Metro Diaries: Love is not enough!


I couldn't take my eyes off her tonight. As we all sat around the campfire, holding our teacups tightly half expecting them to warm our insides better than the lit fire I kept staring at her rather awkwardly. Nishigandha or Nishi as she was popularly known as was one of the volunteers in the Citizen's charter I was a part of. 

Every month we have such meetings where we discuss the progress made in different states and also the plan further. I need to mention here that we are a group of 25 people in the age group of 28-45 who have voluntarily come together to do something for our state with our own money and efforts.  Surprisingly I cannot recollect my first meeting with Nishi, all I remember is her beautiful brown eyes that shine every time she smiles.

Even right now she was smiling. Sitting exactly opposite me she was laughing at some joke shared by one of our co-volunteers. Her smile reached her eyes always and added colour to her cheeks. If you ask me to describe her, I wouldn't be able to. She was beautiful. That's all I could say - with her pixie-cut hair with red streaks, tattooed, and no jewellery. She was always dressed in track pants and t-shirts. I am yet to see her in something more flattering than that and even then she looked eccentric is what I always felt. 

She suffered from some diseases, not the terminal types which affected her life expectancy but yes one that affected the way she led her life. So when we all would be hogging on pizzas and aerated drinks she would be sitting next to us eating her homemade salad and juices. Never have I seen her feel bad about it nor have I seen her making a fuss on that too. Maybe one of the reasons why I never felt the need to delve more into it.

There were times when I would dream of holding her into my arms, ruffling her hair, and staring at the star-studded sky. Nishi was a far cry from the girl of my dreams and yet she made my heart flutter, that was a signal enough for me to know that I liked her. But I never told her, never felt the need to. She was liked by everyone around because of her love for life. Someone had told me once, she battles life every day in a million different ways and yet loves it with equal madness. That madness shows on her face, in her never-dying enthusiasm and the way she spreads it around to us contagiously. 

Just then my eyes fall on him, Rey her boyfriend of six years as he walks in next to her with her dinner of baked potatoes and macaroni. One look at him and I knew what made them click.

Courage. It was the courage within both of their hearts that helped them connect so deeply. I wasn't strong enough to deal with all that she was going through. Nishi was strong in facing all the storms of her life with a smile. She needed someone equally strong to hold her, and that is where my arms felt weak. I had heard stories about how when her disease was at its peak she would become 'unloveable' as Nishi would say. All this time, Rey stood by her holding her hand firmly. He saw love where even Nishi failed to see for herself in some of the lowest phases of her life. 

Living with someone who has a chronic illness is not easy. The person who lives with the illness is dealing with the challenges of living with every single moment. While as a caregiver you are seeing them deal with the challenges and are also feeling equally helpless at not being able to do anything for your loved one. This is one bitter truth of life where even all the wealth of the world fails to provide a solution. Money can maybe just make life a bit better but cannot remove it completely from your life.

Many moons later, I happened to ask Rey how did he do this? Gather courage to be with her, smile through it all, and most importantly, not want to give up even once. His response was something that has stayed with me ever since.

"When I met her, she was still awaiting a diagnosis. We had been warned about a suspected possibility of it being cancer. Reports were to take a week. And in that one week, the only thought that came to my mind was - 30 years of existence. Multiple heartbreaks and hundreds of crushes later I find THE girl I want to be with for this? Eventually, when her diagnosis came we were relieved. That made us realize, life is so unpredictable. Just make the most of the time you have on hand. We made the choice of being happy in all that comes our way because the biggest joy was we had each other. Today it is her, tomorrow it could be me. Would she give up on me if I were to be sick? You know the answer, my friend!"

The man he was waiting for had arrived and was calling Rey. As Rey left after promising me to catch up soon, I had a strange sense of emotions running wild within. I knew I had to grow in love before falling in it so deeply with anyone else. In him, I saw a man who let her fly and became the wind beneath her wings. In him, I saw that to love someone only a heart is not enough. Sometimes you also need a strong mind and a stronger soul.

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