An Unusual Love Story
An Unusual Love Story14 mins 712 14 mins 712
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?
Sometimes life throws up strange paradoxes. The speaker often becomes the listener. Was today going to be such a day? Thoughts erupted like a violent volcano in her mind. Was this the end? The end before it had really started! Was love going to, once again, be crucified at the altar of religion? Or ironically was she going to end it before Syed could even speak to her? Her mind soon wandered back into the past. The past when it first began; not her love story, but her woes!
It was the 5th day of August: a day that Gayatri could never forget. It was the day, that Gayatri took a decision, that has haunted her till today!
For most people, this would be a cliché, but for her, it truly was the one day, which changed her life, forever. Until she found something unbelievable happening to her, something straight out of a fairy tale, something that just doesn't happen outside the movies, something so beyond her imagination, that Gayatri thought she was going mad.
Since that fateful day, when due to an accidental exposer to Gamma radiation, while she was working with Professor Venkat in the Cryogenic lab, she acquired the uncanny ability of mind-reading and started hearing voices in her head!
Ever since she has lived in doubt; doubt about what was real, about what she should do, about what she has become. Doubts and despair are all she has. Doubts as to who she was, and the greatest doubt of all, a constant worry, a constant fear, a constant question: What next? What was she going to do? She was helpless. What was going to happen to her, to her friends, to whomever and whatever she loved? To Syed? Whom she loved more than herself! Believe me, she had no idea
And yet, it's true, what they say. Being different, being special, being what nobody else is: that's precisely Gayatri’s problem: a problem that has no cure. Because, she is not what she is, just because, she is smarter, faster or stronger than her fellow beings. There's something, so different about her, that she dare not get too close to anyone; that she dare not hope for understanding, friendship, or love, that she resign herself to hearing those terrifying voices in her head till her last breath!.
But, it is time her silence ends. It is time she speaks. It is time these voices cease, and let her voice be heard. Oh! She knew what must happen now. This must end.
Waiting for Syed, Gayatri was in a mood for introspection. She spoke to herself, “I have only one thing to ask: I have remained unheard too long; I have never been able to share my story. This is it. If one person understands me and has sympathy, it is enough, and I can rest in peace.” She penned this poem, waiting for Syed.
How sweet is the sound of silence!
After, years of these unending voices?
At least it will end with a smile.
I don't know, who I am saying this to,
My silence is the saddest scream,
That I have ever heard.
My sorrow, death of every dream,
Is that, my own voice, must rest unheard.
Unheard, my sorrows breed,
Until I know it must end.
I ask, just a tear, in sympathy,
Before, I am condemned.
Voices, they never cease;
They have taken away, all I hold dear;
Love, friends, life; they stole all, except
The voice in my head:
That is the only one I hear.
Gayatri was surrounded by voices. Voices of aspiration, remorse, hatred, anguish, pain, suffering, jealousy, malice, hypocrisy, discrimination, felony and a few, just a few, of love, understanding, patience, peace, and joy! They told her
Things, everything, even things she did not want to know. They never stopped. The worst part is: she could tell no one, she could go to no one with her problem, could not share the story of her affliction with anyone. She knew not what to do. These voices, except those of Syed, were driving her mad and were causing, an indefatigable storm in her head. Gayatri soon realized the futility of asking herself, as she often did, “Why me?
And then, when she found Syed, someone who truly loved her, who truly cared for her; in whose mind she could see innocence, serenity, and childlike love... of which by some miracle, she was the object; it was a divine experience.
I won't tell you much more of their days together. How they met, how they watched the sunset together, the commonplace sight, through the dust and smoke of a metropolitan city, transformed into a sight of magical beauty; all
through his thoughts; all these things have no place here. All that matters now, is, that despite everything else that happened, Gayatri did have one miracle in her life; Syed!
Can you believe that at times during their long conversations, sometimes not with spoken words; where Gayatri’s eyes communicated her thoughts to Syed, She almost told Syed everything; she almost revealed the truth about what she was to him. But of course she couldn’t. It was, is, and will be, her cross to bear.
