Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Chapter no. 11: The Contention (V)

If it would have possible in the world to transform a man into a stone then, perhaps Ilaaf would have transformed himself into a stone in real so that whatever was happening around could never have affected him, he had to see everything happening in front of his eyes which he could never wish to see happily with his will. He had seen many wrong acts happening in front of him in the life before, but never had thought that he would have to become a part of some wrong act one day. With every passing day, this sense of guilt was increasing, he used to feel hatred for him whenever had seen mirror and wasn’t able even to face himself. Till now, he had kept perceiving that nothing in this world is able to force him to do something against his wish, and now he used to feel that he was always buried in the marsh of misunderstandings before, the reality was that he had just the right to make a wish, and actually had to happen whatever his elders had decided.

In last few days, Ilaaf had considered all possible options through which he could be able to isolate himself from this corrupt system, but he couldn’t decide anything. There was just one single solution for him to get rid of this strange imprisonment of Baba Saaiyen and that option was unattainable without being withdrawn from this wealth, property and heritage. Not a single thing among them was important for Ilaaf to be considered, if something was important then it was only the love of Maa and Daadi and to withdraw himself from that love was difficult for Ilaaf, and he knew that if he decides to isolate from this heritage of Daada Saaiyen then at first, he will be sent away to Daadi and Maa. He could have managed to live somehow far from them, but knew that Maa and Daadi wouldn’t be able to live without him. Their love kept preventing him to take some serious step in this regard, Daadi was even a courageous woman but Maa….Ilaaf knew that the day he will be sent out of his mother’s life, that would be the last day of that woman’s life. Ilaaf knew very well that how happily, the only daughter of Mujahid Baloch, Zainab Qaiser Laashari, had spent last thrity two years in Laashari Mension. And he always wanted to do something for Maa, wanted to give her the happiness she could never get from Baba Saaiyen. He could never forget all those moments when, Zainab Laashari was forced to perform certain duties against her will, just by threatening her that she will be sent away from Ilaaf, sometimes to preside a political gathering, sometimes to become a claimant for a case, sometimes to give certain false statements for some newspapers, everytime she was offended with a single threat because perhaps Qaiser Laashari was aware of the only weakness of his wife. It was hard for her even to imagine Ilaaf’s departing, and therefore this threat used to affect immediately and Zainab Laashari used to do silently whatever she was asked to.

Ilaaf used to observe this since his childhood and on all those occasions, used to feel disliking for Baba Saaiyen in his heart and he had always decided that someday he would free his mother from this fear of separation from him and hence would prevent her to be blackmailed by Baba Saaiyen, but whatever man thinks not necessarily it happens forever.

Ilaaf was being blackmailed by his own father, how he could be able to prevent his mother. He knew that Maa and Daadi would have known everything about the accident, and therefore he couldn’t dare to talk to them on phone.

Three women were most dear to him in his life, Maa and Daadi somehow were aware of his problems and he was sure they would never be angry with him, but Qandeel…..his soul used to feel dying whenever he used to think about her. The woman whom he wanted to see every moment, he used to pray not to face her in these circumstances. Everything was the same, he used to miss Qandeel in the same way, he used to think about her every moment, used to feel himself restless and anxious for her, but even then in these so many days he couldn’t gather enough courage to call her once.

He didn’t have the need to go farm house after he got bail, so he came home back. Baba Saaiyen also was residing in his home those days, he intented to stay here till the decision of the case, Adnan used to spend most of the time of the day at Ilaaf’s home as well. Ilaaf had restricted himself to home, he didn’t want to go out, didn’t want to see the questioning sight of people. According to the order of Baba Saaiyen, he used to ask his lawyer to answer the questions of newsreporters, and didn’t know why on all those occasions he never used to forget to put on deep black glasses. It was a strange fear inside him, he used to feel that like behind any camera there was Qandeel standing and looking into his eyes, and trying to find out the truth.

The day Ilaaf had presented him in police station, and then afterwards he had got the bail, the same day Rohail had left farm house and went to his home, however, he used to visit Ilaaf once everyday. Ilaaf was so hopeless that couldn’t ask well being of Qandeel to him, the formal few sentences were always exchanged and nothing else was among them to be discussed.

Life was suddenly going in a strange manner. He had left reading newspaper or watching T.V. completely, never got anything except restlessness and agitation with those news. Everyday after waking in the morning, he used to get instructions that what he has to do today, whom he has to meet, what he has to say at which place, and where he just has to remain silent. Like a machine he used to follow, neither used to ask nor to say anything, even he had left talking to Adnan. He wondered, perhaps there was nothing left to be talked among Adnan and him. Even Adnan had taken it as temporary anger of Ilaaf and neglected completely.

Everything had been changed so much, he used to feel like a supportless grain which was flowing with the flow of the water and didn’t know anything about his destiny.

The day he came back to home from farm house, all those dreams came back as well, which he used to have while sleeping on his bed, in his room. Some of his routine things were same as previously they were; once again it was his habit to see all those pictures of Qandeel which were hanging on the walls of his room. Ilaaf used to feel like those pictures are trying to comfort him that one day everything will be alright, but at night, when he used to take out the picture that was kept beneath his pillow then, the picture was felt to make some complains to him, and in reply to that complain Ilaaf used to defend himself, used to try to give explanation but giving explanation was not easy at all. Then he used to keep that picture over his chest and shut his eyes and just then the goddess of sleep used to feel mercy for him. And while sleeping, sometimes he used to see him with Qandeel, and sometimes just following the Alchemist on the entrance roads of that strange city.

Due to the presence of Baba Saaiyen, Ilaaf used to lock his room everytime he used to leave his room, Fazal had the key of his room, and Ilaaf had taken back from him. He didn’t want that at any case Baba could see a single glimpse of any picture of Qandeel, and a new chaos would be ready for him in this way. He had experienced the stubbornness and arrogance of Baba once, and wasn’t ready to experience anything further.

That was the first hearing in the court. When he woke up in the morning then didn’t know why, he wished to imprison himself inside his room and never to go out, never to see the truth being proven as lie and lie as truth in the court, but nothing was possible, he had to become the part of this sin in any case.

Like a quiet viewer, he kept looking the whole proceeding in the court. The report of the investigation team was presented in the court, and after that Jawwad was presented as a witness. And Ilaaf was just surprised; Jawwad had assured the court by giving a false statement with an art of telling lies that the brakes of Ilaaf’s car were failed, and in this way not only he had defended Ilaaf instead saved himself to be included as the part of the crime. Baba Saaiyen had agreed Jawwad to give this statement, and if Jawwad would haven’t agreed to become a witness then, Qaiser Laashari knew the other means as well, he had some good communication with Jawwad’s father and Jawwad had to prove himself faultless as well, so he had to become an eyewitness. After Jawwad’s statement and the report, it was very difficult for Saqib and his lawyer to prove whatever they had claimed about the accident.

Ilaaf was more surprised that why Saqib couldn’t get any evidence or eyewitness. There were huge number of people on the road of foodstreet, who had witnessed that Ilaaf and Jawwad had violated the traffic rules, and Ilaaf had hit his car with Jawwad’s jeep without thinking about the consequences. Among those so many people, even if anyone would have stated against Ilaaf then the case could have gone into favor of Saqib, but it hadn’t happened and it was hard to guess for Ilaaf.

Ilaaf was called in the witness-box, and he was asked that were the brakes of his car gone failed, and does he approves Jawwad’s statement. And for the first time in life, Ilaaf was telling lies, was becoming a part of this wrong act.

Muazzam Rana was asking the questions.

“Had the brakes of your car gone failed while you were turning around the roundabout?”

Ilaaf nodded his head.

“Is that correct that you and Jawwad went to have dinner on foodstreet?”

“Yes.” Something was dying inside him.

“Did you try your level best to save Arsheen Nauman’s car?”

“Yeah.” When soul is buried in the grave of lies then one feels his own voice as dreadful as Ilaaf felt that moment.

