Her hand was her story and entwined with mine it was ours. And at 24 that hand still eludes me.
Romantic love has a way of making it into stories. Love can be acted out by the players in the Queen’s Court. Love can be destroyed by the sweat of the slaves who built the Taj Mahal. Love thrives in the hearts of a revolutionary hiding from the guards in a darkened alley. Love dances by the light of a flickering candle and a frayed book- narrating a story of freedom, equality and justice. Love dies on a battlefield with the last breath of every soldier. And love is reborn with the first cry of every child.
I implore you to not belittle this emotion with mindless gifts and empty promises. Don’t singe the fabric of this treasure shared by all that grows and breathes with your petty bickering. Don’t confine it to a day of shallow celebration.
If you don’t realise that love is more than a ring at the bottom of a champagne glass. If you can’t fathom the idea of love existing in multitudes. If you can not understand why forced monogamy may not be what true love is. If you chose to believe love is found in sameness and that it is possible to fall out of love. It is you who will never find it.
Because love doesn’t have to be forever to be. A gesture, a look, a word, a song, a dance can make the heart take flight. Love doesn’t glitter it shines-through the eyes of those who can feel it. It comes in many hues, like seeing light through a kaleidoscope. Love cannot be chained and it is not the beginning or the end. It might find you at a crossroads and it may not walk the path you chose to take.
Love may be a part of your story if you find it, but it is never the entirety of it. Our stories are not measured by the promise of forever but by the life we live and world we leave behind.
The intricate pattern on the clay like the veins on a leaf. My submerged feet through the clear sparkling water. The light dancing off the scales of a fish as the bird dives in. The tinkling of the spring nearby and the rustling of the leaves. The companionship of far-away mountain peaks half covered in snow . The solitude of the wooden log as it floats silently with the current. The water as it hits the rocks and the spray on my face.
The lazy afternoon with the solitary star and that blanket of blue. The floating wisps of water higher than the soaring eagle’s reach. The silent sentinels of a time long past the towers in the distance keep a watch. A sombre shade of grey cloaks the obelisk. Like sages who witnessed battles from times bygone they smile at the musings of a girl no more than five and twenty on the river bank.
The sounds of the bazaar that never cease. That lone strand of her hair comes undone and sways in the breeze. The groove in her back as it disappears beneath the folds of her red saree. The earthenware cast shadows tall and stately, the brass pots catch the rays from the setting sun. A girl hops along the dusty road her hair in pleats a frayed blue backpack and her dupatta fluttering with the breeze. The cuckoo flies home and the crickets begin to sing. I lean on the wide bark of an old banyan tree and watch the fading sky. A rickety scooter with dark fumes runs past me as I walk back home.
The night brings the diamonds to light. It cloaks us in darkness so we can watch them shine. Like a sleeping animal the town is asleep, alive only in its quiet breathing. The streetlights cast a dim glow upon the pavement and somewhere a lone dog howls. The moon is but a sliver of its rounded self, it amuses me to watch it wane. The crowded rooftops dotted with temple spires spread across the valley like a fog on a winters morning.
As I watch a new year dawn I wish for the world to endure. Broken it may be, but it has given me a day of silent wonder because it is the little things that make life worth living. It is not for torrid love, it is not for end of terror or war, it is not for treaties of peace, it is not for scientific wonders that will hold me enthralled; it is for everyday things that I want the world to go on.