I had promised myself precisely a year back today, on the first day of Ramadhan, that I will write about a subject that has since grown to be so accustomed to my otherwise very lonely world.
There were days in the past that I've overlooked into many important facts of life that, as a result, I saw myself ending up becoming a bitter person; someone who possesses the quality of that of a cynic, of an opinionated person, and most importantly, of a disappointed man. Ever since I was let into believing that my last relationship -- the relationship that I hoped would be the last for I no longer have interests in hunting for the perfect lady for there was never one -- ended in quite a catatonic way, I had lost a handful amount of my otherwise unshaken beliefs and faiths that has so unfortunately forced me into seeing my future life from a very different perspective. I thought that I would never fall in love again, for I have been falling in love for quite one too many time, and every time every and each of it met its inevitable end, I was usually the one who suffered the most.
And at every and each end too I had to pick up of what was left of my weather-beaten, crushed and broken heart with an atom of hope, looking for a brighter new beginning. But as a human as all of you are, I began to see and, most essentially, understand, that a bright beginning does not always promise an even brighter end. Often I went through a satisfyingly enjoyable beginning of a relationship, only to be brought through an ugly end. I didn't want that then, and I still don't want that now. For every lover who enters the gate of fresh relationship, I am pretty sure that you will evidently understand the hopes for the relationship to flourish and grow close to what you have imagined it to be.
Frustrated, disappointed, angry and, for whatever reasons there were, hugely relieved, I picked myself up and started anew with all the little pieces left of me. As a researcher, my interests in current research have put me in a place where I forgot entirely about the needs to have a partner in life, or in a more precise way, a lover. Work had me entirely lost in my own world of progress, and I soon turned out to produce more research publications in the world of academics. I enjoyed many groups of supportive crowds. My social life bloomed prettily, and I have enjoyed a vast amount of successful and well-known companies. This went well for some time until the good old sense of realities come biting again.
I came to realize that my life, despite all the attentions, money, successes, progresses, and whatsoever achievements that I have scored so far, was so lonely.
The thoughts of this certain loneliness grabbed my attention quite wholesomely; I began to lose interests in my works and my academic life. I no longer paid attention to new, exciting science discoveries. Lonesomeness killed me internally. Looking back at my previous relationships, yet again, I told myself that, 'My God, dear me, how many times need you fall off a bike to know that it hurts like hell?'.
But it wasn't the fall that made the entire experience worth experiencing. It's the ride. And I'm willing to take it.
So I prepped myself for another journey in love relationship, only this time I promised myself that I would not repeat my previous mistakes in making decisions, mostly attributed to poor projections, ill-advised calculation, nondescript planning, indefensible practice and most eminently, crappy chemistry. I'd like to make my next relationship a story worth telling to anyone who would listen; a story that, despite its many imperfections in plots, means so many beautiful things.
This is the story.
* * *
For hundreds of years, enthusiasts worldwide have cultivated over 10,000 cultivars of flowering shrubs of the genus Rhododendron commonly known as Azalea. Highly admired and adored, Azalea stuns its spectators at best, while in the same time being one of the most toxic in the plant kingdom, other than its astounding ability to inhabit and establish in the most acidic soils.
The paragraph above pretty much describes the lady who won every piece and shrapnel of my heart.
The lady herself.
I met Azalia sometime in June 2012, precisely on the 12th day of the month, during one of the largest engineering conventions the world has ever to offer, in which I had the responsibility to present three papers on my latest findings in my field of research. Our first meeting was very brief; we mostly talked about works and related matters, other than the (not-so) surprising fact that the lady had been spying and gathering intelligence on me all these while, particularly from my tweets and writings.
Overall, to me, Azalia was just another girl but with a few major exceptions: her proficiency in English was impressive, her confidence was off the roof, she has fine tastes in coffee and general fashion, she made quite an eyebrow-raising progress in her career, and she has technical background in academic. To add more, she's taller than any average Malaysian female and has an athletic-built body. It felt as if I had just struck an infinite goldmine. In a few minutes or so, she won my attention like most girls won't.
A table for two lost souls finding each other.
Our conversation lasted as long as the coffee in our cups, but let's just say that deep inside I had some senses running that I found it positive that I would like to meet her again. And to no surprise I did.
But at that point I was still bitter, skeptical, cynical, opinionated, more or less a rebel, a critic, and a few more other qualities that made me not quite an enjoyable company to have over delicate dinner or evening cups of coffee. I admit, that I did give her a series of hard times, pushing her to the edge, just to examine her potentials, to which I supposed that had she left, she won't fit into the category of the person worth living together for long years to come, at least in my own definition. To my own astonishment, she never really left despite having to go through a row of overthrown tantrums and sophisticated moments, and instead, she grew closer to me.
She lives on acids.
