Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chapter no. 5: The First Meeting (IV)

That day, Yousuf Mairaj had to go at Hamza Shahid’s home; there was a lecture and that’s why he had no intention to come home after the college.

It was Rohail’s birthday and in the evening, Qandeel had to go in the birthday party at his home along with Ameen, Seema and Humaira.

He had a thought that perhaps Qandeel in his absence will refuse Rohail by making some explanation, therefore in the morning, before leaving for the college, he reminded Qandeel to go at Rohail’s birthday party.

Qandeel like an obedient child shook her head positively.

Then he left for the college.

He was throughout busy in the college that day. He had to take an extra class as well; just got some free time after twelve o’clock.

Coming out of the class, standing in the corridor he was thinking something when few students of final year were gathered around him.

“There are some new books available at super collection, sir. If you have some time then please come with us to the Mall; will have some window shopping and have a look on those books as well.” Talha, Naeem and some other students of final year made a request.

Yousuf Mairaj thought for a while.

He used to go with them in different book stalls and book fairs even before this.

He had to reach at Hamza Shahid’s home after two o’clock, so he was able to give them some time.

He was agreed.

They were in the Mall after fifteen minutes. The book shop named “Super Collection” was on second floor. For a while they had some window shopping then came towards Super Collection.

It was a big rectangular shaped book shop which was divided in four narrow lanes with the help of book racks.

They were all together for a while then dispersed here and there and started looking different books.

Yousuf Mairaj was in the corner lane and moving ahead looking books. At the end of that lane there was the payement counter.

“Excuse me.” A grave and graceful voice was echoed in the pindrop silence of the book shop.

The voice attracted everybody for a while towards it.

Yousuf Mairaj had a book in his hand. He turned back and looked towards the direction of the voice.

It was the voice of the boy standing in the next lane and his back towards Yousuf Mairaj. The boy was tall and therefore Yousuf Mairaj could see his head at the other side of the book rack.

Perhaps he got the attention of the sales man and now was asking about a book to him.

His tone had maturity and seriousness.

Yousuf Mairaj again was looking different books.

“I have to give these two books as a gift to someone. Can these be packed in a gift packing?” Yousuf Mairaj heard him with interest this time.

“Yes sir. These will be packed in gift packing. You will have to wait for five minutes.” Salesman replied with courtesy.

The boy turned back and perhaps had handed over the books to the salesman.

“Then pack these books; till then I am looking other books.”

Yousuf Mairaj involuntarily moved his head up and looked the boy and then couldn’t blink his eyes.

He was just like him; exactly like him. If his hair style would haven’t little bit different then probably he would had considered him Omer. He was just like Omer.

The same shiny eyes, extended and curved eye lashes, the same broad forehead, the same long nose that was well suited on his face and the same stretched chin.

He just had kept looking him but the boy didn’t have a single look towards him.

He was very unconcerned and careless about the things around him.

He was moving ahead while looking books. Yousuf Mairaj also kept moving along the rack keeping some distance to him.

There was a panic strike in his mind. Many questions were raising inside and questions were those whose answers were already present inside him.

“Who can he be?....... Is he…, he can’t be him then why his face has so much familiarity with Omer?”

Yousuf Mairaj had absolutely forgotten everything around him for a while.

“Sir, your books have been packed.” He had moved ahead after hearing what salesman had said.

Yousuf Mairaj also moved ahead. The counter was at the end of the lane. The boy was now standing at the counter.

Yousuf Mairaj went and stood at the corner of the lane and picked one or two books so that no one could feel anything.

He was standing at the counter silently keeping his both palms on the counter top.

Yousuf Mairaj again looked him from head to toe.

There was not any further doubt.

“Sir, what name should be written on the receipt? Salesman was now typing on computer. The boy suddenly looked the salesman.

“Ilaaf Laashari.” Yousuf Mairaj had felt a storm moving around him.

He controlled him with difficulty otherwise for a moment he had felt like his legs haven’t any courage to stand.

He moved back few steps inside and took a deep breath.

Even in the presence of centralized aircondition, small and tiny drops of sweat appeared on his forehead.

Nobody was attented towards him in the shop and this was a blessing for him.

“So, he is Ilaaf Laashari; nephew of Omer; son of Zainab Laashari.”

He remembered; that day, twenty two years ago, when he had looked two years old child, holding the finger of Zainab Laashari when she had come to visit Saima in the hospital. On asking name, that two years old innocent, naughty and intelligent kid used to tell his name in the same way.

Ilaaf Laashari, yes he just could be Ilaaf Laashari. Whoelse except him could have so much familiarity with Omer and if he was Ilaaf Laashari then……. He couldn’t dare to think anything further.

He turned his head and looked.

He was collecting the shopping bag from the counter. The next moment he went outside the shop.

Don’t know how he had gathered all his power and came outside the shop behind him.

After taking a round from the left side, he was now going downstairs with the help of automatic staircase.

Yousuf Mairaj holding the railing kept looking him until he was disappeared.

Then he started looking around him.

There was hustle bustle, crowd, smiling laughing faces everywhere but he was not able to see anything clearly. A single face was fixed on his vision; face of Ilaaf Laashari.

He remembered Omer; remembered Saima; remembered his meeting with Zainab Laashari twenty two years ago.

“But it’s not necessary that the way I am thinking all this, things would be happening in the same way. Twenty two years are enough for a person to forget his own words; to forget his thought his idea; it is possible that Zainab Laashari would have forgotten all those things.”

He kept flowing in a wave of thoughts.

“But if it wouldn’t be like this and Zainab Laashari would have remembered everything then..” He didn’t want to think anything more. Many thoughts were fighting each other inside him.

“And if Zainab Laashari would have remembered all this even then this doesn’t matter. Ilaaf isn’t a child anymore; he is able to take his all decisions on his own. He won’t be agreed with Zainab Laashari. He would be trained by his father and grandfather; not necessary that he would be like Omer also in habits and nature.” Satisfying one’s own self is vey difficult.

“And if he would be like Omer in nature and habits as well then…..” A fear was grasping his heart.

“Even then…..Ilaaf hasn’t met Qandeel yet. Both of them don’t know each other.” He was pretty satisfied again.

“And if they met someday then….” He felt tiredness was penetrating into his fragile body.

“It should not happen. A storm will come in my daughter’s life. My beloved daughter Qandeel……how will she face all these difficulties. She never faced a single grief like this in her life then how she……”

He felt corner of his eyes were getting wet.

“Saima also kept facing storms throughout her life and Qandeel is Saima’s daughter who herself doesn’t like an easy life.”

“And Omer……which wish of his was that didn’t fulfill in his life then will not this wish be fulfilled? In his life and even after martyrdom, whatever he had wished was fulfilled then won’t this be fulfilled.”

His temptations were changing into beliefs.

“Surely, it will happen and who can delay a happening like this?”

He had reached at a result very quickly and the most surprising thing was that in these so many years he was very much satisfied with a support of a misunderstanding and today after looking Ilaaf Laashari just once; this Taj Mehel of misunderstandings was smashed just with a single jerk.

