The Cousin

Rehan and his childhood friend Raushan are sitting in the cafeteria, both are in the middle of a conversation.

Rehan: How lucky are you Raushan, you have a girl who likes you and you have other choices too…

Raushan: What man, I am still a nerd in front of my crush…and what other choices are you talking about…

Rehan: (Giggling) Aren’t you allowed to marry your cousins…Fatima (Rehan’s cousin) is also cute.

Raushan: Are you mad. She is too boring and just because I can doesn’t mean I will. I am not interested in any of them. Besides, it is not allowed in your religion but you can runway with the cousin you like, what was her name… yes Rhea!

Raushan went on listing reasons why he disliked the idea of marrying any of his cousins, occasionally joking about how ugly or narrow minded they are. He mentions that he likes a girl and wants to marry her. He may as well propose her soon.

*one month later*

Raushan is narrating Rehan about the his ‘first night’ incident -

“I married a girl named Kashaf and she is very beautiful. When she came to meet me with her parents and offered me, I couldn’t resist myself and fell in love with her looks, grace and voice. At that moment I didn’t think much and consented to the marriage. Parents and relatives wanted the same as two relatives were getting closer and I thought what is the big deal if she is a distant cousin, we were related by a long chain and never saw each other before that day. For me she was a beautiful stranger wanting to marry me so I said yes without any regrets. That night when I entered the well decorated room I saw her stripping off her wedding dress standing in front of the curtains. I realized she was waiting for me and went near her. There were red and white rose petals all around. My heart was racing as I made the move. Just as I held her shoulder to turn her around, she turned back and stabbed me, cursing me “How can you marry your cousin”…”

Rehan wakes up…(Sweating)

He realized it was all a dream and called up Raushan. Raushan had proposed to his crush and is committed to her.

Rehan can’t stop thinking about the dream that day. He remembers his childhood love, Rhea.

Rehan, a boy in his teens was very fond of his cousin Rhea. He loved playing games with her on the computer. They were very friendly and jovial with each other. From her side it was sisterly love and care for him but he was into something emotional. He loved her and couldn’t think of a moment being away from her. He used to fantasize about her in an imaginary world where they could be together as a couple. She knew that he liked him but didn’t understand the gravity of the situation. Things were good between them as they grew up and Rehan never confessed his feelings to her but his close friends like Raushan knew about it.

Rehan is 25 now and working at a firm which manufactures selfie sticks. Rhea is 26, about to get married to Samar the next day. Rehan also reaches the marriage scene thinking whatever happens is for the good. Now that Rhea will get married he can forget her and move on. But a part of him wished her marriage never happens and she remains his childhood love. His!

The day of the wedding Rhea found out about Samar’s accident while he was on the way to the marriage. He survived but is in the hospital, paralyzed. Samar’s family blamed Rhea’s stars for this tragedy as she was earlier declared unfit for Samar as per the astrologer who matched their stars, irrespective of which Samar chose to go ahead with the marriage plans. Rhea’s marriage broke and Rehan is strangely happy even though he knows he has no chance with Rhea.

*That afternoon*

Rehan is sitting on the parapet of the balcony thinking about his earlier years, the time spent with Rhea.

Rhea comes there and sits with him…

They don’t talk but after sometime Rehan feels her hand touching his. He takes his hand away but Rhea approaches again. He holds her hand this time. Rhea confesses that she always knew about his intentions and invites him to her room after dinner where she was supposed to spend her first night with Samar.

*That night after dinner*

Rehan reaches Rhea’s room. It is well decorated with red and white flowers. Rhea is standing near the window with her clothes barely covering her.

Rehan walks up to her in awe. Just as he holds her shoulder, she turns back and stabs him with a broken vase. The floor got covered with blood, and everyone asleep.