“4th November 2009, Times of India, Kerala – Syed Akhtar arrested for allegedly forcing a Brahmin Keralite for LOVE JIHAD” ….
“9th November 2009, The Indian Express, Kerala – LOVE JIHAD has its 1st unscrupulous man in remand” …
Isn’t it dismay to hear all this breaking news? How can love be associated to trickery? Love is soulful, it isn’t planned but happens when you least expect it. It creeps up suddenly. When someone needs attention, care, conversation, laughter and maybe even intimacy. Love doesn’t look at logic, or at backgrounds and least of all, RELIGION.
And with this serendipity, here I am, in remand! Sitting with her earrings in my hand, whose intricate carvings and velvet pearl made me feel of my Gayatri, I went down the memory lane of our lives.
We didn’t mean to fall in love. But love happened! Unexpectedly. Gayatri, she is. She is from a very conservative South Indian family that went to a temple every Saturday. I bought goats for my people every Eid. That said it all. She is a Brahmin Keralite and I am a Muslim. This is how they look at it, but for us, we were soulmates.
Our paths would have never crossed if it hadn’t been that fateful day. That day when I walked into the coffee shop to catch up with an old friend. She was sitting at the last table with a friend. Magenta net dupatta covered her neck bones, those pulpy pink lips and deep black eye liner. She was fairer than any white substance I could have imagined at that moment. I was spellbound! As if I saw an angel in front of me. We had eye-contacts, once, twice and then again thrice.
The way I kept on staring at her, made her conscious and she started to leave. I mean, I still don’t understand the sense of girls, how do they get to know if they are being gazed by someone!
Her friend got up and helped her to move. She was on a wheel-chair. I felt my heart melt out.
A girl so dazzling, is bereaved of completeness. I don’t know why, but I skipped a beat. And all I knew at that moment was- I will complete her!
I lost my family in a bomb explosion few years back. Did not know then where to lead my life, I starved but worked hard. Slept in the Masjids, but with a ray of hope that one day I’d sleep on my luxurious bed.
That one day came to my life. But I still had sleepless nights.
I was searching for happiness in lavishness. But happiness is in making someone else happy. And this I learnt on that fateful day.
I followed her, and then her friend, Naina.
“Hi.. I am Akhtar, Syed Akhtar! Please don’t take me wrong, but I want to talk to your friend whom you just left”
“And why do you think I’ll tell you about her?”
“Just because, not every day does a man asks you to talk to her.”
“See Mr. Syed, Gayatri does not talk to anyone. So, you please stay out of her”
“Gayatri, nice name!” I smiled. “Thank you miss, so tomorrow same coffee shop, 4PM. I’ll wait for her.”
I did not even give her a chance to speak, and left her in awe. Days went by, but none of the duo came. After almost a vain wait for about a month at the same place, same time, Naina showed up one evening.
“Oh girl! Where have you been all these days? I asked you to bring Gayatri along with you. Where is she?” I held her with both the arms in anxiety.
“Hold on, hold on mister, Why shall I bring her just to fix up a meeting with a random guy who just saw her in a café and is mesmerized by her looks. What do you think of yourself? Please stop using these cheap thrills on her, she is too sweet for such stuffs.” She removed my hands and said in despair.
“Wait, I am not throwing cheap thrills on her. She was so serene to fall for, and I did in just few minutes. I am not forcing her for anything, it is just that I wish to talk to her. And miss, I am not just a next random guy. I have a well-established business and live a stable life. I came here to meet an old friend when I saw your friend.
If I would have not been genuine enough, I would have not been waiting for her since a month everyday same place same time, despite knowing that she is a differently abled person.”
“Differently abled?” She uttered on my last words.
“Yes, I saw her moving on the wheel chair along with you, for me she wasn’t disabled, she is differently abled!”
She was stunned and taken aback to what I went on saying. “Naina, I am Naina. Gayatri lost her legs in a bomb explosion few years back and so did she lost all her confidence. Since then she doesn’t feel comfortable talking to anyone, specially not to strangers.
