When they met, Mughal-e-Azam had already created a stir in the sub-continent.
In Kashmir, jab pyaar kiya tou darna kya inspired many a buchi to elope with her boyfriend.
Poor parents would find the `suicide note’ the next morning.
But Sheru’s subjects did not embarrass their parents by taking the extreme step.
They played it cool, and exchanged beautiful love letters till they tied the knot.
And realised that the relationship was not worth the pain they had endured for so many years.
Both of them had preserved their love letters.
Romeo’s were found, carefully-stapled, thirty-six years after marriage.
Needless to say, the treasure made a tasty read.
But Juliet’s were missing.
After much coaxing and cajoling, she shared her secret with a family member.
“I burned them. But I could not destroy his. Something happened deep inside my chest, and I put out the flames.”
The eternal knot, to the dismay of both, had turned out to be a marriage of inconvenience.
They had also prepared divorce papers, several times, but stopping short of breaking up.
They would exchange barbs almost every day.
In one such fit of rage, Juliet pulled out all her letters and set them on fire.
“What a fool I had been. How could I have written all this?”
She was right. In a love letter, one does not know what one says, and why.
But the Romeos and Juliets of today do not write love letters.
They chat, they use cell phones, they meet frequently, and what not.
Sheru is confused.
Juliet had accepted her mistake after thirty-six years. By destroying her letters, she had made clear that she hated the person she once loved so much.
But she finds it very difficult to destroy her Romeo’s letters. And admits the feeling that prevented her from doing so.
Isn’t this an admission?
She still loves him and that is the beauty of their relationship.
But when will they realise it?
Sheru wishes them good luck.
-postscript: clear instructions have been issued to the entire family to keep Sheru away from the treasure. But Sheru knows his job well. Some day Sheru will lay his hands on it, and tell readers more about those golden times, when mahboob and mahbooba would take years to graduate to holding hands.