Everyone has a story. The starting and the ending might be the same, but the part in between, the part which is unique – it is the part that matters.
We all make stories, we build them as we grow up, thinking someday we might get to live them. That some fine evening, we will enter the castle doors and find everything just the way we have dreamt it to be, just how we have always imagined that it will be.

Isn’t it interesting, that we keep changing the subjects of the story, or have the story with multiple subjects – we are the protagonists in some, in some we would just wish to lie back and enjoy the essence of it all? Isn’t it fascinating, that while some stories fade out from the memory as soon as they are over, others last for a long time, leaving at their own pace, affecting, in their own way, all the stories which might spawn later?

I too, have a set of stories. Stories which revolve around a Chemical X – there are many names for it, but the superset of, I call that love. As our stories grow the form of love changes – it is obsessive in the first chapter and as the effect recedes, it grows out to be the adhesive which ties the bonds. It is desire in some, lust in others; platonic in some, consuming in others. All stories have one form of love, and the most interesting ones are the ones in which it is conspicuous by its absence.

You asked me if I could give you a love story. No, I cannot. I am still to understand love, be immersed in love, find the meaning of love. What I can give you is a story of a boy who thinks he cannot fall in love. Because all his attempts have cumulated in ‘mere’ stories. All his stories are chapters in the big book of life. I can give you the chapter of hope, the chapter, he has so fondly titled as “a breath of fresh air”.

Let me tell you about the boy: The boy was young. He considered himself as face with no features, but hidden tears and stolen smiles- well versed in the art of getting by. He was floating in a sea of answers with no obvious question. He knew the ways to go around a problem, arrive at the conclusion, but taking the final step, getting beyond the solution seemed jinxed. And he was mad. He was angry for so long he couldn’t remember when he was not. He wanted to vent it out, he believed he could. And he wished he did, for the fire within consumed the self, part by part, time by time. Looking for a savior, he was tired. He had to evolve, the self he had preserved for so long had to grow, the barriers needed to be broken, and distance remained to be traveled. Life as he knew it had to come to an end.

In his fruitless quest to find his enlightenment, our boy wanders to many-a-places. He tries to learn from every experience and places his old in front of the present. That for him defined what future might shape out to be. In one of the escapades with reality, a stroke of mad genius luck as he calls it- he meets the girl. She is everything that he could have ever wanted from life. She can read his thoughts before they can make sense to him, she can take the burrows of sadness that have made a home on his forehead and replace them with nerves of equanimity- all with just a hint of a smile. I think we all need an element of calmness in our lives, and she was that for him- and much more.

He falls in love. He never wanted to, he never tried, but he did. He did fall in love. The hollows in his heart aligned conspicuously and he could understand the rhythm of its beats. He could build his fortress around the imaginary castle of peace and nothing would pierce him anymore. And it broke his heart every time when he realized he could never have her. There could be a million reasons for that, but he feared to find out why. She had brought with her a magic wand when she had entered in his life, and he could not envisage his self without the wand hovering over his head, shielding him from the dark side.

What he slowly learns is to be happy with what he gets, even if, in the eyes of the crowd- the society he so religiously hates- he gets nothing. The time he meets her, he is the happiest. That time, no one can take away from. He is elated when she finds her way out of the jostling crowd, just to meet him. He likes it how her eyebrows shrink when she is in deep, pondering on something. He likes the way she dresses, the way she is different from everyone else there is.

And when he is down, and she comes along like a ray of hope, holds his hand to guide him the way and her eyes are fixated at trying to figure him out and he knows that she wants to cure him. She likes him but it just cannot happen. He might not be the same to her as she is to him. But there is a sense of peace about that. There is a warm cold breeze which blows when the two meet. They embrace, whisper inaudible words in others’ ears – till the next time, they say.

He is content with this. For this story doesn’t have an end. The chapters in between are etched with a smile. And that, to him, is more than love has ever tried to deliver.