Now the lawyer of Saqib tried to cross questioning, and he was trying to bring out something from Ilaaf’s statement through which he could have proved that Ilaaf and Jawwad hadn’t intended to have dinner on foodstreet instead they were competing, but the lesson that was taught to Ilaaf last night, that moment just that lesson was on his tongue and his blank mind had perhaps considered the same lesson a truth in real.

In a plane tone, he kept answering each and every question and just then he had seen a deep satisfaction on faces of Muazzam Rana and Adnan.

The Magistrate of the session court at the end of the hearing, kept the next hearing after one week, and asked Saqib that if he has any witness or evidences against Ilaaf then should present in the next hearing, otherwise the decision will be announced in next hearing.

With lifeless steps, Ilaaf came out of the court room along with Adnan, and immediately coming out he put on the black glasses on his eyes. Like a crowd, media people attacked him but Muazzam Rana and Adnan controlled everything, both of them were answering their questions which were thrown from all directions. Ilaaf wanted to leave as soon as possible, he turned his head to the right side and just then had seen Saqib Hassan stepping down, some newsreporters also went to Saqib, but his mouth was locked, he refused to comment and dissecting the crowd moved forward. Moving few steps ahead he stopped then didn’t know why he turned back and gazed Ilaaf.

Ilaaf saw in the dark shade of glasses, he had powerlessness on his face and extreme hatred in his eyes.

The stony heart of Ilaaf suddenly shuddered unknowingly, there was a shooting pain, and was a stinge which got penetrated straight inside Ilaaf’s heart with a sight full of hatred.

Holding his hand Adnan took him to the car. Throughout the way didn’t know what he kept saying, and he was happy on this success. Ilaaf was completely silent, his mind was entangled in the powerlessness and hatred of Saqib, why was he feeling so much pain while he could never have expected anything except hatred from Saqib then, why was the pain was severe, he couldn’t know.

The car was stopped in the porch and he came out of the car along with Adnan and just then, looking the white land cruiser parked there didn’t know why Ilaaf suddenly got extremely angry. Fazal and Mahi were giving a wash to Ilaaf’s white fairy. He came ahead.

“Why is this car parked here?” Ilaaf barked.

Fazal straightened suddenly.

“I told you Fazal, that I don’t want to see this car in my home, then why is it standing here?” He felt his face was getting hot at the peak of anger.

“Actually Saaiyen, Mechanic just sent it back. Barey Saaiyen asked to wash it and park in garage, that’s why I asked Mahi to…..” Saying in scared tone he left his answer incomplete and looked Ilaaf.

“This is my car, and only I have authority to give commands regarding it, and I have told that this car wouldn’t enter my home again.” He didn’t know why he was getting angry on Fazal and on his car in such manner.

Adnan kept his hand over Ilaaf’s shoulder coming near.

“What happened to you, Ilaaf? What is your car’s fault in this whole matter, and why are you getting angry on the poor man Fazal without any reason? He is just a housemaid, and would do whatever he will be asked to do.” Didn’t know what happened, Ilaaf displaced away Adnan’s hand rudely and moved ahead few steps.

“Ilaaf, don’t be angry buddy.” He heard Adnan behind him.

He stopped, and then turning back gazed Adnan.

“Celebrate for this success as much as you want to. If you and Baba Saaiyen think it is a success then celebrate it, but don’t expect that I would participate in your celebration.” His tone was so harsh that the smile on Adnan’a face was immediately disappeared. Ilaaf hadn’t cared, he called Fazal.

“Whether you park it in the garage or burn it out over the road, but after this day, this car should never be seen in this porch otherwise I will burn it myself.” Fazal nodded his head and Ilaaf came inside.

He didn’t leave his room till the evening. Windows were closed and curtains were pulled on, in semidarkness, tilting his back with the bed crown, in one position, he kept smoking without any gap.

The room was packed with smoke, but who cared. When, there is fog inside then one can not feel the outside smoke.

He felt little slumber in evening and he just closed his eyes when the door was knocked.

Opening his eyes, Ilaaf looked the door with an unpleasant look.

“I don’t want to eat anything, Fazal. Why don’t you understand? Just get lost.” He barked in slumbered voice.

“Open the door, Ilaaf. It’s me, and wants to meet you.” Hearing the voice of Rohail his mind waked up little.

He hardly got up and unlocking the door, came back and got onto bed once again.

“Oh God, you have messed up your room, Ilaaf. And this smell of cigarette and smoke, at least you should have opened a window if you wanted to smoke.” Ilaaf didn’t answer.

Shutting the door, Rohail turned on the lights then, pulling off the curtains opened all windows, and then coming near to bed he jerked Ilaaf and this time Ilaaf had to get up unwillingly.

“Just look yourself, see your face in the mirror, and how red you eyes are. Does one smoke like this, why have you become enemy of your life?” Ilaaf didn’t reply, just kept sitting with his head down.

Holding his hand, Rohail got him up and asked to wash his face.

Washing his face when Ilaaf came out of the washroom then was feeling himself much better, till then Rohail had called Fazal and the cleaning of his room was in process.

He silently sat on the couch.

Rohail bringing the glass of juice gave it to Ilaaf then taking a chair was seated in front of him.

“You should take care of yourself, you are getting weak day by day.” Rohail said.

“I hate my life.”

“Life is not to be hated, but to be loved.”

“My life is just to be hated.”

“Don’t think like that, everything will be alright.”

“Nothing will be alright.”

Rohail remained silent for a while, and then Ilaaf asked.

“You were not in the court today, didn’t you have the courage to see me going down into marsh of sin?”

“No, I wanted to come but…..had to go to office along with Papa.” Ilaaf felt like he was trying to hide something.

“Did well that you haven’t come, you would have felt laughing on the powerlessness of a powerful man.”

“It had to happen, Ilaaf. Qaiser Uncle will never let you getting penalty, whether for that he would have to provide more false evidences.”

Ilaaf and Rohail kept sitting silently again, like a routine they didn’t have anything special to be discussed, and then a strange agitation grasped Ilaaf.

“Have you met Qandeel?” Being powerless by his heart, finally he asked.

Rohail looked him; Ilaaf changed the direction of his eyes.

“She neither receives my call nor does she reply my messages. Perhaps she is angry to me as well, as I was with you at the time of accident, and may be she would have considered me guilty as well.”

Ilaaf didn’t reply.

“I talked to Yousuf Uncle on phone.”

“Then…?” Ilaaf gazed him with a questioning sight.

“He has an idea about your problems and he is not dubious about you.”

“He is a great man.”

“But he says that perhaps he wouldn’t be able to help us to clearify your position in front of Qandeel because….”


“Saqib Hassan and his family have close family terms with Yousuf Uncle and Qandeel, and Qandeel has taken great effect by this traumatic death of Arsheen and her mother.” Ilaaf hid his face into his hands, didn’t know why these all thunders had to fall over him.

“Yousuf Uncle has said that he will try to clearify your position to Qandeel, but didn’t promise because he is already very worried for Qandeel. He says that Qandeel is deeply affected by this grief. I haven’t met Qandeel yet, and now I am planning to have a visit at her home, but I came to know through Yousuf Uncle that she is extremely silent and lost these days, looks to be in some contention from inside, like she is trying to take some decision, and that’s why Yousuf Uncle didn’t want to impose his thoughts over her and perhaps this decision of his is quite right.”

Ilaaf knew, what could be that intention, his heart was not cursing him without any reason. Qandeel would have tried to see the difference among his truth and lies, the man who showing his love for her, that day in the park, had claimed extraordinaryily that he has been greatly changed in love of Qandeel, she probably would have taken some time to consider those claims as false.

“When would you visit her?” Ilaaf asked.

“Any day, this week.”

“Can you give her a message of mine?”

“Yes, say.”

For a while, Ilaaf didn’t say anything, and then finally he said.

