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
The month of January was taking its last breaths. Winters were almost at their end in
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
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.