Sunday, July 31, 2005

8. Dates


Sahil is dead. He died today. Some mix-up with the medication. I’m going crazy. I can’t believe I just dreamt what I did. But Sahil is dead and I don’t know how to get out of the dinner with Ayaz tonight. Maybe that’s what I need. Maybe it was just the shock of watching Sahil die that is making me a mess. I wish I didn’t have to go there’s no way I can get through the night without it being awkward now but I don’t

Dinner? The night Sahil dies? It confuses Aamir as he reads about it. As confused as Rida seemed to have been as she left it unfinished. Dinner? What the hell?

His suspicions are quickly turning into belief. As much as he wants to deny it he can’t shake the sickening feeling that Rida’s relationship with Ayaz was a lot less platonic or atleast a lot more romantic than her journal so far has led him to believe. It seems almost as if she herself had been trying to remind herself that what she was feeling was the wrong way to feel and the only way to stifle it was to cover it up with reverence for the man. But to Aamir the glaring inconsistency in the feelings expressed and the actions followed are obvious. Maybe, he wonders, maybe its just a husband worrying about his wife’s developing friendship with another man. Maybe I would’ve taken her out too. To make her feel better, cheer her up. We would go to her favorite place and have the finest dinner and talk about the future and come home and make love.

He notices that on this one, there is no mention of god either. His heart sinks.

Make love… we would make love…

She would make love… with him?

Its staring him right in the face now. It has shape, this ugly thought. It has shape and mass and a presence, it’s almost like a palpable entity. It’s no longer in his head but standing before him in the shape of two naked bodies pleasing each other to drive out the sorrow and the desperation through moans and gasps.

He feels surprisingly calm.

There is no blood rushing to his head, no trembling limbs from uncontrolled fury. He watches the shadowy vision of his wife lying in the arms of another man and it’s almost cathartic. He has understood almost, and forgiven her. What he can’t grasp is her death. Even this assumption, even believing that it was guilt that had killed her, did not satisfy what he knew of his wife. She wouldn’t have killed herself. He knows this. She would’ve told me. She would’ve cried bloody murder on my shoulder and she would have begged for forgiveness and she would have made me love her again.

No. It wasn’t that. It couldn’t have been… unless… she was in love with him?


He can’t think anymore.

He can’t bring himself to face the impending inevitability that she had fallen in love again. Because that could justify her choice. What he knew of her, what he loved her for was her unshakable faith in the sovereignty of love. And this, her own betrayal of not only her husband but her own convictions… that could drive her to kill herself.

But Aamir didn’t want to know this. He didn’t want to accept it. He wanted instead to hold her in his arms and wipe the tears off her cheeks and kiss her eyes and tell her he loves her. He wanted to feel her, hear her call his name.

So he opens the book and flips back to the beginning..


So, I’m here. It’s scary. It’s really scary. I don’t know what I’ve gotten myself into. They briefed me on the way in the bus from Peshawar, and my god! They make this place sound like a prison.

Don’t wear flashy clothes, don’t play loud music. Don’t open the windows. Don’t talk to the men unless they are dying. Bloody hell. I mean I’m a doctor, hello? I’m not some psycho being sent to prison. But I don’t know maybe they are right. I don’t know, I guess there will be no occasion to put on that white chiffon number that Aamir likes so much. I was hoping to throw it on for the inaugural dinner. But no inaugural dinner. And they make me feel like if the people here see bear arms they will burn me at the stake. Let alone shoulders. Oh well. But I brought mostly pants and stuff, I hope they can suck it up if its just western and not provocative. We’ll see. There’s so much unpacking to do, they’ve given me this really nice cottage here. It’s all so quaint. Even has a wood burning fireplace in the lounge type thingy. No Tv though. Just an old school Radio, I hope Nida remembers to record all the soaps I’m going to miss. I miss her, I wish she was here with me. She loves the mountains and this place is so breathtakingly beautiful. The people too, I mean the eyes these people have. Wow. Its just mind boggling, makes me wish my mother was a pahari aurat… then I would have had some exotic blend of blues and grays and greens instead of this plain jane brown.

