Syed and Gayatri didn’t mean to fall in love. But love happens when you least expect it. It creeps up suddenly. When someone needs attention, care, conversation, laughter and maybe even intimacy. Love doesn’t look at logic, or at backgrounds and least of all, religion.
Gayatri was from a very conservative South Indian family that went to a temple every Saturday. Syed bought goats for his family every Eid. That said it all. Their paths would never have crossed if it hadn’t been for that fateful day. That day when he walked into the coffee shop. Gayatri wondered if destiny chose our loved ones for us. Did we have any role to play at all?
She looked at her watch. Syed was late. They met every Thursday at five pm to catch up. Their conversation lasted for hours. Sometimes at the cafe, sometimes in his car, sometimes in places that she could never tell her friends about. They would never understand. And yet Syed made her happy.
Suddenly her phone beeped. He had sent a message. “On my way. Have something important to tell you.”
Gayatri stared at it and realized she had knots in her stomach. Thoughts flooded her mind. What did he want to tell her? It was already 7.00 PM and on cold wintery foggy evening of Delhi she wanted to reach safe confines her home where her parents will raise a volley of questions on her coming home so late.
It was only two years back that her father Mr. Venkat Murthy was transferred to Delhi as Zonal head of SBI. Even though he was only 5’6’’ but even at the age of 55, he looked quite fit and menacing. He was a strict disciplinarian and ensured his children had an uneventful youth. They were staying in SBI colony located in Paschim Vihar. Gayatri was in her final year of MCA from DU and her brother was to appear for his 12th standard boards.
“Hi Gayatri. Sorry I got late but then you know coming all the way from Mathura in this Delhi Traffic is a night mare”. Syed was a handsome young man, had toned body and and strong biceps, was of average height but that innocence in his eyes was mesmerizing. Probably something which every girl would swoon at. As always he was wearing his nicely ironed white shirt and blue trouser. Gayatri wondered what is he going to tell her..
“Well Gayatri”…. He cleared his throat and mustered some courage to speak in his thick Brij accented English “ I have something very important to tell you’
“What is it??” Gayatri quipped..
”I have got hell of an opportunity in Gulf.. There I will be working for Schlumberger one of the top notch oil company as a Drilling expert, They are offering me a mind boggling package of USD 120,000/- and company‘s accommodation. Finally I have what I was waiting for all this time.. This is a God sent opportunity” Allah wants me to be rich“ he beamed.
Gayatri who till now was patiently listening to all what Syed said suddenly had a piquant look on her face. She was not quite prepared for all this. It was only yesterday or some twelve months back when she met Syed she reminisced.
“Excuse me Ma’am, which way is Arts Faculty “ this guy enquired her softly and she was blown away by the innocence in his eyes.
“You go straight from here, it’s there on the main road. “ Syed was driving a Honda City bearing a UP number.
Syed’s sister Saima was doing her majors in History from Arts Faculty and that is what brought Syed to Delhi University. Saima was a popular figure at the Arts faculty. Coming from a Muslim family her dressing was rather bold. Halter neck tops and skin fit jeans accentuated her fair complexion. She was in the same hostel as Gayatri was.
Gayatri decided to stay in hostel as commuting from Paschim Vihar to Delhi university in crowded Delhi buses was a big pain in ass. Also she was not used to the travesties of commuting in Delhi.
“Hi bro”, Saima squeaked, “so what have you brought for me, from Mathura, Is it the same old stuff or is there anything new”.. Well said Syed. “I haven’t got anything for you. Just that Ammi and Abba are really worried about you. They want you to finish your studies and settle down.”.
“Settle down,, Do they want me to become begum of a potbellied business man who will make me stay in burqa all the time. Is this what I Came to Delhi for Syed “her face turned red..
“Oh hi! Gayatri, Whats up?” squealed Saima, Meet my brother Syed, both of them were sitting at CCD sipping coffee and drawn in a long conversion.
“ Hi Saima, Gayatri in her soft voice said. Why don’t you join us for a coffee and she sat there on the red sofa which was kept by the side of a bamboo chair. Aroma of freshly made coffee and pan cakes gave the atmosphere a perfect setting.
Beep Beep “ I want to see you in five minutes was the message from Joel” Saima and Joel were in intimate relation which Syed had inkling about. Syed had met Joel twice and he was a 6 footer with the physique that will give John Abhramam a run for his money. Saima was ready to go. she left and said “you guys carry on. I have to rush for some urgent work.”
“Hi! So you are also doing your majors in History” he said rather shyly.. “Oh, no , I am doing my MCA but we are in the same hostel. They stuck the right note” Sometimes it takes a lifetime to find the right person some times its that something clicks and Gayatri had hots for this guy. She could not believe she was actually engrossed in a conversation for more than two hours. “Let me go, muttered Gayatri. I have to complete my assignments. They exchanged numbers and waved each other good bye.
Then the long drawn converstaions started over phone and they started seeing each other. CP was not far and one of the best places, to explore. Although Gayatri was a Tamilian Brahmin but she had tasted non veg, and Syed loved South Indian food. They used to meet at Sarvana Bhavan over hot Rasam and Rava Masala Dosa,. Kaju Gulab at the end of the lunch was what they were both fond of.
As the days progressed Syed and Gayatri got closer to each other, Gayatri’s hostel mates came to know about the secret love story of a Muslim boy and a South Indian girl but Gayatri was reticent about all the ado and kept her affair a closely guarded secret.