For these so many years, he had kept thinking like just be the father of Qandeel and today he had felt for the first time that he is a human also and human beings should be agreed with God’s will.

He had controlled himself in a while.

Leaving the Mall he didn’t go with his students, instead went towards Hamza Shahid’s home.

There was a mosque before, at some distance from Hamza Shahid’s home. Whenever he had come there; used to offer prayers there.

He stopped there in order to offer Zauhar prayer.

There were many few people at the moment in the mosque because congregational prayer was just ended and now slowly and gradually people were leaving.

Yousuf Mairaj did Wuzu and started his prayer.

After the prayer when he raised his hands for pray then don’t know why his vision was blurred due to the mist in his eyes.

Perhaps awareness of a reality had suddenly made him to feel himself weak and tired.

“I am agreed with your Will my Master! Just give me and my daughter enough power so that we can fight each and every difficulty. She is so pure just like a drop of dew, keep her pure like this forever. Give her the rigidness like a stone so that no pain, no strike, no smash could break her. Give her the grief which will make her unconcerned from all other sorrows of the world. Fill her heart with Your Love and give her the courage which never ever be defeated by any storm. Perhaps I can feel, I can see, I can understand whatever is going to happen and what can be happened. But I am satisfied; I know that if it happened then nothing else would be better than it for Qandeel.”

He kept praying for a while and kept crying; was feeling a strange peace by crying like this.

Leaving the mosque, he was feeling himself very light.

The war between his thoughts was ended and the mind was completely prepared to face any kind of situation.

He was now thinking just one thing.

“When Qandeel and Ilaaf are going to meet?” Because he believed that it will happen and his belief was not wrong by the way.

In life the happening of many things has been written so earlier. Man can’t change that happening therefore he shouldn’t try to change the happening instead should walk along with it side by side and should try to solve all problems of life along with this happening.

The problem of the man is that he keeps trying to stop the happening even after knowing that happening can’t be delayed or stopped. Whatever changes in his life; he never tries to accept it as a result neither the happening delays nor other problems are being solved and man just keeps complaining to God.

Yousuf Mairaj was not among those people, so that’s why as soon as he felt this happening present in his life and was going to become a reality, he had accepted it by heart; didn’t try to argue with God.

He had spent next four five hours in the home of Hamza Shahid. Among many of those people, he had passed much of his time so well.

During this he had felt single stitches twice or thrice in his left arm but he had never given importance to this ordinary pain.

After the end of the lecture he kept meeting many people in personal then in the study of Hamza Shahid a period of discussions was begun. Along with Kamran Ali, Hamza Shahid, Maryam, Kawish and Saleem, he kept talking for a while.

And then while he was talking felt like somebody has started piercing needles into his left arm.

He kept his right hand on his left arm but the shooting pain was still there. He was now feeling a difficulty in breathing also.

“Sir, are you alright?” Kamran Ali left his chair and came towards him.

“Yes, just an ordinary pain.” He answered very slowly.

“No, you are not well, Uncle.” Maryam said.

Other people also gathered around him.

The pain was spread from the arm towards the chest now and the intensity was also increased.

He tried to stand but the next moment he felt the shooting pain in his chest.

Keeping his hand on his heart, he trembled. Kamran Ali held him.

“I think Yousuf has a heart attack; we should take him to the hospital. I bring my car out and call Dr. Lodhi as well.” Hamza Shahid moved out immediately.

Kamran Ali made him to sit again on sofa and sat besides him.

“I forgot to take my tablet as well.” Yousuf Mairaj said in a tired and painful tone.

“Sir, I think we should inform to Qandeel.” Maryam said to Kamran Ali but Yousuf Mairaj held her hand.

“Not now, please Maryam wait for a while. I haven’t a serious attack; Qandeel will be worried. Let me go to the hospital and get proper check up then whatever will be the situation then inform her. She has gone into birthday party of Rohail; will come immediately being worried. Don’t call her right now.” He said to Maryam slowly in the form of short intervals.

Maryam perhaps didn’t want to argue so was silent now.

Hamza Shahid came inside then with the help of Kamran Ali he supported and let Yousuf Mairaj to stand.

He reached to the car with so much difficulty and then as soon as he sat in the car, closed his eyes.

Those one after another shooting pains had made him very weak.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Chapter no. 5: The First Meeting (III)

The room was dark even then there was illumination inside him.

He was lying on the bed and was able to feel light in his eyes which had kept his vision enlightened just with the thought about that illuminating face even in this darkness.

Four days ago, when he returned back from University then he had a misunderstanding that the thoughts about that girl will be washed out in a while from his mind, but it was just his misunderstanding. During last four days he had kept thinking about that girl in form of short intervals.

Her smile, her tone full of contentment, her unconcernness, her carelessness, her charming laugh and her shiny eyes; he couldn’t take out a single thing from his mind or perhaps he didn’t want to. He just wanted to have a quest for the secret whose presence had made her face so attractive for him. What was that magnetic force in that girl which didn’t let Ilaaf to get rid of thoughts about her.

He turned his side and turned on the side table lamp; then turned it off; then he started turning off and on the lamp like a child; he was having a strange satisfaction with this game.

Don’t know what the time was; he didn’t care. He didn’t want to think about anything else right now, just wanted to think about her with his loneliness.

And just then, for the first time in his life he got angry on himself.

Why didn’t he try to talk to Qandeel that day? May be if he would have tried then the strangeness and unfriendliness that was present in her eyes and tone for Ilaaf, would have been decreased and the opportunity for the second meeting could have become possible.

Now he was just thinking that don’t know when would be able to meet Qandeel again? Even would be able to meet again ever or not. How much he was thinking; was feeling a sense of restlessness more intensified than before.

He closed his eyes and just then his mobile started ringing.

He didn’t want to turn back and search the mobile; he had no wish even to move from his place at the moment.

Mobile was ringing continuously; he couldn’t have an idea in the darkness that from where the ringing tone was coming just knew that it would have been kept somewhere on the bed.

Finally he left playing with lamp and moving his hand behind him searched the mobile.

The call was from Rohail.

“What’s a mess, Rohail?” He said while yawning.

“It’s a mess for you but even then you have to accept it. I won’t hear refusal.” The voice of Rohail was shining.

“Speak clearly, what do you want to say?” Ilaaf was feeling laziness.

“Day after tomorrow is my birthday and you have to come in any case.”

There was a flash in his mind; all laziness and idleness was vanished suddenly.

He had completely forgotten that Rohail’s birthday is coming and he will celebrate it as usual.

A hope was risen inside him.

“Perhaps an opportunity to meet her.”

“Tell me, will you come?” He just came out of that state on hearing Rohail’s voice.

“Who else is coming?” He asked unwillingly.

“Few University friends, few convent friends and some other friends.”

“Will Ameen come?” He made his tone unconcerned; didn’t want to ask about her directly.

“Yes, just four of them will be from University; Ameen, Seema, Humaira and Qandeel; haven’t invited anyone else from University.” A sense of satisfaction penetrated inside Ilaaf.

“Alright, I will come.” He said like he is giving a favor to seven generations of Rohail.

