Real love can only begin...

20 December
Dear Vij,

As you hold this letter in your hands, I imagine us holding hands and looking into each other’s eyes. With you traveling in the far off African national parks for the next few days, I am glad that at least we are able to write to each other if no calls. Again, I hope and pray that you are in the best of health and cheerful as ever, my love.
So, tell me about your adventures this week! I am sure it has been another action packed and sensational week with beautiful animals, mysterious birds and hospitable people. While I continue to worry for your safety at times, I am immensely proud of your passion towards the environment and other living beings. Your firm conviction that humans need to stop behaving as though they own the planet inspires me. But of course, that doesn’t stop me from missing you!
Do you remember, Vij, the day we first met? On that chance volunteering trip I took to one of India’s largest wildlife sanctuaries, I found you gazing lovingly at a wounded dear, and the rest as they say was history. As you nursed and loved the dear back to life, I realized that there is nothing more wonderful than kindness and selfless love. A thorough novice at the ways of flora and fauna, I had struggled adjusting to living in the wilderness with no fancy amenities, but only the open sky, chirping birds and magical fresh air. Being a lot more experienced in the ways of the natural world, you had perhaps noticed this and helped me cope and gradually realize what I was missing living in my city cocoon. There was so much out there in the world to be explored!
We have discussed everything that happened later so many times over so I will not go into that Vij, but today as I sat by our living room window with its large glass and view of the city, a lot of those scenes played in front of my eyes. With my evening tea and cashew biscuits giving me company against the slowly lighting up shop billboards, my mind went back into those days when our love slowly grew into the most beautiful bond I have ever known. As it always happens when you travel, I did not feel like eating dinner alone and so I labored over my tea lazily.
Perhaps this is coming out of my indulgent romantic mind, but I feel that those 5 days altered my definition of love and care. Vij, can you please try and rewind back to the day when you had explained the ways of living in the wilderness to me patiently, when you had generously ignored my shock over bathing in the open, when you had kindly offered to carry my bag and then other two peoples’ bags when we all gave up in the middle of a hike. And now tell me Vij, don’t you think that day – when you had smiled at me in the evening after we finished the difficult hike and sat resting our crying limbs, and said, “See, I told you you had it in you to finish it.” – that day was our platinum day of love? The day when our everlasting love began? That day which we should celebrate each year with thanks in our hearts?

Yours ever,
28 December

Dear Can,

I received your letter after a tough day in the field, and needless to say it took off most of the tiredness and pain. The other can of course just be taken by some cool water and a good news that the little owl baby we rescued from the bush is safe and back with his mother. I miss you a lot darling and eagerly await the day I’ll be getting back to find you greeting me with your trademark stunning smile.

My week has been as adventurous as ever and each day keeps getting more exciting. Last Sunday I woke up to see a zebra casually grazing on the trees directly outside of our room. I saw a cheetah drinking water from the pond by which we had camped temporarily and contrary to all news, it left us to ourselves happy to be in his or her own sweet world. We have been collecting the data on population numbers, eating habits and other behavior as per our project plan, and everything seems to be going fine other than the usual expected problems in the wild. It has been very hot during the day time and you may be surprised to see my crispy burnt skin.

Yesterday we visited a reptile conservation center to learn about snakes and other reptiles and it was an incredible experience. There are so many misconceptions about a lot of these so called feared creatures that people don’t get to see their endearing sides. I really hope that some of this work that we are doing goes a long way in making our planet safer for these animals, birds and reptiles that equally own the world with us humans.

I see that I have started rambling about my pet causes, Can, and forgotten all about so many things you have mentioned in your letter or so many things that I wanted to speak to you about. Yes, of course I remember the first day, Can. It was one of the most wonderful days in my life, but as you know I am not so good with words and expression and can probably never express it as beautifully as you do. Sitting here reading about you having your evening tea, I imagine our beautiful sixth floor apartment and you in it.