“Tell her, Ilaaf Laashari is not only accountable in front of Saqib, Nausheen and Nauman Hassan but also in front of her, he is not able to confess his mistake in front of the world but, in front of her, he not only can confess his guilt but bending his head down, is ready to be penalized. Whatever punishment Qandeel Yousuf would decide for Ilaaf Laashari, in the court of her heart, he would accept that smiling.” Rohail had seen that lunatic with a strange look, perhaps he couldn’t understand well his words, he wasn’t able to understand, the meaning of these words could only be understood by she, who was the only desire of that lunatic in this world.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Chapter no. 11: The Contention (IV)

In last few days Qandeel got an idea that unwillingly she can not take Ilaaf out of his heart. She wanted to hate Ilaaf, like so many other people used to, but despite of trying too much she couldn’t feel hatred for Ilaaf just once.

She wanted to forget him, but everybody around her used to call his name somehow and she used to be irritated again and again.

It was a strange confusion, she couldn’t name it. Every moment there was a war going on between her heart and mind which was totally worthless. Sometimes it seemed that whatever mind used to tell is quite right, Ilaaf Laashari never deserved her love, he always lied to Qandeel, and now Qandeel should kick him out of her life and out of her heart showing some brains. And sometimes suddenly in this fight heart used to get control, she used to feel that Ilaaf is not so mean in real what the situation has made him, and in any case how this accident could be linked with his love for Qandeel so that she could be able to decide that either he lied to her or said truth, if he would be a liar then how could he get trust of Qandeel, and perhaps after this accident he would be needed support of Qandeel more than ever, he would have remembered Qandeel, and Qandeel should support him, whatever it was but was an accident, Ilaaf didn’t come out as the only responsible person for Arsheen and Rukhsana Aunty’s death willingly.

She didn’t want to think about anything, but the thoughts were behind her all the time. She used to feel that if it continued few more days then perhaps she would go mad.

Life was suddenly being passed in a quite strange manner. Sometimes she used to forget to have her meal, sometimes she hadn’t remembered to drink even if she was thirsty, people used to ask her something to do and she used to neglect it completely, and sometimes she was totally mentally absent no matter wherever she was sitting, she used to remain in a state where neither she could be able to see any face around nor to hear any voice.

Office to home, and home to office, she restricted her life to these two things; and even had left meeting Maryam, or visiting the market. Baba used to bring grocery for home, he was aware of this state of Qandeel and tried to comfort her in every possible way, this was another thing that in real he didn’t know the original reason of this state of Qandeel. He used to consider it the grief and pain of this unexpected death of Arsheen and Rukhsana Aunty which Qandeel had felt by heart, and as the time will pass she would get better slowly and gradually. Qandeel wasn’t able to tell Baba that it was not a grief but an infection which had to hurt her soul for rest of the life. Maryam used to think like Baba and that’s why was compromising with this cold attitude of Qandeel silently. She used to visit oftenly and even then Qandeel just had answered in “Yes” or “No”, and the poor friend never frowned or got angry.

Nausheen was much better than before and just two days ago was discharged from the hospital and came home, but Qandeel hadn’t visited her just once, she hadn’t the courage to do so. Baba didn’t insist but he had told her that whenever he visits to see Nausheen then Saqib always asks about Qandeel. Qandeel couldn’t know that why on every visit Saqib used to ask Baba about her, perhaps he was amazed on her senselessness that the girl who promised him to support them that day in the hospital, was proved to be a liar. She even didn’t visit Nausheen once; the question of supporting them was way far.

And the truth was that she wasn’t able to support Saqib, he was himself so courageous that at one hand was comforting Nausheen and Nauman Hassan while on the other hand was fighting the battle for the justice with courage and bravery alone.

Being unconcerned from the entire matter, still Qandeel knew everything, and the major reason was that she was doing job in a newspaper, where every moment this case was being discussed and each and every update got heard. Each and every news related to this case, was being published in their newspaper everyday like the other newspapers, but no one in the office was able to play any other role regarding this case. Everyone in the office was getting punishment of the friendship between Asghar Sahib and Qaiser Laashari and despite of their will, weren’t able to pour out the toxicity in their newspaper which was poured out in other newspapers. Arriving or leaving, walking or staying, sitting or standing, every moment she used to hear the name of Ilaaf Laashari from everyone in the office, everybody used to curse him, used to show their hatred, she was the only one whose lips were sealed in this case. People used to discuss she never commented, they used to ask for her opinion and she used to refuse, they used to curse Ilaaf and she used to hear silently, where there were few of them used to gather and discuss about the case and Ilaaf Laashari, she used to leave that place excusing to them. And not only this, she was so entangled mentally that refused to opt any new project, even on insist of Asghar Sahib she told him that she is tired and didn’t want to get herself involved in a new project right now. It used to happen daily that she used to reach office, used to talk to selecting people who were involved with her in the ongoing projects and then used to get herself busy in the routine work, used to finish her daily tasks as soon as possible and used to leave office exactly at the time, everybody felt this change in Qandeel’s behavior and few of them even tried to know the reason, but Qandeel like had got lock at her lips, she simply told that this is her personal matter and she doesn’t want to answer their questions, what people used to think she didn’t care, and the truth was that she didn’t care about anything that was happening in the world now.

Leaving the office she didn’t use to go home directly instead made her habit to walk on the roads and streets without any reason. She used to try to amalgamate herself in the crowd of people, used to try to breathe in the open air beneath the sky, used to try to search herself on the streets of the city, used to try to think that where she is standing in the life and wherever she is standing, is there any way possible from that point either to move forward or go back or it is just a congested street where her soul would keep roaming forever and never would come out. Reaching home Baba never used to investigate because usually she used to come late from the office, Baba used to think that she is coming from the office, he didn’t know that her daughter used to search the way towards destiny like a lost wayfarer on the roads and streets of the city.

Daily she used to get some new updates related to this case, and everyday a new thought, a new perception used to bother her.

Exactly the third day after the accident Ilaaf arriving the police station presented himself to be taken under arrest, this news was surprising for everyone including Qandeel and the heart of Qandeel…..declaring Ilaaf as faultless made her to feel that Ilaaf was never a liar otherwise he wouldn’t have presented himself to be arrested like this. But just after five hours he was released getting the bail easily, and hearing this news the mind of Qandeel overruled her heart, and Qandeel thought as this was another move of Ilaaf Laashari to prove him innocent and faultless in front of the world.

Next three weeks she remained in this entanglement, photos of Ilaaf were published in the newspapers, newsreporters were shown on T.V. running behind him and trying to catch him everytime, but till now no clear statement from his side related to this accident came out. Everywhere he was seen with his lawyer Muazzam Rana and on each and every question he used to answer one sentence.

“Better that you talk to my lawyer.”

Unwillingly Qandeel wasn’t able to stop her looking his photos in the newspapers or photages telecasted on T.V. She wanted to try to find the truth once by looking into Ilaaf’s eyes, but it seemed that Ilaaf already knew that Qandeel wants to investigate his eye, that’s why everywhere, day or night, he was seen with a deep black sun glasses on his eyes. Every picture, every photage, was just the same and which made it difficult for Qandeel to know or find anything useful; sealed lips, silence on face and black glasses on eyes. Even then Qandeel used to see those photages daily, why she did that she didn’t know herself.

Sometimes she used to get extremely angry. It was true that she was extremely quiet inside out; neither had she felt crying nor wanted to smile or laugh, even then either in loneliness at night lying down on her bed or walking on a road in evening unnecessarily, whenever she used to ask the question to her and didn’t find the answer inside then she got angry.

“Why Ilaaf has become quiet? Why doesn’t he say something? Why he doesn’t have any words to say in his defence and he needs the support of his lawyer? Why doesn’t he confess that yes I am responsible for this accident but I did nothing intentionally?”

She used to ask these questions to her daily and daily she used to get angry on her, on Ilaaf Laashari, on every one around her without any reason, and when she used to find her in complete powerlessness then oftenly a single drop of water used to come out from her eyelashes and share her grief.

