Sunday, 12 June 2011


The artist sat down before the young girl.

The young girl was very young and very beautiful. She was wearing a white top and a light blue skirt. Her lips were strawberry red and her hair was jet black. She was creamy white and smelled like newly blossomed roses. Her eyes were small and her breasts were full. Her face was vibrant and her personality was charming.

The artist took a liking to her instantly.

She had come to take his interview for her high school magazine which she edited. During the past month, she had sent letters to numerous artists in the city to try to fix an interview with any one of them. None consented except him. His reply was gracious and brimmed with enthusiasm. He asked her to come to his place any time in the evening the following Monday.

She was surprised at her luck. He was the one she had least expected to reply. After all, he was the most famous love poet in her famous city, the city of love. He was a busy passionate man, as she had heard. At a very young age, somewhere in his early twenties, he had achieved the mammoth. Lovers loved him. Youngsters adored him. Old people praised him. Critics showered all the glories on him. Young maidens in the city wanted to marry him. A lot was said about his poetry- it transformed; it made people fall in love; it helped people in realizing the value of love. He had a huge impact on the city which didn’t go unnoticed. Even the mayor of the city once commented on him, “He’s the Angel of love. And his poetry is the expression to explore and understand love.” But, she hadn’t read him. She didn’t indulge herself in romantic literature unlike her friends who were run over by the love virus which he had spread. She was adamant on not succumbing to it.

That Monday, she reached his place before dawn. His sister, who was old and pretty, gracefully received her at the door and told her to wait for him in his room. She obliged. To her despair, she saw what she was expecting: a small cheap untidy room. Books were scattered. Pages filled with poems were flying in the room. The window was open allowing the quiet cool breeze to enter. Pencil shavings had taken up one corner of the room. Paintings of naked women were drawn on the walls. And a funny smell irritated her. It was all a mess. A dirty mess. She felt uncomfortable. She hated it. She had barely made herself comfortable in a chair when he came into his room. She raised her head up and saw him.

He was certainly in his early twenties yet he radiated an aura of wisdom and passion and love which she had never in her life before experienced. He was wearing an off white shirt and a pair of faded black trousers. Tall and lanky, he had a feminine walk. His face was slender and shaped by a classical nose. He was bald from the front of his head and his face was clean of any hair. She inhaled his smell: he smelled of love. However, it was his eyes which most attracted her attention; they were unlike any other eyes she had ever seen. They were large and round and drooping and dark black and dreamy. A touch of mystery and sadness revealed through them. In his presence, she felt awakened. All her senses rose to respond to his love and kindness. So, when her eyes met with his, she caught a glimpse which would disorient her temporarily but would stay with her for ever. She knew for the first time in her life that she was alone and there was nothing she could do about it. She accepted it. She wasn’t afraid. On the contrary, she felt a glowing wonder enveloping her soul. She was blissful. She was in wonder. In spite of being alone, she wasn’t alone. She had him. And then, he gave her his lop-sided smile which pierced her heart and touched her soul. Nothing in this universe existed besides her and him. Time had stopped. They were together. And, trapped in that void, their lips met. She was kissing him and he was kissing her. He was making love to her and her whole being blended with him and they were one.

She was in love.

Love at first sight.

After she controlled her unprecedented emotions, after they exchanged pleasantries, after they had the evening tea, she unbuckled her folder, extracted a list of questions and a tape recorder. She smiled at him, the cute girlish-giggle, “Are you ready?”

He nodded his head.

She switched on the recorder.

Clearing her throat, she asked her first question, “Sir, how old were you when you wrote your first poem?”

A twinkle came into his eyes. She was eagerly awaiting his response. After a while, he replied, “I do not know. My mom tells me I was three years old when I wrote my first poem. I don’t have it though. So, I’m inclined to believe that I have been writing poetry since my birth. Maybe, since I was conceived in her womb. It’s an impractical thought in the practical world but in my poetic world, it’s real and it inspires me.”

While he was speaking, she was lost in his voice: so clear…so strong…so full of conviction…so low…so hypnotic…without any gestures, he spoke…without any movements, he spoke…his every word registered with her…every emotion behind his words was felt by her…he was a man of integrity…he was an honest man…he was the man she loved…she wished she had read his poems…and he had to ask her to ask him her next question…his answer had finished long ago.

