The Fire of Lohri

The Fire of Lohri

A Story by Penny
"

I wanted to write something about Punjabi culture but ended up writing a tragic story, my first one. It is long, have patience and read it till end. Thanks

"
The winter sun was blissful, our courtyard filled with all sorts of eatables and echoing with gaiety. Preparations for Lohri were almost complete but it was a dual celebration, one of the festival tonight and other for my marriage day after tomorrow. Consequently, Veer Ji and Parjayi Ji were busy and from a corner one could hear the ladies singing the wedding songs like "Kala Sha Kala" and "Latthe Di Chaadar". All in all they were happy and I was happy looking down at them from my room. But the reasons for our happiness were different.
I gave hints about it to Beeji but she still was positive about this wedding. Everyone was. Jaskeerat was a good-looking, well settled NRI from Australia and I was supposed to like him enough to tie the knot with him and love would follow afterwards. Even if it didn't, one couldn't lead a miserable life with so much money. And truely, he looked so innocent with his turban and cute little face, so much so, that I wanted to speak my heart out to him but it wasn't gonna happen.
My chain of thought was broken by the noice produced downstairs, this time by my nephew and nice, leaving the house excitedly for collecting Lohri or 'Trick or Treat' - what Caesar called it. His mere thought made me smile. "Charanjeet" - I thought I heard him but didn't respond thinking it was just my imagination. But then "Soni" - I heard the nickname Caesar gave me and loojed away from the window to find him. Standing in my room, in reality. I ran towards him happily and almost into his arms but controlled myself. Obviously he didn't and hugged me.

"Leave me! Someone will see" I said struggling.
"No one will" he said breaking the embrace.
"What are you doing here?"
"Well... I came here to deliver things you'd need for your marriage"
"Yeah.. My marriage! Like thats gonna happen." I said pinching his nose affectionately.
"It surely will. But the groom may change." he said again hugging me, this time in an effort to kiss me.
"Hold your horses mister. Wait for few more hours"
"Yes, few more. And then you'll be mine" he said and kissed my henna coated hands before leaving.

I would be called a flirt to fall in love with my groom's Greek neighbour that too on such a short notice. But the very first time we met it felt special. He was Greek but definitely not a warrior, a sweet looking guy who could read my mind. And within the next week our friendship grew so much, that he knew me more than anyone else in this world.
With an extra Salwar-Suit to change on the way, and few other necessities in a small bag I carried, this strange love story of Paris and Soni was ready to be completed with our elopement. As expected, all the men were out and ladies were sleeping when I sneaked out of my house. With the help of my girlfriends, leaving no clue of this act I managed to reach the bus stand at village outskirts where Caesar was waiting for me. We saw each other, hugged and cuddled, all in quick succession. And as our love vehicle arrived we parted for a moment when I boarded the bus and he went to fill the water bottle. I sat on the window seat constantly watching him, actually loving him with my eyes. As he moved away from the tap and towards the bus a hand from behind caught him by his shirt and a few more carrying rods started to hit him, on the head, stomach, legs, and everywhere else. Those were my cousins. Before I could shout for help a hand covered my mouth. It was Veer Ji who sat behind me all this time. The anger in eyes assured a tragic end to my love story like that of Soni-Mahiwal and Paris-Helen. I heard a loud cry from Caesar and the very next moment I fainted after being slapped really hard. And thus, my dream of a happy life ended as I went in deep sleep.

Next I opened my eyes in my suffocating littke room. It was evening by then and I was sitting on a chair. I wasn't tied to the thing but a sort of weakness and fear kept me from standing up. Not to forget, Veer Ji and all my cousins stood right infront of me. Before I could get myself the courage to talk to them, they brought infront of my eyes, a mobile phone and played a video. As it was evident from it, they had killed Carsar. First, they picked him up from the bus stand in his half awake state, took him to the woods, ripped his clothes, beat him a little more, poured alcohol over his naked and almost dead body and burnt him as it is, alive. And that was the punishment they thought fit for a guy who caused their family dishonour - they delivered this messagevlaughing heartily in the film. The horryfying silence that echoed in the room was broken by Veer Ji. "Just thank God, we didn't kill you. Don't you dare open your mouth regarding this. And get ready, your wedding is preponed to tomorrow. We don't want any more disrespect coming from your side" said Veer Ji while others agreed.
"Its time to burn the Lohri (bonfire). Come downstairs!" Parjayi shouted and everyone left, laughing and saying "We already burnt what we neede to" and gave yet another evidence of their brutality. As they said, I could not fight for justice, or even let my strife flow in the form of tears. Also it was a kind of horror that had stirred my soul and dried it of its emotions (tears). I just sat there, alive but lifeless with a stillness that lasted for an hour or so till Beeji made entarance in my little hell.

"Get ready. We need to get out in the village to celebrate" she said without facing me and kept on my lap the suit and jewellery I had to wear.
"Celebrate" I couldn't help but be sarcastic and started weeping the next minute.
"Its OK" she too started crying.
"Jaskeerat is a good man. It was wrong for you to leave him withoyt knowing him enough." I couldn't beleive she said that.

