My elder brother was fond of holding hands, so much so that no one could get out of his grip without crying and yelling. And when free at last, the person would stare long at the prints left behind!
Except for one fair hand that he missed!
And all his manliness came crashing down.
The one who left marks on the wrists of others was left now with a stain on his heart.
He challenged no one again.
The lady was a relative.
The love between the two.
Both obedient to the traditions.
No third party ever came to know what and how much broke and where it did.
Therefore, where parents decided to marry them off, they quietly obeyed.
After marriage, my brother proved a very nice husband. Thank God. He has four children.
No one could ever pick up the hint of their love.
Many years later, I went to the lady’s house.
She had no children but both partners were content and happy.
His husband felt especially good after meeting me! (and asked to spend the night at his house).
When I woke up, he had left for the office already.
The house was quite big (and impressive too!).
She sat in its courtyard, feeding her cats. I sat next to her.
“Do you like cats?”
“Indeed. It was a kitten at first”, she pointed towards a fat cat. ” I don’t know where it came from, all these are its family.”
She looked at them as if they were her own!
“At first, when he would go to the office, I would be alone. Now, because of my day passes quickly because of them.”
“What if she were my sister-in-law?”, my heart thought with pain, “Then, those very four kids…!”
I never visited her again.
Perhaps love is contagious!
I have no idea as to when it had touched brother’s heart, but soon I was in its paws too. Unlike him, however, I did not have high self-respect (or endurance, for that matter).
I raise a huge storm about my new found discovery……
….and lost it!
Then I began to lose myself in its separation, sitting for hours in darkness _trying to make her figure out of it_walking miles on railway tracks, talking to myself. That was I!
In that darkness, on the railway track next to me, my elder brother had held my hand, walked with me for miles, replied to my self-musings….
…..and married me!
Now, decades are past.
His children have grown up. My beloved has three of her own.
(She lives in a nearby city and we meet on sad and happy occasions in the family. She is happy and content at her home.)
My wife is a nice person too. She cares for me, so much that it irritates me.
Today, as I was leaving for work, she gave a call,
“Umm, I had to ask something?”
“You know, our neighbor’s cat has given birth”, she broke the good news, “If you don’t mind, may I bring one here? I feel bored after you.”
An Extract From My Autobiography, “Love Is An Irritation”- Saleem Mirza
(Translated By Fatima Saleem)