It's said that Candid, the singing and smiling traveler, arrived in a new city en route his journey. The city was called Love City and it was law there that no traveler was allowed to stay there without proving being in love. Candid didn’t know that law; he entered a hotel whistling carelessly as he was used to and asked the cleric at reception for a single bed room.
“Are you in love with someone?” Cleric asked.
Candid got nervous at this unexpected question. “Umm, no, I’m not in love with anyone.”
Cleric stared at him with displeasure. “Do you really mean that? Have you never been in love ever?”
Candid’s confusion grew. “Perhaps” He tried to remember “It seems like I have been in a love, or I thought so at that time. Let me think, was that love? Umm, no, that was not love or perhaps that was love. More probably that wasn’t love and I have never been in love. But what this all have to do with my checking in?”
“Don’t you know the law of city?” Cleric said angrily. “This is love city and no traveler is allowed to stay here without being in love.”
“This is very strange” Candid said in surprise. “Would no hotel of city book me a room without being in love with someone?”
“No” Said the cleric harshly. “Now you can go, better leave the city or fall in love with someone before sunset. Even if you tried sleeping on footpath without being in love, you’ll get arrested and jailed for violation of law.”
“One minute.” Candid implored. “Does this mean that I can book a room by just saying: Yes, I’m in love with someone?”
“No!” Cleric replied. “You have to prove this sir, and it’s your own headache to prove your claim. Law just wants you to prove this anyway.”
“Then it’s better for me to leave this city as soon as possible.” Candid soliloquized. “My free nature can’t tolerate strain of such laws.”
“Good bye sir, wish you good luck.” The tone in which last words were said, didn't resemble the word “good” in any sense of its real meanings.
When Candid got out of hotel he found the sun descending down fast behind the jungle of towers that surrounded the scenario of city.
“Damn it!” Candid growled. “I have to fall in love with someone and request her to help me booking a room in a hotel. What a foolish task to do and what a foolish law. I wonder how the legislature of city came to pass such an absurd law, but it’d be better for me to fall in love first. Hunger has started murmuring inside my stomach and soon it’ll be shouting at full voice. I don’t now if laws of this city allow to buy the food without falling in love or not but it’s better for me to try falling in love first. These jumbo size mosquitoes, hovering above my head in clusters, spending a night with their love doesn’t seem to be a good idea. Mosquitoes are always merciless and I’d not wonder if mosquitoes of love city proved to be crueler than mosquitoes of anywhere else. I can’t expect anything good from a city with such absurd laws.”
A beautiful maid appeared from the door of building next to hotel while Candid was engages in that self-talk. She was one of prettiest girls Candid had seen ever. Her curly black hairs were shining in last rays of sun so magnificently that, given the choice, rivers of world would have preferred that black magnificence over their colorless purity. Clad in white gown, with a glowing smile on pink lips and a bunch of red flowers in hand, she looked like a garden turned into a girl by some kind of magic. Candid forgot to breathe until she directly addressed him. “What’s matter stranger? You look in some problem.”
Candid couldn’t believe at first that he can be so lucky. “Eh, it’s ok … I mean, so kind of you to ask me … Umm, I’m ok, yes, there is some problem. I’m new to this city and laws of this city are kind of strange … I mean …..” He smelled the sweet fragrance of Night Jasmine coming from lady as he breathed his first breath after seeing her.
She laughed. A laughter like the jingle of a thousand silvery bells in royal garden, though Candid was sure all bells of world together couldn’t produce the sweetness that seeing such a heavenly laughter on lips of a beautiful maid can cause to heart.
“I know the laws of city well.” She replied. “And I can help you, you want to fall in love with someone?”
“Yes, but unfortunately … I mean …” Candid hesitated, it didn’t seem reasonable to tell a girl that he needs to fall in love with someone.
“Misfortune is good fortune in disguise, good side can appear any moment, stranger …” She smiled again.
“D… Do you mean that …. That!” Candid stammered.
“Stranger, as it is law of city for strangers to fall in love with someone, so it is the law for all girls of city also to fall in love with strangers.” She replied in a soft, low tone. “Do you think lawmakers of city didn’t know what they are doing when they passed the law for strangers?”
A sudden idea came to Candid’s mind. “Do you mean the law punishes the girls if she can’t make at least one stranger fall in love with them?” Candid asked.
“It is so, we are given these red flowers at a specific age and if we can’t make a stranger fall in love with us before the flowers wither away, we are punished. I have been unlucky to wait too long for meeting a stranger but I’m lucky that these flowers are not withered yet. Will you please accept these flowers from me?”
