Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Chapter no. 9: The Unknown Fragrance (II)

If there is every kind of peace in life and still there is restlessness then everything seems very strange, very different, and very unusual. The same was happening with Qandeel. Everything was the same, peace in life, Baba’s love, company of friends, but even then there was a strange emptiness which was there inside her every moment.

During last four weeks she had thought much and sometimes due to this continuous thinking her nerves used to start aching but couldn’t understand or decide anything. After that day during last four weeks neither Baba had taken Ilaaf’s name in front of her nor did he talk anything to her in this case. She herself didn’t want to talk in this matter and in any case she had nothing to talk about Ilaaf Laashari to Baba.

She had an idea that she misbehaved with Ilaaf and she was embarrassed for that as well but she couldn’t find a way to remove that embarrassment. She had no objection on asking forgiveness to Ilaaf, she always had enough courage to admit her mistakes and to ask forgiveness for them, was only worried due to a reason that in order to ask forgiveness it was necessary for her either to meet Ilaaf Laashari or at least to talk to him on phone and this idea was enough to spread the agitation inside her. And it was just possible that Ilaaf Laashari would take her apology in a wrong way by assuming as she has some soft emotions for him in her heart and so, she didn’t want to avail another head ache for her. What a stubborn man Ilaaf Laashari was, she had a very clear idea about it, and Qandeel knew that if she showed bit carelessness in this matter then perhaps it would become very difficult to get rid of Ilaaf. She was never afraid from anything in her whole life like this, but now for the first time she was feeling herself scared from his lunacy.

The extent of the hatred with which she used to look at him, if would have looked any other man like this then that man considering it as his insult would have never liked to see Qandeel’s face throughout his life again, but what a man Ilaaf Laashari was? Why it was not important for Ilaaf Laashari that a so ordinary girl who uses to insult him so easily and simply goes away, to renounce that girl and to hold the hand of any other girl? Why in such a big world he only found Qandeel to have an affair with and why among so many girls he just decided to make Qandeel’s life difficult? If he would wish then was able to impress and attract better and pretty girls than her towards him, then why only Qandeel?

Whenever Qandeel had remembered his eyes, she used to feel a mysterious restlessness inside her. And that day while scolding him, when she was asking him to go out of her home, then how he had kept looking her quietly without blinking his eyes. Those eyes had grasped Qandeel’s mind, red, full of slumber, and intoxicated eyes who were having a nameless impression that moment and which Qandeel at least could never declare as lust. It was something else, like a lamp which Qandeel had seen in Ilaaf’s eyes that day flaming and quenching, like a twinkling light which on looking Qandeel was going on and off. If Qandeel would had a very slight idea that talking to Ilaaf Laashari by looking directly into his eyes would be proved costy for her this time, then she would never have done this, but how could she have this idea. She was always like this, one who talks to people by looking into their eyes and who doesn’t care about anything, and even before this she always used to answer Ilaaf Laashari by looking into his eyes then what had happened this time due to which, the eyes of that madman had grasped her nerves.

She was getting angry on very little things these days; although in real she was only angry due to one thing that why she is so embarrassed on the attitude with which she treated Ilaaf Laashari that day, whatever that man did was not encircled in any level of morality. The debts were balanced, then why she was becoming discomforted about that action of her in her heart again and again? A lunatic man who neither had cared about his respect nor did about anyone else’s, cursing such a man what wrong did Qandeel do so that this embarrassment was not leaving her in any case? And what need she had to think about Ilaaf Laashari so much, there was no place for that man in her life then why should she give so much importance to him so that keeps thinking many times a day, about his lunacy and strange impression spilling from his eyes? But are these thoughts in our control, these are just like a blow of air that suddenly grasps the entire human self in its enclosure and then the man becomes powerless in this case. It was very strange for Qandeel and that’s why she used to get angrier, on Ilaaf Laashari and on herself. She didn’t want to meet him even just one more time whether as a result she would have to spend her entire life with this burden of guilt.