The hearing of the case was going to be started in the session court next week and Qandeel didn’t know that what is going to happen. Every passing moment was pushing her deep down in the eternal silence, Baba was trying to help her out but this time his each and every effort remained unsuccessful. His immeasurable love, unlimited satisfactory words, countless kind touches, and many ways to comfort Qandeel, nothing was helpful to bring Qandeel out of that dark valley.

Few days before the first hearing, just before the sunset, Saqib had come home along with Yousuf Mairaj. Qandeel came back from the office a while ago and was sitting tilting her back with the pillar of the viranda having tea mug in her hand and eyes in the air, when both of them entered home one after the other. Qandeel couldn’t know about their arrival, and then Baba called her name coming near and informed her about the arrival of Saqib, just then she was able to hear or see something around.

She stood and then gave her Salam to Saqib standing few yards away in the courtyard. Saqib answered her Salam and asked about her well-being.

“I am fine.” Qandeel felt a voice was echoed in the deep silence inside her.

Yousuf Mairaj went inside due to some reason; unwillingly Qandeel had to sit with Saqib in the courtyard.

There was silence for a while; Qandeel met eyes with Saqib just for a second then she started looking down on the table because she had seen a question in Saqib’s eyes, question answering which was not possible for her. She had felt that unknowingly Saqib was observing her keenly, like he was investigating her eyes, was searching something and was sure that whatever he is searching would find in Qandeel’s eyes. Qandeel felt irritated and therefore to divert Saqib’s attention she had to initiate the conversation.

“How is Nausheen?”

Saqib looked her with a strange look on this question then he said.

“Physically she is getting well; wounds are being healed too, but……” Leaving the sentence incomplete he stared Qandeel.

“But what?”

“But she is mentally very disturbed. Already the deep effect of the accident over her mind and…..secondly whenever she asked about Arsheen and Ammi to me and I use to bend my head down then her reaction is very strange; uses to call Ammi and Arsheen, cries out loudly, it becomes difficult for us to comfort her then. I have consulted to the psychiatrist, her psychotherapy will be started in few days, perhaps she would get better then, right now both me and Abbu become worried looking this condition of her.”

Qandeel couldn’t answer then she asked without a reason.

“What have you decided about the case, Saqib Bhai?”

“What do I have to decide? My lawyer told me that as many evidences we would be able to provide against Ilaaf Laashari, the chances for him getting penalized will be higher. It is very much important to prove that he was having a race with another car and that he simply went against the traffic rules which made the accident possible, because only in this condition he would be charged. It is true that even if he is being charged as guilty then wouldn’t be executed, but when he would have to spend the precious years of his life in the jail and he and his family will be disgusted in front of entire world just then perhaps my heart and their souls would get peace.” Qandeel felt as much pain inside her, as much hatred was in the tone of Saqib. “Therefore these days I am trying to collect as many evidences and witnesses as possible. Qaiser Laashari and Ilaaf would also be trying to collect evidences in their favor whether false or true, and it’s not difficult for those arrogant and pride feudals to collect false evidences and witnesses. The problems are with us and which we have to solve out at our own, otherwise we would lose.” Saying the last sentence Saqib was looked bit disappointed to Qandeel.

“Allah will do better, Saqib Bhai. Don’t be disappointed.” She felt as she was the biggest hypocrite in the world whose heart wanted to save Ilaaf but with her tongue she was trying to comfort Saqib.

“Qandeel, you always had supported us. I still remember whenever Arsheen or Nausheen had a fight with a girl in the school, you used to support them and just because of you Naughty girls never tried to hurt them. Then Arsheen was suffering with Typhoid then you used to visit her daily, and complete her homework, not only this you helped her a lot during her exams. Then I had a bike accident and my left arm was fractured therefore you used to make notes for me, for many hours I used to dictate and you used to write those notes for me without caring about your precious time.” Bending her head down Qandeel looked the tea mug in her hand, and there was a thick membrane settled over the surface of tea and it wasn’t enough hot so Qandeel could have drunk it.

“I remember everything too, Saqib Bhai.” She answered in a weak tone.

“You call me brother then would you support your brother in this difficult phase?” Saqib asked.

Qandeel’s heartbeat was stopped. Showing further hypocrisy was not possible for her, she was standing on a double edged sword, and her feet had to bleed no matter from where she would have moved.

“Answer me, Qandeel. Your brother needs your support, would you help him?”

What could she have answered, did she have answer of any question? Even that moment she was just looking the face of Ilaaf in front of her eyes, and wasn’t able to see or think anything else.

“My each way comes to you, Qandeel. You are the only destiny of my life; I can not stop myself loving you.” She wished to pour molten lead inside her ears.

“Qandeel, I need the answer of my question.” Saqib had determination in his tone like he wouldn’t go without having answer.

Qandeel looked Saqib raising her head, there were storms surging inside her fragile body, and just that moment Yousuf Mairaj came out of his room to the courtyard.

Qanddel had seen Saqib straightened himself within seconds, his facial expression were totally different now.

As soon as Baba reached there Saqib had changed the topic, Qandeel couldn’t know why he did so. Hadn’t Saqib enough courage to ask the same question to Qandeel in front of Baba, was he afraid that Baba would mind Saqib asking this question to Qandeel, was he sure that Yousuf Mairaj would never allow Qandeel to help Saqib in this case? And if it was like that then how did he think that Qandeel could be able to decide it without counseling to Baba.

After a while he rose to leave. Before moving towards the door along with Baba he looked Qandeel.

“If possible then visit us, Nausheen needs a kind friend, meeting you perhaps she would get better.” Qandeel nodded her head like a machine.

As soon as Saqib and Yousuf Mairaj reached the door, the door was opened and Sami entered smiling. Qandeel stopped and kept looking. Sami was visiting after many days, and Qandeel felt that in these so many days not for a single time she thought about Sami. If there was someone who was in her thoughts every moment then his name was Ilaaf Laashari.

He was shaking hands with Yousuf Mairaj and Saqib and talking to them.

Qandeel looked him, he was her cousin whom she knew since her childhood even then Qandeel had never felt for him whatever she used to feel for Ilaaf. She surprised, she was engaged with him for last five and half years and this feeling never gave her happiness.

Qandeel looked him keenly who was talking to Baba laughing. He was the man whom despite of trying a lot she couldn’t love in last five years, and one was that man who made her heart entirely his within just five hours. And it was just true, she perhaps had taken just one single moment to trust Ilaaf and give him a place in her heart. The man whom she had met just five times in her life, his love took her to this point where she hadn’t enough courage to stand with the truth. In her each and every stratum, in her each and every vein he was penetrated, every breath had his desire, every heartbeat used to call his name, vision used to search him around, eye wanted to see him around, and heart just wanted to love him.

Sami came inside then sitting with her kept talking. Qandeel kept answering him in short words but couldn’t come out of Ilaaf’s enclosure; perhaps she was searching the features of Ilaaf even on Sami’s face. He was bit surprised on this attitude of Qandeel but Baba resolved his confusion by telling him that Qandeel has loads of office work these days. Qandeel was surprised herself, how easily Baba used to have idea about her troubles and he always had helped her in the best possible way. Even after that most of the time he kept talking to Sami so that, Sami couldn’t get enough time to investigate Qandeel further. And perhaps that day even Sami was more interested in Saqib Hassan and Ilaaf Laashari rather than Qandeel, and therefore kept getting information about the case from Yousuf Mairaj.

Then all three of them had their dinner together which was prepared by Baba in the evening, these days Baba was preparing the dinner almost everyday, despite of Qandeel’s insistence he didn’t allow her to do any household work in the evening, even he had restricted his own activities just for Qandeel. He used to spend most of the evening with Qandeel, sometimes he used to take her for a walk with him, sometimes he used to read aloud a book for Qandeel to listen, sometimes he used to listen an old song on stereo with Qandeel and sometimes just had talked to her. Even then he wasn’t successful to bring Qandeel out of that silence, but kept trying.

