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January 24, 2015

The Dreamcatcher

"It's a surprise. Don't cheat," Jason said to Sarah, as he blind folded her.
With that, he revved up the engine and set the car in motion.
Jason and Sarah were childhood friends. Today, seated in his shiny black Sedan, she wondered what the surprise could be. She smiled to herself as glimpses of their friendship flashed before her blind folded eyes.

It was Sarah's 11th birthday. She had stopped celebrating it ever since her parents had died in that awful plane crash. She had been living with her grandmother ever since. The last birthday she had celebrated was when she was five, the year the accident had occurred.
Sitting in a quiet corner of her room, eleven year old Sarah had imagined herself in a pretty little pink dress covered with lace and sequins, distributing sweets to all her friends at school. In reality, no one had remembered to wish her except her grandmother and pimple-faced Jason. Jason had made her a shoe box and her grand ma had got her some messily packed candy. Sarah couldn't complain. That was all they could afford. Her friends would receive fancy gifts and clothes on their birthdays. Sarah had cried herself to sleep that night. In her dream, she saw fairy lights. A string of dainty little lights in brilliant colors....in shades she had never ever seen before.
The next morning saw her wake up smiling. She couldn't recall the exact dream. All she remembered was that she was happy...and of course the magical fairy lights, she would never forget those.

When she was fourteen, she had participated in a ballet concert at her school. She had really pinned up all her hopes on the prize--a small battery operated digital television set. Sarah wondered how it would be to have a TV. She knew her grandma could never afford one. But she was ashamed to reveal this wish to anyone at school. She had put her heart and soul in the practice. She was so sure she'd win. But as bad luck would have it, she tripped over a wire in the middle of the performance. Red with embarrassment, she had run off the stage. She had locked herself in her room and would not open the door for anyone. Amidst angry sobs, she had told Jason that she would never dance again.

In high school, she had wished good old 'heart throb' Nick would ask her to prom night. Her grandmother had fished out her mother's gown from an old trunk that was locked away in the attic. A little alteration had been needed....a nip here, a tuck there, and it had fit Sarah perfectly. That night she went to sleep thinking of Nick. As she entered a deep sleep, she felt something inside her  changing. It was if Nick was being extricated from her thoughts. She had woken up feeling unusually  happy, but could not recall anything of the mysterious dream. On reaching high school, she discovered that Nick had already asked Katy to the prom. Heart broken, she confided in Jason again. That evening Jason stayed back with her watching reruns of her favorite soap. He said it made him feel 'gay', and that made her laugh all the more.

Sarah's chain of thoughts was interrupted by a sudden screech. The car had stopped. It was time to step out.
The front door was opened, and Jason gently held her hand and let her out of the car.
"No looking," he reminded her again.
"Where are we?" she asked, her curiosity heightened.
"Hang on a minute," he said, a smile in his voice.

It was time to open the blindfold. Jason carefully removed the cuff from her eyes.In front of Sarah, was a cozy looking cottage with a wooden door. She looked at Jason, giving him a questioning look.
He smiled at her and inserted a key in the lock. The door fell open. The inside was furbished with trendy upholstery. There were spotless lace curtains adorning huge french windows. The mauve walls were adorned with breathtakingly beautiful paintings and modern artifacts. There was a small TV set in one corner, just like the one she had wanted to win years ago. On one wall, was a cuckoo clock, similar to the one she had once dreamed of. She wondered if the cuckoo would fly out chirping her name, just like it did in her dream. There was a table laden with neatly wrapped gifts. Sarah counted. There were eighteen in all, one for each birthday she did not celebrate. A full sized shiny looking glass adorned one corner of the room. Sarah blushed as she recalled complaining once to Jason about a cracked hand mirror. As she gazed at her reflection in it, Jason sneaked behind her and gently slid a gold chain around her neck.
Around it was the most beautiful 'ballerina' locket she had ever seen.

All of a sudden, there was a flash of color. Sarah looked up to see an iridescent spray of the most amazing hues in the universe. She followed her glance towards the source which led to strings of fairy lights just like the ones she had dreamed about on her eleventh birthday.
But how on earth did Jason get to know about all this, she wondered. She closed her eyes again and tried to recall the dreams she had dreamed as a child. In a far corner of her mind, hadn't Jason always been a part of them?
The day she failed at the dancing contest, the day Nick ditched her, the exam she had flunked, the gold bracelet she couldn't afford, Jason had been with her all along. She had just not taken notice of him then. He had stayed in the background, collecting bits of her dreams, to  present them back to her as a lovely collage some day. He had made her dreams come true.