Just after one week of the exams, Asghar Sahib had called her and asked her to join his newspaper. In his opinion until Qandeel would not decide anything about her career, till then it is better for her to start a job in his newspaper rather than resting at home. The mental state of Qandeel was not appropriate so that she could think, understand or decide anything therefore after getting suggestions from Baba and Maryam she joined the newspaper office, this time not as an internee but as an assistant coordinator. This was a new thing for her to do, but she was intelligent and at professional level always had kept flexibility inside her and just because of this reality, despite of being less talkative and serious nature apparently, she never used to take much time in order to adjust even in a different environment. Perhaps Asghar Sahib was well aware with this quality of Qandeel and due to which he had given Qandeel a responsibility where she had to communicate to every person in the office regarding different matters. In the beginning, she was surprised a bit but then after working there few days she had an idea that this job was interesting as well as demanding, both of these things were important for Qandeel that’s why she was enjoying with her work. Ghani, Khalida and other colleagues with whom she had already worked, now along with them she had to work in coordination with other staff members as well. Usually she used to assist Kashif Sahib but Asghar Sahib used to give some other tasks to her as well. She got surprised many times, used to get overload of work but besides this she was getting much to learn and for the first time she was getting awareness about the merits and demerits, qualities and weaknesses of her profession.

Like earlier, she used to meet Maryam almost everyday now but she could meet her university friends during this only twice. Humaira had got married just after one week of exams and she was going Dubai with her husband after few days. Seema had no intention to start a job immediately, Ameen was applying for the job in different T.V. channels where as Rohail hadn’t decided anything about future yet. In case of idleness and lazyness, Rohail had left behind all his friends including Qandeel, he was neither very intelligent nor very hard working. The usual qualities in boys that play a great important role for their success in life, apparently were totally absent in Rohail, even then Qandeel had loved this idle friend of her very much because he was a very nice person, loving, caring, one who takes friends’ pleasure as his own pleasure and their grief as his own grief, one who is ready to help his friends in every difficult moment with his heart and soul. And this was the only reason that when he explained it to Qandeel that he was totally uninformed about that step taken by Ilaaf then she didn’t feel like he was lying. She couldn’t remain angry to him, to be angry with a friend like Rohail and due to a reason for which she couldn’t blame him; Qandeel could never do it even if she wanted to.

The month of January was taking its last breaths. Winters were almost at their end in Karachi. During last few days she used to give her much time to the office due to a project, and that’s why was feeling little bit tired because during this she couldn’t take proper rest and didn’t get enough time even to talk to Baba, therefore, as soon as this assignment got completed, Qandeel had taken an off from the office the very next day; wanted to take the rest as well as to talk to Baba a lot after so many days.

That day in the evening, after a long time, she went out for a walk along with Yousuf Mairaj. Cool breezes were blowing that’s why she had put on her shawl. At some distance to jogging track in the park, on the pavement they kept walking long and kept talking. For a while she kept telling him the daily routine things that used to happen in the office where as Yousuf Mairaj kept informing her about the progress that had been made for Sarosh Academy of Art and Literature. Few foreign friends of Hamza Shahid were interested to sponsor this project and for the same reason Hamza Shahid was leaving for England the very next week. Qandeel felt very happy after knowing all details through Baba, she wanted to see the fulfillment of Baba’s dream as soon as possible.

Then suddenly Yousuf Mairaj changed the topic.

“These days, you have started thinking so much, Qandeel. I am observing for many days and feeling as well.” The smile was disappeared from Qandeel’s face.

She turned her head and looked Baba while walking.

“Are thoughts in our control, Baba?”

“Not thoughts but yes the way we think is always in our control.”

“Then please tell me, in which way I should think?”

“In a positive way.” He replied shortly.

“And how this positive way of thinking can be attained?” She asked another question.

“By getting rid of illusion, false impression, false apprehension and baseless ideas one can attain the positive way of thinking. By connecting mind with heart, by searching in the heart the answers of the questions that are raised in the brain one can attain the positive angle of looking things.”

This time Qandeel neither could ask any question nor could argue.

For a while they kept walking on the pavement silently then Yousuf Mairaj had said again.

“You are thinking about Ilaaf.” Was that the question or the comment, Qandeel couldn’t have any idea with the tone of Baba.

“Yes.” She couldn’t say anything more than this.

“Let’s sit here and then we talk.” Both of them left the pavement and took a bench.

For a while she kept thinking quietly, and then she felt that at least she can talk to Baba about this. She looked towards Baba.

