It has taken me around 4 years and a visit to Dhaula kuan, to finally write this down perhaps this is what is holding me back, not that I’ve not talked about it but I believe the comfort that writing gives me is exactly what I need right now. Before you think that it is some melancholy tale hold up; nobody dies and no hearts are broken. So let us begin.
Around 4 years back in October 2014 Delhi was finally getting its first Anime Con, which was a big deal for all the Otakus living in the NCR because events like conventions were something that were reserved for the other cool cities like Bangalore or Mumbai. So you can imagine the ecstatic vibe that was all around. This convention was finally here albeit on a small scale and when I say small, I mean very small. Tickets were booked before hand, some even chose the special passes. On my 16th birthday I received these passes, my mind working overtime, imagining movie-like scenes, bookworthy situations needless to say it did not live up to my imagination but not even the disappointment could lower my morale. It was conducted in a small area ,and because apparently to some people mangas and comics are the same, even the comic fans had a stall .But it was my first exposure to something that involved cosplayers and people all around were fans of something or the other. Since I was 16 and as my parents explained “only 16” I was accompanied by my “sometimes pain in the butt” brother. This convention was conducted over 3 days, from 17-19 October.
With high hopes the first day I went I was over the moon, loving every minute of it, we had people coming all the way from japan, manga artists, animators.They had a sketching competition and as any other slightly artistic person who loved anime, i too had tried my hand at drawing the characters. Under the guidance of YouTube artist Mark Crilley, i had even maintained a small sketch book that i carried with me. That day i think I drew Naruto or Ichigo, for the life of me I just can’t remember and fortunately or unfortunately ,I didn’t win.
But lets skip to the day a lifechangng experience happened. I decided to skip the second day because it was on the third day that another sketching competition was happening and this time i was prepared with a full strategy ,even practiced a few times. So on the third day i go to convention , with not just my brother but two of his other friends. the competition was late in the afternoon so we roam around, click a few photos, check out the stalls, i got a cute Eren Jeager merchandise. Nothing could deter my mood, not even my brother saying he and his friends are going to some places but they’ll be back later, to this day I’m not sure where they went. But i was on a Mission to win the competition. I wanted the prize, which I now realise was really stupid because it was just some average merch. I attended a few events, one by a Manga artist and time flew by. Soon it was time for the Sketching competition and i’m in full “i-cant-draw-that-well-but -i-must-win-this” mode. I was going to draw Itachi Uchiha with his Susanoo in the background. So I start sketching, and this is where a guy comes into the picture, he’s sittig on my left ,leaving two spaces. We’re making conversation, well he is, i don’t care that much about him until half way through the competition, i’m asked an annoyig dad to move next to the guy so that his family can sit,I quickly move, stilll not paying attention to guy. well it is not until he compliments my drawing and even asks me if i could give him my sketch that i start paying attention to him, well what can i say i’m a sucker for compliments. So we talk, we talk about a lot of things, I was in class 10th at that time, he was in 12th. He was an army brat, having moved from a lot of states, always traveling but he loved it, his faher was in the army. He was studying in the Army Public School, Dhaula Kuan. His favourite YouTuber was PewDewPie, mine was NigaHiga. He tells me about his favourite songs, he liked EDM. I don’t remember much about his face or his feature, he was tall.His hair was short and i think he wore specs. He seemed like a cool guy. He showed me his purchases- he had a cool Akatsuki poster and a deathnote belt from what I thought remember. So the we’re talking, it feels good and i’m content with how my sketch has turned out. he is still insisting upon having my sketch, i tell him he can have the rough one as i submit ‘my masterpiece’. He is happy with pretty much anything, I sign the rough sketch and hand it to him and submit the original one. It is around this time that my broter finally makes his return. Now something that you should know about me, it is that I was the type of girl who never cared much about the opposite sex as a teen should, like I was not gushing about crushes or flying from boyfriend to boyfriend, nope. not even experimenting with anything. If I could best describe it, I would say I was indifferent to them. So this guy took me by surprise because guys did not pay attention to me and i never payed attention to them, at least not that way. So as my brother comes, even his friend comes upto him, so we both kinda move away. As my brother suggests going back home, it hits me that i never asked the guy his name. So i search for him but can’t find him. As we’re leaving i see him ahead of us with his friend but i’m surrounded by three guys who are completely unaware of my inner turmoil. I try to catch him but he just disappears and i only see his friend walking towards the station so i quicken my pace, practically run to ctach his friend. I see the back of his head and call to him but he doesn’t turn because din-ding-ding, the guy is wearing earphones, lost in his own world. So i put on a smile and think perhaps it was not meant to be. but my heart doesn’t think so. So over the course of the next few days I spent the socisl sites stalking and browsing the pages of PewDewPie to their school page but I come up with nothing.
I try to tell myself that he was just as much at fault as i was. my mind has constructed this perfect fairytale about how we were so compatible, so similar that we both forgot to ask each other’s name. i spend several countless nights pondering over the what-ifs and conjuring about the perfect ending about how we’ll meet. Katy perry sings out ‘the one that got away’ and my 16 year old self can only associate this song with that incident. It refuses to move on. A few months later, when i’ve almost forgotten about him,i come across an article in Reader’s Digest where a couple met in a resort and instantly hit it off but frogot to ask their names but a year later by chance or nature’s miracle they meet again at some other place. So i too think that i’ll meet the guy next year. But as luck would have it, we never got another anime con ,but sure had comic cons but for some reason i was unable to go to them. the circumstances would never allow, a small part of me still believes that he’ll be there waiting for me and I’ll see him there at the convention, happily reunited and i think its the fear of not finding him there always holds me back. He has become a nameless face in the clouds of nameless faces and though I hate to think about it, he’ll be a nameless faceless entity in the crowd. And that is why I will always hate the movie ‘Serendipity’, I hate it with a passion. And though i’ve changed and grown ; become a totally different and mature person, some part of my heart still holds out hope and even today as i read the words ‘Dhaula kuan’ or “conventions” I remember him. I remember him and like to be believe that my chance encounter with him happened for a reason and it was to teach me to live fully and loosen up a little. it is funny how my one regret has taught me to live with no regrets. So to the nameless guy if you are reading this, I hope you’re doing well and still have my sketch somewhere, even if it is somewhere deep inside your mind; a memory and i hope its a good memory. And p.s.- I like you.