Thursday, 18 August 2011



  THE TWO TULIPS










                               By

      AHMET ABDULAZIZ
 
                                                                                                                                                           1





                             CHAPTER 1


Ting
The next message appeared.

LET`S PLAY A GAME TODAY

Feriha expected excitement.

Ok

She replied back

LET I GUESS WHAT IS THE COLOUR OF YOUR DRESS TODAY

Came the reply

She was too eager to know what he would come up with.

Ok

She responded coolly while trying to hide her excitement.
                                                                                        
YOU ARE WEARING A PINK DRESS

The sentence in bold letters appeared on the screen before her eyes. He always wrote his messages in bold letters.

She had met him on DABEGGO, an internet friendship site just a couple of days earlier. He appeared different



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from others. He was too sober, cool and soft in his approach towards her. He was very unlike the others that she had been experiencing on the net. There was something different in him, which she could not understand. Something in his messages had attracted him. Of course, not much time had passed. She needed time to understand him. But he was so direct and appeared so honest and cute. She could not stop herself exchanging messages with him uninterrupted till evening the day before. They had started understanding each other, by the end of the first day.

She did not reply to any of her friends that day, who kept on trying to approach her. She was busy with her new find. His name was Kamal, an artist from Karachi, Pakistan.

Feriha was the one remaining closed within herself. She was having psychological problems of hers. She was all alone. She did not have any social life outside her house.

Of late she had started facing problems within her nervous system; her doctors had advised her to come out of her closed life. They had advised her to be social, otherwise in their opinion; her psychological problems which had already started affecting her fingers, might spread over other parts of her body.  A couple of times she had felt part of her fingers becoming senseless and motionless.

She could not find herself ready to be social out of her house, but she did want to be so, to get rid of her medical problems. She did not want to die at an early age, on hospital bed. As a first serious step towards socializing she had recently purchased a laptop and had become member of DABEGGO, a site for finding friends.
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Her screen name was APPLEGREEN. She herself did not know why she had selected that screen name. It had just come to her mind, when she was becoming member of DABEGGO. So she selected that name to represent her. Indeed that was a sweet name. All her friends on the net knew her by that name. She never told them anything about herself. That had been her foremost principle on the net.

She was polite, cooperative and honest with her friends. But she had not put her personal information on her profile page. No name, no photo, no email address, no telephone number or address. Nothing was there. She wanted to remain in hiding. But she never left any of her friends unattended. She became too popular in a short period of time. Most of her friends did try to know her identity but she never told them anything.
                                     
 She wanted to remain in hiding as Applegreen, Let Applegreen deal with everybody in her place. Applegreen was successful in dealing with the traffic of her ever increasing number of friends on DABEGGO. The latest number of her friends on her profile was 225. She was never saying No to anybody asking to be her friend. She wanted to come in touch with as many persons as possible from everywhere in the world.

She wanted to be happy. The souring number of her friends was sufficient to ensure a sense of happiness, bringing to her.
She felt herself happy by looking at the messages that they used to send to her.

But Kamal was different. He wanted to know who she was. She appeared to be a challenge to him, since she had not spoken a single word about her actual identity. Every

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time he asked her name, her answer was “Applegreen”. He decided to drop that issue, and preferred to gain her
confidence first, slowly over a passage of time. His jokes, funny stories had attracted her. He was happy.

He looked at the screen of his laptop. His own message YOU ARE WEARING A PINK DRESS was there, waiting for a reply from Applegreen. There was no answer.

WHAT HAPPENED?  he wrote

Still there was no reply.

WHERE ARE YOUUUUUUUUUUUUU ????????????
He panicked.

Still there was no answer.

She was still online, he checked. His own question was staring him in his face. He was perturbed, disturbed and confused.

Where had she gone? He did not get any answer.

At the same time, on the Asian side of Istanbul, Turkey, in the small flat on the fourth floor of the building, in Kadikoy area, Feriha was standing in the middle of the room, in front of her laptop…. Staring at the writing in bold words on its screen.

YOU ARE WEARING A PINK DRESS

Her eyes were locked to the screen. She was unable to read any other line before or after that.


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She was standing there, all alone, totally confused, panicked. She was no more the one that she had been moments earlier. That simple sentence had hit her as an arrow, somewhere inside her. She could not realize what had happened to her. The more she was trying to understand the situation, the more she was getting confused. Panicked, she started perspirating.