“Ok, then will see day after tomorrow; I will wait for you; couldn’t visit you for few days; was busy otherwise would have come; you will probably be feeling bore.”

Ilaaf turned off the phone and kept on the side table.

During last four days, he had not thought once that Rohail hasn’t visited him; neither felt nor thought.

He got up and sat; was feeling an energy penetrating inside his body.

“So, he will meet Qandeel Yousuf once again day after tomorrow.” He surprised on himself; Ilaaf had remembered the complete name of that girl despite of fact that Rohail had told him the complete name of Qandeel just once when he was introducing both of them.

In any case, now he was just thinking that Nature has given him another chance and he won’t let this go in vain. He will talk to her so that could be able to find something in his search; a single point of that secret which was present in the girl like a magnet and attracted Ilaaf towards her.

Ilaaf standing opened the window and while looking the stars on the sky started thinking about different aspects which could be beneficial for him during the coming meeting.

He was thinking and far above on the sky, stras were laughing; were looking another human being starting a journey on the way full of thorns, in order to know the secret of the life; were preparing themselves to witness a show of foolishness of another man, but those stars were also unaware of the reality that in the chest of weak, stupid and powerless human being, Nature has kept a piece of flesh which has itself hidden the biggest secret of the Universe inside it. If man could ever know the secret that lies inside him then neither he remains weak nor foolish or powerless.

Exactly among those stars, whirling between the clouds, the goddess of the desire was having a look on her new prey with intoxicated smile and witty eyes. She was fully loaded with all her weapons and tools and just was waiting for her moment so that she can attack and grasp Ilaaf.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chapter no. 5: The First Meeting (II)

“Today, I felt your mood was bad.” Rohail brought the car out of the parking at the road.

Qandeel turned her neck and looked him with a look like he had said a very strange sentence, while she knew that Rohail hadn’t said anything strange. Whatever he had said, said the truth but at the moment she had no intention to confirm his saying.

“It wasn’t like that; my mood was good; why did you think like this?” The impression of Rohail, on her answer was like that he had regret on his wrong idea.

“Just felt it. You didn’t talk to Ilaaf, while I had thought that interest of both of you are so like that you would have a friendship soon but neither you showed any interest towards anything of him nor you even said a single formal sentence to him. Anyway, this just could be my idea.” She couldn’t decide for a moment on this explanation of Rohail that what answer should be given to him, then she found the words finally.

“You know that I don’t become so friendly with strangers as soon as I meet them, I am used to compose myself in front of strangers. And today, really the work load was so much that neither I thought nor considered anything else.”

“Perhaps, you are right.” Rohail didn’t feel to comment anymore.

“By the way, you didn’t tell before that Ilaaf Laashari is your friend.” She didn’t want to say but don’t know why she had said it.

“Never had any need to tell nor was anything happened like that so I can tell about him. Ilaaf came back from England just the few months ago, so that is another reason.”

“But you didn’t talk about him once in last few months otherwise you tell me each and everything and just then you are satisfied. And even two days ago when you told that your friend is coming, you didn’t mention that the friend whom you have invited is Ilaaf Laashari.” The irritability inside was coming outside unwillingly.

“This is just a coincidence otherwise it’s not like that what you are thinking. And even if I had told that my friend whom I am inviting is Ilaaf Laashari then what could have happened?” Rohail smiled.

“I would haven’t come in the get together today and staying at home would have completed much of my work.” Qandeel surprised on herself; she was so straight forward at the moment.

The impression of Rohail was as he couldn’t understand anything.

“Why are you saying like this? What odd thing happened due to the presence of Ilaaf that you would have preferred to stay at home? As far as I know, you have met him for the first time today.” Qandeel wished to say that he has met with me for the first time but I knew him before this meeting.

How could she forget him? He was among the people who had come to negotiate with Wali Daad outside the press club and what a carelessness, pride of his movement and then the threat that was given to Wali Daad by him with an impression of disinterest. She couldn’t forget anything.

“Yes, this is true that I have met him for the firs time but I was familiar with his name before this. As the grandson of Aadil Laashari many people know him absentially. And if I knew that he is your friend who is coming in the get together then I would haven’t come because I don’t have any interest in meeting politicians.” She answered after a while.

“Ilaaf isn’t a politician.” Rohail wasn’t satisfied with her answer.

“He belongs to a political family, and will join politics someday then what’s the difference whether he is a politician at the moment or not.”

“But this is not a solid reason, for not joining the get together or for not meeting a person.” Rohail was confused.

“This is a solid reason for me, Rohail; wouldn’t be for you.” Her tone went serious itself.

“Belonging to a political family is not so odd so that you don’t consider him worth meeting. He is so different from the other boys of his background; so different from his Baba Saaiyen and Daada Saaiyen. You don’t have any right to give opinion about someone without knowing or understanding him, Qandeel. I am surprised that you are thinking like this whereas naturally you don’t give opinion about anyone like this.” Rohail’s tone had surprise as well as worry.

Qandeel couldn’t answer him for a while.

She couldn’t be able to explain it to Rohail neither she wanted to.

She didn’t want to tell him that today in the lab after looking Ilaaf Laashari suddenly in front of her; she couldn’t do anything with attention rest of the time. How many times she had looked Ilaaf Laashari; the starved face of Wali Daad revolved in front of her eyes and then that strange pain, the grief of the death of Wali Daad. Just due to that one person, those all scenes were moving into her eyes which she wanted to take out of her mind.

“What happened? Why are you quiet?” Hearing voice of Rohail, she turned her neck and looked Rohail.

“Nothing, I am thinking that you are right. I shouldn’t give any opinion about someone and so what need I have to give my opinion about Ilaaf Laashari? Opinions are given about a person whom with we have a relationship. The person with whom I haven’t any relationship nor I have to make any relationship with him, I really don’t have any right to give any opinion about him.” She knew that the coldness of her tone will surprise Rohail because normally she never talked in a tone like this. And her idea was absolutely right; Rohail really was surprised on this tone of her.

“You seem to be very tired, Qandeel. Perhaps you need a rest.” He couldn’t say anything else in reply.

Rest of the way was passed so quietly.

When she entered the home, Yousuf Mairaj was reading a book sitting in the courtyard.

The sunlight was declining and the courtyard was in shade.

She came towards her room after saying Salam to Baba.

Put off her sandel and kept aside then got onto bed. And just then she had felt that her waist was aching very badly due to the pain; neck, shoulders, waist everything was aching.

It was true that how she had worked continuously for hours on the laptop, never worked like this before. She always had tried to use computer as minimum as possible and that’s why if ever she had to work on computer for much time then she used to do it in the form of intervals and today she had worked on the laptop of Rohail for continuously three hours and one of the reason, other than the load of work was Ilaaf Laashari.

She wanted to avoid him; didn’t want to talk to him; didn’t want to see him and therefore she kept herself busy willingly. Many times she had wished to leave the work, to talk to everyone and to enjoy the get together but just to avoid the man as much as she could, kept working quietly.

She never ever wanted to meet Ilaaf Laashari again. The person whom she had looked just once and she got angry without any reason, undoubtedly she could never wish to meet a person like this again.

She turned her side and closed her eyes.

