Damn it, I used to say, whenever anyone spoke of love at first sight. That’s the most stupid thing anyone can talk of, I would sneer, much to the annoyance of my friends. At movies, I would wear an irritated expression when the hero would fall in love with the heroine the very first time he saw her and grow even more irritated when they would suddenly shift to unimaginably beautiful locations abroad to sing and dance like nobody’s business. I always would argue that one needed enough reasons to love somebody. How can you just decide that you would live with a person just by looking at him or her, I would sternly put my point. 'It’s impossible!', I would almost cry, until I saw her.
When I saw her for the first time, she was wearing an yellow salwar-kameez, brushing away that printed floral duppatta that partly covered her face as the 8:50 AM local stormed into the Dadar Station. She hurriedly sipped whatever was left of the espresso coffee inside that yellow cup and was caught in a moment of indecision whether to dump it into the tracks or take it with her into the train. And, she shook her head a little, took the cup in her hand, and hopped into the ladies coach. As for me, a few feet away, I stood, thought time had frozen for a moment, and missed the train.
Who was she? It was as if I had seen spring in a human form, an extremely beautiful form at that. For many days, I didn’t even realize that I had fallen in love, well, in a way that I had least expected, at first sight. All I knew was that my days following that one day, began with a sense of purpose – I had something to do other than going to work at an office located in the bustling area of Churchgate. Every morning, I was there at the station, ten minutes ahead of time to catch the 8:50 AM local and of course to catch a glimpse of her – that girl who caught my fancy and imagination. At first I wasn’t sure, if she saw me, and saw me seeing her. You know, on the third day, I treated myself to an icecream, when I caught her seeing me and turning away when she realized I caught her looking at me. Did she blush; I couldn’t see unfortunately. And soon, she turned out to be my dream girl with the yellow cup!
This thing called love – it dramatically alters you. My friends weren’t dumb enough to notice the change in me. They saw me stay quiet during lunch discussions of love, when they spoke of their girlfriends and of course, they didn’t fail to notice that I began to smile a little during those romantic scenes in movies. One of them even asked me, hey you, is everything all right?
I began to dream; of me and she together; of the children we would have - may be a boy and a girl. All logic and reasoning quietly left through the backdoor and dreams filled my home and being. I don’t know if someone who looked at her would call her utterly gorgeous. But, she appealed to me in a way that no other woman had till that point in my life. She was simple and that made her look all the more beautiful. It was as if she was made just the way a woman should be to fit the taste of a man like me.
A month and we were still exchanging glances. I didn’t know her name, where she belonged to, what she did and whether she even loved me! But, something inside me pushed me on to dream more, look forward to each day much more and love life even more. Music then became the food for love. Isn’t it something that takes the all-beautiful emotion to an entirely different level? I would listen to some of the most beautiful love songs with my eyes closed and I would see her with me, resting her head on my shoulder, intertwining her fingers with mine, not looking at me, but blushing all the same; for the first time, I would feel the pink colour of her blush as warmth against my face. And her silky black hair – strands of which would touch my cheek sending electric pulses through my body. I would shudder and open my eyes; was this just physical attraction– some sort of an infatuation?
The next few days, I didn’t realize, would serve up an answer for the question that rocked me. One fine morning, as I expectantly reached the station, for the first time after I had seen her, I saw she wasn’t there, standing and sipping coffee. She would always reach there before I did. That day, I hated lunch, lost my concentration at work, didn’t sleep. The devilish mind stirred up stories – perhaps she already loved someone, or maybe her wedding got fixed and she left for her hometown to get married; Damn, I thought I began to hate love the way I used to before. But, there was this something – a small yet miraculous feeling – one I would later realize as belief or still better put, faith. The sense that woke up in me after I saw her, made me believe that the love that survives is one that has faith at its core – faith in the people in the relationship and faith in love itself. It may sound filmy, but, when you are in love, the most unexpected does happen.
A restless ten days passed and every morning it was a frustrated me who would board the train – the same 8:50 AM local with the burden of a longing heart and desperate eyes seeking just one sight of her – my dream girl with the cup of coffee.
The day after, I stood at the same spot in the station that I usually did and turned towards where she would stand, a couple of feet away, least expecting to find her. And, there she was! In a pista green salwar-kameez, already looking at me! Even as I was trying to make sure I wasn’t dreaming, she almost came running to me and said:
‘Hi, I had been away, been to my hometown. My Grandpa was sick and I wanted to be by his side..” she gasped, looking directly into my eyes. And then, she calmed down.
“Harish,” I smiled, and extended my hand.
“Maya,” she said and blushed, as she put her hand into mine.