So I am listening to 'Saawli Si Raat' while reading this and just the first para and I am in awe. Having read Chitra Banerjee Devakruni just recently (her short stories), I can see how inspired you are by her in the sense of imagery construction and scene ambiance in the sense of the reader being sucked in the scene with visual and audio, described so well with those beautiful words.
The way you have introduced us to Khushi through Arnav's eyes...you just feel a smile creeping up on your face as you realize how he fell in love with her at the first look and how she is so beautiful, so innocent, so pure and that kiss on the cheek...even though the scene is happening right there and then, just that one line and you can imagine a young shy woman wearing a red bordered Bengali sari with the pallu over her shoulder with keys bunched up in a gucchha planting a sweet shy kiss on a scratchy cheek of a young dashing man. Sigh.
He used to watch her dance, hiding inhaling the scent he identifies with her presence...so romantic, Sona, so beautiful. And so apt that these lines are playing as I read this part -
Ye jo lamhe lamho ke behti nadin mein bheeg loon
Ye jo aankhen hai aankhon ki
Gumsum zubaan ko main seekh loon
Haan seekh loon...
And her punishment...awww! And then she invites him back, probably concerned about his health as he gorges on 'unhygenic' food standing in a busy street of Kolkata with vendors all around in a white muslin kurta maybe, his hair unkept...you see how I am creating a story within this story in my head! Thats the power of your words. You have described nothing (scenes that is) in detail, yet the mere touch you have bestowed upon the facets of their lives and emotions is enough for the reader to construct a young Bengali couple in their minds and an old world Kolkata with the charm intact.
He wore a halfbuttoned black shirt and jeans?! Why?! Go change, Arnav, into a kurta pyjama or let it be...it will be like opposites because Khushi is still dressed in cotton starch saris for me with seedha pallu. Uff, their first meetings are always so magical and unique, arent they? <3
A special mention to her swallowing her tears in the garb of onion heat. Her resignation to fate and the fact that they needed money which required per force the letting go of her young fantasies...sigh. A strong girl, her character is established as such abhi se.
And you really like Arnav's laugh, dont you? Even in MH, thats what attracts Khushi...well, I dont blame you. He has the most beautiful laugh/smile. *Nazar na lage*
The kiss. Most beautiful I have ever read. Most. Dont want to belittle it, so wont say anything more except my heart is still racing.
"But those few long minutes had changed the course of their lives, forever, maybe."
And then you show how things have changed with taht tiny paragraph where the sherni who was impressing upon him how lucky he was to have her room just a few months back is now making puris for him and the man who was taken aback by the sherni is now smothering her with kisses, claiming her, giving himself to her. Uff. <3
"So when the news of his job had registered her mind, she had been deliriously happy, only later to realize that it meant that he would too be leaving, if he took up the job. That forlorn, morose expression marring her beautiful eyes had snapped something inside Arnav. A few hours later, he had promptly asked her father for her hand, to which he had complied, hesitantly, but still."
But still, indeed. *Brushes off tear*
Thats what everyone wants, right? A man/woman who will see that one look and understand the pain and confusion...sigh.
And then the downhill movement because all that goes up must also come down and you have penned their relationship losing out on that 'innocent excitement' so well and this is the point where suddenly the story shifts from being Arnav's view of Khushi to Khushi's view of herself and the world and the transition is so gradual yet it hits you abhi and as I write this, I am struck with a question, is there any need for me to write their names separately? Arent they one and the same...maybe not abhi but lets see...
And again we shift back and forth - their thoughts filled with the other and resignation to things because things are as they are. Oh what a pity.
And there in comes the first few shades of green and you just smile that slow smile knowing, guessing how every relationship muwst go through that, even if be that young girl from Kolkata in cotton saris with seedha pallu and that dashing young man in a muslin kurta pyjama.
And I love how Arnav is almost scared of her answer. Takes me back to his old version and I almost immediately realize that he had never changed, he had just got caught up in mundane things and is now slowly making his way back, afraid of losing out the jasmine scented girl, the love of his life, the symbol of innocence he fell for.
He leaves and you feel this dull ache because you know what a waste, what a stupid thing to do and then his pain, just two paras but you forgive him all the same, wait for him to come back to his Khushi, knowing intrinsically that she would have forgiven him too because thats how you imagine their love to be - no grudges.
And they get back over doris too - from tussar to zardosi, oh what a journey it has been. If I am not wrong tussar is tougher than zardosi, na? Was it symbolism here? Then their relationship was stronger, here a bit fragile but they take care of it together because they treasure each other the same, if not more, now - time helping them grow up and accept that their love would face problems from outside and from within and they have to find it in themselves to care for it enough to never let it fail. Symbolism or not, it was a beautiful coming full circle and the reader is left feeling proud of the two characters they have come to fall in love with.
And the kajal...hayye, nazar na lage dono ko.
Beautiful, Sona, beautiful.
"...go, give the performance of your life, Khushi!"
*Bows down to the genius that is you*
You grow with each piece. And I can see your inspiration from CBD but you make it your own and how, *Applause*
You make me fall in love with love a little bit more with each beautiful thing you write, you do so Thank You for that. :) *Hugs*
Also, I forgot to add (which I shall do so abhi) - the title is perfect. For me, first Khushi was the dream Arnav caught for himself and then Khushi was the one for whom he caught her dream and on her part, Khushi was always catching Arnav's dreams without a word on her own but then she stood up for them and thats what really got her back Arnav in a way...so beautifully apt title. :)
Edited by AngelTeen - 01 October 2012 at 1:07pm