"Since then I decided I will tell people that they are great and I am happy to have them in my life, and that they matter to me and if they decide to go from my life, I will at least be happy that I made it a point to tell them how much they meant to me."
I told this to my friend and she went to the person she liked a lot and told him that he means a lot to her, and that she cherishes his presence. She felt great, she felt free and contented. He had a smile on his face, and reciprocated the same feelings. She came back to me and narrated this incident, and I hugged her and said-'' I don't know why people do not seize the opportunity and tell people that they are likable, amazing and truly great. It is a heavenly feeling." She said that even if he had not reciprocated the same feelings, she would have had the same amount of happiness she had then. Not that a weight, a load was shed from the heart- but something which was meant to be shared, was finally out there.
One day one of my friends got startled when I was talking casually to my 'crush', a senior in my college and in the conversation, randomly told him that he was my first crush in college. I don't know whether he really felt weird or taken aback, but since then our meetings have not been weird, but have become more amazing. He had laughed, smiled and acknowledged my revelation, and it was a great feeling that I did not mediate my thoughts through someone else. Whenever I tell a person I cherish their existence, I feel that if I die tomorrow, I won't regret anything.
But what does 'since then' signify? Since when?
Not that someone I loved and wanted to spend my life with died, or someone very close went so far away that I could not reach them and tell them that they contributed to my life. When in Chennai, I used to pass by a general store where I used to eat 5 rupee Ice cream or a 10 rupees juice while returning home from school. An uncle and an aunty used to greet me with, 'vaa kanna' ( come dear), 'yepdi irundudhu school' (how was school), and other things which strangers won't really ask you. But then it became a ritual. I always used to stop there for some reason or another, and had a unique relationship with the two.
One day, my mother went for some function but came way too early than expected. I was doing my homework, on a register I had bought from the general store. My mother came, and sat next to me and started crying. I asked her the reason and then she said that the uncle in the general store died. A drop made the paper of the register wet, and the ink spread. It was a very symbolic moment for me- a single moment had changed my entire system of thought.
He had had diabetes for a long time, had developed gangrene, and one day he was gone. I forgot what was the main cause of his death, because I did not even consider asking- the fact that he was gone and I won't see a bespectacled man while passing by that area was so overwhelmingly sad that other things were fogged. Now I could only see aunty, sitting, distraught. I continued my ritual, but it was just one-sided. He was gone.
But then, all these days I had not seen one bit of pain on his face. He used to stand behind the counter, and all my life, I had seen only his torso. I never saw the pain that was being inflicted upon him by his feet, and never cared to know or ask. Everyday that man's smile and pleasant countenance used to complete my day, but I had never made it a point to tell him. 'He died a sad man. His wife and his children had left him'- aunty said. I felt, if only I had told him how much his being there, standing behind the counter means to me, he would have been happy for at least those moments I uttered those words, or at least he would have been bestowed with some contentment.
Since then, it became a system- trying to gain good wishes of people, filling in the void I felt after he had died. The feeling when the guy in the cafe of my college calls me by my name and shares his problems, the old uncle who makes nimbu pani talks politics with me, is a feeling where I believe that the void is huge, but then it will be filled
Not that fearing someone's or our own death should make us tell people how lovable they are, but it is the selfish feeling of avoiding regret, if God forbid they are suddenly gone, (death not being the only reason).The happiness one gets by at least contributing a millisecond of a moment to someone else's joy made me feel that people should know their importance in my life. Ego comes in the way, but sometimes if you take the plunge, you feel victorious after seeing it was worth it.