Getting to know each other took some time. Strength celebrated, weaknesses tolerated, suitability examined. We soon found that the base of the relationship was getting steadier and stronger. Our mutual feelings soon find themselves residing between each other, and we settled for a relationship none of us ever dreamed of. Together, we began to conquer some parts of our own bubbles and achieved more than we ever imagined, from SIFE to Genovasi Challenge to The Big Dre1m, we left our marks to be remembered. We progressed and we supported each other. At some points, we even challenged and criticized each other. We grew not only as lovers, but also colleagues -- this, I never dreamed to ever have in my partner.
Us during The Big Dre1m press conference.
Now after a year together, I could have never felt any better.
One of the biggest thing she ever did to me was to plan a surprise party event for my birthday, attended by close friends and acquaintances. That was the biggest birthday event I ever had in my life, and perhaps the sweetest to remember. She even prepared a cake with my Twitter printed on it. I've got an electric coffee by-the-drip maker as a gift from her, along with a bag of Italian roast blend coffee -- something that both of us enjoy alone and together.
Best birthday ever so far.
A trained geologist who works as a management consultant (now one level up to junior project manager), my Azalia still awes me with geology trivia every now and then. Being an avid reader herself, not only on the subject of love, romance and other perks that have so far becoming the genre well-versed with female readers, she equips herself with many technical and non-technical information that makes her not only informative but entirely knowledgeable with general and detailed subjects. Now this is a good thing for me, since I do not need to keep my depth and range of conversation to only handbags, shoes and common female problems and rants.
On one occasion, she gave me a chunk of coal as a present. How cool is that?
Accessing the information highway through a non-conventional approach.
The acceptance of us in both families have so far been excitingly positive. A natural domestic networking person she is and a negotiator/diplomat I am, we broke through the walls of family reviews pretty quickly and effectively to soon be accepted as one of them. Her family has been very generous with hospitality and warm affections, as do mine. For the first time, the lady I date receives no objections and criticisms from my side of the family, particularly my dear mother, who preys on little girls on the subject of fashion, general cosmetics, applied culinary and overall feminine qualities. One thing that strengthened her position is that she comes from a FELDA village somewhere in the Northern Peninsular, to which, as most of my family members believe, her prospects as a wife-material with traditional Malay female traits shine so very brightly.
Happy faces. A night in town with her siblings.
My aunties love her to the bits, so do my cousins and, well, my best friend, Fiza Falak. They grew to become best friends themselves, to which I do not know how, whom constantly team up whenever I propose a counter-proposal to any of their opinions -- precisely the reason why I choose not to cause any stir whatsoever when both of them are around me: a lesson I learned through such hardship and painful stream of daunting events. Close friends of my mother approve her almost instantly, and my best friends told me to cage her up so that she won't escape, a move I found to be the most effective in keeping her in captivity, and as well as having my ass kicked to behind bars any time later.
Them girls. (Read out loud and pay attention to pronunciation. I kid, don't bite me.)
Another impressive trait she has is that she constantly works out, most of the time heavily. She goes to gym and does yoga, mostly due to her earlier participation in sports (she represented her state in SUKMA as a female hockey player whereas I only made it as school player in the same sport). She has lost over 10 kg in only a few weeks, to which my phrase 'impressive' that was earlier used at the beginning of the paragraph starts to show as a total understatement. She also plays golf, has undergone strict bootcamp exercise regime, entered a few marathons, won the office badminton championship, obtaining one of the sauciest curvatures I ever intended to enjoy apart from the mathematics tensor curvature, and has aced in other related events that to a point it becomes really ridiculous to even explain.
One of the thing she does that makes me look and feel like a helpless potato.
A recent photograph. Her rapid loss of fat content forces me to replicate a famine condition
for myself to keep mine at an allowable bare minimum. Didn't work, by the way.
Albeit her earlier uneasiness towards feline variety including domestic cats, she has now began to love them, particularly Sir Montgomery 'Monty' Scott, my feline partner at home. That is the most important criteria in my wife-material list. She has even the liberty to address the darn cat 'my baby', to which I expressed my objection, to which she objects in return, and continues to call the darn cat, 'my baby'.
Feeding 'the baby'.
Overall, I am very happy in this relationship. She's all I ever needed, and still. She possesses almost all of the qualities I have listed down in the race to find the perfect match. Her general intelligence, boosted confidence, positiveness, professionalism, social skills, kitchen skills, chore skills, religious practice, soft spots, written and spoken English proficiency including literature skills, healthy lifestyle, successful career, and all other prime qualities have scored her an outstanding position, close to a damn perfection, therefore conclusively demonstrates that she is so far the best I've ever found to love, and what makes her even more special, she loves me back.
Now that's precisely a girl I'd like to keep for life.
A moment worth remembering.
With hopes, I look forward to bring this relationship to a more established position soon. Insya Allah, we'll progress even more, and we'll achieve even, even more. Do kindly pray for our future journey together, thanks very much.
* * *
And without me realizing, slowly, my badly broken heart is healing.