Embarrassed, her love deepening, she continued: “It’s a known fact that you write on love; that love is the main theme of all your poems. So, what’s your inspiration? (An uneasy pause) Have you ever been in love?”

Silence. Again the lop-sided smile. So poignant that she stopped breathing. She desperately wanted its answer. It was killing her. Then, gazing outside the window, he commenced, “Who hasn’t been in love? Love is the inspiration behind love. At your age, beauty is love. At my age, beauty blended with sexuality is love. And I really don’t know what love is beyond these years. Now, as far as your question is concerned, yes, I’ve been in love. Once, a long time ago. Alas! It wasn’t reciprocated. But, I do not regret it. I learnt a lot from it. It matured me. It gave me a new insight into myself. That’s when I discovered my real talent for writing. So, I owe it all to that girl I loved.”

She carefully ventured, “Are you over her?”

Still mesmerized in his trance, he continued, “You can never grow out of love. It’s impossible. If you do it, you were never in love. The only way to get over love is to find someone you love more than your previous love. And that cannot be planned. It just happens. (He looked at her) That’s why I say: Once in love, always in love.”

Breathing at last, sudden tears dampened her eyes. Sniffing, looking down, she was aware she may never have him. It was a dreadful thought. But, it was the truth. And innocent love scattered her life into pieces. Love was suffocating her. She wondered why she couldn’t tell it to him. What was stopping her? She had no idea. Wiping her tears away, noticing he had resumed looking out of the window, she questioned her third question, “What is your take on art?”

Immediately, without a thought, he replied, “In my opinion, in the very essence of humanity, every soul is a mother, a creator. That is art. My art is based on the doctrine of love. I believe love is the most powerful element in the universe. So, naturally, my art takes the expression of love. So, naturally, my passion is visible through my art. So, naturally, my art touches the other person. Art is subjective. Art gives an insight into the character of its artist. Every art exists on the morals of its artist. And art is powerful. Indeed, very powerful. However, it nurtures in solitude and in pain of its artist. I often tell my sister: Art is my way to escape from reality to the reality.”

Those were the three main questions she had to ask. The interview was over. It was time for her to go. She was getting late. The sun had already set. Reluctantly and agonizingly, she collected her folder, her tape recorder and her list of questions. She packed them in her bag. Extending her hand, she stammered, “It-it was nice to meet you, sir (On the verge of breaking down). I greatly appreciate your co-operation. I-I hope you all the best for future.”

He didn’t shake her hands.

He leaned backwards in her chair, staring intently at her. She didn’t feel uneasy even though she knew her soul was being studied. To her, it was natural. To her, it was love. Then, he picked up a pen and quickly scribbled down a few lines on a piece of paper. He folded it and passed it to her, “Read it when you reach home.” Then, he kissed her on the cheek. She blushed in divine pleasure. His sister and he said adieu to her at the door.

While trotting back, she promised to herself to forget him; she promised to herself she would not read his poems; she promised to herself not even to read his note; she promised that she would never fall in love again.

However, no sooner had she entered her house than she unfolded the letter and under the street lamp, read his soft handwriting with tears of love and of solitude flowing down her cheeks:

Dear love,

The moment you set your eyes on me, I knew you fell in love with me. I don’t know how I knew it. But, I knew it. Even a hidden emotion reveals itself through a little smile. My dear, love is not an emotion to hide. It can’t be hidden. So, never hide it. Moreover, I know in the melancholy of your youth you have already decided that love is not meant for you. You are wrong. Love is meant for everyone. You cannot run away from love. If you try to do that, you’re harming none but yourself. Keep on falling in love again and again even though it hurts you. And remember: once in love, always in love.

With best wishes,
Your dear friend.

That night, when she couldn’t go to sleep, she read the letter again and again and again. The whole night passed away like this and before the sun rays hit the horizon in the east, she had written a beautiful poem on love. She was happy. She still loved him. She felt great about it. But, now, she was ready to embrace more love and more life.

Her romantic journey had begun.


-Harsumeet Singh