The story of Salma never began on the day I took my pen to give an author’s introduction to her physical beauty, nor did it begin on the day she requested me to give the world her story through my words. Sometimes I think that we live in an eternally repeating world where voids created by unsuccessful repetitions are filled by people who claim to be different from those who survive in a self-created melancholia. Maybe between the constantly revocable granting of life, the creator by plain mistake would have brought along the story of Salma, which through another repetition of unaccounted words I have now brought to serve you with.
I still remember the words I noted down in my pocket diary when I first met her; the day still remains etched in my crumbling memory. Winds were tearing apart the make-shift plastic roofs of small shops, which sell items that range from glass bangles to high-grade marijuana. The plastic roofs danced like shy ladies, making graceful steps, who induce you to explore into your deep and guarded passions. But the seduction never lasted long, maybe because of the worsening weather or because of my severe psychological tensions. The onset of monsoon in South India usually begins with the proud exhibition of the nature’s prowess, skies turn from a shade of blue to mild gray and before you could take your eyes off, they portray themselves with an evil tinge of regulated black. For me, I relate the entire phenomenon to a clinical depression. At first you realize that all your optimistic thoughts are weakened by a drop of cold cynicism, then like the clouds that create the tinge of gray, they form a veil of shadow on your mind, creating a false image which tells you that every quark of light from the Sun is forever lost, then it builds up slowly but surely and devours your mind in a field of black. The rain that falls then do not cool your mind, it freezes the nerves and paralyses your thoughts.
For a moment I forgot what I came to speak to you, I shall beg your sincere pardon. Well then, Salma first fell into my vision when it was raining, both on the outside and the inside of me. And at first even you may not comprehend the fact that she was one of those absurd creations by the creator in which he failed miserably to create blind repetitions.
The only peculiar thing I found that would have made her stand out in a crowd of women was that she found relief inside a rainbow colored umbrella that day, which opened inside out each time a gust came to greet the streets, which showed the name she wrote on the inside of her umbrella with golden ink, which many would have thought was for incrementing the overall beauty of the umbrella than to find it among a group of similar umbrellas. She struggled to keep it under control while constantly adjusting her hijab which made a slight leap with each wind, maybe to taste its momentary flights to freedom. I could promise you with sincerity, even though she was a good 50 meters away from where a crowd stood along with me glimpsing the image of a fluttering hijab the girl underneath as if in a cinemascope, that I could most certainly hear her frail body panting with each jump over a puddle, and how each drop made a delightful rhythm each time it hit her glass bangles and shattered into a million drops each churning out a kaleidoscope of colors. The crowd that gathered to glimpse the specter would have felt the auspicious elegance that was put on show, because suddenly as the hijab went farther away from her grasp a strange wave of anxiety emanated from the crowd. Their heads turned one by one, as much by a methodical and non-voluntary habit as a natural tendency to capture the resplendent throw of her guarded hair.
To the captious arrogance of the gathering, she grasped her hijab for a final time, pulled it away from her radiant hair and let it taste the winds that it always yearned for. The first reaction from the audience who watched the show patiently up till now was austere shock. And immediately after they gained possible composure a wise man took the command of speech and claimed rightfully that she shouldn’t have done such a dreaded act in public. The gathering felt enlightened and before they glorified the wise man as another ‘human God’ they cursed the girl who did an act which challenge their mere notions of faith and God!
Lost in the discovery of a religious saint, the crowd may not have noticed the gradual ceasing of the rain. I took my dismal looking umbrella and followed the tracks on the mud made by Salma’s fleeting footprints. All my shoes could ever have made on top of those tracks were mournful noises of rubber kissing dirt.
I walked home that day with my mind filled with reverberating thoughts of Salma. When the overwhelming power of them overpowered my brain, it dripped along through my hands into my diary that night. I remember the words because it still plays in my head every day and every moment my thoughts leave room for her. I noted down then, ‘There are dreams that you see each day with your eyes open. Some you forget, some you leave behind, but a very few among them shall remain forever within your existence becoming an etched part of you. And today I had a dream in which I took my life within my failing grasps, swung it around with the unruly winds and went running behind her forever and ever.’