“Man’s greatest tragedy is that he can conceive of a perfection which he cannot attain.”– Lord Byron
She found me roots of relish sweet,
And honey wild, and manna-dew,
And sure in language strange she said—
‘I love thee true’.
She took me to her Elfin grot,
And there she wept and sighed full sore,
And there I shut her wild wild eyes
With kisses four.
And there she lullèd me asleep,John Keats’ La Belle Dame sans Merci (Stanzas 7, 8 and 9 out of 12)
And there I dreamed—Ah! woe betide!—
The latest dream I ever dreamt
On the cold hill side.
Where to start his tale? I cannot place the perfect timeline may be. But as much as I know, his life really started when Sarah entered into this scene. And, this man is a Brahmin, a first class Brahmin. And this lady is a Christian. That was an enigma how it happened and all. Till then we knew Indra. Shehnaz knows Indra from four years or so. We know him two years before all that. In our eyes he was a totally different person. We know him as a confident and free man. But her love, what it was, I can’t describe it by any another word than a plague. It plagued him. That was what Shehnaz told him. He simply smiled and returned her saying that was the true him, and she was the one who made him the real him. But I am telling you, see, there is no truth in those: at all! It was not him.
I remember this very vaguely, for I haven’t seen, but rather heard, that once, our man Indra, has thrown a wooden chair upon a student named Arvind, Sarah’s parallel, for proposing her. I get it, he was upset, but he was never upset like that. I haven’t seen him like that or didn’t even heard of him doing such one thing. He threw these chairs upon him and started cursing him so loud with words unutterable. He constantly made a remark like how dare Arvind could attempt by nearing his “wife.” Wife? Come on, give me break! She didn’t even bother to know how this man was after leaving this place. Utter shit. And after that incident half the college literally thought Sarah and Indra married secretly. That’s how intense the fuss was. And after that some random guy, whose name I keep on forgetting, made a stupid comment. No one knows if it is about Sarah or over someone else. What kind a hell Indra got loose over him, Sarah stood there, numb, embarrassed, eyes filled with tears of shame and fright. Indra, a man who used to meditate for thirty minutes every day has become a man of no peace and no rest.
But I believe what Shehnaz’s friend said one day: she has become him everything. When he was with her, when he talks about her, when he muses and sings, he is all pleasant, he is all amiable and, hm, like that old Indra about whom I am obsessively talking. He used to tell me, “Ravi, if you think a ship has more than one purpose, it is a grave mistake. It just does other works, Ravi, they are not all why it is made for. Every ship has only one purpose. When it is done, it can sink, if it fails? It ought to sink. Ravi, I think I am a ship and my purpose is to be with her.”
An existentialist: believing world has no meaning at all and all this is a maaya, Indra turned an extreme naturalist. So extreme often he was a nihilist. he was like, “I am born just to spend this life with her, man. That is all. That is all. Yes, that is all. Other than that, nah, nah, they are all meaningless.” Sometimes he goes off limits, my, my, my. Once he asked, “Ravi why do you think all this nature, trees, streams, moon and things exist?” I just said no and was waiting for some intellectual answer, like explaining evolution from single-celled organisms to these multi-cellular beings and all, but he simply said, “Because Sarah and I would savor them.” Haha, I was done. I was done that day.
Only the hardest of the hearts
Would not break off
At the waning smiles of our grandma.
The dearest of the flowers;
She’s love; she’s soft.
She fumbled at the first touch of God.– Our Flower Like Grandma.
A poem by Indra (aka., Nagendra Sarma)
That little piece was what he wrote when grandma died. No, no, not his. Indra is not feeble. He is sometimes very cold. He wrote it at the death of Sarah’s grandma. She was crying and all, and he dedicated this to her grandma. That was the beginning, if you ask me. Then things were already moving, but very slow and minute to understand. Shehnaz never liked all this from the beginning. She says she has seen from the beginning that Sarah’s unreliable. But yes, let’s not talk of that. Once, Indra used to write about various subjects, like schooling, wars, I don’t know, many more, I shall give you a few pieces I have with me, wait.
I don’t see it as a paradise of fun,
I see parasites;
I don’t see a possibility to learn,
I see parasites;
All the things the wise men have said,
Do not appeal to my eyes;
Claim I am bling, deaf and dumb,
The childhood always flies;
Conditions are what I see,
Shackles tied so tight;
We’re turning green grass to heath,
They’ll never see the light.
