith, and composure, to fight circumstances tooth and nail and start a life together in the same city. And much of it was possible thanks to you; to you taking the harder, yet more correct route to being with me while I flew away chasing my dreams. To you becoming an indefatigable spunge that absorbed all my fits, breakdowns, and idiosyncrasies. To your resolve, faith, and composure.
But now that we live together, and have a life together, a friend asked me recently, "Do you notice any changes? Would things change after you guys get married?" To respond, I reflected upon how nothing had changed. Of course, there's jubilation. But there's the aforementioned ease. We just, started hanging out, and it felt like home.
That said, a strange dichotomy persists. Because when you're gone, even for one day of the week, I find myself lost. Even if I am among friends. Even if I am distracted and deep in my myriad extra-curricular pursuits. Those knots in my tummy come back. Why, I ask?
And I can only answer that by taking a feather from my favorite lyricist, Irshad Kamil's quill:
You're in every situation,
In-person or in-essence.
You fill my silences,
you soothe my extravagancies,
you brighten my blues.
Life is tied to you now.
So where does life go from here? If you follow the theme of this writing so far, it might sound like the tireless tirade of a man-child who needs you for his selfish reasons. But I promise, moving forward, life will be far from that.
On the darkest or the slowest days, it will be grabbing dark chocolate ice cream and binge-ing on true crime documentaries, gripping movies, and episodes of The Office or Friends.
On the brightest days, it will be festive. There will be relentless dancing in all the dance forms our bodies can absorb. There will be rhythm and aroma. There will be tacos, ramen, and biryani. There will be midnight drives around the city with the music cranked up. And travel, and discovery.
But across the board, it will be me standing by you in every pathway you choose to explore. I will take the best lessons and memories of the last decade and ensure they are never forgotten. I will keep things lively, in all things kinky and composed. And as Phoebe Buffay would say, I will always strive to be your lobster.
With that premise, I had a question for you. A proposition.
Will you marry me?