13 Reasons Why Not
By Namah R Kohli
“Be it a metre apart, or a mile,
I accept your problems, your fights and your smile,
The first poem I wrote or the song I sang,
I want to trace back to you always like a boomerang.”
I and Ananya were at L'amour, our favourite French restaurant, discussing what lies ahead. Neither do we know, nor have we seen but now was the time to be prepared. Being the brave one, she says, “We logically cannot afford this Karthik.” To which I replied, “But why, we love each other, right? We can figure things out.” Not a minute did she take to respond, “Yeah, obviously we love each other but that’s not enough and it has never been.” Even before I could utter a syllable she continued, “The distance, the time difference and our surroundings will be over us very soon and we’ll lose what we have now.” But I determinedly voiced that at least we can go down fighting for each other’s love. Without considering a minute of thought she said, “I don't want to lose you at any cost. You are someone with whom I have imagined a fairy tale and I never want to live in a reality of which you are not a part.” The furious me just sensed her degrading determination to keep this relationship alive from miles apart. She didn’t want to hold our strings taut and that just brought in fear of loss. I left that place unanswered that day, she couldn’t stop me and nor did I expect a callback. I said to myself, this place was where we first met and probably the last one too.
I felt time was moving in at a different pace for me. The world seemed so slow as if the planet had stopped, gazing and collecting thoughts as I was then. While preparing for an important meeting the next day, all I could think of was only about our discussions last night and what I will tell her when I meet her at the airport. The day was tough, it seemed so long and very difficult to just get away with. I was so eager to catch a single sight of Ananya as soon as possible. I remember sitting in an auto-rickshaw the very same minute the meeting ended. The first instinctive thing to do was to call her up and know if I can pick her up from her place. Two rings into the call, I heard a voice saying, “The person you are trying to reach is busy with someone else.” My mind knew what it meant but the poor heart kept reverberating the words in a very different tone which I never wanted to hear or accept. While I was trying to perceive, understand and interpret, the phone rang and needless to guess, it was Ananya. “Yes Karthik, you called up?” she said. Puzzled I couldn't understand the reason for her being so formal but I quickly asked, “Where are you Ananya and at what time will you be leaving?”. Her reply shook me at the moment, “I’ve already left for the airport Karthik.” Didn’t I waste a second to ask, “But this early? You were supposed to leave two hours later right? I just left the office and how would I be able to meet you now?”. Ananya usually had a hard-hitting voice but the person I was talking to was calm and composed. With that voice, she said ”Oh, actually all I wanted to say is the same thing Karthik. We will not have time and space for each other the same way, not now and not even after we get distanced. I know that you are not in support of this idea but give me one good logical reason for us to give a try to this failing long-distance relationship.”. I could feel that she had made up her mind. But I wasn’t ready to let go, at least not so easily. I said, “Why not give it a try? Let me explain why we can afford a long-distance relationship. For a while, let’s not generalize our relationship, we’ve always been so different.” As she had already made up her mind, listening to me trying to convince her made her furious. With a grumpy tone she said,” You are being emotional and we’ve always been among those couples who make practical decisions.”
