- 10 Aug - 16 Aug, 2019
THE DAY IDIED
- 09 Feb - 15 Feb, 2019
Oh God... all this dust. And it’s so dark in here. Turn on some lights up there! You know those flowers that you’re strewing up there can’t reach me? I called out for the 100th time. I can’t even sense their smell. They must be sweet but hey I’m down here, 6 feet under. What a waste. But they won’t listen. They hardly heard me when I was alive. How will they hear me now?
“Hira! Come look! So many flowers!”
My sister came running into my room and dragged me outside into the TV area.
“They’ve sent so many flowers for you! Look!”
Rida was super excited! I was the eldest in the family. Both Rida and Rayyan were excited about my wedding. They already made dad and mom promise that the wedding will be the most gallant and extravagant wedding of the year!
“Dad will do his best Rida. Don’t push him too hard. Besides, all these things are such a waste. I really wanted a simple wedding. But you all won’t listen to me.” I just gave up after a while. Mom and dad wouldn’t hear of it and Rida and Rayyan wanted to show off to all their friends.
“Hira! Why do you always have to be the sane and logical one? You only get married once and you should make it the happiest day of your life! And stop telling mom and dad to have a simple wedding. They want to marry you off nicely! After all you’re their first born. Besides, what about Farzan bhai? I’m sure he’s looking forward to a grand wedding too! You’re so unromantic Hira! You’ll end up making him bored because of your practical nature. Lighten up!” With that she breezed out of the room.
I had tried a couple of times to talk to Farzan and tell him how I felt but he snubbed me off by saying that once married we can live in a practical manner and save money for the future. Right now his parents were also excited to have a grand wedding. Farzan was also the first born and his siblings wouldn’t hear of anything less.
Being in an arranged marriage had its pitfalls. We hardly knew each other. In fact, we only met a few times and that too in a room full of people.
He seemed fine, I guess. I recalled in hindsight. We never really got a chance to exchange a hard core discussion on any worldly issue. Intellect being my greatest turn on, I felt I would have to wait to get married and find out if we clicked at an intellectual level.
“He’s well-educated dear. He must be smart. He has a good job and a good future. It’s a small family and he’s good-looking too. What else do we want in a spouse?” Mom had her way of convincing me.
“Hira! You’re done with your studies and you are well-established. Farzan bhai has agreed to let you work too. Why are you so tense?”
“I don’t know. It’s the little things, I guess. Remember that day when we went to the restaurant to celebrate my birthday and you all were busy talking. The waiter bumped into his shoulder while picking up a plate. Farzan gave him such a cold look. And then he went after him. You all thought he had gone to the loo when, in fact, he was standing behind the pillar. I couldn’t hear what they were talking about but there was a lot of finger pointing by Farzan and the waiter seemed upset too. When he came back and I asked him what happened he just shrugged and smiled at me.”
“It was an important occasion Hira. He must be tense and wanted everything to be perfect for you. Don’t think too much about it. Doesn’t dad have his moments with us too? It’s fine.”
Rida put my mind to rest.
Between the engagement and wedding we only had about half a year. Both of our families became busy with the preparations.
Farzan would text me or call me every morning before we got to work. Sometimes I would be enroute unable to take the call. This would make him very upset.
“We only get that one phone call or chat Hira! And you can’t even take time out for me. What’s wrong with you? Are you ignoring me?”
“Of course not Farzan. I was driving and I didn’t hear my cell phone ringing. And when I got to work I didn’t want to disturb you because I know you don’t like to be bothered at the office.”
I could feel myself shrink under the weight of this relationship. But mom told me not to be a smart mouth and keep him happy. I always had to say yes to all his whims and nod to all his demands.
He would continue to sulk for a few days after then he would be back to normal. I just took it to be his nature.
“He loves you Hira! He’s possessive of you like all the heroes in those romantic novels and movies. He’s your Mr. Darcy!” Rida was the forever incurable romantic.
“Mr. Darcy was not possessive of Elizabeth Bennet. He gave her the space she needed. He didn’t suffocate her!”
“You’ll be fine darling!” Rida gave me a tight hug. But I wasn’t satisfied.
“When will I be able to think for myself or share my inner most thoughts and feelings with him mom? You know we also want a soul-mate in our husbands. I also want to find a friend in him.”
“Wait till you’re well into your marriage. Please him and his family. They’ll love and respect you. You’ll make a place for yourself in their home and in their hearts.”
“Mom seriously! Are they marrying Sakina our maid!” Rida had no patience with these old-fashioned old-wives tales.
“Rida, be quiet. I’m such a nice person. They’ll all fall in love with me anyways!”
to be continued...