 “My God where have I put my pink dress”, she questioned herself.

Since she started exchanging messages with Kamal, she had started feeling something different inside her. But she never gave that feeling any serious importance. She had been simply ignoring that. Over years many a times
such a feeling had aroused inside her heart, but she had made herself aloof of such feelings. “I will not allow anybody to love me. I am not going to love anybody”, she had committed herself.

However, this time she could not realize that she no more was the same, what she had been a day earlier. Every passing moment was pushing her towards Kamal, whom she had met just on the net. On DABEGGO, he was simply one of her 225 friends.  But, the whole world of hers had changed, and she could not have even noticed that.

“Noooooooo”, a scream from inside her shrugged her. “I don’t have much time. I must find my pink dress first”, still her lost mind could not remember the place where she had put that. “I must find it……….immediately. He is waiting”, she was almost in tears.

Totally cut off from the world around her, lost, almost bursting into tears she felt herself helpless. She had
                  

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dragged all her dresses from the cupboard. Ironed and carefully hung, her favorite dresses were lying on the floor by her feet. But the pink dress was not there. She was running from room to room, fathoming the whole house, but of no avail. The pink dress had perhaps flown away…….evaporated.

“Don’t let him wait”. Her mind was not able to think anything else.
                                                                              
“What are you trying to do Applegreen”, a weak voice from her inside came. But her heart had overtaken control of all of her senses. Applegreen had already taken over the control of Feriha. She was simply Applegreen, trying to find her pink dress. “Feriha, come back to your senses”, her mind did not want to lose control to Applegreen. “Don’t be that serious for something on the net”, her mind reprimanded.

But her heart was no more listening to the voice of her mind. She had failed to realize the realities of the world of internet. Kamal, might be somebody, anybody, may be a girl. He might be anybody sitting over his pc just to kill time and enjoy. “No, he is not like that”, she cried. Her mind gave in to her seriousness and strong determination. She had announced her decision. Her brain succumbed.

“I must find that pink dress….he is waiting….its already late”, Applegreen had taken full control of Feriha. She restarted running through the rooms which she had already searched a bit earlier.

“Oh my God, why I had not thought of that earlier,” she screamed. Something flashed into her mind. Her flat was not too big. It was a small flat, but she was running as if she had to cover miles and miles to reach her destination,

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and that too within the shortest possible time period. She sprinted to the kitchen where her pink dress was being washed in the washing machine.

The washing machine stopped with a thud, as she pulled the wire from the switch. The soapy water in the washing machine oozed out of its door, that she had opened up in a hurry. The smelly water found its way on a larger part of the kitchen floor.. She picked up her pink dress from among the half washed wet clothes. She felt satisfied, as if she had won the marathon.
                                                                                                                 
She did not care about the foul smell and the line of muddy soap water, trickling behind her from the kitchen to the room where her laptop was open, waiting for her.

YOU ARE WEARING A PINK DRESS

She looked at that sentence. Standing there in front of the pc as if he was looking at her, dressed in her pink dress, water dripping from top to bottom, with foul smell of soapy water, her hair disturbed, and face exhibiting fatigue, but filled with a sweet unexplainable smile. Somewhere inside herself, she had felt something achieved. Job successfully completed. She was satisfied, but mesmerized. 

Yes you guessed correctly

The much awaited line appeared.

YOU ARE MY PINK LADY. APPLEGREEN

He wrote back.
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dragged all her dresses from the cupboard. Ironed and carefully hung, her favorite dresses were lying on the floor by her feet. But the pink dress was not there. She was running from room to room, fathoming the whole house, but of no avail. The pink dress had perhaps flown away…….evaporated.

“Don’t let him wait”. Her mind was not able to think anything else.
                                                                              
“What are you trying to do Applegreen”, a weak voice from her inside came. But her heart had overtaken control of all of her senses. Applegreen had already taken over the control of Feriha. She was simply Applegreen, trying to find her pink dress. “Feriha, come back to your senses”, her mind did not want to lose control to Applegreen. “Don’t be that serious for something on the net”, her mind reprimanded.