At night after the dinner, she was reading a book while tilting her back with the pillar in the veranda; just then Yousuf Mairaj had brought the coffee for both of them.

“Thank you, Baba.” She was really having the need for coffee.

“What is being read?” He sat besides her.

“Just, haven’t read Bronte for many days that’s why thought to read a little.” Yousuf Mairaj smiled.

“Qandeel, you are unusually very much quiet today. Are you worried about anything?” She turned her neck and looked Baba. She was surprised; would ever in her life she be able to hide anything from him; don’t know how he was able to know feelings of her heart just by looking into her eyes.

“No, Baba, nothing important. Dr. Saeed has given me the deadline for submission of the project; am just worried for ending the work and nothing else.” She wasn’t used to tell a lie, but right now she didn’t want to tell the truth.

Ilaaf Laashari was not much important for her to tell Baba about him.

“InshAllah, everything will end on time, you should not be worried about it.” She smiled looking him.

Next day in the evening Maryam had come.

Both of them were sitting on Qandeel’s bed in her room and were having tea along with Samosas. Maryam liked Samosas so much; Qandeel had brought Samosas especially for her.

“How was your get together? Preparations were so wonderful.” Maryam asked having Samosa.

“It was fine; wasn’t so special.” She commented.

“Hmmm” Maryam was taking tea side by side.

There was silence for a while then Qandeel said.

“I had met with Ilaaf Laashari yesterday.”

“What?” Maryam had kept the cup of tea on the tray.

“Ilaaf Laashari is a friend of Roahil. Rohail had invited him in the get together; I met him there.” She was serious.

“You never told that Ilaaf is a friend of Rohail.” Maryam asked with an interest.

“I just came to know yesterday when he came with Roahil in the get together.”

“How was your meeting?”

“It was just a superficial meeting. You know that I don’t be so friendly with strangers and especially not with a person who belongs to a political family and I don’t have a good opinion about him.”

“You did right; neither the friendship of these people is good or the enmity. By the way, you know that my C.O. is trying to contact with Ilaaf for about two months so that he could record his interview for our channel. But Ilaaf Laashari keeps fly like an eagle from a place to another; nearly impossible for my C.O. to catch him.” Qandeel didn’t feel the need to remark on her answer.

“If he would know that I am familiar with a friend of Ilaaf Laashari then he will start asking me to make his contact to Ilaaf possible.” She was laughing on her own words, “By the way, is it possible that you talk to Rohail in this case? Really my C.O. will be happy from me.”

Her smile was vanished when Maryam said the last words.

“No, I can’t help you in this case.”

“Why?” Maryam asked.

“Just can’t. I don’t want to talk or hear anything about that person.” She was serious.

“Well, I don’t like him as well, but we the people of media have this kind of job, Qandeel.”

Qandeel took a deep breath.

“If you are interested in his interview then you can talk to Rohail directly. I will give you his number.” The impression on face of Maryam was like that she had not liked this saying of Qandeel.

“No, leave it.”

“Why not? Rohail is a closed friend of Ilaaf. He will help you; perhaps you would be successful and your C.O. would be happy as well.” She surprised on the refusal of Maryam.

“I have said, no. Leave it; was just saying it didn’t mean it.” Maryam said with an odd look.

“Even then, why your decision has been changed?” Qandeel insisted.

“I don’t wanna talk to Rohail; I don’t like him at all.” Maryam said with a strange tone and then started taking sips of tea like she didn’t want to talk on this topic anymore.

Qandeel was surprised but she didn’t talk to Maryam about it anymore.

Maryam went back and she thought about it for a while.

Maryam and Rohail had just a single meeting till now and that had happened just in the home of Qandeel. Few months ago, it was just a little meeting. Rohail had suddenly come at her home and coincidently Maryam was already there. She had intrduced both of them, and then Rohail had asked her about few things of the assignment; during this Maryam and Rohail hadn’t much chat to each other. Then he went back and she hadn’t remembered anything else due to which she could be able to find the reason of the disliking of Maryam for Rohail. So, she wasn’t able to find a conclusion.

After three days, in the evening, after preparing the dinner when she was offering the Maghrib prayer in the veranda, then Rohail had come suddenly.

Yousuf Mairaj had opened the door.

She was offering the last Rakat; finishing prayer she turned her head.

Sitting on a chair in courtyard, he was talking to Yousuf Mairaj and laughing.

She prayed by keeping her hands on her face then folded the prayer-carpet and kept aside; came into courtyard without removing her stole from her head.

“You should inform before coming; its good ethically.” She said in a criticizing tone and pulling a chair sat.

“Yes, should inform before coming so that before my arrival, Miss Qandeel will lock the door and I would not be able to find her anywhere.” Yousuf Mairaj was laughing on his reply.

For a time they kept talking and laughing then she brought the coffee.

“Day after tomorrow is my birthday. I have come to invite you.” Rohail said while having coffee.

“You could invite me in University, what need did you have to come at home for this?” She replied immediately.

“Yes, I could invite you in University if wasn’t afraid that you will refuse to come by presenting a so called reason.”

“I can refuse even now.” She was suddenly straight forward because in real she had no intention to go at Rohail’s birthday party.

“Therefore I have already talked to Uncle about it and Uncle has promised me that he will send you in my birthday party in any case.” The satisfaction which was present in the tone of Roahil had some smell of danger for her.

She looked towards Baba. Yousuf Mairaj was smiling.

She felt anger for Rohail for a moment.

“Look, Rohail. Baba knows very well that I don’t go in parties like this; and if Baba sent me in your birthday party by insisting just due to what you have said to him, even then it will be worthless. I will keep sitting in a corner with a dull heart; nothing else would be there for me to do.”

“Come on, Qandeel. Ameen, Seema and Humaira will be there and along with them, you would have lots of things to do there.” He was requesting.

Qandeel was quiet.

“If you will come then I will be very happy; and if you won’t come then I will be sad.”

Yousuf Mairaj had kept his hand on her shoulder.

“One shouldn’t hurt his friends, Qandeel. You should go there for a while, just for the sake of Rohail’s happiness. Look, he is inviting you with so much credit, you shouldn’t refuse.” Qandeel bent down her head.

She was feeling very bad; didn’t want to face Ilaaf Laashari once again. But neither it was possible for her to refuse Rohail nor she could put back Baba’s saying.

“Alright, I will come.” She admitted this overwhelming.

Rohail smiled and his smile had given a happiness to Qandeel, suddenly; the happiness of the presence of a good friend in her life.

He got to go and Qandeel came to the door along with him.

“You have got a good training of black mailing in the company of Ameen, Rohail.” He smiled.

They were reached at the door.Rohail stopped reaching the door and then turning back said.

“By the way, Qandeel. You look a little eastern while offering prayer otherwise one can’t find any of the qualities like eastern girls even by searching in you.” Qandeel gave a punch on his arm.

“You are talking so much rubbish these days.”

“Your hand is so heavy; don’t know what will happen with Sami.” Patting his arm, he went out of the door.

