Professor Sean Hammer
Jo ishq main tarpa nahi woh ishq ishq nahi.
Jo aatish e ishq main jala nahi woh aashiq aashiq nahi.
She smiled. Amidst the smell of urine, sweat, and tears. Amidst the strong smell of the underground hole, admits perhaps the previous trailer, she smiled. Wider and wider. Thoughts of how many people were killed in this very place threatened to invade her thoughts but, she let go of them slowly and just as slowly she let herself be taken ways by the hallucinations she enjoyed so much.Those strong memories of the past and the future.
You would think having being trapped thirty feet underground with not a single light of life to see, she would cry and cry until death finally did take her like King Akbar wanted. You would think after having been left starving and thirsty, no human would smile in pleasure.
You would think, but she wouldn’t dare.
She lifted the corners of her lips and let go of her weight, threw her head back and closed her eyes. She could feel the ropes they had used to push her down on top of her, they felt like ropes of strong metal compared to the first time she was surrounded by them. She hadn’t moved a single foot since she was locked. Only indulged in the memories of her Salim and their love. Why she did that to herself she didn’t know, when the easier option of death only but welcomes her in with open arms.
She pretended she had gone blind and that she had become paralyzed. She pretended she was still alive, still with Salim.
They say, euphoria isn’t felt in peace but in the highest levels of distraught and utmost pain. She felt alive with his memories. Memories she couldn’t distinguish from reality or her dreams.
She sighed in a state of wanderlust.
“Anarkali.” He would call her. She took in a deep breath.
Hands wrapped tightly around her wrist, part of his skin shielded by her bangles, the rest against the soft skin of her fragile limb.
And then she was back.
She shifted, tilted her head to her right or at least that’s what she thought it was. And smiled as she slowly transferred back as what she saw became clearer and clearer.
As her Salim walked closer and closer.
Who knew angels could be found thirty feet below the ground amongst dirty things…and her.
Her eyes could barely stay open but she willed them to look straight. They filled a little at the corners with whatever liquid she did have left.
“Let’s go, Anarkali.” He walked over like the prince he wasabi grabbed her hands and then her eyes closed and Salim disappeared.
She panicked for a moment but then laughed inwardly.
“I will always be by your side.” He had told her and so she knew he would be back. She sighed, it wasn’t too long before even those started to end.
She left her eyes closed and remember that day.
Her body resting on his as he leaned on the tree.
The soft summer breeze grazed her face and teased away a few strands of her hair. It pushed at her dupatta, which Salim had already put a hand on to stop from flying away.
She smiled, she could stay like that for the rest of her life. But a love like theirs never got some peace. So she enjoyed that moment.
Her fingers traced his face. The only man she had ever dared to touch. How perfect were his features. Eyes closed. Long lashes. Soft lips, parted mouth.
And then a jolt.
Eyes opened wide, alert, but tender. “Anarkali. Dance for me.”
She fiddled with the jewelry she wore before grabbing a hold of his Mughally crown. She took his sword and pretended to be a soldier as she walked a few feet away from him like the several soldiers she saw around him. He laughed and grabbed a grape.
She sent him the general greeting: head bent, hand brought to her head, eyes looking straight ahead.
He grew his head back and nodded his head back and so she started. Tapping her feet dancing to the rhythm of her heartbeat, singing the lyrics of their love.
Slowly, she left her body and moved to the side, watching herself dance for Salim and watching Salim watching her.
Everything from the memory had slowly started to fade. The forest that surrounded them the, smell of the grass that had enveloped them, the bracelet of flowers Salim had bought for her. The smell of her death and the prison that King Akbar had locked her in played with her mind, but never once did she forget Salim. Never once did she forget his eyes, his smile. She didn’t forget a single expression on his face as she danced for him.
She had memorized him like a verse, his words were etched into her heart like was the Quran.
Yes, even people like Anarkali delved in the Quran. She was sinner for true, but she wasn’t a disbeliever.
She wasn’t a disbeliever.
Slowly she shifted back into her body in the dream and as she made her last twirl and stared at her beloved, she just knew that this moment was their goodbye.
“Anarkali!” Salim cried, when all of a sudden she saw him trapped in a rope net she made an attempt to run towards him but found that she was trapped just the same.
Salim shook his head she began tiger pulled away. “Anarkali!!”
And then emptiness.
She was a sinner yes, but never a disbeliever. And she had full faith that God with reunite her with her lover.
The lover who has not been tortured in love hasn’t really loved
The lover who has not been burnt by the fire of love, was never really a lover.