Syed In an apartment in Pune, Nov’ 2011
He turns to see her half-naked body lying in the bed. A smile of achievement comes all over his face. “Her curves are so very perfect, a master creation by a painter with his brush. This master piece needs much more admiration”, he thinks as he decides to join her again in the bed.
As he steps towards the bed and he crosses the mirror, he feels as if something isn’t right. He turns to face the mirror. His image in the mirror is not clear. He goes in closer to the mirror. And he almost shouts shockingly, it’s not his face in the mirror. He immediately turns around to see if someone else is there in the room. Nope, no one is there. He again turns to look at the mirror. Something is not right!!! He moves in more close to the mirror to look at it and almost touches it to clean. To his utter shock, his reflection in the mirror starts blurring slowly.
Suddenly the image in the mirror starts shaking, slowly taking a definite, different shape. It is not his face. “What the hell is happening”, he almost shouts. He has seen his face for the last 30 yrs. and he is sure this is not him. He gets impatient, he feels difficulty in breathing. Feeling scared, he shouts, “Why my face is changing?” Something that he believed all life long, is turning out to be just a myth. And he cannot take it lightly, his brain is about to explode.
He turns and looks at the bed and instantly shouts with a shrill voice. Shreya’s body is almost floating in the blood. He almost gets a heart attack. “What the hell happened”, he shouts again to no one, “how did everything changed suddenly?”
He turns to face the mirror once again, hoping, may be…. But no, his face is really changing. He tries cleaning the mirror. But nothing happens, instead the image in the mirror starts smiling.
She sacrificed herself for his love… and everything changed for him.
Suddenly, Syed wakes up, sweating profusely. With lots of suspicion he looks at the mirror. His face is still the same, he has not changed. “What a terrible dream”, he thinks. Slowly he gets up and moves to washroom.
As he opens the washroom door, he sees his reflection in the mirror, “Uff, I hate mirrors”, he murmurs and for a moment keeps looking at his own eyes. “How long I am going to lie myself”, he thinks loud, “Sometimes it is hard to acknowledge certain facts, forget about facing them”. But the more he tries to avoid the thought, the more it keeps on bothering him. Looking at his own reflection, he shouts at the top of his voice, “I am not a normal person”.
He rushes back to his bedroom. Lying in the bed, Syed stares at the blank ceiling above his head. The blankness of the ceiling disturbs him. “Why is it so monotonous? Is my life too becoming such blank & monotonous one? How long the ceiling has to wait to be covered with a vibrant colour?” he says to himself.
“Shreya can’t be the end of my life. I need to create more stories. I am a hero, and I have to end each story according to my own choice”, the thoughts keep coming from nowhere. “But, What if it’s not just a story? What if, it is not what I am searching for?”
Syed shakes his head vigorously. He can’t afford to have such thoughts in his mind. “I don’t know anything. I don’t know who I am, I don’t know what I want”, he murmurs. Deep inside he knew he is changing, his world is changing. He realizes he has to do something fast. And silently in his mind he reminds himself of all the things he needs to do, all the steps he need to take. The plan is perfect, he smiles looking at the mirror. He just have to check whether Shreya is one or not.
Shreya In another apartment in Pune, Present day
“I see you spending a lot of time just staring at that picture. Is everything okay?” Senthil remarks.
“I am expecting a response from the God”, Shreya replies while staring at the picture.
He laughs out loud, “Do you really think God is going to respond to you from that picture?”
“Why not?” she says “If he is supreme power, capable of turning our life, creating everything around us, then what’s the big deal in giving a response to me. All I am expecting is an acknowledgement of the fact that he is concerned about me and my problems”
Senthil looks at her carefully. In her white saree, wet long hairs and with big eyes, she looks beautiful, pure and very vulnerable. It’s been four years to their marriage and his love for her has not changed a bit. Hiding his feeling, he tries teasing her a bit, “Spare him for larger things than just answer to your simple trivial issues. I don’t think God should be bothered with such simple issues. He has far bigger responsibilities like maintaining ecological balances, maintain supply of air, water, mountains etc. etc. Now if he starts solving individual problems or even answering to each ones request, it will be impossible for even god to handle that. So leave him aside and look into your life as if you are God of your life”, completing his sentence, he gives her a short affectionate hug.
Shreya gets more frustrated by his so called explanation for God’s dilemma. She looks at him sternly, “Then why such bad things are happening in my life. I have always worshipped him with all my pure heart”.
Senthil can’t stop his smile, “Life is all about going through different cycles. If we get what we want all the time, then it won’t be life any longer. Sometimes you get what you want, sometimes you don’t”. He pauses a while and opens the curtains to let the brightness of sunlight come inside.
And says, “I hope you don’t consider me also as a bad thing happening in your life?” and with a laughter continues, “You are confused as you are trying to find answers to question which don’t have answers. It is never easy to understand relationships”.
“How can you say that? We need them to survive. Isn’t it?” Shreya immediately replies
He again smiles. He likes her simplicity, “The very basis of relationship is expectations. And expectations may bring in issues. Love is beyond mere expectations, it’s all about giving and sacrificing yourself to someone without expecting anything” Senthil wants her to now get over Syed. Senthil came to know about Syed just before their marriage, but then he decided never to mention it and leave it just to God to settle the matter.
Shreya gave him an irritating look. She hates the way he is so clear about everything. She hates that he do not even allow her a reason to speak to god.
