|Pic courtesy Pikrepo
Somewhere in the arid landscape
of the Rann of Kutch, the midnight’s full moon cast two shadows on the salty sands.
The shadows were walking in opposite directions, one in the direction of Hindustan
and the other in that of Pakistan. They met each other on the way.
A woman all
alone in this ghostly land! The male shadow felt a shiver slipping into the
marrow of his bones.
shadow was even more scared but did not reveal her scare.
The man could
not but look into the face of the woman. She looked so beautiful in that
radiant moonlight. Beauty was irresistible for him, especially feminine beauty,
because he was a writer by profession.
stopped, stared into the eyes of the man fiercely and asked in an affected
voice, “Can you really see me?” She intended to scare him away by making him
believe that she was a ghost.
The man was
not only a writer but had also dabbled in psychology as an undergrad of the
Kerala University before he was hijacked by the serial industry of TV channels.
He wrote scripts for feminist serials that the women of Kerala watched in the
evenings while their husbands queued up before liquor outlets for spurious
brandy sold in half-litre and one-litre plastic bottles. With all the knowledge
of psychology he possessed, he understood that this woman who was staring at
him was superb material for his next feminist serial.
“I can see
your very soul,” he said, “a tormented soul that refuses to yield to an
oppressive patriarchal system.”
the woman. Because she was just what he had said. She was an Afghani woman
fleeing from the Taliban.
“Who are you?”
know me?” He forgot that Malayalam soap serials were not watched by Afghani
women. “I’m Sagar Kottappuram, writer gifted with the power to make and break
running out of ideas for serials. All possible feminist themes were exhausted
and he wanted to discover brand new themes. Someone in the Malayalam Serial
Directors Union told him, while they were sharing a drink, that all brands now
belonged to Gujaratis. That is how Sagar reached Gujarat. He was soon
fascinated by the romance of the salt marshes of the Rann of Kutch.
“I am Asman
Niazi,” the woman introduced herself when she was convinced that the man she
encountered in the middle of the night on a deserted salt marsh was not a
ghost. She said she was fleeing from the Taliban.
Taliban,” Sagar understood instantly. “The men who make rules for others.”
make rules for everything including the length of girls’ pubic hair.” Having
said that Asman realised that she was talking to a stranger man and not to her
fellow rebel women in Afghanistan.
a popular script writer of TV serials, was aware of the changes taking place in
the world. In his own state of Kerala people were now not people anymore but
Sanghies, Musanghies, and Krisanghies. That is, Hindu right wingers, Muslim
right wingers whose survival instincts made them support the Sanghies, and
Christian right wingers whose opportunism made them support the Sanghies. In
short, Kerala was becoming another Sanghi Land in the Indian Union.
Kottappuram from a land where Musanghies and Krisanghies vied with each other
to take the sheen off the original Sanghies and Asman Niazi from the land of
Allah’s soldiers in what once was the Hindu Kush sat down together on a salt
marsh under the romantic translucence of a full moon and shared with each other
the agonies of their personal quests. It didn’t take them long to realise that
both were on a similar quest: the quest for a new brand, a new brand of
personal freedom. Words eventually melted away into the bed of salt beneath
them. Sobs rose from their hearts. Like every human heart, theirs too longed
for bliss. An ocean was raging within the hearts. The urge that lies in the
depths of every ocean to touch the sky. And the sky’s urge to hug the ocean. To
transcend borders, human limits.
PS. I wouldn’t have written this had it not been for
Indispire Edition 386: A young woman all alone on a
road in the middle of the night. A stranger approaches her with not-so-good
intentions. The woman stares into his eyes and asks, "Can you really see
me?" Weave a story. #GhastlyStory