You’re right that day when I saw you struggling with life in the outdoors, I felt a pang of protectiveness towards you. I knew it was something special that could slowly grow into love and care. And then each day seeing trying so hard to fit in with a world which was so alien to your own made my heart even more tender. But when I ask me whether that day was our platinum day of love, I remember another day that stays etched in my memory.

You remember Can, the day when I had to leave for Kanpur suddenly on a work project. It was so rushed that I could not even call you and had to just send you a hurried SMS. As I packed my things, downloaded important files, printed my ticket and made last minute calls to office, I completely forgot you had made plans for the evening and the weekend. And more importantly that it was my birthday on Sunday.

But then, Can, I was not surprised at all when Sunday came and there was a knock on my hotel room door. Groggy and disoriented I got up from my bed and there you were at 8:30 AM in the morning standing with a bouquet and tired but bright smile. You had taken a 14 hour bus ride to come and wish me for my birthday because there was no way you would not do that. And we had just stood there at the door hugging each other for a long time. Rest of the day, as I had prepared for my presentation the next day, we had lunch together and even managed an evening outing. Can, that constant attention and care is so special about you that it makes my heart warm every time I think of that day. So if you ask me to search my memory or the corners of my heart, I think it was that thirtieth birthday of mine that was our platinum day of love. A day that we celebrate each year now, as it becomes even more wonderful each time.

Love you always,
6 January

Dear Vij,

I spent the whole week waiting for your letter. Office was a blur with your face popping out of corners, your voice looming around meetings and your words lighting up my laptop screen. At home I have been bobbling between sudden happiness and sorrow, missing you and dealing with it at the same time.
I’m so glad your volunteering experience is going great and I am sure your contribution will help the causes you so strongly believe in. the way you have been trying to be the voice of voiceless creatures whose homes are being taken away, whose habitat is being destroyed and who actually restore Earth’s balance, is extremely admirable. I wish there were more people like you who understood their responsibility towards Earth, how a little effort from each person’s side can make things so much better, how selfless work can be so eternally satisfying and how a rat race felt trivial if looked at from a larger perspective. More than anything, I wish I become more like you, kind, warm and giving.
After posting the letter the other day, I went into another spiral of thoughts, Vij, you know the words “Platinum day of love” can mean so many things. They can be so deep and so superfluous at the same time – for some they can mean just a glance that stopped their heart and for others they can mean a moment that changed their life. For some it can be something serious worth making a commitment for and for some others it can be a happy memory just to lock away in the archives of life. But no matter how a person treats it, a “Platinum day of love” is as important for each of them, whether it gives them momentary joy or long lasting pleasure, whether they forget it as a superfluous experience or they decide it’s worth a lifetime of commitment. It has mattered to each of them enough for them to smile each time they think of it. 

Like I asked my brother what according to him is his “platinum day of love”, and he said it is the day Pri smiled at him. Yes, the same Pri he has been talking about ever since he saw her at the college fashion show. Yes, she has now migrated to America with her entire family and as my brother starts his new job, he has come to terms with the fact that she will never cross paths with him again, but he says that it is a day that will be etched in his heart so deeply that he will celebrate it with all his love and ardor.
With so many beautiful meanings to this day, I was left thinking again about our own life, Vij. Growing up in a city obsessed with beauty and money, my childhood in Delhi was not easy. In school, even from a very young age, girls competed on who was the most beautiful, who was the fairest and who had the best clothes. Guys carried the fanciest phones as soon as they were available in the market and drove their dad’s most expensive cars. Being what Indians strangely call ‘wheatish’ with not much to boast of in terms of beauty, I was quiet and submissive in front of most girls. Carrying this innate inferiority complex, I constantly waited for their approval at school parties and fests. Added to that, I belonged to perhaps the most typical middle class family in school which meant my dad owned a Maruti 800 and that too was only bought only when I had reached the seventh standard. While now I look back at all of that and regret spending my growing up years in dwelling on my inadequacies, I can understand the peer pressure that constantly played on me in my most formative years. Unfortunately, college was no better and while I was learning to deal with things now, the struggle affected my grades a lot. Anyway, you know all of this so I will open the Pandora’s Box but come to point for which I was setting the context.