When things were going bad, when this mind-reading was slowly spinning Gayatri’s life out of control, there was at least one person to stand by her. Syed didn't know what was wrong with her. To him nothing did seem wrong. Love they say is blind! Nevertheless, he could have, any way, done nothing more, than what he did for her.
But relationships are delicate things. Always! They are resilient, true; and they give you great strength at times; but a relationship built on so much secrecy, with so many things hidden; a relationship between a blossoming young man, with his whole life in front of him, and someone like Gayatri; someone whose life is condemned to a short and miserable curse, for as long as she can hold out against the madness and despair;- Gayatri would be such a fool, if she didn't know, all too well, that it could never last, not because caste ,creed and religion would eventually shred apart the fabric of their love; these were too trivial, but because of the voices in her head, that was driving her insane! What an irony!
Syed, she knew, would never end it . Would she instead?
Still, it’s better to have loved and lost than never have loved at all! Gayatri consoled herself.
As you have probably guessed, things began to go from bad to worse.
Gayatri soon found that she couldn't function normally with people around. She became more and more of a loner. Friends came to visit her in her sickbed, she fled from them. She could not even get herself admitted into a hospital, as these are relatively crowded places, full of miserable ‘voices’. She could do absolutely nothing, she was helpless.
Any large gathering would set it off; those wild fits, those waves of intense agony, which would take days to recede away. She tried wearing earplugs, hoping that cutting off actual auditory stimuli, might compensate for these voices
in her head, but the thoughts she could hear, were many times more intense, and they were much more numerous.
We think much faster than we speak, and we speak only very little of what we think. Hence this idea barely made any difference. Nothing was working. Gayatri began to give up hope.
In such a state Syed called and----
So, that’s enough of Gayatri’s sob story. Let me tell you the final chapter of this long and painful tale, punctuated by the love that brought brief periods of bliss!
Gayatri had chosen to end it all, while she was waiting for Syed. And what better place could there be, than the very place, where it had all started; on the fifth of August 2015. At, that every college! It's funny; she didn't clearly remember the date. Or maybe it isn't that strange at all... her mind was about to snap, somehow she was holding on.
The greatest fear of any rational mind may well be the fear of losing one's sanity. Gayatri was barely being able to hold on. She can remember that night, only as if
she was reliving it, through a haze; through the haze of confusion, that comes before the fog of madness obscures reason altogether.
She went to the main administrative building- to the roof. It was obviously
supposed to be locked, but she and Syed knew of that one door that was generally left open. That place was alone, quiet, and peaceful. There they could be together. No other voices. Nothing, except, each other! She would be lost in
only his sweet thoughts, and that peace, was bliss. Somehow she must, even in that half-crazy state, have remembered that place, as a haven of peace. The kind of peace, in which a tortured soul would like to end it all!
Gayatri climbed the stairs slowly. She had no fear. She moved towards the edge. She stood and gazed outside, and looked at it, all. The lab building, where the fateful incident happened, the health center, where she had that scan is taken, so many places; even this very roof, where they spent so many hours together! Why should she fear? Now she had nothing more to lose. She felt that everything was lost and that all she wanted was to let it end. Now, just now! Gayatri prepared to jump.
And then, all that Gayatri had to lose, appeared before here. She stood there, between life and death; paralyzed.
Syed’s face was flushed red in color. He seemed more excited than ever before. Why shouldn’t he be such? Syed had just got the approval of his parents to
marry Gayatri, just a few hours before he got his medical reports. He did not know which news to break first.
In normal circumstances, Gayatri would have been able to read Syed’s mind and rejoiced at the happy news he was about to tell her.
But today was not normal.Gayatri’s deep and overpowering love for Syed obscured all other voices that she could hear. Her deep anguish and terrifying misery, that the news of Syed’s ailment would cause her; that Syed would soon reveal to her, but already read by her, overpowered everything else. There was only one voice she could not hear that day, a happy one-Syed’s voice; “Will you marry me?”
In any case, how would it help, except give herself and Syed a few moments of bliss? At best an aberration in the sordid tale of her nebulous future!
Syed was, however, thinking about how to break the terrifying news of his ailment to his beloved. He didn't need to be able to read minds, like her, to see what was on her mind that night. He watched it all go through her head. The emotions he felt, filled her too.
