“Hey, Savvy!! Time to go,” Ujala cried.
Tears welled in Savera’s eyes thinking of having to live in an alien land, with alien people, leaving the only place which she had ever called her own. She’d miss Amma’s food, sitting in her lap while her aunts’ n uncles teased her with “Amma Ki Chamchi”! She stood up to have a look at her room dearly beautified by her with her paintings, thoughts penned by her and the giant poster of her favorite cricketer. She recalled tripping off the chair while pasting it on the wall. Reminiscing, she got a nostalgic fit of laughter only to be disturbed by Ujju.
“Di, what are you doing? They are waiting.”
Relatives had gathered in the balcony to bid adieu to the apple of their eye. After all, she was everyone’s ‘Laadli Savera’. Only this time they faced a dilemma about being happy, to be or not to be.
Savera adjusted her dupatta, took deep breaths and got ready to leave, but a knot tied in her stomach. She called for Ujala.
“Tell them Di’s doing last minute preparations. Will be coming in a moment or two. Ok, run now!”
“And listen, Ujju! Di loves you. You know that, don’t you?”
Ujju turned back, feeling the urge to hug her, fighting tears; she just nodded and went away.
Savera, with tiny eyes had always been a studious-type, known all over the campus as ‘Chashmish’, teased with the slogan ‘Miss Chinese Japanese, give others a chance to top please.” But she never retaliated and eventually got used to passing remarks. Madsie, the only friend in college complemented her perfectly. While Savera was the reserved and shy kind, Madsie believed in living life king-size. They became each other's ball and chain. At least that was how they were teased by others. Madsie freaked out and Savera calmed her. Always ready with her witty comments, Savera did all she could to avoid an upheaval because she was sure of such a condition if ever Madsie was let free to do her way. She was the fire while Savera the water to put out that fire.
Now the shadows of the past had filled Savera’s room. She perspired, her heart racing fast. She started stuffing useless stuff in the almirah furiously, quickly as if trying to divert her attention to something else. She didn’t want this. She had moved on. Past had passed, the present was here and a beautiful future, the one she had designed for herself for her true love’s sake, awaited her. Then why, no!
Savera was sitting in the extreme corner of the college library, her niche from the last two years of her college life, engrossed deeply in her book when Madsie came around excited and said enthusiastically in one go,” Hey, Ms. So-not-Interested-in-What’s-up! This time you’ve got to be really jumping because you know what, eh, how would you know, Gawd! Ok, so Jal the band is coming to perform in our college. I bet you can’t believe that! Can you? Imagine Jal, Farhan, Shazi, Audi, tomorrow, 7 p.m... I’m already getting goosebumps! Oh ho ho!! Hello!!!! Are you listening?”
Savera seated opposite to her listened attentively with hands crossed under her chin,” What do you think then am I doing?”
“For heaven’s sake, at least show some thrill or delight, at least some expression, after all it’s Jal we’re talking about. That uninterested countenance you give reminds me of your face on hearing about the preponed Chemistry exam.”
“Amma and Appa won’t approve of going for a concert at night. Do I have to epitomize the fact every time?” Savera grimaced.
“And that loser I see, is that Savera? Please testify. Why don’t you let me talk to your parents once?”
Savera rose up to leave. Madsie followed.
“Submissions are taking place. My papers are complete. Should we go then?”
“Shut up, you chicken! Tell me, nah!”
Savera bumped into a guy, who retaliated, “Hey, Chashmish! Your second set of eyes not working, eh!”
Madsie came forward.
“No Chichhore! She closed all of hers to avoid the sight of a chimpanzee. She’s scared of chimps, you see?”
Savera caught hold of her and left the library.
That night, apprehending a lot of drama, Madsie visited Savera’s house to talk to her parents and as if, till date they had been waiting for Madsie to turn up, they agreed on the first proposal. Savera’s Amma commented, “I always tell her to go out. Wonder why she doesn’t?”
Savera looked at her mother, not knowing whether to counter that comment she gave or hug her tightly. She finally bargained with a ‘Thank you, Ma!’
