I was about 6 years old, when I took my entrance exam at Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School. I vividly remember being coached for an entire year for it. I excelled in Math then, yes I really did. Basically I was good at anything and everything. I believe that was due to the enthusiastic childish spirit that refused to take “NO” for an answer. My mom often narrates one particular episode to most of my friends. This happened when I was in my 1 st grade. I had secured the 2 nd rank in my class. I couldn’t bear defeat, God knows why, the “it’s all a part of life” was absent in my dictionary. I forced my mom to take me to the HM and ask her why I had stood second instead of first. After a little bit of illegal and unauthorized digging into the exam papers, my HM told me that I had lost the first place to another girl, by one mark. ONE single mark. Oh yes, and I remember my mistake too. I had gotten my “umbrella” spelling wrong. Mine had a ‘single L’. Perhaps this incident played a major role in impregnating into me, the fact, that the value of a small, minute element often has a large, inversely proportional consequence.
Coming back to the entrance exam, it was a beautiful day in May 1991, and we were seated in the AB dormitory. I was given a set of Math and English questions to solve. I set to work immediately, with a practiced Om symbol on the top of my exam sheet. There I was ready to give my best, to make a dream my mom and me shared for one whole year, come true. I went through, solving and answering, almost everything with genuine ease. Finally, there it stood in front of me, a question I haven’t been able to answer till date. It was in the category of ‘set the jumbled words right’. OLEV. I stared at it for a moment, blinked at it for two, sent memory soldiers on a tour in my head, nothing worked. Of course, I wouldn’t give up. I had already tasted the bitter fruits of a single mark. Time flew, refreshments came and went, interviews were done with, and almost when the time was up, my vain despair turned into hot tears. I couldn’t let go. And, so much like god sent, Vasanthi aunty came by, saw me crying and looked into my paper, wiped my tears and whispered into my ears, “It’s LOVE”. My joy knew no bounds, I quickly scribbled it on the paper, and marched out with a proud smile on my face. Also, completely clueless about the magnanimity of this word, I wondered in my head, why would a spiritual institution been so interested in asking a question about some crap they show in the films between a hero and a heroine. Yes, at the age of six, love perceptually meant that to me. And I did a shhhhh!! to my head and went to meet my mom outside the silver sarvadharma gate. The sshhhh came because my mom had strictly told me that talking or thinking about movies there was a huge crime.
I’ve grown to understand that love is something more than the feeling between two people running behind trees in a song sequence. I’ve come across different levels, and types of it. I’ve been with people who do insanely crazy things with the excuse of being madly in love and also with people who think love is a mere enormous commercial “word” which in its true sense doesn’t exist or have a meaning. I have experienced love in practically all its forms, right from its Divine aspect to being in immense love with a baby boy who isn’t my own. I have blushed about it, laughed in it, mourned over it and mocked at it. After everything said, felt, and done, why does LOVE still appear to me, jumbled?? Why?