By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | February 14, 2017

“It must have been love but it’s over now.
It must have been good but I lost it somehow…”

Amanda and Raymond were sipping on their pinnacolada as this song by Roxette was being played on the Bose music system at a private restaurant they had booked to celebrate their First Anniversary of knowing each other.

As the music played, his mind raced back to the year gone by…

A strapping 24-year-old lad, once focused on life, now always wanting to ‘be in love’ and have a girlfriend, Raymond got distracted from ‘living his life’ to wanting to have a ‘love’ in his life. All his buddies, even those younger to him, had babes by their side and whenever they went out to party he was the odd one out.

He had a bright career to look forward to. At this age, he was already drawing a fancy salary, something he had never dreamt of achieving so early in life. The icing on the cake was an office vehicle and perks that meant he could splurge in hotels and have his company pick up the tab. He was serious at work and had a loving family: two brothers and two sisters. There was never any lack of ‘love’ in his life. Yet, because his friends egged him on, he somehow felt incomplete and without ‘love’.

Peer pressure had gotten to him and he was now desperate to fall in ‘love’. And so began his hunt for the girl. With his profession that had him travelling to different places in the country, it was not difficult to meet people and on one such visit to Visakhapatnam, he met Amanda, a shy 19-year-old, who worked as a receptionist at one of the hotels he stayed in.

“It was love at first sight,” he told his friends later, when he came back to Mumbai. His cheeks were glowing and he could not stop speaking about Amanda. That was in January of 2016. With the first flush of love and Valentine’s Day advertisements staring at him from hoardings to newspapers to television to the radio making V-day music, he thought it was the perfect time to pop the question to Amanda.

He surprised her with a visit to her city on February 13, and spelt out his plans to meet her for dinner the next day. Amanda was in a fix: being in the hotel industry, she knew how difficult it would be to get a day off since Valentine’s Day was a huge hit in the hotel she worked in. Their turnover of that day alone matched that of the whole month! But she could not say no. Raymond had come especially to meet her so she made plans to take the day off and spend some time in the parlor before heading for her dinner date.

Raymond had asked her to wear red. He also informed her that he had booked a special corner in a restaurant that would have just them alone. When they met outside and walked hand-in-hand into the restaurant, Raymond could hear his heart beat. Finally, he was in ‘love’. Was this what ‘love’ was all about, he thought aloud. He couldn’t care less. He never felt this way before. No wonder all his buddies were hooked onto this crazy little thing called ‘love’, he thought.

He had spent a fortune for this evening, and his pocket was bulging. Luckily, Amanda did not see it. As soon as they took their seat, Chris De Burgh began crooning Lady in Red

Amanda was in Seventh Heaven as the song began:

I’ve never seen you looking so lovely as you did tonight
I’ve never seen you shine so bright…
And I have never seen that dress you’re wearing
Or the highlights in your hair that catch your eyes
I have been blind…

The rest of the evening was a dream for both of them and before they could have their dessert served, Raymond removed the box from his pocket (the reason for the bulge), opened it, and handed a lovely ring to Amanda. No, he did not ask the question. He was too much in awe of the situation!

That was last year. How time flies. He came back to the city but could not focus on his work. His mind constantly veered towards Visakhapatnam and he soon found that he had incurred a heavy travel bill within just six months.

His production at the workplace had taken a hit; his siblings at home were worried about his constantly preoccupied state of mind. His parents wanted to know what was distracting him. But Raymond was not ready to speak about Amanda to anyone.

And finally, it happened one day. He realized that it must have been love, but it’s over now… He knew his career was suffering and this was not the time for him to lose focus on his life. Amanda was too young and too far away. She too had not informed her parents. His buddies, however, continued their escapades with babes. Most had a different girl within just a few months and he wondered how they kept pace with life whilst fooling around with so many girls.

He had decided. This was not the kind of ‘love’ he was looking for. No more ‘wanting to be in love’. He had enough of love already at home and what he was looking for was just a mirage. He finally realized that all those misleading Ads were just to tear into the pockets of gullible teenagers who thought if you did not have a girl on Valentine’s Day you were a loser.

But being the gentleman he is, he decided to fly down to Visakhapatnam and explain to Amanda. He booked the same spot in the same Restaurant. This time though, Amanda did not have to worry about taking leave. Being in love, she had decided to quit her job and began only dreaming about Raymond. That is also what scared the living daylights out of the poor lad!

As soon as they settled at their table, Roxette began her song… Amanda was shocked. Was she hearing right? Raymond was thrilled, but he did not show it. He had finally mustered enough courage to be in ‘love’ with himself and also explain to Amanda that nothing was right about this relationship.

Somewhere in the background, Roxette continued:

“It must have been love but it’s over now.
It must have been good but I lost it somehow…”

Tears began to spill down her cheeks. Raymond sat still. He was not going to go back on his decision. He wanted Amanda to find her feet in life. He knew he was doing a grave injustice to her with this long-distance relationship. He explained to her that she would soon get over him and find the man when the time was right. He wanted to focus on his career and would get serious when the time was right. He knew fooling around was not something he could do. He had tried thinking it to be ‘love’.

As his plane took off from Visakhapatnam, he felt like a bird spreading its wings to fly again. How did he even get trapped in this thing called ‘love’ he thought aloud and began smiling to himself! He thought of his siblings at home and his parents and of the time he had lost out with them this past one year. He was going to make it up to them.

In his mind he was already planning the next Valentine’s Day… with his entire family!

Also Read: “Buy a pup and your money will buy love unflinching!” 

Also Read: What if we could love 365 days a year?

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