Sami left after the dinner; she started collecting cutlery in the kitchen. Baba came in the kitchen after a while and looking her busy in work like this came near to her.

Qandeel saw him stopping for a moment then started keeping crockery into the stand. He kept standing for a while silently, looking her working then he held Qandeel’s hand moving ahead and taking glass from her hand kept it over the sink.

Qandeel saw Baba turning her head, he was looking her.

He had a pain on his face, and shiny tears of love in the eyes, unknowingly Qandeel wished to cry but she couldn’t cry, and then she tried to smile to comfort Baba but even smiling was difficult.

Holding her both hands Yousuf Mairaj touched them with his eyes. Qandeel felt her fingers were getting wet; tears that were shedding from Baba’s eyes were slipping over her fingers. She kept looking him, kept looking that old and tired man whose love and trust was the only hope of life left for Qandeel in the world.

She moved forward then took her hands out of Baba’s hands and started wiping his tears from his eyes and cheeks. Yousuf Mairaj looked him; she kept wiping the tears slipping over his cheeks with her fingers and palms silently.

“Qandeel, my child, say something, break this ice. Your silence will kill me.” He was still crying.

Qandeel’s heart just shrugged, Baba had talked about death once again, Qandeel always disliked whenever Yousuf Mairaj used to talk about dying.

“Shhhhh, don’t talk about death. I will get angry, Baba.” She said in a plane tone.

“Then talk to me, my heart starts drowning looking you quiet and empty like this. Which grief is engulfing you inside, tell me which pain is this, even if I wouldn’t be able to relieve you then I am able to share this pain with you.” She looked Baba, what could have she told him that the man whom he had asked her to trust, she is getting punishment to trust the same man. Telling him this she didn’t want to aggravate his pain.

“Tell me, Qandeel. What has happened so that you look so empty after this accident? You tell everything to your Baba, and you are a very obedient daughter. Please tell me.”

She didn’t want to tell him anything, infact she hadn’t anything to tell to Baba.

Moving ahead Qandeel had taken his face into her hands in the same way he used to hold her face oftenly.

“Forgive me, Baba. I know that you get worry on very little pains of mine even then I always bother you very much. I am fine, nothing happened to me; just whenever I think about Arsheen and Rukhsana Aunty then a grief grasps me inside. Whenever I remember that brutal scene then I can’t see anything else around. I am trying, it will take some time but I will overcome, you don’t worry, if you kept getting worry like this then what would I do, you are the only anticipation for me in this world, Baba.” Once again she wiped his wet eyes then kissed his left cheek moving forward.

“You are also disturbed due to a reason that Ilaaf is behind this accident.” For a while she couldn’t answer then she said.

“What matters; whoever is behind this accident deserves the punishement in any case. I am not worried because of this reason.”

Yousuf Mairaj smiled, this time Qandeel succeeded to smile as well.

He embraced Qandeel with his chest. Hugging him she felt that in this world the hope to live, in the form of Baba was still present for her, and she had to desire to live just for Baba.

“Promise me, you won’t cry now.” Stepping back Qandeel said.

“You have to promise too, that you would get yourself better like earlier, I can’t see this silence.”

“Promise.” Qandeel said and in these so many days for the first time she felt like she was speaking the truth. She could try to fulfill this promise just for Baba.

For a while he kept standing, and kept kissing her hands and cheeks then he was about to leave the kitchen when Qandeel stopped him.

“May we go to the graveyard to meet Ammi tomorrow, if you have time?” He stopped then said smiling.

“My dear daughter, for you and your mother I always have time, you don’t need to ask, we will go tomorrow evening.” Qandeel smiled.

Next day she came straight to the home after office. They came to graveyard after Asar prayer.

Both of them used to visit Saima Yousuf’s grave rarely. Both of them had their own reason to do so. According to Yousuf Mairaj, Saima used to live with him every moment and then Qandeel was also a part of Saima, therefore visiting graveyard was not so important. And Qandeel….she used to visit Ammi’s grave warmheartedly and with insistence along with Baba in childhood, but then one day she came to know something that made her afraid of that graveyard. It was not scaring but Qandeel was scared very badly that Yousuf Mairaj left visiting graveyard, with the passage of time this fear went down but still whenever she used to visit the graveyard, looking that six feet long boundary just two steps away from Saima’s garve she used to get worried and prayed to Allah to give Baba a long life for her. She didn’t want to lose Baba at any case, she never imagined her life without Baba, and that’s why that vacant piece of land used to make her anxious everytime.

Both of them prayed, and then like a routine Baba started playing with the sand of Ammi’s grave, this was his best activity there. Qandeel kept standing, and kept talking to Ammi inside her heart, and kept telling her that in which confusion she was those days, she was feeling nice in this way.

Then she once again read the marble tablet of the grave.

“Mat pooch, kya thehri hai ashiq ki daastaan,

Duniya men bhi hangama, mehshar men bhi hangama”

For the first time she felt that love was really a poison whose antidote was not possible, which just ruins a lover’s life, and she felt sad that why she did hurry to hear the words said by Ilaaf, and why despite of trying hard she couldn’t prevent this poison entering into her veins.

Then Baba rose and they were about to leave when the old and mysterious grave keeper walking on his stick reached there. Qandeel used to feel fear to him since childhood, his dirty clothing, his heavy stick, long scruffy beard and his mysterious tone always had made her furious. This was another thing that the old grave keeper was one of the favorite personalities of Yousuf Mairaj.

Yousuf Mairaj, who used to call that old gravekeeper Chacha Khaira, said Salam with respect and asked about his well-being. Qandeel kept standing at the back and they kept talking.

“Almost everyday people come and force me that Chacha why making a boundary you have set this piece of land for someone, and especially for a man who is healthy and not going to die soon. Oye Yousuf, I am now getting much old myself, and I can’t guard this six feet piece of land, and who knows I can die before you.” Keeping his hand over his mouth and with coughing he kept saying.

Dragging her breath Qandeel heard the words of that old gravekeeper.

“Don’t worry, Chacha Khaira, I won’t let you wait long. I just want that the one with whom I live throughout my life, so could be able to sleep next to her even after death. I am thankful to you that you reserved this piece of land for me so many years. Now it’s too close.” In a very peaceful manner, Yousuf Mairaj tried to satisfy Chacha Khaira, and Qandeel’s heart just stopped beating. An old fear started overwhelming her once again; the fear of separation to Baba.

There was silence on the way back, but reaching home she reproached Baba.

“You know very well, that I can’t live without you, even then you talk about death every moment. I left visiting Ammi’s grave due to the same reason. Whenever I go, I have to see that ill-fated land, and have to hear the sayings of that mad gravekeeper.” She shouted as soon as she entered the home.

“Don’t say like this, Qandeel. I love that land because Saima is resting there and I wish to get place at the same land, and why do you want to avoid the reality of death again and again, I have to die one day and then I will be buried somewhere then why not with Saima.”

She sat on a chair in the courtyard and gave her head into hands.

Yousuf Mairaj made her rise, holding her shoulders then hugged her smiling.

“You are my brave daughter, Qandeel. Promise me, you will never ever let yourself get down being weak. No matter what the situation would be, you will face them with courage and bravery, whether I would be alive or not.” Tears came out of her eyes and she just shook her head.

In next few days, she felt herself getting bit normal, this was another thing that thoughts about Ilaaf still used to follow her and she used to think about him unwillingly.

The hearings of the case were started and on the very first hearing, the lawyer of Qaiser Laashari and Ilaaf had presented so many evidences in the favor of Ilaaf that everyone had a feeling that perhaps on the next hearing the case will be ended and Ilaaf will be released respectfully very easily.