They’ll never see the light.– They’ll Never See The Light.
A poem by Indra (aka., Nagendra Sarma)
That was a piece he wrote when he was talking fiercely about the modern education system. He is always like there is something wrong with this and he needs to attempt to correct that. He says, all of a sudden Sciences have gained a lot of pace – just because there is earning it in, and Arts are being looked down, just because artists die poor. People with soul are waning off, he would say, just because we’ve been building factories that build a mindset of having money is being rich. Not once or twice, these were the things Indra always used to talk before meeting Sarah.
The vigilant vengeance vex
Veterans of wars,
The gory glories give no good
Greeting to gut,
The fading flowers freeze
No frowns found,
The coffins are cold, chilling closets
Which choose to cease our chests.– The Coffin’s Cold.
A poem by Indra (aka., Nagendra Sarma)
And this poem, even I don’t understand what is that about, but I know one thing: this is surely a universal one, not narrowed down to one person in a fits of passion. Such a man, such an artist. What has happened to him? Hm, I need some patience to tell you the tale.
It all started with Shehnaz. She was the one, without any knowledge of what she was about to do initiated things. Sarah was, in the beginning, a practical joke Shehnaz played at Indra! Shehnaz had a peculiar habit of teasing Indra with any girl who crosses his path. Indra was a very disinterested guy when it comes to woman or relationships – or that’s what we’ve thought! He was a man who was seeking ‘glory’. It was our second year in research. Indra was almost the department topper in Pre-PhD exam, and he has begun his research. That was the first year, when, from Kakinada, this girl named Sarah has come to join the University. She was lean, tall and had spectacles. She was pale and, not that attractive, at least to me, and the most of us. Sarah, but the name was heard quick enough. She was very active among the academic issues and actively participated in the seminars. When our department led cleaning campaigns, unlike most of the girls, she never tried to bunk the stress, but invited it. Soon, she has become a highly noted name in the university.
Indra was all opposite to this. His academic intelligence, while being intense, was also secluded. He never participated in any seminars, unless it was a UGC one or a national and international seminar. He never attended any college or the university activity. He simply sat before his books and paintings and also watching movies all the time.
By the time Sarah was done with her first semester, unlike expected, getting a rank around six or seven, she hasn’t even seen Indra. That was the best part. She hasn’t seen him for at least six months after getting into the college. But Indra’s name is all popular. When Sarah missed out the rank, she wanted a guide who would help her to become better. Being in the same hostel and having a positive reputation brought Sarah towards Shehnaz. Sarah asked her to help her with academics. Shehnaz wasn’t interested, for she has seen too many girls who would come like that in the starts and slowly fall in the magic of the university and forsake academics. But then she thought, for the sake of fun, “This Indra is deserting all of us in the name of research, let’s see how this girl can disturb her,” and that was when she brought the name of Indra. And hearing to the name of His, Sarah’s eyes shines, or that’s what Shehnaz told me.
“Would he even talk?” she asked.
“No,” Shehnaz said, smugly.
“Then how can he help me?” Sarah was genuinely tensed.
“But the answer for the question who can help you is him!” Shehnaz made the statement and Sarah could not think of anything else. She decided she would meet him right the next day.
Everyone knows where to meet Indra. In the library he had a desk which he has claimed since the past three to four years; since he was doing his P.G in the university. Sarah went to library that day; not for books, not for knowledge, but for Indra. It is a huge library; the largest in the whole state with more than five lakh books. She walked to English section, and from the distance, she saw Indra, who was keenly looking at the book on his table, was eating the butt of his pencil. He was alone, as it happens often. She, making her mind up, slowly walked towards him. Till this day, I can’t be sure of what she was thinking when she walked towards him. She went to have a guide, that is true, but when she saw him, and when she slowly walked towards him, I doubt if she has remembered her real agenda. Cause, that was how it seemed. Was it a girl who wanna ask a doubt walking, or was it a girl who has already fallen for a man walking straight into his arms? I cannot answer that question. Blame is totally upon Shehnaz.
