Thursday, September 5, 2013

Jab we met (part two) - "the gentleman"

(One of the photos we took together)

So, we met...and there was an instant magnetic connection. A dynamic, otherworldly "click", so to speak.

And stupidly, the first emotion I felt was fear! I was literally taken aback and my heart was racing, every single time I saw him. I was scared at the force of this thing - this deep magnetic pull. He seemed to understand my soul, without even me having to explain myself. He was so soft, gentle, and kind. I found my home in him. We could just look at each other and know what each other was thinking.

It was so different than anything I'd experienced. It was confusing, to say the least. I was scared and resisted him initially, but he stuck around. He was always there, like a rock - no matter what I did, he offered himself up to me so purely and without even asking anything in return. Just because he wanted to be around me. He accepted me and loved me for who I was, and never asked anything of me.

After the first day we met, we spent every single day together. We were instantly attached at the hip like Siamese twins. We used to go out to eat, we used to go out for long walks together and just talk about anything and everything, we used to watch movies together, and he helped me with my photography. Every evening, he walked me to the door of my apartment. We would always have one meal per day together - whether it was breakfast, lunch, or dinner. We used to love going to Johnny Rockets because we both liked how the waiters would all of a sudden break down into singing and dancing, like a Bollywood movie. Sometimes he would wait outside my class building to walk me to my next class. We became best friends.

It seemed like everybody around us knew that we were going to be together, before we did. One time I was over at my friend's place, and Madhavan texted me "How's your day today? What are you thinking right now?" and my friend saw the text and said, "Dang, he's thirsty!" and I was shocked. No he's not, I said, he's just a friend. She said, everytime we hang out he texts you like that. And then one time Madhavan & I went to the mall together and someone saw us there and told my friend that "Alexandra's got a new boyfriend" even before we were officially dating. And our South Indian friends were sooooo jealous. I guess it was like watching some Bollywood love story play out, and they were sitting in the front row with their popcorn - partly enthralled, partly envious.

The first movie we saw together was King Kong on a cold January night. We shared snacks, and our hands touched occasionally. Every time we accidentally touched, it was like a spark went off. When the movie got over, we walked across the parking lot to my car. It's so cold, I said, shivering. Madhavan immediately took off his jacket and put it around my shoulders. I just died inside...I wanted him to just kiss me right then and there. Instead, he put his jacket around my shoulders and smiled at me, and I felt his body's warmth in the jacket, his smell...it was like he was holding me closely. I got chills... on top of my chills!

In the first few months as we were spending every day together, I was also taking this complicated photography course - large format photography - where we had to take pictures with this huge 19th century camera - you know, the one where you have to put the blanket over your head. It was really time-consuming and difficult for me to have to take the whole camera all apart and put it back together, every time I wanted to take a picture - especially since I was used to taking quick documentary-style snaps. Madhavan would accompany me each day on my photo shoots around the city, carry the equipment for me and set the whole thing up for me. I really didn't need him to do that, but he insisted. He was always sweating in the heat from carrying that heavy old camera. After so many weeks, I said to him, "Look, you don't have to do this. You're not obligated to help me. I feel like I should be paying you for all the time you've spent helping me" and he got really mad. "Why are you asking to pay me?" he said, so upset. "I like to help you, I like to spend time with you. I'm not that kind of guy...you don't have to repay me for anything." I was so confused.

Another time, I wanted to go out and take pictures of this old civil war fort, and Madhavan came along to "help me" as he always did. When I was focusing the camera, I mistakenly stepped on a mound of fire ants. In an instant, all these red ants crawled up my ankle like swarming bees and bit me to death. I started screaming and crying as I felt them biting my skin off. I was limping - my foot was swelling up double the size. It was Saturday and all the health clinics were closed. My foot was throbbing. We drove back to his apartment and he got some antihistamine cream from his roommate. My foot was killing me, and it was so itchy. Lay down on my bed, he said. I held my breath...was he going to make a move? He massaged the cream into my foot and it started to throb less. He kept massaging it, as I lay on my side. He never looked upwards at me to try to look up my dress (I was secretly watching him to see if he was a pervert, and he did not) I fell asleep as he was massaging my foot, I felt safe with him. When I woke up, he was sitting on the floor beside the bed, just staring at me. I was startled, and feeling shy that he was watching me sleep. How long did I sleep for? I muttered. Two hours, he said. You were sitting there like that for two hours, watching me? I asked curiously. Yes, he said. I just wanted to make sure you got some rest. I left in a flurry. I was stunned that he just sat there the entire time to watch me sleep and never tried to make a move. What was going on with this guy? I thought.