“I know, whatever I did with Ilaaf that day was wrong, I want to apologize to him too, but then I think that probably he would take my apology as my consent. Like he can assume as I have started thinking about what he claims and have acknowledged his lunacy as love seriously. He is totally mad, Baba. One can expect anything from him, and due to his lunacy he can make not only his own life difficult but others’ as well.” Qandeel had explained her apprehensions very seriously.

“By the way, it’s not very odd if you think about his words and claim being serious, Qandeel.” Qandeel had seen Baba surprisingly, for a while she couldn’t understand what to say. She could never expect such a thing from Baba.

“What are you saying, Baba? Why should I think about his words? When I am already engaged with Sami then what need do I have to think about any other man?” The entire wonder exists in the world was gathered in her tone.

“Engagement is not the last word, Qandeel. And the purpose due to which I engaged you with Sami was that you and Sami would understand each other, would get knowing about each other’s habits and during this if both of you feel that you can continue this relationship with your heart and soul the entire life then you should keep it, otherwise there is nothing wrong if you end this relationship.” This was a disclosure for Qandeel. She kept looking Baba quietly.

“And during last five years not only me but you have felt it yourself that there is a huge difference between the priorities of both of you. Neither you nor he is ready to change him a bit, Sami has his own reasons and you have your own. And in order to be constant in a relationship like marriage throughout the life, there should be a sense of compromise on both sides which I neither saw at your side nor at Sami’s.” Qandeel bent her head down thinking, whatever he was saying was true. In last five years neither she respected any of Sami’s wish in a way she should have nor Sami did, but it didn’t mean that she suddenly should start thinking about another man and not Sami.

“The emotion that is present between you and Sami can be named anything like friendship, care, concern, and trust anything except love. Never there was such intensity of love among both of you which can transform this engagement into an unbreakable relationship, Qandeel. You both are cousins, you know each other since childhood, you are good friends, were just the reasons to form this relationship, there was not any role of an emotion such as love in it because Love neither does need logic nor it is formed on conditions. You and Sami always try to convince each other with logic, always settle a matter with conditions. It doesn’t happen in love, love is just like a waterfall whenever entangles something then takes it with its flow and burries ego, logic, conditions, reason, everything in the ocean of love, it can not be weighed keeping on balance like you and Sami do all the time.” Undoubtedly, Yousuf Mairaj had no parallel in arguments.

There was silence for a while, and then Qandeel raised her head and looked him.

“I can be constant in this relationship with Sami.” She felt her tone was weak.

“If this is the case then why am I feeling disbelief in your tone, Qandeel?” She couldn’t answer him. “Life do passes Qandeel, in any case, but it passes with so much intricacy without Love and if Love is there then even so much difficult and painful life is felt like a bed of roses. I want you to marry with a person who would love you very much, who give you freedom to breath in open air, who doesn’t impose his wishes and wants on you, who would never imprison you in the chains of conditions, who would not make a relationship with you on logical basis so that when the logic would change, it would not be easier for him to leave you. Who would consider you as an obligatory part of his self, of his life, and not a spare part kept in his house.” Every word of Yousuf Mairaj was making her ears senseless. Everything was true and how unaware she had been from that reality.

“Sami can never give such love to you, Qandeel, then what is wrong if you think about Ilaaf and consider his words seriously just once.” She looked Baba.

“I could never believe his words.”

“Because you don’t want to believe, Qandeel. Just hear him once with intent of belief and then take some decision.”

“He doesn’t love me; it’s just a temporary affection and lunacy which will end after some time.”

“I don’t think that this is the case.”

“Why do you think that he speaks the truth?”

“Because he is not a hypocrite, Qandeel, and you are a spectator yourself for that.”

This time she was bit confused.

“He has neither presented himself in front of you with a mask of gentleness on his face nor did he try to betray you by putting on the costume of innocence. Whatever he is, nice or wicked; he presented himself in front of you exactly what he is. He didn’t try to hide the lunacy and madness of his eyes from you, said from his mouth what was lying in his heart.” Qandeel had compressed her lips; she couldn’t be able to declare any of Baba’s saying wrong.

“His inner and outer are pure like a mirror, Qandeel. Whatever he is from outside, he is same from inside, and doesn’t possess two faces. And that’s why I believe that this is just love. What else he asks from you except not to consider him a liar, to trust his love and to give him a single opportunity to say peacefully whatever he wants to. And I think that every lover at least possesses this right, Qandeel.”

