If it was Love then the first time in life, Ilaaf had an idea that what actually Love is? Why from the beginning till the present day, Love was given the highest rank in every era of history, why the writers had blackened the pages of thousands and millions of books just to write about Love and why in all of those books, despite of having similar patterns something was different and unique due to which they had got the attention of the readers at every period of time, why despite of the fact that more or less every Love story was similar to others, each one of them looks new and even today they had kept attracting the readers? Why all encomiums that are being written in the praise of beloved, despite of having exaggeration and artificiality, looks to be near the reality. Somewhere there was a reason, there was a reality so that even today the poets, novelists, short-story writers, dramatists of the world, were grasped by an enclosure of the Love and in literature the most of the work was going on the same topic. And perhaps…….the reason was that in this world every human being, somewhere in his life starts to consider himself as a fictitious character of a love story, starts to feel the changes very intensively that are brought by the Love in his life and so he starts believing all those love stories and hence, there a person is added in the list of those who believe on the existence of Love. Every departing day, every departing moment is going to increase this number.
Whether the fire of hatred would be spread in the whole world, whether thousands of bodies would be burning every moment in the war of weapon, blood and ego, whether in the sacrifice for personal benefits, number of lovers would be losing their lives, the total number of lovers in the world will never be lessen. The word “Love” will never be disappeared from the world, because in order to wipe the love from the world, firstly, one will have to remove this seed which is sown in the hearts just with a gaze of someone, with a smile of someone and like a completely grown tree, extends its roots from heart to soul within a short span. And this seed can only be removed from the world when the Sun will stop giving its light and heat, moon will leave appearing on the sky along with the shining stars in the dark nights, when the flowers will refuse to appear on the flower-buds in spring and the dry leaves will refuse to drop from the trees in autumn. When the lake will refuse to fall in river and river in the sea, when the drops of rain will refuse to satisfy the thirst of the earth, when the innocent kids will leave laughing and the mothers will leave smiling on their laughters then perhaps this seed will be removed from the world but till now, neither a such day has been risen in the world history nor has come any night like this, that’s why this question that Love can be vanished from the world or not, and the discussion on this question is just a ridiculous thing.
Slowly and gradually, Ilaaf was also going to be included in the list of people who believe Love. It was restlessness, an agitation and the emptiness which was settled inside him permanently. Even today, after eight days the state of his lunacy was the same as it was eight days before when he had seen Qandeel in the hospital. When he used to close his eyes, her face; when he used to open his eyes, her eyes; thoughts about her every moment, wish to see her, aspiration to hear her voice, desire to be with her, Ilaaf wasn’t able to decide what to do? Neither he had cared about days nor nights; hours being passed and he used to sit at the same place thinking about her. When will be able to see Qandeel? When could be able to talk to her? When would be able to hear her voice, her laughter? When could be able to set the reflection of her eyes on his own eyes? Except these all matters, he hadn’t cared about anything else these days.
Right now, he was sitting on the bed tilting his back with the crown. Didn’t know it was his third or fourth cigarette, but he hadn’t cared about the number. Fazal had called him for the dinner hour ago but Ilaaf was still sitting in the same position. Fazal came again and this time Ilaaf replied him that he isn’t feeling hungry. Fazal went back having a deep sigh.
A strange smile was spread on his face after looking this impression of Fazal; how much pain this smile had, only Ilaaf knew it.
This cigarette was going to be reach its edge, Ilaaf moved his hand and had taken out few pictures from the drawer of the side table. These were the pictures of Qandeel other than those pictures which Ilaaf had snapped in the get together and Rohail had given him being very kind; the pictures of the get together were already stored in his laptop forever.
Ilaaf looked each of them one by one, how many times he had looked those pictures in last eight days, he didn’t know. After throwing the cigarette in the ash tray, he brought a picture close to his face and then he kept looking the shiny eyes of Qandeel for a while; then a thought had surged a shine in his own eyes. He kept those all pictures below his pillow then went to the dressing room. He came out in some time and then while collecting the keys of the car, mobile and wallet his eyes moved towards the laptop that was kept on the study table.
Coming towards the study table, he turned on the laptop and then as soon as the desktop appeared on the screen, his eyes were stopped on the smile of Qandeel. It was the same conquering smile which had played a great role for defeat of Kiran and which had occupied Ilaaf’s heart in a single moment.
Ilaaf moved his hand ahead but then reaching near the screen his hand was stopped involuntarily. He wanted to touch her eyes but couldn’t touch.
It was an unethical act and already he had done an unethical act by taking Qandeel’s pictures from Rohail without bringing into her knowledge, now doing another act like this was equal to go down from the status of humanity.
