When I was doing my 11th standard in my hometown, I was in a high school affair with a boy in my class. This could be considered my first ever romance as the first guy I shared a mutual liking with when I was in the 9th standard had hardly ever spoken to me. Although the colourful romantic minds of my friends and I tried to make it look like a love story, it didn’t turn out to be one owing to this lack of communication. Thus in 11th standard I finally embarked on my first romance.

I would call it a pathetic romance now as the subject of my interest was the owner of a highly toxic imaginative mind. His main hobby in life was inventing new stories of his martyrdom and complications in life every day. Fictitious characters kept pouring into my life as a result of this vivid, yet cinematic imagination. When I think about it, I feel the poor boy wanted a life of emotional high which he provided himself in the form of stories he invented and desperately believed in. The main character in his imaginative streak was a girl he named Anu. As and when required, Anu went in and out of his life. This coincided mainly with the fights we had. In one episode, Anu was the friend his family fully accepted and gave complete freedom to in their home. In another episode, Anu moved away from the neighbourhood as a result of her wanting to move away from him as she was falling in love with him. As if, that could form the basis of a whole family moving to a completely new place! In yet another episode, which coincided with a major fight we had, Anu died. I was even shown a broken piece of pendant as a proof of Anu’s existence. In a final episode, Anu’s brother sought him out and forcefully made him take in poison due to which he was hospitalized. This coincided with the 3 days he was hospitalized due to diarrhea, as I later found out. Fainting happened once in a while as required as well.

It was before I grew tired of the overdose of fiction and melodrama, and moved away from him that I decided to write a love letter to him one day. I had only heard of love letters in movies till then. So when I got the chance to say that I had a partial boyfriend, I wanted to make the most of it by writing a love letter. It was one of the most childish love letters anyone had ever written in the history of love letters. Despite the fact that I knew we would break up in the near future, at the age of 16, I declared my undying love to him and wrote I was ready to start a life with him whenever he was ready. I wrote about how we would have kids and raise them. Once I was done writing, I read through the letter and was satisfied with the outcome. I couldn’t wait to give it to him the next day, in the hope of receiving a reply, my first love letter.

As decided I hid the letter in a notebook with the secrecy with which James Bond hides a time bomb in the villain’s den. When I got the opportunity, I gave him the book, and gave a signal to let him know of what awaited him inside. Once I was sure he had found the letter, I relaxed. “Now I wait…”

The answer to the wait came quite quickly, the very next day. But the answer was not from him. It was in the form of a call from his parents to my mother. Apparently, Mr.Hero had read the letter and kept it very much hidden from outside world – on the table in his room. One would be quite taken aback on how his parents ever found the letter! (Read sarcasm). The phone call lasted some minutes, when I was trying to recall the names of all the Gods I had ever heard of, irrespective of which religion they represented. My mother hung up after the call with the expression of a mother who has lost everything in life. From what I could make out from the call, the same was the situation at his place as well. I awaited a long, miserable talk from my mother. But nothing happened.

The next day, the Principal of my school, a priest who was more interested in the love stories of students than academic matters called my mother to the school. With embarrassment enveloping her, she went to meet him. From a later account from her, I came to know that he went to the extent of saying he wanted me transferred from the school for the shame I brought about by having a boyfriend and writing a love letter. It took all my mother’s persuasion skills to convince him to let me continue in the same school. Even now, once in a while when my mother runs out of valid points in arguments with me, she brings up the day when she had to face shame in front of my school Principal. This used to shut me up until sometime before when I realized it was the Principal who needed spanking for talking to my mother the way he did.

What was the big deal actually? I still haven’t understood that. That I was infatuated at the age of 16? That I wrote a love letter to someone I liked at the time? Didn’t that prove that I was a normal kid with normal feelings? I really can’t understand the hue and cry we make about a teenage affair. Parents and teachers monitor kids like vultures to see if there is a love story sprouting somewhere and to snub it in the beginning itself. What no one tries to understand is that more than anything, this infatuation is biological. If a kid of 16 hasn’t had an attraction to anyone it shows there might be something wrong, because no person is immune to this feeling at that age. No matter how much of a geek he/she is, there ought to be that attraction at least for a small duration, either to someone of the same gender or someone from the opposite gender. For some that attraction turns to love as they grow. For some others, it ends as a fantasy. Either ways, it is a natural phenomenon. And to an extent, it is healthy as well, provided parents are there to listen to it as friends and give proper support to ensure it doesn’t go beyond the limits and affect the kid academically or emotionally.

Did this little affair and the disaster of the love letter help me develop myself as a person? The answer is yes. Wherever you are comrade, I am thankful to you for helping me learn the rights and wrongs of a relation at an age when my love life started. And by the way, thanks a lot for my first kiss too! 😉