In Love, even hope and wait have some peace in them; it has a pain and pierce but a hope that can not be died, a belief that can not be ended and gives courage to wait for the love. Ilaaf had never found any emotion so strong. He, who had thought that, can not live without looking Qandeel, now after meeting Yousuf Mairaj was feeling so much hope and courage inside him that even without looking Qandeel had loved to this love. Now, he was not trying to forget her nor was dying like a fish out of the water. The painful feeling of her hatred, the misery of the distance, the jealousy of her being engaged with someone else, everything was same just a belief was added. Didn’t know why but he had now an unknown confidence on the lunacy of his love, a trust on the purity of his emotion and that’s why this faith was deepened inside him that one day he will be successful to melt Qandeel with the intensity of his love; would be successful to make Qandeel to feel that he loves her truly, unconditionally and with purity.
What he should do in the future, could not decide and make a line of action for that even after thinking for many days. And when he couldn’t decide anything for thinking so many days then being tired he ceased this continuation of thoughts for few days. Now there was silence, were sadness and her love which was penetrated in his breath like a fragrance and with each heartbeat, was making his soul addicted for this love.
Ilaaf used to surprise whenever had thought that what an unaware life he had kept living before this, how easily he spent his twenty four years without this desire, in what an ignorance and unawareness and now…..he had felt like desire for Qandeel was always inside him just he was not aware of that, and that’s why for the first time in life he had an idea that what blessings the ignorance and unawareness are, and how fortunate the people are who spend their entire lives peacefully with this unawareness.
Daily after waking up in the morning, he had to think that what he has to do in order to spend his day, everyday he used to arrange his activities from the beginning, purpose was to pass the day, to pass these endless moments of wait which were written in his fate.
Whatever had happened that day in her home, he had already informed Rohail with that and Rohail like Yousuf Mairaj had adviced him to be careful. Rohail had told him that what efforts he had made to give the clarification to Qandeel from his side and satisfy her and therefore asked Ilaaf not to go in front of her right now in any case.
What a cruelty, what an injustice of fate it was? Everybody could see Qandeel Yousuf, people around her who were her relatives, strangers walking on the roads, Moon, Sun, Wind, Stars, Trees, Flowers everyone could see her, if this right was taken away from someone then it was Ilaaf Laashari.
He had never felt himself so much powerless; he had an idea that the thing which world perceives as power is a mere powerlessness which comes due to the presence of few materials, the truth is that as soon as a storm comes then these materials due to the inability to be proven as a wall in front of that storm, lose importance and man who keeps showing power on the basis of those things, is being swept away in the storm like a weightless grain of sand.
So, he was passing his days, like an ungiven punishment; what else he could do except this?
And then that day, didn’t know why he was very passionate to draw a sketch of Qandeel. Sitting in the lawn, keeping few pictures of Qandeel in front of him, he started to draw her sketches on papers.
Bending himself forward, his half of the body was over the table and keeping papers under his arms, he was making strokes with pencil using his right hand. This was his fourth sketch.
Completing the sketch he stopped his hand then straightened himself and started looking the sketch.
Then keeping with other sketches which were dispersed on the table, started comparing all of them. This sketch was better than all previous ones but even then was not how he wanted to make it. He picked the note book that was kept on the corner of the table, took out the picture of Qandeel and kept with the sketches.
“No matter how much work hard I do, can not draw your single feature on paper what God has made you in real.” He kept looking her without blinking his eyes and exactly that moment he surprised to hear the noise of car horn outside the main gate.
In the wide porch, first Rohail’s and then Adnan’s car came inside and parked exactly behind his white fairy.
Ilaaf kept the picture back inside the note book and hid the sketches in between blank papers.
Both of them came straight towards the lawn looking him sitting there.
He smiled; didn’t know why he was pleased to see them together coming to meet him.
“Oho, I am surprised to see east and west together.” He said in a flourishing tone when they reached near him.
“I didn’t know that Adnan would also come at your place otherwise I would have visited some other time.” Shaking hands with Ilaaf, Rohail had said in such a way being very straight forward that both Ilaaf and Adnan laughed.
