What you are about to read is a love story between Lijo John and Noreen. Their initial meeting is described in Noreen's own words. The personal letters that follow are real letters exchanged between the two after Lijo went on to break Noreen's heart by marrying an Indian woman to please his family. Because of full anonymity, (names have been changed), Noreen felt comfortable sharing such intimate details with readers. For her it was a helpful way to heal. Still, it is a tough decision to share your personal love life with the world. Because of this I ask you to please be respectable in your comments. I appreciate Noreen being so open and honest with her experiences. Perhaps it will help others on whatever path they may be on in love.
I met Lijo John (Lj) back in 2008, Christmas Eve. I met him in an airport in Hong Kong while both us were on delayed flights, Lijo on his way back to India, Noreen (myself) on my way back to Manila, Philippines. I was reading a book by Shashi Tharoor (ex Kerala Minister), Bookless in Baghdad, when Lijo approached me to talk about the book..(and later on to ask me for a cup of hongkong noodles at the cafeteria). He talked about himself, where he is from, (Trivandrum, India), and where he worked: Shell Qatar as one of the pipeline engineers. I was working on my family's farm estate back then and returning to university. We were amazed on how we feel about the same things, laughed at the same horrible jokes and common interests. I think I fell in love with him in an instant, the moment I saw him behind the glass panel looking over at me. I pretended to read the book, yet I kept on glancing over whether he was indeed checking me out. He came near me, glanced over my book on my lap and he said "I have searched for that Bookless in Baghdad all over the bookstores and fancy finding it here in Hongkong, owned by a girl who's not even Indian." I have to laugh over that horrible pick-up line; hearing that. We exchanged email addresses, phone numbers, and a piece of our lives during that four hour delay, right there at the airport lounge. Though we were anxious about our flights, when it was time to board our respective planes, we both wished we could stay a little longer. Our meeting in Hongkong in 2008, albeit brief, changed the course of our lives later.
We tried to keep in touch after that. The first thing I did when I reached Manila was to check my email and send an email to Lijo. And there it was, an email from him. We broke time zones, expensive phone credits, jam in traffic on Skype, and Yahoo. We tried everything just to keep in touch while promising to meet each other again, if our time and visas permit.
Fast forward 2010, a month after my father passed away. Sadness brought me back to Hongkong, Lijo John was en route from his flight from Qatar. We met again in Wan Chai District, Hongkong. Though we were always on cam, it was surreal spotting him from all the crowd that gathered at the arrival wing of the huge airport. But then - I saw him - my Lijo John, white shirt, blue jeans, scanning the very Asian crowd looking for me. I waved, he smiled. I thought it only happens in the movies, we both ran towards each other amidst the crowded airport and embraced. We both couldn't believe that we met again, at the same airport, one year later. It was what you call the only memory you can recall.
We toured the city, strolled theme parks to another, we had coffee at Starbucks right at the Victoria Peak. We ate dimsum, noodless, and all sorts of Hongkong food, we tried Hongkong Thai cuisine and burnt our tongue as the Thai chef spiced up the already hot Tom Yum soup, we had body massage at the street corner spa full of Chinese masseuse, we got lost finding our way back to airport,we ran from port to port trying to catch the next ferry boat, we hung on to the spectacular view of the Symphony of Lights, we also fell in love so much that we forgot important stuff about our lives: who we are, where we are and what we are here for. For me, it was the start of my life. For Lijo, it was the end of a life he never knew will ever happen to him. For the first time, meeting me was his only happiness.
Below are Lijo John and Noreen's personal letters after Lijo married an Indian woman to please his family:
i will cease to be your friend. this is the best way. i know i don't have to tell you that as you know it. thank you for calling at least. i admit that I went crazy, been looking everywhere for you, everywhere I know.