She had heard of the 'Dreamcatchers'...the celestial characters her grandmother would talk about. They were a group of magical creatures who possessed the superpower to catch dreams from humans. They could change into any form they wanted. They were masters of their choice, and creatures of habit.
Were these fictional characters from her bed time stories real, Sarah now wondered. Could Jason be one of them?
She turned to look at Jason who was standing right behind her, like he had always been. For the first time today, she gazed into his eyes. She could see her dreams reflected in them.
As she continued to gaze longingly into his eyes, she felt a strange pull towards him. For the first time in her life, someone had made her feel important...someone had made her feel special...feel loved. She felt happy. It was the same happiness she had experienced in her dreams.
"I have never known love," Jason whispered to Sarah. "But if there is something called 'love', it must surely feel like this."
Sarah blushed. The fairy lights twinkled on, their spectral hues sending magical ripples around the room.
"I have never been happier," Sarah smiled, and they both hugged each other. It had started raining outside. The air inside smelled of lemon and lavender. Everything around them felt magical. So did their love.

Sarah felt her eyelids turn heavier. She was feeling sleepy. She lay on the four poster bed that she had always wished she had. It was exactly like the one she had read about in fairy tales. The pillows were like clouds under her head. That night, she had a dreamless sleep.
The dream catcher sat beside her all night long, guarding the smile that played on her lips. He did not even realize when he had dozed off.

When he woke up next morning, she was gone. He was in his own nondescript home. He peeped  outside his bedroom window to see the bright summer sun. His rusty old cycle stood in the messy shed, waiting to be mounted.
Jason pinched himself. He rubbed his eyes. Where had it all vanished? Where was Sarah?
Had he just returned from a dream or entered into one, Jason wondered.  Had the Dreamcatcher not yet learned to catch his own dreams?

Just then, his cell phone beeped. It was a text from Sarah,
You won't believe what I dreamt up yesterday, it said!

Jason smiled. Someone up there was playing tricks on him, reminding him that there was no greater Dreamcatcher than love!

January 19, 2015

While you weren't looking...

What do you do when a box full of gulab jamuns from your sweet meat shop slips from your hand and falls on the road?
Curse yourself for what happened and scurry away to pack a fresh replace for the delivery?
Go get a broom from your shop nearby and sweep it into the thrash? ('Swacch Bharat' and you wouldn't want stray animals calling a gathering in front of your sweet shop for a feast?)
Or Traumatized by the incident, stop delivery of gulab jamun's forever?




Zoom in the picture above, and you will witness one of the rare occurences in history when an innocuous little citizen (aka 'Me') beautifully captured one such 'Wrong number' from the safe confines of her car parked nearby. Let me fill you in with the details *rubs her hands in glee*
So it happened like this.
After having a relaxed Sunday lunch, the family decided to go out for ice cream. Too stuffed to even step out to make a choice, I decided to stay back in the parked car.
"Get me anything except dark chocolate," I instructed the family.
"What if there is nothing except that?" they asked. Well living in Goa, we have learned to expect the most outrageous circumstances.
"In that case, get me DARK CHOCOLATE," I smirked.
The family rolled their eyes and were on their way, muttering something under their breath about lazy me and how I could do with a bit of exercise, which I chose to ignore.

I got back to texting 'Looney Tunes', my friend group on Whatsapp.
My attention had hardly wavered from my cell phone until I heard a soft thud followed by a collective groan from nearby. Immediately I looked from my car window and noticed a man on a scooter looking down at his feet and frowning. I recognized him to be the delivery boy from the nearby sweet shop. My gaze instantly shifted to where he was looking, and what I saw made me wince.. Scattered below at his feet was a boxful of perfectly golden sugar soaked  gulab jamuns. Even in that sorry plight, they looked so lovely and inviting.

