Loving a Dream A Mystery Muslim Girl
The Beginning or the End?
I arrived at the cemetery on a mellow December afternoon, knowing it would darken soon. North India has its peculiarity and compared to other parts of India the sun sets much earlier. On this December, the sun was setting early as it was winter and the days had become a lot shorter than the nights. On that day, I do remember that the entire countryside was bathed in yellow light and a cold wind blew incessantly. Dark clouds hovered overhead and the sun peeped intermittently. December in the north can be a chilling experience and as the cold wind blew it wrapped around my body making me feel cold.
I had hired a taxi to come to this cemetery and I told the driver to wait for me till I came back. The driver picked me in the evening from the officer’s mess at Central Vista. Now this place is pulled down and nothing is left of the place. It was winter and darkness was approaching. The driver was a burly Sardar. Looking at him made me a little more confident. He drove fast and soon left the city behind us.
As I sat in the Taxi, myriad thoughts crossed my mind and I wondered why was I going to the graveyard. I shuddered involuntarily, despite the windows of the car being pulled down, it was pretty cold. The taxi soon reached its destination and the driver brought the car to a halt. I looked out of the window and could see the graveyard some distance away. Outside the sun was setting and darkness would soon creep in.
I motioned the driver to wait and got out of the car. An icy wind blew, and I wrapped my coat firmly around my body. It was a desolate place and I was asking myself why I had come to the land of the dead.
I left the taxi on the narrow road and walked towards the graveyard. I walked swiftly and soon passed a small wicket gate and entered the land of the dead. Why had I come here? I had come to pay my obeisance to a departed soul; a woman I had loved. Her name was Nasreen and now she was no more. She had departed a year back and it was only now, that I had gathered my wits and courage to come here and pay my respects to my loved one. Why did I take so long to come here? Frankly, I have no explanation for it, but it is possible this move of mine was conditioned by fear. Fear? Yes, that is the word. It was a clandestine love and to top it the love of my life was a Muslim.
I was a Hindu, and this is a deadly concoction in India. More so if the girl is Muslim. Things have improved now but at that time it was a volatile relationship frowned
upon by the Muslim clergy. I was scared, why? Yes! I had received death threats that had unnerved me and then my love had died. Caught in a terrible car accident. The breaks failed- so said the police report but I have never been sure.
Could she had been done to death? Till date, I have no answer. One thing for sure her car a Merc -S Class, was well maintained and brakes in a Merc don’t fail so easily.
The car had banged head-on into a massive trailer and the brakes didn’t function. The airbags? I don’t know. Did they open? I don’t know.
I unlatched the wicket gate and entered inside the graveyard. All the while the wind blew incessantly, and I pulled my coat around me. I entered and latched the gate behind me. I looked ahead and decided to proceed inside. Beyond the wicket gate, I came upon a small granite stone, perhaps having memories of a hoary past. Before me, the burial ground rose in a series of small crests. A few trees covered the vast ground, they were bare and bleak as the cold wind enveloped everything including; me. Bareheaded as I was, I upturned my collar and looked at the sky and then put my hands in the pocket of my overcoat.
Fleeting memories of Nasreen flashed through my mind. I could not help thinking of her white and incandescent body, her small but luscious breasts and lower down her dark growth of profuse curls. All this vividly flashed before me, even as I remembered Nasreen drawing up her legs and exposing the most vulnerable part of her. It was all so unreal. It looked more like a dream now and I shuddered, and it was not because of the icy wind. I was scared as I received the diabolical messages. They had unnerved me and the last straw that broke the camel’s back was the car accident. I had decided to go away to London and now I was back after a year.
I walked forward a few steps and came up to a small house. It was whitewashed in contrast to the dark and dreary surroundings. It stood close to a large banyan tree.I guessed it was the caretaker’s house. I knocked on the door. Even as I waited the image flashed before me again; so lovely a girl and so unreal, yet no more. I waited but the door did not open and after a moment I knocked again. The door now opened slowly and a small thin man with grey hair emerged. He was dressed in salwar and loose unbuttoned kameez. He spoke in a rasping tone.
“What is it you want at this unearthly hour?”
“I am sorry,” I said “but….”
He didn’t seem to hear but gurgled, “I hate visitors.
They are a real nuisance. My wife is sick, and I was just giving her, her dose when you knocked. She’s got a viral fever and the Hakim doesn’t seem to know anything about it. Anyway, it’s the will of Allah. What can’t be helped has to be endured. What is it you were saying…?”
“I wanted to see the spot where Nasreen was buried”
“Who is Nasreen?” He blurted “Why? Do you want to worship her grave? You know we never worship the dead”
“I know” I replied “I am not worshiping. I just want to see the place.”
“But who is Nasreen?”
“A lady, she died about a year ago”
He looked at me and mumbled “you are a sahib, so perhaps you know what you are doing, but come in”
He led me into the house. We entered a small room with a low ceiling and filing cabinet in one corner and a rustic old divan in the other corner. Inside the air was dead, dank and murky. He switched on the light and that made the room look a little better. It was barely furnished, and the man motioned me to sit down in the old chair.
