Inspiring To Read

Someday…For Sure

She took a deep breath, not the kind of one someone does when feeling relieved. It held so much frustration, irritation to have to be waiting for so long. She looked at the clock, it was 2 A.M and she was yet to start studying for her examination the next day. She had recently started to avoid staying up late because anytime alone would bring all those thoughts that she had been trying to avoid. She didn’t want to think of them. She didn’t want to think about the person who was driving her insane. She didn’t want to think of the dream that was taking so long to become a reality.

It had been a lot of months since reality hit her like light striking the sky. Prayers don’t happen in a fortnight. They require time and patience. They test your faith before taking place. She had been praying for a year with the hope that in a year things will be what she want them to be like. She thought a year was long enough for her life to take a turn but now she had realized that a year is nothing. It passes like a train passing on its track, swift and unstoppable. What was she supposed to do now? How many more years to go before she gets what she has been eagerly waiting for? The future has always been a mystery, one that can never be solved beforehand.

She took another deep breath and flipped through the pages of her notebook. For some reason she had no fear of performing badly in her exam the next day. If I could just stop thinking! She thought to herself. She had always been so positive about everything but in the recent months she had turned hopeless. She was still praying the same prayers but all her heart felt was emptiness. Knowing that she couldn’t make any more progress for the night she got into her warm blanket and shut her eyes. Maybe some sleep will help her freshen up her mind.

Fajr came too soon and she was woken up by her alarm. She was feeling better but she knew that the feeling won’t last much long. She sat straight on her bed and checked for Facebook notifications. Her cell phone showed Friday as the day. She smiled because she knew that Fridays are considered to be blissful when prayers are truly accepted. It was another opportunity for her prayers to be fulfilled. The thought made her instantly jump out of bed.

While prostrating before her Lord, she prayed again. She prayed the same prayers again but with an addition. She asked to have strength and patience so that she could wait for her prayers to take place. She knew everything will happen at its appropriate time hence she needs to remain patient and strong enough to stay steadfast in her faith. As she sat on her bed to think about her day she remembered her examination.

“Oh no! I am yet to study for my exam,” she looked at her clock, it was five past thirty. “Six more hours, I can manage it!”

A smile came across her face. Hope was finally restored. Some prayers take immediate effect.

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Inspiring To Read

Unspoken Guilt

He was once again following her today. He took the same path from his home to hers. But her destination was unknown to him. Today she was wearing the same white tights which he had been seeing her wear for the last three days. Though, she was wearing a different long shirt. She sat in the rickshaw and he followed her behind in his red BMW.

The rickshaw stopped at the entrance gate of a school. He saw her telling something to the rickshaw driver and then she walked inside the school. Minutes tick by and she was still inside. He takes in a deep breath and rests his head on the window of his car. So much had changed since she left the home on that rainy night. He still remembered the letter that he had to read with a heavy heart. Of all the days she chose the one when she was born without even thinking how much it meant to him.

He straightened up as soon as he saw her stepping out of the school. She had a frown on her face which clearly meant that today again she was rejected. She gave some instructions to the rickshaw driver and he ignited the engine. He followed her while the destination remained unknown to him. While he drove behind the rickshaw he felt blessed to finally find her. After a year of search he finally knew where she was living, what she was doing, though that terrified him more. But still it was a blessing.

The rickshaw stopped in front of a salon. Bemused, he looked around for some clue. Maybe there is an office nearby. She was again talking to the rickshaw driver and there was some disagreement between them. She furiously opened her tiny clutch and handed him two red hundred rupees note. She straightened herself, closed her eyes and inhaled the combusted air and rang the bell of the salon. He giggled softly. She was still the same in terms of her anger. Half a second later realization hit him that she was applying for a job at the salon. Oh no, this is not what she had dreamt of. He felt helpless and knew he could do nothing other than to just follow and observe her. He didn’t want to lose her again.

Half an hour later she was outside the salon gazing at her slippers. The strap of one of her slipper had come off. She bent a little to take them off and started walking barefoot. He wanted to offer her a ride but he didn’t want to lose her. No, he was not selfish but just considerate enough to not cause her any embarrassment. With a heart full of guilt he stepped out of his car, took off his black Adidas shoes and continued following her on foot. He always reminded her to check her slippers and sandals before stepping out of the house and she always forgot to do as he said. Eventually once in a while she had to do with a broken foot wear when outside and he used to lend her his large shoes for her small feet. He always loved the smile on her face while she was wearing his shoes. It’s true that old habits die hard.