Slightly vexed at the clumsiness of the delivery boy in handling the delectable sweets, I continued to observe. This initial reaction was instantly followed by an empathic one. Mistakes can happen with anyone, I thought.
"Poor guy. He is surely in for a dressing down from the owner," I thought to myself. "Maybe I will go and buy a box of fresh gulab jamuns from the shop just to make up for his slip."
I was about to open the car door and step out to do the needful, when I saw another man come out from inside the shop. He whispered something in the ear of the fore mentioned guy and handed him an aluminium tray (that I recognized as one used to display the sweets in the shop).
This was my cue to stay on and watch what happened next. So without a sound, I sat back looking closely at the drama that was unfolding at a distance.
The two men glanced left and right to see if anyone was watching. When they realized that the coast was clear (they did not notice the pair of eyes watching them from a safe distance).
Much to my disgust, they then bent over and started picking up the gulab jamuns one by one, choosing the ones that were intact from the ones distorted, and placing them carefully on the tray that was promptly produced from the store.. I watched with horror as a third man stepped out to inspect the job. This was when my cell phone came in handy.

When the family returned with the ice cream, I proudly proudly pointed out my discovery. They were aghast at the sight. We had a healthy discussion on the way home. While someone said that he might be picking the Gulab Jamun's out for disposal, the other pointed that this didn't seem true as the tray that was being used  looked exactly like the trays that were  displayed in the shop window. I, on the other hand, wanted to know which disposal method involved carefully picking only the best fallen  Gulab Jamun's by hand?

The pics were transferred to 'Looney Tunes' and we all swore to steer clear from the shop. Here was a place that was well known for its sweets and savories. This was clearly not done.

I am normally a peace loving person. I always abide by an imaginary fourth monkey (the one with eyes shut, ears plugged and hands over the mouth---the sum total of Gandhiji's famous three). But in situations like these, the cute little fourth chimp gets transformed into a mad orangutan
Honestly, I strongly believe there should be no compromise when it comes to public safety. If this can happen in a small place like Goa, it is possible almost anywhere. Basic education teaches us not to eat anything off the floor, even at home. But what about situations like these we aren't aware of?
In a country like ours, where almost every common road and street is strewn with filth, right from human piss, chewed up paan, spit, cow dung etc, do you think we have achieved that degree of a 'Swacch India' where spilled food is suitable for consumption?

On reaching home, I was thinking about the incident. Maybe I should have stepped out of the car and reprimanded them instead. Why didn't I stand up against it?
"Why would you ask for trouble? You were alone and they were so many. Nothing would come out of it anyway," my inner voice counter questioned.
 But a part of me was ashamed of myself. Maybe I could have stopped them from delivering those soiled gulab jamuns. If I could prevent even one person from consuming them and falling ill, it would have been worth the effort.  Isn't being a silent witness to a shameful act as much of a crime as committing the act?

There was a huge mental debate before posting this write up. One voice within me thought I should stay away from conflict. What has happened has happened anyway. But there was another voice within me that said  'Go right ahead. Post it so that it does not happen again. Post it so that people are aware. Post it so that when someone like you is witness to a shameful act like this, they raise a voice for public safety.'
I decided to heed to the second voice with the promise that I will take better and more prompt action next time.
 

January 14, 2015

Clandestine

Have you ever heard the sound of silence?

People who know me know how mentally stimulating I find conversation. I like to stay amidst talking people, in noisy places, amidst friendly chatter. It makes me feel alive. Being a part of the crowd offers a strange kind of security, a solace that everyone is moving along with you. The only time I appreciate some quiet is either when I am having a splitting headache or when I am reading a book.

However, last weekend I experienced something unique. I was talking to a group of friends, and all of a sudden, I felt this need to separate myself from the incessant banter. I wanted to focus on something far away. It was not that the conversation wasn't interesting. Our conversations are always fun.  But there was a part of my mind that was trying to focus on something else...a clock ticking on a wall at the far end corner of the cafe, the sound of the blades of the whirring fan above us, the swish swooshing made by opening and closing movements of the door. What felt absurd was that these were sounds that I hardly paid any attention to in the past...noises that are drowned out in the din at a common place setting.
However yesterday I was straining to notice them. It was as if I had enough of the obvious and now wanted to explore the ignored...as if my ears were craving to hear the sounds of silence.

Perhaps my friends noticed my distracted behavior and we called it wraps earlier than usual. On the way home, I was ruminating over this unnatural reaction of mine, but still couldn't place any reason to it. Maybe I'm just turning old and senile, I humored myself. But there was another part of me that was still trying to detach myself from thinking too hard.
It was around 9 pm by the time I got home. I headed straight to my room. A half read novel was lying on the bed. As habit would have it, I was tempted to pick it up. But I refrained. I switched off my cell phone, turned off the TV, opened the windows to my room and waited, eyes closed. How long since I had last done that? How long since I had tried to drive away all the clutter that occupied my mind?
How long since I had stopped to appreciate the sound of silence?
I flinched with the realization. Could it be that my mind was trying to tell me something? Did a mental freeze mean that my brain, my body was asking me to slow down?

