In Gulzar’s Ijaazat As In My Life, Indifference Aches More Than Heartbreak

As I, with my heartbreak, visit and revisit our memories of love, I realize how closely my life is similar to the 1987 Bollywood film, Ijaazat, directed by Gulzar.

Trigger Warning: This speaks of loss and grief and may be triggering for survivors.

Mahender : Abh bhi maachis rakhti ho? Pehle toh mere liye rakhti thi aur abh? (You still keep matches in your bag? Earlier it was for me and now?)

Sudha: Baas Apki Bhulne ki Adaat nahi gayi; Meri rakhne ki adaat nahi gayi. (You haven’t stopped forgetting them, I haven’t stopped keeping them!)

Unreturned love often revisits me on days when my heart refuses to accept your absence. There are days when I feel empowered to have triumphed over all the grief by letting go of the memories of my dreams, in which you are only mine.

And then, there are days when I still wait for you to pass by that same alley where we once casually walked together, discussing life over a cup of tea.

I always preferred coffee to tea.

Until I met you.

I guess this is love when we try to love the things they love for the sake of their happiness, yearning for their one smile which can light up our entire drab life.

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Happiness and grief to me are like seasons now

Happiness and grief to me are like seasons now which come and go with no fixed date or time, time which promises to heal all wounds, never mentioning how long it takes one to heal.

You’ll probably never know how much faster my heart beats every time we accidentally exchange glances, and how it throbs with pain every time you look away without acknowledging the love I have for you in my heart.

I often envision us being together, dancing over slow jazz, making love afterwards as shown in movies, despite knowing it’s one more dream that will never come true.

Reality is brutal and painful as it always implores me to be rational, so I search for momentary escape in fantasy where I fulfil all my unfulfilled desires.

The desire of being loved by you in all the ways I have ever imagined.

It’s been five months and 18 days since my heart found love in you, and waits for you to love it back. Indifference aches more than heartbreak at times yet your small gestures of care, that smile, and the way you carry yourself, enhance the intensity of the love my heart holds for you.

Mahender could never love Sudha the way she wanted

Yet she never complained. And left one day carrying all her grief safely embedding it in her heart, knowing Mahender’s heart belongs to someone else, and can never be hers.

Love can be so selfless at times that you don’t hesitate to shatter yourself for the sake of your lover’s happiness. There’s no one other than time who can rejoin the shards of your broken heart back together.

But do all those emotions fade away with time? Does time wash away all those memories?

I guess, time just teaches us and our heart to cope up with the distress in a better way; so that next time whenever the season of grief that revolves around our unrequited love revisits us, our heart and soul aches a little less.

Yet, a part of the person whom we once loved remains alive in us forever because of the little ways in which they changed our life and our perception towards different things in life.

Neruda once said, “Loving is so short and forgetting is so long.”

When Mahender and Sudha meet after years, everything had changed with the circumstances, but the love Sudha had for Mahender always stayed with her, which was evident in the above conversation where she remembered all the traits of her lover’s traits even after years.

The “maachis”, here, symbolize the power of true love that transcends all the barriers of the mortal world.

Sudha’s love for Mahender was enough for her to spend the rest of her life, nurturing the numbered days they spent together. The habits of her lover were engraved in her heart forever, as she built her own world with the help of them, remembering them.

Maybe in this remembrance, she kept alive the hope of crossing paths with her lover for a proper closure so that she could leave this time taking his permission.

“Pichli baar bina pooche chali gayi thi, Is baar Ijaazat de do.” (Last time I had left without taking your leave; now I can with your permission.)

So near, yet so far

Maya and Sudha, both the female characters in this film are victims of half-love. While Maya’s lover tied the knots of marriage with someone else, Sudha’s husband who was the love of her life never got over his past lover and remained besotted with her, thus turning their marriage into a sham.

I can connect with both of them being a victim myself of the same, yet Sudha’s poignant selfless love makes me believe that we can keep loving someone even if they don’t love us back.

Unlike relationships, love after all has no expiry date. It stays lurking in the corners of our heart even if we wish to erase it, as a delete option doesn’t exist for feelings.

Torn in this everyday tussle between heart and mind, holding on and letting go, I know not how long I can keep loving you, keep weaving impossible dreams of our togetherness.

But I only wish to gather the courage to let you know someday that whatever the future holds for me, I shall be forever grateful to you for helping me feel all my emotions strongly; for giving birth to a poet in me who can now use metaphors to liberate her caged emotions; who can now always feel that she is closer to you even when she is afar – with the help of her words in which you reside.

Aur mere ek khaat me lipti raat padi hai. (And there’s a night wrapped in my letter.)

Image source: a still from the film Ijaazat

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About the Author

Srilekha Mitra

An overthinking cinephile who occasionally seeks refuge in poetry. Words are her antidote on bad days. read more...

24 Posts | 28,262 Views

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