“Adnan visits me daily at the same time, you just have visited today.” Ilaaf explained.
“Why do you have creases on your forehead all the time like women, Rohail? Be a man and while you have come, just leave each and every old complain.” This time Rohail had laughed on the typical criticism of Adnan.
Moving ahead Adnan gave a buck up on his shoulder and how heavy that buck up was, Ilaaf had an idea by looking expressions of Rohail’s face.
Then like Adnan remembered something.
“Where is Fazal? My car is getting hot, have to pour some water.” Adnan moved inside calling Fazal.
Rohail got a chair and sat there with Ilaaf.
“What’s up these days?” Ilaaf’s smile was fainted.
“Have started some routine activities again and nothing important.”
“For example” Rohail looked him with a questioning sight.
“Martial art practice, Yoga, swimming, sketching etc.” His tone was very ordinary.
Fazal went towards the porch along with Adnan having a bottle of water in his hand.
“Did you get any success preventing yourself thinking about Qandeel?” Rohail asked after a while.
“It is not possible in this life, however, am not sure about the life after death.” Ilaaf said in strange tone revolving the pencil between his fingers.
Rohail had squeezed his lips for a moment.
“But it’s a good sign that your lunacy has been lessen. You have controlled yourself.” Ilaaf smiled on his wrong perception.
“My lunacy hasn’t been lessen, Rohail. Her thought is my lunacy and that’s what with me every moment, like the flowing blood in my veins. Among people or being alone, in smile, in seriousness, whether I talk to someone or look someone, her thought, her reflection, her eyes are always with me. Don’t consider my quietness and the apparent peace as the sign of decrease in my lunacy. I myself don’t know what strange condition is this? It might be the silence that spreads before the arrival of the storm, and if the storm arrived then would sweep away much more along with this quietness.”
Rohail hadn’t answered just looked him.
There was not any further conversation between them.
Adnan was standing opening the bonnet of the car and Fazal was pouring the water in the radiator.
At the same moment, an old villager came inside the gate. Looking the man, Fazal kept the water bottle down, ran and hugged him.
Both Rohail and Ilaaf had seen.
“Who is he?” Rohail had asked.
Ilaaf was collecting the things from the table, didn’t want that anybody either Rohail or Adnan could see the sketches of Qandeel.
“Hussain Bakhsh, Fazal’s father. Have come to Karachi these days, would have come to see Fazal.” Ilaaf answered carelessly.
And just then Fazal had said something to his father indicating towards Ilaaf with his finger, then he turned and started pouring water in Adnan’s car.
Both of them got to go inside. Ilaaf had collected all his belongings and was about to move inside when stopped by looking Hussain Bakhsh coming towards him.
The slim and weak oldman, whose all hairs of beard and head were white, had reached there being very active.
“Salam Chotey Saaiyen.” Controlling his irregular breath he said as soon as he reached near.
Ilaaf while arranging the papers in his hand had a slight look on him and then answered his Salam.
“Saaiyen, I have especially come here to meet you.” Ilaaf looked him surprisingly.
“Why?” In an expressionless tone, without any hesitation he had asked.
“Saaiyen, you like to eat Gurr naa, I have brought the especial gift of Gurr from the village.” Ilaaf had seen him like he has said something impossible.
His old eyes were shining while looking Ilaaf.
“Who told you that I like to eat Gurr, I don’t like Gurr at all.” He answered in a disgusting tone, and it was true that neither he had tasted Gurr ever nor felt the need to taste. He was never fond of sweets very much.
The smile on the face of Hussain Bakhsh was disappeared just for a moment.
“You would never have tasted this Gurr, Saaiyen. If you would taste once, you will ask again and again.” Ilaaf hadn’t answered. He was surprised on the interest that the old villager was showing in his eating Gurr. “Just try it once, Saaiyen.” His eyes didn’t move from the face of Ilaaf for a single moment.
Ilaaf was amazed and felt pity for him as well; what a hope was there in his tone?
Fazal had reached there as well.
“Give this Gurr to Fazal, if I would have to then I will ask Fazal for.” He didn’t want to break his heart otherwise the truth was that he had no intention to taste that Gurr.
