Tuesday, April 1, 2014

One in a Billion

I have believed for a long time now that no matter how old we get to be, our lives are essentially defined by a few exquisite moments that we deeply cherish, great experiences that etch themselves forever into our memory.

Graduation, the first time you fell in love, your first day at work, all the ones in your life that got away, the ones that stayed, the day you asked her if she wouldn’t mind spending the rest of her life with you, the moment the world stood still when she said yes, the birth of your first child, his first day at school so on and so forth.

If not for these moments, what is life?

That being said, there is usually a great story attached to each of these experiences and those stories put together form the chronicles of our lives.

The one story everyone wants to hear about, and one that most people enjoy sharing with others is the one about how they eventually met the one person they were meant to spend the rest of their life with.

This is also the basis of the show ‘How I met your mother’ which finally came to an end yesterday after completing 9 successful seasons.
Ted and the rest of the gang.
After 208 episodes Ted Mosby finally met the mother of his children and boy was the story of how he got there legend...wait for it...DARY !

Needless to say when you have been watching a show for this long, it starts to rub off on you a little. You can’t help but wonder if you end up in a similar situation (forcing your kids to listen to your love story) what would you have to say?

I maybe looking way into the future here, but if my children ever asked me the question of how I met their mother? I may not have enough material to make a sit com that lasted as long as HIMYM, but I hope I have some interesting stories to tell them before I finally tell them the incredible tale of how I met their mom.

The following will definitely be one of them.

With a mix of a little reluctance and a some expectation I registered on a popular matrimonial website a few months ago.

I won’t lie to you it was a good experience (atleast initially), there were so many profiles to go through, people from all over the world with vivid descriptions of their hopes, ambitions, expectations.

The initial excitement faded soon enough and consequently I stopped logging in regularly till a couple of weeks back when on Sunday evening my phone rang out announcing that someone new had shown interest in my profile.

Trying my best not to get carried away I signed in, it was a girl with an amazing smile and dazzling eyes named Priya from one of the biggest cities in the country.

I joined the website on a trial basis,I wasn't one of their esteemed golden or platinum members, neither was Priya, so like a game of chess stuck in stalemate I waited for something to happen, both of us were online right then but there was no way for us to get in touch.

All I could do for now was accept the interest and wait for the universe to do its thing.

A day went by.

 I love going to church, especially at those times when there’s no one around, Just sitting quietly inside the place of worship I feel safe, and at peace.

The ‘Our lady of Fatima Church’ at Jalahalli is one of the churches I visit frequently.
When my morning shift at work ends I spend 10 or 15 minutes inside in the church reflecting on things happening in my life or in conversation with my best friend who has been watching over me ever since the day I was born.
The Interior of the Church

Small shrines in the names of the saints belonging to the church are built at many places within the compound ; it is here that I convey my special prayers.

On Monday, the day after Priya expressed interest in me I stood in front of one of these shrines and spoke at length about all the things that I wanted for me and my family, as I started to walk away I paused for a moment, looked at the saint and said these exact same words-

“Dear Saint, on Sunday evening this girl showed interest in my profile on a website on the internet, it’s something we use to communicate ( I didn’t want to try and explain the details of how the internet works to the saint who was obviously busy praying for all the others things I just asked him for), I really want to get in touch with her but I do not know how ? I know you have many important things to do, but when you’re free I would really appreciate it if you could help me out a little”.
“Only if you’re free”, I said again and left.

I’ve noticed on some occasions that there are times when you ask God for something and some part of your heart tells you its going to happen.

I felt so that afternoon as I started to drive back home, and moments before I reached I thought I’d found the answer to my present predicament – Facebook !!!

Why didn’t I think of it earlier, it was obviously the easiest way to get in touch with someone.

Easy is a funny word.
Make no mistake when I tell you this, the people in charge of running all the matrimonial websites are smart, they do not give out full names of people or any additional detail that would help you in finding a person on your own accord. All they give you is a brief preview and if you want more info you have to pay and often pay high.

Inspite of the obvious obstacles that appeared to lay before me I set out to find Priya on the largest social network in the world.

Here’s all the details I had –
Her first name was Priya, her second name started with A, she lived in one of the biggest cities in the country and she had (like I said earlier) a pair of dazzling eyes.

