iss pyaar ko kya naam doon? was the best romance ever and i was writing a story based on my favourite girl and boy for a dear friend’s birthday. as i wrote, the tale that wanted to be told came happily traipsing out. i hope you enjoy it. i’d like to thank my friend katelyn for the lovely texture i have used for my banner up there.
once upon a time on mount jalebi where all the gods frolicked and showed scant feeling for humans, there lived a wondrous goddess called devi maiyya.
since the challenge of uttering four whole syllables was too much to face on an ongoing basis, everyone on mount jalebi, and please don’t confuse it with mount olympus or kailash… yeah, as i was saying, everyone on j-hill called her dm.
dm was not fussy, she was creative and really kind, so she allowed the dm appellation to stick and didn’t throw fire and brimstone at anyone… gods, goddesses, souls hanging around to be reborn, gnomes, fairies, elves, angels, sprites, minxes, trolls, unicorns, nymphs, even mere mortals she spared.
she preferred to spend her time, all her time in fact, on creating the universe, which was her job, rather than sweat the small stuff… even if goddesses don’t really sweat. that’s for those hoi polloi down there on earth.
anyway, even though her compensation package did not include a fat bonus or a multi billion dollar severance package, she liked to work with all her heart and head, her dil and dimaag, as it were.
that day she was busy making an ideal mate, for dm deeply believed in ideals, mates, and that thing called love… romance.
i say thing, because dm had no way of knowing what it really was or experiencing it first hand, since love was only available as a feature to humans. the kit included it. but alas none of it for the gods. since they had the elixir of life, manna, amrit… they were not privy to love any more.
well you can’t have everything, even if you’re a goddess.
sorry, what was i saying? yeah, so dm was making a mate for happy. happy was a hot favourite of dm’s, a beautiful young minx who had drifted back to j-hill after a brief stint on planet miraga as a sanka devi. dm had noticed, happy hadn’t left all her sanka deviness behind. well sometimes a trace of an existence stays with you, lingering on, embedding. not a bad thing really in this case, dm smiled… it made happy even more fun, that note of sanka… pity, no exact translation in j-hillese for that word.
dm waved her four arms in the air and in seconds a beautiful forearm appeared. dm drew in her breath, that looked great… soon a man took shape. he had dark hair, chocolate brown eyes, a fabulous forehead, dm particularly patted herself on the back for that widow’s peak she had designed for him, and oh yes, nice hair cut. he also had a sharp straight nose, finely sculpted perfect lips, great hands, a lithe wiry body and those forearms… where it all began.
dm smiled at him and he smiled back at her sweetly, looking grateful.
dm called happy and said, “happy, my dear one, i have made you a perfect mate, now you must go to earth and do your round there together…”
happy grinned and clapped her hands and said, “a mate?!! oh, dm, you are the best, please may i see him once? just one look, before i go off to earth and meet him there?”
“of course, my dear,” said dm kindly, “there he is… i have called him a sweet rakshak for now… we’ll name him something later.”
“ooo,” cooed happy, happily, “a protector, that too a sweet one… let me see…”
happy ran toward the newly made human and peered at him. he smiled at her gently and held out his hand, “hi!” he said politely, and murmured in the sweetest tone, “you are so beautiful, who are you, lovely princess?”
happy gazed at the human stunned. he was perfect to look at and he spoke sweetly. so sweetly. so… no… too.
and he was too… too…
happy could feel something happening to her… her sanka was rising!
happy gawked at the human, she couldn’t bear it a second more, she turned away haughtily without saying a word and leapt onto her scooter, she had to catch dm before it was too late.
j-hill was a maze of forgetting and remembering really, a bhoolbhulaiya some called it. after a good spin all over, and making sure she forgot nothing, happy found dm at last. she was sitting with her pet pigeons and eating chane as in chickpeas.
happy rushed to her, almost choking with anxiety, looking most troubled.
