Two lives, worlds apart, yet sharing one destiny. Despite numerous insurmountable obstacles, facing unimaginably powerful creatures and even death, True Love prevails, proving once again that it cannot be defeated. Set in ancient times, Darmiyan is my humble attempt to revive our love of medieval Indo-Persian myths and legends, with inspiration taken from countless literary greats like “The Adventures of Amir Hamza” and “Tilism-e-Hoshruba”, both of which happen to be some of my favorites. I gladly pronounce them ancestral treasures, filled with content so rich and powerful, crafted by only the most expert craftsmen, which in this case, would be the authors.
Since times immemorial the human capacity to love has transcended all kinds of gulfs, separations, and divides. In ancient tales of valor and love it overcame even more formidable, otherworldly obstacles that lay between it and the object of desire – whatever lay ‘Darmiyan.’ In some of the most memorable stories and epics from the region that stretches across the wide and diverse lands that appear in the Arabian Nights it was common for humans to fall in love with those from the realms of the fairies and the djinns. Love is a complex business as it is but crossing the earthly realms into otherworldly ones posed its own set of special challenges. Indeed, the inimitable Amir Hamza – the valiant hero of the Dastan-e-Amir Hamza or the Epic of Amir Hamza, which is the longest epic ever written in any language, and a masterpiece of South Asian and Urdu literature – also lived in the fabled Koh-e-Kaf for many years, in blissful matrimony with a royal faery creature. In many ways this song and its visual depiction draw on the legend of Amir Hamza. ‘Darmiyan’ is an artistic interpretation as well as recasting of all these age-old fables of true love triumphing over the odds
Not too long ago, before modern technology took precedence in our lives, we would spend much of our time to poring through these beautifully written stories, watching the movies we would create within the expanse of our minds while we read, limited only by our imaginations. This exceptional experience is one that I have sadly noticed dwindling amongst the generations of today. It is alarming to me that such literary treasures may soon go extinct, and I believe it is my duty as a storyteller to bring life back into this integral part of our history with my music.
We all know that all too often, imagery alone leaves us with questions to be explained, let me bring clarity and insight to you through this sharing of the backstory to my song “Darmiyan”.
Through nothing more than mere chance, two unsuspecting souls find themselves entwined at the beginning of a tragic encounter. Azah Pari, a fairy princess from the Enchanted Kingdom in the Mystic World, filled with magic, Ddjinns, demons, elves, giants and more otherworldly creatures and Ariyan, a fearless human warrior, dedicated to protecting the weak. Azah Pari, owes fealty to the crown and loyalty to her subjects and realm, above all else. Ariyan, although a celebrated warrior in his world, pales in Azah comparison to her royal status. Yet, love knows no boundaries nor prejudices and, in an instant, the two fall in love. As love blossoms like a flower in spring, so does Azah Pari’s fear. An understandable fear of course, of the impossible circumstances surrounding their union.
You see, even if one were to disregard status, the unrelenting fact that one is human while the other a mystical creature, makes their union an unrealistic one. For should they continue, their love will undoubtedly endanger Ariyan’s life as humans are not welcome in the Enchanted Kingdom.
In deep despair, she makes the choice to leave him. Albeit with a broken heart, but at least he would be alive. She would then exile her love for him to a place within, tightly guarding her secret from any who might discover and threaten her peace of mind. And so, with a final glance of longing at her beloved as he lay resting innocently, she vanishes into the night, hoping to never be seen by him again. Or so we thought…
Ariyan, who is now beside himself with grief after waking to find himself alone, searches for Azah Pari desperately.
Much like those who have tasted the nectar of the gods can no longer be nourished by mortal offerings, Ariyan can no more fathom an existence without Azah Pari. Our fearless champion searches far and wide with the help of the Wizards of Both Worlds, a mage clan that exists outside the animosity between the two worlds, he locates the portal to the Mystic World. Without hesitation, he enters and in no time, he locates the Enchanted Kingdom, hidden within a harsh desert. During his time with the Wizards, Ariyan discovers the reason behind Azah Pari’s leaving. They warn him of the grave dangers that await him should he choose to follow his heart and pursue her but Ariyan is adamant. Living without Azah Pari is simply not an option to this incredibly determined man.