Are we not acquainted so much to the superficiality that we forget to notice the deeper essentials? If we peel back the superficial layers of  our life---the frenzy, the confusion----a calm stillness awaits.
A cold breeze brushed against my face. I tried to distract myself from the occasional sound of traffic on the street in front of my house. It took me some time to adjust myself.
As I stood there, chafing the pristine silence from the chaos, I heard the rustling of leaves, the faint mewing of our neighbour's cat (I wasn't even aware they had a cat until then), a faint familiar tune playing on a radio station in some parked car somewhere in the distance----soft signs of satisfaction that the mind searches for every once in a while. It was breath taking, this experience. 
I wanted to explore the beauty of that stillness.
I wanted to be one with this magic of silence!

The moment felt so fragile that I wanted to preserve it for eternity. But letting it go was necessary...for me to experience it all over again.
And so let go I did, with the promise of a visit soon...very soon.


For words are a powerful addiction,
and silence a complicated affair...
Each in company and in solitude,
 a magic one dare not share...

So discover your learning moment,
a time freeze or wrap...
But don't you dare stay too long there,
It could be a terrible love trap...

For it's not my duty to warn you,
But it's indeed yours to learn...
Celebrate, revel and flirt with these,
Or fester, perish and burn...

It's a powerful thing, this magic,
to know how far to go...
To either from a safe distance watch,
or keep coming back for more...

So pick carefully and wisely,
your words and silence too...
Used right, your days it can fill with bliss,
when wrong, your hearts with rue...

January 12, 2015

Your love---a double edged sword

It keeps me safe. I can feel it surround me like a sheath at times. The memory of our last time together. So many things that needed to be said, yet refused to roll out on my tongue.
You had your suitcase packet. You were ready to leave. And I...
 I can still see myself leaning against that light green wall, wondering how time could have been so cruel to fly away so easily. You were leaving for your city, that had ironically become my city now. That was the only link we would have between us in the years to come...that, and a painful sense of nostalgia we would associate each other with.

" I will miss you," I said. I had wanted to say something else.

"How do you know that? I'm not even gone yet," you smiled.

I smiled back trying to ignore the tears that were forming in my eyes. In my mind, you had left already. In my heart, we had parted. You knew that too, but perhaps wanted to make light of the moment. Or perhaps you thought it wouldn't be the last time we were meeting. But all I noticed then was that you hadn't said you would miss me as well. I waited...
Once again, you had nothing to say.
I had a million things to tell you. I thought I'd see you off. But as luck had it, I couldn't. I did not have any right to. That day a lot of things stayed pending.

I longed to hug you and say goodbye. But I did not. How could a hug matter when you know you are never going to see the person again? Ironically, I guess I kept wishing it wouldn't be the end.
In the years that followed, I went through this version of our last meeting several times over.  Sometimes it made me laugh. The juvenile parting card, the silly gift, the way I behaved around you might have all seemed like unwanted drama. But there are very few precious moments I have of us...and no matter how immature they may seem in hindsight, it still hurts to let them go.

You set the bar high...so high that lowering it seems impossible now. Is it possible to make up a sacrosanct memory from bits and pieces of our imagination? Could it be that I have plastered the chips and deficits of your flawed image with fragments of an imagined perfection, thereby placing you on some sort of pedestal? Sometimes I wonder if I have imagined it all. Do you really exist or was it all a dream? Then I recall that moment buried in time.

That day, you had nothing to say.
Someday, I hope to find the right words.

Until then your love will continue to be this double edged sword, and my love will gladly bleed...

January 08, 2015

Ours is not to reason why...

