Whenever I talk to people about what I felt in the time leading up to 25/08/2013, they would immediately ask, “Oh, were you having suicidal thoughts?”. No, I wasn’t. I have a strong (and slightly controversial) opinion on suicide, but that is for another day. My feeling, back then, was that I had had everything. I could go on to live for many more years, but it wouldn’t make a difference for my life had already reached, I felt, its saturation point. The more I would live, the more I would grieve. There was, I believed, just one way to escape this potentially endless trap – death!
That’s when she happened. There is a reason why I say ‘happened’ instead of ‘came’ or ‘arrived’. I had known her for a while, 12 months to be precise, at college. She always came across as this simple, orthodox, nice girl who liked chocolates, ice-creams, teddy bears and babies like most others did. She would sit with her friends and talk about her relatives for as long as one would be forced to say, “How can these girls never get bored?”. She, to be honest, was one heck of a hum-drum!
I was so frustrated that I started thinking, “How can a person like her, despite being so boring and mundane, be so happy whereas I am virtually dying every single day?”. I couldn’t quite find the answer. With every passing day, I started losing interest in worldly affairs and it occurred to me as if the end was at frighteningly close quarters. That’s exactly when she happened to ask, “Why are you dull?”.
She was surely not the first person to have asked me that. My family, close friends and even others, who were in touch with me on a regular basis, could sense that there was something uncharacteristically wrong. Some of them were genuinely worried, but a lot of them were simply exasperated. But I didn’t really feel like opening up to any of them. Who would possibly believe me if I said, “I am healthy, I am not gonna kill myself, but I am definitely dying”?
But when she, a person whom I repelled and how, took the effort to enquire about my seemingly pathetic state, I felt emotionally naked. I could have avoided her by supplying the usual stuff like ‘No, I am fine’ and ‘I will be alright’. Instead, I told her the blatant truth. The truth that I had lost it. That I didn’t give a damn about anything anymore. That I am, in every possible way, exhausted. She didn’t say much in return. She just looked at me, listened to all the crap I dished out to her and said, “Don’t worry, you will be alright”. I couldn’t really appreciate her prophetic nature at that very moment but boy, was she right!
For the next few days, she kept asking the right questions. It felt like she had an incredible knack of handling problematic people. She seemed adept at the art of piercing through the flesh and hitting the softest of spots. She was a magician at the peak of her powers, and one had to be wise enough, which I was, to sustain the prodigious presence of the unprecedented and unbelievable phenomenon that she was!
It was truly a game-changing moment. The two years which followed were not the best times of my life in terms of overall quality, but they are right up there for I was having a life-time experience with someone of the highest class and deftness. I would be lying if I say, ‘All my problems were gone, and I lived happily ever after’. I am still struggling. But I am not afraid of death anymore, courtesy a nonpareil relationship that graced my tumbling life ever so slightly!
So, in filmy terms, this looks like the story of a broken guy who is righted by a perfect woman. Or that of two friends who didn’t like each other at first and then were united by circumstances. Neither of them is entirely false, but I would like to describe it differently. This is not about a compassionate person who offered kind words on someone’s bad day to make the latter feel good. This is about a sheer genius at work. For me, this will always be the story of an eccentric cinephile who witnessed the greatest ‘tour de force’ orchestrated by the greatest artist he has ever known!
Happy birthday, Sash😊 You are the GOAT and need I say more😊