MIDWAY : Public display of love

Ashutosh Shah:

The dusk was disappearing as the darkness filled the evening. People hovered everywhere and vehicles filled up the road. Amidst this air of rural retinue I soothed myself in the premises of the Maitidevi Temple. I had taken a break from the hectic schedule. I beheld a view of various people — office-goers, businesspersons, students and, ahem, lovers! Yes! Lovers.

The peal of the bells filled the ears as the lamps cast their glow. But our protagonists, seemingly a boyfriend and his fiancée, had decided to take cover under the descending darkness and the murky evening to engage in performing what could be called by all standards as an intimate act. As the blue haze of the smoke rose skywards the girl wriggled towards her love. They were completely drowned in each other’s adoration, except for the fact that they were performing what should have been a private act in full public glare. The young man had his arm around her as they pecked each other’s lips often.

But alas! Not everyone is a silent spectator of such a development. My attention could not evade an elderly person watching the event unfold with some kind of trepidation.

Who could he be? He could have been anybody. Although he had come to say a word of prayer, his concerns now lay on more earthly things. The divine could wait, I thought.

The person watched with his eyebrows raised. He was thinking loud, but he suddenly rose from the pensive pose and darted into the darkness, leaving the love-struck duo uninterrupted. Now my squandered thoughts focused on the romance. By then the evening had given way to the darkness under the silvery glare of the moon and the glow of the electric lights. Suddenly, the suspicious looking man had reappeared out of nowhere. The lovers were in peril, I suspected.

He was now accompanied by four others. It appeared they were planning a move. One of them lurched from the left and the other three held different positions. Poor lovers, I thought, the duo blithely ignorant of what was unfolding behind them. One of them posed as a devotee and proceeded to the tree under which the lovers sat. Then, in a strange move, he walked up to the girl, shot a glare at her face and disappeared. It was only then I realised the tetrad had accomplished something of a velvet coup.

My anticipation of a drama had come to an abrupt end and I did not have appetite for more. Needless to tell that love is still a taboo here. I returned home a little wiser. Well, do it, but not in the public glare!