Love At First Sight
Love At First Sight
She looked at me closely, her light brown eyes shining brightly at me. I had no idea who she was and why she was staring at me so intently but I could not look away from her mesmerizing eyes. She suddenly asked, " Do you believe in " Love at First Sight?"
I was shocked to hear this and so much was my shock that I couldn't reply even. She repeated again in her sweet voice, " Do you believe in " Love at First Sight?"
I said, "No". It came out much more bluntly and rudely than I wanted it to, even to my ears.
I was looking at her when I said it and I could clearly see the disappointment, hurt, and a little agony flash through her eyes in slow motion. It was like all those emotions were written in bold letters for me to see, that expressive were her eyes. She didn't say a single word after that and closed her eyes.
I wanted to see those eyes again, I wanted that kaleidoscope of emotions ranging from her eyes. I was a little disappointed that I had answered in negative and was curious what would have been the result if I would have answered in affirmative.
We were both travelling in economy class on an Indigo Flight, going from Jammu to Delhi. I had gone to Jammu for a friend's marriage and now was returning to my boring job as a tax consultant in New Delhi. I was curious why the girl sitting beside me had asked me such a question. Had she fallen in love with me?
As soon as this idea came into my mind, I negated it. But as you know the most irritating thing about such ideas is, that once planted in your mind, however hard you try to get rid of them, they keep coming back to you again and again and again.
I started observing her, she had a pretty face, almost round but with high cheekbones. Although she was not thin, she was not fat either. Her face had a little bit of baby fat which spoke of her fondness for food as she had been relishing everything that was served on the flight and even had her own quota of snacks and chocolates. She had a sharp nose and full lips, and her eyes were the most beautiful part of her face. With her eyes closed, she looked pretty but as soon as her eyes opened, her whole face was transformed into exceptional beauty.
She must have sensed by continuous stare at her face for she opened her eyes and glared at me. I was taken aback and immediately diverted my gaze from her. She again said, " Why are you staring at me?"
I was again taken aback at her straightforwardness and bluntness. I had never come across any girl who would ask such a question to a stranger directly. This time though I was a bit more prepared than before so I said, " I am not staring at you. I am just curious who did you ask me a question about Love at First Sight?"
She looked at me and handed me the book in her hand, the title of the book was " Love at First Sight". I felt so embarrassed that what I had thought and the reason was a simple book. My embarrassment might have shown on my face for she started laughing and said, " Did you actually thought that I had fallen for you?"
I turned pink, with my ears completely red. She saw that and started laughing again.
Although I was so embarrassed her laugh was infectious and I started laughing with her. I said, " Well, No I didn't think about that."
She looked at me and her eyes danced with amusement as she said,
" Well the idea definitely crossed your mind, didn't it?
It was again my turn to turn red with embarrassment. I said, " So why did you ask me that? You still haven't answered my question."
She replied with a smile, " Well, I have just finished reading this book and the girl fell in love with a boy at first sight. She was in college when she fell in love and never spoke to the boy, neither did she ever tell him about her feelings but kept his memory in her heart always. He always remained her true and first love. So, do you think it is possible to love someone in this way, without ever talking to that person, without ever getting to know that person? Just by one look, Can you know "He/She is the one."? Do you believe that is possible?
I said, " Well, It can be possible for some but it is definitely not possible for me. I think it was foolish of that girl never to talk to that boy or to know him. She should have made an effort to get to know that person and tell her about her true feelings. It is stupid to harbour one-sided love and then put blame on the other person for not loving you back.
She said a bit adamantly ( which surprised me), " Well, it might be because she was afraid that he might not like her back because of her appearance or the way she dressed and looked. She might have been afraid and that is the reason she didn't approach him."
I said, " Then it's her own insecurities which held her back. It was never and will never be the fault of the clueless guy who never knew that such a person existed or that person was in love with him. She should have approached him and told her true feelings to him, even at the cost of being rejected. At least, then she would have known the outcome and would never have regrets in her life that she never told that person. She would never have to think, " What if she had told him..."
She looked at me closely and her eyes reflected an emotion which I couldn't decipher, she said with a catch in her voice ( As if relaying her own story), " What if she had tried to approach him and had even talked to him once but he had ignored her completely for her best friend. What if she never told him to protect her best friend's feelings?
I said, "It was not her duty to protect her friend, she should have told her friend also about her feelings towards the boy and not have one-sided love."
The pilot announced just then that we had landed in New Delhi and would be taxing towards the gates.
She said,( a bit rudely), isn't it better to have one-sided love. It is pure and does not need the constant effort you have to put into a relationship. You can just and simply have this pure love with the other person, not knowing. Yes, it may hurt a little to see him with other girls, but when your love is true, you are just satisfied to see him happy and content. Also, isn't it better to live in the memory that if she would have told him about her feelings, He would have maybe said "Yes" and live in that beautiful fantasy than to actually face the rejection and pain of it?
