The Burqa

A horrified and frightened Savitri ran for her life 
She kept knocking ..none opened but one door
In she ran and took shelter
In one dark supposedly safe corner
She has to stay still, till this nightmare is over

A hushed noise ..’oh no someone else is here’
Right then a palm on her mouth stifled her scream
“Sshhh…” a husky male voice whispered
Savitri struggled to free herself up
Her eyes widened wide, for a gasp of air she fought
You are safe with me. Just like you I too am in danger
So let’s stick together till this ordeal is over 

Consoled Savitri wiped her tears and began talking
“Everything was quiet up until the evening 
Seems now it was the lull before the rioting
They stormed in and wreaked havoc
I dropped my diya thali and began running
They didn’t even spare this widow on the pious Deepavali
Frowned a sobbing Savitri

“I too was attacked when I was praying
Eyes closed head down I was vulnerable when they barged in
I fought my way out of the house set on flames
Crossing the pools of blood in the alleyways and lanes
This cursed night will come to an end soon
Sun will rise up and dry up these bloody pools”
Sighed the man

Trust and hope held them together
Humanity that had died out in the light
In this dark corner it grew a notch stronger 

Twilight brought along a new ray of hope
The chaos outside slowly drowned out
Savitri folded her hands together to thank the lord
“Ya Allah !” said the man and paused
“the last words of my wife” he murmured 

Savitri’s heart sank, she felt trapped
One too many possible gory ends revolved in her head
She turned towards the voice, hand still folded
Fear written all over face, teary eyed she pleaded

The dark room was slowly brightening
She spotted a black robed figure in front of her standing
Turning around slowly facing her, a man in a burqa!
A mark of sandalwood on his forehead
Her mouth fell open, she stood there stumped
In front of her was the former temple head
Few years back he fell in love and since then was outcasted

He continued to speak of the fateful evening
“My prayers Interrupted when a shot was fired
Stepping out of my room something upon I stumbled 
Clutching on to her burqa she lay down dead
Set in flames the house was burning away
Instinct hit me, to save my life I fled away”
He spoke as he took a layer of cloth off
Revealing underneath his white dhoti kurta, 
Camouflaged that was in the dark by the black burqa
Love can transcend boundaries of religions,
she believed it was pure magic
Little did she know religion can create the most monstrous fanatics?”

“Ram or Rahim whoever it was that saved my life
Never can I forgive him for snatching away my wife
This last piece of cloth is all that I have of her
The rest burned to ashes is gone forever
Hold on to this and have a safe way back home.”

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Itali Madhusmita

Itali Madhusmita is a full time IT professional and mother to two adorable kids. She treasures the joy of looking at life from the perspective of her young kids which is a whole new learning process. She also finds pleasure in expressing herself through short poems and looks for beauty in simple things of life.

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