The impassable mountains of the locality twinning with the children’s art class mountains had the story to tell. The frozen ice, covering majestically the exposed area to sunlight had greatly hidden the fractured image of the inhabitants living around the area. It was like the perfect scenery images from the picture and from the farthest window belonging to any of the house of the opposite town. The snow laden bridges untold the bloodiest of the stories, of the memories lost forgotten, unhampered images of the mosaic of human lives that was more dead than the snow imbibed things of nature. The town comprised of few uneducated people of accents different than the one’s from the city, the laughter though was real among them, because they were some of the people who had faced reality, faced struggles. Most of them dwelled their time in agriculture, from step wells, to padded fields, to irrigation, to the export and import of the same. They were one of the beautiful races of the humans ever lived on the earth next to the Greeks. Their faces which resembled one of those war faces of Greek soldiers, who lost everything in the war. Blond hair, unwashed, not maintained, and hysterically pinned from the forehead to the shoulder or whatever length the women possessed was a unique tale in itself. In one of the areas of Kashmir, India did the (Pahari’s) resided with their own small community, traditional dialect, and culture. The women would wake up before the sun rose and thanked nature for the immeasurable amount of blessings they were bestowed. The women would pray, and wash the utensils from the flowing chilled water of gigantic waterfalls, which was one of the first sights they saw.
The men however , would quickly collect finest of the woods , knowing the temperature inside out would go into the wilds , not caring about the wilds , and the nature produced species but would go in groups , singing folk songs of the traditional lives of their inmates , and realizing how far they have come. The slopes would grow in intensity when they would go down, but they would never hesitate to go back to their women. The area had seen a lot, from European filmmakers shooting the documentaries, to cliché Bollywood makers romancing the hell out of their lives. The traumatic natural disasters from the cloud bursts to hailstorms also ranging from the mightiest of the avalanches, it had seen all and the people were made of iron flesh and not a raw one. They were the mountaineers, the one who already knew heights of life and not the depression bowl of calamity. The secrets to their hearts were the motto of hard work, and food for every member of the family. Amidst, such happenings Shahista Khan, weaved her own story and never hissed it in the market. Largely known as the most beautiful women among the tribes people, she wore anklets which had turned bronze but otherwise were silver always adored her beauty. The beauty of herself started from the head to toe, her hair would drop from the circumference of the forehead to the area were her hips would make a marvelous U shape and would be perfect for any man of any age drool over it. She wore her hair loose and also smiled hesitantly which would give her a blush of the natural sign of maturity when she would be praised for the same. Her eyes were the cruelest of the body feature because they were beauty, large eyes full of stories and hidden scars of untamed violence that had made histories on her body. She wore earrings which would expose her bold side and always tried to maintain a distance from someone attacking it, timid and shy were not in her dictionary but she definitely wore the biggest fear on her as the invisible cloak. She wore those long flower designed tattered gowns for weeks, for she had just three of them. One was that of the red flowers, imprinted on each edge of the shirt and she always kept it unbuttoned. The other was that of the laced pink flowers, which she had got from her first husband, forgetting about the past of themselves which was as frozen as other. The last one was that of the blue flowers of the same patterns of that of the above mentioned which maintained the sanctity of the purity and freshness each time Shahista wore. She flaunted her breasts which were a little visible if viewed from the height of her unbuttoned buttons , kept opened deliberately or in deliberately one couldn’t comprehend , but would always love to enhance and analyse . The first marriage was an understanding between her infatuation and serenity of love with her five year old boyfriend to two year old fiancé and finally two and a half year husband Shafi Khan. Apart from the surnames that they shared, nothing was common in them and almost all of their friends were all quidnuncs because they aspired that Shahista might have slept with Shafi before their alliance of marriage ship. After a lot of delays and dissented conversations, the friends were obliged to conclude that they might have , for Shahista was seen hiding her neck bone which for many lovers is a sensitive area of affection .
A lot of times, however the two would escape into the city, with Shahista under the veil and Shafi wearing a Muslim cap observing each and every item in the shops that they wanted to purchase for their hut after they would get married. A lot was said behind their back, and many responses were very anonymous but none could delight from the fact that Shahista was no more a free body, no more a mass of flesh, no more a sight to see because the minute Shafi would catch hold of a person glancing Shahista he would get very angry and also feel agitated, likewise a person who is expected to receive an interview call, but fails to cease the moment. Shahista was not aware of where she was landing herself to. She had loved Shafi when he would be all protective her, she would love him when he would tell him to eat unlike the other men who would always ask her to be as oblique as she was. She loved his eyes which spoke more than his mouth and uttered every ounce of honest tales, and lifetime advices. But this was not at all what she thought of him because at time she just wanted to get rid of him just like when the rainbow feels agitated and finally comes out from the grasps of clouds and sun. She hated him when he used to touch her at inappropriate places; she used to hate him when he used to stare in public with the lecherous eyes of a lover that gazed each curve, and symmetry of her body.
At times, Shahista would demand him to go and he would go like he knew that they had become two kinds of inseparable atoms. After they had decided about their marriage, Shahista realized that she was unsure. She was too late to step back that they had together manipulated her life, but it was too late. It was too late to settle down. She was in a great distress; the ministry of unhappy mistakes was yet to be decorated. But after few races with her heart, after the unabridged soliloquies, she and Shafi were separated from the curtain of heavenly devotions and purity. On each side of the curtain were the groom and bridegroom themselves. Shahista who wore a subtle pink flower printed suit which Shafi had bought for her from the busy lanes of bazaars. For Shafi, he wore his father’s sherwani and called himself jokingly
THEN A FATHERS BOY, NOW A WIFE’S LAD
Both after Molvi announced the declaration of the marriage, both uttered it obligatory three times,
Qabool hai, for Shafi was pride and for Shahista a tryst with her unlaced fate of her own conscience. Both started on the journey to unravel the jewels of the curtain that covered the black hole of Shafi’s mysterious world of unfaithful degrees of companionship.
