WHAT’S YOUR LOVE STORY?
I have very poor memory compared to a normal person. But there are some incidents in life that I can never forget till the last bit of memory last with me. Like my first experience of love.
That incident reminds me of monsoon. And monsoon always reminds me of my love. It happened when I was six. We didn’t have LKG/UKG system during those times. School admission was direct to the first standard which begins during the first week of June (when monsoon begins in Kerala)
My mother, who was a teacher in the Upper Primary School in the same compound, dropped me in the first standard class. It was quite a class room! A big hall. There were three benches, one three legged chair, and remains of black colored wood surface that was called blackboard – scenario of a typical village government school.
Among more than 150 kids (I guess), only few lucky ones could get seated in the benches. All others, like me, were sitting down in the muddy, un-cemented wet floor. Every kid was wet in the rain. The class room was full of noises – kids crying, howling and sound of lotta (kind of a steel canister).
70% of the kids come with the lotta to get the free mid-day meal comprised of Upma, prepared from American bulgur wheat (the mid-day meal program for the poor primary-school students). The poverty and starvation in the family prompted people to send their kids to school. Most of them would take the meals with them while returning home. And after 4th standard kids will leave the school as the free meals were not available from 5th. And most of them end-up in child labour. Some kids came with Chembila (leaf of Colocasia) and banana leaves as umbrella.
After sometime, I felt hungry. And I started crying.
Suddenly a girl sitting near to me touched my hands. I looked at her. She was wearing an old shirt (apparently her big brother’s) and a petticoat only. She was carrying a lotta with her (apparently to get mid-day meal)
She took a small cake made of peanuts and jaggary (traditional uncentrifuged sugar) from her torn shirt pocket and offered to me
“Take this” she said smilingly. I remember her few front teeth were missing.
I took it. It was not at all crispy. A wet cold thing and jaggary was melting in the water.
Still, it appeared so tasty to me. The jaggary was stuck around my mouth. She got up wiped it with her petticoat.
I don’t know who she was. What her name was. I have never met her before or after that day. She might have migrated to other divisions in the school. Or may have left school.
Looking back, I am still feeling the pleasantness and happiness of this little incident. I never told anybody that I was hungry. She is not elder than me to have such great wisdom that I would be crying because of hunger. And it might even have been her only breakfast. Without a second, she felt the empathy; compassion was ready to share the little food she had.
She had an angel’s heart to do that. I have experienced the first instance of sharing and caring in her.
That. She was my first love!
Love cannot be described. It has to be experienced.
So when somebody tells me “I had loved him once,” or “she was my love few years ago, now I hate her…” or “I want a divorce” after love marriage, it sounds Latin to me. I don’t understand how the love ends up in distress, frustration, depression, violence and divorce…Have they mistook love for crush, lust, dating mutual attraction (intentional or sudden and provocative), convenient sexual adjustments, dime-a-dozen affairs, bondage, marriage, relationship affair etc. Some people confuse love with the rush of extra hormones that’s injected in human body from non-organic food!
For me, the moment I think about love, I could feel the warmth of light breeze in my face. I experience the instance solace and happiness.
I have lot of experiences in love. For instance, I was blessed to have an adventure trip with my love from Kanyakumari to Himalayas in 42 days! We never had the feeling of lust even in the wildest thoughts. In yet another instance, I had to travel more than half-way-around the earth just to see my love.
In real love, there is no secret – there is nothing to be hiding, because it was and is pure love. It has the divinity. One should be able to talk about his/her love to children (later grand children), wife, parents, siblings and everybody- there should be a total transparency no one would feel hurt. No one will be angry with love. Because there can’t be any violence in true love. Everybody would feel happy and pleasant – otherwise how can it be love? Did you feel hatred or anger when you read the incident above? I can tell all my stories like that.
My most favourite food even today is peanut-jaggary chikki (kapalandimittayi). I try to take it with me even if I go abroad. My wife and kids would even tease me about my love…
The first day of every monsoon, I ride my bike in the rain. I love rain. I would want to feel the fresh air. It is the time when the nature gives us the message of togetherness and hopefulness.
It is the time the plant kingdom regains their lives. It is the time human beings learn purity, patience and selflessness. When rain water pours in my face and eyes, I would try to recall her vague face from my long-cherished memory. My inner eyes would search: “Where are you my sweet little angel?”
Last year when I took my bike in the rain, my kids told me: “Appa, it is raining, why don’t you go in car?” to which my wife teasingly commented: “he is going in the rain in search of his first love…”
I don’t know anything as romantic as the sound of the rain plummeting down. When the rain water drizzles through my face, I would try to recall her face that lost in the depth of adorable memories.
And that feeling – you are still surrounded by good people who can share and care – makes this world so beautiful and so lively!
© Uday Lal Pai. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing at firstname.lastname@example.org