The music reverberated in the room as he reached his hand under the pillow to extract the photograph and look at it once more.
This picture was a special one, although being one of his best shots, it still brought him pain. He wished it was he, instead of that person in the photograph, who was dressed in shirt, pant and black tie with his head covered by thin muslin cloth. He would have loved to relish her kiss through a veil and he felt a pang of jealousy as he stared at the picture of the couple, with their faces hidden behind the thin muslin cloth, deeply engrossed in their passionate moments.
He had clicked many more pictures on that day; pictures of his friends in fancy dress, some in odd shaped goggles that covered half their faces, then there were others with colour wigs, some blond, some red, and some with feathers. Fancy dress always added mystery to the party. He was happy when he was invited to the party as a professional photographer. He focused his lens on his friends and their companions and tried to guess the face behind their facades. He had not wanted to wear any special outfit for that party preferring to play with his lens and capture the moments.
He had enjoyed sitting between his shoots at the bar, sipping the martini and watching his friends dance at the beat of the rhythm. There was the combination of western and Bollywood music. It was during his third drink, that he had noticed her enter the room. He had recognized her by her red dress with a pink minivers. He had bought that dress from an expensive store and had given it her on her birthday.
“Happy birthday, Maina, I hope you like it” he had told her as he had placed the gift-wrapped dress on her lap, when she had visited his house to exchange some notes with his sister.
She had loved it, especially the smooth touch of the material, and had praised him for his good choice of clothes. He had never seen her wear that dress until that day at the party and her face was covered with a thin muslin cloth over her head. He was surprised. She had not even mentioned that she would be attending that party. Had he known that she would be attending, he would have accompanied her. And then, he had seen her companion, his face covered too, with similar thin muslin cloth. He was holding her in that special way. To hide his disappointment, he had hidden his face behind his lens.
For the rest of the evening, he had focused his lens on this couple, capturing their move, zooming, focussing, and clicking their every moment as they had danced, kissed, and swayed to the music. Their bodies moved together matching the mood and the beat of the music. He had waited for them to uncover their faces and had hoped that it was not Maina, even though he was sure that it was the same dress that he had purchased with so much love.
Later, he had seen them sneak out and he had followed them. He had seen them enter the powder room and he had been surprised. He had waited outside, in the far corner, on the couch under the dim light.
And then he had seen them without their veil of thin muslin cloth, hand in hand, Maina and his sister, who was dressed in shirt, pants and a black tie.