Greenery had embraced the valley again, the lilacs bloomed, iris smiled and the nightingale sang. Beauty had returned to the paradise again, the Chinar tree with it's generous shade was proof enough that nature if not anyone was eternally generous to Kashmir. He often dreamt of this eternal peace returning to the valley, the cool breeze that carried heavy fragrances of exotic flowers invaded his nostrils. The beauty of the natural world and his inner turbulence blended overwhelming him with a deep sense of remorse. Unable to carry on any further he sat by the gurgling brook, a splash of cold water on his face broke his trance and his eyes followed the source only to stay fix on those big brown doe eyes the same ones that had made him go weak on his knees so very often. But the mischievous glint was a revelation, those eyes were always sombre but now she sat next to him her feet dipped in the water her smile infectious as usual and her mischievously twinkling eyes, he had often subconsciously imagined her this way during her happy Aligarh days.
"Mehr", his voice sounded rasp as he desperately knelt in front of her.
"Mehr, just take me with you", he pleaded with a strong urge to cup her face in his palms but he restrained himself somehow.
"I can't take this anymore, take me away from that wedding night, that torturous night, how could you ever think for once that I can stay away from you."
He was not ashamed of his desperation, he wanted his Mehr for himself like a little boy he felt that this big bad world had snatched her from him.
'What have you done to yourself Naushad Miya?' that deep sensual yet dignified voice of Meherunisa Mirza that had enthralled him from the first moment they had argued. Her voice had a coquettish touch to it moreover from Dr. Rizvi he was suddenly Naushad Miya.
'Aliya needs you' her big brown eyes were overwhelmed by compassion. Naushad was angry suddenly, he was angry because he met her, he was angry because she was so beautiful, he was angry because she was ravaged physically and emotionally and above all he was angry because he failed to defend her.
" She needs you too", he blurted out.
"I need you more", he uttered under his breath.
Naushad looked at Mehr, the green pashmina that hugged her body complimented the white apple flowers blooming above her head, her long tresses cascading down on one side of her shoulder made her look almost ethereal.
'Do you think Kashmir will ever smile again Naushad?' she questioned combing the locks on his forehead with her long feminine fingers. Her touch was relaxing and infuriating his senses at the same time, fatigue overpowered him and he placed his head on her lap. She gently stroke his hair.
"Mehr" he uttered one more time waking up to a cold wintry morning with snow covered fields beyond his window. It was cold winter outside and like always he had finished a bottle of alcohol and called her name throughout the night.