Together - For A Cause
Together - For A Cause
Today, 31 st December 2015 is not the same day as other days for me, after three years I'll be going
home. Past three years without family were like several decades for me. Yesterday my amma had called and asked to come home, she has sent tickets also. I know the imprint of wounds will remain forever on my heart, I would never be able to forgive my father.
I got up early today and prepared tea for everyone. I took out my diary from drawer to write. A small
piece of news paper cutting fell down from it, I picked it and started reading. “Love Jihad” - the first
two bold letters in the article.
27th July 2012
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?.........
I got moved to the past, after all it is not just an article, it's my own story. I opened the diary and started writing.
If I could remember properly, it was 18th of June 2012, my first day in office. After orientation session, I was returning home in the evening. On the way, I went to a cafe to have filter coffee. I was
checking my phone, suddenly my eyes fell on a poor kid standing near the cafe door. He was trying to see inside, looking at him I thought that he might be hungry. I called the waiter and asked to make a veg roll. I was so tired that I couldn't make myself to walk to the door and meet the kid. I thought
when order will come then I'll go and give him. After few seconds I saw, a guy entered the cafe, he was holding hand of that kid. Looking at his attire, I couldn't understand their relation. Both of them were talking as if they were some old friends. Then only waiter came and handed me veg roll parcel and coffee. I took the parcel and headed towards the table where they were sitting. Rest conversation is still live.
Me: Hi! I am Gayatri. I saw this kid outside, I felt he is hungry, so I ordered this veg roll for him. If you don't mind, can I give him this?
Unknown: Sure, why not! He'll be very happy. Please have a seat.
I handed over the parcel to the kid and talked to him for a while.
Me: Can I ask you something?
Unknown: Yeah sure.
Me: Do you know this kid? I mean, looking at you I can't understand your relation?
Kid: Oh didi! You don't know this bhaiya? He is our masheeha, whenever someone is in need he
reaches there for the help.
I couldn't understand anything, masheeha in this age is just scrap.
Unknown: Sorry, please don't mind his words. My name is Syed, I shifted in this city for job purpose. I am working in Athena Software Company. Whenever I get time from office I come to visit these kids
and yesterday I had promised him for coffee so here we are.
Me: Great! I have also joined the same company as GET, today was my first day. I like your hobby. I
also love to help but.... (somehow I stopped myself).
I liked his kind act, I admired him. Today something different happened, I offered him friendship
proposal, I don't know the reason for this act. I put my hand forward for handshake. To my surprise he accepted it.
Syed: Sure, nice to meet you.
Me: Now I have to run home. See you in the office.
Time flies like anything, soon my induction period got over and now it was the time for team allotment.
In between these days, I had not met Syed but that day was still fresh in my mind. In the introductory
session I came to know that I was in Syed's team. I had mixed feeling that time. In the break we all
went for refreshment. I ordered filter coffee and was waiting at the counter. I felt somebody was
tapping on my shoulder from the back. I turned around to see, Syed was there. He asked me to come and sit till order arrives. We discussed about the responsibilities which has been allotted to me and about my experience of induction period. Meanwhile order also arrived, I asked him so many things about team role and about new boss. After finishing the coffee, we said bye to each other and went for work.
When I was returning from office, I saw Syed in the cafe. He was with so many kids. They were
playing games. I couldn't resist myself, so I entered the cafe. When I reached there, Syed offered me his seat and went to bring other chair. He introduced me to the kids and kids introduced themselves to me. I was so happy at that moment with those children. I always wanted to do social service but my family never allowed me. We played games, had snacks and at the end I bought coffee for everyone. After having coffee I said bye to the kids and left the cafe.
Too many thoughts were hovering in my mind. This is how I wanted to spend some time of my life but nobody in my family ever cared for me. They never understood that for me happiness is not a posh resort. They have molded my life as there own choice without knowing my interests and my love for them has always stopped me from going against them. After reaching home late, I made excuse that today was Thursday, so I had to give my weekly report, that's why I was late.
Now it had became my routine for every Thursday after office, I used to accompany Syed to slum areas, where we used to spend time with those families. By this time my parents had also accepted this fact of extra work in the office on Thursdays. It was not about our company, it was about the company of those people that we liked. We used to buy foods and daily usage stuff for distributing to kids and their families. Due to this work I and Syed used to spend a lot of time together, sometime we will be making plans for organizing workshops for families, sometime for kids and so many other things. In the office we used to have lunch together because that was the only time when we used to discuss our ideas and their feasibility. We had always tried to maintain a distance so that we couldn't enter each other's personal space. We had never discussed our lives, never asked each other's choice, always there used to be a third person in our discussion. Actually spending so much time together, there was no need of asking likes and dislikes, I think we learned about each other just by observation. We got well gelled with each other, after all it was about our dream of bringing smile on the face of those poor people. I had not told any one about this work. Things were going smoothly, I was very happy with my life as I was living my dream along with my family.
