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A thunderstorm struck and soon it started to rain outside. I was once again sitting alone in my room, all I could see outside was nothing but loneliness. The water once again dropped down from the sky and filled all the empty curves on the pavement. I saw myself standing in the centre of the road but this time I saw Soorat standing beside me. I saw us standing face-up, eyes closed and letting the rain made us a part of it while we hold the hands of Ayat standing between us.
With this thought in my mind, I picked my phone, deleted the thread of messages from her and offered two rakats nafl for her forgiveness and the other two thanking the God for showing me the dream that will embark a change in my life.
I kept on reasoning the dream until I found an answer that her death was not the end of our love and that God wanted to maintain her piousness which she desired the most and therefore she embarked on a journey to heaven before she could have sent me the text which violated her piousness.
“Yes, mom! I had a dream that I can’t find my daughter named Ayat in-house than suddenly I saw her seated beside my room’s window smiling at the rain. I then moved to her in my dream, picked her up, kissed her forehead and found myself awoken at this bed.”
“What? Your daughter? “
“My daughter,” I replied with a smile on my face.
“You were constantly saying the name inquiring about her than you said you found her. Who is Ayat?”
“Ayat?” I asked perplexed.
“Wake up? Wake up? Who is this Ayat?” were the words of my mom that brought me to reality from the world of dreams.
Days passed from the incident but I cannot let the thought of her out of my mind. All these days I had not missed a single prayer and the only supplication I ever postulate was of her forgiveness from Allah, as this is the least I could do to her to prove that I loved her.
“It’s like, I love you and I think it’s a sin to love you when I am not supposed to,” these were the words that I read last on the message box. My answer to them would have been an affirmative had I was able to receive the text. To not let everyone know what had been going on between us, I deleted the thread that read her messages to me after sending me the last text she wrote to me.
I was told by the Mr. to go to the rescue squad and gather the belonging that was left in the car. I did as he instructed and soon find myself with them. They handed me over with all the belongings that they found in the car in a plastic bag. I took them and made my way back towards the inside of the hospital. While walking I had a look at things that were in the bag and found out that her mother’s phone was lying in the bag. I knew I would be wrong but something struck me and I sat down on the bench located near the garden beside the entrance gate, took her mother’s phone, and to my surprise, I found it not having any unlock password, had a looked at the messages.
It took us not long to reach the hospital where my eyes were searching for her. Somehow my intuition wants me to believe that what I heard was all fake and that she was fine waiting to see me. Soon my eyes envisioned her father, who seemed to have got hurt on his leg. The next reflection that made its way on my eyes’ lens was of her mother, who seemed hurt on her head badly but her eyes dropped tears which loudly speaks the massacre Soorat had undergone and finally I was able to see the younger sister, her cry talked less about her wounds and more about how her elder sister had left the journey of life and embarked on a train destined for here-after.
For minutes I couldn’t believe the sound-waves that vibrated my eardrums which generated a signal in my brain bringing it in a state of shock. I recovered from the shock to find out that everyone was making their way towards the hospital.
“We have to leave for the hospital now, I received a call from him and he said that they have been in an accident and that the younger daughter and the wife are injured but Soorat died on spot.”
I picked myself up from my bed and made my way towards the room where my mother was seated. The nimbus of the room dictated that something extremely traumatic had occurred. I inquired that what had gone wrong and why is everyone in a trauma. I never knew the answer to this question by Brig (R) Khan would spin me around in circles and shatter all that I have been living in my mind for so long.
“Come here! It’s an emergency.”
“What? Why are you calling me? I did what you said all day and now you need something more?”
I was still in conversation with my mind when suddenly I heard a noise waving in my home. I chose to ignore it and decided to maintain the conversation but I couldn’t ignore them for long as suddenly my mother started to shout my name loudly.
Three thousand and six hundred rotations had passed but I heard nothing from the other side. In my mind, I was sure that it must have been her moralistic dilemma that prevents her from replying me and I should respect her morals but a part of me still waits for her response.
After sending her my last reply, I waited for her response long enough for the clock’s seconds’ hand to illustrate a 360o angle for 600 times. Each time the hand displaced from its position it made me more anxious and I kept on thinking about what she may be thinking and not reply. In this course, I sent her two more messages with one only having a question mark while the other having just the word, “Sorry”.
“Then how is it like? Please explain?”
“No, it’s not like that.”
“Yaar! If you don’t want to talk to me say it. Why are you making such excuses?”
“Even then it’s wrong and I think that way.”
“Oh Come on! No one thinks like that in this world now and besides as far as relation is concerned I am your cousin “
“Don’t you know that it is sinful to talk to someone you’re not related too.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“I am talking to you.”