Qandeel had a smile on her face.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Chapter no. 5: The First Meeting (I)

Ilaaf felt sad about the death of Wali Daad, but this feeling didn’t remain till much time. If man can’t do anything for an issue, to become sad for that was equal to the wastage of time for Ilaaf.

Nadir Siddiqui had unwillingly returned the land to the family of Wali Daad and Ilaaf had felt some satisfaction seeing all this. If Wali Daad had lost his life then he also didn’t let Nadir Siddiqui to live a contented life. For satisfaction of their stubbornness and false ego, those who were responsible to cause the death of an old farmer, had got a smashed kick on their faces. The defeat was their fortune; Ilaaf had a strange satisfaction on this situation.

In any case, he was getting bored for two weeks; despite of many efforts Adnan could not come back.

He was going Golf club in the morning these days, rest of the day either he used to spend in studio painting something or by making tunes on guitar sitting in the lawn. At night sometimes had an outing with a friend otherwise he used to have a long drive alone. Life was suddenly so motionless for him.

Rohail had kept visiting him during these days; he had an idea that Ilaaf was not used to live without Adnan that’s why he was trying to overcome that feeling of loneliness.

Ilaaf knew that he is a good friend; in Adnan’s presence Ilaaf never could be able to give Rohail much time but now in Adnan’s absence he was spending his time with Ilaaf so that Ilaaf didn’t feel alone.

They were having dinner together outside almost everyday. Rohail kept telling him about his University friends during this.

And then, that day Rohail offered him that if he is free on Saturday then come in the get together going to be held in his department. Ilaaf had liked the change always so he agreed on a condition that if Rohail’s class fellows and friends don’t have any issue on this then he will join them in get together.

Next day, Rohail informed him that none of his class fellows or friends has any issue if he joins them in get together. Then he started telling him, “I will introduce you with my all friends and especially to Qandeel. You will be pleased to meet her; she is a very good friend of mine; is so talented girl especially plays the keyboard beautifully.” Ilaaf just shook his head; he used to react like this whenever there is something to talk about the girls.

On Saturday, he didn’t go to the golf club in the morning. After breakfast he spent sometime in the studio; wanted to complete one of his paintings as soon as possible but despite of trying so much, he couldn’t complete the painting.

Then he got ready and left for University in his White fairy; reaching the gate he called Rohail. In few minutes, Rohail had reached the gate in his car. Following Rohail, when he parked his car in the parking of the Mass Communication department and got down, then found many girls and boys looking towards him. His land cruiser was enough to get the attention of people everywhere; Ilaaf had no role in this.

He crossed the lobby talking to Rohail. They were now passing the corridor upstairs and Rohail was telling him some details about the department.

Then he passed the door following Rohail and entered inside. It was a big and wide room whose most of the portion was empty. At a side there was a crowd of girls and boys and there was uproar, slogans were raised. Ilaaf moved ahead with Roahil smiling and looking around. Rohail introduced him to few boys standing there. He knew Ameen; Rohail had talked about him many times.

Ameen just told them that right now all girls have started a competition of interlocking fingers in a bid to twist other’s hand and the series of competitions is continued.

Ameen told the whole situation in a very funny way that unwillingly Ilaaf had laughed and he kept laughing for a while; he also felt the situation very interesting.

Right now a contest was in progress. Two girls were having an arm wrestling, fixing their elbows on the table. Slogans were rising from all four sides and there were uproars. Ameen and Rohail also started raising slogans in support of one of the two girls.

Ilaaf moved few steps back, smiling and started looking other portions of the lab.

He turned his side towards the left side with his hands in the pockets of his pants then something had made him to just stop there.

Exactly opposite to him, a girl was sitting there. Tilting her back with the wall, she had spread her legs forward and keeping a laptop on her knees, she was typing something. Her head was down and unconcerned about anything around she was drowned in the laptop.

Ilaaf couldn’t see her face even then he felt the girl was interesting.

She was bare feet and due to her sitting style, Ilaaf was able to see her spotless soles.

He had also recognized the laptop at which she was working right now. It was the laptop of Roahil, but who was the girl? Ilaaf could not make a guess.

He kept looking her with interest for a while then turned back on hearing Roahil’s voice.

“Leave, the girls have gone out of their mind really, don’t know how long the game will be continued. Come here, Ilaaf. Let me introduce you to Qandeel.” Rohail moved towards that girl.

So, she was Qandeel. Ilaaf remembered, Rohail had talked about her perhaps.

Rohail and Ilaaf came towards the girl walking. She was still working in the same way with her head down.

“Qandeel, at least now leave the work for sometime. Won’t you enjoy the get together?” Rohail said reaching near her.

Qandeel didn’t move.

“The loads of work that I have, Rohail, if would have on you then surely you would have been working sitting here and leaving every fun.” She answered without moving her head up.

Her voice was attractive. Ilaaf’s interest was increased.

Rohail smiled.

“Ok, look. My friend has arrived. The friend I was talking about for two days is here. Ilaaf, Ilaaf Laashari, a very good friend of mine.”

Qandeel moved her head up and first looked Rohail and then Ilaaf.

His eyes were met with Qandeel’s. Everything around was become unmoving.

“Hello.” Qandeel said with a serious tone.

“Hi.” Ilaaf smiled unwillingly.

In reply there were no clues of smile Ilaaf could see on her face. She had again moved her head down and started her work.

Ilaaf was surprised. For the first time in his life it had happened that a girl didn’t feel the need to have a look on him second time.

“Qandeel, please leave the laptop for a while and talk to us. Ilaaf has come here for the first time; you should talk to him and give some good company.” Roahil bent and requested to Qandeel.

“Please Rohail. Let me do some work for a while then I make myself free and talk to you people.” The answer of Qandeel was surprising for Ilaaf. She was the very first girl of the world who had no interest in chat with Ilaaf.

Rohail looked Ilaaf in an embarrassing way. Ilaaf just smiled.

Both of them pulled chairs and sat near a table. Rohail started telling him different things, about his friends, about the University life.

Ilaaf’s concentration was not towards Rohail; was towards Qandeel. He was looking her time to time.

Suddenly, the uproars reached at the peak. The crowd was dispersed and everyone moved in random directions.

“I have won.” The voice of Kiran was echoed.

Everbody congratulated her by raising slogans and clapping their hands.

“I have beaten everyone; none of the girls could win against me.” She was happy like kids.

Ilaaf smiled.

“You didn’t beat everyone Kiran.” This was Ameen, “Qandeel hasn’t participated in the competition that’s why you can’t claim that you have beaten all the girls of class.”

“Then I can do it. Say Qandeel to come and play with me.” There was silence in the lab. Everyone knew that Qandeel would never be agreed to participate.

Ilaaf looked, Qandeel was still unconcerned. Her fingers were still on the laptop.

“Qandeel, your friend has challenged me that until and unless I beat you, can’t call me as the champion. Therefore, now you will have to play against me.” Kiran was directly saying to Qandeel.

Qandeel moved her head up, turned her neck and looked Kiran.

“My friend has challenged you, Kiran, didn’t I then why are you taking the issue so seriously. You are the champion from my perspective, now be happy.” She was saying, smiling.

Ilaaf felt her smile was charming.

