She was already getting late. She hardly gulped a weak sip from the glass of warm milk, her mother kept on the center-table.
‘Sana! At least drink it whole.’ urged Sana’s mother seeing the daughter hastily moving.
‘You know, I am late ….very late.’ She spoke while reading the minute-hand-tale, to let her mother empathize her hastiness.
‘Whatever! It will take seconds. You rarely get late, so it doesn’t matter much.’ Her mother tried to defend her.
‘Maa! Catching the taxi, is another mission; it will even take time, so it’s a big no!’ she completed her point whilst tying the laces of her favorite shoes, across the pierces.
Sana was reside of middle-class vicinity; however, she was a dutiful daughter and a supervisor-cum sister to her only younger sister. They were the two sisters. Altogether, they were three at home: all females. She used to observe veil, before confronting to any strange sight. Sana and her younger sister Sidra, both had entirely different attiring features. Sana usually covers herself in the veil followed by yasmak; on the other side, her sister used to stretch a thin dupatta over her head. Although, Sana had lectured Sidra million times, about her wearing convention, but there were no marks of crawling lice on her head. It made no difference to her at all.
‘Sidra! Are you coming? I am gonna leave…’ yelled Sana standing towards the staircase.
‘Here I am…’ she was almost running down the stairs, with dupatta in her hands.
‘Hey! Look at you…’ Sana pointed her way to make her realize.
‘I know…I am wearing it.’ Having pronounced her words, she took dupatta around her shoulders. ‘Let’s go…’
Sana’s eyes opened widely but remained silent. She was closer to speak again, and to give her a quick lecture. But everything could get in vain. She utterly swallowed down her words and was ready to move with her. Even after a great number of concerns, Sidra showed no sign of interest and remained as constant as a rock.
‘Allah Hafiz Maa!’ they rhythmed in chorus and went together.
The twin-main roads were followed by two lanes: a shorter, but deserted; and longer, but crowded. They always chose the longer path and walk with high paces to meet the time in any possible way. It was their daily ritual that they followed. It was Sana’s idea, to pass by a flock of people, is a wiser practice. She felt herself comfortable moving through a hotchpotch and crowded area; she thought it would be easier to ask somebody for help, in case something non-sense happens.
Like every single day, they were on their way to rush the stop, Sana used to observe something. She fancily kept her eyes, to a small stair-case leading to a shuttered-down shop. Over there, there was a boy, who had been sitting there for past few days. She felt from her noble soul, not to make any notice. But what she could witness every time unignorably, that he seemed to look at her and drop her through his eyes, till her stop. Why he keeps observing me? Why he stares at me seeing a pardah-observer? Maybe he looks something else and that coincides with me. But what to say about his sights which are as erect as an arrow that penetrate through my burka to my conscious. This is not graceful, instead shameless. This has to be fixed. She keeps thoughts in her mind to resolve, but forgot getting into her work. She did not feel it appropriate to discuss with Sidra; she felt ashamed doing so.
That day and days after like that, kept on passing. Sana grew more curious each day, nevertheless on being right, she never stood to the boy to question nor she bothered her sister. What if he does not do/say anything wrong? The measure of his evil, needs to be addressed if he attempts. Why not I change my route? Yes, its better. This will solve the matter. Later that day, she asked Sidra to adopt the shorter route from the following day. And she affirmed with the change, in a slight reluctance. She was almost relieved to get rid of his daily- chasing-sights.
Next day, when they both passed by, there happened to happen only two to three heads on the road, and as they reached the stop, they were all gone. She was pleased inside, letting herself show her happiness through her gesture.
‘Any good news? What has made you so much chill?’ Sidra asked Sana in astonishment.
‘Nothing especial… the weather is so pleasant and cloudy. We have escaped from the sunlight.’ She was speaking, not to reveal the truth.