"May be. But I knew the man very wellI wanted to spend my life with and your son.."
"No! We couldn't approve of that relationship. You have to marry Jaskeerat"
"And they had to kill him. Slaughter him!" I made a point. "May be I was wrong in my decision to marry Caesar. But they didn't do a noble job by killing him either."
"You should look forth to your future. Your husband will keep you happy" she sympathised.
"Probably. But you all will pay for your sins. Wasn't it for the wedding of a poor girl that people begged and did charity and then lit the hoyy fire, thus starting the tradition of Lohri" A tear trickled down my countenance. "And few people, Sorry, brutes of this family forbade the union of two hearts on this very day. I may forgive them God won't. Catastrophe is near."

"If they did wrong they'll be punished" she cried "Get reafy soon, we ate about to leave" she ran out sobbing. As I was ordered I put myself into the attire and put on the jewellery. Last I took the Paranda Caesar bought for me (his last memory) and tied it to my Gutt and left finally.


Like always by the time the whole Pind had gathered in the small square where Lohri was burning. Atmosphere oozed mirth as I as being presented as the sacrificial pray against the backdrop of girl's singing 'Sundar Mundariye' and dancing. Announcement was made about the preponement of my marriage and ladies came now and then to bless me. Noise and joy started to increade and I was the centre of attraction. And then it all ceased, dancing, noise everything as a man came and informed Beeji of her misfortune. Jaskeerat and his family had vanished from their alotted place in the nearby village. Also their luggage and the gifts (dowry) they recieved from my family were nowhere to be found. They had conned us and ran away to Australia. With acceptance of this plausible hypothesis as the truth, celebrations almost cane to an end when...

"Sundar Mundariye.. Hoye!" A girl shouted from the crowd and started dancing as if nothing had happened. Like neither did her marriage break, nor the last dream hher mother cherished about her happiness. She was cheerful about the justice God had delivered, yet tears ran down her face as she danced uncontrollably for The Fire of Lohri had not only burnt her dreams but alsi charred the sinners.


© 2015 Penny



Author's Note

Penny
Sab toh pehle mere sare punjabi prayan nu Lohri di lakkh lakkh vadaiyaan!

Glossary

Veer Ji :- Punjabi term for elder brother
Parjayi :- Elder brother's wife
Beeji :- Mother
Paranda :- A head accesdory worn by Punjabi women
Gutt :- Plat
Pind :- Punjabi term for a hamlet or village

My Review

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Featured Review

Culture of every place was made with and for love. So that people could understand the real meaning of life. However people let everyone down by remaining savages. Savagery is more celebrated in our society than love for sure because that points to one thing. We have not evolved from animal to human being despite our best claims.

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Penny

2 Years Ago

Every single word you saidis true and means a lot to me. Iam glad that my writing delivered the mess.. read more



Reviews

WoW!!!!
the false and hollow sense and need for control...........
amazing twist in the end......justice......
the backdrop of lohri is remarkable......
but to be honest.......this needs revision.......your story is good.
i loved it!!!
:)

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Pushkar Prabhat

2 Years Ago

as you have stated.......that you went along as the story proceeded........now that you know the sto.. read more
Penny

2 Years Ago

No no. I am completely fine it. Actually I knew all along that more drama n dialogues won't harm but.. read more
Pushkar Prabhat

2 Years Ago

my pleasure........... :) :)
aapne apni kahani k har ek paatr ko bahot khoobi se pesh kia.....aap badhai k paatr hain.

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Penny

2 Years Ago

Dhanyawad.. Har paatra mere parishram se aaya hai aur unki saraahna mere lite sarvopari hai. Shukriy.. read more
sapna sagar

2 Years Ago

gazab hindi.....mujhe bahot achha lagta hai jb koi hindi me jawaab deta hai....ek raaz ki baat batau.. read more
Penny

2 Years Ago

Hindi toh achi h hi par lakhnawi hone ki wajah sent khakis Urdu bhi aati h, jiska namoona Abhi much .. read more
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LG2
The Fire of Lohri is an intriguing title that led me in and I'm glad I did. An interesting read that shows various aspects of human nature and how we follow our instincts and hearts. I learnt a thing or two too. The glossary is a good idea

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Penny

2 Years Ago

Thanks.. you know this glossary was more of a necessity than an idea because many Indians too, I tel.. read more
LG2

2 Years Ago

I did like your characters a lot, you built them well
Penny

2 Years Ago

Thanks a lot. They are combination of many common yet unique in themselves peole of Punjab.
Culture of every place was made with and for love. So that people could understand the real meaning of life. However people let everyone down by remaining savages. Savagery is more celebrated in our society than love for sure because that points to one thing. We have not evolved from animal to human being despite our best claims.

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Penny

2 Years Ago

Every single word you saidis true and means a lot to me. Iam glad that my writing delivered the mess.. read more
Well it was refreshing to read this and immmerse in the culture of Punjab. Thanks too for adding the definitions...Bravo......

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Penny

2 Years Ago

I know it was odd for you to read a story and review it for you never do it, still I can't thank you.. read more
Sami Khalil

2 Years Ago

You are welcome....:).......

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369 Views
5 Reviews
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Added on January 11, 2015
Last Updated on February 25, 2015
Tags: Lohri, Ethnic, Punjabi, Tragedy, Love story

Author

Penny
Penny

lucknow, India



About
An introvert by profession, I've developed a love for writing to express my feelings. Sadly its my only talent, wanna know from you good people if I can be a writer professionaly.I dont fit into any g.. more..

Writing