“No, now it’s the issue of my ego and respect. You will have to play aginst me.” Kiran came ahead.

Ilaaf looked. Rohail was giving some indications to Ameen with his eyes; perhaps was scolding for leaving the matchstick and burning the fire.

“But I don’t want to play.” The tone of Qandeel was expressionless.

“You fear that you will lose.” Kiran had criticism in her tone.

The smile of Qandeel grew deeper.

“The word fear is not included in my dictionary, Kiran.”

“If you don’t fear then why are you refusing to play?”

“Whatever you say; you can’t prepare me to play by emotionally blackmailing me.”

“Then I will think that you fear to lose.”

“If you want to then keep thinking like this, I don’t care. Whenever I play; play without thinking about victory or defeat but right now I have no intention to have an arm wrestling.”

Ameen moved ahead.

“No Qandeel, you have to play for the sake of your friends. Now it is also an issue of ego and respect for us. Kiran has defeated Seema and Humaira. Now, you will have to defeat Kiran.”

Qandeel looked Ameen.

“And if I will be defeated then..”

“Then we will accept Kiran as the champion.”

Qandeel didn’t answer him just squeezed her lips.

“Qandeel, you have to play.” Rohail raised a slogan by standing and then following him, everybody started raising slogans.

Qandeel looked everyone with a surprise, and then smiled.

“Alright, alright.” She raised her hand and made everyone to be silent and then looked at Kiran. “I will play on one condition.”

“What?” Kiran asked.

“You will have to hear the ghazal of Iqbal.” Laughs were roared in the lab. Everybody knew that Kiran has always problems with Iqbal’s poetry.

“Accepted.” Kiran replied scratching her head.

Qandeel kept the laptop on the floor, smiling and then stood.

Everybody gathered on the corner table roaring. Rohail and Ilaaf also stood.

Qandeel didn’t feel the need to put on her sandel and went towards the table walking bare feet.

Ilaaf looked she was wearing the dark blue shirt and white shalwar and had an Ajrak on her shoulder as a stole. Nobody else was dressed in such a simple way.

Qandeel started folding her sleeves reaching near the table. Ilaaf was looking her very keenly. She had innocence on her face; Ilaaf felt an attraction in the girl.

Then she pulled the chair and sat. Kiran was already seated at the other side of the table. Both of them raised their arms, fixed their elbows on the table and took each other’s hand.

“Qandeel, you have turned your wrist more than usual.” She smiled when Kiran said.

“This turn in my wrist is natural, Kiran. I can’t keep my wrist straight. By doing this the bone of my wrist will be dislocated. If you have any issue then we can end the game now.”

“No, I don’t have any issue.” Kiran smiled.

Seema held their hands, checked the balance of the elbows and in a loud voice saying one, two, three, go moved back.

An uproar and tumult was in the lab; nothing was audible in the midst of the defeaning noise.

Ameen and Rohail also started raisng slogans with Asif and Raheem.

Ameen being very emotional had given the handy cam of Rohail into hands of Ilaaf and went near the table.

If it would be some other time then Ilaaf would have set Ameen’s mind on treating him like a cameraman but right now the opportunity of the enjoyment that he had got in the form of that handy cam, was not less than a blessing.

He was watching each and every impression of her face very keenly with the camera eye now.

Her eyes were black and they had an illuminating shine; shine of satisfaction. She had a faint smile on her face; contented smile which is found on a conqueror’s face. Ilaaf recorded the video for a while then changed the camera on picture mode and took few snaps of her. If it would be any other event then he would had never done an unethical thing like this, but that moment, this so little stealing was giving him an unknown satisfaction.

Being vey careful, he took few snaps of the crowd as well because the camera was of Rohail and he didn’t want that Rohail could know anything about this stealing.

Then he again changed the mode to video and started recording the video.

The contest was still without any result. Nobody either Kiran or Qandeel was successful to twist other’s hand.

Ilaaf looked; her black hairs were bound at the back in the form of a ponytail, were coming out of the grip and dispersing on her shoulders. There was not a single mark of cosmetic on her face. Her ears and wrists were empty; however she was wearing a silver chain around her neck and whose half of the part was hidden inside her high collar shirt.

Kiran perhaps had said something to Qandeel; Ilaaf couldn’t hear due to the noise. In reply he had seen the smile of Qandeel grew deeper.

Ilaaf had given the camera to Rohail and moved ahead at a place from where he could be able to hear their voices.

Kiran was saying, “Indeed, your wrist is powerful Qandeel. But look I will beat you.” Ilaaf looked; the spotless wrist of Qandeel was thin as compare to Kiran.

“When you are sure Kiran that you will beat me then why I am observing the fear in your eyes, the fear of defeat.” The satisfaction of her tone was surprising for Ilaaf, “Look at me, there is not any fear in my eyes. Whether I win or lose; will move from this table smiling.” Kiran couldn’t give any answer, infact the shades of the fear in her eyes were darker on this satisfaction of Qandeel.

“Always remember one thing, Kiran. If game is played without caring about the victory or defeat, just then its worth and joy lasts till the last moment. The fear of defeat, the temptation of the result, and the unachievable desire of the victory ruin the taste of the play. Whenever play, play bravely without caring about the result; whether meet the victory, whether defeat, the delight of the play will be doubled.” Ilaaf jerked with a surprise.

More or less in the same words years ago, Yuang Lee had informed him about the philosophy of the play. These days he was getting the training of Martial art from Yuang Lee in California. Due to the fear of defeat, he had sat on the ground just after fourth move and just then Yuang Lee had told him about this.

“Whether it’s a game or a war, fight bravely by using all capabilities and powers without caring about the outcome. At least you will be respected in your own eyes in this way.”

He believed that Kiran would not be able to beat Qandeel.

“The person who doesn’t have any fear of losing something after the defeat, to beat a person like this is so difficult, Ilaaf, because the person puts a stake and plays on his life then.” The words of Yuang Lee were echoing in his ears suddenly.

“Ok, leave it. As per my condition, now hear ghazal of Iqbal at the same time.” Qandeel had said to Kiran like she is sitting in a Mushaairaa rather than an arm wrestling.

Ilaaf really had seen a girl like this for the first time in his life.

“Dil soz sey khaali hai, nigeh pak nahi hai,

Phir is men ajab kya key tu bebaak nahi hai.”

She read the first couplet of ghazal smiling.

Ameen and Seema started conjugating Waah Waah; this made Kiran further confused.

“Hai zauq e tajalli bhi isi khak men pinhan,

Ghafil tu nira, sahib e idraak nahi hai.”

Her tone had a grace; she was looking directly into Kiran’s eyes.

Ilaaf never felt an attraction like this in any girl.

“Kya sufi o mulla ko khabar merey junoon ki,

Unka sir e daman bhi abhi chaak nahi hai.”

The hand of Kiran, was not able to bear the power of Qandeel’s wrist further.

“Kab tak rahey mehkoomi e anjum men meri khak,

Ya men nahi ya gardish e aflaak nahi hai.”

Defeat was grasping its claws on the face of Kiran, slowly and gradually.

