Love is frustrating! Of course it is frustrating when it is unrequited but even requited love can be frustrating…because you see the beloved even if acquiescent can still be tantalising, teasing, capricious and wilful. Full of excitement you chase him or her and he or she eludes you, you give up in despair and he or she comes back to tease you into action and pursues you till you again start pursuing him or her and he or she again escapes your grip, hovering around you not letting you forget him or her…Love is frustrating!
I saw it for myself or that’s what it appeared like at that time. I had heard of the tantalising quality of love, of the ecstasy and despair associated with it but I had occasion to see a demonstration of this affliction. It was A.K. who ‘showed’ what love can do to a person. A.K.? Well for the sake of confidentiality let us not expand the initials. Let him or her remain unknown, not altogether unknown though for the initials could be expanded to Aaam Koshur that’s the vernacular for the common Kashmiri man (or woman) and it would be as apt too.
I have seen A.K. in despair. There he was (mark you ‘he’ is by no means a description of the gender, it could be a ‘she’ but as convention goes we use ‘he’ for ‘man’ as a common term for a human being not as specifying a particular gender). So there he was sitting morose and dejected, hair dishevelled, presenting a lean hungry unwashed seedy look. He looked decrepit and in the pits, he even smelled terrible (Mark that love is least about glamour when you really get down to it!). Maybe that’s how the legendary Majnun looked while pining for Laila or for that matter how Laila looked (without her make-up of course!) while pining for the absent Majnun.
“What’s the matter? Why are looking so destitute (I was about to say disreputable but checked myself in time!). Look at you! You look so terrible!”
A.K. drew a cold breath, “It’s terrible! She never came! I was waiting for her! God it was so cold without her! Brrrr! Terrible! I haven’t eaten anything since yesterday. I couldn’t cook my food even!”
Today I again saw A.K. but it was an altogether different A.K. this time. Clean shaven, with a chic hairstyle. He was full of bonhomie and in fact was humming a tune. “You look good today. The other day you were so morose.”
“Oh that! Well you see this time she was in time and I had a lovely time with her. Watched the TV, had a luxurious bath, fried some pakoras. With her around it was so warm…hot in fact. Had me sweating I tell you!” I blushed at these hot revelations and I must say that not only did my cheeks burn but something on the inside too because I felt envious of him.
“How do you well…er…manage all this stuff with her?” I asked him.
“Oh it is not all that easy! One has to be very very careful…”
“I can understand that…” I murmured.
“You have to make sure that nobody gets wise to this connection! You know what, I wait till it is dark and then I climb that wall and set up things.”
“Didn’t you ever get caught?”
“No! Though I did have a couple of narrow escapes. You see if you take care to grease palms you are warned well in time that somebody is coming. Though not always! I told you I had a narrow escape a couple of times.”
“Did you ever…um…er…touch her?” I blushed at my own prurient curiosity.
He smiled slyly and said, “One has to be careful about that. But yes it did happen a couple of times…you know I told you that I climb on top of this wall after dark to set up things and one day while I was doing that there was the briefest of touches but a current passed through me and it really shook me! Another time it was even more intense. God! Almost wouldn’t let me go!” It was my day of blushing repeatedly.
“Well…er…isn’t it a sin to be doing all this?” I asked sanctimoniously.
He scratched his ear and said, “Of course it is but then everybody does it…”
“Everybody?! What do you mean everybody!”
“I swear everybody in this locality does it. You know even Molvi sahib…” he said conspiratorially.
“No I don’t want to hear that!” I put my hands over both my ears because this was shocking news. God this locality seemed to be a hot bed of immorality!
“Why don’t you go for the proper thing? That would be a permanent solution and you wouldn’t need all this intrigue!” I said.
“Ah! That would be fine! Who wants to live in sin but the thing is that I can’t afford it!”
“Why what is the big deal. One can go for a simple marriage!”
“Marriage? What are talking about?” he said.
“This…er…lady that we have been talking about.”
“Oh Bijli you mean,” he said and then he hooted with laughter, “Bijli Rani! My beloved!” He couldn’t control his laughter “Why I was talking about electricity!”
Talk of a frustrating affair!
(Truth is mostly unpalatable…but truth cannot be ignored! Here we serve the truth, seasoned with salt and pepper and a dash of sauce (iness!). You can record your burps, belches and indigestion, if any, at email@example.com)