With each swirl of the swing,she laughs and cries. The color of her cheeks turning from pale yellow to red. And far away stands a woman begging at a mosque for a child. Laila laughs and cries at the same time, hiding the sad betrayal in her eyes. Oh such a lovely girl she is, they say. But who knows the tragedy that made her live a life in orphanage. Her father did not want her, her grandparents despised her, her mother never saw her. Oh such a sad girl, they say. Laughing and crying at the same time, abandoned by her father for being his 13th daughter, left alone in this huge world for being a less powerful human, dumped by daddy, cared by none!
And far away a woman cries in the mosque, praying everyday for a child.
On one of those lovely winter nights, she sat writing her past on her journal. She wrote and wrote and wrote, carving the never ending memories on a thin piece of paper. As lonely as she was, she knew her only solace is this journal. As she wrote about her one and only love, she felt a lump in her throat and felt hot tears on her ninty years old, cold bare skin, streaming down her hazelnut eyes. She felt the tissues of her skin blazing, her veins scorching and blistering,her body roasting. She couldnt bring herself to write about her sweet lost love. Her love life was dark and gloomy as that silent winter night.
As she sat there mourning for her long lost love, she felt a flurry of air caressing her cheeks and stroking her hair. She instantly felt better, and with that breath of wind she knew he was there with her… watching her, protecting her, loving her. She knew she wasn’t alone. She knew she was loved. She wiped her tears and closed the journal, ending her memoir in a sweet serendipity and signing her journal for the 100th time,
“Jennifer ♡ David, together forever!”
They were meeting after thirty years. For them, the sun was rising again after a long winter. Thirty years! Their love was strong enough to bear these thirty years in isolation. He came running from above the hill; she was waiting downside the hill. Heels cracked, skin wrinkled, body scarred, but love still as pure as the holy water. On the partition of the subcontinent in 1947, he was left behind in India and taken as one of the prisoners by Indian army, just like many of Indians were taken as prisoners by Pakistan. The war had separated them, right after their wedding, exactly on their wedding day!
They were told that their village would be safely merged with Pakistan, but it didn’t. Millionaires were turned into paupers, their factories and houses were burnt down, leaving them completely empty handed and penniless.
He was running to the downside of the hill, stopping various times to catch a breath, and to make sure his old knees get some rest. As he reached the place where she was standing, he saw her. Dressed in purple and pink gown, wearing a red stole over her head and brown Peshawari Sandals, though her skin had been wrinkled and blemished but her eyes told him that she was innocent, her heart was as young as a sixteen year old. Fixing her red stole again and again and looking here and there for him, she finally caught a glimpse of him. Smiling brightly at him, she had a flashback of him as a young boy, flashback of that horrible day when most of her family members had been slaughtered mercilessly in front of everyone in the name of religion.
How much she missed his smile, his presence, his personality, his lovely voice. They both came closer to each other, laughing and crying at the same time. They couldn’t recognize each other properly. She touched his cheek, his skin felt so rough and patchy, showing her the cruelty he had to face in all these years. She almost thought it’s a wall scraper instead of his skin.
30 years! He thought to himself. 30 years of immense trauma and torment. The pain of knowing your beloveds were killed mercilessly without a cause and the torture of not having someone close to share this sharp, incurable pain with. They had been married, and right after Chanda’s brothers held up her doli, they came. ‘The unknowns’ as everyone called them. Killing their families just for a little piece of land, in the most inhuman way, and taking Jugnu with them as a prisoner. Jugnu remembered the shrieks and cries of his family when he was being torn away from his own family after a cruel beating.
He held her hands and took her in his arms. Chanda made him vow to his life that he won’t go anywhere without her, ever again. They cried the tears of joy and walked together to the village, hands in hands, smiling broadly.
It was the end of their hardship and the start of their life as newlywed couple.
And not to forget,
It was their ‘happily ever after’
Joe walked down the stairs in a hurry, his vision blurring and causing him to miss two steps at a time. He was already late. He had to look at Jade one more time, or maybe last time before she goes to take her class. Her class was just in two minutes. He could not let this opportunity pass, he had to have a glance at his sweetheart, bask in her smile and adore those big blue eyes with lashes so long one could see their shadow on her upper cheeks. Her lips firmly molded and her hair so long, smooth and silky, they reminded him of Arabian silk. Her sweet laugh could mend anyone’s broken heart and fix their torn soul. She was a lovely young beauty, full of life and glamour, a happy go lucky sort. He longed to hold her, to pinch her cheeks, touch her hair and be the cause of her smile. He loved her and he needed her, more than anything in this world. She was his life, without her it was impossible for him to survive.
His heart was thumping so hard he knew he could die at any tick of the clock. He ran in a hurry to the right block where her class was. He looked to the right, and then to the left. He felt like his heartbeat had stopped.
She was not there.