Now aware of his inadequacies in facing the dangers that await him in the Enchanted Kingdom, Ariyan seeks guidance from the Wizards of Both Worlds who enable him in his quest for the reunification with his one true love. Being blessed with a second chance, he swears to never fail her again. With each beat of his heart, he sets his intention to show her that he can, and will, protect everything that matters to him.
And now more than ever, Azah Pari is his everything.
After much deliberation, Ariyan is gifted by the Wizards, the ability to Teleport, where he can vanish in a cloud of smoke while teleporting to safety. The Wizards also bless him with the legendary Sword of Zor. Once thought to be lost for millennia, it was a magic sword imbued with the purest form of Energy which made it impossible to wield it unless one was of pure heart and mind, so it lay waiting for its destined master, guarded by the Brothers of Sihr, a covert operation team created within the Wizards of Both Worlds. He is also bestowed with Falcon Zuzzuz meant to guide him along the way till the time Ariyan unites with Azah Pari.
Armed with these three trump cards, our lonesome hero sets off, travelling through the harsh desert, toward the Enchanted Kingdom, where his destiny awaits.
(Let me interject here on a side note) From this point on marks the beginning of my song Darmiyan, where I explore the desperate emotional hunger that drives one’s ambition to requite and eventually resolve the dissonant love that hovers indefinitely between two star- crossed lovers. It is here that the lyrics Jaane Jaan Dhoondoon Mein Tere Nishan (My love, I look for your traces in my pursuit of you) perfectly depicts our passionate warrior Ariyan amid love’s pursuit.
Following the directions given by the Wizards and guided by Faclcon Zuzzuz, Ariyan finally feasts his tired eyes upon a resplendent palace, glittering and glistening with the light of the setting sun, as if each structure was carved out of gemstones. Ariyan rubs his eyes to readjust his vision and is now certain that this must be the Enchanted Kingdom. For in the very centre of this beautiful gem-like walled city, rose an elaborately carved spire, upon which, the love of his life sat upon! Ariyan thinks to himself, so near yet so far!
Azah Pari basked in the orange glow, her wings lightly folded behind her, a mirage of unattainable perfection. Fueled twice over by this vision before him, Ariyan dismounts and teleports just far enough so that the wall sentries would be unable to spot him before the special announcement of his arrival.
Drawing the Sword of Zor from its sheath, Ariyan lifts the pulsing sword over his head and with one fell swoop, cast the first blow upon the Enchanted Kingdom.
An arc of radiant pure energy is released from the sword, gaining in both speed and length as it zips straight toward the Kingdom’s wall. Exploding upon impact, the blast sends unsuspecting denizens of the Enchanted Kingdom into a frenzied stupor. In a moment no longer than an exhale, hordes of demons, Ddjinns and clans of giants and elves rush toward Ariyan, led by a most powerful Djinn named Itash, each one fighting to claim the honor of killing this rare human as their prize.
The sentries, caught by the surprise from the blast, act quickly, sending showers of arrows towards Ariyan’s position. Unperturbed, he swiftly intercepts their retaliation with another arc of pure energy, this time, using it to create a shield. For now, it seems like Ariyan is indestructible, which angers his enemies greatly, causing them to rally more troops in defense of their precious kingdom and princess.
All this while, Azah Pari, still perched atop her spire unmoved, watches the entire battle unfold. Deep within her, however, she was mesmerized by the sight below. In truth, she had noticed Ariyan the moment he entered the desert, such was the depth of her love for him that even time could not erase the memory of his energy from her core. But in full view of her entire kingdom, she could no more help him than she could help herself, without risking the life of her beloved, herself or more lives of her own kind. Azah Pari had already made that choice when she awarded Ariyan the opportunity to attack stealthily but feigning ignorance of his appearance. Was a love such as theirs truly deserving of such destruction?
As war raged on between Ariyan and the troops of the Enchanted Kingdom, a silent war raged within Azah Pari. She could no more bear the destruction of her kind than the death of her beloved human. In hellish turmoil, all she could do was watch in nonchalance and pray that the outcome would somehow become favorable.
