The Castle of Tears

She was beautiful, indeed very beautiful. Not white, not black, not brown but she was beautiful. She ran from the courtyard to the outer house and without boundaries, without frontiers of associations and her hair fell on the shoulders, she smiled only to make rose petals plunge into jealousy, she twitched her mouth to leave all around gasping for breath. She had a round face, nose stood like a delicate petal of flower  and the touch of fragrance about it loudly stamped hurrah hurrah, her eyes cast a regal majestic brilliance, she walked with a causal swagger and the hearts either went out for a walk or burned with the angst of envy, even her friends avoided being with her for there was beauty, sheer beauty that pushed ajar the doors of fancy, fantasy and all imagination came to one final conclusion, how it would be like being with her or even very close to her not, to her breath, not to her stately eyes. All was fine piece of craft, by the wily craft master, the God, the ultimate sense of resignation hangs on and about Him.

What God thinks about women, about his own creations has not been unearthed by anyone and the more it has been debated the more complications it assume but that girl was a bare reminder of what He can do. Aesthetics has its own philosophy, has its own sense of appeal involved in the appreciation of beauty but the beauty itself is an image that only enthralls all in the same degree. She was a damsel, an angel, a goddess of truth, of innocence and beauty, a thing to be adored and admired, to be regaled and fascinated but not to question who was she and how she had the splendid beauty. May be God was free while creating her or may be He had an off day from office to concentrate on her creation. A model of absolute truth in terms of sheer faith in aesthetic dalliance but what made him do it, what made him create something that would be incredible for Him too.

The evening wrapped in doubts unfolded itself to the delight of all those waiting for a glimpse, for a gaze dipped in desires to acknowledge the master craft of the Creator. She whizzed through the air, zipped through the corridors of fancy, dashed through the salacious saliva and darted inside the imaginative landscape of all men clamouring for a lustful look. Her hair fluttered in the air like dingy smoke black as charcoal, eyes dangled like the swooping eagle, lips quivered delicately darting up and down and the wafer thin body took to heels in no time. She moved with electrifying energy, shrugged shoulders to souse the aftermath of her emergence on the streets of fantasy fraught with perilous propensities. She, the, men wonder ever examined her own portrait in a mirror, ever cast a look at the dynamics of her constitution, at her effable, fluffy, graceful and elegant body, just a body for men who stare and glance at her, she was a body, just a body in flesh and blood.

She raised her hand, blinked her eyes, pinched her cheeks more delicate than the feather of the birds, more handsome than dove and more glorious than the majestic sun. She came out twice that day, once in the morning and once in the evening and on both occasions she redefined the tender morning dew and the soft shafts of the evening’s meadow. She walked around the garden in the morning, touched the rose petals, and blessed Lilac, Violet, Chrysanthemum and the growing plants, the plants that barely draw the attention, that barely deserve pats but were touched by her flimsy hands, hands that were magical, mystical and musical. In the evening she waited for the darkness to fall, for the stars to appear, for the night-jar’s cry, for the cuckoo to sing and for the owl to heap ugliness on the earth but she knew men’s saliva remains parched, drooling, at the sight of a mystical girl who hypnotizes them, regales them and leaves them mystified by the supernatural brilliance of the self. The evening was petrified further by the miracle of her beauty, by the insurmountable length of her charm, by the buoyancy of a grandiose character.

The night refused to dip further for the paucity of light was compensated by the radiance emanating from the mysterious girl. She was barely in her twenties, had a round body with firmly inflated balloons that bounced with her smooth steps, steps that were lunging, protruding and gripping the earth with élan and grandeur. The men stood at the gates of the orchard in the late hours of evening anticipating the emergence of the angel dying for a look at her, at her aesthetic components, at her ravishing aura and at her flamboyant persona. She emerged from the dark castle stationed into the middle of a field, the walls stood erected belligerently cramping the sprawling campus with its ugly shades, with its hideous shadows and with its repulsive face.