She shouts with frustration, “So, you mean to say, you don’t believe is love and you don’t expect anything from anyone”
He looks at her lovingly and says, “Who said I don’t believe in love. Of course I do, and I love you. But then I don’t expect you to love me in return, I am happy in just falling in love with you.”
Shreya suddenly feels a surge of love for him. But before the emotions can take over her, she turns her face and looks again at the picture. And she thinks “Is really everything so simple, the way he is explaining? Or, there is something far more complex? Does God really has nothing to do with what happens in our life or rather he plays a major role in directing the activities in our life. If what Senthil says is to be believed, why difficult situations comes in one’s life that forces him to act unexpectedly? May be whatever is happening right now around the world is just for the right balance of everything. And for the ecological balance as he remarks.”
She keeps looking at the picture, expecting a response.
Nothing !!! Not even a hint of smile.
But, She will wait for a response. No matter how long…
She will ask him, why he made her fall in love with that cheat, Syed?
Shreya and Syed Pune, June 2012
Syed and Shreya didn’t mean to fall in love. But love 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.
Shreya was from a very conservative South Indian family that went to a temple every Saturday. Syed bought goats for his family every Eid. That said it all. Their paths would never have crossed if it hadn’t been for that fateful day. That day when he walked into the coffee shop and came across Shreya. Everything changed in their life since then. Shreya wondered, do they had any role to play at all, or it is everything already written there in their destiny?
She looked at her watch. Syed was late. They met every Thursday at five pm to catch up. Their conversation lasted for hours. Sometimes at the cafe, sometimes in his car, sometimes in places that she could never tell her friends about. Her friends would never understand. But then, meeting Syed always made her happy.
Suddenly her phone beeped. He had sent a message. “On my way. Have something important to tell you.”
Shreya stared at it and realised she had knots in her stomach. Thoughts flooded her mind. What did he want to tell her?
It was one of those days when Shreya didn’t said anything to her friends about her plans. The ‘Shanti lodge’ in Pune was suggested by Syed, and she too liked it. Out of city noise with great sense of privacy was enough for her to express her love for Syed. For the last one year they have spent numerous hours in their room exploring new heights of their love. Syed always made her happy, happy enough to overcome the guilt of cheating her fiancée.
But his message did disturbed her. Why he had to mention in his message that there is something important? What could be so important?
And all her anxiety ended when Syed opened the door of the lodge room.
“What happened? What’s so important”, Shreya says as she hugs him with a cute kiss.
Syed hugs her tightly and with a kiss in her forehead, says, “I have taken a decision”
Shreya distances herself and looks at him quizzing.
Syed looks at her and says, “Our life is going nowhere. I don’t see any future for us. We are in a very complicated situation. How long are we going to lie to our families about this? I know you are suffering too much” He pauses for a while to let the pretext set in. And then says, “And now I have finally decided to put an end to everything. I have decided that we will kill ourselves”.
Shreya could not come up with any words to say, and just keeps staring at him.
Syed says again, “I know it is a difficult decision. But then, I really think that there is no solution whatsoever. I can’t live without you. And I know you love me a lot. If you think we can do something else, say it now”
She suddenly feels helpless and can’t not stop her tears. And within sobs, says, “I want a life with you. I love you, I want to live more in your love. I can’t think of dying”.
Syed gives her a tight hug and kisses her passionately. And once her sobs stops, says again “Do you think this is easy for me? I want the same, but you know it is not possible. Our religions are different, people around us are not going to accept it easily. Can we really live alone, without anyone else in our life? We can’t survive just with our love”.
Shreya replies nothing. She is contemplating whatever Syed had said. And deep inside she know that there is no easy way out, especially in the society which is yet to accept extramarital affairs or inter-religion relations.
She starts crying again. With cracking voice, she says, “How you do think we should do it? Are you really sure we should do it? Is there really no way out?”
Syed do not reply immediately and after a while says, “I have brought poison, and we will drink it together. It will have effect immediately and we will not even know what happened. I just want to close my eyes for the last time with you in front. I just want to ensure that, in my next life I get you without any issues”. Syed completes his statement and finds it hard to hold on to his tears.
Looking at his tears, Shreya’s condition becomes worse. She kisses him passionately, as if there is no tomorrow. And how true!!!
The next hour goes into heights of their passion, love and feelings. It was love making in the purest form. Fully exhausted, after exploring the world of love, Syed says, “I am ready, are you ready now?”
Shreya starts crying, “I don’t want to die. Please, let’s not do this. I can handle whatever problem comes to my life. Let’s keep this going. I don’t want to end this love just now”.
Syed says nothing for some time. He keeps on staring the ceiling. Deep inside he feels the blankness of the ceiling entering into his life. Somewhere something shatters without making any noise whatsoever.
After a long silence, he says “I think you are right. We can continue this. I mean I have life too and I should think about my future too. Love is not about ending your life, isn’t it?”
Shreya replies nothing. She could not understand Syed’s sudden change in voice.
Syed keeps on saying “I think we should drop the idea of dying. That can’t be a solution. We have really nice passionate love. And we both enjoy it. Maybe we can lessen our meetings and that will save us from any doubts. What do you think?”
Tears comes out of Shreya eyes. Collecting her courage and hiding her expressions she says “Whatever you say, I just love you and trust you. So, if you think this is the best option for us, I will go with that?”
‘Everything about us is just a lie. Syed never loved me’. Shreya keeps thinking.
Syed is silent. Turning his back towards her, he gives a last glance to the empty packet he had brought along with him, there was no poison inside it. Now he know it is his last meeting with her.
His search for true love has ended half-way. Till then, his journey continues…