Madsie and Savera followed the rule of the thumb, hid their thrill in front of them, and acted normal, listened patiently to Amma’s theory of ‘A Suguni Girl’, promised they will be good and later, in Savera’s room rejoiced. It was Diwali, Christmas, Eid or whichever festival, you name it, for them. They hugged, jumped, and went red with delight. Yes, Savera was thrilled that day.
The day turned up, the day of Jal’s performance. They reached much before time to occupy the seats, closest possible only to find much exuberant people already sitting, waiting for the performance to begin. They somehow managed two seats in the seventh row in extreme right of the auditorium. Clad in a combination of brown and black suit, Savera looked elegant, an angelic beauty, indeed, because never, had anyone seen her with her spectacles off her eyes, locks left loose to sway with the flow freely. None of the guys could have imagined in their worst nightmares getting bewitched by Savera’s beauty and there they were, that day, not being able to get their eyes off her. In fact a sleazy guy came near her and barked,” My heart just skipped a beat!” Madsie, looking as graceful as ever, in a maroon-red kurti and black skin-tight slacks, did what was enough to scare him. She looked at him with eyes popped out of eyeballs.
The show began and the crowd cheered. Every transition sent the crowd in frenzy. Aadat faded and Boondh started playing in foreground and then Wo lamhe and the audience roared. The spectacular show came to an end with a standing ovation from the spectators. Savera gleamed with joy while Madsie left to have a glass of water. Her throat was sore with yelling her heart out.
Before Savera could come out of the reverberations of that evening, of how she owed that wonderful evening to Madsie, someone else scared her into reality. A guy, looking dashing in his blue shirt with checks and black pants, a killer physique stood there with arms folded. Savera looked at him disgusted as if knowing the next word going to pop out of his mouth.
“Hey! You look even better this way. I never liked girls wearing that put-on smile everywhere they go. This expression is a killer.”
Savera’s face reddened. This had never happened before. Normally, a guy would come, pass a comment and leave. But the intentions in this case were not clear. She was numb until Madsie came to her rescue.
“So, Mister ? Guess, a chimp’s really after scaring my friend! Let’s leave, Savvy.”
“You know him, Madsie?”
“You do too.”
And they both jollied.
That night, Savera dreamt of the same ‘Chhichhora Guy’ standing on the podium and declaring,
” Savera, You are the morning I had been waiting for all these years to do away with the murky life I’ve had. Every day which spelt gloom and spread melancholy around gave me strength to believe that one day, an angel would come and with her spells, the darkness would turn into luminance. And look, today when I saw you I could feel myself illuminated by a new power and the more my eyes penetrated into yours, higher was the intensity of that magical power. Won’t you let me dive into that ocean of the new felt energy? Won’t you let me enjoy it forever, and not just this moment? Won’t you be mine, Savera?”
Savera sat on the bed, looking shocked at what she had seen. She always believed in dreams. Dreams, she felt , were the illustrations our soul is writing about us and they were omens to what lay before us. So, that particular one got her thinking. The next morning she told Madsie about it, who bantered,” Did you penetrate your eyes deep into his? Did he look drunk anyway? It was a dream, a nightmare; you should have been calling it!”
But Savera knew it wasn’t. She kept walking exploring and analyzing the different sides of the dream till she bumped into him and that was it. The questions had been answered, the correct side explored and she knew she wanted to be with him. He was ready too. And without a word began the love story, the one Savera picturized as the ultimate love story. Madsie was left gazing, still wondering if it was just that one dream which triggered this story and was too dumbstruck to question or even give an expression which showed she was happy or like she said thrilled about her friend’s love story.
Life wasn’t it was supposed to be or as planned by her. It had taken a U-turn letting the wings tied for all those years let loose. The bird was set free by the charming prince, Samarth. It was a fairytale where the prince freed the jinxed princess, not by magical kiss, but an ephemeral dream. While it was a new beginning for her, she wanted not a single feeling to go unnoticed and her diary was adorned with her flight of fancy.
