Holding your Heart- a Slumdog Millionaire Companion
Disclaimer: FAN fiction. Don't own it, no copyright infringement intended, I make no profits off this.
Slumdog Millionaire was a stunningly beautiful movie. I wrote this as a possible insight into Latika's feelings, as we see a lot of what Jamal feels for Latika, but what are the depth and extent of her feelings for him?
Her only memory as a very young child is of warm hands combing through her dark hair, whispering words that she didn't understand but was comforted nonetheless. They were words of love, and of admiration for the beauty of her hair.
Beauty was to her both a blessing and a curse. As an older child, the loss of her mother left her orphaned in the slums. She later learned that he, too, lost his mother in the same killing. Jamal was the first to be kind to her. The other children outcast her because she did not know who her father was. The kinder adults saw her beauty and pitied her. Most just ignored her.
A curse because the king of the beggars knew she would be a beauty, that's why he tried so hard to get her back, spent so much money on her, teaching her to dance. She knew Jamal was pulled along by his brother. He wanted money he could get by selling her for her beauty. A blessing, perhaps, because she was well fed and sheltered in those years, not blinded and singing like the others.
His brother, Salim. She knew, just like he killed the beggar king, he would kill Jamal if he could not have her. Oh, the look in his eyes. His brother had brought him a prize. It was not shelter in the same place like all those years ago in the rain. She knew his cruelty even then. Sending Jamal away, the only thing she could do to save him. The hardest thing she's ever had to do, knowing what was going to happen now, but Jamal would not see, that was enough. Jamal, who looked her straight in the eyes and not at her figure. The physical pain dulled, tears ran down her face silently not for herself but for him, Jamal.
She didn't know that not only was Salim plain cruel, he was utterly heartless. She was his ticket to the inner circle of the gangster surrounding the hateful, hateful man who ruled the slums of her childhood. She knew it was her beautiful face next to his that he wanted, her body in the night. The Jamal came and again, her beauty was both a blessing and a curse. Did it bring him to her for the sake of a beautiful possession, like the others?
She looked into his eyes, after he refused to be pushed away, even if for his own safety. She realised she mustn't meet people's eyes often, not liking what she say day after day. His were the only ones.
The pure intensity made her heart break over again, and from then she never doubted.
It was ironic, when Salim cut her when she was trying to escape to his brother. Marring her face. A punishment? It was almost a mark of pride, of defiance. They mutilate what mattered to them most, not to her. It was a curse that she was chosen for safety, for a full stomach, or the horror of this beautiful prison, all for her face. She ran because it didn't matter anymore, she could be happy with Jamal. To be looked at with love, and tenderness, it would be worth the struggle. But she was too big a prize.
Did he feel he redeemed himself, letting her go? Maybe the pain he inflicted on herself and his own brother finally caught up to him. That separating them was cruelty itself. She knew he would be killed. He knew it too- perhaps, that final look he gave her, his low spoken apology, he expected forgiveness, for her to brush the back of her hand along his cheek and smile the tiny smile that was all she could manage since she was brought here in his wake.
She didn't. There was simply understanding, and with that, there was acknowledgement. He could not begin to forgive himself. She would not feel guilt.
Then she was running, already running, Jamal had not won, and he may lose everything but she ran still. The phone was in her car. He would know she is alive would know she wants to see him again...
"I don't know. I don't know!" It doesn't even matter, what the answer is. She would be waiting at the train station forever. The thought of him kept her sane- his innocence and purity remained through all the suffering and hardships he endured, surviving even the betrayal of his brother. She would come to him.
Salim- who gave her his phone, who would lead her back to Jamal at last. But he was in the past. Now, there was only ever the future to look to.