She walked towards him, and in a spree of nervousness, walked past him. He didn’t even know. He was glued to his book. After walking a bit away from him, she took a breath. She should be making up her mind; is she going to talk to him or not? She should, she knows, and destiny was calling her loud. She didn’t wanna think and think again. She turned back, and slammed his table with her books and by the time he was jerked off his spell and looked towards the intruder, she was already sitting beside him, in a standard stiff pose; her eyes determined, lips shrunk, spine erect and cheeks puffing.
He eyed her for a moment in surprise. He could hardly recognize her. He waited for a moment, taking the pencil out of his mouth, for her to introduce. “I am Sarah,” she said. He simply nodded his head, his mind already preoccupied. He said a yeah, and there was a short silence. “I am your junior, actually. I am doing my P.G here, first year.” she said, and that was it.
He stared at her for a moment. “Once, can you close your eyes?” he asked her, startling her. She was taken aback. “No, just,” he motioned her to close her eyes, and hesitantly, she did. Then he asked, examining her face intently. “Can you lift your chin a bit?” she laughed out and opened her eyes. But her smile faded out when she saw a slight seriousness in his eyes. She thought he was playing with her, but no, he wasn’t. She lifted her chin, but eyes open. “Eyes closed, please,” he requested, and she did. “Do you know Harriet Bosse?” he asked, and she could hear him leaving his chair and rushing towards the library racks, which were just behind them.
She opened her eyes, and solemnly said, “No, I don’t.” I am pretty sure he chuckled, but she couldn’t hear form the distance. “Who is she?” she asked, and he returned with a book.
“Who is the father of modern Swedish literature?” he asked. She posed like she was thinking. Actually, she tried to. But she didn’t have a clue. Indra was eager, expecting her to answer, but she shrugged at the end. “Ah, come one, easy,” he said, and Sarah was stunned. Easy, he said. “August Strindberg!” Like it was his own father. I hate it when Indra does such. It wasn’t obvious in anyway, not just to Sarah, but to anyone. Like, who knows him? “You’ve never heard?” he asked. She shrugged, may be embarrassed. But later she would know, no one in the whole department knows him. “Anyway,” he said, not interested. “Strindberg is called as the father of modern Swedish literature, and his book The Red Room is considered as the first Swedish modern novel,” she nodded, and then he opened the book he has brought out of the rack, and started searching pages. Sarah was flabbergasted enough. She was eager what he would show. He suddenly stopped searching and closed the book keeping his thumb as the mark, he asked her immediately. “And Strindberg’s third wife is?”
Sarah struggled for a moment, and very slowly and carefully, trying not to make her expression too awkward, said, “That Harriet woman?”
“Harriet Sofie Bosse,” he said grandly, like inaugurating a masterpiece and opened the book at his thumb.
There was a black-and-white photograph on the left side of the page. When Sarah turned the book towards her, she was in awe and was stunned. Her eyes were opened wide, taking in all the image that was before her. Slowly a smile enveloped her. In the photograph, there was a woman, eyes closed, chin lifted a bit, her hair parted in the middle and with heavy curles running behind her head. She wore a black cloth that shun like satin and had an oriental style of a collar and side buttons.
She was holding a white flower elegantly in her hands, and she was beautiful.
Under the picture, in a little italic font, “Bosse as the Lady in the première of To Damascus at the Royal Theatre in 1900.” was in print.
After Sarah watched the picture for a considerable time, Indra intruded. “Feel like you have seen her somewhere?” she nodded her head. “Exactly,” he said, taking the book away from her. “You look like her.” he said, standing up and walking away to place the book back.
After that day, Sarah went to library everyday. Slowly she even started bunking the classes to meet Indra in the library. And Indra never said no to her, that was on his part. In the beginning, Shehnaz used to tease Indra saying he has got a girlfriend, and he never responded; that was a good vibe actually; it means he hasn’t given any space for this new girl in his head. But slowly, when she used to make a comment upon Sarah, he used to smile, and say something or the other that has happened between them. In those comments, the change was visible; Sarah, in a very short span has become to Indra what no one in a very long time could be.
Sarah got college first in the immediate mid-exams. There was an absolute difference in marks even with the student who got the second rank. It was a hit story. There were whisperes; with Indra’s help Sarah would top the next three semesters easily. All the eyes turned towards Sarah, and with her swelling pride, she didn’t hide anything. She boasted openly that she was ‘close’ to Indra. With that, the list of people who despised Indra prolonged. And also, the reasons for one hating Indra has become a bit more flexible for those haters. But those were all very minute. They don’t do much damage for a person like Indra. He didn’t care. He didn’t know he has to care.