“What is your name?” he asked
“Ah! You are Hindu”
“Very strange, a Hindu wanting to visit the grave of a Muslim.”
“No,” I replied, “there is nothing strange. I knew the lady and was out of India for over a year. Can you guide me to it?”
“Out of India?”
“yes,” I mumbled.
He looked at me quizzically and asked: “What was the name again.” I told him the name once more. He repeated it in a whisper and began a slow scan of a notebook which he had pulled out from a drawer. Suddenly I heard a sound. I was unprepared for it and came from the room behind: it was almost like bellow.
“Zakir,” a woman called “Zakir.”
The voice didn’t sound sick or infirm. Zakir just shrugged his shoulder. The voice bellowed again and Zakir smiled, “All right, just a minute.”
“Who has come?” the voice was almost was a snarl now.
“Ah, a man who wants to visit the grave of a lady called Nasreen.”
I was her lover
On hearing these words, I felt a dryness in my throat and simultaneously a vision of Nasreen naked flashed before me; incandescent, pure white and exquisite, more like white marble. Thoughts of her breasts, small and erect; more like twin mounds and her flat belly with not an ounce of fat vividly flashed before my mine. Abashed I could not help letting my thoughts wander to the most feminine part of her body with its profuse growth and alter of her beauty. My thoughts drifted further, and I closed my eyes as I savored the delight of parting her thighs and snaking my tongue deep into her. Zakir’s voice cut into my musings like a knife. His voice appeared a lot sharper now as he asked “Who are you? A friend of the family?”
I wanted to reply; ‘I was her Lover’. However, I didn’t have the guts to say these words.
My lips stirred, but I did not speak.
“Friend of the family? Did you know her husband? The widower?”
Lover, widower, friend; words with texture and now meaningless.
“I was a friend,” I said at last “An old friend. I was away when she expired. I only wish to pay my respects, but if there is a problem……”
“NO” he replied “there is no problem, but you may also, meet the regular visitor to her grave. It’s at the end of the far corner”
I was unnerved at this bit of information.
“Who is this man?” I asked.
“I don’t know” he replied, “perhaps her husband or maybe her lover. Frankly, I can only guess but my idea is that he was perhaps her lover, but you can’t be sure.”
“Zakir, Zakir!” the voice of the woman boomed, “Come here at once and leave that man alone”
I nodded at Zakir and came out closing the door behind me. I felt sick in my stomach as I wondered who the other visitor was. Was it her husband? Her lover? remembered the note received by me. It was diabolical as the slanting neat handwriting unfolded once again before me.
“You bastard, you infidel…. I shall kill you”
That was a long time ago and much later Nasreen had died in a car accident. This man must be her husband. God! He must have loved her. Again, I was not too sure; he could very well be an admirer or even a lover, someone who I didn’t know, but this man knew me.
As I stood a cold wind blew and the sky seemed to have darkened. It was winter and darkness would soon set in. I watched idly out of the gate when I saw a black car drive towards it. It somehow reminded me of a phantom emerging out of the gloom. It was a massive car, jet black and in the fading light I could make out it was a Mercedes. An S-class; top of the line model. It had the soft purr of a panther and inwardly I felt cold.
The car stopped at the gate and I looked at it apprehensively. Who could it be? It was chauffeur-driven and soon the rear door opened, and a man got out. He was a stout man. His cheeks were rounded and ruddy with a thick black mustache. He wore a grey colored Pathani salwar and Kameez. He saw me and came towardme; He walked briskly and reached me. As he stood before me, I saw, I noticed that his eyes were pale and ashen. He held out his hand.
“I didn’t know who you would be,” he said “But I knew you would come someday, and I’d know you. You kept me waiting a long time, man.” To this man and his
voice, I responded stupidly “What did you say?”
“I postponed things, waiting for you, trips…. deals, everything. First, I had to find you. No. first you had to find me.”
“What in the devil are you talking about?”
“Now you have found me, and I am going to kill
The killer or lover?
I felt the sweat run down my spine and a flush on my cheeks despite the December cold. I looked down in a reflex action at the bulge of the right hand in the pocket of
the kameez. Did it bulge more than the left? Perhaps it did, I looked around. Maybe he carried a small pistol. I felt my throat go dry and I felt sick in my stomach. I wondered why I came and who was this man. I was unnerved that he was a regular visitor to her grave. Nobody was in sight. Even the chauffeur had vanished. I and this man were alone in the growing darkness. I turned to him.
“For god’s sake,” I asked, “What are you chattering?”
“You know what I am chattering about,” the man replied, his gaze growing more flushed, his voice rising
“You know precisely what I am chattering about. But come let me show you the grave.”
I followed mechanically. We crisscrossed a few lanes and reached the far corner of the yard. I had an insane desire to run away, but I had loved Nasreen and perhaps for that reason tacked along.
“This is it,” the man said, “this is where Nasreen lies.”