The investigation team of Police department had surveyed Ilaaf’s car and according to their report the brakes of car were failed. The guy that was driving the jeep ahead of Ilaaf’s car attended the hearing and gave a statement that he with Ilaaf and other friends had come to have dinner on foodstreet and turning from the roundabout it came to their knowledge that the brakes of Ilaaf’s car were not working, due to the same reason they wanted to leave the foodstreet as soon as possible so that no other car could be hurt, but Arsheen who was at front and was driving her car bit slowly, both Ilaaf and Jawwad couldn’t prevent hitting her car despite of trying hard and thus this accident happened. According to the lawyer of Saqib, Ilaaf and Jawwad had a race on the crowded road of foodstreet, which resulted in this brutal accident and that in real the brakes of Ilaaf’s car were not failed and properly working at the time of accident, that’s why Ilaaf should be charged in an appropriate way, but both Saqib and his lawyer were unable to provide some solid evidences in the court. The next hearing was after a week and the court ordered Saqib to present some evidences in the court at any case in the next hearing.

Qandeel knew that the brakes of Ilaaf’s car were working properly at the time of accident. Any man standing on that road, who had seen Ilaaf’s car moving on foodstreet, could easily be able to guess the brakes were not failed, infact the car was driven very carelessly. Second thing that was pretty obvious, that both land cruiser and jeep were competing, how both cars were trying to overtake each other, people could say that Ilaaf and Jawwad were having a race.

Another lie, another fraud, another deceit, how could Ilaaf Laashari be agreed to cheat just to save himself from few years imprisonment and fine. If he was the same Ilaaf whom Qandeel had met that day in the park and who used to say that he doesn’t lie then, how he got agreed to do all this, just to protect himself from penalty how he approved these false evidences and wrong means to be used, these were the questions which were biting her like a poisonous snake.

Whole day she kept watching news on T.V., couldn’t go to the office that day therefore all updates and news were got through the news bulletins and talk shows. Her tired body was just getting blue, thoughts were paralyzing both heart and mind, her conscience used to curse her and heart… was like purchased by Ilaaf Laashari; wasn’t ready to declare him the guilty, and presenting new explanations in his favor. The battle inside Qandeel suddenly got height; there were two opposite forces inside her which were loaded with swords and blades and fighting each other, while Qandeel being the field of battle was looking her soul getting wounded helplessly.

She hardly turned off the T.V. and then tried to get up from the couch like a deadbody so that could go to her room, but she felt that she doesn’t have enough courage even to move an inch from her place.

Baba came inside, he saw Qandeel who was sitting motionless.

Qandeel looked Baba; she wanted to say something but couldn’t say.

Yousuf Mairaj sat on the couch little away to her then kept looking her. “Well, good that you turned off the T.V. Every moment they telecast useless commentaries, people get worried to see.” Qandeel couldn’t decide what to answer.

For a while she couldn’t say anything then the pain of her body and soul was increased too much that it was difficut to even breathe. Her breathing was irregular, heart was drowning, and it was felt like she is dying. She wished to hide her in Baba’s arms where death would be comfortable.

“Baba.” She spoke in a squeezed voice.

Yousuf Mairaj saw her turning her head, and looking Qandeel’s face, his forehead was creased.

“Qandeel.” He moved forward.

Qandeel kept her head in his lap and then was laying down on the couch like a lifeless object.

“What happened to you, Qandeel? You are getting cold.” Baba started patting her hands taking them into his warm hands.

Qandeel hid her face into his lap and started crying, with convulsive sobbing. The pain was severe and collective soreness of these so many days was coming out and she wasn’t able to stop her crying like a child. She kept crying; Yousuf Mairaj kept patting her head, kept combing her hairs with his soft hands. Then her sobbing was lessened and then he straightened Qandeel and bending his head kissed her forehead, and then looking her had said.

“No matter how much severe a pain is, Qandeel, it gets reduced with crying. It’s better to remove the load from your heart by crying rather than to increase pain being quiet.”

Qandeel gazed Baba.

“I told you that he is a liar, is a cheater, and not trustworthy. Now see yourself that once again he has got support of lies, just to save him from punishment. He is selfish, he just cares about himself, two innocent lives are lost because of him, and he doesn’t feel miserable for that.” She was crying and cursing him. Yousuf Mairaj kept hearing silently and kept consoling her that everything will be alright.

After a while when this burden from her heart was reduced somehow due to crying hard then she said wiping her tears.

“I will never forgive, Ilaaf. Even if he kept providing me explanations rest of the life then can not get my favor.” Yousuf Mairaj gazed Qandeel this time, who was lying down in his lap.

“One who has done nothing wrong, he doesn’t need to provide expalantions for that, Qandeel.” He saw Baba with surprise then got up and sat.

“You are still saying that he even doesn’t need to provide explanation.”

“Do you want him to provide explanation?” Qandeel got puzzled on this question.

“No, but if he would give me expalantions even then I will never forgive him.”

“Really?” Yousuf Mairaj asked looking into her eyes.

“Yes.” Qandeel moved her head down.

“This is a cruel act, Qandeel.”

“And whatever he did, what’s that?”

“He hasn’t done anything wrong.”

She just had seen Baba’s face.

“Playing with innocent lives and putting them to death, is this not a wrong act?”

“It is, but if done with intention, and you know that Ilaaf has committed a single mistake that he drove the car carelessly but he didn’t cause the accident and thus the deaths of Arsheen and Rukhsana Bhabhi intentionally. This is his mistake undoubtedly but not a huge mistake for which he is answerable in front of everyone, accident is just an accident whether it happens with someone’s mistake or not.”

“Trying to hide one’s own mistake, is not a wrong act even? Presenting false evidences and witnesses in order to save one’s ownself from penalty, is not a wrong act? Trying to prove that the brakes of the car were failed, while they were not, is it not a wrong act, Baba?” She was just surprised; Baba was still favoring that man.

“It is a crime, an unforgivable crime, but Ilaaf is not the part of this crime, and therefore he hasn’t doen anything wrong for which he has to feel guilty and giving you explanation.”

“How this can be possible without his approval, Baba?”

“It can be, it is possible, Qandeel. The family with which Ilaaf belongs, and the political system with which he is tied up, mutual benefits are preferred there as compare to individual’s wish, and I am pretty sure that whatever is happening regarding this case Ilaaf hasn’t approved that, and he is himself just like a viewer looking this entire matter moving forward.”

“This reason doesn’t appeal, Baba.”

“The reason presented by our heart, even if it doesn’t appeal, Qandeel, man can not neglect it. And my heart says that Ilaaf can never be like that.”

“Heart is feeble, it is coward. It doesn’t have enough courage to face the reality; therefore it hides its face into the sand like an ostrich.” Yousuf Mairaj saw straight into her eyes this time.

“It means that your heart says the same thing?” Qandeel turning her head in opposite direction started looking towards there.

Yousuf Mairaj moved her face back towards him then holding into his hands said.

“My dear daughter, fighting with one’s ownself is pretty difficult task, and it makes a man tired so, please do not fight with you. You are weak, do not carry too much load that you are not able to bear.” The stubborn girl inside Qandeel suddenly burst out.

“I possess enough courage to stand with the truth, Baba, whether I have to walk bare feet over thorns. If Ilaaf Laashari is the part of this wrong act then he is a liar and he had never loved me, and if he is not the part of this crime but doesn’t have courage to speak the truth then, I do not need the love of such a coward man.” She had so much determination in her tone that Yousuf Mairaj kept looking her. “And if he loves me in real then he will have to speak the truth, he will have to confess his mistake in the court, and if he does so then, no matter what others would say, what they would do, I will stand with him on every step, and I will adorn his love like an honor on my forehead.” Moving away Baba’s hands from her face she rose and tried to leave, just then Yousuf Mairaj held her hand once again. Qandeel gazed Baba turning her head.

“Then you have to listen my decision as well, Qandeel. Being your father, I will be with you in your each and every decision, even if your decision is wrong. You will never find yourself alone, this oldman who is your father, will support you at any cost.” Qandeel smiled.

