Ramin Tork – Pastiche exercise
Suraj was in an embroiled kurta churidar salwar. He looked like a handsome17th century Mugal prince. Doing his Saptapadi (taking seven steps around the fire) and smiling.
On the final step and behind him, holding his hand his new beautiful bride Shilpa.
Covered in 22ct gold from head to toe; one on her forehead, two earrings, three necklaces golden arm bands, rings and hundreds of bangles, hands tattooed with henna she looked like an Indian Goddess. No expense was spared. The two recited their vows:
“We have taken the Seven Steps. You have become mine forever. Yes, we have become partners. I have become yours. Hereafter, I cannot live without you. Do not live without me. Let us share the joys. We are word and meaning, united. You are thought and I am sound. May the night be honey-sweet for us. May the morning be honey-sweet for us. May the earth be honey-sweet for us. May the heavens be honey-sweet for us. May the plants be honey-sweet for us. May the sun be all honey for us. May the cows yield us honey-sweet milk. As the heavens are stable, as the earth is stable, as the mountains are stable, as the whole universe is stable, so may our union be permanently settled.”
John was nervous about giving the best man speech to the Indian men but had practiced and practiced, but he was happy because he knew the boy was happy.
Loud and clear John recited what he’d learnt. He would have done his late wife Gita proud. He could almost feel the heat of her light from above his head warming his heart like a sun and giving him courage. He could hear her mind…. Its good my darling.. You’re doing it well…
When fifteen years earlier he went round the circle of fire he was saying those words with all passion to Gita.
Gita had insisted on a Church wedding but he wasn’t having it, he knew she wanted a Hindu ceremony and he wanted it for her. Her who was everything to him, always her, everything was for her. Then he hadn’t told her that he could read her mind, just like radio waves. He kept this to himself. It wasn’t fitting for a Policeman to talk about special powers.
Eighteen years ago, on his beat, walking across neon lights of Soho, with red signs saying: “Kitty welcomes you”, “Girls, Girls, Girls”, he’d heard a mind voice.
Little Suraj hiding near the dustbins, sobbing.. Hungry and bruised.
Feeling threatened by the presence of a Policeman he was hiding. John traced the mind-voice. Suraj had been beaten up by the school skinheads. He missed his dead father. He missed home but had run away. He didn’t want to go back to the same school.
John took him to the station.
“Where do you live son?”
(John knew, he could read the boy’s mind but had to ask him anyway).
“I’m not going back…He sobbed”
“Its alright son, I’m sure your Mum’s going berserk by now, lets take you somewhere so you stop shivering. I’ll give her a call, better still, I’ll take you there”.
He got a lift from his mate and took the boy to Leyton, he lived only two blocks away so it was effectively on his way and he’d finished his shift.
Gita was frantic.
(God she looked beautiful). She hardly spoke a word of English but her mind-voice was a voice of an angel. For John, it was love at first sight. For Gita, he was a strange foreign man, and he could read it. She was a bit frightened of him, but pleased.
Things didn’t start easy. Gita didn’t see him as a man, he was just a foreign blur image but he persisted. He visited, changed his beat to his local. Protected the boy and told off the local thugs.
He came to visit when Gita’s house was broken into. She’d lost her gold, the ruby earrings (her husband had bought her) and the lapis lazuli, turquoise necklace she’d worn at her wedding. They caught the man who’d done it, and she was more pleased.
She warmed up to him eventually, seeing how kind he was, how he protected them and when she started taking lessons and spoke some broken English, her family wouldn’t have an English man visit her. When she had feelings for him, nothing could stop her.
They had an Indian wedding and John was wearing a embroiled kurta churidar salwar, and saying his vows around the fire.
He was now standing at his son’s wedding. He was happy for the time he had with Gita, before cancer took her away.
Now he was seeing his son getting a new life, and Gita’s warm glow reminded him that he is the best man.