Qandeel was very angry. Initially only to Ilaaf and was surprised on his obstinacy but later on as much she was thinking, feeling herself angry to Rohail very much.
What need he had to take Ilaaf Laashari along with him, while he had an idea that Qandeel didn’t like Ilaaf at all. And Ilaaf……why he was after Qandeel. She used to talk to him in an unconcerned, rude and icy tone and he had enough brain to feel that Qandeel had disliked him, even then what stubbornness he had showed coming hospital like this, after that the usual irritation that she had all the time whenever he came in front of him, started to burst out once again. Rohail and Ilaaf had left hours ago and she was still feeling herself angry in the form of short intervals. It was felt that if ever, he came in front of her unnecessarily one more time like this then perhaps, she would extremely react by keeping all ethics aside, and she didn’t want to do that.
She reminded the red eyes of Ilaaf and the strange impression they had and therefore a fire of anger and hatred was continuously burning inside her. How he was looking her being so ill-mannered, if she hadn’t thought about Baba, Hamza Shahid and Kamran Ali then perhaps would have taken out his eyes.
Anyway, she had decided that in any case she wouldn’t go to a place where about she would have a single doubt of Ilaaf Laashari’s presence, and if Rohail insisted unnecessarily then will react immediately by scolding him.
She kept performing small duties for Baba till night but her thoughts were still hanged on a single spot.
Why did Ilaaf Laashari come here? And with which credit he came? While Qandeel had clearly said it to him that in order to meet someone, there must be some reasonable reason and there was no such reason between Ilaaf and her. Perhaps there was a reason but that reason was only known by the lustful eyes of Ilaaf, by looking which had made Qandeel so much restless.
Right now, she was looking down the cars running on the road bathed in street lights, standing with the glass window in the room; was feeling good to look at the road like this from the third floor. After so many hours, she was now feeling much better and just then Yousuf Mairaj had called her.
She turned back and gazed him surprisingly.
“Baba, are you still waking? I thought you are sleeping.” There was not bright light in the room. Except the energy saver with a faint light at the door, all other lights were off; even then she could see Baba smiling.
“How can I sleep so early at night while I lie on this bed for the whole day, Qandeel? Usman has just set me with the bed; my body will stop working in this way.” Qandeel smiled.
“Now, it’s just the matter of two more days, Baba. Tomorrow we will get the results of all remaining tests and InshAllah you will be discharged day after tomorrow. Why are you so impatient? Uncle Usman is doing everything for your betterment.” He laughed.
“Uncle Usman is being defended too much.” She laughed on his criticism. “Acha, come here. Sit beside me.” Qandeel came and sat besides him, gazing him.
“Thanks God that you are fine, Baba, otherwise I was so much worried for you.” Don’t know what happened, Qandeel had kept her head on his shoulder. Yousuf Mairaj kissed her hairs with a kindness.
“What could happen to me, Qandeel? You shouldn’t be worried for me.” Qandeel moving her head up looked him.
“Why shouldn’t I be worried for you, Baba? Whoelse I have, except you? And since my childhood, I have found my each and every relationship just in you; sometimes you loved me like a mother, sometimes you were kind to me like a father and sometimes you were just like a trustworthy friend to me. You know that even your little pains are unbearable for me, and you are just saying that I shouldn’t be worried.” Saying the last sentence, her tone had some anger in it.
Yousuf Mairaj started laughing.
“Look, now don’t be angry, my dear daughter, otherwise I will be unwell again.” Then he had taken her face into his hands, “How long I will keep looking you smiling and laughing like this in front of my eyes, I will be perfectly alright. You are my life, Qandeel, the light of my eyes. Nothing can happen to me while you are with me; NOTHING.” Qandeel had kissed his hands and then rose from her place.
“Now take rest, Baba. You need rest.” She turned but Yousuf Mairaj held her hand and let her to sit besides him again.
“How long do you know Ilaaf, Qandeel?” The question was so unexpected that she couldn’t say anything. She felt the smile on her face was disappearing.
“Not so long, Baba. He is a friend of Rohail; came in the University get together; there I had seen him first time.” She tried her best to keep her tone normal.