I don’t know why am I telling this to you, but you changed my thoughts of you in just 2 minutes of all what you said. I can bring her tomorrow here, but be cautious not to hurt her in any way, she is way too sensitive. And for sure I’d be sitting along with you both.”
I agreed to all her conditions.
Next day was the most irresistible day of my life. I reached an hour before and after almost 24 cups of coffee, she was there! Sunkissed in yellow Kanjiwaram saree and jasmine flowers, she looked stunning. I could not sway my eyes from her, and she could not raise her eyes. We talked a while, no, only Naina talked. For us, words screamed through the window of eyes. I couldn’t take my eyes off her.
Gayatri wondered if destiny chose our loved ones for us. Did we have any role to play at all?
We started meeting every Thursday at five pm in the same restaurant. Gradually from politics to sports to hobbies, our conversation lasted for hours. Sometimes at the cafe, sometimes in my car, sometimes in places that she could never tell her friends about. They would never understand. And yet I made her happy.
“Syed, you are such a successful businessman, still why do you want me in your life?” She asked me once when we were on a long drive in my car.
“Gayatri,” I said, twitching her mushy cheeks, “With you I find my world. I promise to love you day and night, hours and seconds, love you more than you think. Love for me is when you play with your tresses and laugh out loud. Love for me is when you put that ice cream on my nose. It is when you say Syed and smile. You are the most beautiful dream I could ever dream of.”
Aahh! She blushed. I could have died in her smile.
And with her smile started the rains. Rain transforms one to ecstacy. I came out and those water drops on my skin made me go bananas over her. Promptly, I was in love, and my love was next to me. I pulled her out despite of her several no’s.
I gave her my hands and she gave me her trust.
“Gayatri just step on my feet.” She blushed and blushed. Gradually I slipped my fingers on her waist. She was breatheless and whispered my name. I groped my fingers on her waist and then slowly lifted up. I could feel her breathing faster. Rains made her suit clinge to her body, making her look even more gorgeous.
I kissed her neck and she moaned. Rains drenched us, in love! She hugged me tightly and then I took her face in my hands, and kissed her forehead. As she smiled, I caressed my right thumb on her lips. She closed her eyes, and we kissed! We kissed as if earth met sky! We kissed as those rain drops were the proof of our everlasting love.
Revolts were all around. The ambience started getting tensed and even more. But how did religion matter if love is the floor of marriage.
Days went and months were gone. She was so lost in my love that could have given her life if it was not me. She used to say, “Why do you worry? If not on this side of the world, I’d wait for you on the other side of the clouds, Gayatri would be of Syed. Not your Allah, nor my Vithhal can separate us”
As a result of all this I took my Gayatri away one day, and, and we married!
She chose to change her religion to Muslim. I never asked her to do this. For me she was the best as she was.
Riots prevaled all over the city. She was hand held and taken back to her home, and I was beaten to death.
This still did not lessen our love for each other.
We fought with destiny and somehow planned to meet at the same coffee shop.
She looked at her watch. I was late. Suddenly her phone beeped. I sent a message. “On my way. Have something important to tell you.”
Gayatri stared at it and realised she had knots in her stomach. Thoughts flooded her mind. What did he want to tell her?
As I reached, all that came out from my mouth was, Gayatri it is a troll! We both are trapped, I did not ask you to change your religion, forgive me please that I didn’t stop you….”
And before Gayatri could understand, I was arrested, accused of Love Jihad!
Tears rolled down my eyes while I remembered all this……
“Syed bhai, Syed bhai…. Ga.. Ga.. Gayatri.. Gayatri Syed bhai…. , Bhai listen to me, turn around Bhai, she is dead!”
I knew her, I knew this is the only step she would take. All I managed was to slit my nerves with her earrings, so sharply that everything went blur and I met her ☺
Love is eternal! Love is imperfectly the most perfect thing in the world.
If we couldn’t live together in this birth we’ll meet on the other side of the clouds, again.
She would have been waiting for her Syed to come and kiss her, hug her and how could have I made my girl wait….