To Sir With Love

Tucked away on the last page of a dog-eared handbook is a scribble that says “I wish you well. I hope you come back to this place after you are done with wandering the world”. Age and fading ink have turned the black writing into a sepia pattern. I don’t need to decipher the words for I know them by heart. Behind the facades of classes and lectures and gradually blossoming relationships, there was a special spot in a crevice of my heart for you. You were more than the Professor who taught me Programming, you were the reason why I enjoyed all my subjects that golden summer. I don’t know if you know this but for what seemed like eons back then, I hung around your office waiting to ask you questions that I didn’t need answers to. I took more effort with your subjects than I did with anything else. When our paths crossed on the campus, my route meandered after yours till I couldn’t keep up with you any more. 

After a seemingly usual class, when one day, you stayed back and asked me if I knew the meaning of my name, love entered the heart and declared it was there to stay. It must have been a normal question but when love is leaning against the door waiting to get in, a gentle nudge is all it needs to announce its arrival. I daresay you didn’t know the old trick of “If you love someone, then they will turn around to see you as you pass the corner”.  You had this habit of turning around several times as you walked back to your office, and I stayed in your line of sight every single time, ensuring that I didn’t miss that one last glance. It is these small things that define love perhaps, for when it is in its fragile state, love does not lay much in store, by time redefining moments.

Once in a lifetime comes a love that doesn’t demand anything because it doesn’t know how to ask for anything. It lives for the moment, and it barely peeks into the future; so happy is it with the present. The summer that year gave me such a love – a quiet, unassuming, placid feeling in the heart that had no rush to go anywhere with no reasons to win anyone over and no future to conquer. And so when I took to visiting a friend that lived opposite your house, you learnt to wave and smile at me. I didn’t stop to talk and neither did you. We had the equation of a Professor and a student down pat and you sometimes asked me what I was up to if you happened to bump into me, on the unpaved, cobbled sidewalk outside your house. I walked past your house a few times after you moved away at the end of the year. You cannot miss someone you never really knew. Instead the feeling of missing someone is substituted by a gnawing feeling of the possibilities that could have been. When you think of it, one sided love can be so liberating really because there is no one to limit your dreams of the relationship- sometimes this even makes up for the truth that your dreams will always remain dreams. 

I googled your name the other day- after many years. I don’t know why I did it, I wasn’t feeling nostalgic and I didn’t want to walk down memory lane either. It was perhaps an overpowering need to return to something that had once been pretty perfect in its restricted framework. The college has changed so much from what I could see. I did not know that you were now the department head. Did you still go for walks around the main cricket ground, I wondered? Oh, you have changed enormously too – the salt and pepper hair tells me that we have both traversed a long way down the cobbled paths.

 

The battle between love and fate always leaves a casualty. You could end up disbelieving in love. Or you could end up believing in a fate that is out to short-change you. Sometimes, just sometimes, though there are no causalities. There are snippets of time that teach you that you don’t always have to win. Just being part of the game, no matter how one-sided, can be enough for a life time. I wish you well too; I am not yet done with wandering the world. But someday perhaps, I shall come back and smile at you again as our paths cross on a stone cobbled path – and as always after we have asked each other about the journeys made, we will go our own ways happily…..

-S

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16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. suresh aka bottledimp
    Oct 22, 2007 @ 07:14:59

    bowing to you scary. i hope you find time to write more. if you ever bring out a novel or a collection of short stories, i’d be among the first one to buy it.

    Reply

  2. pradz thamudu
    Oct 22, 2007 @ 10:11:27

    woman,

    you take me breath away. you do. lovely piece. i second suresh akka [;)] . and i’ll be the second in line to buy your book. heck jus print out these blog pages and staple them and ill still buy it.

    that mean a writer you are, bet you know that already.
    keep writing…

    Reply

  3. Altoid
    Oct 22, 2007 @ 12:40:16

    Hey Scarlett

    Lapped it up akin to a dog thats been starving for days! Lovely, smooth, and oh so endearing. As always!

    You really should write more!
    (sorry, I KNOW its sounds trite and cliched, but what to do, we are like this only 🙂
    -altoid

    Reply

  4. parikrama
    Oct 23, 2007 @ 01:57:34

    >> It lives for the moment, and it barely peeks into the future; so happy is it with the present..

    Reading your posts is like listening to Gulzar’s songs.. No wonder, by the time I finished reading, i was humming to myself “Eis Mod Se Jaate Hein.. Kuch Soost Kadam Rastey.. Kuch Tez Kadam Raahey”

    Reply

  5. Scarlett
    Oct 23, 2007 @ 05:55:51

    Imp, I am glad to see you again after what seems likes ages. Thank you for your words. I am mightily honoured. I do want to write a book someday, I shall extract my promise then 🙂

    Reply

  6. Scarlett
    Oct 23, 2007 @ 05:56:19

    Pradzie, am I glad you finally commented on mah blog? Like I said, hopefully I will find time to concentrate my efforts soon. ROTFL at Suresh Akka (sorry Imp). Thank you kindly Pradz, Scary is very pleased.

