The author of this blog stopped writing here long time back. The posts published here embarrass her now. And hence, there is very little chance that she is going to write here again.

This blog is hence declared to be in a state of COMA.

Umar, Sana, and a Broken Tale of Love




"If there ever comes a day when I have to choose between you and someone else, I will rather choose death. This is my promise to you, Umar," her words still echoed in his mind like yesterday. Four years of friendship in college followed by four years of intense courtship had brought them as close as two souls can ever be, he had assumed. All his dreams of living his entire life with his life, Sana, came crashing down like a pile of cards. The devotedly knit relationship of trust, faith, love, understanding and care, was now no more. He was torn apart between the past and the present, with no courage to foresee the future. All this, and more, had happened in a matter of hours, and minutes, and seconds, and milliseconds... and an eternity.


Four hours back when Umar had tried calling Sana, her father had bellowed at him, proudly informing him of her nikaah fixed for the next day. "Nikaah? This is not possible. You can't force her to marry someone else!" Umar had let out an outcry. "Force? We don't need to force her to understand the difference between a jobless poet and the richest businessman of our community, mister. Sana is getting married of her own free will. So you better quit now. Do you hear that? Quit! And dare not contact my daughter ever again!" were the last words Umar heard before numbness struck. Perhaps, the only respite for him was the fact that he was in Mumbai—a city where everyone is so occupied in their own lives that even his existence could be barely noticed, let alone his shattered world.

Lost in the memories of their past, he kept walking. He remembered the first time they had actually met in college—scolded by the lecturer for writing shayari for a prose-writing assignment. Beautiful as Sana was, he had secretly felt proud of having annoyed the teacher with his insane and purportedly rude arguments. Both got asked to leave the class for that day. What made them talk after that was the passion they shared for shayari. From Mirza Ghalib to the present day writers, they shared all the knowledge and passion they had for the art they both held close to the heart.

Days passed by and they came closer, sharing feedback for each other's writings, apart from food and time. Over time, Umar learned that Sana was the closest to himself he could ever meet. Sana, on the other hand, learned that Umar was the most talented writer and singer she could ever meet. She strictly made him do all his assignments, while he always surprised her by bringing the rarest of books she had ever wanted to read. He sang her favorite songs and ghazals. Jagjit Singh, Ghulam Ali, Shafqat Amanat Ali, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and the Wadali brothers were her favorites, he knew. She loved sufi and ghazal music, and always told him how his voice was perfectly suited to both. She was a bad singer, but he did try making her sing a couple of times—every time both of them ending up laughing hysterically. What he gave her in terms of music, she returned with her amazing hand at cooking. For each song that he sang on her demand, he charged a generous serving of kebabs, halwa, kheer or sewaiyyan prepared by her. "You are the Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan of these dishes— unconquerable and invincible," he used to tell her. And she would thank him with a little smile and blush. Living in the most rapidly changing and urbanizing cities of the world, Umar had never met a girl as shy, polite, compassionate and tied to her culture, as Sana. What made her all the more different was her quick sense of humor and "a brain sharper than the sword of Tipu Sultan"—as he would tell to her amusement. The two of them were similar and different in all the right places—the very reason why Umar had finally proposed to her one day, by reciting a piece of shayari that he had specially written for her. Sitting on his knees, he had then sung her favorite ghazal, 'Pyaar ka pehla khat likhne mein, waqt to lagta hai'. A teary 'yes' was all that Sana had been able to gather in the moment. In more than four years of knowing each other, that was the first time they hugged each other.

Trying to sew together the fallen beads of the past in his heart, Umar walked and walked, finally stopping at the beachside. He felt the cries of his soul deafened by the thunderous clamor of the waves. This gave him a strange kind of relief. Strange because inside his heart he very well knew, the relief was not only short-lived, but deceptive too. It did to him what a mirage does to a traveler in a barren desert—give false hope that the struggle shall soon end and a world of happiness would await him. But, what he also knew was that this was neither the first time when he was being deceived, nor the worst betrayal that he had received.

Ten months back, Sana's family had discovered her relationship with this "small poet who barely managed a hands-in-mouth survival". Umar wrote poetry in a few unknown magazines and newspapers. In worse days, he also took to singing in cafes and bars. He was a graduate in Urdu literature and had a couple of other, as Sana's father said, "more decent" career options to take up too, but he didn't. Sana had asked him not to. She was convinced that he was a truly gifted singer and writer. It was Sana who had made him promise her that he will never let the material world stop him from doing what he did best. "Not everybody is as gifted as you are, Umar. But if you still choose to be like everybody, it would be a disgrace to allah's blessings," she had said.

