“There is no punishment so severe as that suffered by the woman who finds herself imprisioned between a man she loves and another man who loves her. Susan suffered through a constant and painful conflict, but performed sorrowfully and honourably and silently her duties as a wife. She tried, but could not choke her honest love for you”
Secrets of heart by Khalil Gibran
She watched the evening sun bathe the hills in unusual shades of colors. The sounds of the temple bells echoed in the serene valley. Sitting on the steps of the old temple, she felt her heartbeats merge with the melodious tinking of the bells. The green hues, the vibrant colorful carpet of wild flowers, the intoxicating fragrance of the incense sticks all made her warm from within.
Her gaze fixed on the meandering steps going down to the village. A stream of Women in bright clothes flowed gently like a colorful ribbon. It was the annual festival for the married women. Tears rolled down her kohl lined eyes.
Her nimble fingers played nervously with the strings of jasmine flowers tied to her hair. The tide of love surged within her overflowing at times like a stupendous ocean.
One side of her chiselled face glowed in the amber light of the fading sun while the other was ash gray from pain and sorrow.
By law she was wedded to him, her husband of so many years, but, the twist of fate had something more in store for her ravaged heart and soul. By some universal conspiracy her heartstrings got tuned to another man. A man who inflamed her heart with the torch of love.
In the twilight of that evening she decided to tell me her story of her life.
“Is it permissible for a woman to buy her happiness with her husband’s misery?” And my soul added, “Is it lawful for a man to enslave his wife’s affection when he realizes he will never possess it?”
from Sprit Rebellious by Khalil Gibran
Born in a family which gave her the wings to fly and seek her own horizon, she had never known the chains that cage a woman to her husband’s home once married. In the prime of her youth she found a man who doted on her and offered her all the riches he could to make her his beloved. High on the wine of first love she decided to marry the first man who charmed her heart with flowers, presents and promises of love and protection.
The moment she stepped into her new home she knew she had entered a plastered grave. As time passed slowly she shed her skin and got into another to adapt to her new role as wife, daughter-in-law and mother. Her soul dwelled in an unknown body of a woman she did not associate with. She kept her dreams, desires, aspirations, hopes all locked up in the vault of her heart. Buried so deep that even she could not reach out to them.
He was generous and kind at one time and a ruthless tyrant and oppressor at others. She on the other hand withered like a plant deprived of care and love, craving for a touch of kindness and understanding. She played her role to perfection, hiding all her misery, pain and distress but somewhere deep within a spark glowed in her. An eternal spark of universal love, a caged spirit yearning to break the bandages and free itself.
For years she felt like an empty bottle thrown in a corner by some drunkard. Sh cried and suffered the agony of being alone in the midst of a so-called family with a man who wanted her mind, body and soul in exchange of food, shelter and security he provided. He wanted her submit to his commands , to buy her in lieu of the name he had given her in the hypocrite society.
She tried hard to accept her fate and fill the gaps, the cracks and empty spaces with love and caring but could not. The void grew larger and larger with each passing day.
Spiritually, emotionally and intellectually buried in that grave, she spent her life thinking about what more the destiny had in store for her.
She wanted an escape, if not from her cage then at least from her agony. She wanted freedom from the man who was atrracted to her body but wa repelled by her spirit. She did not want to be a platter of exotic food to be relished at will by the man she had married.
She wanted to break the chains and free her soul, her spirit refused to kneel and obey all the time. She wanted solace for her crushed heart and melancholy. She began to feel the spark within her turn into a sacred fire.
Engulfed by a spiritual hunger she began to rise from her ashes like a phoenix. She gathered the remnants of her strength, unchained the irons of helplessness, and spread her wings, untying them from the shackles of weakness to rise into the spacious sky of love. She ceased selling her body for food, sheltered material benefits.
“Many times ignorance kills a woman’s honour and revives her passion”- Gibran
A smile appeared on her lovely face. The sun had by now merged with the lake below making it shimmer like molten gold. The birds were getting ready for the night and the place was filled with the excited chirping and sounds of the flapping wings. She gazed at the trees which stood in deep meditation around the temple.
The cool breeze played softly with her soft hair which she gently pushed away from her dark eyes. It was getting dark but I wanted her to continue. She said she was in no hurry as the family had gone for some outing.
I got two cups of hot sweet tea in earthen cups and handed her one. She thanked me and cupped her hands around the “kullahar”. Her face radiated with the memory of her beloved as she spoke.
“I have not seen him, never met him but our hearts are joined by some divine force. My soul, my body and my heart is devoted to him by the will of the creator. We are inseparable and nothing can take away my happiness from me now. Our love is based on understanding and is protected by the universal powers. Two bodies living in two different continents joined by a bond deeper than any ocean. I don’t have a name for it. ”
“He made me feel like a woman again. Appreciated my intellect, my passion for life, my insatiable wish to be alive and live life to the fullest. I found my reason to live in his affection and caring For it is true that love can not be given on demand, it descends in our hearts by some unknown will of God. I tried to love the man I married in the name of Law but in vain. My beloved helped me break my bondage without getting hurt, he helped me untie my wings and taught me to fly. I heard the echoes of my thoughts and dreams in him. There was a connection I could not explain. We live in an age where distances do not matter when you have a will to connect. ” She spoke in honeyed voice filled with gratitude and affection.
I did not ask her how they communicate if they do not meet, the question burned in my heart but I refrained from asking. She was already telling enough to label her as an unfaithful wife in the name of society seeped in ignorance and hypocrisy. I saw her glow with sincere, honest , undying love, a reflection of what she got from her beloved.
He was her muse, the man who inspired her to dip her heart in colors and paint beautiful pictures through her verses, stories, songs. Sitting on the wings of hope and joy together they took a flight into the unknown, confident of the unbreakable bond between them.
She was not afraid of the end for the beginning was far more beautiful than she could ever imagine. Though each suffered the miseries written by fate in their account , their hearts warmed up towards one another. No walls of pretensions and falsehood stood between them.
She loved him unconditionally and revered him for reviving the woman buried inside her. For love, understanding, support and warmth of care.
He helped her take that first step towards freedom, towards life. He revealed to her the secrets of the heart by rekindling the fire of passion in her. His appreciation and encouragement led her to weave the most beautiful yarns of life through her words. He brought back music into her dull and mundane life. She began to love herself, the woman in her for him. Every moment was an unreplacable miracle full of hope and a want to soar. She worshiped the man who had in just a matter of time changed her fate. In the empty spaces of her heart he placed little bundles full of surprises. She beacme a child woman once more forgetting all her pain and took all her hardships face on. Love made her courageous and strong.
She on the other hand gave herself to him completely with a honest promise of love and caring and all that is hers. An absolute devotion, sharing his pain and sorrows as her own. healing him of his miseries ( at least trying to). She did her best to bring joy and peace to his life knowing all his weaknesses and turmoil of everyday life.
She found solace in his being and not being, silence and reciprocation, togetherness and absence, knowing that he will be there wherever, whenever she needs him just as she will stand by him till her last breath.
Ii was a rough pathway they had carved for themselves not knowing where it will lead them and I hoped and prayed that this love should continue to blossom eternally like the moon and the stars, blessed by the forces of the universe.
I watched as she stood proud and content beaming with joy in her new found self and said a silent prayer for the man who changed the course of life for at least one woman, freeing her from her cage and giving her wings , hoping that he would one day feel her love for him through me and be receptive of what the divinity had bestowed on him