“Of course my dear!” Candid shouted in excitement. “I’ll consider this to be the luckiest thing ever happened to me. I wonder how an angel, a fairy, a flower like you can remain hidden from eyes of lovers for that long. What a bliss it’s to accept these heavenly flowers from pretty hands of a maid like you; I’ll put these flowers in vase of my heart and will kiss them every morning, smell them every night. I’ll bring the water from river of eternity to sprinkle on these flowers and will never let these flowers wither.” He kissed the hand of girl with a passionate kiss. “Just a few minutes ago, I hated the laws of this city and this city was the most disliked place on Earth for me. Now I appreciate the wisdom of lawmakers those endowed this city with such wise laws and this is the most beautiful place on Earth for me.”
Girl blushed. “Stranger, you have to learn all laws of this city to complete your love.”
“I’m eager to learn all those laws!” Candid declared. “But before that, I’ll like to book a room in any hotel of city and have dinner. O most beautiful lady on the Earth, will you not please help me booking a room? We’ll have a splendid dinner afterwards and I assure you that I can write beautiful poems when I’m not hungry.”
“Stranger!” Girl said with a frown. “We are not that inhospitable to let a lover wander on streets in search of a room in hotel, you are coming with Me.”
“Aw, who doesn’t love a love with a built-in saving plan!” Candid exclaimed. “I’m ready to follow you even if it leads to hell fire.”
“You surely don’t need to go in hell fire!” Girl replied with a smile. “Come follow me”
She entered back the building from where she appeared. Candid followed her.
Inside the building, in a semi-dark room, lit with feeble yellow light of a small candle, Candid met a white-headed old man with wisdom of ages woven in wrinkles of his face. Girl introduced both to each other. Old man welcomed the Candid warmly. “So you fell in love with Jane? It’s very wise decision, a decision that will make your life as happy as was Adam’s life in heaven.”
“So, name of my sweetheart is Jane.” Candid thought. "What a fool am I, falling in love with someone without knowing their name, but how can be a person not fool abiding by such laws as of this city."
“Jane! Did you tell him what the first thing is according to law to do after falling in love?” old man inquired.
“Oh sorry, I forgot that, in fact …” Jane tried to explain but old man didn’t care to listen to her explanation. “Never mind, just tell him.”
“Oh yes, stranger! According to laws of city, first thing to do after falling in love is the first thing that I’d ask you to do.” Jane said to Candid.
“I’m your Candid, not strange anymore.” Candid replied cheerfully. “I assure you that I’ll do anything you’d ask me. Even if it’s stealing the big diamond from the crown of ghost realm’s tyrant, I’ll do it for you.”
“I’m not going to assign you any such task.” Girl was amused by his reply. “I just ask you to pay attention to wise saying of this old man; he is an authority on laws of love city and no one knows laws of love city better than him, do whatever he asks you to do. Once you learned all laws of love city, the rewards you’ll get are beyond your imagination.”
Turning to door of building, she waved good bye to Candid. “I have to go now but very soon I’ll return to live forever by you. Pay attention to laws, and, to nothing else.”
She went out like a sudden current of wind laden with fragrance of Night Jasmine. Candid took a deep breath to catch the last particles of fading away scent and to soothe the nervousness arising.
“Ok, now look towards me young man! She is gone and I don’t know whether you will see her again or not!” Old man began to say.
Candid got shocked. “What do you mean?” He asked in a furious tone, standing up from his chair.
“Calm down young man! Calm down and sit down!” Old man said without getting any impression from Candid’s passion. “Listen, don’t try to reach any result or make any move without knowing the laws of love city first. Your success or failure depends on your learning. Do you know how sacred love is? Do you know why lawmakers of love city passed all these laws? Do you know what it means to be in love? Without knowing the answers to these questions, don’t hurry on anything.”
Candid felt his excitement and passion of love abating like the sea foam after a tempest. Feeling of hunger rose again. “It looks like learning the laws of love city isn’t like learning ordinary lessons in school therefore I’d better have dinner before listening to old man’s lecture.” He thought and addressed old man. “I’m very much thankful to you for your kindness. I owe for the wonderful fact that you assumed the responsibility of teaching me laws of love city. But, may I have dinner before learning the laws of love city? I mean, it doesn’t seem probable that I can understand and memorize all laws with an empty stomach. My mother was used to say that I have to take my lunch to school if I want to do well in studies and I believe in her wisdom very much.”
He saw the expressions of old man’s face changing but couldn’t fully get what his changing face means, though he got a slight idea when old man grumbled. “You small minded people can never pay attention to noble things, you slaves of your stomach. Come with me, I’ll arrange a meal for you.”
Click Here for Part Two of Candid's adventure in Love City.