I spent almost six months listening to Coldplay's The Hardest Part daily that year. Being the lunatic romantic that I was then, I didn't deem it just coincidental that I first heard its opening lines the night of the call.
… And the hardest part - was letting go, not taking part.
'Twas the hardest part.
A little under three years back, I sat at the top edge of a U-shaped classroom, on the precipice of an exciting new social milieu. The air was full of pre-emptive judgement - every single garment, hairstyle, word and activity was being fed into a mixer-grinder in each of those ninety-odd brains to churn out early opinions. For example, despite assertions of being a wanderlust-afflicted lover of philosophical discussions, the patch of hair dyed blonde above his forehead lent one man the stubborn, if not imaginative, nickname Blaundie. As an articulate gentleman earned awe by mere mention of his work with the government and a masterfully controlled motion of hands as he spoke, time flew before the spotlight came to my seat. The recently-oiled rotating chairs didn't creak, but I could feel every single turn of all those chairs as if they were tightening the knots in my stomach. I tried breaking the tension of the momentary silence by quickly narrating my funnily long full name, and then managed to muster just one more sentence - I like finding out the origins of words and phrases.
Editing sessions for the college literary magazine mostly didn't even bother pretending to be that - we'd traipse in well after the agreed meeting time, and proceed to chat about everything in the world save the stories, poems and book reviews nobody would read the next month. It was in one such meeting, staring into a ceiling dotted artistically with used teabags, that I wondered aloud - Why do you think the phrase falling in love came to be? The conversation swung wildly - from the physics of love as a gravitational force, to the semantics of love as a state of being, via countless crude jokes. We never reached a conclusion - even a couple of minutes of Googling didn't particularly help - but the armchair etymologists all seemed to agree on the presumption that much like love itself, the explanation would probably seem fairly irrational.
If the only words you've ever spoken to a girl are "That wasn't Barbie - I think it was Batman.", it's a real stretch to say you had fallen in love. But, as Chris Martin's voice achingly explained, falling is easy. Once you're in the act of it, the ground beneath your feet quickly disappearing, your body quickly passing control to a fickle force, and your eyes feeling the cold slap of flying time, letting go is the hardest part.
The call began the fall, so it was only poetic that an SMS was the dull thud that signalled its break. The real sign of progress, though, isn't just failing and falling, but being in a state to be back up for the next fall. Over another phone call a few years later, I was in love again. But that's fodder for another story…
P.S. - A batchmate from A has started an e-zine that intends to publish a bunch of articles every weekend. Do check it out here. I'm hoping this post should go up on that sometime this week or next.