[ After stumping of crutches against the floor Ayan rapidly knocks at Asaira's door]
"Asaira, come out now. How much longer will it take for you to choose a chunni ?"
"It takes TIME AYAN"
"God okay, do it fast"
"Doingg, I need to match it with my salwar, and......."Looking into the mirror she halts. She traces those scars on her face.
And as if some chest opens,
and floods her with those scenes.
Those nights of cries,
Where demons weren't in some hell,
But here, right here on this Earth.
Just for domination of one's belief, of one's culture, of one's colours,
Hundreds were tortured to set an example.
"Do you still want to go out with me"
"Yes god. Reservation doesn't gets refunded anyhow, come on now"
"No..no....not in that manner. I mean do you want to be seen with me ?"
"Asaira... If I still cared for the world, I would have died a long time ago. For the world didn't accept me, And I tried running. Ironic, considering I can't right now”, he says, raising his crutches and taking a pause.
But I found you.
I found the one where my world truly resides.
No matter how many lashes have been whipped on me, my soul still smiles,
Still falls on your laughs.
He breathes in and continues, "You are scared for those scars to be seen with me and I'm worried what else should I see apart from you, your smile, your abrupt 'yaaa-na' when you feel awkward. So come out or else we're going to be late."
Asaira opens the door and hugs him. For the first time in ages, she felt safe.
"Abba Ammi, I'm going out with Ayan, I have kept the food and your meds by the bedside."
"Dhyaan rakna Asu"
As the crutches struck the pavement,
It sung a beat, one they can call theirs.
As the turquoise chunni fluttered in the wind,
Catching all the laughs and glances they exchanged.
Sky was pale,
And the minority succumbed to monochrome,
Yet their hearts celebrated all the colours,
One could ever fathom.
Among the every painter's masterpiece,
And all the Dull yet colourful scene,
A white flag and the black insignia,
And the same slogans of sacrifices.
The turquoise chunni didn't flutter anymore.
It is now dyed with blood red.
"Asaira. ASAIRA. come on hey.. hey.. stay awake.. hey you can't leave me... You are here..hey look your scars I love them.. I still have tons of kisses left to give them.. hey.. come on. STAY AWAKE ASAIRA..."
Among the last breath, at least she smilingly took,
Ayan’s screams filled the air,
Like others, it soon misted in the chaos chanted among the minority.
A country at war with its faith,
With its own colours,
How can one flourish?
Author: Abhinav Bhadri
Editor: Janki Nair