Of Brief Encounters

My Dearest,

You came to me like an unprecedented summer – full of heat but not without the hope of rain. I know not then what it was. For feelings lied unfathomable and vacant.
I had just started to know loved by then. Not the ones that you see in movies and novels but still much like it, much like life.

It was in one such summer, or perhaps it was in autumn, I ventured into the world of David Lean films and got a glimpse of it in the 1945 classic “Brief Encounter”.
Knowingly or unknowingly my naive mind related to it. I didn’t know why and how it was related. How that indomitable desire to feel nothing related.
I came out of the theatres being close enough but far enough in living a lie.
That the thing wasn’t too far off and needs to comeback I realized later.

With time I forgot all about that film except that burning desire to feel nothing.
3 summers later when you finally went back taking with you a part of me, I stumbled upon it once again.

While playing through a range of videos in a dark night, I happened to find David Lean’s “Passage To India” which I had been searching for the past 1 year.
After some time of watching it and reading and learning more about Lean, I realized that he was the young director who gave us the Brief Encounter back in 1945.
That a life and times of a person should show so strong a reflection in his work and vision, I realized by knowing his life and work that week.

Years later, I now know, what we had and what we bore. Ours was that passage time when we were far too close when we were without each other than when we were together. At the first screening, our relationship hadn’t started and yet it had. You were there, living there beside me, inside me.
A year later, you came into my life as briefly as that train which put dirt on the protagonist’s eye. As briefly as the metro passes when I try to commit suicide.
We weren’t young then, we weren’t old either. We were just about the right age.
You all of 30 and more , and I nearing 30. Both leading a placid tired life.

Our abomination, struggle, tiredness, and my undue portrait drawing had given me a love that I couldn’t measure.
A love that was more than a friend but not a ruse. Rather it was a lifelong muse and it still is. It would still be long after I am gone.

3 years later we departed, leaving the veil of that encounter and today as I sit by watching the film alone again, I realize what it was.
What it means to have a Brief Encounter, which is meant to stay but it couldn’t. Much like them we didn’t want to depart but departed for the sake of each other.
We gave up the jobs we longed for only to stay with one another. At that time, your words, your stares and mournful face didn’t let me go to a different city. I knew it would hurt you as it is hurting me but you would never prevent me from taking it up. I tried to do the same thing when you moved away to your home but then I couldn’t.
As fond of you as I was, I was more troubled and worried for you. I wanted to be at your side and to know that you are well even if it is scarcely possible.

But you didn’t understand. You have always thought it to be a necessity when we are closer and a burden when we are away. I am sorry I couldn’t make you understand – not then when I was to go to Delhi and I didn’t, not now when you went home and I wanted to support you.
Strangely at that time, we didn’t want to be apart, and now all you want is to be apart. Strangely then you would be worried if I wasn’t online for a day but today my weeks of invisibility doesn’t matter. At that time I stayed online to be with you, now I have to leave all just to be with that memory. That time we traversed all the parts of the city knowing the routes, and alleys today I must keep running away from them only to be stabbed to death.

When the agony of being-together became unbearable, we who gave up all to be together gave in, we fast took up jobs that will fast take us away from one another.
But no matter how many times I try to leave this city and you, I couldn’t. Every time it backstabbed. Today, no other option is left than this.

Today, when I am watching the film alone again, I know what it is. You are no longer with me – both inside and outside.
Today, I know how one can be too far and never come back. Today, I know, that there’s a fine balance being far too close and yet not close enough.
No words are enough today I know.
But still, a letter is all that remains
A letter is all that was due.
An unsigned letter.

-September 20, 2019

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