Storms had started rushing inside Qandeel’s mind suddenly. She never felt herself so much confused mentally in her entire life how much she was feeling that moment.

“This is your life, Qandeel, and you have to decide everything on your own. No matter what you decide, as your father I will accept that with my heart and will be there with you but I just want to say one thing.” Qandeel looked towards Baba; didn’t know what he was going to say now.

“Just once, with a very calm mind, you should think about Ilaaf and at least should provide him a single chance to prove what he claims. The right to take final decision will always be yours.”

“But Baba, this is not as easy as you are thinking it is. You know who Ilaaf Laashari is? The only son of Qaiser Laashari, a modern feudal from a political and feudal family. His way of living is totally different from my life style. There is a huge difference between our behaviors, attitudes and habits and I would never be able to diminish this difference. Though if it is true that he loves me in real even then, there is nothing for me to think about marrying him. I neither would be able to amalgamate myself with his nor would be able to successfully mould him into my matrice.” Yousuf Mairaj had smiled.

Qandeel was astonished, she hadn’t said anything on which Baba could smile then why was he smiling she couldn’t know.

“These all things are to be discussed and decided later and would be cleared. Right now you just have to decide one thing and that is either you can provide Ilaaf a chance or not?”

“Don’t know, I am not able to decide anything.” Like a little girl she spoke in a confused and angry tone.

Yousuf Mairaj had taken Qandeel’s hand into his own hands smiling.

The current of air was suddenly very fast. Qandeel’s hairs despite of the fact that they were tied were dispersing and coming onto her face, but she hadn’t cared so that could have controlled them.

“The way love easily changes the world outside and inside a man, similarly it is very easy for it to diminish the difference between behaviors, attitudes and habits. If Ilaaf really loves you then you have nothing to do except one thing and that is to believe him. Rest of all issues will be solved by this love. You just have to trust Ilaaf, have to give him some time, love will change everything and you will feel that change yourself, Qandeel.” She stared Baba with disbelief.

“And do you know, Qandeel, that if you would get success to change Ilaaf Laashari through this love then what an achievement it would be for you? Bringing the change in a man, whom God has given the authority to change the lives of thousands of people, what an achievement could be more valuable for someone in this world? You can teach him how to do love and with which manners and how to share that love with the people around. Using this love as a way, you can make him to feel that what he can do for his Nation using his abilities. Bringing the change in a man you can change your world, Qandeel. Trust me and believe yourself. This have to be decided by you that either you have to trust Ilaaf or not but there is a decision which only Ilaaf has to take that how he loves you and for that love what he can do for you, for him and for this world?” Qandeel felt something was sliding inside her, didn’t know what had been slided.

“I need some time to think about it, Baba.” That moment surrounded by unlimited thoughts she just could say it.

“You have the full right for that, my dear daughter.” Moving ahead Yousuf Mairaj had kissed her right cheek.

It was dark. Both of them walking on the grass got the way back, but the way of thoughts of Qandeel had moved far ahead.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Chapter no. 9: The Unknown Fragrance (I)

It was a soft and kind touch which was bringing him from darkness towards light slowly and gradually. He turned his side then started looking exactly straight above his head. The blurred image of Daadi now went clear. She was combing his hairs with her soft hands smiling.

“When did you reach Daadi Maa?” He rubbed his eyes smiling.

“Just a little while.” Fatima Laashari kissed his forehead, “You were sleeping Ilaaf, so I didn’t want to wake you up therefore kept looking you sitting here.” For a moment Ilaaf wished by his heart to spend his whole life in the shade of her love and kindness. Her love always raised the desires like a little child inside him. “I made all arrangements, and would have welcomed you myself if had not been to Ziarat. Have you had your proper meal last night?” She was now moving her hand over his face and his eyes.

“Hmmmm” With closed eyes while taking in her love, he just had to say this.

“And have you had the proper sleep?” He remembered the dream, perhaps had seen earlier at night but didn’t feel the agitation this time. Perhaps he now used to have these dreams.

“I and your mother miss you so much, but you always have limited time for us, Ilaaf.” She was complaining as usual.

Without answering her, he changed his side and kept his head in her lap. She kept her head over his head smiling.

What a peace is there in a mother’s lap. How a man suffering with pains and miseries, when keeps his head in his mother’s lap then feels himself so light and easy and becomes unconcerned from each and every grief for a while; Ilaaf had felt this reality intensilvely that day.

