A Real Love Story: My entry for the Get Published contest – Message in a pen

Love always comes with a dressing of optimism. Pile of doubts and looming dreadful confrontations do not mar the optimistic fluttering hearts of lovers. The gang of ten was two concentric circles – eight of us as a surreptitious circumference around Saahil and Neelam.  We savored their melting. We were elated when their meetings multiplied, when their eyes oozed their enviable blissful future. I raised doubts at times in various octaves, sometimes guilty of vehemence because I was scared for them. The gang agreed that the gap was too wide to be filled up in our lifetime. Saahil belonged to a well-to-do scheduled caste family. Neelam’s parents were influential Jaat businessmen from Haryana. But Saahil and Neelam were sanguine, with a thick veil of love settled on their existence.

And then in the summer of 2007, a few weeks before the final examinations of our graduation, we witnessed something that shook our core. The violence with which reality hit us left all of us numb. Optimism was now an unrecognizable corpse buried deep within the soil of practicalities; the practicalities of staying alive. I had never thought that I would wait for Saahil in our hostel room with my heart ramming into my ribcage with a deafening ferocity. I imagined reporting him missing to the police and then identifying the pieces of his body. I imagined Neelam hanging from a ceiling fan, her battered body swinging slowly.

That year I understood that love has shades far darker than the ones our hearts allow us to comprehend. I saw it in Saahil’s watery eyes staring at nothingness. I saw it in Neelam’s bruised face when she came to write her exams.

This is their story without the proverbial The End and about how life went on.

The story of Saahil and Neelam has always stayed with me. I will not call it inspirational in a true Bollywood sense because it does not follow that trajectory. But it is inspirational because of the way it shaped up after the curtains fell and the ten of us went our ways. It is inspirational because life gave us a thousand reasons to smile after giving us a thousand reasons to cry.

The way we look at it, our definition of love is quite monochromatic. But when you go through the layers of your life, you begin to realize that our understanding of love is very similar to our understanding of the universe. Unimaginable dimensions of it will always remain unexplored and that is why our characterization of love being the warmth that spreads through our heart will always remain elementary. We forget what an important role the swinging pendulum and the change of seasons play in defining love. And this story always reminds me of that.

This is my entry for the HarperCollins–IndiBlogger Get Published contest, which is run with inputs from Yashodhara Lal andHarperCollins India.

[image from here]

56 comments on “A Real Love Story: My entry for the Get Published contest – Message in a pen

    • It changed a lot of things in me. Till that point, I perceived India to be this progressive nation coming out of its cultural shackles. Those 2 years made me take a complete U turn.

  1. OMG…how are they doing now?

    I know of a couple who have married secretly a year back. They are from different religions..you can imagine. I feel terrified when I imagine what will happen when her parents come to know.

    • Well, that is the story. 🙂
      I think marrying in secret is again being optimistic but I don’t think that is right. Anyways, lets hope they find their happiness.

  2. Reminds of a similar case I witnessed with one of my friends in college. It changed her life – and mine- in a different ways. Her parents blamed me for making her daughter wayward and falling in love, whatever that means. 🙄
    Quite an eventful year, that one.

  3. The caste/ religion is deep rooted in our minds. However progressive we may assume we are, we are yet to break the shackles of caste, creed and religion.

    I find it funny when people shed tears while watching these stories in films and TV but turn out to be villains when it is their kids!

    Very beautifully written as usual 🙂

    • I have seen parents to act liberal and open minded as long as it’s not about their children. The moment one of their own child treads that path, they are all about culture and society. Its hypocrisy at its best.
      Thanks metherebel. 🙂

    • I was this very optimistic college going kid before I saw this happen in front of my eyes. Till then I thought this happened only in the movies.
      Yes, it says a lot about our culture. Sadly.

  4. This is so sad, Amit. It pains me to think that such people still exist in our society, people who are so blinded by caste and material wealth that they can’t see beyond it. 😦

    I sincerely hope your friends found peace and true love in the end.

    • They exist and they will exist for a long time. Our generation will not be devoid of sacrifices in the name of social status.
      Yes, they did find their peace eventually. I would like to believe that.

    • Yeah, it will make more sense once you read the whole story.
      Err…I am not sure about the positive message. Some might not think it to be a positive story. 😉

  5. Drawing parallels between understanding of the universe and love could not be more truer. Everybody has their own notion and definition of being in love and enjoying that love.

    Waiting to read the whole story 🙂

  6. Wish you all the best !!!
    I have also witnessed and been part of two real love stories and they have different climaxes. I feel I should also try to write about it. But I am not confident about my writing skills.

    • Thanks Ashreyamom. No, I haven’t started writing the story. If I am selected, I will be writing it soon. 🙂
      You will know the end, don’t worry. 🙂

  7. All the best. I look forward to reading the full story.. already a little shaken up by the mini-story. You somehow imagine ‘these things’ don’t happen to ‘us’…

    • R’s Mom,
      This was an old post which I re-posted because the rules were changed for the contest. Maybe that’s why.
      Yes, it is a sad story. It was hard to witness. 😦

  8. How did I miss this post? Many such cases exist in India through out. Haven’t we seen the husband of the couple aired on Aamir’s show being killed? Hmm…they give me chills down my spine. Wherever they are, I wish them good luck and be safe.

    • Latha, this was actually an old post which I had to repost because of the change in rules. That is why it might not have appeared in your mailbox.
      The murder of the guy in Aamir’s show was a shocker. It shows what people think about our law and order situation. They guys who killed him were sure that they will get away even though he had appeared on national television.

  9. I find it bewildering that some people still face 18th century like tribulations when it comes to love even in 2012. Such a pity.
    While I am sure the story itself is very intriguing, I feel your writing is bound to make it even more compelling. All the best for the contest!

    • Rickie,
      If you leave aside a handful of cities in India, this is how a majority of Indian population lives. I too had rosy pictures of India shining but it flew out of the window when I lived in a small town for a year.
      Thanks. I hope the story works. 🙂

  10. I missed this post. It’s an intriguing story and I’m sure you will get a chance to publish it. Fingers crossed!
    I’m writing mine, not feeling confident enough 😦

    • I think a lot of people did because this was an old post which I re-scheduled.
      Yeah, I hope it works. Let’s see. Thanks for your wishes. 🙂
      Just write, don’t think too much about it. I am sure it will be great.

  11. This real story is so real as it highlights quite common scenario in India. Loved it.
    all the best. You have my vote. Not sure what all factors contribute here but I did my bit to see u in print 🙂

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