“Thank you, Baba.” In these so many days, for the first time she felt herself little peaceful.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Chapter no. 11: The Contention (III)

On the dining table, in the lounge of the farm house, every person who had the right to take the most important decision of Ilaaf’s life, was present, except Ilaaf Laashari himself. Qaiser Laashari and his lawyer Muazzam Rana, Mujahid Baloch and Adnan, all four of them were discussing and exchanging their ideas and before to plan anything for future, they wanted to see all aspects of this case. He was the only one who was sitting silently near the railing on the stairs going upwards, unconcerned from all of them and starring in the air.

Adnan had sent Shaiq to Malakand very early that morning, now Adnan and Rohail were there with Ilaaf. Qaiser Laashari along with Muazzam Rana and Mujahid Baloch had reached there just a while earlier, and now all four of them sitting close on the dining table were deciding the future of Ilaaf.

Ilaaf just tried to see, but he was unable to see anything clear. The world was empty, life was deserted and hopes….were buried in the grave dug by his arrogance.

Didn’t know since when he was sitting there in this way, even on arrival of Baba and Naana Saaiyen neither he raised his head nor did he say anything, and the truth was that they had not come to console him, just came to make a line of action to free Ilaaf from this case. What was the condition of Ilaaf that moment, in which pain his heart, mind, soul and body were, it was not important for both Baba and Naana Saaiyen. What was important for them, it was the respectful discharge of Ilaaf which was associated with their own dignity and honor. Either Ilaaf is feeling himself dead or alive while breathing, and his soul was hanged to death, it was not important for those politicians. Ilaaf was alive and fine, was physically healthy and extremely protected; it was enough for their satisfaction. To be worried for intellectual or spiritual death of Ilaaf was not at all important for them.

“Ilaaf, eat something.” He turned his head and gazed Rohail who was sitting besides him.

“Am not hungry.” The tone was plane.

“Then have some juice.” Rohail said again.

“I have already drunk the blood of two women, and perhaps will have to drink the blood of third one as well. What else you want me to drink now?” He had extreme hatred for himself in his tone.

Rohail couldn’t answer for a while then he said.

“Why don’t you admit, Ilaaf? It’s true that it was your mistake, but whatever has to happen it happens in any case, perhaps their death was written in this way. Blame yourself as much as it was your fault, and not more than that. It is better for you and others as well; cursing yourself continuously in this way will not make any difference to solve this problem.”

“Is there still anything which can be resolved being considered as a problem, Rohail? Everything just has been finished, there is nothing left which is needed to be solved out.” He kept starring in the air. “You can satisfy yourself with these weightless explanations not me.” He turned his head and looked Rohail. “I have enough courage to confess the criminal act that I have committed, in front of entire world and to accept the penalty I get as punishment of this crime without any argument.”

Rohail didn’t answer.

Ilaaf kept thinking. His heart was so heavy with the burden of this feeling that he was feeling it difficult to breathe, and this burden could be got off just at one condition.

A thought had suddenly surged current in his whole body.

He rose and came downstairs in the lounge, and then reaching dining table stopped. No one among them got attentive towards him.

“Baba Saaiyen, I have decided something.” Silence spread in the lounge. All four of them gazed Ilaaf whose eyes were just on Qaiser Laashari.

“I don’t think do, Ilaaf, that right now you are able to make a right decision.” Mujahid Baloch answered instead of Qaiser Laashari.

“I am in my complete senses and enough able to make a right decision.” Ilaaf replied with seriousness. When everything has already been destroyed then perhaps man becomes peaceful and calm while moving ahead, in the same way how Ilaaf was calm that moment.

“Say, what do you want to say?” Qaiser Laashari said.

“I want to get the punishment for my crime, I want to be arrested.” He saw, the color of faces of people sitting there were suddenly changed.

“You are gone out of your mind, Ilaaf.” He neglected the reply of Mujahid Baloch and looked Baba Saaiyen.

“Your Naana Saaiyen is quite right, Ilaaf. You are still under the shock of that accident, and that’s why talking about like this.” He saw Baba with surprise.

Should he have forgotten that accident in such a short span of time and was it so easy? Twenty four hours hadn’t been passed yet and according to Baba Saaiyen Ilaaf should have come out of that shock.

“Hundreds of accidents occur daily on the roads, people die as well and behind each and every accident there is someone who is solely responsible most of the time, but does that mean that every such man should present himself to be arrested and penalized?” Ilaaf looked him.

“Indeed yes. Every such man who is responsible for anyone’s death pointlessly, he should present himself to be arrested.”

“You didn’t kill them, Ilaaf. It was just an accident that happened because of a tiny error you made and due to which those women lost their lives. This doesn’t appear a murder in any case.”

“A tiny error.” He just had seen Baba Saaiyen’s face. “Having a contest at such a crowded road, is it a tiny error? Being angry without any significant reason and due to which bringing the lives of so many people at risk, is it a tiny error, Baba Saaiyen?”

“You are getting emotional, Ilaaf, and nothing else is the reason.”

“I am not getting emotional. Yes I was emotional when I hit my car to Jawwad’s jeep without thinking about the consequences. Right now I am thinking being emotionless.”

“After some time you will feel that we were right.”

“You are just presenting false explanations in order to avoid the truth. Whatever is felt right to me today, it would be the same later on as well.” For the first time his tone had hardness and criticism. Qaiser Laashari squeezing his eyes gazed him, Ilaaf had never talked to him in such a way before this.

“Say whatever you want to say, think whatever you want to. Take as right whatever you want to and take as wrong whatever you want to, but one thing that you have to listen carefully. Whatever we have decided and wished will happen. Neither your mistake will be proven in the court nor would we let you to get punishment.” This time like a typical feudal he had ordered Ilaaf.

“Then you have to listen one thing too, Baba Saaiyen. Me, Ilaaf Laashari son of Qaiser Laashari will confess in the court myself that I am the only one responsible for the death of those two women and this state of that girl Nausheen. And then, no one not even you would be able to prevent me getting penalty for that.” His tone had the same determination which was needed.

There was a grave silence in the lounge; nobody could say anything for a while. Ilaaf saw each and every face. Baba and Naana Saaiyen were starring each other, Muazzam Rana had no expression on his face like he is totally unconcerned with entire matter, and Adnan…..he had a grief on his face. Ilaaf knew, if anyone was really hurt with this decision of his then it was Adnan. No one else was there who just was hurt with this decision of Ilaaf in his love, rest of all were traders who had cared for Ilaaf but along with they were extremely concerned about their so called honor. He couldn’t see the reaction of Rohail because Rohail was standing at his back.

He turned back and came to stairs, but then he had to stop hearing Baba Saaiyen.

“You are forcing us to use the other way, Ilaaf.” Turning back he gazed Baba Saaiyen.

All four of them had been standing.

“What do you mean?” He said while unable to understand.

Qaiser Laashari came near him walking.

“We have already decided about it. Your Naana Saaiyen had an idea that perhaps you wouldn’t follow our instructions therefore we discussed about another option as well, which now we would have to use looking this unnecessary stubbornness of you.”

Ilaaf had a sight at Naana Saaiyen, didn’t know why he got extremely angry.

“Which option you are talking about?” He asked.

“As soon as the hearing starts in the court, it will be proven through your medical reports that due to the intense shock of this accident you are mentally not well, and therefore there wouldn’t be any importance of the statement that you would give in the court.” His eyes had such a shine which a tiger has whenever he looks at his prey.

Ilaaf hadn’t believed his ears, he understood that day that why it is so hard sometimes to believe. He kept looking him with surprise.

“My medical reports?” He said in a resisted tone.


“Which medical reports you are talking about? I am mentally perfectly fine.” Perhaps he wanted to make it clear.

“Either you are mentally fine or not, this can not be decided by you but doctors, and doctor would write whatever they will be asked to write in the report.” Somebody had kicked Ilaaf from sky on the ground; he had felt his bones were cracked.

“And not only this, you know that if we can prove in the court that your mental state is not well after this accident then even it is not difficult for us to prevent you attending the hearings by sending you to the hospital. Just a letter of a psychiatry hospital will be required, and if needed then you will stay in the hospital for few days as well.”