Without waiting for his answer, he moved inside along with Rohail and Adnan.
And just moving few steps he had heard the conversation between Fazal and Hussain Bakhsh.
“Abba, I had told you that Saaiyen never ate Gurr, but you were insisting. Now, give it to me.” Ilaaf looked turning back; Fazal had taken the small cloth bag from his father’s hand.
A pain was appeared on the oldman’s face.
“Acha, puttar, you take it. Saaiyen doesn’t eat now, the Gurr given by Hussain Bakhsh, but will eat one day, will eat by asking himself.” He muttered in a mysterious tone.
Ilaaf felt that moment like Hussain Bakhsh was a lunatic.
He came inside with long steps. Hussain Bakhsh was the old servant of Daada Saaiyen, working in Datepalms gardens. Ilaaf had met him once before this but that meeting was very formal and occurred in the presence of Daada Saaiyen. That time, he just had kept providing the information about the types of Datepalms grow in his gardens, but today this strange behavior of his was out of Ilaaf’s approach.
After Rohail and Adnan had left, when he asked about Hussain Bakhsh from Fazal in a formal way then he came to know that he had moved for the village immediately.
Ilaaf was all time careless, had forgotten Hussain Bakhsh in a while.
If there was something in his life which was unforgettable then it was the name of Qandeel Yousuf, her face, her eyes, and the life of Ilaaf which was now associated with her.
The very next week, he had suddenly decided to visit the village. Many months had been passed and Daadi was too much insisting.
In the afternoon, when he reached Sukkur, Baba and Daada Saaiyen were preparing to leave for Nawab Shah. He was rather not used to stay in the city so meeting both of them, he moved towards the village. Even in the village, nobody was surprised on his uninformed visit because he used to visit like this without informing anyone. Sending his luggage inside the mansion, he directly came towards the stable. Looking his horse after so long, he was very happy and the horse had even showed his love for his master by rubbing his head to Ilaaf’s chest. On coming back to Pakistan, Daada Saaiyen had given him this horse as a gift and immediately Ilaaf named it as Prince. Last time he just had ridden this horse for a week but that one week was proved to be enough for the familiarity and affection of that horse to Ilaaf.
He had taken out the horse and got onto him. Despite of his refusal, Shahnawaz had sent his two three horse riders along with him, but they could not compete Ilaaf in horse riding and speed therefore in a while Ilaaf went away moving his horse very fast. The men sent by Shahnawaz were left somewhere behind. He didn’t care, in any case he had liked the loneliness these days.
He used to have horse riding in the mountainous area after the vast fields since his childhood. He had a habit of horse riding at the narrow road between the two mountain series and in the forest across the road. Then when he was in Oxford and used to visit Pakistan in vacations then often had hunted birds in the forest, this was his habit due to the fact that he had spent his much time of childhood in the company of Daada Saaiyen. And there were many habits like this, which were seemed to be bad in childhood but later on Baba and Daada Saaiyen made him habitual of all these. He always had spent very little time with Maa and Daadi. One of the reasons was that he used to live abroad most of the time, but the truth was that whenever he would have come here even then Baba and Daada Saaiyen used to keep him engaged in different kind of activities. Ilaaf could never know either they always did it intentionally or, in real Ilaaf’s love had always forced them to take time from their busy schedule for him. But the result was that he neither could spend much time with Maa and Daadi nor could learn anything to them, but even then it was true that he loved very much both of these women.
The forest was ending and now his horse was running besides the second mountain. That narrow road was having a turn at the right side somewhat ahead. At this side of the mountain there were small rocks of different sizes and exactly near the road was a thick layer of grass. He slowed down the horse then stopping him aside got down. He left the horse, knew that he will come back after having some rest out there.
Walking on the grass, he came near the rocks and then sat over a slightly big rock. He could clearly hear the noise of the river that was flowing down the mountain. Across the river exactly at the middle of the mountain, the stream that was falling in the river in the form of a waterfall, he always had liked it. He kept looking the tiny waterfall, falling from the height and amalgamating in the water of the river.
