In earlier times, Indian women suffered in the name of culture. Now it’s being done in the name of loss of culture. The one thing that hasn’t changed though is that the women are still being blamed for their own injuries. And they are still expected to submit to the blame, even if innocent, and sink into the ground.
I dedicate this book to every girl and woman who refused to take the blame for others’ faults. Who, even when trodden down, dared to stand up and create a new and better life for herself. I offer this book as a salute to such brave and determined ladies.
Within the heart of every person hides a love story
Just waiting to be told
Come, let’s follow the rhythm of these two heartbeats
And unfold the tales they do hold.
‘It’s all your fault.’
Yes, I said those words today, those very same words.
From the rotten womb of the past they rose up on their own, spurting like poison to my tongue and burning my heart and soul in their passage.
Words they are only. Vibrations of air.
But words can possess a shadow invincible enough to rob even a soul of its eternity sometimes.
‘It’s all your fault,’ I spat out the words over Nikita, the most fashionable and stylish girl in this girls’ hostel. ‘All your fault.’
It felt good.
And I want to shout out those words again, as loudly as possible, and for as long as I have voice. Maybe then my heart would be clear of their stain. I have borne their burden long enough already.
But there is no one to listen to me now. The girls have all gone into Nikita’s room. I heard the sound of sobbing coming from that room. I heard Nikita’s boyfriend being called a brute and cursed by many different mouths speaking in the same tone. I also heard them calling me heartless and insensitive.
Maybe I am, both. I don’t care.
But how, Arsh, do I stop my mind from sinking back into the past? To the time, five years ago, when those same words had been spoken to me?
I have pulled myself out in the hostel’s garden. Don’t know whether to finish this painting that I’m making for school, or to scowl at my past undisturbed. Scowl at the day that had blessed me and cursed me all together. I am still carrying the curse with me. The blessing I have left far behind. It was but a fake.
It’s been six months since I came away from you. Six months! And yet…
Why can’t I stop? Why can’t I stop thinking of you, Arsh? Of you, your eyes, your grin, your anger, your blunderings, your words…
Every day that passes finds my heart deeper in your hold. And the moments I hadn’t even noticed have become unforgettable now. And here, in the pale gleams of this winter sunshine, I see you again. And hear you again.
Even your very first words to me, ‘Hey, Lemon Girl, watch out!’
Before you proceed to the next chapter, here’s something extra!
Excerpt of Dream’s Sake