If we thought we had put the terror and gruesome crimes behind us in 2014, and stepped into a fresh year--a harbinger of mutual love and world peace, then we got to think again.
The past, as they say, can never leave us alone. Come 2015, we have fresh headlines reiterating haunting catastrophies of the past gift wrapped in new bloody paper. Terrorism has raised its ugly head on a global scale. For those of you who haven't got it, I'm talking about the heinous Charlie Hebdo attack that ocurred yesterday morning. A terrorist attack of exceptional barbarity, this is believed to be the deadliest attack in France since 1961,
The attack took place at the magazine's daily morning editorial meeting where three gunmen entered and opened fire shouting "We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad" and "God is Great" in Arabic.Twelve people including the editor and cartoonists, and security were killed on the spot, while many were injured. The gun men have then said to have escaped in a car that was abandoned at a distance.
I heard this news yesterday evening. While TV headlines screamed out the ghastliness of the attack, the video footage of a cop being shot point blank were going viral, the entire world was expressing their condolences and solidarity towards the bereaved families of those killed.
Today morning came with the news that the youngest of the perpetrators had surrendered. Mint India has expressed support by republishing cartoons that were published in Charlie Hebdo. While Barrack Obama expressed his sympathies, every single person in the world seemed to be tweeting or facebook(ing) about what had happened.

But how long before this is forgotten? Weren't we clucking our tongues and expressing disgust about the Peshavar firing, about the Nirbhaya rape case, about the suicide bombings in Yemen, about the uncountable acid attacks, about the ever growing list of horrendous crimes in the world? Do you still remember the gory details of each? Hasn't the rage for yesterday's monstrosity simmered down with newer and more shocking crimes replacing them instead?

I remember the untimely death of Sunanda Pushkar (a well known socialite and wife of MP and minister of state and human resources development, Shashi Tharoor) a year back. How the whole world had been fretting and screaming foul. I was one of the countless people who thought there was more to it than an overdose of sleeping pills. But what can one say when the forensic reports and police investigations dismiss the matter as an open-and-shut-case? The public outcry faded. The Tv reporters hushed down. Her soul was said to be resting in peace. Who dares unruffle the calm of the dead?
Cut to present day. The case has been reopened. News headlines claim that there is evidence of foul play. The viscera has been sent for further investigation. I recall this post I had written back then. Today, I have lots more to say. But I choose not to. Why? Because I am no longer sure if it matters anymore. Justice delayed is justice denied.
I feel amused at the headlines which even now are being very careful with their words. It's evident that power-play reigns supreme. Then why has the case been reopened? To give us a hope to believe  Only time will tell.
 So many lives, the team at Charlie Hebdo , Sunanda Pushkar, the innocent children and their teachers at the Peshavar school, Bhavani-the woman who lost her life in Bangalore's bomb blast, and countless others who have been once mentioned and forgotten who is to account for them all?

On the flip side, there is Sakshi Maharaj asking people to procreate more. Makes me want to believe he has lost his mind, the poor guy.
Ironically, in today's world, where more is (made) less in a matter of seconds, wouldn't it be ideal to stop propagating the human race instead of destroying it?

"Ours is not to reason why,
ours is but to do and die..."
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson

January 02, 2015

Lets get started

And yes, we are in 2015!

Another year has come and gone. We bid goodbye to 2014. We came to terms with the fact that the year (along with its share of good, bad and ugly) is never coming back, and we gracefully entered the new year by clinking our glasses and googling 'New Year' quotes to tweet.
So now that the excitement has faded and the first day novelty has simmered down, we are back to routine again. Does anyone recall where they kept their resolution list? Mine must be there somewhere, under some pillow or table top. (I swear I haven't lost it...the list I mean. It must be there somewhere.)
Anyhoo, what do we want for ourselves this New Year? Do we really know or do we need a 'Mirror of Erised' to tell us? I really liked the idea of 'Secret Santa' this Christmas. I was secretly wishing my secret Santa to be my publisher and so I had asked for a higher royalty on my recently released novel 'Twists Of Fate'. But there was nothing like that. Maybe I was misinformed about it being just a silent prayer technique, or perhaps the 'Secret Santa' thing really worked and they actually contacted my  publisher who blatantly refused to agree to my small little wish. I would never know...Sigh!   ("Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do and die" )

