My name is Iram. I had gone to stay with my sister in the holidays when I was studying in the 12th standard. Many boys in that neighbourhood used to keep looking at me. Maybe they had had a bet amongst themselves on who would be able to win me over, but I always had this in my mind that I should not fall in love with anyone. I wouldn’t even let any boy hover near me, and if anyone tried to, I would beat him up.
But I don’t know why, I started to like this one boy who was part of that group. He would be looking at me, all the time. Wherever I went, whether to the balcony or anywhere else, he would be there. I used to try and avoid him, but would feel something for him. I didn’t even realise how the entire month went by, sending each other flying kisses and talking with just our eyes. Then it was time for me to go and I returned to Banda.
But back home, I started to miss everything about him – his laughter, him calling out for me, his energy and him being so full of abandon, and him spending money for the poor. He used to affectionately call me, Panjaban. And when I used to say that you are so fair and I am dusky in complexion, he used to laugh very loudly and would burst into song. I cherish all those memories. I told my friend Ruby, that I have started to fall in love with Arif. Yes, his name was Arif. It had already been six months since I had met him last and now I had started to go to college. That is when I had to go to my sister’s house again to attend a wedding. He was waiting outside the house for me. He was literally jumping with joy when he saw me and I too smiled at him. With the hustle-bustle of the wedding around us, our love blossomed even more and all his friends got to know that we had feeling for each other. He had a telephone in his house, so I took his phone number and came back to Banda. I used to call him from the PCO in front of my college.
My family was against this marriage.
Then he and his friend came. We were alone in a room and for the first time he hugged me and kissed me. We decided to get married and told our families. His family agreed but my family said that he belonged to a lower caste, he was Musuri, and so they were against this marriage. And with a heavy heart I had to tell Arif that I could never marry him but that I would love him forever.
We both got married to different people. But the love we had for one another stayed intact. My marriage didn’t last very long and I came back to my parents. After two years of living with my parents, I called Arif and he answered the phone. As I said “hello”, he recognised my voice immediately and was very happy to hear from me. He also told me how sorry he was to hear about the tragedy of my life. We started talking during this time and he asked me to meet him. I also wanted to. We decided to meet and when we did we chatted a lot. We then decided that we can’t get married to each other, but we can surely meet. He told me that whenever I would call him, he would be right by my side!
This piece was originally published as a podcast by Khabar Lahariya. Listen to it here.