“He is a good boy, with a soft and kind nature; seems to be intelligent and mature as well.” A fire was just blazed inside Qandeel.
“Would be… I haven’t keenly observed him. What need I have to observe him, Baba? He is just the friend of Rohail, not is mine so why I should give importance to him?” Unwillingly she couldn’t hide the unpleasant impression in her tone.
“I thought he is your friend as well, that’s why asked.”
“If he would be, then I would have told you earlier about him. You know very well that I am a bit careful in case of making friends, especially in case of having friendship with boys; don’t make anyone my friend in such a short time and Ilaaf……” She stopped saying something then finally she had said, “I don’t like Ilaaf Laashari so there shouldn’t be any question about my friendship with him.”
Yousuf Mairaj had smiled. Qandeel felt like he smiled just against his wish.
“Perhaps I was misunderstood that he is your friend as well. Anyway, its very late, you should sleep now. Today, your whole day went busy; you are looking tired, go and sleep.” Qandeel being quiet came towards the couch; was tired but the conversation about Ilaaf Laashari had bothered her. She turned her side and closed her eyes.
And then, she fell asleep in a while but that night, Yousuf Mairaj couldn’t sleep at all. There was an endless series of thoughts and each thought was forcing him to think further. Whatever he had thought few days ago, that was actually happened even before he had thought and today…….he had just seen the evidence of this, in the form of Ilaaf Laashari and his lunacy. How long he kept sitting there, Yousuf Mairaj had kept looking him then how could it possible that he couldn’t be able to see that feeling spilling from his eyes for Qandeel. She was really the light of his eyes and in these so many years, for the first time he had felt that there is someone else in this world, who has the reflection of Qandeel in his eyes like an illuminating shine. And that person was Ilaaf Laashari, this feeling was so satisfying for him, perhaps he could never express in words. Who can he be except Ilaaf Laashari, who could love Qandeel so much due to which Yousuf Mairaj could believe it that there would be someone after him who would be able to care her daughter, to love her daughter more than him? Indeed, he could be just Ilaaf Laashari. And just then, for the first time he had felt that he shouldn’t have let Qandeel to be engaged so early and shouldn’t have given up due to persistence of Sami; should have waited for this promise to be fulfilled, few more years. But whatever is written in fate, it always has to happen; he believed that slowly and gradually everything will be alright. The icy cold behavior of Qandeel for Ilaaf was disturbing for him but overall he was satisfied when this all has been happened then, even this step will be passed soon.
Two days later, Yousuf Mairaj had been discharged from the hospital. Qandeel couldn’t go to University during these days; this semester was proved to be very hard for her. She had taken too much leaves and due to which she wasn’t able to concentrate much on her studies.
And now, when she rejoined the University this time then once again a great work load was ready for her and Dr. Saeed had clearly said her that she has to submit the project report in coming week in any case. To complete her project report she had to visit the newspaper office as well, and then assignments, lectures, project work; her head was just shaken; wasn’t able to decide where to start and where to finish. Anyhow, by taking Almighty’s name she had started work at last; next three days were very busy for her; with full concentration she had kept completing the incomplete tasks and all four of them were helping her in every possible way. They had the complete idea about her difficulties that’s why they kept playing their role as her friends. She very few times had talked to Rohail on any topic except her studies; she had almost forgotten everything.
And then, that day when she was sitting in library and working just then Rohail had come. Seema and Humaira were been to Photostat shop; as usual Ameen was with them. Qandeel was alone at the table that moment. Rohail also sat there. She was copying the lectures from Humaira’s note book; beside it a light conversation was also going on, then suddenly Rohail became quiet. There was silence for a while; Qandeel was surprised because normally Rohail was proved to be very talkative. In his presence there couldn’t be any silence.
“What happened? Why are you so quiet, Rohail?” Qandeel’s hand was moving besides her tongue.
“Nothing; I have to say something to you, am thinking either to say or not?” Rohail had said with a serious tone.
“So, you think as well, Rohail. It’s new information for me.” Her mood was good.
“Acha, listen. If you don’t like it then you can scold me but please don’t be angry with me because if you are angry then it’s always very difficult to reconcile it.” She laughed.
