With a veil on my head gazing upon your serene face I realized it was time. You had come in my life like a warm gust of wind and after three short days, the final hour had come. I didn’t even realize when the tears started rolling down my cheeks. I was sad for my friend who was leaving behind her entire life, to start afresh with a man she had met only a few times. I was sad for her family and her friends who had stood resolute these three days by her side. Most of all though, I was sad to see you go.
Underneath the vast dome of the Gurudwara, with holy Guru Grantha Sahab as my witness, I joined hands and turned to look at your face. When all members of the wedding procession were watching the keeper of the whole world with folded hands, I turned to sneak a look of yours. Sitting in front of God my love looked just like him. You looked serious as always. However, I could see a new shine in your eyes and a ghost smile on those puckered lips of yours. I dared to believe that shine was because of me and would stay there long after I left.
A girl from a humble background I hadn’t counted on meeting someone like you at a marriage, let alone my best friend’s marriage. Three days before that last encounter in front of God, I met you when you came to the bride-to-be’s house. I knew her from college and you from school apparently. I wouldn’t say that you struck me particularly different from the others because you didn’t. However, there was something about you. A quality nobody, not even your age-long friends seemed to appreciate. A silence not eerie but solemn as the moon. Moon who doesn’t speak much yet puts to shame the twinkling and overenthusiastic stars with its nimble shine. You shied away from chit-chat when I was an avid conversationalist. It’s funny when I say it out loud, but I had to pry you open at the start.
When you did though, you bloomed like a flower. The short and friendly chit-chat among friends turned into late night sneak-offs and unending conversations about nothing in particular. Awkward distance turned into holding hands, and casual salutations into short but sweet glances amidst our friends. I didn’t even register when you talked your way or rather untalked your way into my heart. Your friends seemed to be always teasing you for not talking much. I can’t imagine why. For me, you spoke a thousand words in one kind stare and few stolen kisses.
Remembering I had to leave after a short while, only one question loomed on my mind: How can I be deprived of love in front of God?
As I returned to the present, I confessed to myself I was not at all happy about leaving. The silent tears and a heart full of longing stood witness. I was glad for one thing though. Our last meeting was in front of God. The last look of my love in front of the true definition of love. Whatever happened afterwards, I knew that moment would be ours forever. No one can take it from us any more than we can give it to anybody.
As a response to my own question, I rose silently from my place and opposite to my nature dared to walk a few steps to sit by your side. I clasped your hand silently. You didn’t even notice until I reached you and when you did, you didn’t say anything. With a small but sweet smile, you held my hand firmly. In those few moments, I saw every emotion that I was feeling in your eyes. I saw love for me, endless love. I saw the fear of having to let me go. Above all, I saw the same divinity which was filling me over in that serene moment. The divinity under whose influence I was daring to imagine us. I was imagining us sitting in place of the bride and groom.
And I realized you were too. I let go of your gaze right about the same time you did and looked at the couple getting woven by the ropes of love and belonging.
The vows of marriage were reverberating in the small hall of the Gurudwara; the same vows that we had already spoken to each other without even opening our lips. The bride and groom were circumventing the Holy book of the Sikhs as was their custom. I was silently repeating the vows the singers were speaking for each of the four revolutions which tied the knot of marriage. With each rotation or laawan, the distance between the bride and groom decreased, as did the distance between our hearts. Holding your hand, I innocently but boldly imagined each and every promise I would make to you in our marriage, when and if it came to that. Until then I was happy witnessing the union of two souls with my soulmate.
Sajna ho jaye mangal je main teri ik jhalak hor vekh lan.
Bolan te kis naal main apne dukh-sukh,
Ik rabb piche, duja samne,
Ik bolda ghat aa, Ik sunda kuch nahi.
I was lucky because I was in the presence of two gods: one sleeping, and one breathing.
The sun rose upon the Pharaoh’s Throne as the time of departure came close with the wrap up of the Anandkaraj or wedding ceremony. As I was about to leave the Gurudwara, I turned to get a last glimpse. You were standing there looking helpless and confident at the same time. You knew my leaving meant a long time of having to let go of something you were fond of. I was confident though -as were you- that you had found me. You were not alone in that moment. I had you, and you had me. With that confidence and love coursing through my veins I took my eyes off of you. For I knew even if I was leaving, you would not be alone. We would not be alone again. We had and would have each other to cherish for the rest of our lives.
Behind you, as I peeked at the Guru Grantha Sahab I silently apologized from God. I apologized as I remembered a Punjabi saying.
Menu yaar manaunon fursat nahin,
Dasso Rab nu manawan kis velle.
I smiled as I finally realized its meaning. How can I look at God when I can’t get any time from gazing upon the beautiful face of my true God? I knew I had given more importance to you before the one who enjoys the world’s importance. I didn’t apologize for that blasphemy though. I apologized because I would still do that over and over again. And I smiled knowing God was smiling down on me, for he actually lives in a heart which is full of love. God is nothing but love personified, and I dare say I was hoping to steal a little of it for my own self. I was hoping to look ahead of the God which belonged to the entire world and behold the one which belonged only to me.