I used to say I will marry a Muslim. “I find them cute and interesting”. God was listening. I fell in love with a guy like that. Handsome, understanding and a Muslim. Just in case you did not notice the transformation of Muslim from a noun to an adjective is the most captivating yet the ultimate root of all misconceptions. Many people fall in love over internet. I did too. No. I was not desperate. I was not overage. I was recommended to find a pen pal by my friend who plainly had a good experience. The only thing I tried differently was to drag the country option to P- pa – yes there it was – Pakistan. And I pressed enter.
They found me Sohrab. We started with discreet conversations. Many people had warned me of porn freak pakis on the web and I anticipated a sleazy remark all the time. But it did not come.
Our friendship grew and soon we were best of friends. Maybe more. letting go of our inhibitions , feeling the freedom of being let loose of chains of religion , caste or territory. We talked about a plethora of things from our college, families and countries.
He wrote an email everyday- beautifully with a pinch of humour .
It meant the world to me!
Not to others
One day my mother had to send an email and so I opened my account to let her “compose a mail”. Dear lord! She read –
–“A boy!” she exclaimed and started reading his mails.
A Muslim! She was shocked!
And then came the final blow – From Pakistan!
That was flabbergasting
She sent a reply to him
Calling him a terrorist outrightly.
She howled, involved my dad who warned me against” all these Muslims” as he put it.
The internet connection was cut because they thought I was misusing the net.
Sohrab never wrote back to me.
I wish he had insulted me or said some bad things about Indians.
But he did not
It hurt even more.
My sister dragged me to a cyber café for a print out.
I leaned on the cabin side of the café and saw a pile of Photostat copies at the side.
On the top lying so casually was a name I had grown to adore and fallen in love with.
It was Sohrab – his name.
The Photostats of his Pakistani passport.
Waiting to be picked up by the owner.
I could not believe this. That a gift so precious complete with details – his residence proof, his mobile number all presented in this small booth like shop.
I loved god’s ways in such times.
I waited in the shop
Then I saw him
He had such a handsome face and in that moment I knew I was never going to marry him.
He came right up to me.
Almost touched my hand while collecting the papers.
At least the air that touched us was the same.
We had parted years back but it was only now that I was bidding him farewell.
I was a coward and I let him go – not by choice ironically.
—– By Sana Arora