“When you are in love, you can’t just miss the exotica of your newly found life. You bathe in mush, wear the best smile, color your cheeks with the blush not succumbing, walk dreamily, and feel his touch wherever you go, hallucinate all the time in the abode of love.”
“While your love busies him, his inamorata waits patiently, incessantly for the time they’d just look and let their eyes do the talking.”
“Love isn’t extravagant, simpler the better. I like his random cuddles, hugs and kisses more than a candlelight dinner or a walk along the beach. I prefer letting him play with my fingers all the time than expecting him to embellish them with diamond rings. Nay, intangibility, mystery and a bit of coquetry make my love.”
“In the streets when I cover my face with my dupatta, he teases, “Jab pyaar kiya to darna kya?” In reply, I sing “Odh Li Chunariya Maine Tere Naam Ki!” And we laugh carefree till our cheeks hurt, and that expression persists throughout.”
“It all begins with a fear of being caught until you realize that you are already caught with the feeling so blissful that nothing can make it revert back and the fear vanishes in thin air.”
A stream of tears trickled down Savera’s eyes like she had just seen the corpse of her beloved. Yeah, he was dead, dead to her, right from the day he had given his so called ‘genuine’ reason brazenly for breaking up. Reality had struck her hard, like a thunderbolt from the sky. She had been busy designing her dream world, so busy that she had ignored the way Samarth ignored her. ‘Love always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Love never fails.’ was all she could say on being accused of being way too dreamy, impractical.
How long could she let the memories of a painful past haunt her? She had taken her set of decisions already; her newly found love gave her all that Samarth lacked. Wasn’t it a reason enough for her to rejoice, she thought. She tread a step forward, walked out of her room which held most of her memories, and reached the balcony where a whole brigade of relatives waited. Among aunts already breaking down, every uncle a portrait of man chained and bowed by the heavy weights on his shoulder, she caught the face of her Amma with moist eyes looking at her Laadli. Savera’s Amma and Appa were those conventional parents who had laid down strict rules for her daughter from the day she remembered them, they were hard always. But this time they had let her make her choice which was non-conventional of them and she loved them more now, not that she loved them lesser before, but that admiration, respect, affection, she fell short of words to express what she felt for them.
Before they could even know, Savera was ready to leave. Her hands intertwined with her love, she went away without talking much. Her Amma and Appa hardly spoke. This time they let the pool in their eyes do the talking. “Amma! Appa!” was all she said.
Samarth may not have been a beau she had dreamt of but he had given her something, the ability to feel love, a feeling she was not acquainted to before. And if anything, she felt grateful for whatever he had given to her and treasured what she had done. But she kept in mind always that Samarth was past, a past which if messed with can be disastrous. So she moved bravely, like a brave soldier.
A girl in mid-twenties is for her parents what art is for an artist. He loves it but can’t keep it to himself. Savera’s parents too suffered from the same syndrome. They showed her a slideshow of boys’ pictures and asked her to choose who she found the best. Poor Savera had no choice but to make a choice.
“What would keep her happy?
What would never hurt her and only get her closer to the peak she intended to climb?
What was the only way she could think of spending her life?
With who will her life won’t be a burden but an endeavor to lead and discover the lesser-known novelties?”
And the answer was in her hand.
Earlier in the day she had received a letter from the WCW Association where young budding writers were given a chance to hone their talent, learn new ways to deliver their ideas from the maestros in the field, where they taught it weren’t the words but the way words were woven to strike a chord with the reader. It was a two-year course followed by what the life of a writer was- Struggle + Perseverance + Talent=Success, which is still not guaranteed.
But she had found her true love and no matter what came in her way, she won't budge.
She knew her charming prince now.
She could already feel her hands intertwined with him while she held that letter in her hand.
So what if her prince wasn’t tangible, intangibility was the characteristic of love and she had found hers, True Love, she called it!
P.S.: Forgive me for the length. Busy these days, didn’t bother to revise it once. Felt my blog was feeling neglected, so here I am with the lengthiest post on my blog.