That is the Lehman term for a quitter. As much as it took me time to accept that fact, I was.
I quit everything- my classical dance classes, my samba classes, my ballroom dance classes. I quit my Carnatic music classes, my art classes, my guitar classes, competitions, friendships and everything that could be quit.
I was a quitter.
He, on the other hand, wasn't.
He was everything that I wasn't.
Devoted, god-fearing, strong, determined. It was as if he had been born mature.
Which was, trust me, frustrating.
Frustrating when he was supposed to be my best friend. Frustrating when he was the one who I puked on whenever I fell ill.
He was the one who would listen to my mindless chatter for hours and yet pick up my call the next day. To again listen to the same crap.
I would overreact, scream, shout, abuse, hit, punch and do every thing that is on the list of things that describe you as being mentally unhinged. He, on the other hand, would be calm, would talk in a direct voice, bear my punches, hug me when I cried and hold my hand whenever I tried to slap him. Yeah. Slapping was always the difficult part. Because well, he was too tall. And worse, I was too short.
And now I'm laughing.
Because I remember when I first had PMS at 13 and how I'd told him next day in the class that he would start PMSing too if he hung out with Anamika Sigroha too much. Anamika Sigroha being his then-crush, my worst enemy and well, someone I was jealous of for some damn reason. A reason that I'm well aware of by now.
Thankfully, he never hung out with her again and I, like an absolute juvenile, thought that my lie had worked. That was, ofcourse, till the time we played a round of truth or dare which revealed that he knew the truth better than me.
A truth that it took a lot of time for me to see.
He was the one who I would rush to whenever I broke up. I told you right? I was the quitter.
The moment things got too mushy, I would tell my date; "Hey! Listen! Udit is really unwell and is in the hospital, I need to rush to him!" And I would run off. Before the so-called magical date ended with that so-called perfect kiss.
If what I told my dates was true, then Udit would've probably died 18 times by now- of malaria, cancer, AIDS, swine flu, heart attack, dengue, and every damn disease in the world.
And then I would rush to his house, he would look at me and ask in a tired voice, "You ditched again?"
I would sit on his cupboard and pull out his clothes without answering him and he would shout down the stairs, "MA! MEERA IS STAYING OVER FOR THE NIGHT! WOULD YOU MIND?"
His mother would mutter from the kitchen, "Do I ever?"
And then I would lie on his bed and kick him to the makeshift bed on the floor and laugh evilly as I explained to him why I ditched my date again. He never really needed a reason, really. He always knew it all along.
I went through my kindergarten, high school, senior high, everything- with him. My college? He refused IIT and I refused St.Stephen's just to be together in some God-Knows-What college in Pune.
We weren't something you saw in a movie. We had our share of fights too. We had our share of people too.
It wasn't long though, when we finally realized, no. Correction- when I finally realized, that I just wanted him. He, on the other hand, always knew that he loved me. And all he did was wait. Wait for me.
We never dated officially. If sitting in his dorm in his shirt and a holey-shorts can be called a date- then I go back on my words.
The only thing that changed probably was that, instead of my "dude", he became my "darrrling". Yes, with the triple r.
"Bhaiya, chalo." I told my driver, reverting to the present.
Reflectively, I went through all my memories again, how it was so difficult to accept the fact that I loved him. Because, well, the quitter was afraid of quitting on her most prized possession.
I remembered the way he had looked at me- saree-clad in my senior farewell as if he had never seen me in his entire life. He never looked away from me, not even a minute. Probably, that was the day I realized that all I wanted was him to look at me like that.
And 5 years later, my college graduation, was when I realized that all I wanted was him. And yet, it took my feminist and obstinate heart a lot of convincing.
We did get married, yes. But it took me years of fights, tears and shouts to finally say yes. I told you, I was a quitter. And marrying him, I feared quitting on him too. And God, all those crazy things he had to do to just show me how much he loved me. Damn. :)
And that maybe one of the reasons why our first year was more of apprehension, Ekta-Kapoor's melodrama, and lots of tars and laughter. I would get up every morning, my heart hoping madly that I hadn't grown bored of him overnight. And he would get up, take me in his arms and tease, "Meera darrrling, is today the day of the divorce?" And I would hit him hard in his abs. Real hard.
The phone was ringing.
"Meer! What's up?"
Yeah, the 27 year-old man was asking his wife what was up. I chuckled.
"Nothing..are you busy?" I smiled through my words
"Oh you're in one of those giggly moods of yours, aren't you?..Well, I am slightly."
I glowed for a reason, I knew too well. "You wanna chit-chat?", I asked him.
"We're both 27 year-old professionals- one of which happens to be working."
"Fine. I just wanted to tell you something, but I guess that can wait..." I controlled the giggle that was waiting to escape, my eyes twinkling on the sun-lit car windows.
I sensed him smiling on the phone. Don't ask me how. Knowing and literally living with him for the past 24 years, just had to have that impact.
"Meera Ahuja, can you get along with it? You know I'm not going to keep the phone down till you share some of your mindless chatter with me."
I chuckled and replied in a nonchalant tone, "Fine. I just wanted to tell you that I'm pregnant. Bye."
I cut the phone and started laughing. My blush intensifying every minute, as my driver stared at me nervously from the rear view mirror.
As I shut the door of the car, a pair of hands encircled my waist from behind me. I didn't even have to look to know who it was. I just knew his touch...
"You're an absolutely mental and delightfully retarded woman who annoys the crap outta me and I love you madly for some damn reason. And you're going to be the mother of my child." He whispered softly into my ears his voice quavering with emotions.
I laughed as I unwound his hands from my waist.
"Well, I thought the 27 year old professional was busy working?" I teased him. As we walked on back to our house, I playfully hit him on his shoulder the way I would when I was 16 and told him,
"Suck it up, Udit darrrling, we're SO naming our kid the name of my choice. Except me, your choices have always been bad."
And as the moonlight slept to his laughter, I realized, that he was probably the only thing, that I had never quit on and probably wouldn't for a long time. And boy, wasn't I glad.