She was gone to her class. He wouldn’t be able to see her today, wouldn’t be able to rejoice in her lovely laugh and who knows about tomorrow? it isn’t promised. His jaw dropped. His eyes suddenly became red, filled with salty water of his emotions. His forehead became sweaty, his vision started blurring and his hands started trembling. Downhearted and low spirited, he raised his hands to himself as if praying to God and stared at his sweaty palms, trying to read the luck lines. He couldn’t believe on his bad luck when suddenly he heard echoes of laughter and two girls coming out of her class as if punished by the teacher.
It was her!
His darling, his angel, his sweet one. Laughing and high-fiving her friend, she stole a glance at Joe who was staring lovingly at her. Not knowing who he is, except that he was a school mate, she passed a confused smile at him. He laughed. How lucky he felt at that moment, She finally noticed him! She finally knew he existed on the last day of his existence.
On the last day of his existence
Even being so attractive that he stood out among his mates like a striking, magnificent jungle cat surrounded by harmless baby kittens, he decided not to propose her. Not because he was afraid to be rejected… but because he did not want to be accepted. He smiled at her, for one last time while she giggled with her friend, standing out of the class, completely unaware of the fact that this handsome young man standing right in front of him is madly in love with her, and also, that he is suffering from Brain cancer, a disease of which he was sure he is not going to survive because his doctors had already told him so. The cancer had spread, causing a severe headache, seizures and vision blurring. He came to school every day, just to catch a glimpse of her one more time, to listen to her laughter and to look at her and pray to God to give her all the happiness in the world, and to give him a chance to catch a sight of her,just one more time.
Just one more time
It was his last day on Earth, last day with her.
But the first day of his existence in the eyes of his beloved.
She was born in a strictly religious family and raised up by her very Islamic grandparents who named her Meher which means “Friendship, love and sun” in Persian, “Blessing” in Arabic and “gifted and talented” in Punjabi. They named her Meher because they considered her a blessing. A blessing bestowed upon them after so many years of yearning for her from Allah, after so many seasons of shedding tears in prayers, after so many decades of kneeling down before Allah in prostration. She was their biggest desire; she was the wish that came true. She was the shining star of their eyes, the most noble and chaste, the modest and most right minded girl in the family, a reward from Allah for being patient and submissive to him.
A reward that brought shame to family
A reward who ran away
They trusted her most in the family as she never missed any single prayer, recited Quran daily and covered herself in front of “Na Mehrams”.Of course anyone would believe her to be trustworthy, to be pious and chaste, which she was. But then there was iblees, the damned one. Always present around us, waiting for us to be misguided by him, waiting for us to go off track, to go astray.
And ofcourse there is Allah, our creator, our lord, Al Rehman (the compassionate), Al Raheem (the merciful), Maalik-ul-Qudoos (the absolute ruler, the pure one) Al Hakim, (the judge) Al Haadi (the guide)… ALLAH. who wants to get us tested, who wants to know how much have we learned from Quran, from Ahadees or from offering prayers five times a day, or from covering ourselves or from guiding our hearts and our eyes and our bodies from evil and from Haram?
A reward who ran away.
Arslan was a neighbor who had always seen her go outside with her veil on. He saw her the very first time in her balcony with a beautiful red headscarf on, talking politely to someone downstairs in her lawn, she didn’t know someone is watching her face, admiring her beauty. As soon as she turned her face and had an eye contact with him, she turned her face, covered it and went inside her room whereas he spent the next day planning on how to talk to her because her beauty and charm had worked her spell on him.
“Who am I now that I’m alone with no one to reflect an image of myself that I can re-shape and perfect?”
It was midnight, the moonlight was shining on her woebegone face, the sky was as black as her African dog. She could hear the noises of what superstitious people call ‘Ghosts’ while the ‘Logical’ people call them ‘Imagination of the mad’. She looked at the sky and it seemed that it is screaming in melancholy at her. The stars were twinkling and blazing like they’re newly born. She stared at the stars and wondered if they’re also laughing at her dark, gloomy, miserable life. She whispered to herself “There’s no life left, there is no spark left”. Crestfallen, She placed her beautiful hand over her chest and began to feel her heartbeat which in turn was slow and feeble.
“I dont have feelings left, i don’t have life left inside myself. What is left now? except this grief-stricken soul which is about to go back to the mysterious, unknown and secret world from where it came” She held the blade tightly in her hand and had a flashback of all the bitter, vitriolic memories. Why does it all had to happen with her? What was her sin? This shouldn’t have happened.She had to pay the price of a crime that she did not even commit. Her heart was aching and she could hear her last unfortunate breathes. It was the end, end of the endless pain that she had to feel everyday, end of the deadly remarks people passed over her everyday, end of the judgement that she had to go through everyday, end of her life, end of the torture,end of the battle, end of struggles, the fights,and end of the greatest gift that the Almighty God has bestowed upon us―LIFE.…It was the end of her life.
“Before THEY kill me, I myself should put an end to my own life. My vulnerable soul should depart from this filthy world by my own frail hands.”
“I was destined to doom”