Mahlia S. Lon

We have a brilliant Memorable Romance for you in this issue: The seventh century Arab lovers of Layla Majnun who died pining for each other. When I started researching into their lives, I thought how dumb they died so young. What’s the point of that? What I discovered was that this story belongs to a whole sub-genre of tragic love stories in literature of the Muslim world called “Virgin Love Stories.” The relationship between the lovers is never consummated but based solely on an emotional connection so strong that without the “hit” they get from each other, the lovers go mad and die. In repressed societies like ours, all of us have felt the tug of an emotional connection and we don’t realize that it’s literally based on an addiction with the other person acting like a drug. We feel high in that person’s company and low without it. Sufi literature, Urdu ghazals, even Subcontinental films, especially of an older era, all tell the stories of this chaste and pure love, whether it’s between a person and his maker or between two individuals regardless of their relationship. Baring one’s soul is so much more intimate than baring one’s body.

Leaving philosophizing aside, the hip and happening cast of Rangreza regale us with all with their exploits in this GT. They are a riotous lot as you will discover and full of the vigor and hopefulness of youth. In addition, fashion designers par excellence, Farah Talib Azib and Sadaf Fawad Khan share the trends of this bridal season so we can all appear to our best advantage. Dive in!

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