Monday, July 9, 2012

An uncommon love letter




Dearest Rishabh
do you know not that you are the only anchor of my fickle emotions? What keeps you then from letting your defences down? Do you know not that you are the only ground I stand on steadily? Do you know not that you inspire me? What keeps you then from reaching out to me? 
At least don’t go so far, so easily, as to make me feel giving me up has been easy for you. Trust me; I'll never let you come too close. There will always be some distance between us. You know that I do not want you to suffer because of my principles that I see clashing with yours, don’t you? But pray, I can’t bear the distance being increased from your side. I can understand it is a terrible mess I'm putting you in but in all fairness it was you who started it all and for the terrible misfortune of falling in love with somebody as messed up as me, you must bear with it. 
I am perfectly aware that we can never be more than friends. What kills me is the realisation that we are no longer even friends. Look, the ice is for you to break. Understand this once and for all that you have impressed me enough with your keeping distance from me. Now I want you to be unabashed. Now I want you to pursue me like you used to during college. I want you to make me want to surrender with unfaltering confidence that you deserve to witness my vulnerability.

Then your task would have been done and mine will be to resist.  Yes, that's how I want things to be. 

Meanwhile, get a girl and secure your happily-ever-after with her but do not cut me off so abruptly as you seem to be doing at present. You may think you are earning my respect by doing my bidding but would you not like to add some more beautiful chapters to our love story? You may think it is a failed love story but one day you will be able to appreciate that my love for you has been like none other. I'm sure you will come to understand that if I never intended to possess you, that if I never felt jealous in sharing you with somebody else, it was not lack of passion or desire rather the pinnacle of "unlimited love that doesn't ask for possession; that asks only for itself."
You must not be afraid of yielding a little more for I'll never have you bound with me. Do not fear that you will be unable to go back after travelling with me some more. You will have the confidence that somebody keeps loving you which no one else can hope to emulate and this should give you enough fuel to go back to your folks and keep them happy. Above all, you must not be tired of my dual nature so soon for it was your perseverance that won me over once. To remind you: you need not drown yourself completely in my world, for my love for you does not depend on your love for me. Yet I always get a fresh lease of life whenever you come knocking into my world. Do keep breezing past.

Yours as ever
Drishti

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 What was I to make of it? Surely it was an uncommon love letter speaking of an uncommon love.
Drishti. In 7 years of my marriage to Rishabh, there were no references to this name.
"Do keep breezing past". But Rishabh never neglected me, never neglected his work. When and how, if at all, did he manage to be around this woman?  

I seriously didn't know what to make of it. Was it even authentic? Or fiction penned in teenage? The handwriting! It was not Rishabh's!!
I decided that it was God's will to let me in on this chapter of my husband's past. Strangely, the name of a rival didn't ring any alarm bells. In any case, dying women don't feel jealous. I had only a month to live. Only a month I had to bring back this woman into my husband’s life.

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"We all have the switch of our life somewhere outside us. If turned off we lose the will to live. That's the ‘elixir of life'. That's the 'motive force'. For each man it is different. It could be passion for work, love of family, the desire to be rich and famous, the need to dominate, anything." Rishabh closed his eyes and a serene smile crossed his lips.

“And where exactly is the switch of your life?” This was typical Smriti- playful and fishing for compliments from her husband at the drop of a hat.

“Would you please get me a cup of tea? I’m having this terrible headache again.” And this was typical Rishabh, evading answering Smriti’s questions and changing topics at ease.

“All of a sudden?” Smriti was taken aback. But a smug smile replaced the surprised look in the blink of an eye. “As you say Mr. Philosopher. Go take a nap. I’ll bring the tea to the bedroom. I understand your aversion to praising your wife in front of your parents.” Giggling she went to the kitchen, hoping to coax her husband to tell her that she was the ‘elixir of his life’, his ‘motive force’, with a perfect cup of tea.


