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“If I should live forever
And all my dreams come true
My memories of love will be of you ” — “Perhaps Love, John Denver”

This is Anne’s 100th article on Iris! 🙂

As we reach the benchmark of hundred articles, I had promised myself that the 100th article should be on ‘love’.  What else other than love can keep people and thoughts going? Recently, one of my students met me and was narrating the story of a close relative who is in hospital on life support systems. She was telling me that the only things that the patient responds to are  old pictures of their family and children. These pictures bring tears and smiles into the eyes of the patient — perhaps love drives the breaths into their own tiny cycles.

We call love a ‘feel good factor’ these days — a side preoccupation in an ultra-busy professional life. But, stories aren’t complete without a love story — however minor they might appear to be.

A group of my readers have written and asked me personally questions that whether I have ever loved anyone? My answer has been: “I would not be writing unless I was in love”. We love something or the other and someone or the other loves us, which keeps us going with work and life. It may be work, it may be a person, or it may be simply a family.

Today I was reading Barack Obama’s statement on a social networking site:

“I’m inspired by my own children, how full they make my heart. They make me want to work to make the world a little bit better. And they make me want to be a better man.”—President Obama.

People — in the form of parents, spouses, friends, children, or siblings — are the purpose of life and work. Work is a way of living, while love is the way of life.  We love ourselves as much as we love people and things, and that perhaps is our greatest strength and deepest weakness.

Here is a love story from the many stories that occur in our lives. Your choice it is, to call the story a fiction or a slice of life….

She (just one face among many faces, so we shall call her ‘she’) and he (nameless) . They are two ‘lost’ souls who are wedded to work and books. They had not seen each other, not spoken to each other, not registered each other, even though they worked in the same premise.

They had enough of their own shares of heart-breaks, student day stories, and one-sided love stories to keep them preoccupied in their own lives and work-zones.

She was going through tumultuous changes in her life and work, such that nothing in the world could draw her attention except work, and work related stories. She would come back tired every evening, cook a bit for herself, walk out with her lappy to the balcony, look at the dark star-studded skies,  give a smile to the dark emptiness and sigh deeply. Was that an emptiness or the feel of people whom she somehow lost on her way — not sure.

In fact, her professional commitments were so high that in personal circles and among friends many people perceived her as ‘plastic’ and non-reliable — committed only to her ambitions. He was more of an alien in his own land — friends, people whom he knew were now a part of a long lost dream and an alien land. His had more of a workaholic life, added to a whole lot of social and humanitarian responsibilities.

Months passed and years slipped away, the monotony of every day life was something that she had come to love. If there was an emptiness, that emptiness was extremely dear because of the amount of ‘thinking time’ she got.

Then, one day suddenly she got a friend request from He and an offline message: “How do you feel when you go back to campus after leaving IIT? The Harry Potter and Chamber of Secrets feeling — I feel, I might cry at any moment — recorded today at Kharagpur”.  She was taken aback. Who is this person and why a friend request on her mail id? She figured out soon that it was a peer. She remembered seeing him once during a wedding party of common friends and being the target of friends’ jokes because coincidentally both had landed up in the reception wearing the same outfits — jeans and black shirts.

She accepted the request and forgot about him. He came back next time online and this time he asked her: “did you get who I was from my mail id?” She said “yes, it was obvious…”. He was in Kharagpur, his alma-mater and they shared emotions that were perhaps shared by campus dwellers across all IITs. For two days he wrote to her every thing related to his travel back to campus, his visit to his old hostels, meeting canteen people, having Tinku, guest-house renovations and so on. For she, IIT campus was a weakness — a love that remained in the form of nostalgia — and he was reliving everything that she had herself felt. Who was he? What was his antecedent — she did not care. All that mattered to her was that he was narrating the exact emotions that she had ever felt for her campus and her life, of course with some amount of dry humour. There was of course more about him that she wondered about — his commitment to social causes, his humour, and his love for literature in Hindi language.

Two evenings had passed. The monotony of she’s life had already broken — no going out to balcony and no sighing away at the dark emptiness. On the third evening, before returning from office she met a friend over coffee. Suddenly the friend came up with a statement; “She you should now think of settling in personal life. Do not take life as a fairy-tale where someday a Prince Charming would come and sweep you off your feet. We love our parents — at least do things for their sake.” She decided to get serious — returned back home and said a ‘yes’ to a proposal sent by parents since a long time.

Late that night she came online to check her mails. He wrote to her: “I have been waiting for you. Got to tell you something. I think I like you…. It is perhaps love….”

The adventure of ‘perhaps love’ had just begun….This was a prelude to what might or might not have been a love story….

I leave the rest for you to imagine and construct your own stories….Angles, triangles, fights, makes-breaks, happily ever-after,….with the realization — that “perhaps it is love”…

Good night and take care!

Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.
-Mother Teresa

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