He begged Sana's father to give him some time, he could not afford to lose her. He promised to give his all in making her life comfortable and happy. But Sana's family did not budge. They rebuked him and explained to Sana that "life was not all about love". Sana, of course, did not agree. But neither she nor Umar was the kind to flee away. Sana was kept on house-arrest and for ten long months, the two lovers did not get to even see each other. All this while, Umar looked for better work, which he gradually found. He became a shayar, singer and writer of good repute. The world respected him, wanted him; while all that he wanted was the love of his life, Sana. Little had he imagined that ten months later, Sana's father would be informing him of Sana's marriage, fixed on her own approval. He felt choked, crushed, wrung, and dead.

Lost in an unceasing chain of thought and contemplation, Umar was, by now, walking along the shore, the howls inside him silenced by the thunder of the sea. A sudden stroke of breeze gently kissed his cheeks, making him sense Sana's presence beside him. The wet sand below his feet chiseled his bones and flesh, as it reminded him of the days when the two of them would spend hours making castles on the ever so crowded beach of Juhu. Umar preferred peace and privacy, but they came here because Sana loved the place. She loved to see the sun set behind the spread of the sea-waters. He loved the beam it brought on her face.

It wasn't just the fond memories that shook him. He genuinely felt her around, somewhere close, very close. As if he had never lost her in the first place. He saw her smiling, heard her laughing, felt her touching. The sun was setting and people had begun to vacate the beach. There was no one around him. Yet, inside-out, there was an utter bedlam. He tried to shut his ears to the eerie cacophony, but couldn't. It was like hearing someone wailing and someone laughing, all at the same time. He felt something penetrate him deep and intense. He felt life being sucked out of his body. Letting out a roar of a cry, Umar fell upon his knees and burst into tears. "You can't do this to me!" he moaned aloud. "SANAAAAAA!" 

He lost control of himself. The feeling of having lost everything had finally sunk in. He finally realized that she was gone forever. He cursed himself for loving her so much that he didn't have the grit to utter even a word against her. Every time he thought of abusing her name, all that he could manage was, "Why, Sana, why..."

He got up and started walking towards the sea. He knew he could never hate her. He knew he could never get her. He knew he would always love her. It seemed meaningless to him to continue living in the dilemma. He was a corpse already. The corpse decided to end its life.

He struggled to walk against the wet sand and the force of the waves, but he kept walking. Deeper inside the sea, he paced his steps. He felt happy that the pain would soon end. But more than that, he felt happy that he was dying in the sea-water—it gave him an illusion of Sana being with him in his last moments. She loved water. Ever since he had come to the place, he had felt her around. Inside the sea, the sensation was even stronger. As long as it made him believe that she was with him, he did not bother. When suddenly, his feet hit against something.

He tried to jump over the obstacle, but couldn't. He fell down upon his face, close to Sana's. He went blue with fear.

He lifted her in his arms and carried her to the beachside. Her entire body was cold and morbid. He held up her hands to rub them warm. Her palms were painted with henna that was, perhaps, washed off too early. "The mehendi in my hands will bear only one name as long as I am alive—yours," he remembered her saying.

Her heart had stopped beating. She did not breathe. Umar cupped her face in his hands, urging her to wake up. "Sana, get up! Please!" But she lay there, lifeless. She was gone. This time, really, forever, for... ever.

"What have I done," he thought to himself. "I mistrusted her, thought of her as a cheat, blamed her! I dishonored our love. I dishonored my love. I dishonored Sana!" 

"I am a sinner," his remorse cried. "How could I lose faith in her so easily? How could I even imagine that she could deceive me. Instead of trying to ensure that she was safe, that she wasn't being mistreated, I simply walked away. How could I damn all her years of devotion towards me in one snap? HOW?" 

There was a tumult of guilt and regret inside him that burned every part of him. She lay there in front of him, the same beauty he had last seen ten months back. This time only, she was pale, and dead. He could not believe his eyes.

He took her in his arms and placed her face close to himself. He hugged her a final time before bidding her adieu. His eyes soared with tears and his soul shivered with fear... fear of the punishment he had decided for himself.

"I am a sinner. I deserve the severest of punishments," he talked to Sana's dead body. "I was killing myself because I knew I cannot live without you, my love. I was dying because I thought I did not deserve such pain and misery. But now, I do. I deserve this pain of separation, and more."

"Rest in heaven, my angel. I shall live. For living without you is the greatest punishment I can imagine for myself..." were his final words to the Sana who was no more.

                                                                                                                   

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3 comments:

Anonymous,  October 19, 2012 at 10:51 PM  

Fantastic post, I really look forward to updates from you.

Anonymous,  March 27, 2013 at 10:47 PM  

Very beautiful post..i would like to suggest a small correction which can make this a real one.

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