(A square near our apartments)

I don't remember the exact moment that I fell in love with him. At first it was this instant love - an eternal love, that was known to both - and then after, came all these little collective moments which combined into a swirl of love and friendship. Every second we spent together, I felt the magnetic pull bring us closer together. It became unbearable to even be in the same space with him and not want to embrace him. It became unbearable to even think of anything else. Lovestruck...we were...

I also used to come to his building to do my laundry, as there was none at my building. He lived in this crappy old apartment building that was literally falling apart. The elevator was said to be the first one ever built in Savannah. We were taking the elevator down with the laundry - just the two of us - and suddenly, the elevator got stuck between the 6th and 7th floor. OMG... I thought. Here I am stuck in an elevator, all alone, with this man I love. I thought he would definitely make his move and kiss me right there. I was literally about to explode. Finally, we get some privacy...will he tell me he loves me? He just stood there and looked at me. I'm scared, I burst out. What if the whole thing collapses and we die!?! Internally, I was cursing him, You stupid idiot! We are close to death and you're not going to profess your love for me? He phoned the fire department and tried to calm me down. He started to pry open the door to try to find out if we were close enough to one of the floors so that we could crawl out. I was just melting, I thought, He is so hot when he fixes things! Lo, and behold, half an hour later the firemen came and we crawled out onto the 7th floor through a small opening. I ran out of the building, almost crying. Madhavan thought I was scared from being stuck in the elevator, but in reality, I was totally pissed that he didn't make a move. He ran after me and walked me back to my apartment, as I grumbled with frustration inside.

Getting to know him better each day made me love him more and more to the point where I couldn't deny it or shy away from it. But I was still very confused, because he never made a bold move and asked me directly if we were going to be boyfriend & girlfriend. He was different than other men that I'd had interactions with. He wasn't so aggressive. Some men are all about the chase, and then as soon as they've got you, they lose interest. I never had someone show me they loved me by their actions, like Madhavan did. It was all in the actions and the thoughtful gestures - not by words. Madhavan was stoic, he was just always there. He was always wanting to be near me, but at the same time I never got the feeling that he was chasing me. There was no aggressiveness whatsoever, and that was very foreign to me. I didn't know if he wanted to just be friends or if he was in fact interested in me romantically. I felt if he was giving me mixed messages, and I even questioned if he was gay because he was SO slow to make a "move"...lol!!! All along, in my natural instinct, I knew he loved me. But I questioned it a lot, I doubted it, because I was used to the idea that the guy was supposed to "scoop you up and kiss you" type of thing. This confusion went on for months - 94 days to be exact - and I was losing patience. I wanted him to admit that he also loved me too so we could move forward with our relationship. But I wasn't sure...did he love me? Or was he just being a good friend? Like any girl, I consulted my girlfriends. They concluded, "There is no way a guy would spend that much time with you every day if he wasn't interested in you. Can't you see the way he looks at you? The poor guy is like a lovesick puppy! He is obsessed with you! He follows you everywhere! You're going to have to make the first move." I began to realize that there might be some cultural differences at play in our dating styles.

Occasionally, we used to go to this psychic that I loved, down by the river. She was this young pregnant gypsy lady whose predictions were always spot-on. After I realized that I loved Madhavan, I went to visit her again because I was confused. I had never taken him there before. He sat outside in the waiting room while she did my reading. She turned over the cards and smiled to herself and shook her head. I remember some of the cards - the lovers, the wheel of fortune, four of wands...She paused and looked at me. What is it? I said. You already know your husband, she said. I gasped. Who is it? She smiled, You already know who it is. She pointed outside to the waiting room, It's him...go....go join him. I was flabbergasted. Madhavan will be my husband? I thought. But how did she know?

