Thursday, 8 September 2011

That it was..

We had been friends for awhile now, I and Farah ..we got along since she first started working. I suppose I helped her out while she settled into her work place. That was not why we were friends though, I had helped many others. The difference was she remembered my helping her, while many others forgot. She was neither stunning looking or ugly in anyway or form, she could be described as tom boyish in her looks and personality. More importantly she was a nice person, a rare breed in this day and age.

Amidst all this she had one person who was her ‘best friend forever’..his name was Izzy and they were the best of friends. They would talk all night about work, chat at lunch time and meet regularly with their group of mutual friends. 

They had an understanding, Farah would say to me, ‘I said to him early on we would never be romantically involved, we were friends. We always said we were incompatible, it could never work..I want to marry a guy who is a few years older and he wants to marry someone who is a few years younger. We both don’t want to marry people who are working in the same profession or of different castes.’
I would tease her about her relationship with Izzy and say how it was obvious there was something going on. She would have none of it, she 'didn’t believe in love' she would say, she was waiting for the right man and Izzy was looking for the right woman.  They had an understanding, and that understanding had stayed for four years.
One day in jest, I teased her and said she would die a spinster and sent this little limerick to her:

The witch was as old as the mulberry tree
She lived in the house of a hundred clocks
She sold storms and sorrows and calmed the sea
...and she kept her life in a box
                                          -Neil Gaiman

She laughed and said I had an answer for everything, 'did my cheekiness have no limit ?'
I did not reply this one time, after all it felt more a statement of fact then a genuine question.
Some months later news came, Farah was leaving to join an overseas aid programme. Her training programme would begin in a month. We met shortly afterwards at a work dinner and in time honoured fashion I had to ask ‘so how was Izzy?’

Farahs face suddenly changed. Her eyes watered as if she was about to cry, ‘ I can’t believe it..he  said he loved me, he said he wanted to marry me..we had an understanding..he has always known we could never be together? Why did he have to ruin things? I asked him..and he said he couldn’t help it..he loved me. Why did he have to ruin things? why??’ 

I would like to say I managed to think of an answer that time, or that I was able to reassure her, but on that day I did not and could not. She cut all contact with Izzy as she prepared to leave for her new job. I would like to say  she coped well without him being around but that would be a lie. She was miserable and lonely, life moved on and together our group of friends started to plan for Farahs farewell get together.

She had strictly ordered no fancy gifts, so most of the group had gotten her fancy farewell cards. I on the other hand, was stumped, I still could not answer her question, why had a mutual understanding on the 'rules of the game' fallen apart?

As it was I went through that day an old book of mine, a collection of bits and bobs I had read and heard over the years. In there I found something I thought was perfect..I had it typed out, printed and framed. That day we all met, for many it felt like the last time, as many of us were  moving on to other jobs. So one by one everyone said their goodbyes to Farah and then it it was my turn, I handed my gift,  it was a simple sheet of paper:

It is madness
says reason
It is what it is
says love

It is unhappiness
says caution
It is nothing but pain
says fear
It has no future
says insight
It is what it is
says love

It is ridiculous
says pride
It is foolish
says caution
It is impossible
says experience
It is what it is
says love
She looked at it and laughed ‘ you always have an answer for everything’ and with that we said goodbye.

Many months later, I bumped into Farah online, she had some big news she was desperate to share with me. ‘Izzy and I are getting married!’

Izzy had called her out of the blue and they started talking. In the end and after much tears and laughter they made up, as they both realised they were both unhappy apart. I congratulated her and said it was about I was about to leave she said ‘ you were right! It is what it is!'
She was right and this time she knew just what to say..after all  that it was...


karachikhatmal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
karachikhatmal said...

it's such a fraught idea - love. i had made myself a promise not to say 'i love you' to anyone i was involved with out of fear that my naivety and brashness would cheapen the emotion. and yet such a vow inevitably raised its standards to almost impossible heights. when i eventually said it for the first time, i expected to be eviscerated by some divine force condemning me for desecrating the ideal. i imagined that any moment i was not composing sonnets or being inspired to create immortal works of art was an affront to this sacred emotion. it seems to be almost mocking love, or as Farah would say, being cheeky to describe it as simply being what it is, but i don't think i can ever imagine anything closer to the truth.

superb post.

FreedomOfHeresy said...

What a good post!!

Anonymous said...

nice piece, really enjoyed reading this.

shaheryar mirza said...

didn't mean to post anonymously. rookie mistake.

Bhai Chod said...

Be it the sphere of films & stories (writ/heard) or the arena of life & sayings.

Whether it lies within sci-fi, fantasy & documentaries or out lies science & religion.

There is love like the whimsical mystery of Creation.

Thank you for indulging in your whimsy to flavour ours.

Umair J said...

Amazing read doc.

Although Farah should've taken life-lessons from mid-90's bollywood: 'Larka larki kabhee dost nahee ho saktay Raj'

Umair J said...

Amazing read doc.

Although Farah should've taken life-lessons from mid-90's bollywood: 'Larka larki kabhee dost nahee ho saktay Raj'

Sami Saayer said...

doctors by erich segal. kuch kuch hota hai by karan johar. when harry met sally by nora ephron... so whats new?

takhalus said...

KK: Thanks, love is a almost nebulous concept. Is it selfless? Is it selfish? does it need to be said ? does it need to be shown? I don't have the answers to that..

FOH: Thanks for the comment :)

SM: thanks..!

BC:I wanted to write something different a way it is a follow on to the previous post. Politics and history are my interests, but i think of story telling as something I am naturally drawn towards.

UJ: Tauba tauba UJ posts on my blog , I am shocked. it takes a story on love to get your attention

Sami: Thanks for visiting..the answer is absolutely nothing..and absolutely everything

Maneeni said...

"It is what it is" .. Sach baat.