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A love story of two outcasts

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Azgar was the illegitimate son of a prostitute. He grew up in the brothel, also known as the "Haweli" and raised by the women in there. Being considered as an outcast snowflake among the local kids, he spent most of his childhood learning different instruments from the ustadhs in the brothel and being pampered by the women. He was 13 when Sakeena arrived at the brothel. He noticed from the second floor balcony that a man on a brown horse arrived at the Haweli with a teenage girl sitting in front of him on the horse. His face was covered with the end of his black turban and the girl was in a dirty white tunic with a rough, messy hair. But the thing he noticed was the yearning for freedom in her eyes. He saw the same yearning in the eyes of every other women in the brothel. He saw it concealed when they performed, he saw it less concealed when some men stayed after the performances for something more. But what he saw in her eyes were different. It wasn't concealed. It was as if she could burn down the haweli with that look of hers.

For a few months she resisted to come out, like a wild beast. Eventually they broke her will. She had to come around realizing that there was no way out. That's when she crossed paths with Azgar. The teens started chitchating often. Azgar was the only person she didn't despise. His humor, music and poems were an escape for her from the horrible reality she was living. And for Azgar, she was the first person his age, in front of whom he wasn't an outcast. He always thought to himself, how similar they both were. How they were cursed with a life that they didn't ask for. But when they were together it felt like a blessing with a cloak of a curse.

Sakeena grew up to become the most desired dancer in the brothel and Azgar gained fame for his sitar skills. Visitors of his mehfils would often say God has made his fingers with his own hands with extra care. And when Sakeena danced on Azgars music, the entire mehfil would become ecstatic. But this, however, wasn't the only thing they were famous for around the haweli. The chemistry between the two became a common topic of gossip among everyone. It was just the two of them who wouldn't realize how much they actually felt for each other. Until one day, when a Nawabzada showed up on one of her performance.

As Azgar ran his fingers through the sitar, Sakeena danced with an enthusiasm that was out of this world. It was as if Azgar had enchanted her with his music and started controlling her every move with his strings. On the corner was a man in a fancy patterned shawl, with his eyes fixated on the enchanted vixen. He was looking as if, if he could, he would eat her up alive with those eyes. As the dance ended, he brought out a small bag of coins from underneath his shawl and threw it near her feet. Sakeena looked at the man. Once he grabbed her attention, he shook his face signaling her to go with him. Azgar felt a sudden disgust within him. It shouldn't be the case for him. He grew up in this place, he had seen much worse things happening in here. This for him should be just another day. Then why was it happening? The man got up and started walking up to a room. Sakeena slowly started following the man with her head bowed down. Azgar kept staring at her as she walked by. His heart was beating so fast as if it would burst out any second. Even though he knew what she does for a living, this is a scene that he never witnessed before. Not with Sakeena. But he could do nothing. She had accepted her fate long ago and he had been a witness of fates like this, his whole life. His whole body started shaking. He sat their silently. The mehfil was over. Everybody left. Azgar did not. The sitar on his lap, his fingers over the strings, he was sitting their like a statue. Drops of tears would glide through his cheek but no sound. He lost the count of time, but the time came when the gate of the room was opened. The creaking noise startled him. Only then he realized how long he had been sitting there. The nawabzada walked past him and a servant brought him his horse as he hopped on to it and left. Azgar slowly got up and walked up to Sakeena's room. She was sitting on the ground in front of the bed with her knees shrugged in and arms wrapped around her legs, her whole body shaking, shivering. Azgar sat beside her and took her in his arm. She pressed her head against his shoulder and held his other hand tightly. Her eyes started tearing up. Azgar glided his palm up and down through her arm to comfort her.

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