He tells me he saw me at Pizza Hut (or was it McDonald’s?) the first time in CP, and found me pretty. He tells me I bullied him to sit straight for the group photo on the way to XL in the train, and he thought I was rude..
He tells me of the times he noticed me around but never quite.. :)
I remember the boy with an interestingly shaped head, standing mostly by the open door of the train compartment on the way to XL (with no co-relation somehow to the boy I apparently bullied)
I remember the confident and somewhat arrogant demeanor of one who looks too young for that arrogance :)
I remember the pointedness of the questions and the replies while in class. I remember noticing the unwavering attention of one set of eyes in every class… I remember the eyes :) and all women talking about how it makes them go weak in the knees.. I remember not opening my mouth in such discussions..
I remember the same stern and arrogant pose turning into fluid poetry on the volleyball field.. delicate, refined, fluid, strong…
I remember the same stoic attention return on the badminton court.. and the same poetic grace.. if ever there was a man both handsome and beautiful, he was there before my eyes.
If ever there was a man with both strength and finesse, he was moving there before me. If ever there was a combination of machinery and poetry, I saw it then in his movements.
He forgot he had put someone’s question on hold while he went on to make a perfect serve..
He moved and ran with precision and concentration. And then he smiled… the most innocent and genuine smile, like a young baby’s smile, like the sun shining on a bright day… like someone’s heart shining through one’s eyes…
And he did all this wearing mostly the same shade of grey.. and I thought grey never looked so good on anyone..
I remember wanting him
I wanted to be around him, and luckily, soon enough, so did he. Though he didn’t quite figure it out that easily, and spent many days pulling my pigtails (figuratively speaking)
We worked together (God bless Fairy god mother..er god father :)) We hung out with common friends.. and then we started walking
The legendary walks :)
Laughter, wit, intellect, imagination, whims, fancies, non sense, more laughter…
We became us. I remember thinking to myself that I would never want one thing more if I knew I would have him.
And I did.
He became my world.. an innocent, happy world..
He taught me yoga to drive away my sinusitis, ‘ and all other illnesses’
He got me to take care of my health better..he inspired me to start taking some care of my grades :D.. he taught me how to run better.. and fought with the authorities that women should have separate finishing certificates, when I was among the first women to finish the XL dream run..
He saw what I could do well, and recognized it. He did not make a big deal of what I could not do well.
He saw in me the goodness and the potential that I didn’t know existed
He displayed unwavering faith in me
He reminded me who I was when I seemed to have lost the mirror
He became my mirror
I saw him take on leadership naturally in a group situation, a kind of leadership that is not stifling, but facilitative.. I saw him help anyone who needed his help, and wherever he felt he could make any positive difference.. I saw him push boundaries of natural human capacity in order to do the kind of work that would meet his standards.. I saw him work up to an internal standard that did not necessitate, and in fact surpassed, all external standards.. I saw my hero
He danced on wet nights, though he was not the dancing kinds… He sang ‘Guncha koi’ on the stage though it was not an XL junta kind of song, he sang for me… he stayed awake with me late into nights doing nothing in particular, though he liked to operate with clock work precision, when I had first met him.. he tried teaching me taxation, in face of stern resistance from my side and a suicidal mission to flunk…
He held me in his hands like a gardener would hold a butterfly
Like a father, like a friend, like a confidante, like a lover..
To all that is great in you, my salute!
Happy Birthday, Ashish Pant