Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Theory of Everything

Have you ever wondered what your special power would be if you got to be a superhero ?

I found my answer to the aforementioned question in my second year at med school.

We were in the hematology and transfusion medicine lab at the hospital, our professor was describing the process of cross matching, as we stood in a semi circle surrounding her with our eyes fixed on the two slides that she held aloft, my eyes were drawn to a partly used blood transfusion bag lying in the corner of the room, near the sink.

“Do you have any questions”? She asked us at the end of the session.

There was silence for a moment.

"Ma’am, whats that blood doing there"? I asked politely as everyone stood up to leave.

"Finally", she said breathing a sigh of relief, 
"Atleast you noticed, You have good observation skills". She said and continued with the discussion

"Ha ! Not bad, I am a keen observer". I thought to myself.

I even came up with a name for my superhero avatar – 'The Scrutinizer'

I have always been fond of valentines day, to think that people all over the world are in some way or form celebrating the most powerful and profound human emotion of all is something that puts a smile on my face year after year.

Last valentines I shared the story of Amy and Sid, a couple of my closest friends who were fortunate enough to find true love in this life.

This February 14th I bring to you the story of Dr. Alex a man who taught me something very important about love and relationships.

I met Al last year, his work ethic is something I try to emulate on a day to day basis. Come rain or shine, he was always the first doctor in and the last one out, we worked together for almost a year, not once did I hear him complain, not once did I see him lose his temper, not once did he fail to perform his duties on time and to the best of his capacity.

A slightly amusing quality in Al was the fact that he developed dark circles around his eyes very easily, this happened even if he missed one night’s sleep, we often joked about this in the morning rounds following his night duties.

In July 2014 I started noticing something peculiar, Alex began developing these dark circles even on days when he was not posted for the night shift.

It was time for 'The Scrutinizer' to get back in action.

Alex evaded my enquiries, he was never good at hiding his emotions though, everytime he would say “Nothing man, Just unable to sleep.”I would notice him smile in a cheeky childish way.

“Who is she.” I asked him on the fourth instance I saw him with dark circles big enough to put a panda bear to shame.

“I think I may have met the one.” he said, smiling sheepishly

“Really? Tell me everything.” I said, nearly shouting.

“Calm down man, I’ll tell you, just give me some time.”

About a week later he told me all about this girl he had met online, how he found everything about her amazing, how his heart skipped a beat every time he heard her laugh and how they both couldn’t have a conversation without it lasting for atleast 3 hours every night.

“So, is it getting serious?” I asked him

“Hmmm, that’s where I may have a problem.” he said.

“What problem.” I asked him.

“She is not that into me.”

“What”? I exclaimed.

“She doesn’t love me dude, I just know it inside.” He said looking down on the floor.

“Are you sure”? I asked him sounding concerned.

“Ya, it may end anytime”. He gave me a brief smile, picked up his empty paper cup and walked out of the cafeteria.

Over the 2 months that followed I kept observing Alex, he was immersed in his work on most days, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t notice a slightly happier version of him every now and then that coincided with his tired looking eyes.

By October, this stopped, the spring in his step was gone, the smile was looking forced and Alex started regressing to the workaholic we all were familiar with.

He resigned with a months notice, and a few days before he left we caught up again in the cafeteria of the hospital.

We talked about work, his future plans until finally I blurted out the question

“How is it going with the girl from 3 months ago”?

“Like I predicted,Its over Thomas”. He replied.

“So, why did you go on when you knew it wouldn't lead to anything”? I asked him.

“She may not have wanted me, but I needed her, our phone conversations were the only bright spot in my life for the past few months, I held on for as long as I could even though I knew she was trying hard to let go”.

“Now that it’s over, aren’t you mad at her”. I enquired.

"Mad? I loved her man and for a short while there she gave me a reason to smile, a reason to wake up in the morning and a reason to work harder and live my life more fully than I did before, I can never get myself to being angry with her".

He got up to leave.

“Did you ever ask yourself why our phonecalls lasted for hours even when I knew things would never work out between us”? 

I was silent.

“Every time I called her, I told myself that this maybe the last time I ever got to speak with her, and so I kept talking doing the best that I could to make our time spent together worthwhile. Remember this, in life you may have some say in choosing whom you get to fall in love with, but you don’t get to decide whether they will love you back or not.”

He walked away, leaving me speechless.

The theory of everything was one of the most talked about movies this year, after postponing watching this film for the longest time I finally got around to seeing it yesterday.

Both Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones deliver the performance of a liftetime, but for me the best part of the movie came in the final 90 seconds.

In those 90 seconds director James Marsh winds back the clock to take us to a time in the life of Stephen Hawking that existed before the nobel prize, before the divorce, before the book, before the concert in boudreaux, before the children, before the time and space continuum, before the courtship,before the ALS, to the first time he looked across the room and saw Jane standing there.

Alex can never be mad at the girl he once fell in love with not because the realization that she didn’t love him wasn’t painful, but because he chooses to think of those times when love was still in the air, when there was hope, a time when her laugh was all it took for him to feel that everything was going to be ok.

Not all love stories that we hear have happy endings.

But that’s the thing about love, we can never give up on it.

Love makes no sense, it is inborn yet intangible, Intimate yet Indefinable, Intense yet Incredible, Love is….. Infinite.

And as long as we’re living, we are going to want it, that’s what makes it so special.

To those of you who are still looking for that special someone, don’t give up, i'm sure someday love will find you, and for those of you who are already in love close your eyes for 90 seconds, go back in time and think of that moment when you first saw the love of your life and fall in love with them all over again.

Until next time.