After such crazy years (and from what I see now of my nieces and nephews – things are not getting any better amongst youngsters), I met you at work. It was not that there was a filmy transformation that I can unveil here like a Yash Chopra movie, but there was a change in my life. I started to look beyond looks, money and such accomplishments. There was a life beyond all of this which meant much more. There were things about me that were still appreciable, no matter how wheatish, short and middle-class I was. I could be creative and funny, I could write and dance and I could love and give. And you, along with a lot of other like-minded friends I found along the way have helped me in this journey.
Before you either laugh off the compliment or teasingly take the entire credit for making me sane, let me recount a day from our courtship period. As was the tradition with us, we had planned yet another Saturday to watch 3 back-to-back movies. After coming out of the third movie, we had rushed like two famished chickens towards the closest sandwich shop. Chomping on my lettuce sandwich, I do now know when I got a green thing stuck in my front teeth. You never told me. I saw it after I got back home late night. Embarrassed, I let out a little squeal. But you know Vij, regardless of embarrassing green or any color things, you decided you still liked me. And that day for its acceptance and innocent beauty was our “platinum day of love”. Don’t you think so?
Many hugs,

11 January

Dear Can,

I am sitting under an orange open sky as I receive and read your letter. The birds are flying back home and nature is unfolding all its mysteries in front of me. I am so lucky to be able to see all this because it is so easily missed in our pigeon holes of offices, homes and modern lives in general especially in cities. And I’m so lucky to get your letter to make all this even more beautiful.
I know I don’t have to tell you because you know how much you mean to me, Can. Just by being who you are, you make me want to be a better person each day. And sitting here, feeling one with nature, I feel a different energy saying this to you. A warmth that no make-believe Valentine’s day, love day, hug day or rose day can induce into me. These are feelings that we know are true when we genuinely feel them.
Life always has its ups and downs, Can. Sometimes, after all the planning and deliberation, it throws things at us that we least expect. Sometimes just by being at the right place at the right time we get things that amaze us. Each of us are here for a limited period of time and no matter how much we delude ourselves with a sense of self importance, nothing that we do will ever be so worthwhile unless of course we have saved somebody’s life or changed the face of humanity or the planet for the better. And hence in these infinitesimally small journeys that we take in time and space, there are problems we encounter, joys we get blessed with and dreams we have, but at the end of it all are pieces of the same puzzle. With the right mindset and perspective, all problems are hidden joys, all criticisms are opportunities for self improvement, all enemies are friends waiting to be made, all fears are hurdles to be crossed positively and all lean periods will surely be followed by light at the end of the runnel. It is just because we get so caught in the little things around us, our own little lives, strengths, weknesses, difficulties that we lose with the larger picture and end up wasting so much valuable time that be spent giving, sharing and loving.
And so Can, when you remind me of how I made you feel accepted and helped you realize that there is so much more to life than how one looks or how much material comfort one owns, I truly feel that I have nothing to do with it. There is nothing that I can teach you, it is all in you. Whatever happiness you have found in the outside world was all inside you – it is just that you never looked enough. Like they say those that are wandering around the world looking for something actually are trying to fill a void within them and eventually will find the matter to fill the void within themselves too. Okay, I have messed up the words, but you know my memory! I don’t even remember this famous piece of lettuce stuck in your teeth now ;)
Yes, in between my hikes and trails, in between the recued animals and lessons learnt, I have had some time to introspect as well. This concept that you brought up – about our “platinum day of love” feels so spectacular that I could not help but play our lives together like a movie reel. All the days that we have discussed so far were definitely special and never to be forgotten, they brought us together and made us sure that we wanted to spend our lives together. They made us walk to our parents and say to them with complete conviction that we had found the person we wanted to spend the rest of our lives with. And then they lit our hearts in anticipation of that day when we will be tied to each other forever. Oh, how poetic you have made me, Can!

