Inspiring To Read

Unheard Cries

The door creaked open. She stood at the entrance with her hands tightly clenched to her suitcase. Stepping inside, she could hear the loud thud from her high heeled shoes echoing in the house. The atmosphere was moist and dusty after all the house had been closed for more than ten years. The walls no longer showcased her amma’s paintings. Yes, the paintings which her amma took hours to paint. Every afternoon she was seen at the balcony with her hair plaited back tightly, lots of poster paint bottles kept opened around her, her duppata tied around her waist, sleeves folded up and with a brush in her hand she would go on painting with utter concentration, dipping the paint brush in a bowl of water every now and then.

The windows unprotected from the curtains couldn’t stop the bright morning light from entering the house. The house, though small, was spacious enough for the threesome. They were a happy family of three, baba, amma and daughter. Just like every other fairytale they believed in a happy ending. A life lived happily ever after. Where, the daughter will one day meet her prince charming, or in the language of her parents, her ‘shehzaada’.

She walked towards the kitchen and was filled with the memories of her amma working in the kitchen. The sounds of her amma’s gold bangles clinking together, the clattering of the dishes when they were being washed, the continuous stirring of the spoons in the cooking pots and the strong aroma of the Pakistani spices mixed together to form a curry. It was a daily routine which was performed with no complaints or taunts but with sweet sounds of her amma humming.

Walking further she entered the only bedroom in the house but this time an empty room. It once accommodated the bed, the tables, the cupboards and her favourite cartoon posters on the wall. The curtain was specifically selected as baby pink for their princess who was fond of every shade of pink. The dressing table had no cosmetics over it but rather cute and tall candy dolls. Some were dark pink, some shocking pink, and some in peach colour.

It was an averagely perfect life. They were a family who lived in harmony. But then something happened which brought about a drastic change in each of their life. It was the day when their daughter had turned twenty. The little home was decorated like every birthday with balloons and ribbons. The dining table was moved in the middle of the drawing room. At the centre of the table, there was a small one pound strawberry cake displaying her pet name as, ‘HAPPY B’DAY MUNNI’. Just like every year, only a few very close relatives were invited as the house couldn’t have accommodated a large number of people.

The time was running out. It was already ten in the evening. Her amma and baba were constantly trying her number but unfortunately the cell phone was switched off. With each ticking of the clock, they grew more and more worried. The guests were getting bored and various questions were arising which further worried them. It was getting late and without demanding for any food the guests were already leaving.

Finally at midnight the door bell was heard. Her amma quickly said a thankful prayer with tearful eyes and a relieved heart. They rush towards the door and both amma and baba were happy to believe that their daughter had finally reached home safely.

But little did they know that the person who was waiting on the other side of the door wasn’t their daughter but a messenger. Baba opened the door and saw a tall young man. The man was unrecognizable until he took the name of the company where their daughter worked. This further worried her amma and baba. The man handed them an envelope and left.

Inside the envelope there was a message which changed the life of the threesome completely,

Dear Amma & Baba,

I’m sure as always you would have done a wonderful arrangement for my birthday and I’m sorry for all the discomfort I caused you for not showing up. But I can’t help. I need to be something, to let the world know about me and to reach the sky. You have to understand that I’m 20 right now and old enough to make my own decisions. I don’t enjoy getting pampered anymore. I want to be independent.

This is why I have decided to join my old friend Kazim in his tour to Singapore. He said he knows a lot of people there who could provide me with a job with a very high pay and I can live a very luxurious life in there. Please forgive me but I had to take this step in order to explore my talents.

Take cares.

Love,

Amma & Baba’s Munni.

Her amma and baba were shattered. Their lifelong hard work on bringing up their daughter, nurturing her with utmost care and providing her with the best source of education had all being wasted today. They will not be able to look into people’s eyes anymore.

Time slowly passed by and she was reaching the heights. Fame was under her feet and she had become a renowned business woman. Ten years had passed since she had left her home sweet home.  It was now time to surprise her amma and baba. She had tried contacting them many times but they never answered her call or text messages probably because they were too angry by her. But now when they will see her, their hearts will surely melt and they will forgive her.

The flight had just landed and she was getting the memories of her childhood spent in this small town. She got into the taxi and explained the address which was still fresh in her mind as if she never left this place. When she reached her very own home, she saw the door all dusty with spider webs all over it which meant that no one lived there anymore.

She belled at the next door to find an old lady with a few silver hairs on her head. She was Mrs. Kareem, her amma’s best friend and their next door neighbour.  Without saying anything, the lady recognized her and handed her a key with an envelope and banged the door on her face.

In the letter it was written,

Munni,

We are really sorry to not able to teach you what is right and wrong. Probably our nurturing must have gone wrong somewhere that you left us deserted and with no good explanation.

Living without you wasn’t easy and soon after you left your father got ill. He died within a month and now here I’m waiting to go after him. It isn’t easy living all alone and anticipating for you to come back and hold me in your arms.

We failed to teach you the right and the wrong but I’m sure we had given you enough love which will one day bring you back to this home and so I’m leaving this key for you. Don’t think about renting a hotel room when your parents house is there to give you shelter.

Love,

Your Amma & your dead Baba.

Today she had everything, money, fame, luxuries, but unfortunately no love which is the most important element of everyone’s life. Her cries had no meaning today because for whom she was crying they were not there anymore to hear.