But her heart was no more listening to the voice of her mind. She had failed to realize the realities of the world of internet. Kamal, might be somebody, anybody, may be a girl. He might be anybody sitting over his pc just to kill time and enjoy. “No, he is not like that”, she cried. Her mind gave in to her seriousness and strong determination. She had announced her decision. Her brain succumbed.

“I must find that pink dress….he is waiting….its already late”, Applegreen had taken full control of Feriha. She restarted running through the rooms which she had already searched a bit earlier.

“Oh my God, why I had not thought of that earlier,” she screamed. Something flashed into her mind. Her flat was not too big. It was a small flat, but she was running as if she had to cover miles and miles to reach her destination, 



 
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and that too within the shortest possible time period. She sprinted to the kitchen where her pink dress was being washed in the washing machine.

The washing machine stopped with a thud, as she pulled the wire from the switch. The soapy water in the washing machine oozed out of its door, that she had opened up in a hurry. The smelly water found its way on a larger part of the kitchen floor.. She picked up her pink dress from among the half washed wet clothes. She felt satisfied, as if she had won the marathon.
                                                                                                                 
She did not care about the foul smell and the line of muddy soap water, trickling behind her from the kitchen to the room where her laptop was open, waiting for her.

YOU ARE WEARING A PINK DRESS

She looked at that sentence. Standing there in front of the pc as if he was looking at her, dressed in her pink dress, water dripping from top to bottom, with foul smell of soapy water, her hair disturbed, and face exhibiting fatigue, but filled with a sweet unexplainable smile. Somewhere inside herself, she had felt something achieved. Job successfully completed. She was satisfied, but mesmerized. 

Yes you guessed correctly

The much awaited line appeared.

YOU ARE MY PINK LADY. APPLEGREEN

He wrote back.
                 8


                                      CHAPTER 2


It was around 8 a.m. Pleasant Istanbul breeze was blowing. Ferit had just opened his studio. He was too eager to meet Susanta, the Indian art dealer from Singapor, the art dealer of international repute. He was too eager to meet him.

He was standing in the middle of his studio, looking at the walls where Deniz had helped him hanging the best of his works in hand. Right in the middle of the wall facing the door, there was a large painting of two horses, untamed, one white the other brown, standing in the wood, facing each other, depicting their deep love for each other. An expression of love, which he always liked to paint. There were some other paintings of horses too on the wall, but the latest one was what he did have
enjoyed while painting. On the right hand wall a big painting exhibiting the mastery of Ferit`s art. It was a large painting of Kapali charshi (the famous historical covered bazaar of Istanbul), exhibiting not only the
grandeur but also its minute details too. The left wall was exhibiting some of the portraits that he had made. The untidy trolley of colors and brushes now stood somewhat tidy. The untidy studio, now wore the look of a professional artist. But Ferit was feeling a bit uneasy. He was not used to such tidiness. He loved his somewhat careless style, with brushes and colors spread all over the room, filled with finished and unfinished paintings of his. But it was Deniz who had made the difference. Ferit was all too happy to realize how close she had been to him. For him that was the biggest source of his renewed enthusiasm. He had decided to continue with the same setup of his studio, He was waiting for the arrival of Susanta, an important guest, an Indian art dealer of

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international repute, settled in Singapore, Susanta was supposed to review his paintings and if satisfied would introduce him to the international art world.

As he turned his attention from the new setup of his studio, he noticed a dark colored stranger entering his studio. “Hoshgeldiniz (welcome)”, said Ferit, as the stranger entered. The room did not have an air conditioner but the small pedestal fan in the corner of the small shop turned studio, was sufficient to take something away from the otherwise hot weather. Wearing blue half sleeved shirt, over jeans, with a small bag on one shoulder and a laptop hanging from the other, the stranger was none else but Kamal. Ferit misunderstood him as Susanta.
Kamal, was about to take the photo of two tulips from his pocket, when he heard Ferit saying, “I was waiting
for you”. He was shocked. He could not even notice the hand that Ferit had extended to be shaken. His hand kept on hanging in the air, unresponded.  As Ferit was about to take his hand back, Kamal came out from the initial shock, and shook the hand. Ferit`s face had by then starting changing color. The visitor’s initial behavior appeared queer. “Let`s see how the whole episode unfolds,” Ferit tried to gain his calm back. Deniz had perhaps made him overenthusiastic. He returned back to the world of reality. The visitor was standing in the middle of the room, somewhat bewildered, somewhat confused.
                                                                                     
“You appear tired, I think we should first have a cup of tea, and then we will discuss the situation,” Ferit appeared getting control of the situation. He turned towards the far end of his studio, where the tea was ready. He liked tea, so these teapots are the undetachable part of his studio. In the long alone nights, when he did

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not have anyone but his paintings with him, hot tea always helped him maintaining his steam to continue painting.

