The following article appeared in my Sunday column 'Un Intended' in the New Indian Express.
A ROMEO AND HIS ACIDIC LOVE
I met a young man the other day. ‘I am in love,’ he proclaimed. Whatever happens in this world - terrorism, disease, war - love conquers all I thought, and volunteered to help, eager to promote love. He wanted to send a message to his girl. ‘A love letter?’ I exclaimed. He stared darkly at me. ‘SMS,’ he said and showed me the message. ‘ILU 2 DTH,’ said the cryptic prose. ‘DTH? Direct to home?’ I asked. ‘I love you to death,’ he explained, his face intense.
I got spooked. This was different from the old days when we wrote love letters scented with poetry. This msg sounded like an abbreviated death threat. Now which girl would fall for this? Meanwhile Romeo was grumbling about picture quality. I asked what the matter was. ‘I need her picture,’ he muttered. How romantic! ‘A painting? A portrait?’ I queried in joy. ‘No,’ he said. ‘I need an MMS of our intimate moments to let the world know how intimate we are. Please pass me that knife?’
A knife? To write letters in blood? He brandished the knife. ‘Yes,’ he snarled. ‘To tattoo my initials on her. Love is forever.’ Now, I got worried for the girl. Where does she live, I asked gently. He pointed at his breast with the knife. ‘In your heart?’ I asked. ‘In my mobile,’ he clarified. ‘So far we have not met, I only sent smses and called her.’
Hey, hold on! ‘Is she responding to your smses and calls?’ I asked. ‘No’, he grunted. ‘But I put up a status message on my fb account. If she does not respond, I know what to do.’ What? I asked worried. ‘Harass her and her parents until they accept me. ILU TO DTH is the motto, remember.’ ‘Look,’ I wailed. ‘I thought DTH was your metaphorical death, not her real one. Just write a simple letter and you’ll know if she loves you.’ ‘Yes,’ said the rabid lover after a moment. ‘Write a letter for me.’ ‘A proposal?’ I asked. ‘No,’ said he. ‘A suicide note for both of us in case her parents object.’
‘Why her?’ I rasped angrily. ‘You die if you want to.’ ‘Because she is responsible for breaking up,’ he said categorically. ‘How will she break up if she does not even know you?’ I queried, pulling my hair out. ‘If it’s true love she’ll know,’ he said. ‘Let’s get a bottle,’ he said, suddenly restless. Booze! The refuge of Devdas and co. ‘No,’ he said. ‘Concentrated H2so4. She is friendly with another guy.’ ‘Be a sport,’ I said. ‘Let the best man win.’ ‘I am sporting,’ he revealed. ‘I bought a baseball bat to bash her brains out. See!’ ‘Please,’ I squeaked. ‘What kind of love is this?’
‘I stole this mobile phone for her,’ he confessed bitterly. ‘Hijacked cars, robbed boutiques. What else can I do?’ ‘But they are all with you,’ I whispered, pointing to the merchandise. ‘She will get them if she accepts me,’ he said. If not? ‘Then its curtains for her and her family,’ he said. ‘For insulting my love. My love is pure. Like concentrated H2SO4.’ I had enough. Terrorism and war were better than this.
‘You know what,’ I said as I left. ‘I truly pray that she loves you ten times more than you do.’ ‘Why?’ he asked surprised. ‘So,’ I said, ‘she could get a hacksaw to show how finely she loves you. Or a pair of garden shears - to keep you with her forever. Snip, snip you know.’ Romeo yelped.