“I will touch your eyes with your consent.” Muttering to himself he went out of the room.
He wanted to take the answer of his question from Rohail in any case today.
While driving he was just thinking whether Rohail would have talked to her or not? And if had talked then don’t know how Qandeel would have reacted?
On the signal after stopping the car, he started to look out from the side window and during this he had looked a beggar sitting on foot path. Don’t know why but looking that beggar, Ilaaf reminded the beggar outside the night club and just then he remembered all those words which he had said that day.
“Complete beauty, careless and unconcerned beauty.” Unwillingly a smile was appeared on his lips.
Qandeel Yousuf was a complete beauty. She was an outstanding illustration of complete beauty, at least for Ilaaf Laashari; illustration of careless and unconcerned beauty who herself was unaware from her beauty. The beauty which had left Ilaaf of no senses, Qandeel Yousuf hadn’t any pride on that beauty nor had she cared. And this unconcernness and carelessness of her had intensified the lunacy of Ilaaf. In the quest of this beauty, the heart of Ilaaf was become the heart of a lover.
Signal was green. Ilaaf drove the car ahead.
Rohail was at home, perhaps just had come back from somewhere; was surprised to see Ilaaf but couldn’t say anything. Both of them came in Rohail’s room.
They talked about few things. Ilaaf felt as Rohail is trying to diverge his attention from the real issue willingly therefore after few moments he asked from Rohail straight forwardly.
“Did you talk to Qandeel or not?” Rohail had just looked his face.
“I am asking about something, Rohail.” Rohail bent his head down and started putting off his shoes.
“Yeah, I talked to her yesterday.” The answer was short and given in a lower tone.
“What did Qandeel answer?” Ilaaf felt restlessness in his tone.
Rohail looked him by raising his head then started telling him about the whole conversation.
Ilaaf was hearing like a statue. He knew that the reaction would be severe but will be intense like this he hadn’t any idea.
Finishing the whole story, Rohail had looked him.
Ilaaf was like, if being cut then no drop of blood will be found anywhere in his body.
“It’s impossible. Qandeel can’t say this.” Ilaaf felt like his voice was coming from a long distance.
“Everything is said by Qandeel, word to word.” Rohail had breathed deeply.
“She has wrongly perceived my restlessness, agitation and my lunacy. She is respectable for me. My Love is not lust, Rohail.” He had said these words with so much difficulty.
“So you have finally admitted that you are in love with her, otherwise you weren’t agreed to admit it earlier.” Ilaaf didn’t answer just looked his face.
“I know, Ilaaf, that this is Love not lust because I know you for many years, but Qandeel just knows you for three weeks. Whatever is her opinion about you, it’s not the fault of her perception, it is your fault. You lose your senses in front of her, neither your heart remains in your control nor eyes or feet. And just due to these odd actions, your image has been gone down in her eyes and now, if you don’t want let yourself further down then you should leave her way, Ilaaf.” Ilaaf felt as somebody had scrolled down a burning coal in his throat.
“What did you say, Rohail?” Ilaaf rose, “I should leave her way; I should leave the way of Qandeel Yousuf, I should leave the way of my life.” Rohail just kept looking him surprisingly. “She has become my life and nobody leaves the way of his life like this. Eight days….do you know how many hours, how many minutes, how many seconds are there in eight days? No, you don’t know. I know because I have passed my last eight days like eight centuries. Her face doesn’t go away from my sight; her laughter, her voice doesn’t leave my ear. Every moment she lives in my heart and mind, her thoughts don’t let me to be calm for a single moment. I will go mad, Rohail; if I wouldn’t meet her then probably I will go mad.” Ilaaf had taken his head into his hands sitting on the bed.
Rohail kept his hand on Ilaaf’s shoulder. Ilaaf raised his head and looked him. “I want to marry her.” Rohail couldn’t answer him.
“But I can’t marry her today, now and this moment. There are many things to be settled for marrying someone and they need some time and till then, don’t I have the right even to look her, to talk to her just for a moment? And till then, will I have to burn myself in the fire of the Love like this?” Rohail was quiet, his forehead was creased. “I am asking you something, Rohail. Why don’t you answer me?” Ilaaf had shaken his arm by standing.
“This is another big problem, Ilaaf. You want to marry her but not necessary that whatever you are thinking, things would be the same.”
“What do you mean?” Ilaaf couldn’t understand anything.
“Qandeel has been engaged.” Ilaaf felt like the sky would have fallen over his head. Somebody had snatched the courage from his feet to stand.
With a jerk, he had sat on the carpet on his knees. Rohail held him. Keeping both palms on the carpet, he had somehow controlled himself; the floral designs of the carpet were felt to be revolving in front of his eyes.
“Ilaaf, control yourself. You will actually lose your senses in this way.” Rohail with his support let Ilaaf to be seated on couch. Then he immediately went to side table and brought the water in the glass. “Drink some water.” He put the glass to his lips. Ilaaf somehow had taken few sips then moved glass away from his lips and started breathing deeply like he would have come running from a long distance.
Rohail came back after keeping glass at the side table till then Ilaaf had controlled him enough.
“Qandeel has been engaged.” He muttered to himself then he looked Rohail.
“Why didn’t you tell me earlier, Rohail? Why did you hide this thing? Why did you do this cruelty to me?” His tone was so painful which had taken the power to speak from Rohail for a moment.
“Ilaaf, listen to me with peace. She has been engaged for five years. Even if I would have told you this earlier then what could have been changed? Could this intensity in your Love for her be diminished by telling this to you? Could you be able to stop your heart loving her? Could this lunacy and madness be decreased? No, Ilaaf. It could have happened. Whenever Love discovers a new prey for it, then it just takes him into its enclosure; no reason, no excuse, no elucidation can be proved as a wall to stop Love. Even if I would have told you then you would have fallen into her love in any case.” Ilaaf couldn’t declare him wrong.
“But what will happen now? What will happen, Rohail? Somebdoy else wouldn’t get her; I can’t see let somebody else get her. I will die or will go mad.”
“Wait, Ilaaf. You will have to wait a bit. In coming few days, I will go at her home to meet Yousuf Uncle in the absence of Qandeel and will talk to him. He has a very different nature; is a cold minded man. If felt better then I will try to take his opinion by bringing everything into his knowledge. Qandeel is engaged with her cousin, he is the nephew of Yousuf Uncle. It looks odd and difficult but I will talk to him once, he won’t be angry like Qandeel, at least will hear everything in this case I hope so.”
“And till then neither can I meet Qandeel nor can see her?” Rohail shook his head.
“It’s not like this, I can’t wait too much. I will talk to Qandeel myself; will try to explain it to her.” He had said in a bewildered manner.
“You will ruin the situation more, Ilaaf. To wait is better than to be impatient; having the patience sometimes effect to solve even the most complicated matters.”
“If I would be among the patient ones, would never be then Ilaaf Laashari.” He came towards the door in a fast pace.
“You are gone out of your mind, Ilaaf. God may give you some brain.” He heard at his back Rohail muttering himself.
That night was the most miserable night of his life. Talking about sleep is quite away, he even forgot to blink his eyes. He was feeling everything around stony like his eyes.
If the name of Qandeel Yousuf was written with someone else five years back then…was it necessary for her to come in the life of Ilaaf like this and then to go back after damaging everything? And Ilaaf….was it necessary for him to go in the get together that day, and after looking Qandeel, to destroy his peaceful world inside him with his own hands?
“How quietly, you have shattered my inside world, Qandeel? This method to commit a crime would never be used by anybody; even not a professional thief would have done a house-breaking like this.”
He muttered; was lying on the bed face downward and at some distance the pictures of Qandeel were scattered randomly. He was looking those pictures but his thirst couldn’t be overcomed by looking them. He wanted to look a living Qandeel; wanted to talk to her, to say everything to her which he couldn’t say ever but how…….he wasn’t able to decide it.
Just before the dawn, had a little slumber and when he waked up in the late morning, his eyes were burning and just a single craze had occupied him inside out.
“I have to see Qandeel and nobody can take back this right to me.” Taking shower he had his breakfast and then left the home in car; didn’t know where she could be found just madness that in any case he will see Qandeel today, whether from a distance but just could see her face, even it was enough for Ilaaf.
Having a look on his wrist watch, came to University just by guess; wasn’t sure that she would be found there but it was a hope and that moment this hope was the only anticipation for his breathing.
Parking his car in the shade of the trees at some distance from the department, he had set his eyes on the way of people leaving and arriving. Then didn’t know for how much time, fixing his sight on the department gate like a tramp, he kept sitting in the car.
But that day perhaps, Nature was merciful for his lunacy. About two o’clock in the afternoon he had seen a shadow coming out of the gate and she was Qandeel. He had just met the girl thrice even then could be able to identify her among the millions. He just could see a single glimpse of her face because immediately coming outside the gate, she had covered her head and face with her white stole to save her from the heat of scorching sunlight. In white dress, with the sunlight all around, she was felt like a part of this sunlight to him; there was light inside Ilaaf after looking her.
She was all time careless; unconcerned from anything around her started walking at one side of the road.
Ilaaf started following her having enough distance to her. He was afraid if Qandeel just looked his car once then he will be identified. From there to the gate, Ilaaf followed her being so much careful but the carelessness of Qandeel was at its peak. She kept walking just concerned about herself due to which Ilaaf was able to follow her easily.
He had the idea about heat of the sunlight; despite of cooling of the air condition in the car, he could be able to have idea due to the intensity of the light.
“She is walking in scorching sunlight. Her hands, her feet, her face, her eyes, everything will be burning due to the hot environment. Her throat will be dried due to the thirst; sweat flowing from her head and temples will be bothering her.” Strange thoughts were making Ilaaf worried, but he was helpless, couldn’t do anything for her. He didn’t want to close this only door of some peace for him by bringing himself out in front of her at this moment.
If he would be capable then would have brought the shade in Qandeel’s way by hiding the Sun behind the clouds but he was a human, hadn’t any rule over the Sun.
Then Qandeel hired a rickshaw from the University gate. Ilaaf still was following her. Then he looked Qandeel getting down from the rickshaw at the press club road, in front of a newspaper building. He had breathed deeply. He remembered Rohail had talked about it; she was doing an internship. Coming in the shade, Qandeel had put off her stole from her head and set it on the shoulder with so much carelessness. Ilaaf felt like his restless heart had some peace by having a look on her. In white dress with red face, she was felt like a fairy that moment to Ilaaf. Then Ilaaf looked her going inside the building.
Ilaaf read the name of the newspaper written on the building. He remembered he knew the chief editor of this newspaper. Asghar siddiqui was a good friend of Qaiser Laashari.
He kept standing there for a while then came back home.
Next two days, he had kept following Qandeel in the same way. A strange peace it was which he had got even by looking her from a distance, but how long it could be going on like this?
There was something which still was bothering Ilaaf. She was the fiancée of someone else, and at any moment this peace that has come in Ilaaf’s life could be transformed into restlessness again. He had to do something before that moment; had to talk to Qandeel.
Third day he had decided that in any case he will talk to her today.
And just when he was going to leave the home, Adnan had arrived without informing him.
“I am going somewhere important. Come in the evening.” Adnan was surprised.
“I have come from
“I just meant that you shouldn’t wait otherwise you will have to.” Ilaaf replied smiling.
“Where are you going? I am coming with you.”
“What will you do there? There is nothing for you to do.” Ilaaf didn’t want to take Adnan with him at any condition.
“I go everywhere with you. Then what is this place where I can’t go with you?” For a while Ilaaf kept thinking that either to tell him or not then finally he was supposed to tell because Adnan wasn’t leaving his way.
“I have to meet a girl.” Adnan had seen him like he had got horns over his head.
“Girl….and you. So it happened with you as well, Ilaaf. Now I will go with you in any case. Let’s have a look on pretty woman who had made Ilaaf a man and taught him to live like a man.” He replied laughing.
“Adnan, I want you to talk about her with respect. She is different from all those girls whom you call pretty women.”
“Ilaaf, you are really gone. Ok I talk about her with respect but definitely will go with you to see the girl whom you have given place in your heart.”
“But I can’t take you with me now, Adnan. Right now the matters between us are not well and I am going to have a solution for them. Your idea to go with me is not better right now.”
“What happened with the matters?”
“She doesn’t like me; doesn’t want to meet me. I want to change her opinion about me by convincing her, after that, things could be better.” Adnan had gazed him again with a surprising look.
“She dislikes you; doesn’t want to meet you. Is her eyesight fine or…..” Ilaaf interrupted him.
“I will tell you everything but right now I am getting late. I have to go.”
“I have said Ilaaf that I am coming with you and now definitely I will, whether you say anything, you will have to take me with you.” Ilaaf kept thinking for a while squeezing his lips. His mind wasn’t working at all; to get rid of Adnan was always impossible in a situation like this.
“You can go at one condition. You will not interfere in anything there and will keep yourself away from me and Qandeel.” Adnan smiled.
“I accept. I accept your every condition.” Didn’t know why but Ilaaf wasn’t feeling good by taking Adnan with him. Adnan was moody, sometimes had reacted in very strange ways.
“Let’s go.” Replying shortly Ilaaf moved towards the car.
“By the way, it’s a sweet name….Qandeel.” Adnan commented.
Ilaaf had taken the driving seat quietly.
While starting the car he had a look at the watch. He was already late.
Having a deep sigh, he had decided to go at the newspaper office.