“Chotey Saaiyen, wake up.” Perhaps Fazal had shaken him but he was so much sleepy at the moment that just said ‘Hmmm’ in reply. Then perhaps Fazal had shaken him second time, just then he opened his eyes a bit. The room had so much light at the moment. Rubbing his eyes he turned his side and straightened himself.
“What’s wrong with you, Fazal? Why have you got me up so early in the morning?” He cursed Fazal having a yawn.
“It’s not morning Chotey Saaiyen. It’s half past one in the afternoon.” His eyes were burning. Rubbing his eyes with both hands he got up and sat. “You have a call from Bari Bibi.” Fazal gave him the cordless phone.
“Call from Daadi Maa….” He took the cordless with a surprise.
Fazal was pulling the curtains back from the windows. The bright sunlight was smashed to his body. Holding the cordless with his ear, he stood.
“How are you?” After Salam he had asked.
“Leave me, my child. How are you? When will visit the village? My eyes are anxious to see you.” She had said everything in one sentence.
“I am perfectly fine, Daadi Maa; will visit in a week or so; you are feeling well naa? Has the ulcer again bothered you?”
“I am fine; ordinary pains walk along in this age, Ilaaf. Never be worry for me; just take care of yourself and your health.” Like a routine she had started to advice him for his good health.
“Fine, Daadi Maa; will take care of my health. Tell me how is Maa? She never calls me and whenever I call her even then doesn’t talk to me. I never could understand this habit of Maa, Daadi Maa. How much she loves me I know it very well but then why she doesn’t talk to me on phone?” He suddenly remembered Maa.
“She doesn’t talk to you Ilaaf, due to the fact that after talking to you on phone she starts to feel your absence so much, cries for a long time by taking your name and even I myself tire to try to satisfy her, Ilaaf. Talk to her how much you want to, when you will visit Sukkur; she won’t talk to you now.” Ilaaf knew that will get this answer in reply.
He kept the phone down having a yawn.
Even after taking shower he was feeling himself little bit lazy. Coming in lounge he sat on the sofa and kept his both legs on the central table. Eyes were still burning.
“Saaiyen, breakfast.” Fazal having the trolly with him came near and Ilaaf changed his position by rubbing his eyes.
“What happened, Saaiyen? Haven’t you had a complete rest?” Fazal offered the glass of juice to him.
“I have had a complete rest; just eyes are burning don’t know why?” He replied taking the sip of juice.
“You would have seen a dream, Saaiyen. Sometimes dreams affect the eyes too much.” Fazal showing his opinion went back with the trolly.
Ilaaf kept the glass on table.
“Dream.” A word had occupied his senses.
Yes, it was a dream due to which his eyes were still burning.
He tried to rewind his mind and thought about the dream.
One after the other, he remembered each and every image of that dream; had seen this dream at night, even then the images in his mind were so strongly stored that Ilaaf had remembered the whole dream.
He had not seen a strange dream like this for the first time. Ilaaf remembered the dream he had seen a month ago and which had kept his sleep restless for many days. This dream at least wasn’t like that one.
For a while he kept thinking then jerking his head had his breakfast.
He was Ilaaf Laashari who hadn’t given importance even to so important things in his life and then it was just a dream. These days if he was giving importance to something then it was just the thought about Qandeel Yousuf which wasn’t leaving his mind for a single moment.
He had passed that whole day like a restless soul and just found the peace when at night Rohail called and informed him that he is going to the hospital to see Qandeel’s father the very next day and Ilaaf is allowed to go with him.
That moment Ilaaf felt like somebody has given a hope of water to his thirsty lips.
He had perhaps passed that night just by changing his sides on the bed; didn’t know why he was so anxious to see that girl, to meet her.
Next day he reached Rohail’s home before the time. Rohail was perhaps surprised but he could expect anything from him in a situation like this.
“Didn’t you sleep at night, Ilaaf?” He guessed by looking his red eyes.
“Yeah, perhaps.” Ilaaf replied shortly.
Rohail didn’t try to talk to him on their way to the hospital. Ilaaf kept driving quietly and Rohail kept trying to understand his condition himself. Ilaaf wasn’t surprised; he could expect it fromRohail; he was used to look every matter with his own perception.