Today he couldn’t borrow her shoes but gratefully a cobbler appeared on the street and she quickly rush to get her slipper mended. He stood behind a pole, pretending to type a text on his cell phone. This was the same cell phone which she had gifted him on his 50th birthday and on which she had first expressed her wish to become an art therapist. He was so happy that day that she had finally come to a decision.

She was now walking towards a restaurant, probably hungry. He followed her now with his shoes on. A sign read, ‘ Vacancy for waitress’ outside the restaurant. It was an expensive place with dim lights and comfortable leather sofas. He was glad to find a cool place after walking in the scorching heat. He took the nearest table and looked around to get hold of his daughter’s sight.

A waitress appeared with a menu card, “What can I get you sir?”

Her voice, it was her. He looked up with shocked eyes. She can’t be doing this, no not a waitress. His face was well hidden by a fake French beard and the new track suit made him unrecognizable. Disappointed, he answered, ‘Chocolate milkshake please.’

She instantly headed towards the kitchen and he knew this was his chance. He peeped into his wallet which held nine thousand rupees for the monthly grocery which he was supposed to purchase before going home.

She appeared with the milkshake. He hated chocolate milkshake, it always tasted too much like chocolate but never was chocolate and he loved munching chocolates, not sipping them. He took a tiny sip, and asked his daughter, the waitress to get him the bill. She shortly arrived with a small leather folder. He had a look at it and quickly inserted the nine thousand rupees. As she arrived to collect the money, he stood up and left the table leaving an unfinished chocolate milkshake on the table.


She again found him waiting in his shiny red car outside her tiny cottage. Even after so many years he was good at disguising himself. Today he was disguised as a young man with a track suit she hadn’t seen him wearing before. She stopped a rickshaw and asked him to take her to one of the schools in a posh area. The red car followed her and she felt protected. If she had only considered this a year ago life would have been a lot different.

The rickshaw stopped with a jolt in front of the school disconnecting her from her thoughts. She asked the rickshaw driver to wait for her outside. She knew the interview would hardly take much time after all she was an ex-student of this school. They cannot refuse to give her the job. But she was wrong because her degree wasn’t completed. Disappointed, she stepped outside the school and got into the rickshaw. She asked the rickshaw driver to simply drive, there has to be a place where she can work.

After a little while she came across a beauty salon. She was quite good with grooming she can get a job here. She asked the rickshaw driver to wait for her but he wasn’t ready. He wanted his fare and leave. She was mad at him. How can people be so heartless? She took out the money and gave it to him. A quick glance into her clutch and she knew she only had another five hundred left and then no more. She quickly had to get a job. The red car was parked a little further away. The rickshaw had left but she was safe with her dad following her.

She was rejected for her unprofessional skills. Just as she stepped outside the salon she felt her left slipper getting loose. The strap was broken and she had again forgotten to check it before leaving her home. She knew getting into another rickshaw will cost her another hundred rupees. She took off her slippers and started walking. Maybe she could find a cobbler nearby. Her dad was following her barefoot and as much as she wished to turn around and hug him, she couldn’t. She cannot face him after what she had done to him.

Fortunately, a cobbler was sitting at the corner of the street. At least now her dad would wear back his shoes. She knew he was pretending to look into his cell phone. It was the same one which she had bought from her first salary. Salary, money, she needed to earn, there has to be some place. Then her eyes caught sight of a paper stuck outside an expensive restaurant, ‘Vacancy for waitress.’

She gave the cobbler a ten rupees note, put on her slippers and rushed towards the restaurant which was on the other side of the road. She knew her dad was following her and he will soon find out what she is up to but she had no choice.

The manager of the restaurant was a soft spoken man. Since she had no experience she was given a day’s chance to prove herself so she can get this job. She had to prove herself. The first customer came and she had to attend him. He was her dad, she cannot face him. But she needed this job. With small steps she stood next to his table and asked him what he would like to have. He must have been thirsty after a long walk in the heat.