Ilaaf had seen the man standing opposite to him and who used to call him father of Ilaaf, but that moment he was only a renowned player of chess and who was making his moves one after the other, and Ilaaf…..his own position was perhaps nothing more than just like an ordinary chessman. How he always used to rank himself there, but today he had a better idea of his status. He had thought that he can conquer the world, but the reality was that he wasn’t able even to move with his own wish. The man, who is held by others like a puppet and who never stood on his own feet, he should rather not dream about conquering the world, instead should mourn on his fortune.

“And you know Ilaaf, that I would not be haapy doing all this, but you yourself are forcing me to do it.” Ilaaf held the railing of the stairs otherwise his tired body would have fallen down. Rohail standing besides had supported him and then made him to sit on the stairs.

“Now you have to decide, Ilaaf, that how you want it to happen? Either you will have to follow whatever will be instructed to you, without any argument or objection, and will have to give a statement in the court we want you to. In other way, I am supposed to take such a step which I don’t want to.” Ilaaf didn’t try to raise his head and see him, kept sitting silently with his head down.

“We are leaving, staying here long is not possible. You have time, think about it peacefully and whatever you decide, just inform Adnan. In both cases, Adnan knows what he has to do. But one thing that you have to remind carefully, Ilaaf, we will neither let you to be proved as guilty in any case nor will leave you to get penalty and imprisoned. You are still a child, and not enough old to do something against our will.” Qaiser Laashari kept his hand over his shoulder. “Everything will be alright, my son. This feeling of guilt will bother you for a while but slowly and gradually everything will be alright.” Ilaaf had felt extremely awful about that weight of his hand.

He pushed away Qaiser Laashari’s hand from his shoulder in an unkind manner, and couldn’t see that on this act either Qaiser Laashari had anger on his face or not, because he didn’t want to look Baba Saaiyen’s face that moment.

“You are rightly angry, but our decision is quite right. Sooner or later you will know.” All of them went out one by one, Adnan perhaps had accompanied them.

Ilaaf felt aversion to him, and felt extreme hatred for his life. He wished by heart either to burn the world or to kill himself burning in some fire.

Rohail squeezed his arm to console him.

“Have courage, Ilaaf. It had to happen. Control yourself and think that what you have to do now.” Ilaaf looked Rohail turning his head.

Didn’t know what happened he felt a mist was overwhelming his eyes.

“How much unaware I was, Rohail. And could never know that the life which I have to live is not the life of a human instead of an animal, but no…..perhaps animals and insects even live a better life than me. They have a better life to live; they are free to move on this earth of God wherever they want to, and me…...I even can not breathe on my own. My each and every vein is linked with the wishes of my father and grandfather. What I am, a chessman standing on a chessboard, or a bird imprisoned in a cage, who can flutter his wings but can not fly.” He was crying, had never cried like this before but it was true that he had never an idea about his real status before that day. “Who am I, a colorless leaf dropped from a tree or a stone kept in the way, which doesn’t hurt anyone with its own wish instead people use it to hurt others.” Rohail hugged him and consoled.

Keeping his chin on Rohail’s shoulder, embracing him, Ilaaf had taken out his grief, and just then for the first time he had an idea about the importance of Rohail in his life. He was a faithful and loving friend, and Ilaaf had always given Adnan priority over Rohail, and today when including Adnan everyone was the cause of pain for him then it was just Rohail who had satisfactory words to say for Ilaaf.

He kept patting his back, like a kind friend kept consoling him. Then he moved Ilaaf back and wiped his tears with his own hands. Ilaaf remained silent. Rohail held Ilaaf’s hand and made him to stand and then taken him upstairs to his room. Ilaaf followed his each and every instruction silently. His mind was so empty that he was unable to think or decide anything, and kept following whatever Rohail was asking for.

Rohail took him to the washroom. Standing in front of the wash basin, he washed Ilaaf’s face with his own hands, then dried his face with the towel and bringing him back into the room asked him to sit on the bed then went out. When he came back after a while then he had Ilaaf's lunch with him. He ate and asked Ilaaf to eat too. Ilaaf ate a little on his instruction. After their meal, Rohail played soft music on stereo and asked Ilaaf to take rest. Before leaving the room he turned off the lights and pulled on the curtains over the windows.

The room was pretty dark now. Gloomy evening to be set, silence and a sad song of Stephen Marx; Ilaaf shut his grave eyes and then didn’t know why he couldn’t open his eyes because closing his eyes, the shiny eyes of Qandeel came and were set over the veil of his imagination and he was feeling intoxicated. Even in this little slumber she was so close to Ilaaf, he felt like she is sitting besides him holding his hand.

He woke up at an hour of late night. Rubbing his eyes he got up and turned on the lights then pulling off the curtains from the backside windows he opened them.

The flowing water in the river, in the light of the half moon, and cool breeze; there was enough stuff to get peace and tranquility.

Ilaaf thought about Qandeel. Just few days ago when he had proposed Qandeel then he had thought that once they will be married, he will take Qandeel to the farm house and standing in the window of his room and holding her hand at midnight would show her this beautiful view. But everything had been changed just in four days. Now perhaps Qandeel even would not like to see his face, how she could think about marrying him. He felt crying on his fate, on his misfortune but he didn’t want to cry. He had already cried a lot due to this odd behavior of Baba Saaiyen and now didn’t want to shed any further tears from his burning eyes.

Then he had thought about Baba Saaiyen; thought about whatever he had said. Didn’t know how long he kept standing there and kept thinking that which option he can prefer, in both cases he had to be ashamed in the court of his own heart.

Next morning he was preety much better than the previous day, he wanted to face the situation and didn’t want to avoid anything like a coward. Both Rohail and Adnan tried to convince him one by one that in such a critical situation standing against Baba Saaiyen was not a good choice to apt and looking the complexity of this case he should follow whatever Qaiser Laashari asked him to.

Sitting in the lounge he kept arguing with Rohail and Adnan, but then he felt, they were quite right in their sayings. He was tied up with such a system that if he would have taken a decision with his own will, even then it was not possible for him to act accordingly. Therefore due to the fault that he was born in a political and feudal family, he had deserved this punishment to live with a feeling of guilt and embarrassment rest of the life and being considered as faultless in the eyes of world.

Getting his approval Adnan informed Qaiser Laashari on phone that Ilaaf is ready to follow his instructions. Qaiser Laashari instructed Adnan about what he has to do next, Adnan kept hearing everything silently and kept aggreing that he would do the same.

Rohail had got a call on his cell phone; he went out to attend the call.

Sitting on the couch there, Ilaaf felt he was standing in a deep deep ditch and there was no way possible to come out. For the first time in life his all misunderstandings were smashed with a single knock and the dark side of the real world came in front of him. The point where he was guilty, preparations were made to prove him faultless there, and the point at which he was faultless, nobody could present any evidence in his defence there.

He was declared as a criminal in the court of Qandeel, although he wasn’t guilty there, and including Baba Saaiyen nobody was able to prove him faultless in that court. Which penalty Qandeel was going to or had set over him, he didn’t know but he knew one thing that nobody in the world perhaps would be extremely unlucky in such a way that he was declared as guilty in the court of the beloved when he was faultless.

For the first time in life he complained to God that why He made him the son of Qaiser Laashari, why He made him the only heir in the family of Aadil Laashari, why He sent him in such a family where he was apparently free but in real he wasn’t able to breathe freely. What would have gone wrong if God would have sent him in an ordinary family, this wealth, fame, so called respect and this heritage, Ilaaf never needed all these things then why God didn’t make him the son of an ordinary man?

“Qandeel, I wish you could know that how I am troubled? I wish that for a single time you could feel my pain, have an idea about my problems and I wish that just once I could be able to tell you that despite of all my meanness, my love for you, is the biggest truth of this universe.” Muttering in an empty tone he had felt himself weaker, perhaps the shocks one after the other had intensively wounded his soul.