I said, " Why are you getting so personal? It's just a story, most probably fictional, written by the writer to get some hot-shot awards. "
Her eyes turned smouldering and I could detect that she was angry when she said, " It might be just a story but someone somewhere might have lived it, and that is the only reason that story is in this book."
The flight attendants asked us to descend. We gathered our things and started going towards the exit.
I was a bit taken aback that why was she so obsessed with the book. I took the book from her and read about the writer, it was written by someone called " Anokhi". I found the name funny and said, "See the writer is not even ready to share her real name with the world. What kind of a person has a name as Anokhi. I think this writer is very insecure and does not want the world to know that she failed in love."
She looked at me and said with a sad smile, " Maybe she is just trying to protect her first true love so that the world would not know." And with that, she parted ways with him.
As I was unpacking my bag I found that the book, " Love at First Sight" was in my backpack. I started thinking about that girl I had met on the flight and opened the book to get the greatest shock of my life. The first page of the book had a handwritten note, it read:
Thank you for being my first Love. Today, after listening to your thoughts I know, I should have told you my true feelings then but you didn't recognize me even today. I was invisible to you back then and am still invisible to you after 7 years. You are right that they were my insecurities that kept me from telling you and I know that now. I will forever keep you in my heart as my first true love. Be happy.
I could not believe my eyes what I was reading. I frantically flipped to the last page about the writer's bio and it read that Anokhi was a very successful writer. She had been writing romance novels for the past 5 years and had gain popularity among young adults as her stories were relatable to the youth. She was an Engineer and a novelist by profession. The write-up did not mention her real name, neither it had a photograph of her, like the other books.
I started searching online for her, for the writer Anokhi, but everywhere only a little information was available. I could not find her photograph, neither her place of residence nor anything about her. All the internet was filled up was about her books and her book reviews. I felt bad for calling her some hotshot writer writing a fictional story.
I tried searching for hours but to no avail.
Tired and still shocked, I read the note again and started reading the book, " Love at First Sight". After reading the first paragraph, I knew that this book was about me and the girl on the flight was none other than Anika Sharma. The timid shy studious nerd, the topper, and who always had her head immersed in books.
I remembered that she was the best friend of my girlfriend Priyanka. I tried thinking more about her but nothing but the image of a shy tall girl, with braided hair and glasses came to my mind. I couldn't place the image of the confident, animated, and beautiful girl I met on the flight with the studious topper Anika. My heart was beating very fast as I read through the pages, forgetting about everything else. It felt so strange, reading about myself, the stupid acts I did in college from someone else's perspective. I was shell shocked that someone could observe me so closely, my each and every small act, and put it in such a loving way in a compelling and moving story. As I read the last page of the novel, tears were slowly pouring down my cheeks. I was in turmoil, confused, and simply not able to take all this in.
In few hours, my life had completely changed. I didn't know myself anymore.
There was a big signing event organized in New Delhi and it was in the news because the unknown yet bestselling author, Anokhi would be part of the event. I had given my everything to arrange a ticket for the event and cleared my evening to go. As I was getting ready, I was both excited to meet her and also very anxious. I got dressed in my best clothes and reached the event, almost 20 minutes early.
I was waiting eagerly to meet her and soon the small store started filling with fans. Then, she came and there was a great buzz. I saw her smiling brightly at the camera and her whole face glowed. Just looking at her, I felt a pang of electric shock going through my body. I, who was so excited to finally meet her, stood rooted at my spot, unable to move. I was feeling so jittery, anxious and at that moment I knew what it meant to have butterflies in my stomach.
I was a big mess of nerves and could not bring myself to go to her. She addressed the crowd saying that it was her pleasure to meet her fans and for appreciating her stories. She said that all of her novels were true stories and someone, somewhere had lived him. Then, she sat there smiling at her fans who had come to take her autograph. I could not bring myself to go to her and meet her.
Soon, the announcer said that the book signing event would be closed. As soon as I heard that, I panicked and went to the line of her fans. My panic had given me the courage to join the line but as the line was slowly moving forward I was getting more and more nervous.
I was the last person and I kept my copy of "Love at First Sight" in front of her. She was looking at the book and when she opened the copy, she saw the note and her brilliant smile immediately turned into a frown and she looked at me sharply.
I stood there with an expression of relief, confusion, anxiousness, and happiness. She got up and started to leave, without signing. I panicked again and in my panic, I remembered the line in the book and recited it to her, " What if I had told him that I loved him with all my heart. He was coffee to me on a cold winter night. He was music to my troubled soul. His smile was my only solace. He was like sugar in my tea. He was my everything. What if I had told him that he was my Love at first sight."
She looked at me and her eyes told me everything I needed to know. I grabbed her hand and hugged her tightly and she hugged me back, grabbing me like a lifeline and I kept murmuring in her ears, "I love you, I love you, I love you". Ans she replied, "You are my love at first sight".