The shock and disappointment on his face broke her heart. Even with his fake French beard he was recognizable. She can never forget those eyes which she had seen into all her life. Despite lost in her thoughts she heard him say, “Chocolate milkshake please.”

She instantly turned around to place his order. She loved chocolate milkshake. It had always been her favorite. She loved chocolates and anything that had to do with chocolate was her favorite. The order was served and he took a sip of the milkshake. He asked her to get the bill. She placed a brown leather folder on the table and left to attend to another customer. When she returned to take back the folder he was ready to leave.

The glass was still full. She opened the folder and there was a hefty nine thousand rupees inside. She knew he had left it for her. She knew it was hers. She handed the cashier a thousand rupees note with the bill. The cashier was a disabled man but he was so hard working. She had heard him talk about his daughter’s marriage date approaching fast when she was picking the order a while back.

Eight thousand and seven hundred rupees left. It was her dad’s money and it was for her. But no she didn’t deserve this. She didn’t at all deserve this money after leaving her loyal father for a dishonest man. She didn’t deserve to be happy after giving him so much pain and trouble. She deserved to live in poverty so she can learn a lesson for good.

“Hey! You were talking about your daughter’s marriage. Some man there left this money for you,” the cashier looked at her, stunned.

“M…me? Really?” His eyes was sparkling with excitement, “May he be blessed with all the happiness of this world.”

She beamed at his happiness and sipped through the chocolate milkshake. It was her father’s and nobody deserved to sip from it but her.

Inspiring To Read

The Way She Wanted

She entered her house in a rush. Throwing off her bag on the computer chair, she undid her DKNY watch gifted by her father on her 20th birthday and threw it on the floor. She pulled off her bright red stilettos and tossed them underneath the bed. Taking off her clothes she stepped into the washroom and stood right below the shower.

‘Your work is good but you see, there are much better designers out there.’

‘Ms. Shapira , I think you will be better off coming up with your own unique designs.’

‘Why don’t you take some time to improve your portfolio and come back to us again, maybe in around six months?’

There was rejection everywhere. Some were sweet and soft, others crisp and rude. She knew this couldn’t be happening. She had confidence that her designs were perfect! After all she had gotten her degree from the most renowned art school so how can her designs not be right. Those brands, organizations, boutiques who had rejected her work, compared her to designers who didn’t even match her education level. They ought to be insane for even considering them better than her.

The water was hot, just the right temperature for her to relax. As each droplet of water journeyed from her head to her toes, she felt a boost of relaxation. She poured down a huge clot of her favorite SHE shower gel on her hand and lathered it over her body.

“Mmmm, soft, smooth and beautiful!” She said to herself and inhaled the sweet scent of her shower gel.

When done with the shower she wrapped herself in a towel and went over to her wardrobe in her room to pick an evening outfit. After a complete fifteen minutes of shuffle she picked a red t-shirt and khaki shorts. Once dressed, she combed her wet hair and tied it into a tight pony tail and applied a light pink gloss. She picked up the watch which she had earlier thrown on the floor and wore it around her left wrist. She cluttered through her drawer and took out a pair of studs with a single red stone. Bending to reach for the Converse shoes from underneath the bed, she wore them and tied the laces with perfection just the way her mother had taught her when she was ten.

She quickly picked up her wallet and jogged towards the door. There on the left side of the door was a huge size mirror so that she could have a complete look of herself before she left the house. Blowing a kiss towards the mirror she uttered, “You are looking beautiful, as always.”

The Crackpot coffee shop was just a five minute walk from her apartment and it was always a good opportunity for her to shed a few calories which she used to gain during her cheat diets. She knew she had a figure which every woman died to have and every man longed for, so there wasn’t much worrying needed to join the gym. Her diet plans were enough to let her have a smart and sexy figure.

When she reached the coffee shop, her parents were already seated on one of the tables near the window. She energetically walked towards their table and gave them both a kiss on their cheeks.

“Mom! Dad! Gosh I had been missing you so much lately. I am so glad you are here for the weekend.”

“My God! Susan what have you done to yourself? Don’t tell me you are once again on one of those silly crash diets which does no good but ruins your body.” Mrs. Shapira looked at her with disappointment. “What all has happened to my chubby little girl?”