Ferit`s English was not bad. However, it was not too good too. He could manage expressing himself, and could make most out of what others were saying. That much knowledge of English was sufficient for him. He was never expected to learn the Shakespearean English to deal with a couple of English speaking tourists who at times, pop in his studio, trying to find something attractive for themselves.

Kamal, did hear what Ferit said, and saw him turning towards the table where the water was boiling. The set of
the two teapots attracted him. One on top of the other .He saw Ferit pouring the condensed tea from the smaller teapot that was put on top of the bigger one, with the boiling water. The dark reddish black color of the small quantity of the tea, in the transparent glass, that first appeared at the bottom of the small tea glass, soon started becoming reddish as the water from the bigger teapot started pouring in. Kamal enjoyed the scene. The artist in him enjoyed the process of watching the changing tone of the color.

With all this going on there, Kamal`s mind was still boggling with the effects of the first two shocks, that he had received during the last couple of minutes. “Why was he waiting for me?” his mind raised the first question. “Why he said that we would discuss the situation later on?”, was the second question. Both these remarks were pinching him. Kamal was physically present in the studio but his mind was not. His mind needed time, to solve this problem.

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“Why was he waiting for me? Does he know me? If so, how? What does he has to discuss with me? What situation was he referring to?”, Kamal`s mind broke the main question into small questions, to simplify understanding the otherwise so complicated situation. Kamal had never thought of such a situation, which would come up all of a sudden from nowhere.

What he had thought of was very simple. He would take out the photo of the two tulips, and would ask if he (Ferit) could recall the buyer of that painting. Of course he (Ferit) would recall the name and/or address of the
buyer, and would guide him to her. She…..who was his pink lady, the Applegreen.

It was so simple a plan in his mind with which he had come to Istanbul, But he had never thought that it might change the course so abruptly, and in such a way that  his mind would boggle down. He found himself unable to trace the course, to find the way out.

He saw Ferit bringing the two glasses, filled to the top, the light red colored tea, put in the tiny glass plates. The tiny tea spoons, to shake the tea, completed the set. Ferit put the tiny box of sugar cubes on the small table in front of his guest, together with the glasses of the tea. He expected the guest to put the tea cubes in the tea glass put in his front. But Kamal was not present there mentally.

Ferit had sensed his guest somewhat disturbed, confused and lost in his own thoughts. “Has he not liked my paintings?”, that was the first question that came to his mind. “But he has not yet seen my paintings properly”, his mind tried to cool him down. In fact Kamal was not in a position to see the paintings at all, particularly the

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large painting of the horse, which must have attracted his attention out rightly, since he too had painted so many horses. “Then what’s the problem? Has he not liked the
new setup of the studio? “, Ferit was trying to understand the mentality and approach of his guest.

“But Deniz had told me that he is a world class art dealer, very professional in his work”, Ferit thought. He thought that Deniz had perhaps made a mistake by changing setup of his studio. His studio was carrying a somewhat formal look, usually not found in studios of most of the
artists. “This is why he is not speaking to me, because he thinks that I am not the artist of the caliber that Deniz might have told him. He found my studio unnatural”, Ferit had found a point to console him.

He had, in his opinion, found the reason behind the queer behavior of his guest. He decided to take the initiative.

“Let I show you my paintings”, Ferit said. Kamal, stood up with him, with a confused mind .His mind remained trapped in understanding the situation. He had found himself in a totally different situation.  

The unfinished tea remained unattended on the table. Both of them were busy in their own thoughts.