When Sarah’s friends forced her to introduce him to them, Sarah maintained a level. She used to say Indra doesn’t like to meet everyone. He has made his stature as a don-like-figure. When they insisted a lot, she asks them to stand at the other end of the racks and she walks towards this man. She would ask him to wave a hand towards them, and he would. He would turn back towards Sarah asking to bring them to have a seat. She would say okay. And then, this gets really interesting here: and then she walks towards them saying he told her not to disturb him. Indra and that statement. No, no. Never. But these women wouldn’t know. She simply used to say it is okay for her to be around, for she and Indra were ‘close’.
Rumors arose. Strangely enough, Indra enjoyed them. A lot actually. He has fallen for her. Nothing to explain. She comes to him everyday and she leans over the desk looking right into his reading eyes. She would stare, lovingly.
“What?” Indra would ask, without lifting his eyes from the book.
She would make a clicking sound with her lips and would slowly ask, “Sing a song na Indra,” at that, he would chuckle and make an impatient sound. That would be enough for anyone, but not for this woman. “Please da!”
He would look at her, and drop his pen and book, “This is what you come to library for, eh?” he would ask. Anger in it? ZERO! “Read ponnu,” he would say, like cajoling her. Then she would eat his head until he gives up. “Okay! Which song?” he would ask. She has the list ready. Then slowly, he would set his throat and start singing. You should look at that girl’s face. Hm. I don’t care what they say about her: distracting Indra, disturbing Indra, spoiling Indra, misleading Indra and all. But he was never as happy as he was with her and she is the happiest girl there ever was.
All my life I wished for none,
I asked no gifts, I asked no tricks,
I asked no games, I need no fame,
I crave for no green garden to keep my dame.
I’ll walk bare feet,
I’ll break my fists.
I’ll cry and stitch all the bleeds you bestow upon me.
I sit on your land,
I look at you, and wonder:
Why after carrying out everything,
I haven’t had that one;
Who would call my name
and whisper things in my ears,
Which would cease my tears,
And who would hear
All the demons I have inside?
Who would say it is okay,
And take me near, and
Will kill all my fears
And stay. . .– The One
A poem by Indra (aka., Nagendra Sarma)
This was the poem she has read from one of his dairies in his absence. She talked about this with me. She very simply asked me if Indra ever felt alone. That felt cheesy; a girl asking about Indra. But she claimed a strange respect even at me: she’s the one Indra answers to, so, respects! I answered. I simply said he prefers being alone. She simply nodded her head. I asked her why she got that doubt. She was reluctant, but on my insistence, she opened her bag and gave me the paper. I read. I didn’t know what to say. “May be he does,” I said, like a whisper. “I didn’t know.”
The next day was a scandal. A huge scandal. The head of the department summoned Sarah and the shouts, screams and cries were audible through out the corridor. Students gathered around the door. There was a huge buzz. All of a sudden, Sarah, weeping, broke the doors and stormed out of the cabin. When she stepped out, she saw all these students standing and staring at her. They all heard, she understood. They all heard every claim that was made upon her, she understood. In their eyes, she has become a lowly human; a lousy woman. She couldn’t bear. She downed her head; her eyes were red and she heaved, like it was her last breath. Muffling her last breath with her palms closing her mouth, she ran off from there. She ran through the corridor, she ran through the garden, and not waiting for a bus, she hired an auto to her hostel and locked herself up for the next two days.
What happened? That was the million dollar question. But the answer is quite simple. The next day she asked me about Indra, they both were found by Sarah’s classmate in the library: Kissing between the library racks! That was a claim of course. That was terrific, but we didn’t know if that was absolutely true or not. Both Indra and Sarah never defended it. If that really was true, the question of how they ended up there was one thing that never troubled me. They were emotional already. She was spending time with that man all the time and he spends time only with her. It is natural, it happens and they burst out that day. Wrong? I do not think so. The only sin they made was, the wrong place. And they were seen by the guy who was thinking to propose Sarah. He somehow made a fuss. One of his friends in girls complained against this. All of a sudden it became huge. Indra, a couple of days later, received a warning letter from the Vice Chancellor and a very strict warning from the Head of The Department.
