The Infatuation – Part 2
I concluded my last post by writing that it was quite hypocritical of me to think that others who were having crushes in college were silly and ridiculous, because I too had my first serious one around the same time.
Nevertheless, I must confess that I don’t really believe in the concept of “first love” and of how people (especially in India) make a big deal out of it, and think that it’s the most important and unforgettable event in one’s life. In contrast, I think that first love is often a very silly and immature affair, filled with a lot of curiosity, experimentation and unbridled emotion rather than deep sentiments. Also believe that each time you fall in love you tend to believe that it’s your “first and most important love”, and that all previous attachments were mere frivolous “crushes”.
However, it is true that one is totally overruled by emotions when one has one’s first crush because it’s absolutely unchartered territory. We go bonkers, lose our reason, are least rational and don’t care about moral compunctions during this time. Probably that’s why “all is fair in love and war”? The second and subsequent times it happens, there’s that slight sense of “déjà vu” that comes with experience and makes you somewhat more balanced and less likely to go completely berserk. I’ve also observed that a lot of people get very hurt and dejected the first time around, but luckily it wasn’t that bad for me.
I was around sixteen then and considered most boys who were around my own age to be somewhat silly and immature, and always found older men more attractive because they appeared more poised and accomplished. As a result, I had crushes on a couple of them who unfortunately (or rather fortunately) were happily married and never reciprocated. Looking back, I think this turned out to be kind of lucky because I was always chasing unattainable targets, and therefore actually studied and managed to get an education.
It’s quite amusing to recollect the infatuation after so many years 🙂 🙂
A young North Indian couple in their early thirties had moved into our campus around that period. The husband was a doctor like most people on campus, and the lady was an attractive and very sweet housewife. I ended up befriending her because she was a foodie and a great cook. Unlike now, I was really interested in cooking back then and would avidly discuss recipes with her. She was friendly and very generous and would invite me often to her place to try out whatever she’d prepared, and we became very good friends despite the age difference.
I tasted many hitherto unknown dishes like rajma chawal, palak paneer etc. for the first time in their house. She happened to be from a very cosmopolitan family, so she also cooked Chinese and continental dishes in addition to North Indian ones. After my sessions with friends in the evenings, I would end up at their place and had my dinner with them on many days. However at the same time, I found her husband to be a very boring and reticent person and never talked much with him.
But that opinion changed very soon. Quizzing was one of my hobbies and I was a member of both my school and college teams, and attended all the important competitions around town, though I actually won very few prizes. One of the biggest annual quizzing events in Bangalore was the “North Star Quiz”. It was open to people of all ages and attracted a whole range of participants including schoolkids, college students, university grads and working professionals. Of course, the older participants always had an edge and I don’t remember ever qualifying for the finals.
The quiz master used to be the very eloquent Derek O Brien (now a politician). I remember that every now and then he would ask some “adult kind of questions” and then look apologetically at the schoolkids in the audience and mutter something like “Gosh, I’d no idea there would be so many kids attending…..” We in turn would feel very thrilled and happy to be part of an “adult” competition 🙂 🙂
Almost always, one of the student teams from IIM Bangalore would end up winning the trophy. But that year, I was surprised to see this doctor from my campus participating with a few of his friends from outside campus. I was even more astounded and elated to see his team win the trophy!! I’d no idea that this person whom I met almost every day was so brilliant at quizzing! Appearances could be really deceptive because I’d concluded that he was quite uninteresting.
That day, I proudly told all my friends that I knew the guy from the winning team who was my neighbor, and I started to see him in a totally new light. The next time I went to their house, I discussed the quiz with him and asked him to give me some tips on how to get better at quizzing. He very nonchalantly told me that one couldn’t really prepare for a quiz, and that one has to be generally intelligent, well read and interested in almost all subjects – including arbitrary ones like Western classical music and foreign languages. I was amazed to learn that he knew both French and German and had learnt both languages!! In addition, he was interested in literature, an avid reader and familiar with many authors and books! I was totally bowled over by this brilliant doctor, who was into so many pursuits apart from medicine. He was undoubtedly the most intellectual person I’d ever met in my life.
Soon, I started looking forward to not only meeting his wife, but also meeting him. I also found myself getting obsessive, thinking of him most of the time, and going over each and every word of our conversations and expressions over and over again. I enrolled in French classes at his suggestion, because he’d told me that it was a great idea to learn foreign languages to learn more about new countries and cultures, and also to meet interesting people. Of course, neither husband nor wife suspected anything and were not aware of my true feelings, and still thought of me as the neighboring kid.
But my passion was very serious and it was occupying most of my thoughts and time. I also remember doing silly things like circling around his house on my bicycle in the hope of catching a glimpse. I was absolutely sure that this was the “love of my life” and was equally aware that it was quite tragic because of the circumstances. However, I didn’t give up hope and was determined to make it succeed. A few guilty feelings did trouble me on and off, but were erased by stronger emotions.
Had a vague idea that most love affairs began with a dinner or coffee date and was very determined to “fix” a date with him. I decided to be courageous and ask him out myself because he didn’t seem to show any inclination of asking me 🙁 🙁 I certainly wasn’t one of those people who could silently harbor a crush forever and forever, I believed in action.
Continued in Part 3…..