“I am getting married,” she said, lazily flicking a twig from my hair.
My eyes flew open. Just a few minutes ago, she had been whispering ‘I love you’ in my ear while running her hands over my face and gently kissing my cheek. We had escaped from the others here, to our special place, our ‘world of wonders’ as she liked to call it. It was a small glade in the woods, where she and I had seen our sunsets for the last two years. We had fought, made up, wrestled, made love, cried and laughed here. It was our small world, where we could be ourselves. Where I could be me, not worrying about being human, not worrying about crossing the line, of being discovered. I was home.
I sat up straight, “what did you say? Kaka is getting you married?!”
“Well, you can’t expect him to keep his teenage daughter at home forever now, can you? What are you so surprised about, Mr. Know-it-all?”
I kept quiet. It was true. I did know this was coming. But that the fact would affect me so much, that it would make me feel as though a part of my heart was being torn from my chest… that I was not aware of. I thought I would take this too, as I would anything else. This life was yet another Avatar as it was.
I remember the first time we had met. She was so innocent, so beautiful. Her eyes, so trusting, had looked deep into mine, as though searching my soul for answers. It had taken some time for her to discover that truth; to discover the reality of her existence, of her Karma, of our relationship. I remember the evenings we had spent under the stars in this very glade, counting each and every one till we were exhausted and collapsed in each other’s arms. It seemed so far away and so distant. Now it seemed as though we would never have those moments again.
She squeezed my hand. I looked up, and to my surprise, she was smiling at me. I felt a rush of anger. I snatched my hand away and got up, as though preparing to leave. But to my surprise, I noticed I couldn’t. I couldn’t leave, yet I couldn’t stay either. I heard her get up and make her way towards me. She hugged me from the back and said, “I know this is difficult for you. For both of us. But you have some duties to do, and you know that. You know your Karma, and there is no place for me in it.”
“Not now, but maybe later? After a few years? Couldn’t you wait for a bit? What is the hurry anyway?”
“Krishna,” she began soothingly, ” You know that isn’t possible. I am already considered too old in the marriage circles. If Baba does not get me married soon, everyone will start talking. Rumours about the two of us are abundant anyway.”
I walked away. I knew she was telling the truth. I tried to clear my mind, to remind myself that everyone was one of me, and I was in everyone. But each time I thought of her sitting besides another man, sharing his bed, his life, his home, anger rose in me. I shook my head to dispel the images and sat down with my head in my hands.
There he was. Sitting down with his head in his hands, as I had seen him countless number of times when Man’s atrocities crossed all reason and he was at a loss as to what to do. I knew how he felt. I knew every single clench of his teeth, every single dig of nails against palms, every single tear drop forced back and every single pound of his crushed heart. For I had been going through each of it from the moment Baba had told me that he had finalised a husband for me.
How I wish I could comfort him. Hold him, like I knew he liked to be held. Love him, like I knew he liked to be loved. But how could I, when I needed someone to comfort me? I let him be. I knew him, he would be fine soon.
I looked around at Our glade. My world of wonders. This was where I had first met him, tripping over him as I looked for a place to hide from my loud aunty. I still remember his alert look, his knowing smile and his strong hands as he held them out to me. I did not know what came over me, I took it without a second thought and sat next to him. There was something in his eyes, something in the way he looked at me. It made me feel as though we had known each other for aeons. As though him lying down and me sitting at his feet was the most natural thing for both of us. Neither of us spoke a single word, that first meeting.
We began meeting everyday after that. It was like we knew when and where automatically. It was weeks before we spoke to each other. He took me back in time, to our shared past, to our truth. But most of the time, we just lay down holding each other, and stared into the sky, generations of shared understanding and thoughts between us.
“Radha?” he called out uncertainly. I looked at him in surprise. I had never heard uncertainty in his voice before. Anger, sorrow, even despair. But never uncertainty. He was Krishna. He who had jumped into the river to wrestle with Kaliya, who had not thought twice before walking off with a mortar tied to his back. My Krishna. And here he was, with tears in his eyes, uncertain about his surroundings, about his actions, about himself. I felt the prick of tears as I saw my soulmate, my Sakha of several millennia, wrestle with emotions clouding his mind and heart.
I held out my hand as he had that first day. In a moment the clouds in his eyes cleared. He gave me his enigmatic smile, the one that had captured the hearts of all the women of the village, and drew me into his arms. As I listened to his heart, I felt all our fears and apprehensions melt away. Wisdom of the ages trickled through our minds and washed away any worry we had.
We slowly lay down, not leaving each other for a second, as though even a moment apart would spoil the illusion. I looked at the sky. The first stars had begun to appear. I closed my eyes and tried to memorise everything around me. The croak of a frog, the callouses on his fingers in mine, his heartbeat in my ear, the rhythmic pattern of our breathing. I opened my eyes and looked into his. And then I knew.