Syed & Gayatri didn’t mean to fall in love. But love happens when you least expect it .It creeps up suddenly. When someone needs attention, care, conversation, laughter and maybe even intimacy .Love doesn’t look at logic or at backgrounds and least of all, religion.
Gayatri was from a very conservative South Indian family that went to a temple every Saturday. Syed bought goats for his family every Eid. That said it all. Their paths would never have crossed if it hadn’t been for that fateful day. That day when he walked into the coffee shop. Gayatri wondered if destiny chose our loved ones for us. Did we have any role to play at all?
She looked at her watch. Syed was late. They met every Thursday at five pm to catch up. Their conversations lasted for hours. Sometimes at the cafe, sometimes in his car, sometimes in places that she could never tell her friends about as they would never understand. And yet Syed made her happy.
Suddenly her phone beeped. He had sent a message.”On my way. Have something important to tell you.”
Gayatri stared at it and she realized she had knots in her stomach. Thoughts flooded her mind. What did he want to tell her?
Was there some mishap? Did his parents come across their relationship? Was his funding by VC rejected? She put a full stop to her curious mind &bounced back in the lanes of that fateful day, the day she met Syed. Was it fateful or an eventful day? That day had changed her vision towards life & Humanity. Yes, the clashes between Hindu & Muslim’s had started raging. To grab up the seats these political leaders had raged up a sort of war again in context of “Ayodhya”. Its heat had made the presence felt in many sensitive towns & slowly even the pockets of Hyderabad went on fire that day. It was Gayatri’s cousin’s marriage a week later & only this weekend was left to cover up the final shopping .Hence her family had already stepped out in a joyous mood unaware of the small fire which was turning out to an Inferno & was on the path of holocaust.
To tap the movements & prevent spread of hate & communalism, police had rolled out immediate curfew under IPC 144 in Hyderabad. Immediate orders were passed to force shops to shut down. Gayatri could see lathi charge on a segment of mob shouting slogans in front of her eyes as soon as she entered those lanes. Scene was gory, 2 people lay bleeding amongst the crowd. People were pelting stones & some had sticks in their hands. Her heart started thumping loudly. Heavily panicked, her family hid behind the wall watching these bloodthirsty humans. Her mother & younger sister started wailing as soon as they saw the battle growing fiercer. Unaware of the situation, she could not even connect to her father, as telecom services had been banned for next 3 hours. Just then a man pushed the family inside an adjacent coffee shop & he also quickly run into it to save life. As soon as they entered the shutters were closed & they breathed in calm. But that was not a happy ending, the very next moment her family was in trauma .Yes, they were lone Hindu refugee in that coffee shop which was co-owned by Rehman & Syed.
Anxiety rode heavily on their faces as 2 people agitated to throw out the family of the shop. Syed intervened “Kaka, the agenda has been overdriven by the political outfits to drive of their personal motives. We people sitting here are literate enough to understand these points, how can you ask these ladies to go out & face the agitation”? We “The INDIANS” have to be humanitarian above all religions, any religion which teaches hate needs to be changed..Does Allah send any hate message? Has Lord Shiva ever said to hate Muslims? All religions preach unity & harmony in the world, it’s just that the lanes are different but all these lanes lead to one single memo, a note of “Love”. I request all the refugees to please stay calm, use their minds before any action & pledge to not influence these anger fires any more”. Yes, Syed was not trying to be hero, but he was aware why these issues had cropped up. His family was hard core follower of Allah, but he walked daily with his Hindu friends. His thoughts were never biased towards any religion, rather for him “Humanity” was the best religion to adapt to.
Things were calm in the Cafe compared to the burnings going on outside & in every lane. For next 6-8 hours no one could step out or open up their shops .Gayatri & her family had no way to walk out but just to sit & sip at the coffee which Syed softly put across all the tables. It was 9pm, 4 hours had passed, and Gayatri was highly stressed about her dad. No means to communicate for next 2 hours, no news of wellness could be exchanged. She had to be strong; she had to convince not just herself but yes to her mom & sibling as well. Yes time passed & Syed helped her family slip out from the lanes & ensured they reached safely to their home past midnight.
Nearly a year had passed on this incident & their passion for each other grew exponentially. Gayatri was a bubbly B.Tech student, with an aim to rejoice life to its fullest. While Syed was an entrepreneur, not coz he co-owned the Cafe, but he was targeting high on his entrepreneurial skills aiming to seek VC funding. Both had a bright future in front of them. Their chats varied from Social stigmas to belief’s, from religious stings to Politico moves of the country & yes, even their careers. They both were sharp & intellectual & adored each other for the qualities they had. Neither did their religion nor did their lifestyles ever put them into dilemma. Rather, they would respect their festivals & try to be a part of each other during the festivities. It was a perfect harmonious relationship. They did acknowledge the fact that their families would not easily approve of their affiliation but they did not want to heart break their present looking at the future. They we Happy –Go –Lucky couple high on admiration, obsession & possessiveness for one another.