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                               CHAPTER 3

The overall atmosphere of the studio was tense. The two artists were busy at looking at the paintings hanging on the walls. All of a sudden Kamal laughed. They were watching the sixth painting on the wall. It was the painting of a small puppy, the long haired puppy in the shades of burnt umber and black, were indeed impressive in the background made totally dark by the same colors. It was a good painting, and Ferit did like that. But the instant laugh of his visitor, while looking at this painting, came unexpectedly to Ferit. “What type of the art dealer is he? Is he in his senses? What type of reaction is this?,” Ferit was too busy in analyzing the personality of his guest…..the so called art dealer of international repute. But Kamal, who too was an artist, but not the art dealer of international repute, that Ferit so far had misunderstood, too was busy in resolving the situation.

Kamal would have indeed liked and appreciated the large painting of the horse, and the nude, the third one from the

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left, had he not been busy in solving the bungling questions of his mind. The shades of viridian and burnt umber, in the background, with large strokes of white on it, provided a beautiful balance to the bare back of the
                                         

nude. It was a good painting that must have got attention of an art dealer. But Kamal had passed by that, as if the painting was not there at all. Ferit was expecting admiration for this nude, which had consumed a couple of his nights.

With Ferit still bewildered, Kamal, returned back from the point where he was, and restarted viewing the paintings from the very start. Ferit took a deep breath of relief. Kamal was standing in front of that large horse. Now Kamal appeared as an art dealer, to Ferit. He was looking minutely in the depths of brush strokes and was discussing the in depth expressions concealed in each painting. . The artist in Kamal had woken up at last.

But he was smiling all the way, as he was giving his comments on paintings, one by one. Ferit was happy. He had started expecting opening new doors for him. The views of his art dealer were encouraging. “Yes Deniz was right. This man liked my paintings, and now he would take my name to the international markets”, Ferit started sensing a new breeze blowing.

What however, Ferit did not know that Kamal was not the the one whom he was expecting. He was neither an Indian having business in Singapore, nor an art dealer of international repute. He was not the one that Deniz had told him. He was Kamal, the artist from Karachi, who had come to Istanbul to find his Pink Lady (applegreen).  

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                                 CHAPTER 4



.
Feriha did not need to work. She was all alone. No brother or sister. No close relative. Her parents had left her this four storied building, situated off the Istiklal Boulevard, in Kadikoy area of Istanbul.  The rent income, she used to collect from the tenants was more than sufficient for her to lead a normal life.

She turned 30, just last month. Her screen name was Applegreen, and the latest exchange of messages among them she had realized that she was in love with Kamal, the Karachi based artist. But she did not want to carry on this relationship any further. She was afraid that one day she might succumb to his pressures, and would tell him her real identity. So far she had succeeded in holding him, but how long would she hold that pressure. He was not only persistent but used to become mad too easily. She had been finding it very difficult to cool him down, every time when the topic of her identity came forth.

But she could not block him either. She could not delete his name either. At times she thought of blocking or deleting him, some power from inside had stopped her from doing so. She was lost in the confusion. She could not give any decision. Should she really tell him her real identity? “No, I will not”, Feriha said to herself forcefully. She did not want to repeat the sad events that had followed when she last fell in love.

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It was summer, dark clouds were coming. The meteorological department had predicted rain. Smooth wind was blowing, but the expected rain wasn’t there still. It was evening, but not dark. Feriha was sitting in the balcony of her fourth floor flat. She was wearing a half sleeved long white dress with large green polka dots on it. She had bought that dress recently from the Sunday bazaar.

She was sipping tea from her cup. She was not too used to drinking the Turkish coffee. Tea was hot, and in the slightly changing evening weather, the warmth of tea was providing her a nice satisfaction. She was relaxing. There was a small wooden table in the balcony. That was the place that she always liked to sit. Frequently she had been taking her dinner at the same place.

Four floors down, the life on Istiklal Boulevard was hectic as always. There was a big rush. Buses, taxis, trams, filled with people, going in every direction, as if
they had lost the sense of direction. Far away was the Kadikoy ferry boat station which she could not see from her balcony, but she did know the hush of public over there.

Everybody appeared rushing to catch the ferry, to cross over to the western Istanbul. Some were trying to get the tickets; some were waiting for their ships to come. With the arrival of every ferry boat, the activity over there increased. Hundreds of people coming out, swiftly scattering over the already crowded Istiklal Boulevard, and from there to the by lanes, and to distant places far east.

Feriha, finished her tea, and stood on her feet. She looked down, Mehmet and Deniz , her new tenants, were crossing the road, holding each others hands, as always

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They were returning from shopping. They were both off that day.

