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Ek Haseena thi Ek Deewana tha

Yeh hai sahibaan, kahaani pyaar ki, Kisine jaan li, kisine jaan di!

(This is the story of love my friends, where one gave life and the other took away life)

Ek haseena thi… (There was once someone beautiful…)

She was naturally beautiful. Had a gentle flow about her and echoed a pleasing rippling sound as she caressed over little stones and large boulders. When the sun beamed upon her, it made her sparkle and the moonlight reflected a sense of calmness that was imbibed within her. The trees would stoop, lean down and kiss her gentle surface while the birds encircled her in melodious notes. She had a specific name but to all she was known as the ‘River’.   

Ek deewana tha… (There was once someone spirited…)

He had the most potent instinct of survival. He walked like no other on the land, and possessed a sense of maturity and sharpness than the rest.  He was powerful and had developed a mannerism in which he could make shelter, arrange for food and even ward off anything that would be harmful to him. He knew how to till land, manage available resources and live as a community. He had several faces, several names and identities. He called himself ‘Human’.  

Ek din woh mile, roz milne lage… (One day they met, and they kept meeting…)

It was love at first sight. He was in awe of her grandeur and mesmerised at the way she meandered. He was fascinated with her beauty and more so of her stature. She provided him the most necessary element of survival. For him she was a source of life. She assisted him in everything – day to day needs, for food, and gave enough for him as well as the community. So much was the regard that he even built shelter along the winding shape she took, built himself channels and canals with care, to not disturb her expanse or strangle upon its form. The relationship was based on a mutual understanding. He very well knew that his life was dependent on her. She knew that she was his everything.      

Kya Umar thi, kya samaa tha, kya zamaana tha… (What an age, what an environment and what a culture…)

As she loved him back equally. She was the anchor around which he and his community met, gathered, rejoiced and spend their time. She was at once his place of comfort as well as a partner in his loneliness. She would grow herself during the monsoon to help him in his living and at the same time would retract herself to give space so that his community could find a place for recreation. She created the most soothing ambience for him and the rest – the birds, the trees and the sky. Though she changed form seasonally, she forever remained the season for love. She was there for him - whenever and however he desired, and at times more than he could realise

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Tujhpe marta hoon main, pyaar karta hoon main… (I admire you, I love you...)

Yes he did, he loved her immensely. Not just love, he in fact worshipped her. His entire community worshipped her. They went every morning and prayed to the sun as it shone over her and did the same when she reflected the dusky orange color of the setting sun.  On special occasions, he walked up to her and decorated her with flowers, lights and sang to her, danced in front of her and even folded his hands to pray for the love to blossom. He murmured his love looking at her and the rest joined him in chorus. He and everyone revered her.

Baat kuch aur thi, woh nazar-chor tha… (There was another side to it, he was deceiving…)

For he only wanted her for himself. It was obsession that was curated through his want to possess her. Her love was never meant to be shared, he could have had all he wanted but only now he realised the idea of property. He split himself between – mine, ours and theirs. To express his infatuation for her, he built a ‘wall’ with love across her.  He now started to control by limiting her along her flow. She never resisted and he thought that to control was part of loving her.  His one act did not change her appearance or his behaviour towards her but slowly she started to become erratic. In fact, she even raised her voice. But since it did not affect him directly, he ignored. He now overlooked her love, for his priority had shifted. He was blinded with selfish-love.  

Uss ke dil mein chhupi, chaah daulat ki thi… (In his heart was hidden, the greed for money…)

He realised one equation soon enough. The land that he treaded was the source of becoming rich. The only land that was available to grab without much contestation was the one that belonged to her. For he thought if she belonged to her, the land she had was his right. He knew he was physically more powerful and if he announced that this land would benefit the rest like his own, no one would object. And rightly so, no one did object. There were voices but they were not so powerful than the temptation of monetary benefits. The power that came with the greed of money was now channelising the love.

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Bewaafa yaar ne, apni mehbooba se, aisa dhoka kiya… (The unfaithful lover, betrayed his lover…)

And how? In the most strategic and manipulative manner possible. On one hand he continued to worship her and use her for her needs because for him this was a habit – not love anymore. And on the other he soiled her and then slowly inched his way towards claiming what rightfully belonged to her. He kept eating away on her, passed it around the others to prey on her and then finally engulfed her and left her with what he believed was enough for her, so that she did not disappear. After all, she was still a token of his love. What did she do? She just stood there watching as he gambled her for his luxuries.

Mar gayi woh waaanhi … (She died just there…)

Within strict straight edges that now contained her. She now lived only in appearance. Because she was still seen he thought that she was still alive. But no, he killed her for she no longer was breathing. Now she was not flowing, she was just stagnant. She was not creating different sounds anymore but only a dreadful monotone. The trees no more stooped over her, they just stood alongside. No seasons of variation but a standard look had appeared over her. But he still came. He prayed and he found means of recreation and for supply. But now the chirping birds never returned, and the sun no longer beamed upon her with glitter. She remained still, numb and objectified. This time he defined and gave her a name – ‘Riverfront’.

Ab suno dastaan, janm leke kahi, phir se pahuchi wohi… (Now listen to the tale, taking birth somewhere else, she returned there again…)

This time born out of the heat, the imperviousness and the concrete love that he had developed selflessly and selfishly for himself. It was his own love that allowed her to reappear. But she just did not reappear, she broke open the walls that restricted her, and swept the surface that was beneath him. This time she was not in the flowing form, she made a noise. She rose up high into the sky and roared. She was no more caring, in fact she cared a damn!  The love that she had bestowed had now taken shape of a rage – an unstoppable force that he had not witnessed and was not prepared. He shouted disaster, she whispered retribution.   

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Uspe yeh karz tha, uska yeh farz tha… (She had a debt, that she had to fulfil)

As she uprooted everything around him; his land, his property, his ownership drowned in the force of her betrayed love.  There was nothing that could resist her – neither prayers, nor barriers. She erased everything that he had built out of greed and claimed in the name of requisite. There was collateral damage, but she only pacified when her anger subsided and when she realised that she had reached places that she was never meant to.  She receded but she did not kill him completely. She ensured he witnessed her force for him to remember. In fact, she was giving him another chance – one not to resurrect her but to recover himself. 

Farz ko karz apna chukana tha… (He was liable, and had to pay the debt…)

And like his love story, we are equally responsible for this betrayal. We betray by blinding ourselves with our immediate needs, by being silent when we see such selfish love around us, and by encouraging to support solutions that ‘engineer’ this love to safeguard personal demands. In fact, each day we are finding new ways to fail and abandon her love. We are continuously making ourselves liable, and we will need to clear this debt!  

- Special thanks to KARZ, the movie (1980)

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