The Meeting

He ran across the teeming bazaar. His blood-shot eyes looked deep into the colourful crowd of buyers and sellers and into the shops and the tents that had been put up. It was of no use.

He sat down on the dusty pavement under the narrow shade of a shop. The sun was at its zenith and was beating down fiercely with its hot rays.  He noticed a few wayfarers looking at him with a strange expression on their faces. He tried to figure out what made them do so. Was it his disheveled hair, tattered clothes and dirty face? Or the streaks of desperation that were visible on his face? The very next moment a voice from within told him that it was futile to think over this.

A crowd was always moving up and down the road with a great bustle. He noticed their expression-less faces. They looked so numb and serious. Their bowed eyebrows, their straight lips and the creases on their foreheads were in direct contrast with the gay and colourful clothes that they were wearing. For a moment he enjoyed his own awful condition. For a moment only.

Suddenly, a loud cry arose in the bazaar that sounded familiar to him. It was the call for prayer. Soon it prevailed over the cacophony and spread throughout the clear white sky. He noticed that shops were being shut, transactions were being postponed and the crowd was becoming thinner. As the cry subsided, he noticed that most of the people were moving towards the white cottage at the far end. For the first time he noticed the large dome and the high minaret there. It was the village mosque.

The bazaar was now desolate. Only the puffing of the hot wind and blowing of dust could be heard. He collected a few pebbles that were lying near him and threw them away as far as he could, as if they were his misery. The pebbles got lost into the heat of the afternoon but his misery did not. Tears filled his eyes. A few drops even passed down his cheek. Was this happening to him in reality? Couldn’t all this be just a terrifying dream? The warm sensation of tears on his lips answered these questions for him. Finally he broke into a loud and pathetic wail.

He realised that he was breaking down and so he tried to suppress his wails into sobs. Hadn’t everything been going great? His sobs again turned into heart-aching cries. How he wished those lovely days came back! Those days when his life was in his control. How he wished to see that charming face- the face which was the only reason why he considered his life to be beautiful! Suddenly, he became numb and sank into a pool of memories.

Scenes of collapsed huts and buildings, rubbles, debris and unconscious bodies buried in those ruins flooded before his eyes. He saw blood smeared still faces in the rubble that terrified him. He saw hands waving from the debris and felt like crying. But it was only when he saw those two faces lying dead in the pile of bricks that he really cried. That was the ugliest day in his life.

That day took away the only people he knew in this world- his parents. After that his entire world was upturned, just like the buildings in the town. Every bit of his happiness disappeared, maybe got buried deep into the pits of solitude. Soon he lost interest in living. He lived like a recluse far away from the society that never bothered to cast even a glance of pity on his bereaved heart. It was never the same, not till he met her.

He clearly remembered the first time he had seen her. Her beautiful eyes and the pity in them had moved him so much that he shed a few tears. He had promised himself never to sit at the window again. But then his distressed heart revolted against his beleaguered instincts and there he was back at the window waiting for her to pass by. And though her soft gaze on him almost always made him feel miserable, he soon had a reason to live- those two beautiful eyes. And when one day she walked up to his window and greeted him, he cast his eyes down and almost froze with numbness.

He was very shy initially, but soon when their meetings became more frequent he discovered the joys of conversations. Whenever she talked, he just kept looking at her charming beauty. She had blue eyes, rosy lips, and a little mole just beneath her lips. They always enchanted him to numbness. He could clearly see care and concern throbbing in her blue eyes and the amazing effect of the little mole on her beauty. He often wondered how a little dot could amplify beauty to such an extent. But whenever he talked, she marveled at the depths of his ideas and the poem that throbbed in his speech. She was always amazed at the beautiful verses he said and which spoke of the miseries of life and the joys of living for someone else.

And when one day she asked him where he got all this poetry from, he had no better answer than to credit his solitude for it. She had then told him to venture into the town and get it published. There were many people in the town who patronized poets. She was sure that his poetry would make a space for itself and bring him the attention he deserved. She did not though emphasize much on the obscene amount of money that it would bring him. She told him that his future was bright and beautiful and that he deserved it.

At first he was reluctant to go. He was afraid of leaving her company for an unknown wild world out there. But he wasn’t able to withstand her clear arguments. And when he finally got ready to leave, he promised her that he would come back soon and marry her. And she cried with happiness at the prospect of this all.

But alas! He had come back only to find that fate is the only currency that makes noise. Though he had played his part perfectly well, his dream was still a dream. He had come back home rich and a successful poet and had gone straight to her house, where she lived with her aged father.  But he found the house empty. There was no sign of his beloved. The shopkeepers in the street told him that her father died a month ago.

He would have given all his wealth to find where his beloved was but no one was able to tell him about her whereabouts. He inquired her neighbours profusely about her but it was of no use. He waited outside her house for numerous days but it was all futile. Finally, despair took over him and he started to frisk every nook and corner of the village. But everywhere he met failure. And every time he met failure, he thought how cruel Allah was. How could He be so cruel?

A strong gust of wind made him think over his thought. He suddenly realised that there was still a way out- Du’a.

He picked himself up and marched towards the mosque. People had already offered their afternoon prayers. They were now engrossed in beseeching the help of the Almighty with their hands folded. He silently performed the ablution and went ahead to bow before the Lord of the Worlds and seek a way out of this misery. But suddenly, the congregation stood up and people arranged themselves in rows. Soon they were praying together. He could see a cot covered with a piece of cloth in front of the congregation. It was a funeral prayer. Someone had being freed of this mournful life.

He aligned himself with the last row and joined in the funeral prayer, hoping that Allah may provide him succour. As he bowed and prostrated with the congregation, he prayed with all his heart to bless the dead and also to help him out of this puzzle. Soon the prayer ended with a loud cry for peace. People started to walk towards the dead-body which was covered with shroud from head to toe.

Having offered his prayers, as he was about to leave the mosque the funeral procession started to move towards the burial-ground. He looked casually as numerous people shouldered the dead body. He started walking behind the procession. A few steps ahead the procession marched right towards the burial-ground. He took a left turn and started walking away from the procession towards the bazaar.

Suddenly, a violent gust of wind started to blow. The sky got confounded with hazy clouds. The wind started blowing dust all over the place. It danced around viciously pulling down a few hoardings at the bazaar.

In this windy atmosphere the shroud covering the dead body, suddenly rose in the air and started fluttering in the wind. The wind blew it high up in the air into the lap of the endless sky until it was out of reach. It thus exposed a beautiful face that had blue eyes, rosy lips and a little mole just beneath those lips.

*                     *                   *

P.S. This post is a reworked version of my earlier post with the same title. I reworked it because I felt there was much more to the story and also  this way I think it looks better. For the original post try this:  https://eivish.wordpress.com/2011/03/30/288/

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About zeeshan

We are the twinkle in the eyes of oblivion.

2 comments

  1. I got so lost in your story. You don’t write. You paint a picture. 🙂

    I read your original post too. You’ve made some subtle changes and yes, this reads better.

    Brilliant. Keep writing… Its a delight to read your stuffs. 🙂

    • zee

      Thanks a ton Allwin! You really make my day! Will keep writing as much as possible definitely. Thanks a lot. It means a lot to me!! Take Care.

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