Life’s three romances


When I close my eyes to visualise romance, you know what I see?

Mostly snow-capped mountains and a valley of flowers.

Yes, a slow-drifting mist, too. Hey, how did you know?

Sometimes, a clear, deep blue sea and a pristine beach.

The problem is I’m unable to cast myself in my fantasies anymore. It’s always someone with a sculpted body and chiselled features, romancing a flawlessly complexioned svelte someone. It somehow doesn’t seem right otherwise.

Last month, I decided to challenge this convention.

I airbrushed that six-pack someone out of my fantasy and painted myself in his place.

You know what happened?

Almost immediately the sexy siren disappeared. In her place appeared my fortybeeeep-year-old wife. I looked around, and the picturesque locales had gone too. We were in the filthy bylane behind our building in Oshiwara.

‘What’s all this?’ asked my wife. ‘Why are we standing in the middle of this lane here, staring at each other meaninglessly?’

‘Waiting for romance,’ I said. ‘Waiting for rain. Waiting for a rainbow. Waiting for a romantic background score.’ I said.

‘You are looking for clichés to bail you out, aren’t you?’ she asked. ‘Putting together clichés is not called imagination, Rum. It’s called playback. Creativity is all about finding new ingredients. Or, at its worst, coming up with a new mix of the same old ingredients. It’s definitely not reheat-and-serve stuff.’ Saying this, she walked out of my fantasy, dragging me along into our real life.

And, as another cliché goes, reality is harsher.

For the first time in two years, that dreaded possibility dropped into my mind. I dismissed it instantly. But some thoughts are like ghosts who quietly walk through our rooms. Gone in a jiffy, but there forever. No matter how bright the lights and how loud the tv, we can be sure they’ll return to haunt us.

Is it possible- just possible- remotely possible- that I’m not cutout for screenwriting? Would it be better to go back to that unattractive old hag?

(I mean advertising. It’s called the second oldest profession for good reason.)

Is it better to be a bullfrog in a small, crumbling, dry well rather than a tadpole in a mighty ocean?

I sang aloud and drowned those thoughts on that day. But yesterday they resurfaced, like in every clichéd horror flick, just after I finished watching the Tamil film Renigunta.

In the year of Enthiran and many other star-led formulaic films, Tamil film industry saw 40- yes 40! – first-time directors make their mark. Must be some kind of a world record. These guys are not from filmi families, not from film institutes, not even from Chennai. They came from interior Tamilnadu. Majority of them have no prior film experience, either. And yet they managed to convince people to put money on what they wrote and what they wanted to direct. Most of these films even made money at the box-office.

‘What’ve they got that I ain’t got?’ I screamed.

The room echoed back questions, that I suspect were replies.

‘Maybe talent? Maybe passion? Maybe both? Maybe more?’

(Huh, bloody echo, that’s a cliché too. For god’s sake, is there anything original left for me to think of?)

You say yes? You say it’s easy to walk away from clichés? Ah, ha! Okay take this test; let’s see what your cliché quotient is. Here’s a brief:

Boy and girl bump into each other at a place. They fall in love. A song happens.

Now tell me, which hero and heroine did you think of? Which location? How did they express their love? How was the song choreographed?

Pit your answers against that of this lad who speaks no English, knows no media etiquette and looks like someone you’d meet only at suburban bus stations.

I’m presenting a haunting melody from his film that meets the same brief. Blessed are those who understand Tamil. For the rest, here’s a poor attempt at subtitling two lines from that song. Just to give you an idea of the tone.

What’s the mystery that makes it rain without drenching me?

What’s the magic that keeps distances unchanged even when I walk?

All you people out there who are yet to be married, this one’s for you!

I console myself.

‘No matter what, puppy romance always looks cute. That’s the easy route even the best take. Why don’t they attempt romance between a married couple?’

I piled arguments in my favour until I chanced upon this song from Vettaiaddu Villaiaddu. Again, a couple of subtitles:

When you go about loving me, I wonder how you know so much more about me than I’ve ever known myself

In return I’m desperate to fulfill all your life’s desires without ever asking you about them

Can romance between a husband and wife be summed up any better? It’s a relationship that thrives on selfish needs and selfless deeds. Both acts being equally enjoyable.

For all ye married souls, here’s that romance coming up!

‘Nothing for the long married?’ you ask.

Of course, I say.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by vineet on March 4, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Pre-marital, marital, extra-marital…right? Good take on romance. Never thought that way. So, what’s your score out of 3?


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