“what’s the matter, happy?” asked dm, “here, relax… have some chane…”
happy grabbed the whole pack and started wolfing down the goodies, she said breathlessly, “i am sorry, dm, i know you love me and you especially love the balushahis i got you from ishash planet during my existence there, but you have to do something… i can’t go to earth with that… that… that… a.. sweet… what the… that asr!”
“asr?” dm frowned, “who? oh you mean that wonderfully perfect, not a single flaw, absurdly handsome, polite sweet human i have created for you?”
“exactly!” happy came in, “absurdly! that’s it. he is too perfect, dm, not a single flaw!! hai re…”
dm held up her hand, “no, happy, don’t complete that sentence, that’s someone else’s line, we can’t steal other’s lines here, we respect copyright… ok, so you’re saying…”
happy moaned, “he’s also too, ugh, sweet! i can’t take sweet mates… they’re so… so…”
“sweet?” offered dm, seeing happy floundering around for a word.
“yes, dm…” happy made a woebegone face…
dm said, “ok, let me see how i can improve upon your asr…”
“my asr?” happy grimaced, “nahiiin!” and she sped off.
anyway, to cut a long spiel short, dm finally called happy and said, she had done some adjustments. she had eliminated the sweet factor. in fact, she had made sweet taboo for him… no meetha, bas.
she had also upped the opposite taste… bitter… in him.
and to tackle the too perfect issue, she had done something, she asked happy to see if she could spot it.
“spot it?” happy asked, “how?”
it had started to rain in j-hill. dm made a circle in the air with her hand and lightning lit up the sky, thunder was heard…
“how now brown cow…” laughed dm, “perfect condition to check if my engineering has worked… go out in the rain and i am sending him…”
happy loved rain, she ran out… but again to meet that asr… oh no, please don’t let him be all smiley and cutesie, she prayed.
she stood in the downpour waiting. he appeared magically from exactly where she wasn’t sure and suddenly she was being lifted up, he was whirling away with her… whoa… was he saving her?!
oh no… dm, he is still sweet.
happy was thinking this when he set her down, his hand gripped her shoulder, he stood looking at her as water cascaded all over them.
happy stared at him. what was that? something felt different. his eyes? yeah they were steely, inert, scary almost… not warm and friendly any more.
and his lips? they were no longer perfectly symmetrical. no! they dipped down a little on one side… the right side… as though dm had rubbed a finger across his mouth, tugging an edge out of its confined perfection.
there was a shadow on his cheeks too; a stubble, neat, trimmed, an air of danger about it, none of that smooth good boy cheek. this was bad boy.
happy felt her heart do a sudden lurch. dhakdhak something went. what was that? she must ask dm.
but yes, she had spotted the non-perfect touch… oh those lips.
happy looked at the man again; why was he staring at her? then before she could ask him anything, he gave her one short sharp push.
happy practically flew backward. gosh, the guy was nasty.
she began to grin. yesss… dm, you have made my mate just right. perfect, she thought.
not a sweet rakshak… he is a sexy rakshas. a…s…r. my asr.
dm was watching happy and asr’s antics from an invisible perch.
“hmmm,” she thought, “looks like the revisions are working… but slight problem, if he is not a nice uncomplicated man, how am i going to make sure they meet? in fact, all that bitterness in him, he is sure to avoid women… love, romance. i made him not even believe in me, so he won’t come to me looking for advice… i need someone to be around them, making sure they get the point… come ‘ere,” dm called out softly…
“go!” murmured dm to her special envoy, “go to earth with them, make sure they know their mate, their love is around the moment they are within a two mile radius of each other. and don’t be too silent about it… that happy talks so much, she may not hear, and asr is going to be yelling shut up get out samjhi tum often so may miss you if you’re too subtle. swirl away long and insistent… and take along a song with you…”
gust of wind said he’d do his best, but two miles might be setting an unrealistic target. since he wasn’t a god, he’d go for a hundred feet of each other type of awareness. that mehsoos.
dm said, “fine!” and quickly disappeared. she had to visit a certain raju singh in his dream and get him to write a song. and she had to apply for copyright protection, these days those guys at disney were merrily whacking all her ideas. happily ever after? wasn’t that clearly a swiping of hamesha? dm had planted hamesha in happy and asr’s love. and there never was a time anyway, 4.35 pm or otherwise when those two were not lovers.
when she returned, she found happy waiting for her, eyes shining. dm decided she’d put that shiny thing on her permanently.
