Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The damned little cheat (Part 2 of 3)

(I know I said I will put this up in 2 days, but I got busy over the weekend so could put it up only now. Sorry about that! The concluding part will be up on Wednesday for sure. :)
Continued from Part 1.. )

“I mean you can tell me whatever it is. I won’t use it.”

“So tell me one thing- have you ever been in intense passionate love?”

I tried to play safe here- “Of course, lady. With a woman who to me is the most beautiful on Earth. But go on”.

“No, what if you found the love of your life, your soul-mate now? And you know you are committed to someone else?”

Ha, that one’s a toughie. Saying I would go after my love would put me in bad light. Saying I wouldn't was plain untrue and she would probably realize it. Stick to generalizations, I told myself. “That’s easy.  Well, I think of it as a contract I made. I might hate it, but I gotta stick with it.”

That was partly true, by the way. Underneath all my cynicism and general negativity, I had some old-fashioned ideas about sticking around even if you hate it. Though my reason was different. I believe that the legitimacy of something kills its pleasure. You see those young couples madly in love? See them after 20 years of living with each other. A sulking couple worrying about their children’s college tuition. You see, the charm of intense love always dies in a marriage. The passion gets lost in the grocery lists and sorting the laundry. It rusts and cobwebs grow over it- and the love dies so slowly you don’t know until it’s too late. So late that it doesn't even get the burial it so deserved. My take is: if you ever find the love of your life and want to keep it alive, don’t marry the person. The distance nourishes the tree of love and lets it grow.

Of course, I wasn't going to tell her that. That would have been very weird.

“Ah well. You are playing it safe, aren't you? So be it. Let me tell you a story...

There is this woman I know. She is about my age and is a project manager like me. One of the youngest managers. And you know how much that says for a woman. Very smart, works very hard. Tries her best not to let men misunderstand her.  And I can tell you how tricky THAT is. Oh, and she is married too. Just like me. She fell in love with this man- a very nice man he is, and they got married five years ago. So far so good.

About 2 months earlier, this young analyst joined her team as a new team manager. Smart guy, lots of fun to be with, very witty, very ethical. Extremely talented too. And single. I think he looks ok, but you know how people start looking good to you the more you know them. As you might guess, she started liking him.

It started as a simple appreciation of him as a person, but then it grew with every minute of his presence around her. And of course, as her direct report, he had to spend a good amount of time around her, alone. With his every smile, every word, the air between them became more electric. She started spending hours waiting for the minutes when she would meet him. She spent whole evenings just imagining that somehow things would work between them. She started trying to find excuses to talk to him. Her whole life began to revolve around his every action. There were times when she thought her heart would explode with the amount of passion she was feeling. And yet, she couldn't tell him.

She didn't know if he felt anything for her. Of course, he respected her and liked her. They got along pretty well and hung out many times as co-workers. Their chemistry was very good, but it was just a work chemistry. There was a line which both of them were afraid to cross. Sometimes, though, she thought he liked her. You know how some actions can acquire meaning depending on how you look at them.. A simple compliment can seem like a sudden outburst of his love which he dare not express, when it might really only be a simple compliment. When he didn't say much, she would think he was aloof and trying to avoid her because he couldn't stop himself from liking her. And then again, she would think ‘what if he really wants to avoid me?’

I don’t know if you have ever felt that kind of love, most people haven’t. But she was really going crazy about him.”

In her own words, 'It is a feeling whose magnitude can not be fettered by the shackles of a mere word- feeling. The phrase 'driving one crazy' makes so much sense now. Because I AM going crazy. It was like being permanently drunk. Except that I haven't even touched alcohol. I want to tell someone, anyone about it, and yet I can't. Nobody would understand. And worse still, they would think badly of me.'"

I was getting bored of this description. What the hell, I thought. She was in love. Period.

(To be concluded..)

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