But poetry aside, now I am sure that the day when we exchanged our vows and made a lifelong commitment to each other was out platinum day of love. That day when our friends and family joined us to celebrate our love, was the most important day of our lives. That day is the day we rightly celebrate each year. That day is the one which changed both our lives and thankfully for the better!

Lots of love,

21 January

Dear Vij,

It is Diwali time here and there is lots of glitz in the air. People are happy and excited. They are buying new clothes and gifts for their loved ones. Some are planning get-togethers, others are gobbling up on sweets. But I’m still feeling gloomy. With you being so far away, I am grumpy and moody. I am getting irritated at the sight of couples holding hands on the roads, romantic songs are making me tear up and your pictures are making me angry. Yes, my usual silly self in your absence (I know what you will say now – I am my usual silly self even in your presence).
But coming back to the scene here, thanks to Diwali people are in good mood. Otherwise most of my friends are going through a rut at work. This recession has badly hit most industries and professions. There haven’t been muck pay increases and people cannot quit their jobs no matter how stuck they feel. Most have had to rationalize their shopping decisions and not buy the world in the mad Diwali sales. Anyway it’s good that the media has been showing news of how companies are clearing their old products in the name of sales. This has made people reconsider buying things blindly just because the prices are low. Oops, look where I got carried away.

Yes, Vij it is true that life in general has taught me small and big lessons on the difference between superficial and real achievements and qualities. Like you said, if we just keep our eyes open and do not lose touch with reality we will find everything we need within and around us. Like I found you J
Writing and reading these letters has been such a blessing, Vij. It has been so soul searching and cathartic to write them and so eye opening to read them. Even if we know we love somebody, we end up taking them for granted over a period of time and their presence becomes an expected part of our daily lives. We forget the things that made them special in the first place and their qualities that we are thankful for. It is so good to keep reminding ourselves about it from time to time.
And in this process of exchanging notes and remembering our special moments, I am reminded of another wonderful day that was a milestone in our relationship. Vij, I am convinced that it was our platinum day of love. Do you remember many years ago, a couple of months after marriage, when you first came with me to my parents’ place for a relatively long period of time? You had visited them for couple of hours or even a day before, but that was the time when I had gone to stay over for a small summer break and we planned that you will visit us and spend a week there as well.

Vij, that was the period when my side of the family got you to know you well. The way you made sure you woke up early just because my family was made up of early risers, how you adapted to drinking tea despite being a hardcore coffee lover, how you cracked jokes with my little nieces no matter how demanding they were of your time and how you patiently answered me dad’s endless questions about your future plans like a prospective groom even though we had been married for many months.
In that one week you won many hearts, Vij. I could see the satisfaction in the eyes of not only my own parents, but also those of some of my aunts and uncles. And though it probably it shouldn’t have mattered to me because I had chosen you and I loved you, this stamp of approval strangely made me very happy. It reaffirmed my decision, the direction of my life and the strength of our relationship.
That last day when we all went to the station to bud you farewell, you held my hand in front of my entire family and said, “I will wait for you.” with a twinkle in your eyes. And my conservative family burst into a warm smile that silenced the hullabaloo of the station around us. That day when I looked at you, blushing from within and felt an aching sense to not stay back another week but rather leave with you immediately still brings back the same ache to my heart. That day, my dear Vij, was when everything fell in place. That day was when our bond of love was sealed. That day, Vij, was our platinum day of love.

