People chanted duroods, loudspeakers amplified their voices. Our mosque had a special power of attracting the local TV or radio signals and at times, it transmitted the radio Kashmir news into our mosque. I got up right after performing the mandatory prayers with the Imam of the mosque, fearing that loudspeakers may also attract the waves of curiosity inside me and amplify the chirping of my heart beats. Failing to calm them down, I walked straight to my home, where my family was sitting in the kitchen bordered by the ‘Dastarkhan’. My sisters were on one side and my father and mother on the other. On my father’s side, a special seat was vacant, on the right of papa. All of the eyes of my family had been glued to the door and as it opened, my mother while replying to my salutation, was about to take out the rice. My favourite Rajma had overtaken the kitchen with its delicious smell. I made them aware of my intentions quickly which came to them as a surprise. My favourite Rajma couldn’t hold me as it had been successfully doing till now. My empty stomach had freed me of hunger. I had to meet someone whom I believed could redefine the definition of beauty and love for me.
She had sent me an e-mail and granted me an opportunity to see her personally. Amongst duroods and supplications, I left. Hoping that she would need this meet as much as I did, my mind tried consoling me that she would pull out a carpet of red roses and attend me like a new mother. My intuitions hadn’t betrayed me till now but somehow, I feared they may fickle now. Like a girl whose marriage is near, I walked cautiously to the place, we were about to meet. I hardly walked on the footpaths but I did on that day. I wanted to keep myself safe for her. Finally, I was there. She looked terrifyingly beautiful and busy, taking her tresses behind her ears time and again while they looked in no mood to be obeying her and came forward to kiss her cheeks repeatedly, reminding me of my ill luck. I began questioning my choice of career and started thinking of bribing someone to get me into her office. Then, I got another idea of applying for the post of tea maker. I was confident that I would be overqualified for the job and would get it easily. My gaze was kissing her for long till a madam, who had been noticing my strange smiles and postures got up and questioned, whom I was looking for?.
I turned my head towards her and left strangely without saying anything. I could feel her gaze upon my back, as I left. Somehow, I didn’t find her important to talk. My face reflected immense heat thinking, how would I be able to explain to her that I have not merely come to meet her? I saw the meet as a sermon of the grand Friday payer, I fantasized with her. I entered washroom to throw some water upon my burning face. A small pimple popped its head out under my right eye, on the right side of my nose. Though I suppressed it to a good extent but it was visible enough. I mailed her with shivering hands and made her aware of my presence outside her cabin. She asked me to come, I felt like a new bride entering the bedroom on her wedding night. Then she came and sat in front of me. It was as if I was the bride and she, my groom.
The butterflies were rumbling inside my stomach threatened to explode me. For the first time, I could feel time slipping as sand does from my hands. One after another person entered the cabin bidding good-byes; I could feel the choke every time someone entered the cabin. Somehow, I knew that I too have to do the same but someone inside me didn’t want to, though I had to and she too wasn’t hesitant in saying so. The hour-long meet ended. I stood up but it was as if my legs had been cut. I Wanted to cry right there. I didn’t want her to leave. I was in immense pain as we made our way out. She waved her hand and bid good bye to me. I turned dumb and didn’t bid her in return. Her separation was murderous in approach, I wanted to ask for her mobile number but it didn’t look decent in the first meet. I was able to show her the wallpaper of my phone which was her picture, that gave me some relief and I went home with this optimistic thought that she would mail me again.
(Prolifickhan121@gmail.com The writer is the author of the book Prisoners of Paradise and presently pursues his masters in mass communication and Journalism in university of Kashmir)