He didn’t care. All he thought was about the insult Sarah has faced. With no difference shown towards a day or a night, Indra waited before her hostel till she came out. After two days of self-torturing, that innocent, innocent, innocent, child-like girl who has fallen in love for the first time in her life walked towards the gate of the hostel, but didn’t cross the gate.
I am fortunate, I was there with him. But at her sight, I walked far, leaving them some space. She was all untidy. She looked destroyed. She wore a night shirt and night pant. Both white with black dots. Her eyes were swollen and she seemed dumb. She seemed like she can’t speak. Looking at her like that Indra’s broken heart was visible in his eyes. He was shattered. He stood up from the bike and attempted to walk towards her. She shook her head. He stopped short. He shook her head too. Both their faces were crippled with grief and weep that was going to take over. Her eyes were red, engulfed in black-circles. Her hair was a mess, falling off her head aimlessly. She wanted to say something, and when she opened her mouth, a bubble of saliva broke in her opened mouth, and she cried loud, “They are calling me a bitch,” she fell on her knees, and he strode towards her with brimmed eyes. Before he could touch her, a lady watchmen held the girl, trying to console her and drag her inside. “But I did no mistake,” she said, being taken inside by the strong woman. “Indra,” she called out, and every soul living in the hostel could hear her heart out: “I cannot live without you.”
Her words not just reverberated through the pillars of her hostel, but also through the spine of Indra. At such a plight of his woman, any man would break down and shed tears, and so did Indra, wishing she wasn’t in there but in his arms
After such a scene, anything would be a spectacle. Rumors floated around the campus; facts, fiction and fantasy intertwined. Some said they didn’t kiss at all, some said they have seen Indra stripping her in the library and some claimed she has to go through abortion and that was why issue’s was so big, “if it is not at least about an abortion, why would the vice chancellor of a university intervene?” it took a couple of days for these to settle down and find their settling level. After three days, Indra brought Sarah to the college, inspiring her a lot. After reaching the college, she refused to go to class. Going to class filled her eyes with tears. “I don’t want to go,” she said, her voice trembling. “They look at me, badly.” Indra simply, with a face struggling to smile, dabbed her eyes and took her to the library. They both sat there in silence for more than an hour.
“I wrote a poem about you,” he said, half-smiling.
“Yes?” she said.
“Yes, shall I?” he asked her permission to read.
Slowly she was out of her mood and nodded head with a beautiful smile. Indra was glad. He forced a smile too. They looked happy together again. He took a paper from his pocked and read the poem, softly. So softly, it would feel like nibbling her cheeks with his nose and lips with love.
So fair as you are,
Like the queen of an antique snow-filled land,
I’d like to stand,
Command all the sands to lie beneath your feet.
I’d chain the winds and claim the hills,
I’d bend the rains and
I’d mend them for you.
O the fairest of the queens;
The waves of your lips
Make me stand on my tips:
Your brows, blooming breasts,
Dig till my crest,
They dine in my chest;
They drink over core.
The gazing gods, have pity on my soul.
The eyes just would burn,
Churned would be the heart,
At the heat which I’d get
When I feel you absent on my chest!– The Fairest of The Queens.
A poem by Indra (aka., Nagendra Sarma)
By the time he ended, she was very emotional. She sat silent, with heavy eyes. She looked weak, after all the anguish, but then she was blooming like a newly blossomed flower. “Did you like it?” he asked, humbly.
“Yes,” she said. “I love it,” she added, and when he was nodding his head in a welcome, “As much as I love you,” she let the tear roll down her eye.
Indra held her hand on the table. “I love you too,” he said, and she was sobbing already, but with a beaming smile. “I love you too. But you should stay strong now. You should continue your success story here. We are not done here, alright?” he said, smiling himself.
She nodded, vigorously, clearing her tears. “Yes, I will go,” she said, and stood up. She was about to leave and they were looking at each other. “I really love you,” Sarah said at the precise moment Indra told the same. They both smiled. Indra, sitting, took Sarah hand and without hesitation kissed it on the behind. Sarah was all blushing. Then, they were inseparable.
