When love can mean so much!

Graphic by Arkayana Bora

Rudraksha and Neepa had met on a dating app. Although Rudraksha was from India and Neepa was an Indian-origin Kenyan, They both felt they had finally found true love, or at least they thought so.

It was not the first time Rudraksha had tried to be involved in a relationship with a woman, and there were others he had met before. Some of whom he had taken out for dinner, to a movie, or the theatre, but in his mind, he wasn’t sure whether any of these women would like him.

From the outside, Rudraksha seemed to be well sorted, but internally there were demons he had been battling all through his life. Demons of how others found him and how others would react to him.

His uncertainty, which was part of him now, went back to when he was a kid. He was questioned and judged as a child by people around him and by his family, to the extent that he began doubting almost anything he said.

The idea that someone in his life could genuinely care for him and love him; for him felt really nice!

Neepa, on the other hand, had dated too; but was insecure about her looks as she was a bit stouter than other women and many men had declined her because of her appearance.

When she talked to Rudraksha, she couldn’t believe she had found someone so caring, for whom the idea of love was above all else.

It was the year 2000, so, you couldn’t start a date through easy face-to-face WhatsApp calls from the comfort of your home back then.

In those times, you had to go to one of the many cybercafes in town, and once they closed, you had to wait till the next day to talk again if you wanted to talk to someone from abroad.

Rudraksha and Neepa’s attraction for each other grew as they talked online, in spite of them having to go to a cybercafe multiple times, just to talk.

What Neepa loved about Rudraksha were his pure emotions and the deeply felt words with which he conveyed his love to her.

Each night, after chatting with Neepa, Rudraksha used to go to the Jetty and sit at the farthest corner near the sea, looking in awe at the twinkling stars in the sky. He could sit there for hours, staring at them and their shining reflection over the water, thinking of Neepa.

As he got to know her more, he began imagining himself and Neepa living together for eternity and starting a family together.There was an element of craziness in this dreamy notion of love that he had for her.

But Neepa was pretty sure her family would never approve of anyone who was either not financially well off or was from India. That worried her. She knew her parents would never allow her to travel outside Kenya, so the big question was, how would they then meet?

Neepa somehow found a way; her close friend was getting married in India in two weeks, so she told Rudraksha that there was a high possibility that she could make it to the wedding.

To be allowed to travel to India she said, she would have her cousin in Delhi invite her and take full responsibility for her time there..

Rudraksha was happy that he was finally going to meet Neepa. The coming two weeks were full of anxiety for him in anticipation of meeting her soon.

When the day of reckoning arrived, Rudraksha excitedly went to the airport to pick her up. He had nervous energy flowing all through, and all kinds of things ran through his mind.

Would he be able to give a first good impression of himself to her? Would she like him as much as he thought when she met him in person?

Rudraksha paid the visitor fees at the Airport Arrivals entrance and reached the arrivals hall. He couldn’t believe he would soon be with Neepa. He moved excitedly towards where the conveyor belt where the luggage arriving for flight 106 from Kenya was.

He looked around, and there she was; she looked different as he waved to her. The first conversation between them was like two strangers talking to each other.
She mustered the courage to come closer and softly murmured to his ears; I’m here, and then they warmly hugged.

When they were in the taxi, they kissed for the first time, and there was magic. It felt as if everything around them had either stopped or was slowing down and fading into oblivion when they kissed.

The next few days were great as Neepa, after visiting Rudrakshe’s parents, went with him to Kutch for her friend’s wedding.

When they were approaching Kutch, Neepa put her arms around Rudraksha, wanting to sleep a little, as the picturesque town opened up in front of them.

They had some memorable times together in Kutch, where their romance kindled further, in the background of the wedding and this exotic Gujarat Town.

After four days, they were in Delhi, where Neepa introduced Rudraksha to her cousin Amreet’s family in Vasant Kunj. Amreet and his wife Maheep were happy to welcome Rudraksha into their house and started to like him.

Amreet was this burly Punjabi guy who loved his Whiskey and Chicken, as all Punjabis do, while his wife Maheep loved cooking all his delicacies for him.

Amreet told Neepa that Rusraksha was really a nice guy, and was a good match for her.

But all this while, Neepa had not told her Mom and Dad that she had met Rudraksha.
After four days, Neepa’s dad somehow found out from Amreet that Rudraksha and Neepa were in Delhi together; and were seriously considering marriage. He was furious and told Neepa not to see him again.

It was all too abrupt, and her mother’s frail health also didn’t allow her to go against her father.

Neepa took him to her room one last time that day, hugged him tightly, and said; this was the last time he was seeing her. It broke Rudrakha’s heart, as he knew he would be alone again. Neepa went to Kenya the next day in a hurry, and they never met after that.

Rudraksha realised after this that love, at best, can be so transitory and in the end, loving the time that you spend with someone you meet, even for a little while, can be all that matters!

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