Today I suddenly came across a YouTube video of the first woman I fell madly head over heels in love with.

There was one entire year when it seemed there was no other woman on earth. I was 19 and she was unlike any other woman I had met by that time purely by one criteria – I had NEVER not seen her laughing and smiling kindly like there wasn’t a care in the world. She wasn’t conventionally beautiful but she was quite something to look at – fair spotless skin and straight hair like a L’Oreal commercial which women spend a fortune to get. And that lucknowi tehzeeb in which if she calls you tu or tum, you already have made it to a tiny inner circle in her life.

Her nickname was Micky. That’s what her family and friends called her.

Soon we were fast friends, talking for hours and hours in parking lots. I remember once there was a theater in Pune which used to play DDLJ for ever and ever and our entire class decided to go watch it. She was sitting in the seat in front of mine and I had this habit of playing with the hair of all my close women friends, taking off their ‘clutchers’ and braiding pencils in their hair and stuff. So she turned around to warn me – “Baal mat kharab karna” and one conversation led to another and she just turned in her seat, 180 degrees away from the screen and sat facing me. We talked for 3 straight hours while our friends fed her popcorn. I think it was then that I fell in love with her. Or atleast I thought it was love – in hindsight you can never be sure about these things.

So I digress. Her nickname was Micky as I mentioned. One day I was sitting with my friends in the hostel canteen and they started teasing me – Mickey ka kutta Mickey ka kutta they were going and I was laughing when I asked “Kisko pata chala uska naam micky hai?” And as soon as I said that, there was a loud roar and a guffaw. No one would tell me. They’d just laugh.

“Saale tharki tujhe nahi pata ho aisa ho hi nahi sakta. Poora din to uske saath chipka tha.”

When they finally realised I had no clue what they were talking about, one of them put an arm around my neck and took me outside.

“Sach bata saale.”

“Kya?”

“Tu ne nahi dekha?”

“Kya?”

“Kal dhyaan dena thoda. Mickey mouse vaali panty pehenti hai vo. Chhote chhote Mickey mouse.”

So that’s why they were calling her mickey!

I don’t remember my reaction. I was an insufferable do-gooder then, so it isn’t far-fetched to believe I was disgusted. Or was it regret? Or anger? After all there was this unspoken belief of mine that one shouldn’t lust after the woman you love. Once you jerk off after the woman you love, its over, you can never have her. In hindsight it’s so ridiculous and hilarious, who cares about what you fantasise anyway, the universe doesn’t give such thoughts even the time of the day but it fit my weird principle of consent then, I think it still does.

Anyway I never could call her micky after that day.

I never tried to woo her or pursue her. She was in a destructive relationship soon after, and she set me up with my wife. She’s had a tough life, her husband has lost his eyesight due to a tumor. When she married him I told my wife “Main hi kya bura tha – cos he had the same qualifications as me and was not richer than me. I never talk to her, which is why watching her YouTube video series brought back funny memories.

But friendships between two people develop within a context. Over years our histories and our timelines diverge so much that the context is lost. Without that, old friendships do not work. And old crushes, the least said about them, the better. But one unique thing about my crushes is all of them have been primarily friends, so I can joke to my wife when she marries – isse main hi kya bura tha?

But one overriding thing about this woman is her kindness. I think, more than humor, talent and excellence, what the world desperately needs more of is kindness.

You can never think of kind people by any other criteria. Except they were kind. Kindness isn’t niceness or manners – and too often we see a streak of cruelty and ruthlessness in people who you wouldn’t suspect of harbouring one till you see it laid down in front of you, but if she did have, it was well hidden from me just like her Mickey mouse underwear.

Sometimes for the sake of memory, it is better to not know people too well.

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