Twilight sets in as Veera lets out a long sigh.
“What’s the matter?” her mother asks.
“I wonder where he is…” Veera whispers as she gazes out of the window.
“Who are you talking about?”
“The one who has entered my heart.”
Her mother rushes and closes the door.
“What are you saying, my child? What are you saying?”
“I love him, Mother. And for the first time, I know what the sweetness of love means. It’s real and not fictional.”
“Bite your tongue, Veera. Let these walls absorb your words. Let no word escape this room. You are a widow with two grown children. How can you even think this way? It is sin. What will your children say? What will the world say? Your brother will be distressed if he finds out… He’ll kill him!”
“I hear you, Mother. I hear you. But, my love is not a sin. My love is sacred. It is a gift. Don’t you want to know the name of the man who has captured your daughter’s heart?”
“My dearest child, I know fate has not been kind to you. But this is dangerous! I’m terrified. It’s better that I don’t know.”
Veera looks at her mother and her eyes glisten. “Mother, he moves like the wind and he blazes like the sun. He is my moon. His hands are large, his fingers slender, his voice hypotonic, his touch gentle.”
“Has he touched you, Veera? Did anyone see you? Oh, God! What calamity has befallen us? Get a hold of yourself, child! This madness of yours will destroy us all.”
“Yes! I am mad. But fear not, Mother, for he has not touched me. Yet, every pore of my body resounds with his name. Without touching me, he has touched me. He’s in my consciousness. Without him, I am nothing.”
Her mother shivers.
Tenderly, she asks, “Does he feel the same for you?”
A distant look descends on Veera’s face, then she stares out of the window.
“I know not. All I know is that he is my Ranjha, but I am not his Hir!”
Her mother gasps and gently embraces her. “Oh, Veera, my beloved Veera! What is to become of this? Tell me, who is his Hir?”
“Panjab, The Land of the Five Rivers is his Hir. Panjab flows in his veins. Panjab is his very breath. He is the son; the lover; the dervish of Panjab. Young and strong is he. Old and weak, I am. There can be no union. I know that. And yet, my love for him grows deeper with every breath. There is no anger, there is no despair. There is only love, and it is because of him. Strange isn’t it, Mother?”
“Veera, I beg you! Please, please forget him. I’m worried. I fear for your life.”
“My life is with him; my breath is with him. Mother, my daily prayer is: May the breaths allotted to me be given to him. I ask for nothing else!”
“Veera…” her mother screams and collapses.