A Love Story In Saff
Kashmir is a fascinating place as we talk about seasons. Each season is unique in its own ways and its own behaviour. One might fail to tell that by which season they are smitten the most. Seasons in here confuse you as they are pure, crystal clear, presented by God in their original shape, always. So was I. A confused teenager before I became so given over to her and to autumn, only because of her. Earlier, I liked spring – flowers, bees. Earlier, I liked things that made me happy. I liked summer — sweltering heat. I wished the rain that would have soaked me through and through. I liked autumn — the death of leaves’ breath. I liked following the dragonflies, taking hold of them — I liked the look of the grey haze. I marveled that what fog really was. And, I liked winter — I liked to wrap myself in a blanket and hide in the corner of the room, avoiding chills. And, I liked snow and rains. I wished to hide from the blistering cold, I liked whatever. This was my story too. This is who I’d choose to be. This was all about me.
Only I didn’t recognise that my start up with my story had not even yet started.
She and I were both young when I first saw her. I remember that day, even today, clearly. When she was fronting like a deep red rose amongst the deep blue saffron flowers. Or, precisely like a godsend Queen in a world; which was bleak, having no sign of life. I did not wish a moment to dance my eyes around and forget her acute cuteness when she was swaying her hands on those saffron flowers. I kept doing evils; looking for her, with a look of a thief in my hazel eyes, without her consent. I did nothing about the lunacy of my eyes. She kept holding up the saffron flowers, sniffing them with heavy breaths, then smiled at them and put them in the basket, like a child. I did not know what was bumping into me out there. My heart was melting for her cunning ways. I wanted to pour away my heart, right there, to her. Despite that, I had learned many theories about love and about being content with oneself.
But, I hung on to patience and endless wait.
Afterwards, I conveyed myself a few steps ahead of her, and asked her, “What you are up to?” She looked at me, a stranger, and I discovered she found me way too awkward to talk to. Then, I felt a little too discouraged, thinking what she was going to do next. I imagined if it could go any worse now. Particularly, if I would have stood in there in a want to ask her anything anymore.
Consequently, I started walking away from her when she lightly coughed, “Ahem, ahem!”
“Me?” I responded, confused. And she nodded her head while her cheeks blushed like a dwarf star.
Everything seemed a little too much at that bit. A Little too much smile on her cheeks, like a calm water body agitated by a pebble causing it to form ripples. Were my eyes ‘pebbles’ or was it my heart, I marvel.
A little too much love seemed likely to happen. A little too much feeling of happiness wasn’t now a tough thing. A little too much of chemistry was no entertainment, but the reality. A little too much compelling to breathe air in seemed the next life. A little too much of anything and everything around seemed good. A little too much of dreaming the beautiful things didn’t seem awkward. It took little much of me, and little too much time to get lost, until I discovered, I had gone a little too much into her.
Insulation from the love seemed an unacceptable thing.
“So, your name is, Ms. Saffron?” I inquired, jokingly. She burst out in tears laughing.
And offered me a saffron flower. Before she could have passed it to me, I snatched that from her and picked up as that was a hallmark of our love.
Then it showered dreadfully on a drought-hit earth that day. A rain of love, without committing that we both were smitten by each other like two parrots.
I would see her in the same saffron fields every other Sunday. We never committed to each other that what we meant for each other. That totally made sense when we would look into each other’s eyes. Even so, that wouldn’t last too long. Not even for ten seconds, I estimate.
On one cold January day, she was waiting on for me there. Lately, I’d been for some work, out of town. Simply, why she was there was only my fault. Because I’d assured her that I’d be in there at sharp 3 p.m. In those days, mobile phones weren’t too common things among us. But the love in purer forms, was. At any rate, I managed to be there at 3:20 P.M.
When I reached my destination, I found out her garments and the torn pieces of clothing deployed throughout. I did not want to think that they were hers. I sat down weeping. Wailing. Whimpering. Punching down that turf. l Shouting out to the skies.
‘How could you do this to me? Why would you? How could you? Why would you?’
This got worse and heavier when I saw her corpse lying at the adjacent embankment.
I couldn’t witness the way she rested.
I desired not to believe the reality.
I desired not to sink all this in my eyes.
And lo, somebody put their belt across my neck from the behind. And smothered me to death, without even revealing their faces to me. It was a favour to me, I opine.
Had I been alive, I would have filed them a lawsuit, but never get a satisfying result from the law. I would have lived a painful life. And then, they buried us. They buried us, side by side. As yet, nobody knows about us, except us. Not even our own. And, every night when the world turns the lights off, God does magic. Every night God orders the earth to give a little too much ‘quake’ for us, and the air to drive a sailing wind across the saffron fields.
The earth and the air are enslaved to God’s orders, and my grave rolls over a little too much, towards her grave. And her grave rolls over a little too much, towards mine.
And, by this way I set out to meet Ms. Saffron again, and she then offers me a saffron flower again and over again, each time. And before she can pass me the flower, I snatch it beforehand.
Every other saffron flower oozes the water droplets out and cries. These flowers question God why they are not lucky enough to be offered as a sign of love; why they are not lucky to sacrifice for our love’s name. And, I find the Love Story In The Saffron Fields in Islamabad, yet again. I find the life in dead autumn, yet again. I find the saffron flowers and my rose beside me every time. I am smitten by the trees sleeping in a state of death, and the saffron garden becoming alive again. I am living my death. ‘I am living the Love Story In Saffron Fields.’
~Haziq Qayoom Lone | Edited by Arbaz Fahad