“Relax mom! First of all, no I am not on a crash diet, but I am rather following a six months’ diet plan. Secondly, dieting is not at all stupid. Look at your daughter, she looks more beautiful now. And thirdly, your chubby little girl is now smart and grown up. So feel proud about that.”

“No, baby…” Before Mrs. Shapira could finish Mr. Shapira held her hand so as to signal her to stop. Susan settled herself on the chair opposite to her parents and beamed at her father.

After a long pause, her father finally spoke, “So should we place an order? I can already hear my stomach grumbling for food.”

“Sure!” Susan and Mrs. Shapira said in chorus. Mr. Shapira called the waiter and they ordered their favorite Mac and Cheese, and baked potato skins and three cups of cappuccino.

After finishing with her degree in fashion designing Susan had moved to California because she awed to live in a big city and enjoy its luxuries. While her parents stayed back in Philadelphia. Since their other two daughters, Monica and Andrea were already settled with their husbands and children, they were at ease but they couldn’t stop worrying about Susan.

Being the youngest in her family, Susan had always been one who went the other way round. She would do things at her own pace, do them as she liked and had her own rules to follow. Her childhood, teenage life were all taken care of, but when she reached her early 20s, she decided to move away and become independent. Now that wasn’t a really big deal. The big deal was that no one was able to tell her that there were some things which she really needed to change in life. She had sent her portfolio to various brands and companies, but to her dismay they had all asked her to come up with something which is more original. She wasn’t ready to work again on her portfolio and believed that she has got enough designs to convince that she is talented.

As the threesome waited for the food, they talked about all that was happening in each of their lives. Mr. and Mrs. Shapira had joined a club named as the Wholesome which consisted of a very few members but was still quite intriguing. Each day a different activity was arranged for the participants which comprised of chess, reading, story sharing session and so many more that they were having the most fun filled time of their lives.

The weekend passed too quickly and it was already time for Mr. and Mrs. Shapira to leave. While they were loading their luggage in the car Susan finally spoke what had been bothering her for months,

“Dad, I really wish to become a renowned fashion designer. You and mom did so well at your boutique without any professional education, how come I still can’t do even a little of it despite having a degree?”

Mr. and Mrs. Shapira both stopped with what they were doing. They were startled to hear her daughter become so serious and open up to them like this in so many years. Mrs. Shapira hugged Susan and held her hand tightly.

Taking this as an opportunity to finally talk to her daughter, Mr. Shapira quickly began to speak before Mrs. Shapira could say anything, “Dear, we never succeeded overnight; it took us several years to become the most stylish outfit selling boutique in our own town. With you it has just been a year so remain patient. Plus, times have changed.”

“But dad, my degree, it is from a university which the world recognizes so how come I always end up with a rejection every time I apply for a job. I feel so devastated!”

“Listen to me Susan!” Whenever Susan was called by her name she knew now that she has no choice but to listen. She looked up to her mom who was now very serious and firm about what she had to say.

“Like every mother and daughter you and I have had similarities as well as differences. You and I are very talented and intelligent when it comes to coming up with dress designs and we are so good with what color, pattern and style will go together. But do you know the biggest difference between us?”

“That you had the fact that I diet while I love to diet?” Susan looked at her mother with puzzled eyes.

Mrs. Shapira broke into laughter. “No, no, my sweet heart. That is just a difference of thought. I meant the difference in our characteristics. Susan, I have always been a woman with lots of patience while you as my daughter is very impulsive and want to do everything right then and there.”

“So is that so bad that I am not getting a job?”

“Dear, that depends.” Mr. Shapira had his arms wrapped around his daughter. “It’s like when you have to get some work done and you are up for it without any procrastination, it is a very good thing and we love that about you. But you see, so many rejections, and everyone asked you to work more on your designs but you don’t wish to put in any more efforts because you are in a hurry to get a job.”

“Job is your need and we know that very well.” Mrs. Shapira continued, “But where your passion, where is that girl who used to spend each day filling up her sketchpad with new dress designs just because she loved designing. You have been trying so hard to get a job that you have forgotten the true essence of your passion. I hope you can understand what we are trying to tell you.”

