Thursday, 12 March 2015

To You~ My Vintage Man

(Back-Story: A reader of my blog, a mother of two living in Dehradun, wrote to me asking me to write a letter to tell her husband of 17 years how much she misses just talking to him. Writing this made me wonder how often we forget that feeling knows no age.
How our youth obsessed culture blindsides the everyday love of couples who navigate families and the passing of time on each others faces. It made me think of my own parents, my mum who once must have been  a dreamy-eyed 22 year old and my dad who might have been an unsure 25 year old, many many years ago. It made my heart skip a beat).

To You,
My Vintage Man

I think somewhere around the first half of  2001, 18 year olds across the world laid an absolute and complete stake on love. Every song, article and movie seemed to be stitched together for them. I want to blame this either on Mark Zuckerberg or global warming- but my arguments for both are still under construction.

Maybe I understand and remember less sharply how urgent and immediate young love can be.
How time can be warped and stretched like old gum, where days splatter into each other and nights stretch on endlessly awake. How your world can come crashing down one unanswered phone call at a time, when you softly learn that love isn't anything like you expected.
That's when I want to round up all these young lonely hearts and whisper-
"Yes, my darlings love is never going to be like you imagined. On some days it will resemble far too sharply, a stubborn, talented child- one that will go out of its way to be the very opposite of every belief you've held close to your manically beating heart. 
But that's the point of it, my babies, that's the point."

And then when I have their attention I will tell them our love story. Yours and mine. Born without status updates but as as real, as fractured and as filled with hope as the best love stories tend to be. 

A love that has been lived these past 17 years less like a grand, dramatic musical and more like an awkward walrus invited to a formal ballroom party. 
It's quiet, it sometimes doesn't fit the room and it forgot to put a bow-tie on but you can't  deny its presence. The walrus has always been there chewing its dinner and taking up two chairs instead of one.

I want to tell the 18 year olds that more than unreturned texts, sometimes love is stretched to its limits when you're faced with the possibility of loss and the sterilized stench of emptiness trapped inside hospital rooms. When a surgery turns traumatic and you're lying in bed, unsure if you're ever going to wake up. When your otherwise uncommunicative husband insists on relentlessly reiterating to the disbelieving doctors that something with his wife is seriously wrong. That his sheer presence and will is what helps you not slip into a coma.

Love my darlings, I'll whisper, is living together, sharing a room and a life and still struggling to talk. Trying to form the right words but knitting scarves of silences around each others necks instead. 
Trying to find a way to urgently tell him that his roughened, callous-speckled hands when placed on my shoulder still make my heart skip a beat. That he doesn't place his hands on my shoulder the same way anymore. 
That did he know that of all our organs, our hearts age the slowest? Despite what we put them through?
That even an argument today about extended family can leave me as shattered and short of breath as a lonely New Years Eve night can make you kids feel. 
That I never got to share how I felt and sometimes I have felt too much, too long and for so many years that the language I know is not enough.

That loving a man who isn't afraid to admit he's sorry is the easiest thing ever. 
That the same man who apologises so easily never actually wants to discuss what went wrong. That all my researcher instincts come screaming back and I revisit the days of my PhD and want to explain to him in painful detail why it's important that we talk. That it is how I've always unscrambled life and geology- by approaching a problem from every angle and reference point, till the problem itself is transformed.
That there's more hysteria and breakdown in his rigidity and structure than there is in chaos and free-falling.

'A Comparative Study Delineating The Importance of Just Talking'

The research title for the paper is already imprinted in my head.

How did we get here, you kids must be wondering and do we have an emoticon to fix it? 
Darlings, it started at 18. Once I was 18 too. 
A lithe, bronzed, beautiful girl who in every dance whirled with more purpose than empty movement. Her aquiline nose held up with pride because she recognised herself before lesser assured adults did.
Do you remember this now, my vintage man?
A girl you married and loved enough to travel across cities for, each time a birthday, anniversary or lonely Tuesday would come around. A girl and boy who got married and replicated themselves into two beautiful 14 year old twins. 

That despite the children and the history, sometimes the present feels tattooed and pierced with yearning and longing- to go back in time, to have you look at me and talk to me like when we were as shiny and hopeful as our ideals. To remember a 21 year old boy and an 18 year old girl before we became smudged with definitions of husband, wife, mother, daughter-in-law, niece and caretaker.

To talk again. To drill a hole through the undulating mountain-range of unsaid things which now lie between us. To know that it's not too late, to turn time around.  
It's March after all and the beginning of summer- that time of the year when old hearts hope the hardest.


(To You is a letter writing project I started because there are not enough letters and love going around. If you have something to say with love-- for your ex girlfriend, you current husband, pizza (promise not to make it cheesy), your landlord who let you skip rent or even Ryan Gosling-- I'll write that letter for you.
The final letter will be up on my blog and a copy will be handwritten/typed on a typewriter and posted to you or to an intended recipient. Kisses on the envelope only on my discretion.
Give me a shout at: )

 (Pictured here: Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart married from 1945 to Bogarts death in 1957. The story goes that when Bogart passed away at just 57 he was buried with a small, gold whistle that had been a part of a charm necklace he gave "Baby" (Lauren), It was inscribed from a quote from the very first movie they worked in together. It read: If you want something, just whistle.
Bacall died last year at 89.)


  1. Amazing amazing amazing

    Having no words to describe your words..

    and seriously it almost made me cry, we need to remember the golden past, when hearts were young and filled with needs good things.

    Keep it up Kakul (Y)