For a moment he thought to tell Daadi about Qandeel and ask her to go and talk to Qandeel then thinking something he postponed this idea; wanted to find out a solution himself first.

“Whenever Omer had been on leave and come home, used to keep his head in my lap in the same way. You are just like my Omer, Ilaaf.” He hadn’t answered.

Daadi had always compared his each and every habit with Omer Chachaa and he used to hear it silently; never felt the need to ask or know anything more than this. In this mansion, except Daadi and Maa very few times someone had taken Omer Chachaa’s name in front of him; not even Baba and Daada Saaiyen, both of them never used to talk about Omer Chachaa to him. Perhaps talking about a person who is not in this world now, was not important for both of them and that’s why even Ilaaf never felt that curiousity due to which he could have tried to know about the personality of Omer Chachaa. He just had known one thing very well and was that he highly resembled Omer Chachaa in features and looks.

After taking shower when he came downstairs, went straight into the kitchen; knew that Maa would be present there. Zainab Laashari most of the time was found in kitchen especially when Ilaaf used to be here.

She was instructing the maids when Ilaaf entered the kitchen.

She looked towards Ilaaf. Ilaaf didn’t say anything just looked her smiling. She smiled in reply and looking her smiling like this, Ilaaf as usual felt a strange happiness inside him. She used to smile very few times despite of the fact that her smile was beautiful.

He moved towards the dining table when heard Maa saying.

“Ilaaf, first come this side. I have to make the counter influence of evil.” Ilaaf in a bizarre manner went towards her; till then she had got the red chillies from Sakeena.

Ilaaf went and stood in front of her and kept looking her making the counter influence of evil for him. Then Zainab Laashari handed over the chillies to Sakeena.

“Burn them outside; Ilaaf would have sneezing due to the smell.”

Ilaaf sat on the dining table quietly. Zainab Laashari set the breakfast then sat on a chair in front of him and started looking him having his breakfast.

He always had seen Maa speaking very little compare to Daadi, although she had the same peace on her face which he always seen on Daadi’s face.

“How long you will stay, Ilaaf?” After a while she suddenly remembered a question.

“I will stay a week, Maa.” Her eyes had a strange shining that moment. Ilaaf knew very well that which shining is this; whenever he had called her “Maa”, her eyes had the same shining every time.

When he came outside after breakfast then noticed the unusual hustle bustle of maids and servants. Daadi and Maa both were in lounge. He came inside the lounge. Daadi was instructing Sakeena about something sitting at her specific place as usual. He came and sat besides Maa on couch.

Zainab Laashari turned her head and looked him, and then she kept looking him for a while like, on looking him after so many days would be providing the contentment to her eyes. Then she turned towards him and had taken Ilaaf’s hands into her own hands.

Ilaaf knew that what she is going to do now that’s why kept looking her actions quietly.

At first, Zainab Laashari touched his both hands to her eyes and then kissed them. Then she had taken Ilaaf’s face into her hands. Ilaaf bowed a little involuntarily; was used to this routine since childhood. Zainab Laashari had kissed his forehead, his eyes and his cheeks one by one. She used to show her love like this.

Ilaaf smiled; knew that now it is his turn to show his love for his mother.

In exactly the same way, holding both hands of Maa he touched them with his eyes and then kissed them.

Fatima Laashari had smiled by looking the typical way of loving of both son and mother.

Ilaaf now slipped from the couch and sat down near the feet of his mother, and then he kept his head over the knees of Maa. Zainab Laashari started combing his hairs with her hands.

There was silence for a while then he heard Maa saying.

“Ilaaf, you don’t oil your hairs. Look, you have got dandruff.” With a bizarre smile he raised his head and looked her.

She called a maid to bring the oil.

Ilaaf had extremely disliked the mustard oil and nearly felt like dying due to its smell but couldn’t say anything in front of Maa.

In a while the oiling and massage of his hairs had been started.

There was some magic in the hands of Maa. He was feeling a strange peace and this activity was also felt interesting by him; knew that he will have to shampoo his hairs again but it was not a big deal in front of the love of his mother.

