So an old aquaintance from my Mumbai days called when I was browsing through books at Oxford today after my nth ankle therapy session at Manipal.
He’s coming to Bangalore and wants to meet me for dinner. I might be travelling out I tell him. He can’t believe his luck! It’s about the 4th time he’s going to miss me.
G is an odd guy : he’s a farmer (!) with lots of money (somewhere in remote Tamil Nadu) but he also works as a journalist because that’s his passion. He also falls in (platonic) love with (almost) every single pretty (and not so pretty) face he meets. He’s also happily married. How you can love several women (again platonically) at the same time, I have no clue! I haven’t understood how the man works as yet.
I would get really irritated with him because he would sign off any conversation saying, â€œI love you. Take care.â€ I used to think that only very special people should say that to you! Even being rude didn’t seem to affect him much.
Now, older and wiser I no longer question his motives. I’ve learnt to accept that people are strange, weird and endearments come from the strangest quarters. And not always from the ones you expect them from! Some people say things so easily and casually, while some are so miserly with their words of love and affection that it’s almost like waiting in the desert for a drop of rain.
He, in the meanwhile, still hasn’t lost that habit : despite his advancing years. Anita, I love selflessly without any motive, he says.
You know, I tell him, in the four years here, I haven’t heard those words often! I can’t believe it, he says. But it’s true, I insist. But you’re such a nice girl, he says. Ah, when did being nice ever get you anywhere, I ask wisely.
Of all the pretty women I’ve met, you’re the prettiest, he says. (Okay, that is obviously something he says to everyone :-).
â€œI love you,â€ he says as I end the conversation. Gosh, I think. I must be getting old since I am no longer offended at those words. I no longer get worked up or annoyed. Or have I become more indifferent to it? Or is it because as the years go by – I need more love, affection, nice words and TLC? Do people become more maudlin and sentimental as age catches up? I have no idea!
I mean I don’t even know G that well : he just keeps popping up now and then on my cellphone to tell me he’s coming to Bangalore.
Or maybe… maybe, it’s just been a really long while since I’ve heard those words!