“You should publish this!” Reza stated as Frieda engaged herself in sorting her crisp cotton sarees neatly.
“Nopes!” Frieda replied as she hung a starched pink Lucknawi chikan saree in her wardrobe.
“But why?” Reza almost shrieked. “This’d sell like hotcakes!”
“It’s an incomplete diary entry, Rey” Frieda shrugged, “no one’s ever gonna be interested.”
“Ah, that’s the beauty of what-ifs, my love! Readers will relish it!” Reza picked herself from the edge of the bed. “A young princess, studying Ancient History at the most sought-after university, who finds true love in the streets of London, is forced out of her historical lineage because of love.” Reza waved her hand in the air, feigning a pretend screen airing out her pretend script.
Frieda let out a guffaw at her histrionics, “that’s not exactly what happened!”
“Then what really transpired?” Reza pleaded as Frieda wrapped her Sunday chore of wardrobe sorting.
Smiling, she sat on the rocking chair by the window, reminiscing the past folded in her diary for years, before Reza discovered it.
“Was she really a gypsy?” Reza inquired.
“She was…I think… of sorts,” Frieda deliberated. She picked her mug of coffee, taking in the aroma of the fresh brew and slipped into a reverie of sorts. The rain outside wafted in a few droplets that sprinkled her face fresh, as she rocked her mind into the past.
“Tell me more…” Reza wouldn’t give up.
“Well, it was unlikely that I’d fall in love with a street artist. A chance meeting at a roadside diner, on my maiden visit to London, gave me reason enough to visit her every weekend. It was not a surprise that we had a crackling chemistry.” Frieda summarized.
“And she was already married? And had a daughter?” Reza inquired.
“Yes! Yet her aura was far more than her veracity,” Frieda turned towards the youngster who refused to back off.
“I think Nawab saheb should have supported you, the least. You displayed great compassion in taking them in,” Reza concluded.
“It was not really the deed but my love for them that caused abba’s angst. Loving another woman was forbidden!” Frieda rose from her rocking chair, moving closer to the window.
“So when your father denounced you, did you return to London?” Reza tried restoring the loose ends in the incomplete story.
“I did, but…” the senior woman weighed her words. “… she refused to join me here and continued living in London. Her daughter was almost 6 by then and I proposed to take the little one with me. She agreed.”
“Wow, where is her daughter now?” Reza chirped excitedly as if a new revelation waited.
Frieda turned around to look at her, trying to indicate that she may have to conclude this story herself.
“Is that my mom?” Reza took a moment to join the dots. “Am I your lover’s granddaughter, Nan?”
“… But a piece of my heart forever.” Frieda raised her arms beckoning Reza to fall into her embrace.