Juliet knew it was Romeo. Who else would enter the balcony of her bedroom on the first floor at this time of the night? Moreover, there was love in that rap on the window. It was like the resonance of the guitar string when pulled by a master player. Her heart throbbed like guitar strings as she went to open the window.
“Romeo, my love!” Juliet cried. “How did you manage to come here? There are anti-Romeo squads everywhere.”
“I defy the stars for your sake, Juliet. I defy the squads for my love.”
“Why is our fate thus, Romeo? Why are they all against our love? Even your father and my father, they’re like Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi.”
“Oh no, darling! Don’t insult your father by comparing him to Rahul. It’s more apt to compare them to Modi and Advani. Anyway, let’s leave politics aside; it’s so unromantic.”
Juliet opened the balcony door and they sat down together listening to the romance of the Ganga’s music as it flowed down a few yards away to join the holy confluence of Prayag. Prayagasya Praveshshu Papam Nashwati Tatkshanam. Prayag washes away all your sins.
“Why is love a sin?” Juliet woke up from her thoughts. She was sitting with her head leaned against Romeo’s shoulder.
Romeo kissed her hair that smelled of shampoo. “What is sin but the breaking of some rule made by man?”
When some powerful person wants to exert his power over more and more people he makes some rules. Obedience to the rules you make is the greatest sign of your power. The more rules you make and the more people you get to obey them, the more power you have.
“But why does anyone want so much power?” Juliet wondered.
“Poverty of the heart, darling,” explained Romeo. “Love and power are mutual antitheses. Love gives and shares and cares. Power grabs, commands and subjugates. Those who have no heart for loving have to fill the void within by grabbing.”
Their discussion was ruptured by the noise that rose from the road a few yards away. There were cries and shouts. Anger and agony. Somebody’s anger; somebody else’s agony. Maybe some anti-Romeo squad beating up some youngsters in love. Maybe gau rakshaks thrashing some cow transporters.
The Ganga flowed on. Its rhythm didn’t change. How much sin can it wash away so nonchalantly?
Juliet tightened her grip on Romeo. Her face was buried in his chest. He drew her closer to him. Closer. They merged into each other like the Ganga and the Yamuna did at Prayag. Their love longed to wash away the hatred that roamed the streets assuming various political avatars.
PS. Written for Indispire Edition 166: #AntiRomeoSquads