Following Rohail, he came upstairs and now was passing the long corridor. There were private rooms on both sides of the corridor.
Don’t know why with each step, his heartbeat was faster than before. She was present somewhere here in a room at a distance of few steps, and this feeling was providing an unknown happiness to Ilaaf; a strange, nameless and contented joy.
Then Rohail stopped at the door of a room. After reading the room number on the plate, he was now knocking the door. Ilaaf felt his heart stopped beating.
The next moment Rohail entered the room and in follow, Ilaaf also moved his feet inside.
She was there inside. Standing few steps away from the door she was smiling looking Rohail.
Looking her smiling, Ilaaf felt like he was breathing for the first time in life and before this he even didn’t know what actually breathing is?
Next moment she looked Ilaaf. Ilaaf felt a smile was appearing on his face but the smile of Qandeel was disappeared immediately and a sadness grasped Ilaaf’s heart inside.
“Close the door.” The tone of Qandeel was cold.
Ilaaf shut the door quietly. Qandeel had gone to the other end of the room.
Ilaaf was attentive towards Rohail who was presenting a bouquet of flowers to Qandeel’s father, lying on the bed. Ilaaf came towards the bed.
And just then, Rohail introduced him to Qandeel’s father. Ilaaf shook hands with him and asked about his health.
“I am perfectly fine, now. Thanks Allah.” He said smiling and don’t know why Ilaaf had felt like his smile had some strange impression that moment; an impression of familiarity, but it was impossible that he would already be familiar to him; he was meeting him for the first time in life.
Both of them sat on the chairs near the bed.
Yousuf Mairaj started talking to him and Rohail. Beside this, he was observing Ilaaf very keenly as well. Ilaaf had no problem with this at all. That moment if he had a problem then it was just that Qandeel hadn’t looked him once.
She had kept herself busy in small things, willingly. Firstly, she kept collecting the books and newspaper from the table and then started changing the positions of things on the side table; many times she changed the position of the same thing twice or thrice. Ilaaf had kept a sight on her each and every action; he could feel it; she was avoiding him. Why was she doing so? It was difficult to decide.
“Qandeel! Won’t you entertain the guests?” Perhaps Yousuf Mairaj felt it necessary to have an objection looking her busy like this. “Your friends have come and leaving them, you have kept yourself busy in other things.” Qandeel stopped for a moment and looked Yousuf Mairaj. Then she looked towards Rohail and Ilaaf across the bed.
She had some anger in her eyes for Rohail and Ilaaf…..for Ilaaf she had nothing in her eyes; no impression, no other feeling.
Ilaaf felt his heart was being incised.
“Jee Baba.” She said in a serious tone.
“No, Uncle! We had just come to see you, will leave now.” Perhaps Rohail had an idea about her anger.
“Sit down. I am making the tea. Go after having it.” Her expressionless tone was decisive.
Rohail remained silent.
Qandeel started making tea.
Throughout this, for the first time Ilaaf looked that even in this room of the hospital, she was walking bare feet. Perhaps to put on sandel or shoes was a mess for her. In a light green dress of cotton chicken, the color of her face was also felt light greenish to Ilaaf. The carelessly bound hairs on back were already dispersed on her shoulders.
Ilaaf kept looking her, like a travellor standing at the first step and looking towards his destiny standing upstairs on the last step.
Giving them tea, she sat besides Yousuf Mairaj on the bed and just then the door was knocked. Qandeel went to open the door.
Then Ilaaf looked her smiling and saying Salam to someone.
“If there is a guest then we can wait outside.” He heard the voice of a stranger.
“No, sir. Just Rohail and his friend are here. You can come; no problem at all.” Qandeel didn’t even feel to mention his name.
They were two, who entered in the room just the next moment.
He and Rohail stood.
Qandeel introduced both of them to Rohail. And now Rohail was introducing both of them to Ilaaf. One of them, who wasn’t much older in age, was Kamran Ali and the other, who was friend of Yousuf Mairaj, was Hamza Shahid.
“Sir, I already know you people abesntially. Qandeel often keeps telling.” Rohail had said with affection. “He is my friend. Ilaaf, Ilaaf Laashari.” Kamran Ali and Hamza Shahid had looked him.
Ilaaf shook hands with Kamran Ali.
