Goodbye My Love: Part 2

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I called my high school friend Giri late that night. Giri was majoring in arts and I thought he might know her. I’d known Giri since grade 9. We studied together in high school and were roommates in first year at the university.

There was something that made me envy Giri. He had been closer to more girls than any guy I’d befriended. There was a rumour that he was living with his fourth girlfriend now. But Giri had not been much help. All he knew was that her name was Priya.

I was determined to talk to Priya, to convey my interest in her. I was not sure how I would approach and talk to her. Should I introduce myself and pick up a conversation? No, that would not work. She looked like a traditional Tamil girl and the last thing she would do was shake hands with a stranger. Should I say hi and try talking to her? Would she be interested in going out with me? Or would she prefer an arranged marriage? I went to bed that night with a thousand and one questions in my mind.

The next Wednesday, I left class a little early and waited for her in the hallway. I waited there with anxiety to see her. With each moment, my heart pounded at double the normal rate. I saw her coming and when she neared me, I said “Hi”. She smiled with her head down and continued on.

There was a little progress the next time I met her. This time she said “Hi” in her sweet melodious voice that kept ringing in my ears for the rest of the week. Later in the weeks, I ran into Priya a number of times, most of the time exchanging smiles. Once I saw her in the library waiting in the line to check out books. Seeing her, I grabbed a magazine lying near me and joined her in line.

“Hi,” I said with my heart pounding and my romantic blood simmering. “Are you Tamil?” She hesitated without knowing what to say. She had no choice. She nodded her head like a typical South Asian. “I’m Ranjith. I’m Tamil too.” I trembled, with my right hand coming out of my pocket to shake hands. I put it back knowing well she would not shake hands lest she spoil her reputation and make herself unsuitable for arranged marriage. “I’m Priya,” she said with nervousness, her voice sounding more melodious than the last time I heard it. I did not know what to say next. But I noticed our nervousness gradually disappearing.

“May I help the next person,” the librarian called. Priya left and I joined the next librarian. He was puzzled as to why I would borrow a magazine in the Russian language. I was looking around the circulation desk turning my head occasionally to see Priya. Would she say bye to me before she left the counter? I was wondering. Yes, she did and I was happy about it for the rest of the day.

For the next two months, I met Priya infrequently. Most of the time we would be involved in short conversations. I would ask her about the exams or complain about the weather. She would respond and leave. I did not notice any enthusiasm in her when we met; no emotion to convey her reciprocal interest in me. Meanwhile I was thinking of her everyday, each time building up emotions within myself. All the while I was ignoring my course work which was very heavy in my final year.

My lab partner once complained that I was slacking in my group project. Once when I was having lunch with a group of my friends, one guy whispered. “Have you noticed? Ranj is behaving strangely these days” There was a silence and everyone looked at me with pity. “Yeah, he’s gone crazy. He doesn’t talk to us anymore,” another quipped. I realized that what they said was true. I had not been talking with them lately. The only thing I was interested in was meeting Priya. I’d been thinking of her each day, cherishing our every brief encounter.

It was time that I convey my interest in her, I thought. The semester was coming to an end. And I had to catch up with the courses that I’d not been studying. I thought of next week to be the appropriate time to convey my love. I would meet her after my elective class and pour my heart out.

That Friday I decided to go to Toronto to visit my parents. I wanted to tell them all about my newly found love. I was fortunate to have parents who would accept my decisions. They would not be like my cousin’s parents who stopped all contact with him for eloping with a girl. My mother would be relieved that I was in love with a Tamil girl. She would be more relieved if I told her that the girl appreciates our culture and can understand and speak Tamil.

I packed my bag and went to the bus station with these thoughts. I bought my ticket from the counter and turned to go to the bus. That’s when I saw Priya waiting in line to board the bus. A guy was standing next to her with his hands around her waist.

I stopped. I did not feel like taking my next step. I stood there like a statue. A cold discomfort invaded my blood and I sensed the feel of icy air in every pore of my skin. I felt my heart missing beats. Priya was smiling and laughing with the guy. The same smile I’d adored each day for the past two months. I looked down in melancholy, not wanting to look at Priya.

When I looked back at her, she had boarded the bus and was sitting next to the guy. The driver closed the door and started the bus. The bus was leaving slowly. I saw my hands unconsciously coming up to my chest and waving her goodbye.

I left the bus station with my thoughts accompanying me and feeling sore about everything. It was snowing lightly and the street was quiet. The breeze was balmy like the day I first saw Priya. And the pavement was covered lightly with snow. I walked slowly. But this time I was careful with my steps. I did not want to fall down.

– R. Nada

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11 thoughts on “Goodbye My Love: Part 2

  1. Since the story is narrated from the first person it held my interest. I had a hard time though sympathizing with the main character. He has no clue about what sort of person “Priya” is yet he is completely head over heels for her.
    I wonder how can this be called love? You get to look at someone and then you decide that you are in love. What if she has an acid tongue, she doesn’t want to fit in a traditional Tamil family, will argue with you like mad, had ten affairs in the past, will ask your “Amma” to shut up or any such thing. Is being good to look at enough?

  2. Politically incorrect, but here’s my opinion. Men are taught to judge or admire women solely on their looks. Blame it on folklore, books, media, movies etc etc. In our tamil movies,heroines rarely have any role beside singing,dancing and looking pretty. Most of the time they are not even tamil. This somehow carries on to our real life. So it doesn’t matter how bitchy she is, how lazy she is, or how dumb she is, if she looks like Priya Anand, guys want to put up with it and make it work. Cannot blame this guy.

  3. I have to agree with you about not being able to empathize with the main character. While physical appearance is usually the first thing you notice about an individual, this guy’s entire one sided love story is about the way she looks. He was going to tell his parents about her without even making sure she liked him back, all based on a few short ‘bump-ins’ they had. There’s also so many assumptions being made about this poor girl. For all we know, her shy smile was actually one of discomfort and awkwardness. Maybe love really does follow no logic and reason…

  4. In response to Vk Krish, I don’t think you saying ” if she looks like Priya Anand, guys want to put up with it and make it work.” is agreeable. You can’t just depend on the beauty of a girl and “try to work with” the other qualities she has? A person is so much more than their external characteristics

  5. Suba Mahenthiran I told you there was a guy who was madly in love with me!#?%*! Im just not sure what happened to him U0001f614 nor do i know the guy who had his arms around my waist apparently U0001f61c ok so the story doesnt fit me perfectly BUT my name was in it so make it work U0001f44cU0001f3fe

  6. Vk Krish, U0001f602U0001f602U0001f602U0001f602U0001f602U0001f602 you predicted the outcome of this colostomy bag of a story after Part 1.

  7. Pray do tell, what does a traditional tamil girl look like? Was she in a dhavani, sporting an unwaxed moustache, kulungura kaal changli and roaming the hallowed halls of higer education in bare feet? Or was it the way she carried her books on her head like a water paanai that gave it away? Please tell us about this “looku.”

  8. The only way this story would be more pathetic would be if you displayed it over a popular medium for other people that bask in your self-pity.
    Oh wait….

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