One evening, we decided to stop all our schoolwork and just drive to the beach for a walk in the moonlight. After four months of all this nonsense, I thought for sure that this would be the night...when he would make the first move. We walked along the beach for hours as we talked non-stop about everything in our lives. The moon shone over us and illuminated our path. The stars twinkled above us and made different shapes - we even saw a shooting star. The sound of the ocean ebbed and flowed, giving us the most romantic music to our ears. The sand was gentle beneath our feet. There was nobody on the beach but us. He looked at me with such love and acceptance. We walked and talked, we sat down on a swinging chair close together, we laid down on the sand, we got up again and walked for miles and miles as our hands and feet bumped into each other awkwardly. He STILL didn't make any bold move. We headed back to my car and I dropped him off at his apartment. I went back to my place, a bit defeated. I told myself that maybe it just wasn't meant to be, maybe he wasn't interested in me? In that moment I began to accept the fact that he may never muster up the courage to tell me his true feelings. I didn't know whether to pursue it or just let it go. I washed my face, and got into bed. Suddenly, my phone lit up. It was a text message from Madhavan. It said, "Goodnight darling. You looked so beautiful in the moonlight. Love, Madhavan" attached with a rose and a heart icon. I jumped up. "WHAT THE F***!!!" I shouted angrily to my empty apartment. I punched my pillow. "I KNEW IT!!!" I screamed. I didn't know whether to be pissed that he took so long, that the boldest move he made was through a text message; or whether to do a happy dance that he finally MADE a move. That was my green light...

The next day, we had planned to drive to South Carolina for a mini-day trip and I was completely distracted  from the night before and we ended up getting lost somewhere in the rural back roads. I had so much on my mind and I didn't know how to approach the situation. It didn't help that Madhavan acted like nothing happened when he got into the car. I thought he would profess his love for me the second he got in, and instead he just sat there with that stupid lovesick-puppy look on his face!!! It irritated me! I stopped the car on the side of the road. "Do you have something to say to me?" I said in a serious voice. He looked a little scared. "Can you explain your text message last night?" I pressed. He shrunk into his seat - he thought I was scolding him. Suddenly, I just yelled at him, "Where do you see this relationship going? DO YOU LOVE ME OR DON'T YOU LOVE ME? Why can't you just tell it properly?!?!?!

He looked relieved. "I do love you," he said quietly. "I loved you from the moment I saw you and every day since then." I softened up. I felt bad for yelling at him. "Why did you take so long to tell me?" I said. 

"I was trying to be a gentleman," he said.


To be continued...



Click HERE to read the previous chapter: Jab we met (part one)
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11 comments

  1. That is a very beautiful story and very beautifully narrated. Madhavan sounds like a real gentleman. You are very lucky you did not get into the company of those stupid Indian guys, who act like they are on rumspringa when they come to US. lol. You got yourself a keeper girlie. lol. I am very depressed that I am moving in two days, and your story brought a smile to my face this morning. Can't wait to know what happened next.

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    1. Thanks so much, so glad that it brightened your day. I love when that happens!
      I really lucked out with hubby, and thank god I didn't give up or he didn't give up!

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  2. This is so freaking cute I want to scream LOL. He sounds amazing, almost as amazing as my boyfriend :P but not quite. Ahh this is just adorable. Update more soon!

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    1. Thanks so much :D It made me so happy to retell this story and reminisce

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  3. I was laughing by the end of this. Though it is true culturally - most people do not have a clear defined dating here - they talk talk & it goes like did you tell your parents about me (for marriage) in contrast to people in East Asia. The guy is a friend - he hangs out a lot - then he has to ask for dating - then ask "will you be my gf?" - then it is official

    The lack of definition bothers me.

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    1. Yea, looking back, and knowing what I know now about Indian culture and dating in India, it's totally typical. He totally thought I was scolding him from that text message! So I guess we were actually "dating" but it was really confusing to me. There was no kissing or any physical affection, which was weird for me. But then again, he has never even heard his parents say "I love you" or kiss OR HUG (!!!) even though his parents had a love marriage.
      Wait til you hear the rest of the story...more cultural dating differences to come...lol!

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  4. Where is the next part of the story? Eagerly awaited. I have been following the blog and love your take on Indian culture. Best wishes!

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    1. Thank you!
      Coming soon.....stay tuned :)

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    2. I can't wait to hear about the first kiss!

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  5. That's a really beautiful story.
    I was actually wondering and breaking my head with the famous "Can a boy n girl be just friends(best)?" and then read this.
    But i must say, i am still confused. The perfect one's towards whom i have romantic feelings treat me just like a friend and the one's who are the best of friends but nothing more are considered possible boy friends by everyone.
    I just don't understand this game any more but just happy that you made it through. Really loved reading this. Keep Writing.

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    1. It was REALLY confusing. Because I thought guys were supposed to be more direct, but oftentimes they are not. Also it is the dynamic of a certain relationship. Like with my hubby and me, I always have to make the first move! LOL

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