Stories Varied - A book of short stories (Part 10, page 1 of 5)


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Part 10

Love Jihad

Syed and Gayatri didn’t mean to fall in love. But love happens when you least expect it. It creeps up suddenly. When someone needs attention, care, conversation, laughter and maybe intimacy. Love doesn’t look at logic or at backgrounds and least of all religion.

Gayatri was from a very conservative South Indian family that went to a temple every Saturday. Syed brought goats to his family every Eid. That said it all. Their paths would never have crossed if it hadn’t been for that fateful day. That day when he walked into the coffee shop. Gayatri wondered if destiny chose our loved ones for us. Did we have any role to play at all?

She looked at her watch. Syed was late. They met every Thursday at five pm to catch up. Their conversation lasted for hours. Sometimes in the café, sometimes in his car, sometimes in places that she could never tell her friends about. They would never understand. And yet Syed made her happy.

Suddenly her phone beeped. He had sent a message. “On my way. Have something important to tell you.”

Gayatri stared at it and realized she had knots in her stomach. Thoughts flooded her mind. What did he want to tell her? [*] Will he propose? Or back out? Didn’t he say his people are highly religious? Wouldn’t they’ve put their foot down? She racked her brains at that, and bogged down by anxiety, her mind became numb. She sank into her seat and closed her eyes as though to crystal gaze. Soon, unable to cool her nerves in any which way she came of the café and waited for Syed at the gates. It’s as if she was trying to cut short her anxiety. When she spotted his car, in time, she waved at him furiously, and jumped into it as he opened the door for her.

“Tell me,” she said settling by his side.

“Let’s first get into the café,” he said.

“Tell me here and now,“ she insisted.

“It’s at half-way,” he said tentatively.

“Why talk in circles!” she said exasperated.

“Do you mind being Ayesha to be my bride?” he said hesitantly.

“Why, what’s wrong with Gayatri?” she said tentatively.

“You know how I love your name but,” he began apologetically.

“What ifs and buts of love?” she said cutting him short.

“Don’t think its love jihad on the sly.”

“Don’t I know you’re Syed Sikandar Mirza?”

“I’m for civil marriage but my father insists upon nikah.”

“What does that mean?”

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