She started following them with interest. Mehmet was wearing a black pent and a light brown shirt. He was handsome. He was carrying some bags filled with their evening shopping. Deniz, constantly talking to him, was wearing an all white dress. An applegreen colored band over her black hair was completing her dressing for that evening. “She has got some special affection for this color”, Feriha said to herself, referring to the applegreen color band of Deniz. “I am applegreen, but she wears that color instead of me,” she said to herself laughingly. Talking, with hands locked with each other, she saw them entering the building.

Again she stood up and went inside, where her laptop was open waiting for a message from Kamal. He was not
online the whole day. She was getting restless. She had sent so many messages, but there was no reply. He appeared vanished from the scene. There were so many messages in her message box, sent by her other friends, but she was not in the mood of replying to them. 

She had nothing to do, but to wait for the message of Kamal.

She wrote
Applegreen: I am waiting. Where are youuuuuuuuuu

She had sent uncounted messages with the same feelings, but there was no reply. She continued waiting.
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                                   CHAPTER 5

Feriha stood up and made herself another cup of tea. Back in her rest chair in the balcony, she started sipping hot tea. With her head on the seatback, she wanted to take rest. She had sprawled a black shawl on her open arms. It was getting dark and cooler. She closed her eyes. Her past started opening on the screen in her mind. Frame by frame important and unimportant events, milestones of her life, fast started coming and going.

Her mind took her twelve years back. She had been a promising athlete in her school days. She was a champion, a constant medal winner, a well known name in athletics circles. She was representing the Istanbul
                                         
University, in national meets. Feriha was an expected name to be selected in the Turkish squad for the oncoming Olympics. She was working hard.

She was a sprinter, running for laurels. Her medals and shields were all over in their sitting room. She was living alone with her widow mother. But Feriha was not listening to her. Feriha had not ever thought of marrying orloving or being loved. Life for her was just to run for victory, in the athletics meets. Cheers and applauds of the crowds in the stands, were all that she needed, and she

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was always having that in plenty all the time. Her eyes were set on Olympic medals.

Her life was no more in her own hands. She was leading her life under a strict programme given to her by her trainer. He was very strict. Together with other national probable, she was in the national camp. They were not allowed to go to their homes, even if they were living in Istanbul.  

Her life was busy in her schedule. The death anniversary of her father happened to fall during the days of her training camp. She managed to get a special leave for a night from her trainer. She spent that night with her mother.

The next morning, when she woke up, she was already late. She had to be in the camp by 7 am. It was already 6.30. There was no way for her but to run through a shortcut. Her training camp was not very far from her residence. She could have gone by the tramway or bus. But she decided not to wait for either of them. “If I run through that long park, I would be able to reach the camp in time”, she said to herself. Yes that was a short cut.
                                           
The short cut to the camp meant, running across the old historic park. It was a beautiful park, with huge old trees
most of which were perhaps planted by the Ottomans. There were plants with flowers of all colors, spread all over the park. A long red stone pavement waved through the park. She had had to run over that pavement, to reach the camp in time. Otherwise she would have to run five additional tours of the 400 meters track, as penalty for being late.

“I must get my hair cut,” she said to herself, while trying to collect her long hair in some form whatever. Time was very short. Her coach, originally asked her to cut them

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short, but she loved her long hair. They were beautiful. In the end she decided to leave them open and decided to put a cotton band over her head to stop them falling over her forehead.

Her bag was filled with her track suits, shorts, shoes, and what not.

With her bag on her shoulder, dressed in a light blue track suit, she was wearing her favorite black sports shoes. It was early in the morning, and Istanbul was a bit cold that morning. She was just leaving when her mother came out with light blue full sleeved sweater in her hand. “Take it with you, you may need it, it’s cold outside,” she said. She did not have any place left in her bag. Rushing to the door she snatched the sweater from her hand, and hurriedly wrapped her round her waist. She ran out of the building, heading for the park with quick steps.

She entered the main gate of the park, running. Her long hair was flowing in the morning breeze, as if trying to catch her from behind.  Her bag was heavy and was
obviously disturbing her pace, but she was determined to continue running, even if her pace was slow. There was not much time left. She was in a rush. Her blue sweater was still wrapped round her waist. She was totally indifferent to her surroundings.