“I am not pious anymore.”
Minutes after our resumed conversation I received a text which made me read it twice before I could think of an answer, “I think I am sinful?”.
I smiled when I received the text and kept on wondering on how does she able to do what she does. This resumed our conversation and slain away all the anxiousness I have in my mind.
“I am a mystery that astonishes you with every move I do .”
“So you read faces too?”
“I saw the look on your face and calculated that you’re not interested anywhere near in having to save my mother’s contact details. ”
“Yes. But how do you know that I didn’t save your mother’s number?”
“This is my mother’s number. Remember when your mother asked my mother about a position in her firm for an information security analyst and in turn, my mother asked you to tell her your number so that she could contact you for further details?”
“This means you were lying about the fact that you don’t have a phone?” but before I could send this as a text message I received another one.
“This is not the way to talk to a company,” stated the next message I received and even before I could answer this one I received another message stating,”I knew you would never have saved this number – Soorat ”.
After a minute, I sent another text stating, “I would be highly obliged if you could let me know your identity first.” I thought that this might act as a cover for the rude behavior of mine that I have shown to a company willing to consider me as their employee.
I had a look at the phone in order to divert my attention away from the thoughts that engulfed my mind and found out a text was awaiting me. The text stated that they wanted to see me for a job interview at 8:00 pm next week. I never knew who that would have been but the time and date are what caught my attention. I knew that this is the same time and date when I have to be at the family dinner and without a second thought I send them a rude reply stating, “I am not available on the day and date you mentioned. Next time asks me my availability before setting an interview.”
I was anxious and I couldn’t let go of the thought of her being going away but the idea that I will be meeting her next week at the dinner was the only hope that kept the blood in my dilated veins. I went to my room and soon I found myself in a place where I could relive all that I have been living today. Still deep within my thought, a vibration on my phone brought me back to reality which was nothing but me in my room alone.
I know she was leaving and I couldn’t do a lot to stop her. I wanted the time to freeze at that moment for eternity but I knew well that was something that could only happen in my imagination. I could see her leaving and with each step she took my eyes were painting her in the canvas of memories. Soon all left of her was a hazy shadow near the door. Even her shadow was as pious and pure as her which too followed her and all left at the passage of door was nothing but darkness.
My effort was not left unheard but it was useless as I figure out that she doesn’t possess a mobile phone. At first I believed that it was a polite negation to my request but then it was revealed by her mother in the parting conversation that she really don’t possess a phone and I being a computer science student should persuade her to do so the next week when we meet at a family dinner hosted by the family themselves.
Finally, clock dinged the time I was desiring it not to and it was announced that they would be leaving back to their rest house. I was anxious on how to pursue her to share one of her contact details with me. The thought of she leaving and with her the dead-end of our conversation empowered me and I finally was able to ask her for her number.
The food didn’t last for long in the plates and soon everyone who was seemed to be uneasy with the acid mocking in their stomach appeared to be satisfied. The conversation which was once seen between me and her was now lost to the chatter between the well-fed stomachs.
The horologe disliked the conversation that was going on between us and soon the time for dinner dinged the room. The plates were made set, the dinner was started to get served and infractions everyone was seemed calm and seated in their places in a setting that were a replica of lunch with their platefuls.
She laughed while mentioning what Ghalib had said about the people who dislike mangoes. This turned out to act as a ground for a conservation that lasted for hours following one topic after another.
“No! It’s not that she dislikes them but she is not that fond of mangoes. She tries to skip them when possible.”
“She dislikes mangoes?”
“Her,” said I while pointing towards my aunt.
“Fond of? I love mangoes boy! Who on earth would be an idiot and dislike like mangoes?”
I slowly made my way towards the table with my mind still pivoting on what could be the topic of discussion on the table where three girls were busy doing the most girlish of the errands. On reaching the table I saw her holding a mango and I used it as a prop to make a move and said, “You seemed to be fond of mangoes I guess?”
I stood by my room and tried to seek where she was located and in this pursuit I saw my mother and the Mrs. discussing a number of spices needed for the food being cooked for dinner, my aunt and grandmother were running the other errands that were necessary for the food to get cooked, Brig.(r) Khan and the Mr were busy in debating on why Imran Khan won’t be the next PM and why do Bilawal have a great chance at succeeding the current PM, the ladies were albeit seated at the dining table busy cutting fruits for fruit salad.
Having done with the prayers and supplication I made my way out thinking that now I can resume my conversation with her but again the things weren’t what I thought they would be. My home which was once calm earlier once again paints the chaotic picture of a terminal at Dubai International Airport.