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Inspiring To Read

A Crowd Lost Friend

The night was cold and wet. It was raining heavily. There was Sara, laughing over what I had just told her.

  “Oh my gosh, Khadijah is it true? You were never so naughty during our school days.”

  “Ofcourse I was, but the only difference was that I was not daring and was always frightened of getting into some trouble.”

  Sara was still laughing uncontrollably. “But that was seriously mind blowing! I wish I was there to witness it live rather than getting it to hear from you.”

  And all I did was to look at her smile.

 “Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar!”

I woke up from the call of the Fajr prayer. Amused at my dream, I was drifted towards the memories of my school days. Those were the most delightful days of my life, the most carefree moments. And to spend them together with me was my best friend Sara.

The dream I just saw was so vivid. I thought.

“Ammi always says that dreams before Fajr prayer comes true,” I said to myself, “I really wish it does.”

“Whom are you talking to dear?” It was ammi. I was so engrossed in my thoughts that I never realised when she entered my room.

“Nothing ammi, I was just wondering whether dreams before Fajr have some connection with our real life or not…”

“Well, I have heard they do. But who knows, probably it must have just been a myth.”

“Hmm. But I hope it is not.”

‘Dear Sara,

How are you? I still remember our fun filled times at school. I doubt if you even miss me now…’

“Khadijah are you ready? We are getting late.”

“Yes brother, I am coming in a minute.”

I quickly closed the lid of my laptop, grabbed my bag and left for university.

While on my way to university, I recalled that chilled winter night when it was raining and, Sara and I had sneaked out just to get wet in the rain. That night we had talked for hours, pouring out all our sorrows to each other. After that we had felt so relieved and light hearted like as if there was nothing more to trouble us. The dream I saw today morning had so much resemblance to that night.

“Alright class, before you disperse, I would like to assign you all a project. Make a presentation on any disease, its symptoms, treatment etc, and submit it to me by next week. In addition, I would like this project to be done within groups. So better start working from today.” That was Sir Arshad. He teaches us Biochemistry and is one of the most motivational teachers I have ever come across.

Ms.Pushpa was one such teacher at school and every student looked up to her. Sara and I were one of her favourite students. Ms.Pushpa was impressed with the way we both worked together.

During lunch break, all my friends were busy chattering. But I was unable to stop thinking about Sara. I was awing about what kind of person she must have turned into now. Would she be the same Sara I once knew or must have transformed in to a totally different person.

‘Zoom, zoom!’ My cell phone buzzed loudly.

I excused myself from my friends to answer it.

“Assalam-u-alaikum!”

“Walaikum Assalam! Khadijah be there at 5 ‘o’ clock sharp.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll be there before five in the evening.”

“Good! So see you at the other end. Allah Hafiz!” And with that the call was disconnected.

That was Bushra, my schoolmate, ex-classmate and a really good friend. Despite being busy with her studies and her university life, she is always there to lend me a listening ear. It was Sara’s birthday today and all of my school friends had decided to throw her a surprise party.

I left university early in order to reach the party on time. I got into a taxi and headed towards the surprise birthday party for my dear friend. On the way I stopped at a gift shop to get Sara a present.

“Khadijah I want you to gift me this locket on my sixteenth birthday. You know how much I love chains and locket,” Sara’s eyes were sparkling with excitement.

  “But I’m giving this to you right now. Your birthday is months away and I can’t wait till then!”

  “Thank you, thank you, thank you!” And she suddenly hugged me.

“Ma’am would you like this chain and locket to be gift wrapped?” The salesman inquired.

“Yes, please.”

While getting back into the taxi, I wondered if Sara still had the same taste and will she treasure my gift just as before.

Almost all of my friends were already at the party when I reached. Seeing that I assumed I was late and felt nervous and anxious at the same time. Once inside the party hall, I looked around in anticipation to see if Sara was already there. She was nowhere to be seen. Glad to not miss the surprise part, I walked over to my other school friends.

Sara arrived after several minutes and was stunned to find us all there. She was not alone but was being accompanied by two girls who were walking side by side beside her. They were her university mates and they had given their utmost help for executing our surprise plan successfully.

I walked towards Sara to wish her and present her the gift. I was looking forward to getting a warm hug but was instead greeted with a handshake. I asked her for her well-being, she did the same and that was it. She was then led towards the cake by her newly found friends. I felt ignored and was utterly disappointed. And that was when I knew I won’t be able to stay any longer. I left the party smirking and telling myself that she has got really caring friends with whom she is happy.

At home, I was done with my studying and was now planning for the assignment. I will talk to my friends tomorrow about the assignment. I thought.

It was already eleven and I was feeling tired and sleepy after such a long day. I lied down on my bed, and was running my thoughts over today’s events when my cell phone buzzed. This time it was a text message.

‘I’m very cross with you! How dare you left the party without eating my birthday cake? I was so badly longing to talk to you. Now you better meet me tomorrow. There is so much awaiting to be told to you.

Love,

Your best friend Sara.’

I couldn’t help but beam with happiness. My best friend still valued me.

‘At times we may not be in contact with the closest of our friends. It never means that they have forgotten us but rather, we have just lost them among the crowds of this world.’

(This short story was written for ‘All Pakistan Aspiring Writers’ Convention 2012 -APAWC LUMS)