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.


  1. The graveyard part is quite striking with that empty piece of land and the old gravekeeper seems an interesting character who want his part of job done quickly, he is so practical and ruthless, so is death.

  2. Sir Akhtar, thank you for reading and commenting. And yes, I agree that death is practical although it is not ruthless all the time.

  3. i can feel the pain and the agony of a is really a heart touching story

  4. t thank you for sharing your views regarding this part of the novel.