While offering the prayers all I could think about was her. I knew deep in me that it was wrong but somehow I couldn’t focus somewhere else. The prayers came to an end, and soon I sat down for supplications and like before all I could think about was her. In supplications, I had the smallest postulation, in fact just one word, “Soorat”.
I thought of answering her something, but the look on her face portrayed she was more interested in looking me to pray rather than listening to what I have to say. I left the premise where I was seated, made myself into my room, cleaned myself via ablution and made myself to offer Maghrib prayers.
“Well you must hurry up there is not much time for Maghrib. Offer it else you would miss it similar to the case with your previous prayers.”
“I am just going now”
“Why haven’t I seen you pray?” she asked with a concern on her face.
I was still wondering that similar to previous instances, she would be coming back after prayers and we would be resuming the conversation from the exact same coordinate where it broke but never had I knew this was not going to be the scenario anymore.
The clock which was previously drunk now seemed to have been out of it’s hanging over. Soon the seconds counted each other into the sixties calling for minutes, which enumerated to sixties again calling for hours and thus hours called for the moment when the lady of moon meets the man from sun glowing with them soft light from the sky called twilight. The twilight caused the Masjids nearby to call for the Maghrib prayers. On hearing the call, she woke up from her sofa, made herself towards the privy for ablution and like she had been doing before, made her way towards the room to offer the prayers thus giving a break to our conversation once again.
My mind was already in a dilemma figuring out what I should say to her previous responses and with this gesture of her, I have blown away deep into the deserts of my own thoughts. Things escalated quickly between us and soon the silent around us turned into a range of discussion on varies topics from literature to politics and from science to religion. No matter what we discussed she kept blowing me away with her intellect.
“Haha! Well we architects call people like you a,” said she, having a pause to make quotation gesture before she said the word “NERD”.
“Yes,” those were the only words that came out of my semi-frozen tongue.
But somehow she handled this too, “Well I heard you’re a computer science graduate with a major in information security?”
I have no idea what to do? I was waiting the entire time for an attempt to start a conversation with her but now that she had defended me and that too for a habit of mine considered to be the most irritable by my family, I am in dilemma on what should I do next? What should I say next?
I had nothing to do but to accept my defeat and bow my head down in embarrassment but to a sudden surprise I heard an unfamiliar yet mystical voice favoring me, “I do the same too, there’s no need in getting embarrassed about.”
“Yes you do!” said my sister insisting on the point she made earlier.
“I don’t do that,” I said in a desperate attempt to save my reputation in front of others.
“Here! Your tea would get cold and then you would irritate others in your pursuance to get it warm again,” said my sister in sarcastically loud voice while offering me tea.
She took the cup of tea, rested her back on the sofa, took a sip and a smile emerged on her face. I still have my eyes fixated at her trying to paint her smile on the canvas in mind so that I can preserve it for an eternity.
The lunch came to an end and thus began conventional tea session of Pakistani families. This is one session where the families of sub-continent really bound over. Everyone took one cup of Pakistan’s favorite beverage, tea and made themselves comfortable. The Mrs went into my mom’s room followed by my aunt and mom. The Mr made his way into my grandfather’s room and progeny was still seated on the sofa with the tea-cups lying in front of them. I saw her asking her sister to pass her a cup of tea. Her sister frowned upon the request but she grabbed the cup of tea with one hand and passed to her while holding her phone in the other and her mouth constantly in conversation with my sister.
After the introductory session, the lunch was served. Everyone made their way towards the table. As per the plan, the progenitor would be seated on the dining table while progeny would be seated by the coffee table on the sofas. I saw everyone following the decided plan. She too being part of the plan picked herself from the sofa, gracefully adjusted her hair, gave her neck a pint-size jolt and started to move towards the table leaving me frozen in a euphoric state so much so that my mom came to me, shook me hard and asked me to join the rest.
This session turned out to be productive and I came know that they call her, Soorat and that she is in her final year of architecture. I also came to know that she had been involved in many projects that were running around at her university and that her final project was with a construction company famous for building iconic skyscrapers all over Pakistan. The thing that stands her out from all was that she chose to wear the scarf on her own after intensive reading of Holy Quran with meaning and that too all by her own self.
The introductory session began when both families started to introduce each other to the members that weren’t previously familiar with each other. In this session, my mother introduced me and then I was given the token to talk on my own behalf. While I was talking to the Mr and Mrs of the family my eyes couldn’t look away from her but her aura always prevents them from being in a direct contact with her, instead, they always stayed lower.