Mustafa had selected this park especially due to its greenery and flowers. The green leaves filled extended branches of tall old trees from both sides of the red
pavement, had met with each other, providing a sense of covered pavement at certain points. There were too many flowers of different colors, all through the breadth and length of the park. He wanted to have some impressive photographs of them. He had come early in the park, so that he would be able to catch the natural freshness of the flowers and leaves. Mustafa, working for a local

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newspaper, was a professional photographer, who did have an eye for beauty.

Indifferent of her surroundings Feriha was rushing through the long pavement, trying to finish it as early as possible. She could not notice Mustafa and his camera.

Mustafa, had just put his camera on his eye, he had focused a bunch of yellow flowers, hanging from the branch, with morning dew dripping out of the extended petals. He was standing in that position on the opposite side, with the pavement passing between him and the flowers.

Everything happened precisely at that fraction of the second. He could not stop himself from pressing the shutter of the camera. He had already committed himself to press the button, as her face came in between his lens and the yellow flowers on that leaves clotted branch of
the tree on the other side of the pavement. The camera recorded that precise moment.

She turned her head, confused, stopped with a thud after the third step. She was going fast, almost running. Although she did not have the full idea of what had happened, but she had realized that something had went wrong. All that she could do was to turn and say sorry. Mustafa smiled, nodded, as if nothing had happened.. She continued with briskly steps, without realizing that
her sudden stop had unwrapped her blue sweater, which had fallen, and she had not noticed. She was getting late. She continued heading fast, as if nothing had happened.

But something serious did have happened. Something that she could not understood.

Mustafa was very sure he had caught a very rare shot. Feriha was indeed attractive. He noticed her fallen light

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blue sweater. He took that in his hand, and looked towards where she had gone. There was no sign left. She was gone. Mustafa continued with other early morning shots in the park.

In fact he was in search of better locations. With his camera in hand, bag on his shoulder, the blue sweater of Feriha in other hand, he started walking towards the far end of the park, where Feriha had gone. On his way he took some more photographs.

The sports complex wasn’t too far from the far end of the park. Seeing his press card on the gate, he was taken in. Sitting on the stairs of the stadium, he saw Feriha running. He kept on watching, taking her photos from time to time. She was a good athlete, a good sprinter, who did not take much time in reaching into his heart through the lens of his camera. She did not even know
how she had crossed this distance in such a short span of time.

Mustafa waited in the stadium, till the end of the morning training session. He went to her as she came out of the track, sweating. “You had dropped it there”, Mustafa said, pointing towards the park. “Oh yes,” she had not even till then noticed the absence of her sweater. “Thanks a lot,” she said.

“I am sorry, I took some nice snaps of yours without your permission, while you were running”, Mustafa wanted to ask her sit with him for sometime, but he could not say that. “My name is Mustafa, and I am the photojournalist for a local daily,” He was interested in holding her for some more time. She on the other hand, was so tired; she wanted to go to her room immediately. But Mustafa managed to have some more snaps of hers. Feriha did not want to stay, but there was something that was forcing her to stay. She agreed to have some more snaps shot.

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 Once the photo session finished, he thanked her cordially, telling her that she would be able to see the photos printed in the newspaper the next morning. “Thank you, you are a good photographer,” she managed to thank him in the end. Quite disturbed, something was making her feeling uneasy. Something from inside was telling her that,” Mustafa is worth loving”. The same voice again sprang up from within, and spread all through her body. She shrugged, trying to win her senses back. In all her veins, as if every drop of her blood, was saying the same thing. She could not realize that she had fallen in love with Mustafa.


                                         

Feriha was supposed to go to her room. He on the other side was required to attend to his other pending stories for the newspaper. But none of them was willing to say goodbye to the other. They wanted to spend some more time together. They were deeply in love. There was no doubt in that.

But it could not be like that indefinitely. Her coach called her, and she had to say goodbye to Mustafa. They departed, confirming from there eyes, their desire to meet again. But none of them could say a word.

That night was too long for the two. She could not sleep properly. She was waiting for the morning, to see her photos published in the newspaper. It was not the first time that her photos would be published in the newspaper. For years she had been a media subject. But this time the situation was different. The difference was Mustafa. The photos to be published the next morning were taken by Mustafa, which had made them very valuable for her. She was waiting.