The dead fall in love

By Neelima Vinod,
Special to The Post 
 
There was a room with large teak doors shut by a bronze lock. Thathri opened it to reveal a large room with an enormous bed made of several varieties of wood, with silken covers strewn on the mattress. Outside, the moonlight flooded the world and clouds gathered as the wind nudged them together.
Shankara observed a sensation flood his body with tremendous heat he could not hold. Thathri pulled him towards the bed with urgency. She had waited long enough. As she lay, Shankara saw her merge with the silken covers; which was which? Her fragrance and texture mingled with the sheets.
Something fled from him—his sense of self. He turned simply into an instrument of longing, of hunger he had never experienced. Thathri let him find her out—he searched her body for meanings he never knew existed.
“Who are you?” he asked as he smothered the stranger with a thousand kisses. He was unable to weigh his sensations—he was urged by a force within. The woman hardly spoke. However hard he tried, there was no warmth in her—only coolness filled his heart. Perhaps she did not trust him yet—but he had time. He held her tiny hands and pulled her close to him.
“Come, let us sit in the courtyard. What is the hurry? Time is our friend and we will find out all there is to know.” She led him downstairs where there was a rectangular quadrant, through which the heavens poured.
They sat and watched as the clouds gave way and the rain fell. Their hands clasped, their kisses lingering in the thunderous night. For the first time, Shankara experienced a connection with a woman, a female force.
Thathri felt it too; she was not torn apart as she had once been. This love was different. It made her want to spread her arms and shout out that love was possible even in death.
What did people know? They had lied to her about love being confined to ceremony. Even the boy with the golden voice she had given her fist-sized heart to, even he had lied to her. He knew nothing, the fool!
Here was her majestic man—she would never let him go. He might bring her back to the real world again. Wasn’t love capable of achieving the impossible?
For a time, at least, she would devour his thoughts; he was too precious to destroy, too sweet. She stroked his hair as he laid his head on her lap and stroked his thoughts into her own—how beautiful they were. A barrage of words filled her being, poems brimmed inside her. She saw pictures of the Nayaka palace and the blue hills where he grew.
“Show me your poems,” she said and in the faint light of the moon, she traced the sheaves of words that she could not read but could hear with full clarity. “If only I could read,” she sighed as the poems flew out of his inscriptions into her brain. “If only I could write this way, I would have so many stories to tell.
“This is what I want,” she said, “take your quill and write my thoughts.”
All Shankara could do was agree—how little it took for a poet to write. He hungered to possess all of her, even the flights of her delicate mind.
Thathri gazed with wonder at her lover from the forest. How could his thoughts sing like a waterfall or gallop like horses? How could there be no bloody gore or violent intent in a man’s mind? She felt as though he held purity in his stylus and although she understood that he was only cursed to love her by the Odiyan dressed as a dog in the forest, she could not devour him as a yakshi should.
The dead also fall in love.
 
Read more from "Unsettled" at www.indireads.com.
 
About the Author: 
 
Neelima Vinod spent her childhood in the Persian Gulf, with holidays in the warm, dreamy climes of southern India. She completed her M.Phil in English literature and worked as an editor, teacher and writer. She now lives in Bangalore, India. 
 
This story is a excerpt from Indireads. This fictional series offers a wide wide range of romance novellas written by both men and women, for South Asian readers around the world. Read more at www.indireads.com.
 

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