“Yes, mom and dad you are right. I should focus more on my passion rather than focusing on the reward.” Susan hugged her parents and kissed them on their cheeks.


“Ma’am, you may go inside now,” the receptionist said with an assuring smile to Susan who was sitting in a waiting room of city’s most renowned company.

As she walked into the interview she had more confidence in her work now. After patiently listening to her mom and dad, Susan had worked for six continuous months, working, improving and coming up with new designs.

“Ms. Susan, your designs are fantastic. They are truly unique.”

“Thank you, ma’am.”

After several questions Susan was asked to wait for a week until all the applicants were interviewed. Susan walked out with a bright smile. Today it didn’t matter to her if she will be receiving an acceptance letter or not, but what really mattered was that she was appreciated and that her designs were her own piece now. She knew now that she needs to accept her faults and short comings so that she keeps improving as that is a requirement in the path to success.

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Secret Admirer – Part IV

Read 1st Part of Secret Admirer

A week had already passed and I hated each minute of my life. Why wasn’t he responding? Is he safe and sound? Did he forget me? Have I lost importance in his life? These were all the questions which were going on my mind as I filled several application forms of universities in Canada. With a lot of talking and arguments with my family I was finally allowed to go with my decision of going to Canada for my Masters degree. But honestly, it wasn’t just the studies it was him whom I wanted to get to. I wanted to see him again. Talk to him like we did back then. Why had everything changed so drastically? This is not what I was expecting to become of my life. I want him back. I want his presence in my life back. And I will do anything to get it.

Getting done with filling up all the application forms, I mailed it to the respected universities and wished to get in in any of these now. I knew it will be at least a month until I get to receive some confirmation letter so until then I had to wait and do something else to divert my mind. I was still giving tuitions to little kids and so I had decided to take in more kids since I had a lot of free time in hand. Their examinations were going to start within a few weeks and I had to prepare them to give their best so their parents remained satisfied with me.

During one of the tuition sessions, I was going through my student’s Islamic Studies textbook who was apparently in the seventh grade and as I was flipping through the pages to get the desired chapter, I came across something, I don’t know if it was Allah who on purpose let me come across it or it was me who was unconsciously looking for a way to feel peaceful that Allah will help me in this situation. What I read was,

“The Imaan of a person cannot be true until he has more trust in that which is in Allah’s Hands than that which is in his own hands.” (Ali Ibn Abi Talib R.A)

This instantly reminded of how much I was trying to take things in my hands lately. I was partially going to Canada so that I could get him back. I had applied to those universities so that I could be with him. But I failed to see the part that probably this was something good for me, that this must have been Allah’s way of telling me that He has got something else for me because my choice wasn’t the right one. And how many times had I deeply prayed to get him? All I did was take decisions that I will do this and that and get to see him in no time. Instead I could have applied to the universities and kept my faith in Allah that if what I was trying to reach isn’t good for me than probably He would never let me come close to it.

A month had passed and I had received no acceptance letters from any of the universities I had applied in Canada. But this time instead of being disheartened I thanked Allah because I knew He was protecting me from something which was probably not right for me. Hence, I had applied to universities within my own home town. Then one day I received a call from one of my university friend. She wanted to give me the news of his arrival for marriage purpose. She informed me that he was getting married and hence he is coming back to celebrate the occasion with his loved ones. Yes, it left me broken. But only for a week after which I was slowly able to take in the fact that he was not the best for me and Allah has something else for me in store now so I better not whine and cry but rather just keep my faith in him.

My studies had again started in a new university this time which gave me the opportunity to make new friends and I was once again enjoying each and every moment of my life but this time with a firmer trust in Allah. And then my trust in Allah strengthened when one day I had an expected guest at my house. It was him. It wasn’t easy facing him after such a long time and what had passed in between that time. But anyways, I stood up straight and strong, smiling with confidence at him. I let him in where my mom was also delighted to see because he was the her favourite among all my university friends. As he seated himself on the sofa, my mom left to get him something to eat and drink. It really felt awkward trying to start a conversation.

