Letters, the hand written ones, were something that kept our relationship going, despite the mess that long distance was turning out to be. In the internet era with fast paced devices at our disposal, we still relied on the postal services to communicate. She had left for America a couple of months ago, while I was stuck at the national capital with my pesky job at hand.
As every normal guy, I hated my job and dreamt of something big that I was meant to achieve only to find myself in midst of constant nagging in my friend circle about how big a writer I would become. While she had it quite figured about what she really wants from life, what she wants to become, and where she will settle. When I met her for the first time, she was dating her perfect guy and was part timing at a reputed publishing firm in Delhi, and the moment my eyes met hers, I knew it right then, that she is way out of my league. She had these thick glasses with the most pleasing smile anyone could flaunt, and a persona to encapsulate anyone near her proximity.
The meet was in a small cubicle of hers, I had gone there to inquire about her boss, the famous Tanisha Rai, the publishing mogul to know the status of my novel submission. After weeks of persuading and turning up at her office only to find a blank no at my request, I returned dejected and less confident about being a writer ever. As I was about to put up my chequered tie, a corporate office melodramatic tool (aka Comet), to turn up to the sales executive job the next day, I received a text “I read your work, it’s really beautiful Ryan. Don’t worry, you will make it big one day. Try other firms, Mrs Rai has her hands full and wouldn’t give the importance this novel deserves. Take care, Tara. (P.S. This is not a corporate gimmick to keep your heart :P)”
The texts went on a spree from there on, that’s a story for another day, but things finally led to a date at apparently a restaurant which later became our favourite for years to come. That night of our first date, we ticked our many firsts and one of them, the most modest one, being was pulling an all-nighter. We spoke for hours together; bid the other goodbye for a straight 6 times to get our sleep for the morning shift we had, but the conversations kept us abuzz, making the clock go on snooze forever.
That was three years ago, and now as we faced the dilemma of long distance in our minds, we searched for the glue that would make us stick no matter what. We had our minds rolling to find that, and weird things came up to our mind only to rest on something that got us started the first place.
Three years ago, the first date
Tara: Do you handwrite all the stuff? I saw your copy of submission; it was a Xerox of a handwritten one.
Ryan: When I really love something, I ink it with my pen. I somehow, believe if I am really interested in a topic, my ink won’t be scared of shedding and would make no mistake in foretelling the story I behold.
Tara: I like that. I do the same actually but not just for the love of writing but the paper creases and the smell of paper make me feel special. I don’t know why, maybe I sound a little stupid there!
Ryan: You don’t. You won’t believe my love for handwritten pieces started from the letters of my parents during their college days. They spoke how they used to write their feelings in a tiny sheet of paper and send it across to the other. They said that the paper was enough; it conveyed the emotions they swelled within them.
Tara: Do you still have them?
Ryan: I do, but I have been made to promise to open them when I meet someone special.
Tara: That’s sweet…really sweet Ryan. So did you meet anyone?
I smiled as we kept our eyes engaged and it’s been three years since, we had that box with us but never dared to open it; always getting scared about whether we were all ready for it or not!
We didn’t open it even on our last day together, before Tara flew away to the states. We heard our share of stories about long distance relationship, and we didn’t have the courage to challenge that long held view. The next day at the airport when I went to bid her adieu, I placed a letter I had written for days on her hand “Tara, I don’t know what I am trying with this letter, but I think this would be our glue that would make us stick. Take care, and do write back. I would be waiting for your reply.”
She had tears in her eyes, as she clutched on to the letter and disappeared among the crowd, leaving me with a shattering pain to accompany. It was a week since she left, that morning when I walked out I found her letter at my doorstep.
Photo credit: Fountain Pen by Antonio Littorio (The Power of Words)