't was the night after Christmas. Just another midnight on call at these barracks I call my present residence. Not anticipating any further intrusions till the morning, I'd settled down in the Tv room to catch up on all that I've missed. 10 minutes on, after watching the latest trailor of what will probably be Hrithik's biggest career mistake and realising there were no Mithun Chakraborty movies to keep me company at this bewitching hour, I settled down to watching the usual music channel mix-n-matches.
She came in, another victim of the night duty and sat beside me silently, a nod acknowledging that I get to keep the remote ( or that I exist. )
The music channel played on - delivering two straight shots to the heart with "Kya hua tera wada" with a perplexed Rishi Kapoor and following it up with "Na Jaane mere Dil ko Kya" with a still young Kajol 'n' SRK.
"They don't make those kinda songs anymore." It was a statement, rather than a question from my side.
"Ya, I guess so. I like the tunes, but honestly ? I'm not a big fan of either of them." she replied.
"How could you not be ? Those are way up there in my top 10 songs in Hindi films."
"My my. Aren't we the romantic ?"
"You don't have to be a romantic to love songs !!"
"Tell me, Rosh. Have you ever been in love ?"
"Hasn't everyone ?"
"No. Thank God, I've been lucky."
I looked at her with my unique ( peculiar ) one arched eyebrow look. It said "What the hell does that mean ?" She countered my eyebrow with her own unique half cocked smile ( be still, my fluttering heart ) and laughed, saying "What ?"
"You call yourself lucky ? Because you've never fallen in love ? "
"Do crushes count ?"
"No, it must be a heart stopping feeling, not a "gimme 2 scoops of him" thingy. Come on, surely, somewhere, during your school and college years, your heart yearned for someone."
"Not everyone thinks that way, Rosh. "
"You know what ? That's the problem. People should start using their heart more than just being mechanical docs.. instead of just playing safe"
" It isn't always about being safe, or about parental pressure ( how did she guess that was next on my mind ? ). Love isn't that big a deal for everyone, you know."
Any further thoughts were cut off cruelly, with the ring of her phone declaring that a patient needed her somewhere within these walls. We smiled. The crux of being a doctor. Work would always cut into our life.. Be it dinner, a moment's rest or just a conversation. We knew that.
"I've gotta go. Oh, and by the way, belated Merry Christmas."
Still, as she left, I couldn't help but fire a parting shot. "And hey, I hope you find the joy of love this coming year."
I've had a lot of time to ponder over her last words as she left ( and that gorgeous smile ) since then. I realised how, even after all these years, I'm still making the same errors, wishing for the wrong thing. And it's a sad thing really. Sometimes we set our heart on something so badly, wish for something so much, we don't even realise that what we are wishing for may not even be right for us.
And if we're really unlucky, sometimes God answers our prayers. Just so that we can realise our folly. And then, it's too late.
But sometimes, if we're really really lucky, we can escape from having our prayers heard by the Big Guy.. thanks to the prayers of our well wishers. After all, the one thing I do know in my never ending ballet / battle with him is that the Big G listens when you pray for others.. always.
So, keeping that in mind, this 2008, I'm wishing all of you out there a New year that's just right for you, giving you not what you want but what's good for you. Have fun and be good, guys, gals and chipmunks. See you next year.
Oh ya, I nearly forgot, didn't I ?
What did she wish me as she left the room that night ?
She wished me freedom from the pain of love.