Minutes later the doorbell rang, my grandfather, opened the door and welcomed the arrived. He was followed by four people after him in the hallway and none of the faces seemed familiar to me yet I have to stay all day at home for them to feel welcome. My eyes stuck at one, she seemed odd amongst them all. None of the family members seemed religious but she. She was wearing a graceful blackish pink gown with a brown headscarf covering her beauty and making her aura different from others.
The clock struck 1:30 and my grandfather having to talk to them on mobile that they are on the street where our house was located, anxiously awaits the doorbell to ring. I think this is maybe due to the fact that he is hungry because there is everything my grandfather, Brid. (R) Khan, can do but stay hungry.
Within a span of an hour I saw the table got set, the house looked tidy and everyone was primed to best of their appearance waiting for these guests arriving from the city of gardens, Lahore.
Soon, I saw the both hands of the clock meeting with each other at number 12 and this escalated the once calm habitat of my home. Everyone was busy running the errands they were supposed to and there I was still calm as a summer sea. I saw my sister running towards the privy to get herself ready, my grandmother and mother were in the kitchen, busy cooking God knows what but the aroma of it says that it has thousands of flavor in it. My aunt was seen sometime helping the cooks in the kitchen while sometimes indulged in tidying up the house. My grandfather, a character whom I have always seen as calm as death, seemed to quickly iron his clothes, a thing he would never have done on his own has it been a normal day.
I did what I should have done way earlier and that was to agree with my family. I felt guilty of overreacting in a small part of my heart but that’s just a string I enjoy every day in my stay at home.
My grandfather, who was watching all this quietly seemed uneasy with my constant argue and to end the conversation he wades in and said, “Stop arguing! Firstly, stop mesmerizing on the fact that you’re a prince and they are coming to have a glimpse of you. Secondly, they would have lunch and dinner both and if you don’t feel like welcoming them you can leave. Don’t stay on lunch and act as if you’re doing us a favor, we don’t need any from you.”
I should’ve agreed and that would have made my life easier but no I insisted on arguing, “What do you want from me? Should I make a welcome card and stand at the door? I am not going out on lunch, they can stare me all they want on lunch but yes I won’t be around for dinner.”
“Look! I have explained to you that they are very old relatives and they would like to be welcomed by you and your sister. I can’t take no for an answer”
I know I should stop talking and eat my breakfast but that’s something I usually don’t do and I said, “But I have even told you about my plan. They are coming from Lahore to meet you, people. They don’t even know me.”
“I told you before, you can’t. They are coming all the way from Lahore. Why can’t you just let go of your plan for next week?” said my mother angrily.
I knew I shouldn’t say this but I want to ensure that my voice is heard before I consider my defeat, “I have to go out with my friends today.”
“Great!” said my Grandfather in a satisfactory voice.
“Me and mom are going out in market to get groceries,” said my aunt.
“Yes! I am aware of it,” said my mother excitedly.
While I was busy munching, I heard my grandfather saying, “They would be coming today at lunch and would be staying with us till dinner.”
I greeted them, slide a chair and seated myself onto the chair. I started to half fill my plate with the chick-ling that never made it to be a chicken or even chick for the sake of it. The scrambled dead chick-ling, seasoned with black-pepper and salt was the perfect breakfast of many in world which includes me. I started enjoy each bite I took feeling the rich taste of Pakistani spices as they hit my taste buds.
With that thought, I woke up from my bed, made my way towards the privy and having done my self with the morning rituals I made my ways towards the lounge only to found out that my mother had already made up the breakfast. I saw my grandfather, grandmother, aunt and my mother all seated at the table having their mouthful with the delicacies. I saw my grandfather, picked up his cup of tea had another mouthful of that heavenly substance that sparks you up in reality and ensures your brain function full at it’s capacities.
The next day’s sun woke me up by dazzling my sleepy eyes with its bright light. For minutes, I laid still wondering how mystic was the canvas I had stored in for the last night in my eyes and how chaotic would paints look now on the canvas painting the scene out of my window.
I was sitting alone in my room, all I could see outside was nothing but loneliness. The pavement in front of me which once had people and cars walking on it seemed all calm. The water that dripped down from the sky as rain filled all the empty curves on the pavement. I saw myself standing in the center of the road and enjoying in the rain. I saw myself standing face-up and eyes closed. I could feel the rain filling me and me being the part of it. But I knew deep inside that my reality is far different from the depiction of me on the road. I know that I am part of a more stable system which won’t allow me to go out at this time of night and wet myself in rain so much so that I am a part of it hence I let my depiction enjoy it while I watch it from the broken window of my room.
I knew that this is nothing but a depiction and the real me is the one thinking of living this reality far away in here-after, standing behind the broken window of my room.