Ashwani Mohanlal – My Sarah. I still pinch myself when it comes to Ashwani . At first, I thought she was some famous ultra rich model. Don’t blame me blame the second part of her name on FB. We weren’t supposed to be part of each other’s life even in an alternate universe. But life often stuns you with strange surprises. For starters, I never knew she was an admirer of my words until I saw her joyous reply to one of my comments to her posts. It was a song which had caught my attention out of nowhere and the comment was more of a spontaneous reaction. What followed was my usual “Is this really happening “? We were no longer strangers. But personal connect wasn’t on the cards. The fact that she could relate to what I wrote and find a way to connect with me baffled me. There was no beating around the bush. There were just strong, effortless random conversations on art and words alone. There was nothing more nothing less. We didn’t have to wait for each other’s text messages, calls or messenger pings. Just random catch ups once in a blue moon.
And then the meet up happened. We often have moments that define our existence. For me, our meet up was the defining moment of my personal transition. I was just warming up to meeting people and getting to know them. But when I met Ashwani and as the conversation progressed I realized something had changed within. From stammering in the crowd to actually being part of a good conversation I had actually come a long way. Barriers broken, norms shattered and limitations nullified. I felt different. The limp didn’t matter anymore. I can look at myself in the mirror and not feel ashamed of my shabby outer self. My inner strength was all that mattered. I was a superhero. I felt like one when I sat opposite that lovely woman. I sat back and listened as she narrated anecdotes from her life. I walked in with a sense of insecurity and walked out like a Superstar. The veil had quietly lifted as I realized people loved me for who I was.
There’s a reason why I call her my Sarah. Remember Arjun from Banglore Days. He rushes to see Sarah after hearing her voice. But what he finds is something different. He finds himself amidst all the chaos surrounding him. That is exactly what happened that eventful afternoon. I found myself after 30 long years. No demands, no expectations, and no regular conversations. We still work around the once in a blue moon catch up. But that is enough. We know we are there as part of each other’s existence. And she’s given me so much without asking by just being there. For that, I will always be quietly grateful.