The Mehfil invitation read, look no further, you will soon be transported to the lantern lit room in the little Haveli. I was most fascinated with the invitation. It was an evening celebrating the Urdu poets of India and Pakistan. The evening was called Mehfil-e-Mukhtasar.
The Mehfil was organised in the forlorn Haveli, where the hours stood like a blushing bride, against the evening crimson sun. The Queen who lived here, waited forlorn for her lover to return from war. He was a soldier in the Kings army, he was young, strong and rode with the power of the hooves of a thousand horses, against the sand dunes of lost time. His curls fell over his forehead as the Queen twirled it in her fingers, as they lay entwined in a common oasis of unmet emotions. He found peace in the nook of her shoulder blade and she found her anchor in the hollow of his stomach.
The Haveli used to echo with the sound of his footsteps running up to hold his Queen in his arms. Here he was, the King. They melted into each other till it didn’t matter who was royalty and who was plebeian. He used to watch the light of her earrings with the fine Minakari Naksha catch the light against her clear skin till he couldn’t resist her no more. Her long hair fell over his face, as he moved strand by strand, inch by inch from the oblivion of everything around them. What mattered was that moment and those hours. The rest was always lying desolate in the periphery.
The Queen was not married by her heart and soul to the King ever. She fell in love with her soldier in those few seconds of that summer sky as their eyes met. She knew this maybe sinful and equally tempting. As she dressed up in fine jewellery, looking out of the Haveli Jharoka. She waited for him to arrive every full moon night. Till the moon waned and she died calling out his name, as she couldn’t wait anymore. Till she found solace in his strong arms.
The Haveli Mehfil today was celebrating a genre of “Ishq” the lost unrequited Urdu love poetry. And I am always drawn to the voice and anguish of pain. Dedicated to all the poets, writers and artists who find love in their lives, just for those few fleeting moments. Till it dies to never return ever again. These artists painted their eternal wait in colours against the sad empty canvas. Till the canvas bled into its corners.
I had to look the part for the Mehfil. I knew I could see the artist’s half lost, half empty, yet still braving the force of lost emotions that nudged it out of its slumber. Reminding each of us, that we are still alive and with the hope of a loving hand entwined in ours. This unending search of love never dies ever. Even the gnarled, bony fingers of the Queen searched for the familiarity of her lover’s fingers entwined in hers. As she waited looking towards the setting sun and the rising moon. Recalling that time stood still when they were together. And time was like a heavy chain around her ankle when he was away from her. She walked with that weight of pain in every bone and fibre of her being.
I pulled out my Gold, Minakari, Kundan earrings and matched it with my white silk sari. I wore the darkest surma against my eyes and looked back at the mirror. The mirror smiled back and said, the Queen might talk to you today. She might recite the poem sung by Iqbal Bano, “mere Humsafar mere Humnawahi na the”
As I walked up the steps in my Sari and my Kundan Minakari earrings. I caught a glimpse of myself against the mirror. I was frozen as I saw the Queen look back at me.
The Queen was the woman I knew from deep within her soul. She longed for a full moon night where the stars were shy and the cold breeze of the late summer night, made her crave for a love that would search and find passion and immortality in every inch of her.
Even if it lasted for a little while. You know, you would’ve lived your life in those stolen moments of lust, love, desire and passion with an acknowledgement that everything is ephemeral. It is in that moment that you find your ultimate truth.
I stared back lovingly at the Queen and to her broken nest of love and shame. I folded my hands towards the reflection of her beauty and grace and in gratitude bowed my head to the moon above telling me, “I didn’t become a full moon without the dark nights. I didn’t look luminous without the craters in it’s fullness. The moon said “I am dependent on the sun, to give me light in my dark hours. I see my lover in the fierce sun and I am the calm to his fire in the iridescent moon energy”
I knew this was decided from above. The Queen was telling me, that as we pass the hours, don’t stop to notice the little things around you. It is called energy of the universe. “And I simply call him Magic.”
May we each find magic in our darkest hours where the recess of our unrequited emotions finds its light. Just like the moon above that finds her warmth and glow in the sun.