I’m too tired to write much more so in conclusion… The place is beautiful, the task at hand: scary. The local populace is as if it’s been extracted from the past but the army dudes around provide comic relief. Mostly this dashing young captain who greeted me at the base, can’t recall his name. But he sort of took my breath away. Looks like Aamir a little, similar Jaw line and face cut, but he’s a commando, and that shows. What was surprising was how nice he was. Not at all like the army people we are used to. Stuck up and obstinate. He was courteous. Charming even. I’m glad I have someone who knows Tolstoy around to keep me company for the next one year. Otherwise I’m afraid I would’ve turned into a pahari aurat… sans the magnetic eyes of course.

He can almost see it now. The fantasy as it unfolded. He greets her at the gates of emotional hell and leaves an impression more with his manners than with his name. They get closer and closer as life gets harder and harder. And it becomes easier and easier for her to be in love with what is there when she needs it to be than a man linked to her now only by a vow of commitment. It reeks of a story book romance Mills and boons even She found the love of her life in a far away mountain retreat and he saved her life and sanity without her even knowing it. It all makes sense to an extent. Who wouldn’t be seduced by the romance of the situation after all? It all makes sense. Except the ending. The heroine never kills herself. Even if she tries, the hero comes running out of the horizon and snatches her from the jaws of death and they make made passionate love at the edge of a cliff.

Her hero, however, had left the building. The story. The fantasy.

And her husband lay sleeping in her bed while she walked off the edge and down to her death. He can’t believe he didn’t see it coming. She had seemed distraught as soon as he had surprised her with his arrival. But the way she had run into his arms… and held him so tight she almost took his breath away. As if he had risen from the dead to come and claim her. There was no mistaking that she loved him in that moment when she saw him after 4 months. There was no mistaking that she was dead.

The only doubts remaining were about what had actually happened between Rida and the Captain. And he knew that whatever it was, guilt or anger or desperation. It had as much to do with the Captain as with him. And no matter how much pain awaited him in the answers to the questions corroding his sanity, he knew he had to know.

He gets himself a glass of water. Lights a cigarette and walks outside to see the sun rise.

His mind a muddled mess of what he knows and what he needs to know, all he can think about is all that he has read. Trying to make sense of it all.

She got here, she saved lives she fell in love. She died. All in the matter of four months. She died the day I got here.

No the day after I got here.

On the 5th of November… and Sahil died when? The day she went to dinner with Ayaz…

And in between the dinner and her death Ayaz left?

Sahil dies, Ayaz leaves….something is missing.

He walks back inside, and opens the journal again. Flips to the page that records the confused acceptance of Sahil’s death reads it again and flips the page

Finds the beginning of the senseless, god less, tumultuous series of page after page of one or two line attempts by her to convince herself to tell him of whatever happened.

There’s no mention of the dinner.

None at all.

He flips back and forth between the last one week. Starting from the 28th and leading to the 4th .

Suddenly he stops.

The cigarette falls from his mouth and the book from his hands.

There is no mention of the date because… it’s been torn out. Neatly, with precision so as not to leave any torn remnants behind. But to whoever looked with enough care, it was obvious.

The two pages reserved for recording the events of the 29th of October are gone.

He knows what they held.

He can make a pretty good guess.

That is where the secret lies. She tore them out because it hurt so much to write them in the first place. She was hiding from herself, not only from him.

All of a sudden, it was all a lot more complicated. All of a sudden there was a lot more that had been lost than just a life and love.

He knew he had to find the missing pages. There would be no point in trying to find the impressions of whatever was said because the pages were too thick to allow for any secrets to be spilled where they were not desired. This book was built to hide and it did its job well. But unless she had taken the pages down into the river sawaat with her, he would find them.

First though, he had to find Captain Ayaz.

Tomorrow had come.

1 comment:

Majaz said...

Get this printed.

And just wait for the world to call you famous.