With your memories in my heart,
2 February

Dear Can,

Yes, you’re right darling. These letters seem to have aired some old forgotten memories in my heart. It has unearthed so much treasure of our relationship that we had started taking for granted. For me, it has reminded me of how lucky I am to have you in my life. It has made me look back at all our special moments and cherish their unsaid treasure. Sometimes we spend so much of our time dwelling on what’s lacking in our lives that we miss out on the blatant blessing staring at us. Writing these letters and reading yours have helped me look at the positive.
Every day that you or I have mentioned has been truly memorable. It may not be stuff that romantic movies are made of, or even unique in this world as all lovers experience such moments but none of that is important. What is important is that we have gone through it, we cherish it and realize it’s worth. Whether the day we first met on the volunteering program, the day you realized I love you despite the green leaves in your teeth, the day we exchanged vows or the day you saw how much I respected your parents, all of these and every other day that we have not specifically brought out has been equally special.
But the fact that I am sitting here miles away in the middle of an African jungle fighting a crusade against something that may never be solved, for a cause that is becoming weaker as the world is becoming more greedy and times are becoming more commercial and less humane; while you are sitting there trying to be patient with me, wait for me, empathize with my beliefs – this fact along with all these letters tells me one thing. It tells me that if there is a platinum day of love for us, it is today. It is now since we remember each one of our precious moments and sit here writing about it. With your dedication towards in trying to complain as little as possible of my absence and in my efforts to align my personal and professional life constantly, today as we sit reading each other with tears in our lives, my darling, is our platinum of love.

With all my love,
14 February
Dear Vij,

How magical, how charismatic this exchange of letters has been. It has made me feel so good from deep within me, it almost feels like I am lying on a beach with the salty air brushing against my cheeks, a whale lying on the sand, some children running around happily, the golden sunset decorating the sky, the noisy waves retreating home, the blue sky hugging the fluffy clouds, soft water touching my feet, a sense of calm descending all over my body.
It has reminding me of all other wonderful moments of my life. Of those wonderful winters when grandmother sat knitting in the sun, we played on mats spread out on the terrace and mom peeled groundnuts for everyone to eat. Those school days when we rushed home to find mom ready with lime water to cool us, when dad took a day off to take us to the zoo, when our birthday gifts were everything we had been dreaming of and when our favorite food items waited on the table when we visited our favorite aunt. It has reassured me that my life has been nothing but wonderful and it has culminated into us which is perhaps the most wonderful of it all.
How right you are, Vij when you say that all these days whose memories we have exchanged have been our platinum days of love. With these letters bridging the gap between us and giving us hopes in these days of separation, we have realized that not only these dramatic days but also the quieter days of just being around each other have been equally important and worth cherishing.
So, here is my proposal to you my love. As you return next Thursday, let us celebrate this realization. As we embrace each other after so many days with gratitude in our hearts, let us make it a point to do something grand so that we add yet another feather to our beautiful relationship. While in hindsight we have realized that we have had so many days of love, let us now consciously and deliberately make us which is truly worthy of being labeled as PLATINUM. Being naturally white, platinum never fades or tarnishes. And hence let us mark our day of re-uniting with something as lifelong as platinum, and then truly call it our PLATINUM DAY OF LOVE.

Eagerly waiting for your embrace,


Check out the magic at precious platinum's fantastic page here!


Pretty long, but worth a read! :) :)
All the best for the contest! :)
Seeta said…
Wow thats a long one and written the epistolary way.. nice!

Forever Love
Canary said…
Thanks for your kind words, HWL - I tried to look up your blog and found you're a dancer, awesome :)
Canary said…
Glad you enjoyed reading, Seeta! I had a wonderful time writing it :)
Nirvana said…
the first word that came to my mind was 'looong' .... but as I read on, I found it was a lovely, unique post, with almost everything in it! Nicely written.
Nirvana said…
the first word that came to my mind was 'looong' .... but as I read on, I found it was a lovely, unique post, with almost everything in it! Nicely written.
Nice read. I was a letteromaniac and I can relate to your story. All the best with the contest and with your love life.

My entry for the contest is Be sure to drop by!
Canary said…
Thanks Nirvana... always happy to hear encouraging words :)
Canary said…
Thanks Dr. Lawrence.. a letter maniac can truly understand my emotions here...

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