    Reply

  7. Scarlett
    Oct 23, 2007 @ 05:57:34

    Altoid,
    Thanks to the blog you motivated me to create, I do have reasons for writing more. I am glad you liked this one.

    Reply

  8. Scarlett
    Oct 23, 2007 @ 05:58:03

    IW,
    My lovely bro, you flatter me so. I rever Gulzar. No make that, I worship the man. And Eis Mod Se Jaate Hein is my all time favourite song. It rings true doesnt it?

    The truth when told like it is, can be so lyrical. Thank you again – for checking on me, for commenting and for saying such lovely things about my writing. Scary for once, is wordless.

    Reply

  9. kculon
    Oct 23, 2007 @ 19:03:05

    loved ur narration Sct. 🙂

    Reply

  10. Aria
    Oct 24, 2007 @ 06:23:27

    “Once in a lifetime comes a love that doesn’t demand anything because it doesn’t know how to ask for anything.”

    Wow is the word for the awesome lines here. Your writing is so elegant & powerful … My only complain is – why don’t you write more often .. *sigh*

    Reply

  11. asuph
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 05:18:34

    aria! you had to steal those two lines in the whole post. any other, i wouldn’t mind, but those two? sigh!

    Scarlett, now I’ve nothing to say. all I had to say has been said. you’ve moved back into your comfort zone, and proved again that you can write poignant stuff there at will. smooth. as smooth as smooth can be. your writing just flows like a good scotch. lingers on like a drop of vanilla essence on the floor.

    > The battle between love and fate always leaves a casualty. You could end up disbelieving in love. Or you could end up believing in a fate

    Aai ga! 🙂

    Sublime. Good to see you back. Yes, being a self-nominated-hard-to-please critic I want more. I think you’re too good for sticking to this genre. But a good piece that just screams to be written has to be written. Genre gaya tel lagane.

    keep writing,
    asuph.

    Reply

  12. Scarlett
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 07:39:12

    Kculon, thanks.

    Aria, your words mean much. Thanks m’lady. I do plan to write more often. But life gets into the way too often. That and the fact that I am lazy. Thanks again 🙂

    Asuph,
    I have been so lazy lately (and the play was taking away a lot of my energy) that even moving around in my comfort zone has felt good.
    I am glad you liked the two sentences that I liked the best myself.
    But yes, the genres shall change and soon. Once again, thanks 😀
    Will mail you soon.

    Reply

  13. atrakasya
    Oct 27, 2007 @ 12:23:59

    Very well written.
    I was just wondering whether a blog by a professor professing to have had feelings for a babe in his class would sound equally respectable. 🙂

    Reply

  14. Scarlett
    Oct 29, 2007 @ 01:36:21

    Aloha Atra, how have you been? And where have you been, all these days?

    Having crushes on the female students is apparently a big no-no for those professors, I have heard but then there are enough stories about professors marrying students. Some of them must be getting it right.

    As an aside I remember reading a rivetting short story in a “Diwali Ank” a few years ago (it was probably Ma.Ta or Kistrim or the likes) of a Professor who marries his student and then cannot live with the fact and refuses to accept her as his wife in front of society. She struggles with it for years till his death and then sees his will where he hands over his entire belongings to her – “his wife”. Death gives him a courage that life never dared to send his way.

    Do keep dropping by,
    Scarlett

    Reply

  15. atrakasya
    Oct 29, 2007 @ 08:01:50

    scarry,

    Sorry, been up to lots of things, not having the bandwidth to focus on anything. This is just a temporary lull when I am actually getting to post comments.
    I actually did have a professor ( slightly advanced in years, too) who married a student who had chosen him for his phd guide. But then he was a known iconoclast, so it befitted his persona.
    Yet, I recall how almost everybody raised their eyebrows, but none of us even thought there was anything odd when some female students would declare how sexy they found some prof of theirs.
    Its an unfair world, I tell you, this world of political correctness!

    OTOH, having an affair with a student would be questionable, IMO. If we look at it – for every single actual love affair, there would probably be 100 or more relationships with an ulterior agenda of grades or older-man/young-girl fetish. Grades, more likely.
    I wonder how much of this actually happens and we never hear about it.

    Reply

  16. happy
    Apr 16, 2013 @ 04:38:40

    Wow wow wow

    Reply

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