“Bijli hun nazar koh o bayaban pey hai meri,

Merey liye shayan khas o khashak nahi hai.”

Ilaaf was looking at her lips moving slowly, and each word that was coming out of those lips was responsible to penetrate a strange feeling into his ears. To give a name to that feeling was not possible for Ilaaf.

“Aalam hai faqat momin e janbaaz ki meeraas,

Momin nahi jo sahib e Lolaak nahi hai.”

Kiran was not capable to defend herself more. Her grasp was lost just for a moment and just the next second her hand was on table and Qandeel’s hand was over it.

The uproars were reaching the skies.

In the slogans of Ameen and Rohail and the screaming of Seema, everything else was inaudible.

Qandeel stood smiling.

Kiran was still sitting at her place and her head was down.

Qandeel came at the other side of the table and stopped reaching near Kiran. Then she kept her hand on Kiran’s shoulder.

Kiran raised her head and looked her.

Qandeel held her both hands and made her to stand, then said smiling.

“If you are hurt just because of me then I apologise for that. I had no intention to hurt you or making you embarrass. My victory is your victory and your defeat is my defeat. The patience of the loser is more respectable than the pride of the winner, Kiran. If you are hurt due to my victory then I don’t want to be happy for that victory.”

Kiran smiled.

“It’s not like that, yaar. Whoever wins? In friendship it doesn’t matter at all.” Qandeel had a smile on her face like the flowing water.

“Then give me a hug and celebrate the victory of the friendship.” Qandeel spread her arms.

Kiran hugged her.

For a while they kept celebrating by raising slogans.

Qandeel after hugging Kiran, turned back smiling.

Ilaaf’s eyes were on her every moment. Qandeel suddenly had her eyes on Ilaaf; Ilaaf looked, the smile was vanished from her face as soon as she looked him.

He couldn’t understand, either it happened intentionally or unintentionally.

Qandeel turned and making space between the girls, moved back to the place where she was sitting just a while ago.

Sitting with the wall she again kept the laptop on her legs and started the work.

Ilaaf also came back and sat on the chair he was sitting earlier.

He looked; the soles of the feet of Qandeel were now dusty due to walking bare feet on the floor.

In a while the environment of the get together changed again.

Ameen had played the songs on the stereo.

All of them were chatting in the form of small groups.

Rohail, Ameen, Seema and Humaira were sitting along with Ilaaf on that table.

All four of them were talking to Ilaaf with so much interest; she was the only one who was sitting at some distance and had made herself totally unconcerned about him.

An agitation had grasped Ilaaf inside. Doesn’t she even consider him worth talking for a while or worth looking just for a moment?

“Perhaps her attitude would be like this.” He satisfied himself inside.

Ameen and Rohail were time to time asking Qandeel to come on table but she was refusing continuously.

Then perhaps Ameen’s patience reached at the edge.

He stood suddenly and went towards Qandeel.

The attack was so unexpected that Qandeel could not think or understand anything and the very next moment, Ameen picked the laptop along with adaptor and came back at the table.

“Ameen, what’s this rubbish? Give me the laptop.” Qandeel stood.

“It’s not your laptop.” Ameen replied in a teased manner.

“Neither is your, its Rohail’s. Rohail, ask him to return me the laptop, I have to work.” She was now addressing Rohail.

Rohail didn’t give any answer.

Qandeel came ahead but Ameen was standing like a wall between her and the laptop.

“Ameen, you kid. Return me the laptop.” There was anger in her tone but it had no effect on Ameen’s satisfaction.

Ilaaf was looking all situations with a deep interest.

“If you want to get back the laptop then you will have to prove that you haven’t come in the get together just to make us feeling bore, instead you know how to enjoy and how to save others from idleness.” Ilaaf couldn’t understand either Ameen was indicating about him or any other person.

“And what will I have to do to prove this?” She said like chewing each word.

A wide smile was appeared on Ameen’s face.

“You will have to have a bhangra dance.” Qandeel looked like she didn’t understand anything.

“Are you gone out of your mind, Ameen?”

“What’s that unusual thing in this that you say I am gone out of my mind, Qandeel? I haven’t talked about an impossible thing. When you can have bhangra in your home why can’t you do here? Seema had told me that you dance in bhangra style very well.”

“Seema, I couldn’t expect it from you.” The guns of Qandeel were now towards Seema.

“I am sorry, Qandeel. Ameen is just….. in any case he knows how to use a way that I am always supposed to tell him everything.” Seema was a little embarrassed.

Qandeel couldn’t say anything for a moment then she looked towards Ameen.

“Look, Ameen. In home a person can do everything so independently but it’s not necessary that whatever we do in our homes, we can do it outside the home also.” She had seriousness in her tone.

“I am not talking about everything, Qandeel. I am just talking about bhangra.” Qandeel squeezed her lips.

“Look, Ameen. I am just like your sister. Will I be looking good having a bhangra dance in front of so many people?”

Ameen smiled.

“And what if we all have a bhangra dance, I think you won’t be looking bad then dancing a bhangra.” Qandeel couldn’t answer him; he had made her silenced.

“But why are you thinking about all these odd and nonsense things?” She took a deep breath.

“Because this is our last semester and I want to make each and every moment memorable. I had already decided that all students of final year will have a bhangra together once, just was afraid that you will refuse but now you will have to agree for it. Don’t refuse please.”

She kept thinking for a while then smiled.

“Alright, you people will start first, and then I will join you all.”

“Agreed.” Ameen said happily and went towards the stereo.

Qandeel shaking her head pulled a chair and sat; dragged the laptop near her.

Ameen had played a Punjabi song on stereo; its music was perfect for bhangra. And then within few minutes the research lab of Dr. Kamal was presenting a view of the outer courtyard of a shrine where many frenzied ones were dancing in their own different ways.

Qandeel for a while kept standing outside the circle and clapping then she said something in the ear of Humaira. Ilaaf couldn’t have any idea that what she would have said.

Then he looked Qandeel coiling and tying up the Ajrak around her waist. The next moment she joined the circle with Seema and then Ilaaf didn’t believe on his eyes.

She was dancing like lunatic, like a dervish with closed eyes. Hands were somewhere else and feet were somewhere else but she was dancing unconcerned about anything around her. Her hairs were untied now but no change came in her dance.

Ilaaf just kept standing at his place unmoved.

He had seen first time in his life, a girl whose every form was unique, whose every style was totally different from the other style; to understand whom was a query for Ilaaf; who was felt to Ilaaf entirely like a secret; a secret which can be discover or search; a query, one can dedicate his whole life to solve. She was really a question, the desire of searching whose answer, was rising inside him.

Ilaaf jerked his head and tried to bring his deluded thoughts on their original position.

Suddenly, Humaira reduced the volume of the stereo, immediately after it she pulled Qandeel outside the circle holding her hand.

Qandeel had opened her eyes with a jerk like she was reached in the world from another world.

Rohail turned off the stereo. They all were tired very badly and no one had any further plans for fun.

Asif and Raheem went for the lunch arrangement.

Qandeel had rolled up her hairs dispersed on her shoulders and tied them again in a ponytail form and was laughing. Then she came towards the table and without looking at Ilaaf pulled the chair and sat.

