I am sure that something paradoxical, something quite ironical is happening inside me. Several years back when I wanted to write, I did not want to write any love story. And it did not change much when my writing started getting published. Out of my 250 short stories, a hundred articles, seven books, hardly 1% is made up of love stories. If at all I had written a love story I had tended to show that love never works in real life. And besides the harsh realities of life like work, marriage, inflation and investment risks, love is only a pleasant nuisance that distracts you. But now that I have crossed fifty my mind is back into love stories with a vengeance. After all love is the only aim of life; job, marriage and other paraphernalia only help us to live. Love is what we have to live for. So my next serial in IL is going to be a love story (I have already given a proposal to our Lady and now waiting for her approval). It is not about any Swamiji as I had hurriedly announced earlier. And as a net practice I am trying my hands at a real life love story that happened in <st1lace>South India</st1lace> a few centuries back. His name was Villidasan. He was a wrestler. Not just any ordinary wrestler but one of very high standing. Almost all the wrestlers in the ancient <st1lace><st1lacename>Chola</st1lacename> <st1lacetype>Kingdom</st1lacetype></st1lace> used to pay him a ‘protection fee’. He was the Royal Wrestler, formally attached to the court of the Chola Kings. He was majestic in his looks, kind in his disposition and a terror to his rivals. Now let’s cut the scene and move over to the other important character of this love story. Her name was Ponnachi. You know Pon in Tamil means gold. Every one who saw her swore that she richly deserved her name. Her complexion, they said, came closest to the yellow metal. She was slightly on the plumpy side. Her dance-like walk, her height and her dimpled cheeks made her the much-acclaimed beauty in her village. But the most prominent feature of her face was her eyes. They were very large, round and you know, the sort, from which you cannot take your eyes off. Ponnachi’s beauty was at least as well known as Villi’s prowess. Villidasan was a very good man and had never abused his strength or position. And yes, he was the most eligible, most sought after bachelor in his town, why, even in the <st1lace><st1lacename>Chola</st1lacename> <st1lacetype>Kingdom</st1lacetype></st1lace>. As it would happen in love stories, he heard of Ponnachi’s beauty and set out to see her, more out of curiousity than anything else. Once he saw her eyes, he could not think of anyting else. As if possessed he sought her hand in marriage, something which Ponnachi was only too eager to give. Villidasan was virtually consumed by his love for the damsel. He stopped fighting and was thinking of nothing else other than his lady love. Many of us might have had the experience of falling in love or being in love. It could have been before marriage or a part of it. While in love we could think of nothing else. We always think about our lover, be it day or night, at work or in bed; our lover seemed to occupy the whole of us. Did we ever tell ourselves, ‘Ok, every morning between <st1:time minute="0" hour="8">8 AM</st1:time> and 8 30 AM, I will think of my lover.’ Or did we take a vow, ‘Every Saturday I’ll write my lover’s name 108 times.’ Or did we plan, ‘This Friday I am going to throw flowers at my lover exactly 108 times, each time telling her name.’ We would have never dreamt of doing such nonsense, right? We say, we love God. And we precisely do these nonsense to Her. We shut ourselves in our Puja room at the appointed time to tell her name. We write Her name a prescribed number of times, 108 or 1008, the largeness of the number being directly proportional to the favours we want to steal from her for the time being. We go to Her temple and make the priest throw the flowers or show the burning camphor, mindlessly repeating Her names, while we should be sobbing in our hearts thinking of Her love for us. What God has for us is love. And what we have for Her is some neurological ******** which we mistakenly call devotion. Next time when you sit in the Puja room, please remember these lines. Now let’s get back with Villi and Ponnachi. They were married on an auspicious day. It was one of the rarest instances where the marriage was much grander than the wedding. Of course they did not go for a ride on the Gondolas of Venice or trekked the <st1lace>Alps</st1lace> as part of their honeymoon package. But their married life was one continuous honeymoon, which never ended. They had been married for years. Still to Villidasan Ponnachi was the most beautiful woman in the world with the most beautiful eyes.