Banks of a River: A Love Story


One thing she had learnt from all her ‘failed’ relationships with people around her and especially men was that she was a ‘jerk magnet’. Men abandoned her as soon as she demanded to be treated properly or with a little respect. One of them accused her of being emotionally demanding, and therefore ‘high maintenance’. She laughed uncontrollably and in between some sober moments asked him, “So how could you dream of driving around a Merc when all you could afford was a Maruti 800….”

So, by all practical means she had decided that she was done with both – men and love, for this lifetime at least. And then, the wicked witch Fata Morgana sitting above us mortals on her regal throne decides to twist our arms further for it is our pain that she thrives upon.

She met him at a conference. Nothing about him was attractive- short in height, medium built, sweet-talker- all things she despised in men. They interacted for about five minutes before she was whisked away by one of her colleagues. She was sure that she too had left no indelible mark on him.

They met again at a friend’s house warming party. He had no clue who she was. She recognized him immediately and reminded him of their first meeting. They talked for a while and realized that they had a lot in common- rejection and dejection came easily to both of them.

She had lost her way and was looking for someone to ask for directions when he stopped his car beside hers. She rolled down the window. He bent down placing his forearm on the window and gave her the required directions. The heady smell of the musk cologne and the penetrating gaze of his soul-searching eyes made her blush.

“I was really lost. Thanks for guiding me” she whispered.

“I wish I could always find you in the wrong spot, waiting to be guided by me.” The huskiness in his voice took her breath away. Her foot refused to release the brakes on the car and before she knew it, he was sitting beside her in the passenger seat. They stole their first kiss in the parked car on a lonely street in the spring of that year.

They had their first fight in a few weeks which they resolved pretty soon. Unfortunately, that was not their last fight but fortunately they soon learnt to overcome every single obstacle that came their way. If she demanded respect, he gave her unconditional support; if she wished to be treated well, he showered her with love and attention; if she was an over-thinker, he was an over-clarifier; if she was an underachiever, he never boasted of his accomplishments.

They were the banks of a river, silently accompanying and supporting each other from a distance, for in some convoluted way, their destinies were tied to two separate individuals.

Dr. Sonika Sethi