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Love commandos

Priyamwada Redican Chakne | Updated on January 24, 2020 Published on January 24, 2020

Resilient love: "He knew the size of the smile she put on his face" (Credit: ISTOCK.)   -  Getty Images/iStockphoto

Imagine there are two doors in front of you,

each with a sign on top,

the first reading “Love”

and the second “Honour”.

Which door will you walk through?

I once knew a boy,

Ali,

who chose “Love.”

He eloped with a girl called Asha.

Ali wasn’t afraid that his mother-in-law may not like him;

he knew that it didn’t matter.

He knew that his love for Asha,

that beautiful girl with the delicate wrists,

with whom he had fallen in love at first sight,

didn’t matter.

He knew that the size of his heart,

or the strength of his arms

that gave her protection,

an honest man’s affection,

didn’t matter.

He knew the size of the smile she put on his face,

the grace,

with which she moved,

as she danced in the first rain of the monsoon,

how that dance had awakened him

from centuries of stillness,

how it had cured him from illness,

from a certain death of solitude,

didn’t matter.

It didn’t matter

that he tossed and turned in his bed all night long,

sometimes staring at the cobwebbed ceiling,

sometimes at the barren moon outside his window,

thinking only of her,

of her hair,

as it bounced off her shoulders when she rushed down the stairs,

to see him pass by on his noisy, run down, second-hand Splendor.

It didn’t matter that she never noticed this,

the decrepit motorcycle,

or his fraying, fading shirt,

or the cheap flea market shoes,

once white, now brown

that brought frowns

from even his friends.

Where others despised,

all she saw

was the light in his eyes.

But even that didn’t matter.

For the consummation of their love

was against their parents’ Honour:

Family Honour,

The Honour of their society, their caste, their class, their position,

their religion.

This time it was religion.

So Asha’s love for Ali,

Ali’s love for Asha,

didn’t matter.

All that mattered,

was that he worshiped a different god.

All that mattered,

was that she begged mercy from a different divinity.

Somewhere in the fields outside a small village

lie two bodies, not yet claimed,

and a country, a mother mourns.

It grieves the loss of her delicate wrists,

of him who tossed and turned through the night,

of the light,

she saw in his eyes,

it mourns all the lies,

that her mother had told her,

that her heart had treasured.

Love does not unite.

It breaks us apart,

in the name of “Honour”,

the honour of family, of society,

of caste and class, position,

politics, religion.

This time it was religion.

So imagine there are two doors in front of you,

each with a sign on top,

the first reading “Love”,

the second “Honour”.

Which door will you walk through?

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Priyamwada Redican Chakne (the daughter of a Catholic Canadian father and a Maharashtrian Chambhar mother), a spoken word poet born in Pune and raised in Jejuri, is now based in the Netherlands. Her debut collection of poetry Children of the Mountains is forthcoming from Panther’s Paw

Published on January 24, 2020
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