That day was good. Sarah expected a hostile response from her classmates, but a few who were hardcore fans of their radical tale were the first to receive her and treat her like a star. She understood, she can never be normal again. There were two ways; she was already labelled a radical, she should be going on with that end with her head recklessly lifted up with pride, or she should beg for forgiveness for an undone mistake at people who despise her. “I have my Indra for me,” she thought. “I would not care who stays with me and who doesn’t.” She didn’t bother about the about the friends with whom she has spent her year till then. It was paining yes, but in her eyes it was visible: That was her story. That is how it would go. If her friends are scared of being labelled along with her, let them go, she has what she needs.
Though there was a hint of fright in her, she relaxed a bit. That day there was no trouble. But the next day there was. A student named Arvind stopped Sarah in the corridor and spoke of something like why she wouldn’t choose him over Indra and made a childish fuss. He was the one who made the accusation of Sarah and Indra kissing in the library. Sarah answered him strongly. But in the ferocity, he held her hand to insist something. There was a huge row among the students. Indra got to know about this immediately. He came running. Sarah saw him at the other end of the corridor and was panicked. She immediately asked the guy to leave her hand, he didn’t heed. He was like, “Who is afraid of him? What would he do?” But Indra would definitely do. Always. Even we didn’t know what he can, but he definitely can.
While striding towards them, Indra picked a wooden chair. In a shock, Arvind left Sarah’s hand, looking at Indra with wide opened eyes. Before he could utter a single statement, Indra broke the chair upon his ribs and hip. He was thrown off sliding through the floor. That was the biggest mess in the university in years. All his friends scattered and Indra wanted to hurt every single one of them. Lucky enough, we were in the campus, and we could hold him and stop him. Curses of Indra resonated through the campus. He was cursing the mothers, sisters, wives, everyone. Sarah stood like a stone, Indra swung like a snake.
When we thought it was over, some idiot came out of the bush and made a comment: “If she could strip herself and kiss you, may be she would kiss any bastard for grades! May be I would get a kiss too!”
There was no reaction. Indra was contemplating what he has heard. Sarah broke down to the floor, wailing. The comment was not about Sarah actually. It was to enrage the man who made filthy comment against their mothers and sisters. Even I was stunned and was afraid what would happen next. In a moment, which seemed like an hour, Indra looked towards his wailing woman, and picking a hanging leg of the chair he has broken, and charged behind the guy who made the comment. Sarah wailed much louder, pleaded him in her sobs not to leave her and go, but Indra wasn’t listening. He was running like a mad beast behind him and we were running behind Indra to stop him. He made the guy run through the corridors, he ran pushing professors away through the campus, he ran knocking several innocent students through the gardens and at the gate, he could hit the guy. That was a crime!
A committee was appointed immediately that evening. Three professors, in which one was hurt by Indra while he was chasing, the rector of the university, the hostel chief warden, a police personnel sat before a weeping Sarah and panting Indra. They both were given a counsel of three hours. They were threatened a police case would be filed against them. No one heed to their cause. No one were interested in the turn of the events. Everyone seemed very interested in blaming them. Sarah’s pride was torn into a thousand pieces and Indra’s character was totally blasphemed. They were treated and were talked about as if they were stray dogs and nothing more. Sarah just sobbed and sobbed till she couldn’t anymore. Indra did the talking which didn’t help much. But at the end, they were given a punishment: two moths suspension from the university. Indra’s scholarship was also kept in hold for those two months.
But, their careers were to be saved!
Straight from there Indra took her to a five star hotel, booked a room. Dropping her inside, promising he would be back in ten minutes he went out. He bought a good pair of clothes for her and returned back. He asked her to get fresh and dump her clothes in the dustbin. She went for a bath and returned back. Immediately Indra too did the same. By the time Indra came out from bathing, Sarah was lying on the bed, turned away, crying. He walked towards her and slept beside her, hugging. At his warmth, she controlled her sobs. Turning towards him, she hugged her completely and buried her head in his chest. “I love you,” she said. “I don’t want to live without you. Really.”
He stroked her head gently, “Me too. I think I have found the reason why I am born.”
Those were the last they spoke and they slipped into a sleep in moments. How peaceful they should have felt. At last, they were together. Truly inseparable. No one intrudes. No need to pretend. No need to be afraid. Just living for the sake of loving.
The next morning, Sarah woke up at the continuous banging at the door. Panicked, she woke up Indra, and he getting down the bed, walked towards the door and opened it. Outside, there were three men, and the middle one among them was Sarah’s father.