He always surprised. His mother, Zainab Laashari was a gold medalist in sociology and was the daughter of his Naana who was very concerned about so called standards, even then she used to perform every little duty for his son; and while doing this neither she cared that she was the daughter of Mujahid Baloch nor that she was the wife of Qaiser Laashari. That moment she just was like his mother, and Ilaaf had always felt pride that he is the son of a mother like Zainab Laashari; unique in her own way, she was a different woman.

The women that were highly ranked in Ilaaf’s life were all very strange and used to surprise him always. At first Daadi, then Maa and now Qandeel was added in the list.

He later came to know that the arrangements that were being made since morning in the mansion were actually arranged due to Quran Khwani for Eisaal-e-sawaab of Omer Chachaa; in evening a free public kitchen was also set. Everything was done well even in the absence of Baba and Daada Saaiyen; asked by Daadi, he looked after all arrangements for a while. And so, his time was passed quickly till evening and he had not to search a new activity in order to pass his time.

After dusk when the mansion was not crowded then he seated himself on a chair in veranda in order to rest for a while. Housekeepers were finishing the remaining tasks around quickly. The charming lights of different kinds that were held in veranda always had made the time of dusk beautiful there. Ilaaf used to see that view. It was January, winters were having their last days in the village and that’s why the weather was bit cold at the moment.

There was a mysterious silence everywhere, which was perhaps only felt by him and in this silence he had felt a strange fragrance there. It was an enchanting smell which was spread around him. Expanding his nostrils he confirmed the presence of that smell. A fragrance was really present there, unknown, and heart captivating fragrance, which could neither be of aloe stick nor of frankincense, even this enchanting smell was not of any branded perfume, Ilaaf was sure because he had a great information in this case.

He looked his left and right. Veranda was almost desolated now.

“Saaiyen.” He shuddered for a moment.

Sakeena was standing behind him.

“What happened?” He controlled his breath and then sat straight.

“Bari Bibi has sent this; was saying that there is cold outside, you should put it on.” She was holding a grey color shawl which she gave to Ilaaf.

Ilaaf had taken that shawl into his hand. Sakeena went back.

Shawl was made up of a soft and warm fabric. Ilaaf moved his hand over the folded shawl and just then he had a feeling that the enchanting fragrance was emitting from that shawl. Bringing shawl near his face he tried to identify the fragrance but remained unsuccessful to know that of which thing this fragrance is?

Then he unfolded the shawl, stood and put on by covering his body. A warm sensation was penetrated inside the freezing arms and shoulders suddenly, and besides this the breath scenting fragrance was also providing him some peace.

He was again seated but still was thinking about the shawl. He had never seen this shawl before in his wardrobe, probably Maa or Daadi had bought it for him. He started making guess. But how was that fragrance, he still couldn’t understand.

“It is looking nice with you, Ilaaf.” He turned his head hearing Daadi. She sat besides him on a chair smiling.

“Where from this shawl has come, Daadi? I have never seen it before.” He asked involuntarily.

“It is Omer’s.” This time he had a deep breath. “Your mother gifted him on his birthday. Both devar and bhabi had a relationship like brother and sister.”

Ilaaf smiled but couldn’t say anything.

“Today is Omer’s birthday.” This was new information for Ilaaf. “It was the same day when I got him from God, then at the same day next twenty six years his birthday was celebrated. And then he was martyred and now for last twenty four years I used to celebrate his birthday like this.” She kept saying under an impression.

Ilaaf kept looking her. She really had loved Omer Chachaa very much.

“On his twenty fourth birthday, Zainab gifted him this shawl. Next two years he kept using it and after his martyrdom like his rest of the things this shawl became your property as well, Ilaaf.” He was well aware that immediately after the martyrdom of Omer Chachaa according to his will, his each and everything was Ilaaf’s. The property that he owned, each and everything of his room, of his use including his all books were transferred to Ilaaf. This is another thing that neither Ilaaf ever went into his room nor got time to have a look on his books.

Ilaaf had a sight over the shawl covering his arms. It didn’t look that it has been already used before.

“Would you accept a request of mine, Ilaaf?” She asked in a sad tone.

“Sure.” That moment in order to vanish her sadness he could do anything.

“When you will back to Karachi then visit Omer’s grave this time. Pray from my side and your mother’s separately and go with flowers. Omer likes flowers very much and if you will visit then he will be pleased for sure.” Ilaaf felt love for her innocence.

“What difference does it make for the dead ones that who visited their grave and who not?” He thought.