Beautiful park outside Arts Faculty became the hot spot for their love activities , one day as it was getting dark Syed decided to drop Gayatri. As they got inside the car, Gayatri put her hands on Syed’s hand, “Now change gears , I will help you she said in her sexy voice, “Yeah why not.. Syed grabbed her close and hugged her, both held each other tightly, Syed could smell the sweet fragrance of her perfume. It was rose petals and fragrance filled his heart and mind, he slowly slipped his hand inside her blue chiffon top and started caressing her chest, Gayatri was moaning and was surely in mood to go all the way. Now Syed was also fully aroused. He was fondling with her breasts fully immersed in the moment.
As it happens in our country there was a section of religious fanatics at Arts Faculty who were not happy to see Saima trolling with Joel and they wanted to teach Saima a lesson for her misdeeds, for them it was more of feeling of animosity that a girl from their religion was dating a guy from other religion. Saima and Joel were never too concerned to notice their nefarious motives. However, these guys had some sinister motive on their minds .
It was unusually cold that night on New Year ever 31st of December, Saima and Joel had planned their evening at Marina Hotel in CP.Joel picked up Saima from her hostel at 9.00 PM, the moment he reached near Patel Chest a Pajero came to a screeching halt , Joel applied brakes and yelled “You son a of a bitch, Can’t u see.. Are you drunk? Out came three bearded men with blood in their eyes. They had dreaded look on their faces. Looked like blood sucking monsters out to make them pay for their follies.
“Come out you kafir.. You will take our girl ! !and slapped him hard. Joel was taken aback. He stuttered” why are you bothered?? We are adults, its our choice..”
“ Its your choice he screamed, you mother fucker go and fuck promiscuous girls from your religion who drink alcohol and sleep with other men. Don’t you dare take the girl from our religion” and started hitting him with a hockey stick.
Joel put up a fight with the assailants and caught hold of one of them while other two forcibly put Saima in their car and drove away as PCR arrived.
After much of haggling third guy who was named Imitaz revealed the identity of other two accused who were caught from Seelampur area. Fortunately Saima was safe and her assailants could not harm her.
Both Joel and Saima were petrified after the incident and decided to be extra cautious. This news spread like wild fire and entire town came to know about their affair. Saima’s parents who till now indifferent towards their daughter’s choice became even more stringent they started coercing her to marry guy from Muslim community.
This time Syed who was seething with anger at the fate meted out to her and Joel stepped to the rescue of his sister and took up the cudgels. He stood like a rock behind their relationship and made his conservative parents approve their marriage.
Gayatri in the meanwhile told her parents about her relationship with Syed and they weren’t amused by the news.
“But Appa ,Syed is a nice guy“ she was tired of giving explanations.. You are already twenty three Gayatri and we are looking for a well educated Tamilain boy settled abroad for you and here you are roaming around with this guy from other religion, . Do you even realize what our relatives in Chennai will think??
Are there not enough good guys from our caste, leave alone caste he is not even from our religion.. They are beef eating promiscuous people, who do not even believe in monogamy. Do you think you can spend rest of your life with him??” Appa , I have not thought about it besides just that he is a Muslim doesn’t make him bad.
Saima was through with her studies and after huge turmoil and arguments Syed & Saima could somehow convince their parents that Joel Mall was the right choice for her. Once her parents were convinced things became easier.
“Gayatri, you bring uncle to Saima’s marriage, and things will be alright” .It was freezing January evening, after following the rituals of Christianity and Islam it was time for feasting and what a feast it was, all the preprations were done by Syed and he ensured that there were separate stalls exclusively for vegetarians keeping in mind the sensitivities of Gayatri’s parents.
It was evening and feasting was organized at Le Meridien , Delhi in Connaught Place. Ballroom arena of Meridien was booked , High quality Sufi music and South Indian Carnatic music wafted thru the ears.
Special care was taken to give the reception and Indo Western theme. It was 9.00pm. Normally in Delhi parties begin after 11:00pm, however guests started coming and by 9: 30pm hall was almost full but it was Gayatri that Syed’s eyes were searching for.
Finally at quarter to ten, Gayatri arrived along with her Appa and Aai. How lovely she looked, in her blue chiffon lehnga embellished with stones and red choli that barely covered her navel. Beautiful vermillion and red lipstick made her irresistibly hot. Anyways Syed had to control himself.
“Hello Uncle, please come” Syed by now had lost all his patience, rushed to the entrance and said.
“Hello, Congrats Syed”, Mr. Murthy said with a contorted face. A lavish wedding reception at Le Meridien, in ball room arena with number of classy guests Mr. Murthy was visibly impressed. “Uncle what would you like to have?” asked Syed “ Oh, we will manage, you carry on.” Murthy still admiring the asthetics said .
After a while Mr. & Mrs. Murthy approached the vegetarian food section which had some of the best South indian dishes awaiting them. Both of them had Rasam first and then munched on Rava Masala Dosa which was Murthy’s favorite. Once they were finished, there was special South Indian filter coffee which summed up their sumptuous dinner, all this while Syed ensured Murthys had a comfortable stay. Syed stuck a conversation with Murthy and informed him that he is a qualified Petroleum Engineer and has landed a job with Schlumberger in Dubai at $ 120000/- per anum.
Syed’s parents were not that from a typical Muslim family, his father retired as Chief Engineer from PWD and his mother was working as Vice principal at a convent school in Mathura.
Murthy was visibly impressed by what he saw and Syed’s role in the marriage of Joel and Saima was well known to Murthy who by now developed a predilection towards Syed. As they were leaving Murthy saw Gayatri and Syed sharing a hearty laugh and was not annoyed by the sight.
Next Thursday Syed was to leave for Dubai to join Schlumberger, and he softly said to Murthy “Uncle, I am leaving for Dubai on 11th of Feb 2016, will you please permit Gayatri to come to Airport”, and Murthy nodded his head.
Syed was now sure that his journey towards making Gayatri his wife had begun in earnest.