Under a different sky
By Iffat Nawaz
They say there are some loves that are so true and so deep that you can never erase them out of your heart. They say even after that love is gone and you have walked away, fallen in love again or at least thought you have, that truest and deepest love of yours rules your inside, adding complexity to your soul, character to your mind. They say, when melancholy afternoons bring back a rush of memories about that object of affection, it's not the object that you miss but the feeling associated with that love; the way things were, the way things could have been.
I have been in love like that, as true as my sins, as deep as all my untold secrets, and I confess that whatever they say about that unforgettable love is in fact true. I know; my feelings prove it, my actions make me live by it.
But what happens when you come back to that worshipped love of yours, what if you want to become one again? Does that love take you back and live up to your expectations? What do you do if your expectations fail you?
To no longer ponder, to no longer bite my nails and be untrue to myself, I thought about coming back to my truest, most complicated love. I wanted to give it a sure shot after experiencing many things that my true love couldn't offer me.
Dhaka, my first and most complex love, Dhaka, not my first choice or last, but still the most significant of all loves, always without a closure, adding new wounds and taking away old pains, Dhaka keeps bringing me back to answer my “what ifs.”
Like an old lover with doubts and full of young, hence foolish, memories, I came back to Dhaka more often than I had during the last seventeen years of being away. When I first left it and kept on leaving it more everyday in my mind, I didn't miss it so intensely. I thought there would be others, newer better loves, more polished, with higher standards who would change me for the better and not restrict me like my love of Dhaka still does after these many years.
But like all things torn, I couldn't' let go. So I returned, with one foot still out the door but mostly here, to get to know my first love better, as an older seemingly wiser me. But Dhaka recited back to me betrayed Bengali lovers’ lines from Jibanananda Das, Dhaka ridiculed me, sang me old tunes of Hemonto, not the love songs but the lost ones.
I still kept trying, since I was the one who left without ever giving Dhaka a real chance. And every chance I got, I left the semi-well-off-woman's burka, as in, a car, and rode around Dhaka in rickshaws, for more contact with my love, for more ways to know what I didn't before.
Dhaka opened up eventually and stopped reciting angry lovers' poems. There was forgiveness, new flaws, new memories; there were disappointments and realisations of false imagined happiness of the past, which Dhaka and I later replaced with new fantasies. Dhaka gave me a chance and I gave Dhaka patience.
They say old love understands and accepts, they say old love is not about passion but about a slow but forever burning fire. I don't know if that's all true…I say it's complicated…still without any closure, Dhaka and me.
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed