“Here is the file of articles.” She was quickly ending the things standing on Khalida’s table. “And these are the newspaper cuttings which were used during the project.” She handed over the folder to Khalida, “And this is the copy of the final report for which Asghar Sahib had asked, for the office record.”
“You have done everything in a managed and appropriate way. Sir likes your work.” Khalida said while collecting the things.
“Yes, I know. I enjoyed working here too; everybody is very courteous and helping.”
“We are good friends now but you are leaving.” She smiled.
“It may happen that I come back. But right now I am just happy about one thing that I have submitted my project on time, loads have been removed from my head.” She was herself very light. “And one thing is very true. How much you have helped me during the project, nobody else did.”
“Ok, ok, there is no need for the buttering otherwise I will be flattered.” Both of them started laughing.
Asghar Sahib walked through while talking to Tanveer and stopped after looking Qandeel. She was collecting her bag and other things; just smiled looking him.
“So, you are leaving, Qandeel?” She shook her head. “Did you think about my offer?” He tried to explore her expressions behind his glasses.
“Sir, my exams are going to be start from next week that’s why right now I don’t wanna think about anything else. Yes but after my exams when I will have lots of things to decide for my future then surely will think about your offer as well.” She used to speak everything very clearly so that nobody could be misunderstood in any case.
“So, should I hope that you will join us?”
“The world survives on hope, sir.” She replied immediately and due to which Khalida and Asghar Sahib both had laughed. “Anyhow, whatever I will decide, will surely inform you.”
Shaking hands with Khalida and saying bye to Asghar Sahib, she started giving her farewell regards to everyone in the office.
Leaving the office when she came outside on the main road, fortunately she found a rickshaw there; otherwise usually she used to walk to some distance. She was surprised and pleased. This road had been closed for Public transport for a long time and therefore sometimes she had to face problems in order to reach home.
She was going to have her exams from next week and due to the busy schedule for last few days, the list of necessities required for the home went long, and so she had decided this morning that will directly go to the market after office so that could be able to give her full attention to her studies during exams and nothing to be worried about. She had always naturally considered shopping as the most unpleasant thing to do in this world but for last few years, this responsibility had been come onto her shoulders and that’s why she wanted to finish it today and feel free. There were many things of her personal use which she had to buy but due to the lack of time, couldn’t buy yet.
So, she came to the market directly.
Departmental store was less crowded at the moment and therefore, she kept walking calmly in different lanes having a shopping basket with her. Firstly, she wanted to shopping for herself because most of the time she used to forget many things later on.
First of all, she had chosen a perfume; she was all time sensitive in the case of perfumes, wherever had seen a new enchanting smelled perfume, had picked without thinking about anything although the other thing was that she often used to forget to use those perfumes. Then she thought to take shampoo as well. Third one which she chosen was a small time piece; the time piece of her side table had stopped giving alarm a long ago and everyday she was waked up by Baba, that’s why this idea to buy a time piece, was quite useful.
And then while she was thinking about further things that she had to take for herself, just then somebody came and stood behind her and she even didn’t feel about it.
Then suddenly, thinking about something, she turned back and if she would have turned a step back then probably her head would have hit Ilaaf’s chest.
“You” The surprise and the anger were appeared together in her eyes.
He kept looking her without giving any answer.
“What are you doing here?” Her tone went hard this time.
“I went your office but you had already left. I saw you on the road but before I could reach you, you were in rickshaw, and therefore I was supposed to come here. I just want to talk to you for two minutes, Qandeel.” His tone on the other hand was soft.
“You….you were following me.” She felt like her face went red due to the anger, “When I had clearified it to Rohail that neither I want to meet you nor want to talk to you then why are you following me?”
“Can you just hear me, once? Believe me I won’t hurt you at all.” This time she had looked directly into his eyes.
“You can’t hurt me, Ilaaf Laashari.” Anything like fear and panic had never touched her in life.
“I am so worried, Qandeel. Every moment I look your face in front of my eyes, I think about you all the time; am feeling myself so much powerless. Just try to think that if something is not in our control, how can you blame me for that? Nobody loves with his own wish; nobody makes himself the travellor of this painful way with his desire.” There was restlessness in his tone but Qandeel had nothing to do with it; for her every word said by Ilaaf was worthless.
Qandeel turned her head and looked at her right and left side. There were different people standing at the both ends of the narrow lane loaded with shopping stuff, and were just looking her and Ilaaf. Then she looked Ilaaf standing in front of her.
“Please, don’t take my emotions and my love negatively.” For the first time, just for a moment she was scared from the lunacy of Ilaaf; involuntarily she wished to run away.
“You have said, now I am going.” Without looking at him, she walked towards the right side in a fast pace; wanted to go away as soon as possible. But at the end of the narrow lane, she had to stop suddenly. A tall and healthy boy came and stood in front of her, exactly at the corner. He had a pistol of ash gray color in his hand.
“You can’t go anywhere until and unless you hear everything Ilaaf wants to say to you.” He had a grave and commanding voice.
That was a spark which had snatched the patience of Qandeel in a single moment.
She turned back and looked Ilaaf. “I could never expect such a cheap thing from your side.” Ilaaf came there walking.
“I had explained it to you Adnan that you won’t interfere in anything.” That moment Ilaaf Laashari was seemed to be a renowned actor to Qandeel; was acting to be worried very successfully, otherwise she was pretty sure that his instruction would be the part of that cheap act.
“Leave it, just feel free and talk to Qandeel, let me manage other things.” He turned and went back from where he had come.
Ilaaf looked Qandeel coming near; Qandeel felt a fire was emitting from her eyes.
“I am sorry, Qandeel. I had asked Adnan not to interfere but…..” Qandeel interrupted him.
“Shut your rubbish, what do you think that you will get your purpose by frightening me like this?”
“It’s wrong. I don’t want to get my purpose by frightening you; just want to explain that don’t take me wrong. I love you, and just want you to believe it.” Qandeel looked him coming more close to her.
She didn’t step back because now the fire of the hatred was spread inside her everywhere and she wanted to face Ilaaf.
From all corners of the store, people were looking both of them standing on their tiptoes. Adnan was sitting on the counter top. The pistol revolving in his hands was enough to prevent the store staff to interfere the whole matter.
“Don’t disrespect the love by taking its name with your dirty tongue, Ilaaf. Do you even know what does Love mean?”
“I don’t know that either I know the meaning of the love or not. I just know one thing that I love you and that’s enough for me to know.” He was looking her without blinking his eyes.
Qandeel just felt aversion to him.
“Stay away from me. You are smelled.” Perhaps she had reached the top of the arrogance.
“Smell….which smell?” She felt Ilaaf was surprised.
“Are you asking to me? Ask yourself; smell would probably be of alcohol.” This time her strict tone had an extra impression of criticism.
“I don’t take alcohol, Qandeel.” Once again, perhaps Ilaaf acted to be surprised.
“Oh really? Then write down your name in the list of the gentlemen.” She threw an arrow dipped in the poison, “If not alcohol then something else like bhang (hemp), Chars (hemp extract) or heroin.” Qandeel spoke each word like chewing, “I really hate boys like you who being intoxicated even don’t remember that what a sparrow whose name is civilization?” She hadn’t lied; that moment the eyes of Ilaaf were so much intoxicated that Qandeel was sure that he had drunk. And just then she had observed a glimpse of anger in his drunken eyes; she felt a strange peace.
Adnan got down from the counter. Ilaaf turned his head and looked Adnan.
“Just stand where you are. Don’t come here.” Instructing him in a serious tone he had again looked Qandeel.
“I am talking to you with so much courtesy, Qandeel. But that doesn’t mean that you start accusing me and to call me whatever you want to.” This time his tone was a bit dry.
Qandeel felt a poisonous pleasure.
“Acha, and if I accuse you more than this then what will you do? What can you do, Ilaaf Laashari?” More disgust was included in her tone.
“What I can do and what not, you know it very well. You can guess about my power more than me, but I won’t do anything because I can’t hurt you.”
“Power? Do you have the power?” The anger of Qandeel was reaching skies, “If you do have the power then use it to control your heart and your senses Ilaaf, not to frighten a girl in front of so many people like this. If you do have the power then, show it by bridling your unbridled body.” Ilaaf couldn’t answer her.
“If you are powerful then why don’t you throw me out from your heart and mind? Why don’t you stop yourself following me? If you are powerful then stop your feet coming towards me. Tell me, can you do it?” Undoubtedly, she knew the skill to make people answerless and that moment she had made Ilaaf Laashari answerless.
“I just want to talk to you, Qandeel. Can’t you even hear me for two minutes?” His tone had again that lunacy.
“Why should I hear you? Why should I hear a man who even doesn’t know that at how much distance one should stand in order to talk to a girl?” And again, Ilaaf Laashari acting successfully reacted like he hadn’t any idea that how close he is standing to Qandeel. He stepped back but the anger of Qandeel couldn’t be decreased by this.
“Why should I hear a man who just put me on a show in front of so many people? Those who love don’t disrespect others like this. Don’t disgust the love by using its name; don’t call your lust as love.” Saying the last sentence she felt as her voice was quenched in the throat.
“Qandeel, it is not lust. Please do believe me.” Qandeel had neglected his words completely.
“Just leave my way. Let me go.” She looked Ilaaf.
“Qandeel, listen to me…..” Qandeel didn’t give him the time to complete his sentence.
“Just leave.” She had held the basket in her left hand; pushed Ilaaf back with the same hand. He was pushed with such a power that if would haven’t held the side stand then probably would have fallen down. The basket was also out of the grip from her hand, fallen down, and the things inside it were spread onto the floor.
She didn’t care; taking steps in a fast pace she came towards the entrance, but Adnan was standing at the door to stop her.
Ilaaf perhaps till then had gained his balance again.
Qandeel stared Adnan with flaming eyes then turned towards Ilaaf.
“Ask him to let me go. If anybody tried to stop me now then the result will be drastic. I am not scared from toys like this; understand it well, and explain it to your friend as well.” Perhaps the face of Adnan became rigid with annoyance.
She wasn’t sure but she heard Ilaaf saying to Adnan.
“Leave the way. Let her go, Adnan.” There was tiredness of centuries in the tone of Ilaaf.
Adnan unwillingly stepped a side.
Qandeel reaching the door stopped then she remembered something. She turned back and spoke.
“And one thing that you need to hear very clearly, Ilaaf Laashari, after this day, if ever you followed me or came on my way then you will be responsible for the outcome yourself.” Without looking any reaction, she came outside the door and then she didn’t stop for a single moment.
Without caring about the way, she was walking in a fast pace. She didn’t remember anything that moment; if remembered something then it was the hate worthy face of Ilaaf, his lustful eyes, intoxicated tone, piercing gazes of people around, their investigating faces. Didn’t know why but her eyes were filling with waters; not due to the sense of powerlessness but due to the sense of hatred. She felt herself trembling due to the extreme annoyance.
She had never felt so much hatred for anyone in the life, how much she was feeling that moment for Ilaaf Laashari. Infact, before this she even wasn’t aware with the real feeling of hatred and that day for the first time in life she was feeling so much hatred for someone that unintentionally she wished to go back and shoot him.
She kept walking like this for a long time and thinking. It was dark now; she knew that Baba would be worried for her; she decided to go home.
“If you ever followed me after today, Ilaaf Laashari, then you would remember for the rest of your life that a girl had hated you and extremely hated you.” Muttering in a dry and hard tone, she had rubbed her eyes with her stole very roughly.