“Alright, I will visit Omer Chachaa’s grave. You don’t worry.” He satisfied her.

“Have to make promise.” Perhaps Fatima Laashari didn’t believe his words.

“Promise.” He smiled.

There was a satisfactory smile on Fatima Laashari’s face.

“I am going inside, have to look after few things.” She rose and turned to go.

“Daadi.” He suddenly remembered something. Fatima Laashari looked him.

“Yes, my child.”

“Which perfume Omer Chachaa had used?”

This time Fatima Laashari didn’t smile.

“Omer never used any perfume, any scent.” She had a strange expression on her face Ilaaf couldn’t name that.

She turned and went back inside.

Ilaaf was puzzled and confused.

He again looked the shawl then tilting his back with chair closed his eyes. That fragrance was still scenting his breath and mind.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Chapter no. 8: Love.......A Reality (IV)

He was sitting near the lake. It was evening and near the lake, in the bunch of thicky trees the tweeting of birds like a noise was making his ears senseless. The view of the lake was beautiful. Unconcerned from around, he kept trying to look across the lake.

“Why are you sitting here, Ilaaf?” The voice came from somewhat near otherwise he could have not heard it.

He turned his neck. Alchemist was standing exactly behind him.

He got up smiling. Looking him in this strange environment, Ilaaf had a strange sense of familiarity. Today his robes were of green color.

“How are you?” He asked involuntarily.

The smile of Alchemist grew deeper.

“Leave me. The world in which I do live everybody is always happy and peaceful there, yes but the world from where you have come, peace and happiness are found rarely there, that’s why tell me how are you?”

He got confused on this question for a while, “how am I…..”

“Alright, let me tell you that how are you?” He started looking him with a surprise.

Both of them came ahead from the lake walking, on the same long road, didn’t know whereelse they had to stay on that way.

“Restless, agitated, uneasy, exploring, desiring.” He looked Ilaaf smiling, “You do search something every moment.” Ilaaf shook his head unwillingly, perhaps hiding something in front of Alchemist or lying was not possible.

“Don’t worry, whatever you search, you will find, in this world and even in your world because one can find everything by searching even God, conditionally if he has the true passion.” He kept looking him with a puzzled look.

“Passion….what this passion is? Why it doesn’t let one to sit peacefully? Why it sends our feet towards an endless journey? Why does it throw our heart to sink in the ocean of pain? And either this passion is true or not who will decide it? When there is no scale to measure the magnitude of this passion then how one could know that this passion is either true or not?” He kept saying with an anxiety.

“So many questions are being asked simultaneously. I can not answer all of them together.” Alchemist looked him smiling.

Ilaaf remained silent.

“The journey has just begun; you will get the answers of all questions slowly and gradually. Why to be hurried?”

The restless soul of Ilaaf got agitated on his satisfaction.

“I have to be hurried, why should not I be hurried? This burning, this emptiness, this agitation and restlessness don’t let me to live.”

“Be patient, on the way of Love, on the journey of Love, the finding of the destiny is difficult as well as patience testing. This hurry can harm you.”

“Love….” He looked Alchemist with a stunning look.

“So, is this the road of Love?” Ilaaf asked by indicating towards that long road.

“What do you think?” He asked by looking directly in Ilaaf’s eyes.

Ilaaf had no answer. He changed the direction of his eyes.

“The world that exists inside the heart has every road, the road of love, Ilaaf. And this one road can take the man to visit the new worlds. How vast and wide is the world of heart, and whatever it has is more than the entire knowledge of the world. One who becomes aware of the world of his heart, he would be able to be aware from each and every secret of this universe. You too are in exploration of a secret? You want to know the secret of your existence, so you will have to be patient for that.” This time Ilaaf could not argue with him.

The road was once again turning, towards right this time. Alchemist started walking at some distance to the road. Ilaaf was behind him. That was the floor of bricks like a pavement, on which the large cement benches were fixed at equal distances and different people were sitting there. Ilaaf felt like he has come into a new world. That place was like the plateform of a railway station where people were seemed to be staying in order to rest for a while, and some were seemed to be moving in different directions and going towards their destinies. Ilaaf kept moving ahead along with Alchemist and kept looking the people passing him around. Strange faces in which several colors were visible; fair ones, black ones, brown ones, nut-brown ones, some tall, some short heightened and some with average height, some having extremely long noses and some had the thicky ones, some having eyes of different colors while some had just brown or black ones; some people had broad foreheads and some had stretched chins; some had the swollen cheeks and some were whose cheek bones were much prominent. The only thing which was similar in all of them was their dress. All of them were wearing long black robes with white turbans on their heads. This was very clear that all of them were not related to one nation, Ilaaf could feel it evidently with the features of their faces.

