The Day We Met

A true story

I remember the first time I saw you. Gate 4, Karol Bagh metro station. New Delhi, India. I was nervous, maybe it wasn’t safe to stand myself here? I was after all the first white person I know to attempt Delhi metro alone. But I stayed cool. This was one of my dreams coming true.

A few months back, you started following me on Instagram and sending me silly message. You were cute, I liked it. I was going to India in a few months, and you were clearly quite Indian, and my knowing that surprised you. We kept chatting but I never believed anything would come from it.

I kept seeing your face on Instagram, and my trip to India was getting close. I wanted so badly to ask you to take my pictures at Red Fort. But I was afraid to ask. What would your dad and brothers think? I get that. So I let it be and moved on. But you had other plans. You said we should meet up. It was a surprise. I wasn’t free for two weeks, but of course we could. I’ve never let something good go and had it come right back. How special.

Two weeks came so quick. You kept trying to ask me if I forgot about you. How could I have? Of course not. It was the part of India I was most excited about, meeting you. We made it work. 8am, Karol Bagh. September 26. You managed to convince your boss to let you come to work late the day before you tried to get off work for Birthday. That meant so much.

You looked so different than everybody else walking around. Your hair was quite curly. And you smiled so big. I liked hearing your voice for the first time, I bet mine sounded totally different than you expected it to. But that was all fine. We got on the train, and you pulled out your camera and started showing me all of your pictures. I loved how proud you were of your work. That’s so different than everybody I know, beating themselves up over the most mundane details. So positive! Time passes, another train. It was packed. Of course it was. And I was the only white person around. It happens.

Everybody on the packed train is staring at me. I’m used to it. Whatever. But you were different, you were looking up at me with the biggest smile on your face. It was beautiful. How could I forget? We talked about… Well I can’t remember. I asked about your dream to go to Paris. I hope it comes true. A few more minutes, off the train we go towards the gate. It was quieter there. You told me so much about yourself. We were the same age, we enjoyed the same things, we work somewhat similar jobs. But different sides of the world. I think I was really starting to fall for your smile about then.

All these people walking, biking past had the most interesting glare. This guy with yellow hair! And… a Delhi girl? I imagined they were not thrilled. So I started right back. It felt like the movies for a few quiet moments. I held my camera a little tighter. It has this knob on the bottom that I could use to hit back if things go south quickly. You have to remember, I expected some man to be angry and try to start something with me. I was ready. That’s what I signed up for.

We took lots of pictures. Some of the gate, some of each other, some of us. I looked back at my pictures, all out of line, misexposed. I was actually nervous. That’s so rare for me. There are a few of you that turned out. And one of the gate. Precious memories.

You showed me the government place a little. More pictures. Standing in the middle of the road! The cars always drive so close there. Somehow, I convinced you to get coffee. Maybe you convinced me, too. Off we go the same way towards the train. You smile at me again. It was precious. You show me pictures of all your family. We had some similar family experiences. It was the weirdest thing to connect over. Off the train again, off to the coffee store. We wander around a few minutes and finally find a place. Nobody was there. We talked about Instagram. I took your picture again. It was my favorite. You stalked my Facebook. It was funny.

We both had something with ice-cream and coffee. It was good! I couldn’t afford it all, you didn’t seem to mind. When we were sitting there, you looked at me and asked “Do you have a good life?” To this day, I’m not sure what you meant, but this question lingered on my mind for days. Yes, I replied, but what I didn’t say was that it was moments like ours that made my life such a blessing to start. On our way out, you just looked at me and said “I like your golden hair”. I told you I liked your curly hair. It was probably awkward, but that’s okay. You asked me if I had a girlfriend, and seemed shocked I said no. I regret not asking you if you had a boyfriend. I know you didn’t, but I wish you knew I liked you at this point. We cross some streets and you saved me once from getting hit. Typical Delhi. We finally have to say goodbye, you tell me I’m a good guy, I tell you to keep in touch.

I walk away wishing that, one day, I will see you again.

I wrote this in September 2016. I decided I’d post it if Heer and I didn’t keep in touch. We got married in December 2018.