As more and more are cut down, the morale of the troops begins to falter. In a bloodthirsty attempt to eradicate this puny yet powerful human once and for all, Itash calls forth a vicious fire beast known as Mushtaeil. Mushtaeil’s flames were of a similar frequency to the pure energy from the Sword of Zor, thereby granting it immunity against all attacks from the sword.
Unbeknownst to Ariyan, the beast charges at him and although Ariyan sends forth a mighty energy arc to rain down upon it, Mushtaeil continues his advance towards Ariyan, completely unharmed. And before he can teleport to safety, the flaming beast pounces onto our fearless warrior and mauls him in the chest.
With less time than a blink of an eye to spare, Azah Pari throws all caution into the wind and dives straight towards her dying champion to save him from taking his final breath. To lose her title, her subjects, her kingdom and even her own safety, was nothing compared to the knowledge that she might lose her beloved forever, never to be heard of again. With newfound determination, Azah Pari snatches him from the almost victorious clutches of the beast Mushtaeil and shuttles him to safety.
Ariyan’s injuries were near fatal, but Azah Pari knew of a place called the Forest of Secrets. Deep in the forest was a babbling brook with healing properties, known as Pranadhara. Legend has it that its healing properties were so great that it once brought the near dead back to life. But the forest was known only to her kind, kept secret from the perceived evil humans, for their greed would surely destroy the blessed Forest. Azah Pari was not about to waste any more time deliberating on how many more rules she was breaking by her actions, so she rushed him straight there before the last of his life force slipped away.
She finds a tiny clearing and sets him down. Unconscious, Ariyan is oblivious to the desperate efforts of his one true love, who tirelessly collects the water from Pranadhara, feeding it to him and even builds a fire to keep him warm while he heals.
While she waits for him to regain consciousness, Azah Pari realizes the severity of her choices and actions. There’s no pathway back to the life she knew before. She made her bed and now she must lie in it. But not all is lost, for she is not alone. She chose him and with him she will stay, ready to face the coming madness together.
To her joy, Ariyan, who has now awakened, sits up looking at her, curious about the look of deep thought on her face. He decides against asking her about it and settles for simply enjoying the warmth of each other’s company. While huddled around the fire, Azah Pari mends Ariyan’s necklace, which was torn from his neck when the beast Mushtaeil mauled him. It wasn’t just any old necklace though. It was a precious token given only to warriors by his clan for protection and was very dear to him. Weaving the two seashells back onto the string, Azah Pari has an idea. She adds another seashell to the necklace and casts a Return Spell on it, thereby ensuring the necklace will return to her in the event they become separated. That way, she will always find her way back to him, whether in this life or the next.
Falling deeply in love they embrace and commit their fate together on the “cliff of eternity” hoping their love would last the test of time!
As fate would have it, their peace was short lived. The next day, while Azah Pari was preparing to move on from their campsite, the troops catch up to them and stealthily capture Azah Pari while she is alone. Upon returning for Azah Pari, Ariyan discovers she has once again disappeared and surely been captured.
During his battle with Mushtaeil, the Sword of Zor was lost, rendering Ariyan vulnerable to much superior forces. Despite not having completely healed and stripped of his mighty weapon, he still sets out to find Azah Pari. Armed with nothing more than his ability to Teleport and a steel resolve, he pushes forth on his quest. For his life would no longer bear meaning without his fairy princess.
Azah Pari sits defeated and terrified, imprisoned in a cage of fire within the confines of Blood River. Her once loyal subjects now hold her hostage in the Land of Sin, a place of punishment, surrounded by active volcanoes with a river of blood flowing through it, for the worst offenders in their realm. Should Azah Pari even remotely try to escape, the fire from her cage will immediately engulf her wings and she will experience death in a most excruciating way.
Ariyan makes his way over the Bridge of No Return, where no man has tread before. Still vulnerable from his wounds, He climbs up the cliff to the Land of Sin and demands that the fairy princess be released. Unfortunately, he is confronted by two higher ranking Ddjinns Itash and Erakaash, flanking their commander Djinn Ezin who is furious to see Ariyan.