“yes, my child?” she asked, “what’s the verdict?”
happy ran and threw her arms around her goddess, “i love you, dm!”
“but how will i know it’s him when i meet him on earth?” happy asked.
“you’ll know!” smiled devi maiyya, “pata chal jata hai.”
(you’ll know! one just knows!)
“and what will be my name?… his name?” said happy, totally excited now, all set to go to her next existence.
“what’s in a name?” said a brit sounding voice from the wings.
dm raised an eyebrow, “oh that will from stratford, i feel like stealing all his lines, if only i understood what they meant…”
“hey devi maiyya, meant nothing, koi matlab nahin…” happy said with a whimsical smile and prepared for her journey.
dm bid both her children farewell, gust of wind rushed along after them. the pages of the calendar fluttered in the draft, dm’s eyes fell on the date.
what a blessed day, she thought.
“remember, all the world’s a stage…” muttered that brit sounding voice.
“oh, will…” said dm eating chane, “maybe it’s time to free you.”
and so it was that a week later on 6 june, upon a stage a girl called khushi kumari gupta appeared and spotted a man in black called asr. the moment she saw him something in her knew this was it… she whispered “hey dm, raksha karna!” though why she said it she had no idea. seems what dm said was true, pata chal jata hai.
gust of wind got busy and made her trip on her dupatta and she fell into the man’s arms. while perched there, her eyes moved to his lips and got stuck.. that pulled down right corner, the imperfection… why did she feel she knew it? dhakdhak.
he got a jolt in his heart, though he didn’t think he had one… that sweetness, her eyes, her lips… why did he feel he knew her… she was some tum jaisi ladki… she had turned her back on him and walked away, he would never let her do that again…
it was a strange meeting, and the mystery of it could never be solved…
anyway, khushi kept saying she wanted to love a prince but really it was her rakshas that excited the h out of her. he yelled and screamed and pushed her and pulled her and told her she meant nothing, koi matlab nahin and faraq nahin padta, i hate you dammit.
she was delighted and replied, hum bhi aap se i love you dammit.
and they lived happily ever after.
this was the true story of how asr came to be the khadoos he was, and why khushi never ran away from him nor hollered “redemption!”… as told to the author by the gust of wind.
while dm was instructing gust of wind, happy was getting somewhat restless to see her a… sweet… rakshas. she snuck into his resting place where he slept in his cocoon, as we all have to before we are sent to earth. and there she stood looking down at him, obviously smitten.
even as she watched him a strange feeling overcame her and she couldn’t stop stuffing jalebi, those crumbly, sweet orangey things that grew all over j-hill, into her mouth. then on an impulse, she leaned over and gave him a soft quick peck on his eyelid… the left one… then ran away, not wanting to wake him up. he’d surely snarl and thrust her away, maybe even yell. oh, the thought thrilled her as she tripped off.
asr didn’t stir, but on his eyelid were left three tiny, almost invisible, bright orange crunchy crumbs from that peck. and as in all good fairytales, the crumbs did their trick, three little dents got marked on the eyelid and no one, not even gust of wind, could guess their purpose…
but every time khushi saw those dents she’d feel a funny urge to lean close and put her lips to them; and every time asr saw jalebi, he wanted desperately to kiss the girl whose touch he seemed to remember, a girl who’d kissed him in another life he was sure. even though he was khadoos and not supposed to believe in other lives and things, but what the, he could still want that kiss.
neither ever told the other about these weird thoughts. only rabba ve knew as only rabba ve does.
who’s rabba ve, did you say? oh that’s the one that stays in every thing everywhere, and is the very is of it all. when dm visited raju singh she whispered the word in his dream. he woke up with a start unlike the sleeping asr and rubbed his eyes frantically wondering what was that. his left brain said, rub away! his right brain leapt up and cried… no! not rub away, it’s…