He finally broke the silence with an apology for not responding to my emails. He started with his whole story about how his father had turned old and was not able to get a job and so he had to take the initiative of applying to a job. He still had younger siblings who needed to study in good institutions. He was working by day, taking classes in the evening and studying for the remaining of the night. Life was very difficult establishing himself in a different country where he had been for the first time. Now that he is finally done with his studies, and having a well paid job his parents are looking forward to him to getting married. As he said that, my mother arrived with some biscuits and a cup of tea. She had heard him speak of his marriage and so she congratulated him on getting married soon. On which he said that he was yet to find a wife and for this reason he had come to visit them. This gave me a shock. Like did I really heard what I just heard. He then told my mother that his parents had always liked me and have recently suggested him to ask for my hand. I couldn’t face it. I was blushing, my cheeks turning pink, I felt a little embarrassed about that. My mom went a little hesitant until he said that he just wanted to have my parents and mine approval and once they agree he will officially come to propose with his parents. I looked at my mom who was now beaming with happiness and that was the time I realized, this was the moment which Allah was trying to save for me which I couldn’t have gotten if I had been accepted in any of those Canadian universities.

Thank you for reading all the parts of Secret Admirer and thank you for your tremendous support. Now please do me the favour of commenting below to tell me how much you liked this short story.

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Secret Admirer – Part III

Go to Secret Admirer – Part I

We were walking over the red carpet, the music playing in the background, heading towards the stage, slowly and steadily, our heads rose high up, looking straight ahead towards the path where we had always longed to be. It was the day we were getting graduated, finally we were going to get the reward of our hard work we had done for the past four years. I was glad that now I will be entering my professional life.

As I walked over the stage I saw my parents sitting in the audience and beaming at me. Luckily they had got the first row so they were able to watch me clearly being awarded with my degree. They clicked pictures of me while I was shaking hands with the director of the university. It was a moment of pride not just for me but as well as for my parents.

After collecting the degree I headed straight to my friends since we were not allowed to meet our parents until the whole ceremony ended and we were done with the photography session. It was a moment of utter happiness for all of us and we got into the ritual of hugging each other. Funny, but we had tears in our eyes and we were not sure if it was because we were happy to be graduated or sad to be having to leave each other now. All of us had different plans and routes. One was getting married, the other was moving to Saudi Arabia with her parents, two of them including me were yet to decide what we were supposed to do and one had already got a job in a renowned organization.

Moments passed and the ceremony was finally over. Finding my parents waiting for me outside the auditorium I hugged them both and then we left for home where a party was already waiting to celebrate my achievement. It consisted not only of my family members but also my relatives and few of my parents’ family friends.

Fortunately the party got over early. I really wanted to have a good night’s sleep after such a tiring day. But one work was still pending before I shut my eyes for a peaceful night. Taking the camera from my mother’s purse, I switched on my laptop and connected it to the camera. Saving the pictures on my laptop I signed in to my email account I attached the pictures to a new email message. While the pictures were getting attached I started to write my message,

“Hi! How are you doing? We haven’t been in touch lately but here is what you had asked for. All of our friends have sent you their regards and we really had lots of fun today. Though it would have been more fun with you around but anyways good luck with whatever you are doing. TC!”

Love,

Your best friend.

I read the message one more time to check for any errors and clicked the send button. I prayed to get a quick reply from the recipient. Want to know who the recipient was? Well, yes you guessed it right? It’s him! But wondering how he went to where he is right now? Hmm…that’s a long story and in order to get to it we need to go back to my first semester. Could you recall? We were together in the same class and friends’ group. We had turned into best friends and life had turned into what I had always wished for.

But after that had come the vacations, during which he had applied for his studies in Canada and luckily he got the acceptance letter. True, that first when I had got the news it was extremely devastating for me and it took me several weeks to realize that it was really happening and there was no way I could stop it. I was glad that with the start of my second semester I got busy with studies and assignments and to top it all I had started to give tuitions so I can divert my mind.

Once he had moved to Canada, we had kept in touch through emails. Chatting was not really possible because of different time zones and our busy schedule but we managed to, or rather I managed to keep him updated with the latest happenings between our friends and in the university. His responses were slow and I assumed that its reason was mainly his encounter of such a big a change. But today after clicking on the send button all I wished was to get a good reply from him, one which will include everything about what he is doing currently and something which could say that I was still his best friend….