I typed in all the details I had on the search tab and pressed enter.

“Your search returned 0 results” The computer screen snapped back at me.

This cant be right I thought to myself.

Oh Wait! If you type Priya A in the search tab you are obviously going to end up with no results, there had to be a second name.

But how was I going to figure out her correct second name, the only clue I had was that it started with the letter ‘A’.

That’s when I realized what a challenge the task ahead of me was going to be.

I turned away from my laptop screen.

“It’s not possible”. I kept telling myself, there are just too many names that begin with an A, It was literally like looking for a needle in a haystack.

I wish I knew when to give up and when not.

I returned to my facebook page an hour later and wrote down the name Priya Abraham, the first name that popped into my head, close to a hundred possible results came up on the screen, I went through nearly all of them before convincing myself that Priya A could not be Priya Abraham.

Next I tried the name Priya Alex, the same thing happened.

Let me save you some time.

I tried names starting with A that went from Anne to Annamma, Abel to Alejandro, Abner, Abigail and even Adele but I couldn’t find the Priya A I was looking for.

I found many other Priyas some of whom actually scared the living daylights out of me, but not the one I was looking for, you know, the one with the dazzling eyes (I’m going to keep saying it guys, get used to it!)

 2 days into this massive (wo)man hunt and I started feeling compelled to stop, I was disappointed, trying to console myself by thinking that I probably missed her page while pouring through the other profiles offered me only a little comfort.

Like I said I wish I knew when to give up.

On Wednesday evening I was taking a break from my second shift at the clinic when my thoughts wandered for a while before returning to square one.

I asked myself repeatedly which second name that began with A was I ignoring?
I had obviously tried them all.

I wondered what the Saint I had prayed to a few days ago would’ve felt like when I asked him for helping me find this person on a website with over 1 billion members without explaining to him how the internet worked.

Probably him and all the other saints in heaven had a hearty laugh over dinner as they discussed the funniest prayers of the day. I’ll admit this thought made me laugh a little.

That’s when it hit me.

“Oh my God” ! I exclaimed out loud enough for the nurse to come asking if everything was alright.

The answer was forever in front of me, right from the start.

With a pounding heart I returned to my computer typed in the name Priya followed by the letters ‘A N T O N Y’ and pressed down on the enter key.

And guess what ?

There she was, the girl with the dazzling eyes.

Priya Antony.

I had finally found the needle in the haystack.

I slumped back into my chair.

Trust me when I tell you this friends, the widest smile spread across my face.

This picture may make it clear as to why i responded in this manner-

Remember the shrine I prayed at in the Church on Monday?                                            
It was the shrine of St Antony and in the most legendary way the elusive second name that began with the letter A I had been diligently searching for turned out to be Antony.

Whenever I think of this incident, or whenever I stand in front of the same shrine praying I smile knowing full well that I’m being listened to.

St' Antony and I shared one of those exquisite moments i spoke about in the beginning of this post that Wednesday evening, and I will remember it forever.

The search for Priya Antony may not have brought me to the person I was meant to be with for the rest of my life, but it did bring me closer to God because this experience taught me that no matter how trivial or silly our prayers may seem, if we believe - they are answered, and for that I will always be grateful to her and the website that helped in making our paths cross.

Ted Mosby’s pursuit of ‘the mother’ too were filled with some really amazing stories, remember the pumpkin girl from the Halloween party? The Environmentalist Chic Zoey? Stella who left him at the altar and who can forget that psycho gal Jeanette ?

In some weird way all of these people played a role in Ted’s life bringing him eventually to Farhampton where the stars finally aligned.

I’m not saying that I wont miss the show, but I guess the millions of people who watched this series for the past 9 years will agree with me that it was about time that Ted finally met the mother of his kids.

The wait was worth it.

If you’re wondering whats next for me, for starters I’m done for good with online match making services,I realize now that the universe has its own way of doing things and it doesn’t need my assistance, all I hope for is that like ted, when my moment arrives, I have the courage to stand up, walk over to her, tap her on the shoulder, wherever we are and say hello.

For the time being, I’m just going to sit back and enjoy the ride, because sometimes in life, we just find things.