The small grains of sand, gushing in the whirlwind, stung my uncovered face as I hurried across the strait roofless street of the bazaar, illuminated by a faint glimpse of a lunar entity and twinkling shimmering stars in the pitch-obscurity of the dim matter, to a more urbane avenue. Thousands of penniless poverty-stricken people had joined the mirth of the city and the pompous gaiety of the more fortunate. People of different socioeconomic backgrounds intermingled like several canals of water into one homogeneous horde of mindless molecules rushing towards the sea, the exit. The waxing crescent represented an upcoming auspicious day, the Eid, but for the indigent, it was the present which mattered more than an unseen felicity.
Among the herd, I kept moving; going where the tide took me. For me, the ambiance and buoyancy of humanity were more reverent than what an apparently spiritualist day itself was. I was here for a reason for every soul that dwells inside this occult cycle of life has its raison d’etre. My income was minuscule but the possessions never define one’s sentiments and the extent of love itself. There were street-hawkers on the either side of the lane, some of which had gold and silver plated adornments and others which had bangles and accessories of the commoners. I had five hundred rupees inside the pocket, in my shalwar hemmed at the inner side, which I had procured by working overtime in a close-by eatery as a server. I belonged to a peasant family which had been working as farmers in rice paddy-fields for several generations. I caught a glimpse of shiny laced glass bangles sets which were finely arranged in four rows with five of such sets in each. There was also a white cardboard box with a transparent plastic on the posterior side containing an engraved gold-plated set with emerald-green synthetic jewels.
All that and she had demanded nothing from me. My heart was drenched in the aura of gloominess and desperation. Her father was one of the most well-respected and wealthy citizens of the city. She had paid a hefty tag of spurning her ties with her family. A young lady who was raised in the tip-top society, was sent to costly schools and was cleaned by conventions, turned down everything for a man who couldn’t even fulfill her wishes. I bought the jewelry and bangles along with henna with optimistic facial expressions trying to obscure the sadness that had engulfed my soul by then. I lurched among the excited crowd. Their happiness was consuming me. I stopped a rickshaw to take me to the nearest station which was one hour away from my house. One hour of the walk had me when I left my family but now It was more or less an indispensable part of my lifestyle.
We had acknowledged love over everything and we had never regretted the decision. Life is stale and agonizing amid the daily drudges of my occupation yet toward the day’s end, I feel blessed to be able to pay for her college and to return to her, my significant other. The time seemed to fly away as I was engrossed in the contemplation of our dark past. There I was in front of an old rustic wooden door attached to a not-so-dandy cemented house. It was not the best but it contented our fundamental requirements, nevertheless. I knew that she was in the kitchen because I could smell the enthralling aroma of spicy lentils cooked by a young lady who was spooned all her life. I knocked at the door. There was a clattering. And then I heard a soft yet resolute voice that resonated with my heartbeat and pierced my already throbbing heart. I burst into tears. All of my accrued emotions flooded my eyes and then splashed my face. The door opened and there she was, my everything.
A dazzling young lady, with an olive complexion, was gazing at me with rather curious dark brown eyes below arch shaped eyebrows. She had an oval face with eyes set equally apart; a prominent cheek bone; an angular jaw line; a rounded chin; a round nose below which rose-hued lips were present. Her long black hair was braided meticulously.
He dove towards her and shut the entryway behind him. His reflexes were sudden and unfathomable. This was the moment for which each of them had waited for so long an entire day. He put the bag containing the bangles set, henna and a few adornments on the couch quickly without letting her realize as he shoved himself through the entry-way. This was to be a surprise for her. He put his arms around the small of her back with her head pushed against his chest. There was a silence.
“Are you crying?” she asked moving her eyes towards him. She had noticed his wet cheeks.
“No, no. It’s nothing,” he said with mournful eyes.
“You know I hate it when someone lies to me, did something wrong happen?” She looked at him with a distressed expression.
He remained silent for some time but then blurted out.
“It’s just that……..I mean that you are amazing and deserve so much better but I can’t……” he said with his eyes darting at his feet.
He had finally said it. This sentiment lay with him through his long stretches of the day and contemplative nights as an unbidden guest.
“How dare you say that?! We have sacrificed our everything to live with each other. Had it been something else that I wanted I wouldn’t have put up with you for such a time. I love you! And that’s just what I want back in return.”
He looked at her with relief. This liberated him from an incipient anxiety that he was keeping her unhappy. They had sought love and love they had acquired.For her, he was incompletely immaculate and for him, she was defectively perfect.
The sobbing gradually diminished and the young couple kept staring each other. They closed their eyes and gradually pulled closer to each other until their lips touched. A chill went down the spine when their lips met. They were intoxicated with adrenaline. Their heart started pounding harder and harder until they felt it throbbing near their throat. She felt his lips quiver because of nervousness. She caressed his stubble. He felt as if he was corrupting her. Am I ready? Is this a sin? Will anybody know? What will they think? What will my mom say? What if we get caught? The fear kept rising inside each of them until it was completely eradicated. Instincts took over. There was no shame and no holding back. They started breathing heavily and kissing more passionately. He lifted her up holding her thighs and thrust her onto the bed. His cold hands met her warm smooth skin. She ran her bare hands beneath the hem of his shirt tracing to his back. This sent shivers down his spine. He felt goosebumps as he was enticed by the process. She couldn’t believe that she was doing this. She felt embarrassed and intimidated. Her face blushed as the blood gushed in her body but as the foreplay progressed she started feeling comfortable. He unbuttoned her shirt and she followed the suit. It was a normal deed; not a taboo she had been indoctrinated to believe in. This was an action far more reverent than the cultural norms and social constraints themselves.
The time stood still for both of them as they delved into a world unravished by the cruelties and pain of the imperfect world perfected by the evolution. This denied the existence of negativity and reality. He was looking at her like she was the most precious thing he’d ever possessed and was glad that there was no wall between them. She was apt that she, at last, had him all to herself and that her penances proved to be fruitful. It was neither lust nor sexual interest which held them close rather it was something more significant inside imperceptible to the human eye which fortified them. It was the reverence and love that had brooded between the soul-couples which animated their relationship. They had gone intensive predicaments and hardships yet stayed solid and undaunted, and this was the wellspring of their adoration. Unlike lust which is mortal, love itself is immortal. Love vanquishes everything.