Read Secret Admirer – Part IV

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Goodbye

They looked at each other with a sad face. They were overwhelmed with a mixture of emotions, a little happiness with a partial sadness, an excitement with nervousness. It was time to say good bye to the person she had respected all her life. He was the one who had supported her at all times, held her hand and guided her towards the path of light. And today, she had to leave this very person.

Here is a link to one of my stories, ‘Good Bye’ http://hashthemag.blogspot.ae/2013/05/goodbye.html. Check it out and don’t forget to leave your comments. Thank you. 🙂

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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)

Inspiring To Read

Urban Romeo and Juliet

Panting and puffing, Umemah finally reached the top of the building. Stopping at the entrance she looked around to find the one who had made her a day restless after the sudden phone call.

“Umemah, could we please meet today? It’s a bit urgent.”

“Ofcourse! But what is it love?” Umemah was puzzled.

“Just meet me. You know where, right?” He never talked so formally and this further bemused Umemah.

“Alright.” The place which Zohaib was talking about was their favourite rooftop restaurant. It was their usual meeting spot and the place where they spent hours talking. The atmosphere was very quiet and the soft breeze gave a very pleasant feeling.

Zohaib was sitting at the most cornered table, facing away from the entrance. Taking a deep breath, she walked over and settled herself at the table. Zohaib was startled as soon as she sat on the chair. He seemed to be engaged in some serious thoughts.

“Finally after a week!” Umemah’s eyes were sparkling with happiness. “I have got some really good news to tell.”

“But will you listen to me first?” There was something mischievous about Zohaib’s attitude today.

“Obviously! That’s why I’m here.”

Just then the waiter interrupted to take down their order. On Umemah’s request he was asked to approach them at a later time. After Zohaib’s weird behaviour she didn’t wanted anything but to find out the reason behind this sudden change in his manner.

“End this suspense please!” Umemah pleaded.

“Umm…please don’t jump to any conclusions before hearing everything, he paused for a while before speaking again, ‘One of our neighbour’s just approached my mom with a proposal. Mom saw her picture and found out a few things about her from the neighbour and she is interested in meeting her.” This was followed by a long awkward silence.

Umemah chortled, “Well, I know you will be least interested in knowing who that girl is and by now you must have also refused,” she seemed confident.

“Actually I’m sorry. Mom is so keen and happy to meet her I didn’t want to turn her down.”

She laughed again at his words, ‘Zohi stop with that joke! You know I don’t enjoy jokes like these.”

“I’m serious!”

“Zohi please! You can tease me some other way but not this way,” tears started rolling down her eyes.

“Umemah I am awfully sorry but I couldn’t deny. I love you. But her choice also matters.”

“Did you see that girl’s picture?”

“Umm…ya! Mom showed me.”

She was fuming, “And then you just fell for her beauty! You know what? Yesterday even my mom talked to me about a proposal she has just received from an old friend of hers. I straightaway refused. I wasn’t even bothered to look at that guy’s picture. In fact I told mom everything about you fearlessly and here you are telling me that you couldn’t help saying yes to your mom just because she wanted you to. You forgot our relationship? Wow! What a lie!”

“It’s not what you are thinking,” his expression was so calm like all these years of being together left no mark over him.

Umemah could not take it anymore. She got up from her seat and silently walked towards the stairs, running down the steps without even stopping for a second, got into the car and drove towards home. On reaching home she headed right towards her room. She stayed there for the rest of the evening and skipped the dinner. When her mother enquired she excused by saying that she had eaten plenty with her friends in the evening.

The night was long and a different one. No phone calls from Zohaib nor did Umemah had any strength to dial his number. It was a sorrowful night with her head on the pillow, widely opened eyes, not a little bit of weariness. Looking at the plain roof above her she thought,

‘Romoe and Juliet were still better. At least they died and didn’t have to face any further pain. But we will have to go through this sorrow for the rest of our life.’

She started scrolling down Zohaib’s messages on her cell phone when she came across a text from Zohaib which he had sent her a few days ago.

‘Hey baby, just want u to know that no matter what, I’ll always keep u happy and I guarantee a prosperous future to u with me. My soul aim in life is to keep u happy and with me. I love u. Please be with me and be my support. I believe and trust u to be always with me.’