The mighty Itash, who is back with a vengeance wants to complete what was unfinished during the Palace encounter. Ezin exclaims “how dare you enter our kingdom and challenge us” and order Erakaash to strike Ariyan with a Lightning Ball to exterminate him but Ariyan is quick to react and Teleports through Erakaash, knocking him down.
As the fight is getting to a point of no return, Azah Pari looks on helplessly, tears streaming down her face, for she knows the odds are stacked against her precious warrior.
Even before the Erakaash hits the ground, Ezin orders the Itash to use his deadly Ice Blade against Ariyan and Itasha’s second attempt to debilitate Ariyan will prove fatal to him. The previous attack from Erakaash drained Ariyan of most of his mana, impairing his ability to cast another Teleport spell.
Azah Pari refusing to sit by and do nothing, despite knowing the pain she is soon to endure. She cannot and will not allow Ariyan to die on her watch. Ariyan, who has risked everything, against all odds, to be with her. Her champion, the ruler of her heart, her Ariyan. So, just as the Itash makes his move, Azah Pari bursts forth from her cage, wings immediately engulfed in flames, singeing every single feather down to nothing but ash. Stubbornly, she pushes forth across the Blood River, refusing to acknowledge the searing pain ripping through her very being. She must get to Ariyan and save him.
As Itash reaches a now helpless Ariyan, he raises his Ice Blade to strike. Ariyan tries one final time to dodge the blow by casting Teleport, but his mana reserves are now completely drained. In his final moments, as the Ice Blade meets his body, Ariyan reaches out for Azah Pari, who falls to the ground, just shy of reaching him, as her wings are completely burnt off and can no longer fly.
She lies there, broken, burnt and dying, reaching back for her lover’s outstretched hand but alas, they are so close yet still too far away. Eyes filled with sadness and despair, the two are transfixed upon each other, unwilling to let go, as the light in their eyes fade into nothingness with their last breaths.
As Darmiyan music video is coming towards its close, the screen fades together with the refrain of “Yeh Jo Hai Darmiyan” (this unfinished love that still burns within us).
And just when all seems lost, hope springs eternal as a new beginning arises for both Ariyan and Azah Pari. As the Falcon Zuzzuz soars past the Land of Sin, it leads us to a new time, centuries later. What was once a miserable depiction of the Land of Sin is now a lush landscape filled with the beauty of flora and the soothing sounds of fauna, all owing to the blood shed by our two tragic lovers. The Rock of Time, where the cage of fire stood holding captive Azah Pari is now blessed with a tree of life signifying rebirth. The river of blood is now a lake of tranquility, peaceful and manifesting eternal love
Azah Pari is now given life as a human, achieving the status of a higher being in honor of her devotion to Ariyan. She is drawn to the very same place where once upon a time, in another life, she gave herself up for him. Unfathomable feelings of unfulfillment lead her there, where she discovers the necklace.
Ariyan is reborn as well, mystically drawn to the same place at the same time, with the same feeling of unfulfillment haunting him through some unrecognizable memory of a distant lifetime, of a love he longs to seek out again.
As fate had intended, the two meet and as her eyes gaze upon his very being, recognition fills them both with love, the same love they felt eons ago. She lovingly reaches for his shoulder as he turns to embrace her, finally claiming the love he so valiantly fought for. As they stand together, locked in an embrace, the sage Falcon Zuzzuz, who has been the warrior’s silent companion throughout Ariyan’s constant pursuit of requiting his love with Azah Pari, flies off in celebration of the couple’s blessed reunion.
And this, my dear friends, concludes my story of Darmiyan, of an unfulfilled love, eventually finding resolution in another life. The vast, complex, and fearsome caste of villainous antagonists depict the variety of apprehensions and obstacles that the world throws up to keep true lovers apart. In this ode to everlasting love, we discover that nothing can come between true lovers. For there is no price that they are not willing to pay in order to unite.
Please watch the Official Music Video of Darmiyan to enjoy the experience of this heartfelt tale.
Copyright to © Qamar Saleem