I looked at the bare mound of earth. I wished Nasreen was alive. What fun to gather her in my arms kisses her and screw her? I remembered leading her to my bed, which was covered with a plum-colored bedspread well calculated to set off her nudity as Nasreen, pure white and exotic extended herself on her back. I closed my eyes as my mind savored the thought of Nasreen’s widely parted legs to accommodate me, and her dark-haired mons with the pouting coral lips, now clearly visible through the cluster of curls. I remembered how easily she engulphed me until our hairs intermingled. But my thought evaporated very fast and I returned to the present and the man next to me. He must be her husband. I had never known him; because Nasreen had never discussed him. I closed my eyes again and that lovemaking in the rain flashed like a rainbow before me. I had held Nasreen down on the soft earth with the rain beating down on us.
“Leave me,” she had laughed, “it’s raining”
My thoughts were cut short by the rasping voice of the man.
“When I kill you,” he said “You will fall across her grave. Your blood will spill into her dust. You will enter her again, but it will be your last act of union. But she won’t know, and you don't know. It will be a strange sort of union; the mating of the dead. Have you ever experienced it? Of course not, because you are alive, but this is one experience that you will never be able to relate to anyone.”
I looked up and glared at the man. Somehow, I seemed to pick up courage and I no longer cared. I also felt tired and wanted to get it all over. Fear of death had vanished. The day had now darkened and chilled. It was the onset of night. The sun had set.
“All right,” I said, “what do you want me to do?” He looked at me like a wolf. He was unhappy. Then he said something that appeared out of context.
“I’m going to get married: the man shouted, does that shock you? Perhaps you think I am being unfaithful. But before I married again, I had to see you. Now get ready. Pay your last obeisance to her; the bitch.”
The revolver now appeared from inside his side pocket. So, the bulge in his pocket was this. It was a sinister weapon; black and ominous. I looked at the barrel and again into the man’s eyes. I confess I did feel a sort of terror. But it was the revolver again and into the man’s eyes. The grey color weapon looked sinister. Had it been used before to kill anybody? I didn’t know but I soon came down to reality. His revolver stared at me in a cold, remote and abstract way. Again, I seemed to go into a reverie and my mind drifted back to Nasreen. Now I could no longer remember her face, but I remembered her eyes. I suddenly wanted her again and cried aloud.
“Yes,” the man said “You are frightened. I knew it; you are not a superman!
“Watch it, don’t make a stupid move,” he said, “I am soon going to kill you like ….”
“Like what? “I shouted.
“Like I killed those three men back in East Pakistan during the war.” I gathered my wits and courage.
Suddenly the man laughed. “you know what I did?”
He looked at me squarely. His eyes blinked. Was he also scared?
“Well, let me tell you. I drove out of Sylhet in my jeep and saw three men hiding behind a tree. They were the so-called Mukti Bahani. Real vermin of the worst type. I shouted them to come out and one of them emerged with an automatic rifle. He forgot to press the trigger first and, in a moment, I had shot him dead. My aim was good, man, I had done a lot of shooting in Bihar. The other two tried to run away, they were unarmed but my aim was lethal, and I shot both of them while they were fleeing. I got great pleasure in killing them. It's something I am going to relish now.”
“So, what?” I blurted inadvertently.
The man smiled and his cheeks seemed to puff up,”
Do you think this was the only incident? My man, you don’t know a thing. Back in Dacca with the war on, I hunted these Mukti Bahini like the rats they were. I saw two of them holed up inside a garage. I shouted them to come out and fearfully they came out. They expected to be captured but I shot them to death. It was great to pump bullets into them.”
“You are lying,” I said “I know, pull the trigger damme you”
I swallowed: my throat was dry so that it ached. I recollected her face now: so far, so cool and dreamy. The man now lowered the gun. His voice had changed.
“Yes,” he said “You, you were her lover. You are the only worthy one. The only one worth killing. For in passion she always took your name. You must have been the REAL one, her real one”
I felt a flush of pleasure. So Nasreen loved me. It was a joy to be her real lover the only one. I felt strong and I looked at the man and said, “You, what were you; a neuter” The words shocked him.
“No,” he said, “No, but she was yours and I can’t send you back to her. Now I want you to suffer in her memory.”
He turned abruptly and walked away. I saw him striding down towards the gate, with long measured steps.
I followed him more out of instinct and curiosity. As he reached the gate he turned back, and I thought I saw the lips twisted and the teeth bared.
“You think I’m her husband, don’t you” he shouted,
“You thought I was the husband all the time. Didn’t you? Well maybe, maybe not. You will never know. You will wonder if I was also her lover, but man you will keep
wondering for a long time.”
He went out and dived into the black Merc which seemed to have materialized like a phantom from the gloom. Before getting into the car he looked back at me.
In the darkening gloom, he seemed to wave at me and soon he was inside, and the car moved off. I heaved a sigh of relief as I saw the car disappear in the gloom.
I watched it slink away into the darkening gloom. I wrapped the coat tightly around me and made my way to the Taxi. The driver looked at me and blurted
“Sahib, you took a long time and that will mean an extra charge.”
As I sat in the back seat of the Ambassador, I didn’t reply as the driver put the car into gear and headed back to the Central Vista Mess