“Ilaaf Laashari, son of Qaiser Laashari. Am I right?” He asked looking in his eyes.
“Yes, sir. You are right.”
“Nice to meet you, young man.” Said smiling he moved ahead and now was talking to Yousuf Mairaj.
Hamza Shahid on the other hand just shook his hand with Ilaaf and observed him carefully.
Ilaaf looked. His eyes were shiny and beautiful. For a moment he remembered the dream he had day before yesterday. His eyes were felt like the Alchemist to Ilaaf.
Hamza Shahid had also moved towards Yousuf Mairaj now.
Ilaaf jerking his head sat back on his position.
“Hmmm” After talking to Yousuf Mairaj, Hamza Shahid turned towards Qandeel.
“Qandeel Yousuf.” She smiled. “Will we have a cup of tea?”
She was puzzled for a moment. “Why not, sir? Infact I should have asked you myself but I forgot to. Actually………” She stopped saying something.
Ilaaf looked, she was nervous. So, there was someone in the world whom with talking had made Qandeel Yousuf to be nervous. This was a new discovery for Ilaaf.
“Actually you forgot everything by looking us. Isn’t it?” Qandeel shook her head. “We can never understand why people forget everything by looking us.” Hamza Shahid sat besides Kamran Ali on sofa laughing.
Yousuf Mairaj was also smiling.
Qandeel was making tea for them.
“A gentleman met us many times and on each meeting he kept saying that he doesn’t remember where he had looked us first time because looking us makes him to forget everything. See what need of thinking in this matter is? We said that Sahib you would have seen us somewhere or anywhere but the important thing is that have you seen us either with closed or opened eyes?” The laughs were roared in the room.
Qandeel was laughing on Hamza Shahid’s words. Stirring the spoon in tea mugs, she was laughing without any control.
Ilaaf kept looking her red face involuntarily.
Qandeel after giving tea to Kamran Ali, Hamza Shahid and Yousuf Mairaj went and stood besides the window.
And during this for the first time, she looked towards Ilaaf. Eyes of Ilaaf met with hers and the next moment Ilaaf looked an unpleasant impression on her face. Her body language suddenly was rigid and disinterest in her eyes was quite visible.
Ilaaf felt a shooting pain inside. He couldn’t understand why never there was a single kind impression in her eyes for Ilaaf? Was Rohail right in his saying? She had disliked Ilaaf. But if it was true then why it was like that? He wanted to have a nice communication to her; wanted to be a friend of her and therefore this behavior of Qandeel was teasing him very much.
For a while they kept talking. Hamza Shahid and his funny sayings were enjoyed by everyone except Ilaaf. Ilaaf in this room neither could see anything except Qandeel nor did he want to.
Then Hamza Shahid and Kamran Ali got to go.
“We have taken so much time, Yousuf. Now take a rest otherwise Dr. Lodhi will charge us that we have made his patient to laugh and to be ill again.”
Rohail and Ilaaf also got up and decided to leave.
Ilaaf looked; Hamza Shahid shook hands with Yousuf Mairaj and then went towards Qandeel.
“The tea was well prepared, Qandeel Yousuf.” His tone had everlasting shine. “By the way, I remembered your name.” He said like a whisper smiling and Ilaaf just could hear it because he was standing near Qandeel.
“It is pleasurable for me, sir.” He looked Qandeel smiling.
“Indeed. It’s pleasurable for me as well, Qandeel.” He breathed deeply. “A big confusion has been finished today.” Qandeel and Ilaaf both had looked him surprisingly.
“What confusion, sir?” Qandeel asked.
Perhaps he wasn’t satisifed with his saying, “Oh, leave it; will talk someday later on. Right now take care of your father.” Patting Qandeel’s head he moved ahead.
Before leaving the room with Rohail, he looked Qandeel by turning back for the last time.
Her face was bright as usual. Ilaaf wished by heart not to go outside instead to hid somewhere in the room and to look Qandeel until he could be able to find the secret of the light on her face. But he couldn’t do anything; wasn’t able to fulfill a single desire out of those unlimited desires that were born inside him that moment.
All four of them passing the corridor came downstairs and then towards the hospital gate.
“Ok, sir. We must go now.” Rohail was shaking hands with them. Ilaaf moved his hand as well.
