Alleged Lovers – Part I

“What’s with these people opposing Valentine’s Day?” he asked, looking up from the television which beamed, what passed off as big news in the sleepy, small town of Rishikesh.

“What about them?” she asked, a little depressed with what she saw in the TV.

“They say its not part of  Bharthiya Culture to celebrate this day!”

“Is it part of Bharthiya Culture to beat up and harass  innocent couples who are just having a nice time?” she countered.

“No. But tell me, is it sinful in the same vein to oppose Valentine’s Day intellectually too?”

“Why would you want to oppose something that does no harm to you in particular? Do you feel more Bharathiya when there is something to oppose?”

“[Laughs] Trust you to make an extremist out of me! Do you know that there is a V-day equivalent in our culture too? It just isn’t popular enough”, with that he asked the man at the counter of the adjacent book-shop to hand him the booklet he was holding, “Listen to this:

…The world’s balance soon crumbled in his (Shiva’s) absence and Sati took rebirth as Goddess Parvati to try and win Lord Shiva’s heart and wake him up from his trance. She tried all ways to get the attention of Shiva. When she had exhausted all her feminine ways, she invoked the help of Kamadeva, the Indian cupid-god, who agreed to help her in the cause of the world despite the risks involved. He shot his love-arrow on Shiva’s heart. Disturbed in his trance, Lord Shiva opened his third eye that fired anger and instantly incinerated Kamadeva. It is said that it was on the day of Holi that Kamadeva had sacrificed himself for the good of all beings. Later, when Lord Shiva realized his mistake, he granted Kamadeva immortality in invisible form. To this day, people offer sandalwood paste to Kamadeva to relieve from his stinging burns and mango blossoms that he loved on Holi.”

“See”, he said, “ain’t that awesome? Our own V-day or better known as Vasant Utsav!”

“Yes it is”, she said, “but what booklet is this?”

“How does that matter? We aren’t so intellectually bankrupt as to judge a book by its cover, hi-jack a thought and judge it on the basis of from where it is coming from!”

“So what you are saying is that these people who are physically opposing the idea of V-day should instead give it competition in the free-market of celebrating festivals?” she gasped.

“Ya kinda, that would be so much better, don’t you think? May the better festival win or better still may both festivals acquire an equal mind-space of the youth which needs a reason to celebrate at every drop of the hat!”

With that, the now mellowing exchange of words was cut short with the screechy ringtone of his mobile phone.

“Yes I am on my way!” he said to his presumably waiting mother on the phone.

Earnest in his tone, he took his forefinger to his lips to tell the waiting girl by his side to hush with the giggling. The gentle breeze of the Ganga blew across the girl’s face, making her prominent features smile a little more as she looked at him.

“Why did you not tell her that you are with me in this beautiful moon lit evening and that you would be late my dear Valentine?” she mocked and was shy in her voice while doing so. The arti on the opposite bank was carried to them by the breeze and it brought with it the chime of the holy bells. He closed his eyes and touched them with her soft fingers and breathed in, thus avoiding the answer to her query.

They used to meet at the German Bakery by the Laxman Jhoola every evening, for it was filled with tourists more often than not – most of them foreigners, so the chances of someone known catching them were miniscule.

“I think that you don’t love me. Don’t you trust me?!” he tried to reply in her voice’s imitation.

“Don’t bring this mischief in your eye as if you are two timing me!” she stopped his teasing by pinching his arm.

“Okay, okay…” he said, pulling his arm away.

And in the hurting seriousness he said, “I have to handle the situation in such a way darling, that even if they refuse when I tell them about you, I would be able to support us financially.”

“What would we do every evening after we get married?” she resumed the playfulness.

“We could meet daily you know”, he winked, “Also we would meet here in the midst of these same people and then if someone calls from home, I wouldn’t even have to lie!”

Their hands touched. She had a funny feeling in her stomach and he sensed her twitch a little.

“I showed my hand to that babaji”, she said pointing at the entrance of the Jhoola, “and he asked me if I had someone in my life and I said yes.”

“What!”

She divulged further “I told him your name and date of birth and he told me that we can’t get married and I told him that I may die but I can marry you only – only you.”

She inhaled and huffed a little in breathlessness.

An overwhelming moment came to pass whenever she thought about her future with him and looking in his eyes it seemed possible. He held her chin by the thumb and forefinger. She could hardly look at him lest the tears would fall, but she wanted to be kissed to seal the future of their love to come.

Click Part II to read the next part of this story.
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  1. Akanksha
    March 1, 2012 at 20:26

    a love story in rishikesh….couldn’t have asked for more…
    seems like a conversation between you n purva at geman bakery.

  2. March 1, 2012 at 23:03

    true story…is it?

  3. March 2, 2012 at 11:36

    @Akanksha – Ask for more 😉 This is the beginning.

    @Mayuri – Not far from a true story 🙂

  4. Abhishek
    March 12, 2012 at 12:23

    ur going good with the story 🙂

  5. October 9, 2014 at 13:36

    This post is invaluable. Where can I find
    out more?

  6. January 14, 2016 at 16:02

    After all these years…just noticed, you made a spelling mistake Akanksha 😛
    German Bakery it is!

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