For the first few weeks of their marriage, Shahista felt as if she was played along the musical tones of Shafi’s family. Shafi’s father Salati ul abbas, a renowned sheep owner of their clan, was the most wanted man in the city. It was a known fact that Salati had bluffed a business man of a promise of three sheep on the eve of Eid ul baqr but had failed to fulfill it, despite taking a sum of Rs 80,000 as advance. Salati had to hide his face for quite a long time, until he decided to flee the city and runaway for a new business. But what could he possibly do? He had no other occupation, no other choice to feed his two sons ,Shafi then fifteen years old , and Osman his five year old . After a lot of trials , he had settled into New Delhi’s Old delhi , and had started to work in one of the restaurants which only served “Halal Chicken and Wazwan”.
The Hustle bustle of the old bazaar streets had made him forget about the advance till some of the men, with knives and bullets had entered his shop , and threatened him to return the money back failing to which he would not be spared death . Salati was embarrassed and he also grew miserable in health thinking almost every day and night about the money and the death. After his head chef had been told about the incident by his co-workers, he had threatened him of losing job and also for a restriction letter which would go out to every restaurant present in the locality. Salati had made no friends and had nothing in his legacy. His family was waiting for him, on the mountains and his sons were beginning the tale of revenge. They wanted to take care of their father’s surname which had been spilled in the mud. Torn and fragile, Salati crept back one day to his home which was situated on the peak, all lost and weak. And this changed the outlook of Shafi’s consideration about life. To see his father struggle, had made Shafi a stone of evicted emotions and for Salati, he had his hero. Shafi had a lot of will in himself, for whom he made the best possible way .The bond he shared with Osman, was more than the brotherhood, fraternity bond. It was like if they both were into contemplation with each other, in the tranquility with each other. They had grown to be of the same height, complexion and intellect. It was always impossible to look for a change or for a disassociation between them; it was like two lovers under the spot of time, healing each other’s wounds. Both playing with the symmetry of each other, with the angles of each other. Osman, younger to Shafi was a little hesitant but with time he grew much bolder about his relationship with his brother which was almost at every night spent together in the bait ul khan (House of khan) by intriguing each other’s privacy and each other’s silent lips which would resonate nothing but the inside feelings which had developed as a result of the age. After a lot of struggle and sickness, Salati ul Abbas, had died fighting for the survival of the fittest and exploration of the city suburbs with nothing to gain.
Shahista, who was always seen on the side in every conversation of the family, had lately begun to feel cornered in the house. Even if the infatuation had really begun to start growing into love, it was Shafi who was reluctantly playing with the game board, and had a lot of convincing power to convince Shahista that everything between them was fine, was okay. Almost three weeks passed and Shahista had never seen him at night, it was always a guess game for Shahista about his whereabouts. After hours of decorating herself, Shahista would always take a siesta in the afternoon, and then whine about her marriage, about Shafi and how she could change it. She had praised the brothers for their relationships, but she was bland about the things that were going on. Once, Shahista also thought of running away, but she couldn’t as Shafi had called her inside for a conversation immediately when she was to take her step. It was also the time, when the city was erupting into the voices of Azaadi, slogans like “Hum kya chahtay Azaadi ”, “Cheen kay lengay azaadi ”, “ragdo , ragdo ”. Five killings in one day , and the number increased day by day . With each resonating sound of the pellet , the sound reaching to Shahista’s ear suffocated her and made her believe that everything is going to be fine , patience was the only key . On fifteen august, when the city was under the curfew, Shafi and his family could hardly move, the army had covered whole of the mountain range and had commanded each one of the Pahari’s to inform them about any intrusion from Pakistan. Indian army had released armed forces all over, and was alarmed that the neighbor would attack anytime, with AK 47’s, and suicidal bombs. Shafi was in the terror of everything that was going around. They had taken Osman. Few of the army men had barged into their little hut and had taken Osman. They wanted a strong built man who would have fought for the pro azaadi, or would have not. It was not into their records, but they had to detain Osman, just because he was a boy, he was a man; he was a forced stone pelter. When the army had gone, Shafi had gone half crazy in finding Osman. He had tried his best to find him, he even had thought of crossing Pakistan as he had the armed forces talk one day.
The city was going through inteqaam and each of the individual had the story to tell. After his failure in saving Osman , Shafi one fine night , when the snow was melting down and was forming icicles of different forms , and figures , he went inside Shahista’s room , to unleash the anxiety , to successfully wonder around his love tale , to find his love for Shahista grow into the business , he went closer to Shahista who was sleeping whilst keeping her back to the side , where from Shafi couldn’t see her properly . Shafi, unbuttoned his shirt , laid next to his beloved , wrapping her around the waist only to find blood , only to find the waist cut open , only to find her bride in pink printed salwar suit which was now pink red salwar suit too . That whole night Shafi kept his eyes wide open, sat on his hunches and went motionless, until the dawn break the loudspeakers of the mosques openly announced crackdown in the whole area, which ended with the slogan
“Naare Takbeer, Allah hu Akbar”
God is the greatest!! .