A Nose Ring For My Village Damsel


Love story

Heavy breaths. The silence of the room drowned in the sound of my breathing. I noticed it as I woke up late in the evening, as the world got enveloped in a light shade of darkness. There were a lot of moths near my lamp light. The cool breeze wasn’t the only thing that came in through the open windowThe moon had already settled itself for one more long night, but the stars took their own sweet time. Sitting at my writing table, I found myself losing to my memories.

My uncle used to own a house in the village, which after his death, passed on to me. I often went there, not for the house as much as for the time and solitude it offered me. I gave up my job recently to become a full-fledged writer and the city was not supportive of my pursuit, with its crowds, noises and distractions. The old, dilapidated house which I ignored for ten years, all of a sudden, became more like home than my apartment in the city. But it wasn’t only for the peace that I frequently spent time there.

Ananya, yes. Even now after years have passed, I remember her. She still is freshly etched in my memory. My friends in the city used to call her my “village damsel”. True, I was attracted to her. Who wouldn’t I beWith her hair falling down to her knees and braided elegantly, with her light brown eyes playfully hiding under her eyelids and the gentleness she brought in her movement along with her extraordinary beauty. But my most favourite aspect of her was not her lips or her skin, but her nose. Even though it wasn’t the best of her physical traits, I felt it really added poise and womanhood to her much girlish charm. Even though I was never really an early bird, I used to wake up early just to the sight of her passing by my window. It was like a morning prayer. I didn’t think she ever noticed me until one day I decided to follow her. Apparently she used to go to the nearby pond, early in the morning, for no plain reason. She sat there with her feet dipped in the water.

Love story

I listened to the music of her anklets as she splashed her feet into the water. I watched the ripples form and fade in the still pond. She noticed me and moved aside, looking at me. I came up to her and asked her name, “Aapka Naam kya hai?” 

“Ananya.” she said, and that was all the conversation we had. From then onevery morning we sat by the pond in silence and pointing at things we noticed in all the wilderness. Sometimes, I used to feel my arm brush against hers and that was the same for me as making love to her. I knew from the beginning, she was unattainable. I was not a person who hoped. I was a person who loved because he wanted to love and not because he found that love could one day lead to something. I knew she was like the seasons - like the summer, the monsoon, the spring, the autumn. I could only dwell in her for so much time.

I did not write much during that time. But I always wandered in the pool of words looking for a word that would only belong to her. I never found that word, so instead of a word I gave myself to her. We never really knew that what we had was love. We were two human beings lost in the woods, early in the morning, dreaming. What dreams we found, no one would know except the young fawn who used to sip water or the birds restfully watching as if we were one of their own.

Soon I was out of money and I had to leave to find a job. I never regretted leaving my then previous job because Ananya gave something more precious to me that I could use in all my loneliness… memories. In return, I decided I would gift her a nose ring the next time I would visit her.

A year later, somehow making time from my boring but hectic job, I went to my village for a few days. The early morning, the day after, I waited for her to pass by my window so that I could surprise her. But she never came. I waited like this for two more days, but there was no sign of her. So the next day, I went to the other part of the village where she used to live. I assumed this, as I never saw her in my part of the village. In an old, respectable home, a woman approached with a man and two small boys. It was Ananya. I watched her, hiding myself behind the trees. She looked happy. Perhaps our love affair (for the lack of a better term) gave her a momentarily, much-needed escape from her life. She looked more relaxed and laughed a lot as they all walked towards the open fair. I still like to think that I gave her that happiness. But I know she was the one who consoled me in my loneliness, who saw my love and comforted me for not being able to reciprocate the same.

I still visited the village often. I wrote a lot more and soon was able to earn a decent living from it, but I still kept my job. For some reason, I felt I needed the job. Not for money, but I needed to work. I was not strong enough anymore to dwell on my dreams. This abyss, which I could not comprehend any more, became my dream. I wrote not out of a desire to achieve something, but rather to stay sane. It seemed to me the only way.

I can see the stars more clearly now as I am writing this fragment from my memory. I still have the nose ring. I still hold on to it as if her whole essence is poured into it. Can there be a day still, where she will come to me and ask me my name? How would my name sound in her voice? Would it have a desire for it, or perhaps, love? Will I be able to see her put on the nose ring I’d bought for her? I should stop. I am hoping too much.

Wait, what is this strange tune in the air. Is it her voice?