Three days ahead, something entangled her imaginations with a knot. She was lesser happy now, his absence of sights licked out her certainty. She was tensed and bitter. She was gloomy inside; therefore, this could be truly judged by her silence. To the family, she famed that the burden of work at school, has been increased due to exams. But her conscious was pinching her soul. There emerged a second-being’s voice inside her head and it spoke till Sana began to feel guilty like a thief. What if he was interested in me? I should have walked more in front of him. Sooner or later, he could have expressed. She tried to shut her mind by speaking in a whispering tone: ‘What a disgrace is to think and welcome such talks!… I need to shut all such shamelessness about this.’
‘Are you fine? Looking weaker these days?’ asked mother in curious tone. Her eyes were thirsty to know the answer.
‘Yea, actually assessments are going on…I told you already, didn’t I? And escape is not possible! You understand well Maa…’ she mentioned to let her mother revisit her past profession.
‘Just assessments?’ she seemed slight stubborn when asking and tone stressed.
‘Ofcourse! What else?’
‘Acha listen! I have one news. There are some people who want to see, Sidra! And they are asking for an appropriate day, what you say?’
‘Wow! Call them any day… ok how about this Thursday?’ said in a suddenly active mode.
‘Fine! You have to come early from the school, to help me in managing things.’
‘It goes without saying…’ said when she landed her head on her shoulder. ‘May Allah bless her, with everything best.’
The next day, Sidra points towards the route and mentions the under-going construction on the road, after the maintenance of electric cables. Sana got confused for a moment and makes up her mind to the previous route.
She did not see the boy again, but her eyes were searching him. His absence was now marked each time. She was cursing the time, she changed her route. As the thirsty land, asks for water. She was considering herself as a guilty, and battling for anything which never happened; however, she was desperate for it, to happen.
On Thursday, Sidra find an excuse to take an off from the work. She had to be at home, for preparation. Whereas Sana was committed to take an early leave. She found the guy staring at her, throughout her way. She suddenly stopped, to concentrate the voice.
‘Hey listen Lady! Please wait.’ A male-voice stopped her.
She turned back and found the staring-guy close, her heart started leaping up and down like a balloon when effuses the air out of it. ‘Yes…you asked me?’
‘Yeah… actually I wanted to say, I have asked my parents for you… and they will visit at your dwelling tonight. You may have many questions… but seeing your nobility, I never bothered you directly.’
‘Sorry! What you…?’ she hesitated between her affirmed-doubts and nervousness.
‘But…’ she spoke incompletely to mention the truth.
‘No but or anything! I am Naved, an engineer. And I liked you… your body-language and grace, actually convinced me about you…’
She liked him too, but remain entangled between his intentions and the situation her mother mentioned. She was badly puzzled by the waves that just hit her mind and she wanted to settle enough to make him clear.
‘I am in hurry… I am leaving.’ He turned back to move, but suddenly remembered something he left, ‘I have seen a noticeable approval in your eyes… as they searched for me … I am not wrong, Sidra!’ and ran far after his friend, leaving her deaf and dumb.
What he named just cleared the idea, but she was mistaken or he has mistaken or mother was having confusion. Is it right to mention the truth? A mistake can appear as a lie in all three lives. But you can’t be selfish, having seen a happiness…after father’s death and financial crises. You are not going to correct, yet jealousy is ruling on you… you better dig it here….
Five years later, after finishing her chores, she stood in the balcony, listening to the chirp and language of nature. She was so engage, that a sound hit her ears twice…
‘Sana! Don’t you remember? Someone is on the way to see you… and your sister and brother-in-law have already arrived. Get ready nicely….’
‘You are 36 now and will not find any one of your match on further delay. Stop weaving your dreams of a prince.’
‘Prince!’ there was an echo inside her.
Some moments later, she was in front of the person, who came for her. After formal discussions. The boy wanted the girl to introduce herself, by volunteering himself first.
‘My name is Sana and I am Sidra’s sister. My age is 36 and being so true…means no confusion should be petted any side….’
Listening to the name, strikes his ears and hosts the regression. He was ashamed of being true to her and never appreciated his eyes to glance her sister-in-law again… he buried his choice against his parents and he never mentioned anything to anyone during those years. But with her name, he still had some ashes…