Kamran Ali had looked him smiling. His smile had something very strange.
Then he shook hand with Hamza Shahid. His hand was cold but Hamza Shahid’s hand was extremely hot that moment like he would be in fever.
“You watch lot of dreams, Ilaaf.” After shaking hands Hamza Shahid said looking him.
Ilaaf felt his feet were embedded in the ground.
“How did you come to know?” He asked unwillingly.
“By looking your eyes.” His strange smile grew deeper.
“Are those all dreams true…..which I see?” He asked the question.
“What can I say, Ilaaf?” Hamza Shahid jerked his shoulders. “Ask your heart.” He stroked Ilaaf’s chest with his
“Let’s go, Ilaaf.” Rohail had called him. He was like come out of the trance.
Sitting in the car, for a while the meaningful smile of Hamza Shahid was in his mind then her laughter started echoing in his ears and he forgot everything except that laugh.
This time Rohail was driving.
“When will you talk to Qandeel?” He heard himself saying.
“For what?” Rohail was fully attentive towards the driving.
“I have told you, Rohail. I want to have a friendship with her.”
“I can’t understand that what actually you want, Ilaaf.”
“I myself can’t understand it either.” He replied being so straight forward.
“You were looking her like a lunatic; how your eyes were revolving around her face with so much restlessness, I felt many times like you are in love with her.”
“Love.” Ilaaf looked him with a surprise. “I don’t know Rohail that what Love is? I just know one thing that now days I can’t think anything else except Qandeel; no other voice echoes in my ear except her laugh; can’t see anything else except her eyes. If this is love then it’s fine.”
“It is Love, Ilaaf. Man never thinks like this under any other feeling.”
“Perhaps, it would be like this, Rohail. Your idea can be right but I just want one thing that if in any case it wouldn’t be love and just the temporary affection, even then Qandeel shouldn’t get any harm by this. Do you understand what I mean? I don’t want to claim, claim about something and then being unsuccessful to prove that. You know very well that sometimes this inconsistency of mine produces lot of problems for me. I don’t want that in any way this inconsistency may produce problems for Qandeel as well. Friendship is a relation I can manage forever. To decide something about any other relationship right now is not possible for me.”
Rohail had breathed deeply.
“Sometimes, I am not able to understand you, Ilaaf. Anyhow, I will talk to Qandeel at some suitable time, but if she refused then…….” Rohail left the sentence incomplete.
“I am afraid she will refuse. Today in the hospital the coldness that she had in her attitude for me, after that I feel that she will refuse.” Ilaaf had brought his apprehensions out. “But what else should I do, Rohail? I am not able to understand anything. Everything is as strange for me as much it can be for you and Qandeel but the truth is that it’s a reality. I am feeling myself so much helpless in this case. The extent to which she is rude to me, my heart is attracted towards her with the same extent all the time. She just needs to meet me and hear once, everything that I want to say to her. I am sure she will understand my problem. And then perhaps, she would be agreed to become my friend. Try to talk to her once, whatever will be the outcome I will see it.” Rohail shook his head.
“Alright. Once Yousuf uncle discharges and comes home, and Qandeel when will join the university then I will talk to her. You will have to wait.”
“Yes, I will have to wait.” Ilaaf said under an impression and then he suddenly remembered something. “Rohail! I had taken few snaps of Qandeel with your handycam on the day of get together. Can I have those pictures?” Rohail turned his neck this time and looked him. Ilaaf felt an embarrassment.
“So, it was your hand’s art. At home by looking those pictures I was thinking that this thought to take pictures of Qandeel so elegantly, can’t reach Ameen’s mind then who can do this? I could never imagine that this could be done by you.” Ilaaf just smiled. “You can have those pictures just due to the reason that I believe that there is no specific intention or purpose for you to get those pictures.”
“You are right, Roahil. I just wanna see Qandeel in those pictures with a closer look. I want to know the secret of the light on her face, shining of her eyes due to which her thoughts don’t leave my heart and mind.” Ilaaf explained to him.
“Ok, I will give those pictures to you.” There was silence for a while then Rohail had said.
“When Adnan is going to come back from
“Next week.” Ilaaf gave the shortest possible answer. He didn’t want to talk about anything else right now.