One such Thursday I was waiting for Syed at the cafe, that day he was very late, usually he used to be on time. Suddenly my phone rang, I saw Syed had sent me a message.
"On my way. Have something important to tell you."
I started thinking what he wanted to tell, then only a car stopped in front of me, I got scared. It was
my father's car, he asked me to sit inside. He was very angry, I preferred to remain silent in the
car. I dropped a message to Syed - “Got some urgent work at home, have to go now. Will meet you tomorrow in the office.”
After reaching home he asked me to discontinue the job and when I asked the reason he ordered amma to lock me in the room. I was abducted in my own house. Everyday I used to ask amma what is my fault? But she never answered me anything. The only reply I could get from her was her tears.
One week had passed away and I was still searching for answers. The very next day my father
announced that my marriage is fixed after two days. After hearing that my body had become numb, I
was not having courage to ask him for any reason. I was in a shocked state for rest two days. I was tired of crying and begging them to tell my fault. I had become an emotionless machine. I was married to an unknown person, I was sent to new city with new family. My husband was a drunkard, he never accepted me, my in-laws used to treat me as slave.
I suffered everything silently, as I knew that nobody could help me, as my own family had left me
in such a situation, then there was no hope of help from others. After a year of marriage my husband met with an accident. My in-laws kept me in the vidhwa ashram, I accepted there decision. I had decided if God wanted me to live like this then I'll follow His inklings. I am staying in the ashram from the last two years, no one from any of the two family have ever come to visit me.
Yesterday when I was drying clothes in the garden, someone told me that I have got a phone call. I
went to the office and picked up the receiver. I could hear amma's sobbing sound on the other end. I
controlled myself and asked her how she is. She asked me to come home and kept the phone. After keeping the phone when I was about to leave, guard gave me one envelope. I opened the envelope and found a newspaper cutting, a letter and a train ticket.
After reading the letter I understood everything. My relation with Syed was used in a dirty game called politics. No one had ever asked me about our relationship, they created a love story and hanged it on the name of “Love-Jihad”. I understood what Syed wanted to tell me that day, he wanted to protect me from my own family. My father passed away last year, but nobody informed me because they had an impression that I know the truth and I'll never forgive them.
Now amma wants me to forget everything and return back to home. Everything was so messed up
that I couldn't decide what should I do next.
Some one knocked at my door, I closed my diary and opened the door. My friends had come to see me.
After two days long journey from Delhi to Ernakulam, I landed at my home town. Amma and brother
had come to pick me at the station. We reached home sitting silently in the car. I had promised one
thing to myself that I'll not open the pages of history now, I'll try to give my life a new beginning. These days I keep myself busy in helping amma. We both know each other's past but we prefer not to discuss.
Today, I am sitting in the same cafe with amma. I want to tell her that I am not the same Gayatri who
used to love filtered coffee. She had left me alone and went to the counter. On the right side table, I
could see there are so many kids, some were known faces also. They were coming near my table, I was feeling happy.
Kids in sync: Didi Smile! This is for you.
They offered me roses. I could express my happiness not more than a smile.
I: Thank you so much.
Then I saw Syed standing in between. After seeing him, I felt like telling him so many things. I wanted to tell him that it took me all these years to understand what he wanted to tell me that Thursday. I want to tell him what all I had gone through in these three years.
I: Hello Syed! How are you? How is work going on?
Syed: Everything is fine Gayatri except the fact that we missed you a lot.
We all talked and played games, my amma also joined in between. Now, I am going back to home with amma. I could sense happiness of my amma.
After dinner she asked me to continue my social work. My brother told that he will also join me. I
prefer not to answer any thing and went on my bed to sleep.
[After one month]
We are running a famous NGO, our main purpose is to help poor families for the sustenance of their
life. Amma has also joined us now. That day after returning from cafe, amma had told me that Syed has no family, he is orphan and these poor kids are his family. After knowing this my respect for him has increased further. Now we live together, Syed also stays with us.
Nobody could ever understand our relationship, it is more than friendship and highest of all emotions.
We have extreme faith on each other. Love is not the proper word to describe it. Sometime its preferred not to give any name to some relation that is what we also did. Every Saturday, I used to go to temple and every Friday Syed used to go to mosque. Syed used to bring goats on Eid, I used to bring sweets on Diwali for our family. We never imposed religion on each other, we always gave each other their own space.
We know that we are together for our dream, for a cause.