Monday, 13 July 2015

To You, O Captain My Captain

(Backstory: This is the 100th post on this blog and I couldn’t think of a more special letter to write. 
Shweta wrote in to me, “My friend who I love very much, lost her husband when he was just 39 last year. It’s her son Arnav’s 13th birthday tomorrow. Can we write her a letter and make her feel ridiculously loved, ensure she’s laughing and feeling safe tomorrow?”

And how could I not try?)

To You

If I could take the recycled paper on which this letter is written and wrap it around your hurting heart to make it stop? I would.
But can I offer you a lame inside joke instead?
Because I’d line up every comedian known to mankind to make sure you’re laughing in the way only you can- like warm, tropical rain you want to just stand under and get soaked in.

Sumitabh and you were the love story the rest of us spent summers longing for. 

I’ve heard my sister and her entire batch whisper about the way he’d make you smile. Constantly.
How he pursued you for months in school before you relented and how for 13 years you could not take a single decision without running it past him. 
How your favourite chai hangout was a small ally getaway few could find. 
He was the quiet in your hurricane. 
The velvety sitting place inside your constant confusion. 
Your Captain, as you always called him. 
Your best friend who’d take vacations with your son, where both of them would spend most of their time calling mum to tease and make her jealous. 
The one person who’d memorised the very important precise level of chocolaty-ness you needed from a cake. 
The boy you loved in school, who insisted you marry him before you run off to New York for a job and who you carry around in every careless hand gesture you make when you talk, even today.
But the true greatness of your love together and the absolute peak of its beauty is that gorgeous 13 year old whose birthday it is today.
Arnav is already frighteningly tall like his beautiful mother. 
I’m guessing a shorter body could not have housed the gigantic generous spirit he inherited from his father. 

Which logically leads me to say that both your great love story and that amazing boy, enter puberty today. 
From hereon, there will be acne. 
There will be the feeling of every feeling like it was invented only for you and put down your throat. 
There will be adventures. 
There will be nights spent staring at the ceiling knowing you're changing with every breath and turning into someone you've never even met. 
There will be an ending to every day knowing that the world being changed by you just existing in it. 

Hold on to all of those feelings, DK.
The world is yours and I’m around to make sure you take a huge bite of it.

Here are a few things I promise you:

To go on holiday with you to Turkey and Greece, 

because all the whirling dervishes in all of the world, had no twist in their movement that could match that infectiously happy curve of your smile.

To be the madness in your life. 

Because taking it seriously and softly will get us to the same place as dancing and moon-walking through it will.

To always be there for Arnav’s birthday.

So I can watch your love and that beautiful boy go from puberty to adulthood. Only the very lucky get to sit on the sidewalk, pop a beer and simply soak in the unmistakable glow of watching love grow.

To never fail to yell at you when you ditch me for plans. 

I’m not above calling your mother to cross check your excuse next time.

To chase rain and drive through it, like only we do

Always wondering if our car can outrun the raindrops falling just ahead. 

To sing Alanis Morisette songs out loud to you. 
For when life tries to be bigger than we are and you need reminding that you're the girl from Hand In My Pocket.

To make sure you’re up to date with my sparkling literary inventions like “scrotchers”- men who scratch their crotch.

To fill your heart with all kinds of love. 

It will not even be a smidge of what Sumitabh has given you, but I promise that it will flood spaces in your body and heart, that you didn’t even know you had.

Happy Arnav’s Birthday. It's a beautiful day today.

All my love,

                               (The really lovely Diya with the birthday boy Arnav from several years ago. 
                               Picture shared by: Shweta).

(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 love letter can go with real names, back stories, as many pictures as you like, aliases and even super powers.
The final letter will be up on my blog and a copy will be handwritten and posted to you or to an intended recipient. Kisses on the envelope only on my discretion. Give me a shout at: )