I wanted us to work but by convincing her with the right reasons and not just giving away my emotions, we had always found a middle ground whenever we had a disagreement and that is how I wanted it to be this time too. In that opinion, I trailed her back to an experience which we can never forget, “Ananya, do you remember the outage of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp? There was no medium of communication but we still found a way to talk to each other the entire night. ”She instantly replied in agitation, ”Ohh yeah, I do remember, we had to send emails to each other. But what about that?”. I tried to calm her down and said, ”The odds were against us, even then, but what mattered was our desire to talk to each other. I believe, now that our problems are escalating, this is about the will to communicate that matters”. The memory void which was created soon after I said that was unexplainable. Little did her frown drop down but I adhered to my belief and took her along memory lane, “People say, Ananya never shares food” but only I know how she comes up to me to share dinner together. People say “Ananya doesn’t express her feelings” but who can ever forget her grumpy face after she has a failed bargaining attempt with a local vendor? People say, “Ananya is not competitive” but only can I imagine her frustration after losing to break her record in King of Hammer at the Timezone. These are the little things which we never shared but these long distances can be measured with these little things.”. I could see a mirage on her face at that moment. I guessed that she might have not known that I couldn’t just see but observe these little things about her. The pain in her voice was contradictory to what she replied, “But these are just in memory clouds. There can’t be more of them now.” Hearing this I wished to repeat,” We feel emotionally stable with each other not just because of the happy memories but because we’ve held each other even when things were not our way. Neither did you hold my hand physically nor could I hug you in person during these difficult times, but we could feel the presence of emotions beyond imagination.“ But she logically argued,” What if I want to hold your hand and feel your presence? What if I cannot accept the reality of you finding someone else?”. She had a point but I said, “We might meet new people, they may bring in new experiences or we may also like them but those hands will not have magic, neither will those hugs have comfort. I know that meeting new people isn’t the only obstacle in our paths, I know we’ll be oceans apart and I’m sure there will be situations I won’t be able to understand but I understand you, and that will be enough”. Ananya reciprocated by saying, “How do you plan to bring trust in this relationship across seven seas?” But trust had never been an issue in our relationship and I stirred up the memories of our favourite trip. ”Do you remember our trip to Jaipur? How a giggly girl was trusted by a man with a phobia of heights to skydive with her. She knew what she was about to do, his nerve bites just disappeared seeing her smile and trusting her over his life. Where do you find greater trust than ‘Trust of life’ Ananya?”. Ananya remarked, “Intimacy is the anchor to our relationship and distractions are the storms brewing deep in the ocean of life. I always knew that she puzzles me with her mysterious poems when she lacks the strength to defend her argument, but this time I was ready to outdo the test of our relationship for the very same relationship. ”I hold greater faith to hold back the anchor strong enough to the shore with Trust”.
Till now Ananya was trying her best to hold back her emotions and give her practical mindset a priority but she couldn’t do this anymore. She said,” I fear you are making sense to me Karthik but what if we do not get enough time for each other?” Realizing that she is convinced at heart, I went on to add,” We enjoy doing things together, the work never bothered us and all we loved was each other’s company. You’re the most spontaneous person I know and have ever met and we can make sure to bring in the madness in our paths even in those few moments”. Continuing with her ‘Slay Game’, she said, “You know my dreams, my wishes and my expectations of life and chasing them will exhaust my time and energy. I won’t be able to dedicate myself to this relationship completely and neither can you”. I knew she wasn’t being irrational, so I said,” Career is an important aspect of our lives but Ananya, life is like a huge puzzle with professional life being a small piece of it. While fixing our pieces right, we cannot afford to lose the last one too and you complete me and the puzzle of my life”. She could sense all my emotions even through the telephone lines but she didn't let go of her defence and asked, “So Karthik, What do you wish to say finally?” to which I had no clear answers and once and for all I poured my heart out. ”Memories aren’t what we have been through, they are what we remember and I still remember the butterflies I felt the first time I saw you, I also remember that you were the only one in the entire auditorium who understood my poem about why rains aren’t romantic. You are the shelter I want to find during the craziest storms of my life and that's because you feel like home, Ananya. You asked me for one reason and I’ve given twelve. Finally, Ms. Ananya Krishnan, all that remains to say is that I love you, that’s all I know and these are my 13 reasons why we should not give up on a long-distance relationship”.
Exactly 12 seconds of silence trailed my words, flashes of memories; our firsts, awkward moments, humorous texts and our warmth. But this was uninvitedly broken by a third unrecognizable voice saying, ”Ma’am, we’ve arrived at the Airport”.
Ananya’s eyes were filled with tears, I couldn’t see her but the numbness in her voice made it very clear and with that numbing and heartbroken voice she said, ”What if we try and fail?...”.
By Namah R Kohli