The castle darted up the sky, the dome like structure, huge structure stood in arrogance of a prince who is believed to have died in the same castle years ago and since then the grapevine has it that there are spirits dwelling, the sound of the drum beat, the music of the arrested souls drifting out, the shadows seem walking on their own and the screeching sounds of the hags scare away all that pass by. But she emerged from the same castle every evening, the same time, the same snow white frock with fur making it sweep the ground, the hair falling like a cloak on the shoulders, the eyes resting on the swirling crowd, she would break into the garden in close proximity to the castle, sing a melodious song in tune with her isolation and look back as if she was waiting for somebody to rise from the grave.

The boys fear stricken but upbeat to manage a look at her would stay outside the orchard, peep through the holes of the gate and find the strong fragrance melted into the atmosphere as all of a sudden the billowy silver smoke would envelope their eyes and they stood transported to the unseen world of a girl who dwells in beauty and added to it was the mystery of her being. Her skin was white as chalk, eyes dark as night, nose a slightly curved and tilted to the right, the solitary spot of ugliness by her standards. She was talking to the flowers asking them to dance, urging them to toss their heads up in frenzy, in fury, in vehemence and in sheer madness. She was mad, she was senile, and she was crazy perhaps, perhaps……

The next evening the boys as a matter of routine would gather the same ;point, just outside the orchard, to have a glance steeped in curiosity, enmeshed into bewilderment, and squealing with subdued undercurrents of consternation, the same beautiful girl clad in the same white frock would appear with steps measured, with breath losing the count and the moon like visage would find flowers being addressed as if they were her friends, plants being caressed, the seeds being kissed, would again look back as if there was somebody coming from behind to touch her, to caress her, to flip through her body and to behold her beauty….. But she was beautiful…..

The castle continued to stay where it stood firmly with walls imposing  curfew around it, there was no gate keeping by anyone, there was no vigilance by any body, there was no patrolling of the walls done by any man but the sounds of the subdued steps, the suppressed wails of cry, the tinkling of the bangles, the faint and feeble voice of girls kept percolating out, the long hair fallen at the gates, the pieces of broken bangles littered the ground and the white moon faced girl was finally out of the castle in the sun light. That incredibly beautiful girl was engaged in a conversation with god.

O dear god, where I am and who I am, what kind of a life have I been living? I am supposed to be weird though I am not, I am supposed to be an angel though I am not, I am supposed to be a goddess though I am not, then who I am? My beauty has been the focal point, the mystery to the boys outside the castle, why can’t I meet them, why can’t I talk to them as all girls do, why can’t I remove the veil of mystery that surrounds me. My mother died in the same castle, my brother died in the unholy bounds of the castle which is the castle of death. I touch the flower and it shrieks, I touch the rose petals and it refuse to be touched by me, I look back to find my prince coming and he turns away from me. Who are these people living with me? They have long hair,  unkempt hair, long dangerous nails, sharp claws and they rip open my chest every night, suck blood and leave me dead but the breath creeps back into my body and I regain the sucked blood. This castle is hounded, pounded and the cries of the wandering human souls are staggering to be out of it but the spirits, the seen and unseen spirits are tightening the groove around their neck. O god, o holy god, you have created me to be the prisoner of the spirits, to be the fodder for the starved, to be the hostage of the invisible. O god please allow me to act normal, to be seen as a human stuff only. Let me go back to the same boys who want to play with me, with my body, the untouched body, the fluffy flesh on my soul. Let it be removed by the salacious saliva, by the male gaze, by the tender touch of the human hand which can fiddle with me.

The group of boys were left stunned over what they saw and all ran away from there while the girl kept screaming, don’t leave me in this castle. I am one of you…. She did it many a time but all took to their heels and she was back to the castle waiting for the same boys to reappear to see her and her beauty…. But she was beautiful.


More by :  Prof. Afroz Ashrafi

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