The speed of Alchemist in this crowd was much fast and in order to be with him, Ilaaf had to walk in a fast pace as well, and therefore despite of his will he was not able to see a single face keenly.

“Which is this place?” With irregular breaths looking Alchemist, he asked the question.

“An outer area of this city where, the people, when arriving or leaving, stay for a while.” Alchemist answered and then turned towards the right side.

The floor of bricks was ended. Now, on the wide unbeaten road there were two different ways.

Ilaaf moved towards right side.

“Don’t go there, Ilaaf.” Alchemist suddenly said in a very firm tone that moving steps of Ilaaf stopped there, but even then he still could see, at the right side the steam that was rising from over the bunch of trees at some distance and was producing due to a fire that was burning there. Ilaaf could not see the fire across those thicky trees but he could feel the heat of that fire even from so much distance.

Alchemist was going towards left. Ilaaf started to walk towards left as well following him.

He seemed to be in hurry. Ilaaf wanted to ask about that fire and steam to him but he could not get the chance.

And then after some distance there was a big wall. The charming art works on red bricks were enough to make the wall attractive for the viewers.

Both of them stopped reaching the lower part of the wall. Then Alchemist turned his head and looked Ilaaf.

This is the second gateway to enter the city.

Ilaaf showed the surprise with his facial expressions.

The place where they were standing, there was a door of exactly a man’s height and a bit narrow through which a single man could be passed at a time.

“Let’s go.” Said Alchemist and moved towards inside, Ilaaf followed him and stepping inside he had an idea that the wall was the wall of a tunnel.

In darkness on the guidance of the sound of Alchemist’s steps, he kept moving ahead, then slowly and gradually the light coming from the other side made him to feel that the tunnel was ending.

The tunnel was ended. He stepped towards the other side and came out.

And coming out he felt for a while like he had come into a paradise.

That was a garden at one side of which were mountains and thorugh those mountains in the form of tiny water-falls the water that was falling down was moving ahead in the form of a lake. At left side there was a pavement made up of red bricks and across that pavement there were several trees loaded with different fruits and flowers. Beautiful flowers whose beautiful colors and the breath penetrating fragrance which was scenting his brain and heart. Ilaaf wished by heart to keep standing there and to keep getting the peace for his soul by visualizing that beautiful scene.

Alchemist was smiling standing aside.

“Let’s move, Ilaaf. We don’t have to stop here. Indeed, this view is charming for eyes and peaceful for heart but we have to move ahead.”

“Can’t we stay here for a while?” Ilaaf asked.

“No, the time will be up. Still, you have to see the other gateways of this city as well, and looking them perhaps you will come out from the enchantment of this view.”

Ilaaf looked Alchemist surprisingly.

“Are there other gateways of this city as well? I have already seen two.”

“You haven’t seen anything yet, Ilaaf. This world is so beautiful, so colorful that on every step the eyes are packed, but at the same time so difficult, complexed, and full of hindrances and trials.” Ilaaf kept looking him silently.

“If you want to move ahead in this journey with me and want to know the secret I am guarding then prepare yourself for every situation you will face on this way. And if you feel that you will be tired on this way or would not be able to move ahead then you have enough time, decide now. Return from this point, if you decide to withdraw and go back at the middle of the journey then you will neither be able to reach your destiny nor would be able to return. You will lose everything, Ilaaf; the way of your destiny as well as the way of back home. Tell me, what is your decision?”

Ilaaf puzzled on this sudden question and couldn’t answer; wanted to think for a while, but what he wanted to think? Would even deciding to go back could be able to provide him some peace? No, then what’s wrong in moving ahead?

He came ahead few steps.

“I will move forward. I would get my destiny, would get the secret of my existence. Either will make my destiny my fate or will ruin myself by turning into the dust of this way, but won’t go back; no matter what happens.” He declared his decision in a firm tone.

This time the smile of Alchemist was more charming than ever. Ilaaf also smiled.