Thud, a loud bang suddenly got her to present world & what she saw was unbelievable. Syed ran quickly into the cafe urging his friend & Gayatri to hide him .Unable to understand the heat of situation, before they could react, 2 cops had already entered the cafe & forced Syed to come out. Gayatri begged the policemen & questioned. “What has he done? How can you grab such a noble soul? There would be some misunderstanding or some framing of Syed, pls I plead, tell me the reason.”Her appeal was not enough as the only answer she heard was “pls move aside, we can’t tell anything now”. It’s a matter of National security”. Looking Gayatri beseeching them Syed came in full front, promising her to come back soon & went with the cops. She wailed, sat on her knees, unable to accept that Syed would be behind bars & what not could have happened to him .She cried her heart out on the vagueness & her vulnerability to not let Syed to go along the cops. Suddenly she realized that she had started hating law .Once she admired & respected the Police but now she was booming with hatred. She wanted to burst out her suffering & bring Syed back from their ruthless clutches. But the fact was, she was unaided, not by arms but with the reason & to justify that.
Empathizing &holding her was Shirin, her best friend who was called to the cafe .She somehow got Gayatri back to her senses .By then television was booming with the “Hot fresh news”..A probable ISIS terrorist nabbed by cops, seemed he had planned to explode the innocent city & spread abhorrence. Police had tracked the Computer IP from which Emails were sent which were spreading the hate messages & warning the police. His name was being flashed…His back was visible with tied fists…yes this man was wearing the same dress. White polo tee, Syed’s favourite & blue jeans..What the hell..Was he Syed? Gayatri’s Syed? To her utter dismay, she couldn’t believe how much an innocent man could have been framed up. But this was not the time to shatter & be vulnerable, she had to be strong & bring Syed out clean chit.
Along with Shirin, she planned a proper script to come out on street in support of Syed .Seeking backing from his friends, she had planned something big. But destiny wanted her to fight more..Yes Syed’s very own friends refrained from extending her support. Silly reason, they could also be targeted at? Is today’s youth that desolate? Is the voice to bring out the truth that biased? This was the day when much held high “friendship” had crashed..But she was not ready to quit, she sampled up facts & this time took support from her friends & college colleagues. She prepared video demanding the proof of dictating Syed a “Terrorist” & questioned the law makers. It hardly took her 24 hours to publish the video on you tube & let her voice set the stage for next action. In next 8-10 hours her video was doing rounds, on whats app, on you tube, on every laptop screen, yes it had gone viral. There was no need for Syed’s friends, but groups of students came out on roads with slogans & candles .3 days had passed & judiciary had no documents to prove him a terrorist, what an agony! The voice to free Syed was roaring; there were thunders all around. Suddenly, it stimulated the Crime Branch to deep dive in the matter .Politicians were seen assuring committee formation for this case. Every paper, every bulletin, every news just twisted the tale of Innocent Syed, a man who believed in Humanity.
Youth has the power, Social media has the craziness & Love has the true sentiment to win!
Crime Branch came out with the observations that there were several emails close to 8-10 & all of them were from different IP. One of them was from Syed’s Wi-Fi Zone Cafe..But why will Syed mail from his own Wi-Fi’s IP zone? Highly foolish..Close tracking of connected laptop stated that there was no role of Syed into it. It was a terrorist outfit (with no linkages of Syed) which had done series of mailers to aggravate hatred on the grounds of religion. Yes that outfit had acknowledged. Poor Syed, 5 days into prison, a tag of anti –national!
There was a gung ho atmosphere outside the prison premises that day. After all Syed was being released after a week of harassment. Nearly 100 youths waited to welcome Syed & amongst them stood Gayatri. “Syed bhai bahar aao ,hamari police haay haay” ,such was the aura that cops had to request the agitators to protest but with ease ,they tried avoiding scuffles & fight .First glimpse of Syed couldn’t hold Gayatri & she ran & hugged him..Cried, they both cried their hearts out; their every emotion was so much in sync.
2 months passed on to this incident, by then Syed had gone back to his work; he had got VC approved for his start up “A blogging app based on Love & emotions”. Love Jihad held onto him forever. Yes Jihad..Jihad for the betterment of society, Jihad to get your love, & jihad for Humanity! Forget all religion, there is one God as the old saying goes! One God & different paths, but the motive is common..Love all, Hate None! For Syed it was a Jihad towards Compassion, truth & yes his love Gayatri! They were 2 people but with one Soul.
Story crafted by me out of a small passage shared by “Madhuri Banerjee”!!