Of Colours and Faith……
" If I was in love with a Muslim girl would I have converted for her sake? I certainly would have become a Muslim if she had asked. Lovers have faith not religion......"~ Krishna Baldev
( in Guzra hya Zamana)
She was a pretty simple girl who lived in the world of her dreams, weaved some in the day and caressed them at night, at times with a smile on her face, and more often than not with tears in her eyes, that which she herself was clueless of. They streamed down the soft cheeks, the sharp jaw line, but why they flowed was something she still had to figure out.
So while her studies gave her much knowledge and information about what sociology was and how the narratives of partition riots affected even the third generations to come, saddened by the words which tragically surfaced the faces, the emptiness and the lifelessness of people affected, as much as she wanted to close the books and run away from them, there was this deep depression which invited her to read about them, not that she had a choice to ‘not’ read, but also that even if willing, she could choose not to read!
But yes life has many layers, and immersed in them and around them as she happened to enter a posh bookstore in her city all by herself, she picked up a modern love story, but unlike words, this book was full of pictures. It was a photographer’s rendition of love through his eyes which had become his lens. Captured and enamoured by the pictures which the author photographer had to offer, she seated herself comfortable on the bean bag and allowed herself to read through the story.
It was a different read, an unconventional and unique one at the same time. Lost in the world of imagery and thoughts as she nonchalantly looked at the lamp that decorated the corner of the bookstore, someone at the other end caught her looking at the lamp. And yes, there was a click! A click through the books, from the eyes and one that got saved in someone’s mind.
Moments passed and then a few hours until she realised that this book had to be owned. As she bought a cup of coffee after paying for the book she made herself comfortable on a couch next to the huge window that welcomed the bright warm sunshine right into the bookstore. Never had she thought that her first visit to a bookstore could turn out to be so enchanting. Just the grace of a lovely book, its story openly left to be interpreted, a cup of bitter sweet coffee and the lovely sunshine. If this is what solace was about then everyday could be spent getting lost in this world.
Yes that Click was observing her, for a good time, until came his way another spectacular moment to be captured and clicked! But the gaze just turned. As she turned her head to take another sip she saw ‘The Click guy’ with his magnificent black camera, oh! so huge that she wondered how heavy it might be. And then her thoughts brought a perplexed reaction first on her face which later gleamed through her sparkling sunny eyes.
If only he could take one more click and then one more and then one more…….
She didn’t speak anything, not a word, but questioned him through a little tilt of her head with her eyebrows up and her lips which drew together seeking an answer from him.
She responded to him with another expression.
“ Umm,…do you have any idea how cute your facial expressions are?”
She still couldn’t believe that she had been the muse of a Click guy a while back.
“How long have u been clicking, If I may ask?’’
“ I guess some three hours”.
“I hope your clicks are more than just me?!”
“And what if you are hoping for is not true?”
She sensed a beginning of a cute conversation with this Click guy. As much as she had always wanted to have a portfolio of hers done, one fine day, being someone’s muse was something she had on her mind, but she wondered if that could ever be true. Until this day……
He sat next to her couch and ordered himself a cup of coffee as well. He glanced at her, and being caught immediately swayed his gaze to the sun.
“So Mr.Artist? You mind if I go through your captures?”
“Certainly not!” he smiled
While she sensed the awkwardness of coming close to him in that moment, she put that thought behind as she was quite keen in seeing the pictures.
One after another as she saw her pictures and that of the paraphernalia of the bookstore, words became less worthy of what she saw. The mind became speechless as if endowed with that bliss, incomprehensible and magical. The impoliteness of being clicked without permission being taken was something that vanished from her mind, for she understood why the surprise clicks had been made. There was a story, a narrative which flowed through the pictures which made her feel so unlike herself in reality.
“You are brilliant” she said beamingly to him.
“Thank you Ma’am” he replied topped with a cute smile.
It was not and is not difficult to judge looks, for she knew this snow white coloured guy was from the northern most state of India.
“Hi, I’m Amor and you?”
“By the way, that’s an exquisite name to have, one which totally complements you!”
“You hardly know me!” she said in a singing tune
“ A lens in a lens that’s me!” he replied smilingly.
His words intrigued her. She tried listening through his words. But his looks distracted her thoughts.
There was no doubt that this guy was good looking and maybe beautiful as a person too but……….
Why did there always have to be a ‘but’? Why? She had an answer to it, but was dreaming to be with someone you love or may fall in love, also something that came with a warning? Indeed yes, for the wounds of the past generations terrified by tragic violence, hadn’t dried. And even as those who were primary witnesses to the horrific scenes of violence had passed away, in their alive years they had left a legacy of hatred to be passed on. This inheritance made it hard for both the parents and their children to commit the crime of falling in love with a Muslim. Indeed the punishment was no less than getting banished- away from those you loved only to be with someone you had fallen in love.
As she got lost in her reverie, he sifted through the pictures. Abruptly breaking the silence she asked him if she could have the pictures. He had some naughtily friendly plans in mind for giving the pictures in one go meant ending the talk even before it started.
“Sure, you can have them for they are yours!” he replied
“ Do I mail you or you may mail me?” She asked
Just as she uttered the question she realized how stupid a question was this one.
“ Umm.. I mail you! It’s you who want the pictures right?”
Without wanting to clarify she nodded a yes and gave him her email id.
As much as she wanted to stay there, something disturbed her, pricking her conscience consistently. It pained and ached, not like a needle pricking on the skin, but the psyche getting bogged down by a pressure that was invisibly visible.
She excused herself and said a bye to him.
On her way back home as she boarded the Metro, the chaos, the cacophony of people, of the announcements seemed to have got blurred. Her thoughts and their weight ached her head.
“Could someone truly fall in love in the very first sight? And if at all one does, does that love last? And what if it’s just one- sided? She remembered one of the pictures clicked by Farzaan of a gorgeous Orange lamp in a dark background revealing the roughness of the wall. That moment Amor felt that picture revealing her life. She wished to be illuminated like that lamp, but around her was this unspoken darkness which bound her and held her tight.
If happiness meant that it was so transient that she couldn’t even taste a spoonful of it, for it faded in thin air…….then she was better of not having that happiness…
The Other End
On the other end Farzaan was mesmerized by his clicks and as he looked through her pictures one after another, the memory of her dusky complexion and voice took him to a different land. He had met a million girls before Amor, talked to some, fallen in love with some, and flirted with many others too, but in her he sensed a deep reserve, a palace whose walls were too high, with doors too tightly shut, that light had a hard time seeping through. To himself that day he made a resolve that no matter what time had on its mind, he would surely make his way through the light, for nothing else seemed too perfect a sight…………..