Dr. Brendon had said in the class once, “The existence of everything in this world possesses some reason, not only by physical means but by spiritual means as well. That reason somehow remains hidden from the human eye, but that doesn’t mean that the reason has no existence at all. Everything in this Universe possesses the reason of its existence.” Teaching a course of Programme Mangament suddenly in the answer of a question he had said this and except Ilaaf all students of the class had showed some opinion about this idea of his. Ilaaf couldn’t understand this idea that moment then how the question of discussion or opinion could arise. And now after a long time, he had understood this theory.
Perhaps there was some reason of that lake falling in the river with which he was unaware. There was some relationship between that lake and the river which kept this bonding continue for many years.
The noise of water stream falling in the river and river flowing between the stones were combining together and like an instrument were dispersing tunes in the air.
Ilaaf felt like she is sitting besides him.
“Qandeel.” He turned his head. She was not there.
Either it was his imagination or illusion but every moment the feeling of Qandeel’s presence in his life was pulling him inside the marsh of the love.
Perhaps there was some reason behind this lunacy, this love and this situation, which was unknown and unfamiliar for him right now. But if there was some reason behind it even then Ilaaf was not interested in that. The woman whom he had loved most, the same woman had hated him most. Behind this entire situation the presence of a reason by fate or not, could not be pleasing for Ilaaf.
“Mohabbat dhun koi ban kar hawa men jhoom jati hai,
Dilon men ghoom jati hai,
Falak ko choom jati hai ”
He felt as she is still sitting besides him, keeping her head on his shoulder. This time he didn’t try to turn his head and look. He wanted to live with this feeling for a while, wanted to say to her in this illusion whatever he wanted to and could not say yet.
“Talab key sahilon per khwab key aanchal sajati hai,
Wafa ki roshni sey raat ko bhi din banati hai,
Ajal ko zindagi dey ker macha ye dhoom jati hai,
Dilon men ghoom jati hai,
Falak ko choom jati hai ”
Ilaaf stood and started walking over the rocks. She was walking besides him; was smiling on his words and on the tunes of the river.
“Kabhi lafzon men zinda hai, kabhi naghmon men rehti hai,
Kabhi khamoshion ko bhi saba ka geet kehti hai,
Kabhi saazon men basti hai, barha ye boom jati hai,
Dilon men ghoom jati hai,
Falak ko choom jati hai ”
The peace that he was feeling now, could not feel in last many days. Once again sitting on the rock, he fixed his palms over the rock and closing his eyes kept penetrating the fresh air inside. Hope, contentment, peace, everything was pleasing.
“Saaiyen, you are here. We were worried for you.” He opened his eyes and turned his head.
Shahnawaz was standing with his men at some distance.
Ilaaf got up. It was late in the evening; he wanted to go home now.
“They searched you, and then being disappointed informed me. We were searching you for quite sometime.”
Walking on the rocks, Ilaaf got down.
“I can not search myself yet, how would you search me?” Shahnawaz had a faint smile on his face. That very simple and innocent villager used to be confused on Ilaaf’s words like this.
Ilaaf’s horse was there across the road near the trees. Reaching back to the mansion, it was dark everywhere.
The mansion was deserted. He came towards inside. Passing the courtyard, came in veranda and then crossing the long corridor when he came to the inside portion then unusual silence had surprised him.
All maids were busy in their usual routine works but he could not see Maa or Daadi anywhere. This had never happened before that he had come and either Maa or Daadi would not be present there to welcome him.
Finally Sakina came, welcomed him asked about the dinner. She was the old servant of the mansion.
“Bari Bibi and Choti Bibi have been to Ziarat, will be back till morning.” She answered in Sindhi when Ilaaf asked about Maa and Daadi.
Ilaaf remembered; it was Thursday. Maa and Daadi used to go on Ziarat.
After so many days, he had his dinner with a will to eat. When came in his room then, a strange feeling of familiarity spread around him. Changing the dress when got onto bed then felt his head heavy; was tired due to traveling then he had kept horse riding as well. The windows at the left opened towards the fields. He opened one of the windows. The village had never experienced intense winters but the nights always were cold and freezing. His comforter was hot and he had taken coffee as well, that’s why didn’t feel much cold. Changing his sides for a while, he fell asleep.