“What’s the matter that you are scared too much? Say.” She replied without moving her head up.
“Ilaaf wants to be your friend.” Perhaps he had brought out the words with a trouble.
The hand of Qandeel that was moving fast was stopped. She raised her head and looked Rohail.
“Friend……Ilaaf.” For a moment Qandeel was very angry but then she controlled herself.
“I don’t want to make him friend. And you……know me very well even then have brought his message for me.” She was a bit angry and that’s why had replied in a cold and dry tone.
“Look Qandeel, he is also my friend just like you. I tried to explain it to him but due to his determination I am talking to you. He just asked me to at least talk to you once and that’s why I did it.” Qandeel gazed Rohail; he was talking in a careful manner. “I know that perhaps you don’t have a good opinion about him but overall he is a gentleman; is a bit mad and silly but very nice by heart; normally he is very careful in the case of friendship with girls but wants to be your friend. It has to be decided by you but I will just say one thing that please, you should think about it with a cool mind without being emotional.” Rohail was quiet now.
“Well, you have said what you wanted to. Now listen to me, Rohail.” Rohail’s lips were compressed. “I don’t have any interest that either he is a nice man or not. He could be very nice for you, but for me, he is not more than an ordinary guy with a mediocre mind and ordinary thought. How his lustful eyes had made me furious that evening in the party and then in the hospital, after that I have a better idea about the gentleness he has. The wildness that slumps from his eyes ignites a fire in my whole body; my blood starts boiling when he looks at me. I feel that perhaps he had never seen a girl before this.” She wanted to clear all pains and gains and at least to remind it to Rohail that he hadn’t done well in any way by bringing Ilaaf along with him in the hospital. “Friendship is a sacred word for me, a pious and precious relation, but what would this word mean for Ilaaf Laashari, I don’t know neither I want to. And what did you think when you brought his message to me, Rohail. Friendship is far-away, I even don’t want to look his face.”
Rohail involuntarily breathed deeply.
“I don’t understand that what should I do? Looking his restlessness I feel sympathy for him and hearing your reason makes me to think that you are right as well. The truth is that, Qandeel, by looking his condition I strongly believe that he is in love with you and he is unaware of his state himself.” Perhaps he had kept saying unwillingly because then suddenly he was quiet.
Qandeel couldn’t understand anything for a moment then as soon as her thoughts start working, she rose with a jerk.
Then she started collecting her belongings from the table in a quick way. She collected notes and handouts and put them inside the folder, just then she looked Rohail standing as well.
“What happened?” Qandeel set her bag on her shoulder and held the folder in her hand then without looking at Rohail came towards the door. Rohail came behind her as well.
She was passing the corridor very quickly making space between the students.
“Qandeel, listen to me.” She heard Rohail’s voice behind her which she had neglected completely.
Perhaps she had never walked so fast in her life.
Passing the corridor she came downstairs. Perhaps Rohail had now started running. At last in the court area he came running and stood in front of Qandeel. She had to stop herself.
Then she moved her head up and looked Rohail. Don’t know why but that moment she had so much anger inside that her eyes became watery.
“What happened, Qandeel? What have I said? I am sorry, I am so sorry if you are hurt with my sayings. I didn’t want to give you pain at all.”
For a moment she couldn’t say anything then her patience had surrendered.
“There is a difference between Love and Lust, Rohail. It is miserable that you can’t differentiate them but I can differentiate both and can recognize that in the eyes of Ilaaf Laashari, there is just lust for me and nothing else. You should have thought before saying this to me. I am engaged and anything like this is unbearable for me.” For the first time, she had talked to Rohail in such a hard tone.
“And if you want me not to be angry with you or decide not to end the friendship with you then never ever take the name of Ilaaf Laashari, in front of me. I hate that man; feel aversion to look his eyes; abominate to look his face.” Rohail had surprise in his eyes, a painful surprise which had given a sense of peace to Qandeel for a moment. How much she had suffered, Rohail should have suffered once.
With a poisonous smile, she gazed Rohail and then by taking large steps moved ahead. Rohail at the other hand was still standing there. Qandeel hadn’t cared.