Short Story Love – A Beautiful Story
There was a rumor (or was it a rumor?), that the village graveyard had a unique scent to it since last week, as if someone has put incense stick which was divine. The source of the fragrance??? No one knows, they just know that it was her grave which had this pious feel to it.
So much so was the effect of the scent that slowly and slowly, the whole village seemed to be washed in that scent. The Trees were scented, so was the fruits; the fragrance of the flowers were lost and instead these buds also had this divine scent, the rotis which amma cooked, and the sevai– everything smelled like that. And when wives swept the floor and their chunni’s slipped by, their bodies had that beautiful fragrance. The water in the Village well had that fragrant, and that laughter of the girls had that sweet essence as well. And when mothers hugged their babies, there was no baby smell- instead there was that redolence… Not a single person, not a single object retained their own fragrance, they were now one- the scent of that grave united them.
Days passed by and the fragrance increased in intensity. They wondered what her husband; Nadeem has to say about the whole scenario. And Nadeem’s soul was tortured over the happenings. He was sick, high with fever and lying on his cot, oscillating between past and present. His mind took him 21 years back when he first saw her; she was an angel, a fairy- so beautiful. And so many handsome people courted her. He, being of ordinary looks knew that he has no chances.
His bhabhi saw him staring at her and asked if he would like to marry that girl, she is a relation only, two cousins removed. Nadeem was skeptical; he said that a girl so beautiful can never be a good wife. She will be flocked by the guys and she might be tempted to have an extramarital affair. But his sister-in-law and mother knew that his heart was set on her and they knew that the girl was virtuous. And with-in a fortnight Nadeem was wedded to her.
Was he lucky or was he lucky, the girl devoted her everything to Nadeem. Nadeem became her God, her Khuda, once she entered his home, she never bared even her nails to another man; she dedicated her being to him. Such selfless love, such unconditional love. And he was not even a good looking man. They said that she had a fault. She was Baanjh, barren. She could not bear him a child. Her mother-in-law said that her beauty, her virtue is of no use, she is fruitless. She never talked back, never retorted.
And after a journey of 21 years, she left him; she finally left that dull life she had. And she departed to the Home of God. She died peacefully in her sleep. And since then, Nadeem was never himself. He could not bear her death and was sick now all the time. Today, he was missing more so.
Syed came to meet Nadeem, he was curious as to what was the reason that Nadeem’s wife’s grave was so fragrant. He was not the only one curious. Whole village was. Syed was there to tell him that Village elders have decided to go to the root of the situation and with required permissions and authority they are going to dig her grave. Nadeem was out of his mind, how dare they disturb his beloved!!!
He ran past Syed to protect her resting place, but by that time, it was too late. People were standing around the open, dug grave and some wiping tears, some praising Allah, some simply in shock- looking at what was inside. She lay as peacefully in the cradle of earth, as if she was a princess having her beauty sleep. One month ago she was buried, but there was no tell tale sign of that, she was 42 at the time of her death and she looked 18 in her grave.
Wonder of wonders!! A most exquisite, most beautiful flower was sprouting from her mouth. And that was the source of the divine scent. People, apologized to Nadeem and to the departed one, covered back her grave and one by one left the graveyard. Nadeem who was shell-shocked remained their and remained there. And suddenly he broke down and wept and wept. The inhuman howl which he let out, forced Syed to run back to him, who held him and consoled him.
Once Nadeem was calm enough, he told Syed, that his wife was Goddess and Allah wanted her to be acknowledged as such and that’s why this divine intervention. As Nadeem said,
“You see, she was with me for 21 years, and she was most beautiful one, she could have had anyone she wanted. But she remained with me, she never cursed her life, she never did raise her voice, she never strayed, she never complained. Syed, I was born impotent and remained so throughout her life and will remain so throughout my life”.