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Dearest Rishabh
I don’t doubt your honesty so I know that you are reading this after having cremated me.  I read something I was not supposed to and was not sure how you would react. Hence this precaution. I couldn't have faced you knowing you were upset with me, you know.
Am I not an extraordinary wife, as in 7 years of my marriage, my husband was never upset with me? Jokes apart, I beg your pardon for digging up your past. I just couldn't leave with serenity without securing for you a future to look forward to. It was absolutely important for me to know about the 'elixir of your life'. I knew it wasn't me. I knew it wasn't your family. I knew it wasn't your work, completely, either.
I never knew how extraordinarily lucky I was before I came across the letter I have pinned to this one for you. Drishti's letter. I beg your pardon again for having chanced upon it. Trust me, this letter has only increased my devotion for you. The sacred love of you two put me to shame and made me realise the magnanimity of your heart in letting me have a place in it.
I'm amazed at how well you lived up to everyone's expectations- Drishti's, mine, family's, society's. Your heart was somewhere else but you still managed to make your wife the happiest of women. It often crossed my mind that I didn't deserve your love for I was always unjustifiably insecure and suspicious. I could never fathom how could feminist magazines interest you so much more than my kitty party gossip and this made me jealous of the women whose articles you used to read. Now, while writing this, when I know I was never your first love, and that you got to spend hardly an hour everyday with your first love while reading her magazine with me chattering at your side, I'm ashamed. I am ashamed  yet not a bit insecure. Rather, it is with an errie calm that I understand I never actually deserved your love but ended up getting so much of it as I could hardly appreciate. You kept tolerating my tantrums with equanimity and always tried to make me feel special. How could you keep so much grief inside and manage to spread sunshine on everybody around, specially me who was trying to replace the love of your life? How could you make yourself a martyr for your love yet never fail to extol the beauty of being in love? Such a pity that I could understand you only in my last few days with you. 
I did pry a little after reading the letter and came to know that Drishti has been in abroad since the last 8 years. And that your 'breezing past' was actually sending letters to the 'editor' once a month- letters without any personal touch, open to the scrutiny of the world! You amaze me Rishabh. And she does too. I'm not sure I fully understand this kind of love but I surely worship 'love' for giving two people so much of faith in each other and the strength to keep it going for years without even being in touch. I have loved too. I have loved you and on my part I have done everything possible to turn this divine love into a 'possible' love.
Your family won't break their promise to their dying daughter-in-law. From here, you are freed of all bondage and responsibilities. Go, convince her that her dreams are yours, her principles are yours and that you are not afraid to walk on the path she walks on. 

Only Yours
Smriti

P.S. This is the first letter I ever wrote to you and secretly I'm glad it sounds like an 'uncommon love letter'.

12 comments:

  1. Oh !!! Lord !!!.....That was really good.

    "We all have the switch of our life somewhere outside us. Turn it off and we lose the will to live. That's the 'elixir of life'. That's the 'motive force'. For each man it is different. It could be passion for our work, love of family, the desire to be rich and famous, the need to dominate, anything."

    This was where I stood up to give a teary eyed applause, hours before the ending....

    &


    "Yet, I have done everything possible to turn this divine love into a 'possible' love. Your family won't break their promise to their dying daughter-in-law. From here, you are freed of all bondage and responsibilities. Go, convince her that her dreams are yours, her principles are yours and that you are not afraid to walk on the path she walks on....."

    is where I became speechless....

    You are beyond every writer I know, Sudha. You've proven it with an uncommon love letter.

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  2. I am touched. I am moved. I feel honored. Period. :)
    Coming from a master story teller that you are, I can't tell you how much weight this comment holds for me. Thanks for reading it and sharing what you felt. It means a LOT to me :)
    Now I finally have the confidence that I can write fiction. Yay!!

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  3. Classic...I can see myself asking for a Sudha Shaswati Fiction in an International Bookstore very soon.

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    Replies
    1. Ah! that's so sweet of you :)
      I'm really touched. And yeah, I sincerely wish I reach the heights you see me touching :)

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  4. Great one and touching indeed..... Keep the passion for "words" burning.

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  5. Truly heart touching!!!truly beautiful!!!

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  6. amusing..astonishing...
    you are born to be a writer !!
    please do call me in your book launch party !!!

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Hey there! Your comment might prove to be just the push needed for me to write more frequently and with a bit more thought and planning. Do take out a minute or two and tell me what you felt about this blog or this post of mine and any suggestions you think might prove to be useful. Your comment is highly awaited...