One of those men pushed Indra and stromed in, like looking for something. Sarah’s father was just staring at Indra while the other man was cursing at Indra like a rampage. Indra and Sarah’s father had locked eyes. When the man who went inside found Sarah, his face was all crippled with hatred. “She is here,” he screamed and there was a venomous whisper afterwards, “on his bed!” he spat on the floor and held Sarah’s shoulder, dragging her out, past Indra.
Sarah was sobbing again, and was wiggling her limbs in vain, trying to get towards Indra. But when she saw her father, her fits were frozen. The man dragged her towards her father and the father slapped her across the face. “On his bed!” he repeated. From Sarah, there was a muffled weep after that. They dragged her away without looking back at Indra. But with one hand stretched out towards him, Sarah was trying to tear herself from those men to reach Indra.
But Indra stood there at the door. For the next two days he stayed in the hotel. I went there the next day and asked him to leave the hotel. I said they might have got her locked up at her house. I said she might never meet him again.
“Saro,” he scaremed out loud. Tears running down his eyes in an unstoppable stream. Voice muffled and was dying. He hugged me for a couple of minutes like my bones would break. When he left me, with weeping eyes, “she would come back to me,” he said, as if she has told him, and walked out of the room. That’s what he says even this day if asked about Sarah.
When I asked him once why he didn’t attempt to stop her when she was being dragged away, he said, with a low tone, that when was being taken away from her, all the world felt dizzy. His senses failed him. It felt like his eye-lids were dying. Mm.
Sarah – Indra’s Aaromale. Seems like his only reason to live.
This day everyone is happy. The guy who accused them of a kiss and held her hand in the college found another woman, the guy who made the comment has all his friends normal. The professors thrown away by him doesn’t even remember it. People who despised them found new things to discuss about, people who made them stars found new people to hangout with. The library is the same, the teachings are the same, the books, the garden, the dust, the lives of everyone didn’t change atleast a bit. Shehnaz is the same, even I am the same. Hm. It is their life. No matter how much we involve, at the end we will be the same. But because of our involvement, we destroyed their lives, altogether.
People who debated what is right and what is wrong took their sides. But for what? They discussed this like this was the most important thing on the planet. These people are all shallow. They don’t even know what to discuss and what not to. They are all obsessed about “taking a side” and “raising voice against wrong-happening” and shit. But there always are a few things that need not be pointed out because they don’t like it. They should understand if the hatred is their personal or is it really about abiding to dharma. If it is personal taste or distaste, they should get over it, because they can’t destroy lives over their personal believes. If it is about dharma, they should understand the subtleties of dharma and then behave.
All this has happened six months ago. Sarah didn’t appear in college after that. She didn’t write the second semester. She didn’t appear on the first day of her second year. She didn’t appear after that. As per rule, because she was absent for thirty days in a row without intimation, her name was taken out of the register. No one remembers her. Even the people who remember her forgot her face already. She is fading out of the college garden and walls and even from the library. She is turning into a dream. A few suggested Indra to go to her place. No one knows it perfectly. Even Indra never inquired her about it. Tracking isn’t a deal, but Indra never wanted to do that.
“My Saro will come,” he simply says and goes from there.
Every evening he sits at the beach, and believes, one day his Sarah would come and meet him, and reunite with him, to stay forever.
I don’t know, I don’t care;
I don’t know please, I swear.
I can’t see, I can’t dare.
I can’t sleep, I’m dying, I’m aware.
There’s no sun, there’s no waves,
All that I love is under the graves.
I can’t pay, I can’t pray,
I don’t and can’t now think of my crave.
O, eh, poetry is not really brave.
All bravery is simply grey.
The thirst to grieve is never ending,
The dream of living is not thrilling.
The light of life is not breathing,
No.– My Light of Life.
A poem by Indra (aka., Nagendra Sarma)
And this is the tale of Indra . . . and his Saro.
I saw pale kings and princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
They cried—‘La Belle Dame sans Merci
Thee hath in thrall!’
I saw their starved lips in the gloam,
With horrid warning gapèd wide,
And I awoke and found me here,
On the cold hill’s side.
And this is why I sojourn here,John Keats’ La Belle Dame sans Merci (Stanzas 10, 11 and 12 out of 12)
Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.