Statutory Warning: The author does not claim to be an authority on any subject. He only shares his experiences and what he has learnt from them. Readers are advised to exercise their discretion and decide what suits them best.
I will try and share some incidents from my life. They are still quite close to me and feel as if they are only from yesterday. My hands are sweating even at the thought of writing them down. So let me apologise in advance if I become incoherent at times.
It was first year of my college and a friend of mine (a girl - let's call her X) and I often used to go places by public buses. My friend used to fall asleep withing minutes of getting on the bus, but I could hardly sleep. It was on these bus rides that we became very good friends from being just classmates. She used to sleep in such awkward ways and her head would dangle from side to side and at times she would wake up with a jolt - thanks to the bumpy rides. One day I offered my shoulder to her so that she could lean her head on it and gradually it became a default.
Sometime in the first year one of X's friends came to Kolkata (I have done my B. Tech from Kolkata, in case you did not know). By that time I had proposed to her, but she had not said anything. Our friendship had grown stronger and I was passing each day in hope that some day I would hear from her that she felt the same way about me. Anyways... that is another story and let us not digress. So we went to Howrah to receive her friend. His name was V (data protection you see - can't disclose names and addresses). V was a nice guy, very cheerful and friendly. On our way back we took a bus. X was sitting between the two of us and as expected she dozed off within minutes. As had become a practice with me (or what they call acquired resonse to stimulus), I offered my shoulder to her and held her head in place with my palm. We reached home. V stayed with me till he was in Kolkata and he had a pleasant presence.
After V had left, X told me that he had told her that he felt bad when he saw her lean her head on my shoulders. I was taken aback by the statement and realized that X was not too happy about it either. I regained my composure and tried to see V's point. I think I understood and tried to explain to her. I was worried that this one passing thought might jeopardise X's relation with V. I explained to her that it could be the manifestation of his possessiveness for her even as a friend because after all he was her school friend and X and I had met only about six months back. Hence he felt he was much close to her than I was and hence she should have rested her head against his shoulder and not mine. It was no big deal as he did not know that it was more of a stimulus and response relationship between X and me - her sleeping being the stimulus and my offering her my shoulder being my response to the stimulus.
All of this may sound very childish and funny to my readers but then we were still kids then and as they say - the head does not have a say in matters of the heart.
After months of persuasion, X did give in and confessed her feelings for me. I cannot tell you how happy I was. But the possessive lover in me was soon to raise his ugly head...
X had a friend... her best friend (let me call him A)... He was a guy and it troubled me for the best part of my college life. At first I never told anything to X and kept everything to myself. But then it soon became visible to her. We started fighting over him and it started troubling here. I later came to know that she was having the same problem with A about me. She had become a pendulum swinging between her love and her best friend and finding time to spend with both of us.
I felt miserable about myself, but still could not get over my possessiveness. I decided to keep it to myself as X was already so troubled. But how long can someone hide a rot. Rotten thoughts always came to my mind and screwed my happiness and peace of mind. One day the dam broke and I burst at her. We wept more and talked less but then I had to get it out of my system. The more important thing was that we communicated. X, A and I started spending time together by the start of final year and soon A and I became very good friends. Only then did I realize what I big fool, a moron, I had been all along.
These were my experiences and now let me explain the idea that I am trying to drive home.
1) It is important to communicate with your friends and partners. And to communicate does not mean only to talk. It is equally important to listen (probably more important). To communicate means to understand the said as well as the unsaid (in which I am pathetic - after all I am no God). This is a process and has to happen at every stage in any relationship for it to stand the test of time.
2) In love it is more important to look from your partner's perspective than to drive your own point home. This not only avoids conflict but also creates better understanding.
3) Understand that your partner is also an individual with her own way of life, with her own set of friends (boys as well as girls), her own aspirations, her own way of life. While every individual has to change slightly and adjust to make any relationship successful, it should always be the individuals own decision and should not be imposed by anyone else. The individual should have his space in any relationship. Whenever this space is violated the individual feels suffocated, he feels caged.
4) Trust and honesty are the wheels that keep a relationship on track and communication is the fuel that keeps it running.
Phew! I feel like a preacher... does not suit someone who failed in his own relationship miserably, isn't it? But the fact is that I have learnt things the hard way - I always have - and do not want anyone to repeat the same mistakes. Even if one of my readers sees the point then my purpose of writing this post would be served.
In case you are wondering why I have held back all the names, let me end the suspense. X is my ex. She is happily married now and I did not want to refer to her in any way. If any of my readers from the west are perplexed at the issue of a girl being friends with a boy, it is still a much debated topic in my part of the world. I have gained enlightenment and I pray many other men do so soon.