Ilaaf couldn’t understand; why is she ignoring him?

Rohail and Ameen also came there.

Ameen was still out of his breath.

“We admire you, Qandeel. Really there is no alternative for you, whatever you do, you do very well.” Ameen said with irregular breaths.

Qandeel looked moving her head up.

Ameen had a glass of water in his hand. The next moment she pounced like a tigress.

Ameen was just kept looking. Qandeel had poured the water from the glass inside her throat just in a minute, and just then Ilaaf looked the chain around her neck very keenly. Chain was long and the locket in it had “Allah” written on it. The shape of the locket was beautiful. This was the only jewel she was wearing.

She kept the glass and took a deep breath.

Ameen looked the empty glass with an odd look and then sat while sighed.

“I am sorry, Ameen. I deserved this reward for having bhangra on your wish.” Her tone was naughty.

“So dangerous girl you are, the one you will bite whom won’t even ask for water.”

“Then be happy, because the one whom you will bite will ask for water certainly.” Everybody laughed on her answer.

“Nobody can win against you in the case of words.” Ameen remarked.

“And nobody can win against you in cheap things.” This time Ameen had to be silent.

Qandeel was now working on the laptop kept on the table.

Rohail started telling Ilaaf the activities of Ameen which were responsible for his infamy in the department. Wherever he was showing some sympathy and was trying to be careful, Ameen there was adding each and every detail with a pride.

Then lunch was ready.

Both Asif and Raheem announced for the lunch or had opened the door of the lab for a flood.

Rohail, Ameen and Seema went to take lunch for their table.

Ilaaf looked Qandeel again. Below her right eye, above her cheek there was a faint mole; was not visible from a distance and now because she was sitting at the same table Ilaaf was sitting so he could see this mole very clearly.

Full attention of Qandeel was towards the laptop and she even didn’t look Ilaaf just once as he was not sitting there.

They had brought the lunch and kept on the table.

Everybody had started lunch. Qandeel even was working while having lunch therefore she was eating bit slowly.

Ameen asked her twice that she should take pizza in her plate but when Qandeel didn’t show much interest then he left asking.

They were eating like they haven’t eaten anything for centuries. Till now Qandeel just had taken some salad and a single piece pf pizza.

And when she was again concerned about the lunch, the pizza was nowhere.

“That’s why I was saying to leave the laptop for a while and take proper lunch but you don’t take effect of anything we say. Now sit calmly and eat anything else. The person who doesn’t give importance to meal, then the meal also doesn’t give importance to that person.” Ameen as usual didn’t miss the chance to criticize her.

Qandeel looked Ameen smiling then took a piece of garlic bread, dipped it in the glass of coke and started eating it.

Ilaaf was once agin looking her actions with an interest.

She was eating garlic bread by dipping it in the coke like she had never eaten anything tastier than this.

Seema and Humaira went to take sweet for all of them and were laughing.

“Ameen, do you know? The wedding date of Humaira has been fixed.” Rohail remembered suddenly.

Qandeel was like she hadn’t heard words of Rohail; she was still hanged in laptop.

“When did it happen? Humaira didn’t tell me anything.” Ameen was surprised.

“I thought Humaira would have told you. Yaar, her fiancé is coming from Dubai in December that’s why date has been fixed. I am forgetting his name; what a good name he has?” Roahil tried to remind himself then turned towards Qandeel.


“Hmmm” She said with her eyes on the laptop.

“What’s the name of Humaira’s fiancé?”

“Lara Nicolson.”

“What….” Rohail’s mouth got opened.

“Laa haula wala qooet.” Ameen muttered.

“Qandeel, you have gone out of your mind.” Rohail sighed.

“Why, what happened?” Qandeel asked satisfactorily while taking the sip of the coke.

“I am asking something else and you are answering something else.”

“What did you ask from me?” She took a second sip.

“That what is the name of Humaira’s fiancé?” Rohail said.

“And what have I answered?” She was taking the third sip.

“Lara Nicolson.” Rohail replied with an odd look.

Qandeel kept the glass on the table with a jerk and keeping her right hand on her mouth took the sip into her throat with difficulty; the next moment she coughed heavily. She had got a knot in her throat and she was coughing continuously.

Ilaaf looked; in a while her face went red.

Then she started laughing. She was coughing and laughing; all of them also started laughing.

She kept laughing and then perhaps she had an attack of laugh. Ilaaf kept looking her without blinking his eyes.

She stood and while laughing went towards the window, and then started rubbing her eyes, still laughing.

Perhaps was wiping the water from her eyes that came due to laughing too much.

Then she bowed down and keeping both hands on her knees was trying to normalize her breath.

“You are right, Rohail. I am really gone out of my mind, but how Dr. Saeed has overloaded me with work, if would have put this on you then you also would have gone out of your mind.” Saying in irregular breath she came back towards the table.

“I did a mistake by taking the project with Dr. Saeed. This project is just going to take my life.” She was still coughing in short intervals.

Then she started moving her eyes on the table.

Ilaaf felt like she is searching for water. Right now there was only one glass of water on the table which was kept in front of Ilaaf. Ilaaf hadn’t drunk water from it.

Unintentionally he took the glass and presented to Qandeel.

Qandeel hesitated for a moment then she took the glass from his hand.

Unknowingly, a feeling of peace was sustained in Ilaaf’s heart.

“Thank you.” Qandeel looked him with seriousness.

He felt that kindness was enough for him.

Rest of the time she was busy with the laptop and Ilaaf kept looking her in different intervals so that none of the others could feel it.

He had never taken so much interest in a girl in his entire life. He never became fond of looking so beautiful faces in a way like this, then don’t know what attraction that ordinary face had that unwillingly he was not able to change the direction of his eyes.

This state doubtlessly was very strange but Ilaaf didn’t want to think anything at the moment.

Then as soon girls and boys in the form of small groups started to go, they all decided to leave as well.

Seema and Humaira went with Ameen.

Qandeel turned off the laptop, detached its adaptor; put both of these into the bag and handed over the bag to Rohail. Then she collected some other things which were kept near the wall.

And just then she felt the need to put on her sandel.

All three of them came outside, then going downstairs.

Ilaaf wanted to talk to Qandeel; didn’t know what he wants to talk to her.

He surprised, why in last two and half hours he couldn’t try to to talk to her and now when it’s the time to depart and change his way from hers then he was feeling like he wants to stop Qandeel for some more time; wants to talk to her; wants to see her. But he couldn’t do anything.

Roahil and he were walking ahead. Qandeel was at the back.

They stopped by reaching the land cruiser of Ilaaf in the parking then he shook his hand with Rohail.

“I will come at night.” Rohail said while shaking hand with him.

Ilaaf smiled, and then he looked at Qandeel who perhaps had looked his car with just a careless look. Perhaps these things had no importance for her.

“Bye.” He at least didn’t want to say this word, but he had to.

“Bye.” Qandeel replied in a serious tone and turning her side went towards the car of Rohail.

Ilaaf had felt an agitation penetrating inside him; a nounless emptiness and giving a name to that feeling was not possible for him.