Sunday, September 14, 2014

For a Star.

I vividly remember the introductory class in IIMC where our teachers had paired up the entire class and the two individuals had to introduce each other. When the woman behind me was being introduced to the class, her partner in the list of things she narrated, also said that this lady liked reading "classical" novels. Immediately an agonized but feminine voice corrected in a disappointed, embarrassed and hushed tone, "Classic!"
Curiosity has to work rather hard to come to my generally indifferent self. But I must admit that this act caught my attention and I turned to look at her. She still had the traces of exasperation on her heart shaped face. I thought her rather arrogant and snobbish. After all, Calcutta and Literature is always an intimidating combination. In hindsight, after knowing her for more than two years I can understand that her profound love for literature had given birth to the anguish. It was like a devoted priest correcting his Lord's praise from the mouth of a layman, It wasn't arrogance, she just couldn't help it.
In the months that were to come, I realized that my initial misgivings about her were more than unfounded. Far from the arrogant literature Nazi that I had thought her to be, Krittika turned out be the most beautiful, most touching piece of poetry. It took me time to decipher the genuine warmth of her smiles but when I did, they instantly became deeply cherished. She displayed an understanding of human emotions and character that was far beyond her years. Also she was someone who would easily go out of the way to help the people she held dear. She would step in when most of the world steps out. And she didn't even hesitate to keep her own interests at sake.

The qualities she had are found but rarely in this darkling world and very very seldom in the same person. It was not that she was naive to the ruthlessness and aridity and disenchantment that the world had to offer. But inspite of all, there was something pristine in her soul. Something in the stream of her being that the desert winds could not touch. Something in the rise of her waves that no dam could break, something in her fire that no water could extinguish. Was she not damaged? Was she never hurt? You wouldn't ask the question if you knew her. Her pain wrote sonnets in her words, told stories through her eyes and sang the songs of lonely larks in her enchanting voice. She knew pain, she knew betrayal, she knew alienation, she knew what it felt like to lose everything but she did not feel it was reason enough to lose her humanity, to not begin again, to not trust or love or help again. I was in awe of the seeming ease with which she forgave unforgivable things. Was it that easy? It would be foolish to assume so. Krittika just compulsively chose love over hatred, second chances over self pity and being herself over being everyone else.

Ernest Hemingway said, "The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed." Nothing could hold more true for the woman I am talking about. And she is very well aware of it. She knows that she'll be taken advantage of, she'll be betrayed, she'll be given a lot pain but a few days back she told me, "Rohini, you know...people broke my trust always, everybody I loved, the used me, trampled me and moved on. There were days when ma found my whole pillow wet, when she heard me howling in the washroom for hours. But I decided I am not worth it. I am special and there are people who love me and care for me and if I stayed in self loathing, I can never move on. So you have to leave this behind." She is as human and as vulnerable as you and me but she chooses a different path to turn to instead of the ever tempting self loathing and self victimization. She chooses to struggle instead of giving up. She chooses to carry on smiling. And for that I have a sacred respect for her. 

Its unbelievable, how the seemingly ordinary people in our lives are so extraordinary. I have had so much to learn from Krittika, most importantly the importance of forgiving, if not for anyone else then for my own sake. She has been there for me in the most trying and hopeless times. She has never judged me and allowed me to sink in the quicksand of the existential crisis that I am so prone to do. I have nothing less than wonder in my head, love in my heart and gratitude in my soul for her existence,

You're in Calcutta now and I am here, decaying in Agra and I must tell you that I miss your presence terribly. Our conversations, sharing of happiness and grief, of hope and disillusionment, of warm quilts in winter and maggi noodles. I hope we meet soon and I hope we make friends with our demons and have tea and red velvet cake with them together at Elma's someday.



  1. :-)
    Treasure her (I mean, kidnap her if you have to, to save her :P)

    Blasphemous Aesthete