 Sheesh! Digression takes up most of my time. Let's come back to what I want this 2015---
  1. I want to read more. I want to find time for lots of books. Reading can never be enough. But I have a goal of at least a hundred books this year. I hope I can exceed that. Cheers to this reading challenge.
  2. I want to blog and blog hop more regularly. You, who have apparently lost interest in reading 'Nostalgic Moments'---I miss you and I want you back! I am guilty of being out of the loop but I'm here now and you will see me writing home at least thrice every week (if not more.)
  3. I want to eat healthy. Hold it, this doesn't mean I am going to swallow a can of spinach every day or skip my meals for a skinny salad. (Let's be realistic.) It just means no snacking in between.  (and that my friends, is a BIG deal for yours truly).
  4.  I want to complete the manuscript for my second novel. It's in my mind right now. I hope to get it out on paper soon. Knowing what an elaborate and tiresome journey it is to get a book published, would I do it all over again? Most definitely yes! *blush*
  5. I want to get fit not fat. Err...the less said about this the better!
  6. I want to learn a new language this year. A real language mindya.
  7. I want to keep my mind and heart open to new things and people. I want to spend more time with people I love and those who love me. I want to chuck out emotionally draining and negative influences from my life and surround myself with positive energy.
  8. I want my baby 'Twists Of Fate' to reach out to a lot of people. This is something I can only hope will happen...because it needs cooperation from a lot of links in between. There is my publisher, the distributor, the book store owner, the online book carts, and most importantly, YOU, the reader! I hope you will give it a read, and if you like it, please do spread the word.     Amazon.in http://bit.ly/priyankanaik
    Flipkart: http://bit.ly/1yT8L
  9. I want to laugh more, worry less and live better. I haven't yet found the perfect key to this. But I intend to keep searching. I would only be happy if you'd want to join.
  10. and last but not the least, I want to stick to this 'To-Do' list. 
I know how tough it is to abide by resolutions. Heck, we all know that. In fact, my resolution list included a hundred odd few more things. But I just can't seem to find where I place it. I guess the universe is conspiring to help preserve only the resolutions that are most important.

So throw aside that list (for those who haven't lost it already), close your eyes, clear your mind of the clutter, and realize which New Year goals come back to you.(Share them in your comment while you are at it.)
Then gear up, buckle your seat belts and get on this 2015 ride with me.
Cliched but true, here's another chance for us to get it right... 

Love, Smiles and New Year Cheer!!!

December 15, 2014

Flash fiction: 'Followed...'

.

A cloth purse slung over her delicate shoulder and a iPhone in hand, Trina was walking back home. It was late evening. The street lights were dim and the alley was dark when suddenly she realized someone was following her.
Her pace quickened. She wanted to reach home fast.
Just then, another follower.
She wondered why this was happening today. She was the plain Jane...the girl next door. .any kind of attention surprised her.
Two minutes later, someone else joined the followers. This time she noticed it was her colleague Akash from work.
He hardly looked at her in the office...and now...what was he doing following her? There was a strange mix of anxiety and uneasiness creeping within her.

She thought for a moment and typed furiously on her cell phone.
'I think...' she paused, then continued typing, '...I am going to be the next big celebrity around here. ‪#feelinglucky
*************
Tweet sent!!

She smiled and checked her notifications again. Her boss had just 'favorited' her latest update. She was home. 
It was time to log in from her desktop!

December 01, 2014

Short story: The kiss of love



"It's going to rain. Let's leave from here. It looks like the skies are brewing up a storm," Asif voiced his concern.
"I don't mind facing any tempest as long as you are there with me," whispered Adaa, her soft eyes gazing longingly into his.

They were two young souls madly in love with each other...Asif and Adaa. Every evening, they would visit their favorite spot, sit on the same park bench and discuss their insecure future, the constant threat that loomed over them owing to the one innocent crime they had committed...the crime called 'love'.
The conservative mindset of their own orthodox families had made it even worse. Coming from two different Muslim backgrounds, they were innocent victims of the 'Shia-Sunni' hatred that existed in most of Lucknow those days.

"They won't let us live, Adaa. I have tried to convince them in every possible way," Asif pointed out. He was well aware of the barbaric nature of the punishment that would lie in store for them.
There was a determined look in Adaa's iridescent eyes, a mixture of passion, helplessness and rebellion. She brushed the tear rolling down Asif's cheek, and held his rugged face lovingly in her delicate hands.

"Then there is only one option left for us," she said ruefully, fishing out a small bottle of cyanide from her hand bag.

They were found lifeless the next morning on the same park bench. A mad beggar said that he had seen them kiss after which they held each other's hand and closed their eyes---the same peaceful condition their bodies were discovered in. But the two families paid no heed to his mumbles. They ruthlessly separated the two bodies from each other and used their contacts to close the case.

Even today, residents of the town claim that they see two spirits hover near the park bench every stormy night.
Asif and Adaa  knew that their love would never be accepted. Not wanting to lose each other, they had decided to take this one final step...they had decided to submit to the tempest together.
Finally they are in a better place where societal norms and taboos are not important, where religion, castes and sects do not matter...where love is the only religion!