And then she noticed some other thought; a horrifying one.
She groaned," Oh my God, you never told me".
Syed simply said," I got to know today. I went for a test some days ago."
He was filled with sorrow, at her reaction, at her hopelessness, at her utter helplessness. "Yes, I do have cancer. I have just another year or so to live."
Leukemia is incurable, and yet in Syed, Gayatri could see no angst, no despair; only acceptance of fate, and as ever, a hope, nay a resolve, that he would live his life to the fullest. He was stronger than her, so much stronger than her. And then Gayatri was faced, as she read his mind, by his silent question, "Why me?"
To him, suicide was unthinkable. He, still was, full of a will to live life and live it to the fullest. She felt like telling him everything. Felt like revealing it all to him. But in the end, it wouldn't have mattered. It all came down to this. Gayatri had a choice to make.
She knew that insanity was an almost sure destination for her if she lived on.
“I didn't even know if I should be with him for these last few months” she silently said; all those old doubts surfaced up again in her restless and confused mind.
And let me be frank with you, Gayatri was afraid; afraid of the horror of losing her mind, afraid of inflicting a life of misery on herself and on others, and afraid of the agony that was sure to be her daily companion if she lived on. Afraid of losing
Syed, while she lived on, in this deplorable state, as life slowly ebbed out of his ebullient body and indomitable mind.
But to give up on life, while seeing him so calm, so accepting, so at peace with the world and his fate, it felt like blasphemy! It felt like she was throwing away all the joys they had shared. It felt like, it made, whatever meaning her life might have made, meaningless.
‘We could go away, we could live alone; with no voices in my head, except his. It seemed like cowardice to fear to be an outcast, while, Syed, could watch his whole life cut short, and still smile’, Gayatri silently said to herself.
“We don't choose what cards life deals out to us, we can only play them, as well as we possibly can!”
Gayatri was in a dilemma, does she raise the stakes, or does she fold?
She looked out at the stars, the sky, and the earth; the earth seemed to call for her, promising rest at last. She looked at the figure in the doorway. In his eyes, she read, that irrespective of anything, Syed still loved her. He offered more than peace. He offered hope, and with it, all the fears and agonies of her tormented life once again.
Gayatri took the most important decision of her life. She chose when she was half maddened by despair and pain; when she was more than half excited by the enthusiasm and life in Syed’s eyes, despite him knowing fully well, that the light would soon go out of them.
Yet, despite it all, I believe she chose wisely!
Please do not ask me who wrote this manuscript. This manuscript was given to me by the protagonist of the story. The protagonist maybe me or anyone else you know.
I cannot, and will not, reveal anything more. Do not ask me if Gayatri is alive or dead. She may, for all I know, still be among us; living bodies with dead minds!
You may choose to believe that this is just a story, that it could not possibly be real. You may choose to live in blissful and willful ignorance. I will not discourage you.
I hope nothing ever happens in your life that forces you to abandon this belief. But I hope, you, who have at least been patient enough, to read through this 'story', will not deny one last request.
Even if you don't believe me, imagine that it is all a work of my imagination; even so, you can accept the heroine of this tale, as a fellow human being, and someone who deserves your sympathy.
Life, unexpectedly, often has much more sinister plans for some, like Gayatri. While mortals down below would let caste, creed, religion, color, and the likes, often let divide them, the heavens above, throws up interesting challenges, to a select few, like in our story, it did to Gayatri.
Please, this night, before you go to sleep, spend a moment, thinking about the beauty and joy life has; about what it would mean to be someone like her, condemned, being forever an outcast, from people about whom you know everything; and about, what it truly would mean, to have such ability.
Maybe you think that such ability should have been used much more wisely by Gayatri, perhaps you think, she could have handled the situation much better, or perhaps you can't even imagine the situation that Gayatri had to face!
Maybe, you don't believe that such a thing is scientifically possible; I don't condemn you. Maybe you don't believe in God; I won't judge you.
Anyway, all I ask, is that you think about it. And then, if you can find it in your heart, to do so, please pray, as I reverently do, for a restless soul, that it may know peace!