Do you feel this way? That a tiny part of you dying when you hear someone who had inspired you when you were young, died? I do not do condolence posts. But when I heard Patrick Swayze died yesterday, I felt I lost something precious from my youth. Over the years I have watched a few of his movies, can’t claim to be fan though. But it is Johnny Castle that’s embedded in my heart. I remember watching Dirty Dancing on a smuggled video tape in 1987, at a friend’s place. Agog and spellbound, Ruma and I watched him without speaking. We would have forgotten to breathe too, if it wasn’t for all the sniffling. We rewound the whole tape and watched it again back to back. For a gawky, bespectacled 15 year-old tom boy, Johnny became God. Till I met him I was convinced that I would never 'want' a man. Of course, the boys I knew, never considered me worthy of romantic attention since I was ‘one of them’. I was ‘eunached’ between a nerd and a tom boy. No tits, short hair, tanned brown with all the outdoorsy activities and better at hockey than the average Joe, wasn’t their definition of a wet-dream-woman. Therefore I never got torn chits filled with romantic notions nor chocolates or roses. I was the ‘un-girl’ they would watch a match with where they could swear and cuss, belch and fart to their heart’s content. I was the one nursing their bruised knees and broken hearts while they lusted after the ungodly creatures called PYTs. So Johnny was my first and only crush in high school. I fell head over heels in love like I have never known before. I took serious interest in dance which surprised Ma since till then I had to be coerced to attend the classical dance classes that all good bengalee girls must take. I told Ma, I wanted to grow my hair long, which pleased her enormously. Then I got myself a video tape of the movie and played it endlessly at home when no one was around and danced till my limbs were sore. To me, Johnny was what my man should be. Older and rugged with a sweet searing passion. And in being so, Johnny made me a woman. Till date, I get goose bumps whenever I hear the Dirty Dancing tracks. And now he is gone forever and along with it the first flush of my youth. Sigh!