What meaning did it have now? It was a lie told with so much confidence. A guarantee, that was over now. He will be saying the same words or even better to another girl from now. His dreams had changed regarding her. Now she was being replaced by another unknown character. Someone, who never existed in their three years of relation, and now she was playing the most important role in their lives. That unknown character will now be valued more and will get the place where she not once but always dreamed herself to be in.

Next day when Umemah opened her eyes and looked at the clock, it was one in the afternoon. Despite sleeping for more than ten hours, her eyes felt heavy and tired and were burning. Her body was hot and each and every part was hurting terribly. She was feeling very weak and fragile.

“How are you feeling Umemah?” She could hear her mother’s voice from a distance.

Umemah looked around and said, “Feeling? What happened to me?” She struggled to speak loud enough to be heard.

“Oh baby! I was so worried. I’m glad you finally spoke,” there was a relief on her mother’s face.

“What happened?” Umemah again tried to sound loud and clear.

Her mother explained to her that she was not waking up in the morning due to high fever and they had to call for the doctor urgently. Her mother started to scold her for having a lot of cold and sour stuffs lately which resulted in high fever. Little did she knew that her daughter was facing the worst nightmare of her life.

A week passed by and Umemah was now getting back to her usual routine. Though, the wounds of her sorrow were still fresh and she was reminded of Zohaib more everyday when he texted her to know about her well being. She would respond to him normally and mentioned nothing related to her health. She was sure that by now he must have seen the girl and agreed to get engaged. She couldn’t help being happy for him because probably the other girl proved to be better for him.

She awed to hear his voice which brought peace to her soul and mind, but she refrained from calling him. Her heart wanted her to talk to him once and convince and plead him to come back but her ego opposed this thought. If he was meant for her and if he really loved her then he will come back to her no matter what.

Eventually Umemah started accepting the reality. Though both of them were still in contact but nothing was the same anymore. There was a little bit hope left in her that he still loved her but couldn’t be with her probably because of some family pressures. Then one day, Umemah’s mother informed her that the proposal she had received a few days back, they still had not being given any answer. She expressed her wish of seeing Umemah married soon. Umemah had to agree. She knew it won’t be easy but she cannot punish her parents for what someone else had done to her. Umemah was not interested in seeing the boy’s picture and instructed her parents to do as they like.

The boy and his family were invited the very next day. She was dressed in a simple yet an elegant shalwar kameez. This was the very same dress which Zohaib had gifted her or perhaps it was the last gift from Zohaib.

As she walked towards the sitting lounge, she felt closer to Zohaib like it was him waiting for her. She knew that won’t happen and it was a merely a déjà vu from her past thoughts and dreams. She lowered her gaze and greeted everyone in her soft voice. She was seated next to the boy’s mother and she didn’t dare to look up with the fear that she may start crying.

After a while everyone left the room so that the boy and girl could talk to each other. Umemah wished to ask no questions and nor did she raised her head to look at him. The boy finally spoke,

“I am sorry!” The voice sounded so familiar.

Bewildered, she looked up and saw the most beautiful thing to her eyes. Sitting in front of her was the most handsome person. His striking features had mesmerized her every time she looked at him. It was Zohaib, something unbelievable but yet a reality. Umemah was speechless. For the next few minutes, it was Zohaib who went on speaking,

“I’m sorry my baby! I didn’t mean to hurt or trouble you. My intention was just to surprise you. I know you can’t believe what is happening right now but just listen to me and you will know everything,” he stood up and came to sit next to her. Taking her hand in his, he began, “The night before I asked you to meet. Remember, I came back home late that night. That was when I saw your photo lying on my bed side table. At first I was confused, but when my mom came to talk to me about the proposal I felt so fortunate. I knew that just like how I have got your photo, soon even you will be getting mine and until then I could

 

just play a little joke with you. But it turned out all wrong. You are so stubborn that   you didn’t even saw see the photo once. Every day I waited for your text in which you’d mention my photo but you never did. I’m sorry again because it caused you more pain than I had thought. Please forgive me!”

Umemah who was quietly listening with her tearful eyes finally spoke, “I was never cross with you in the first place. And right now I’m just ecstatic and….and….I love you.”

“I love you too baby! I want us to be the modern Romeo and Juliet who will be brave enough to take up the challenge of living together for the rest of our lives.”