Sorry for being MIA for so long. But the promise of a story still stands. It is not much of story and more of a jumbled up thoughts of a disturbed mind on a long sleepless night.
Without further ado, here you go:
The Miracle of a Dream
She was standing in a desert. Everything was barren just like her life. The meager plants had turned inside themselves for sustainability. The few rodents and reptiles had hidden under the many layers of glistening sand. Only the sun was abundant, busy drying each grain it touched. Why, she thought, even my dreams are empty.
A boy tapped at her shoulder. She looked around, slightly startled.
“What are you looking for?” He asked.
“I don’t know,” she replied truthfully.
“But,” he said with a smile, ” You never not know.”
“You mean to say we always know?” She said.
He shook his head. “No. That is not what I meant.”
When she continued to look baffled, he ventured, “Always knowing would be like knowing exactly what needs knowing. What I meant is you are never completely clueless. There will be some hunch…intuition.”
The next morning she woke up fresh. Her mind was made. She knew what to do. It was all clear in her dream. She will just trust her instincts!
She did. She told the one the one thing she had wanted to tell him.
Like all her hunches, decisions, and wishes, this was also wrong… terrible and utterly wrong.
‘Who should I trust if I can’t even trust myself?’ She thought. A life full of uncertainties was ahead of her, with death, the only certain eventuality!
“Hi, doctor!” Jaz greeted Dr. Domestica. A poker face stared at him as she lowered her veil.
Duzan Domestica, however, had been too long in this line of business to miss why this green-skinned, strange looking girl was there in his clinic. Despite her emotionless face and heavy makeup, her smile lines were more than visible. Fanning out at the corner of her eyes were several small wrinkles resembling a cat’s whiskers or a crow’s feet. Then there were the horrible concaves bracketing her thick lips, almost conquering her nasolabial region. Duzan focused hard on her left cheek but was not sure what to make of it. He reflected for a while. Then, “Smile,” he sighed and issued the one command that only he could give without risking his life.
As if waiting to do so all her life, Jaz gave him the brightest of smiles he had ever received. It indicated that she was in her happy place and probably knew that it was the last time she would be there because her smile was a classic clichéd one. The one that came straight from the heart or could illuminate the darkest of the hours, you know the magical one!
Duzan shook his head in despair. It was there alright — deep enough to house a million of microscopic entities or a very tiny grain — depending on which you are more likely to carry. She had the cursed symbol that alone could have destroyed her forever. She had a dimple!
“Is it that bad?” asked Jaz. Her eyes were moist because there was a lot of smoke in the dingy clinic of the damned doctor. Duzan, however, misinterpreted it to be tears of sadness.
He took a step backward from her and barked, “Hold the waterworks, please. I hate emotions. I will fix this for you but you must never do it again.”
“Do what?” asked Jaz, “The S-word?”
“Smile, laugh, giggle, snicker… nothing!” he told her, “Or else…”
“You are giving me the last stage treatment, huh?”
“I have to,” he said, “orders are orders.”
A few hours later Jaz emerged from “Domestica Cosmetica.” She was the same woman who had entered the loathsome glass building with only one exception — her face was now completely devoid of any line.
With Zac gone, she did not have any reason to smile anymore. Zac would probably be under some kind of genetic experiment at the moment that the West is notorious for, she thought, meanwhile I am stuck in the pathetic East aka the rat hole where women can’t smile.
“Women do not smile like we do,” A man on a large screen which were very common throughout the country was saying, “Their smile is a weapon more lethal than the most dangerous bomb you and I could ever invent.”
“What b*******!” Jaz checked herself just in time. She was about to scoff.
“Therefore, we suggest that all the women should pay a visit to Domestica Cosmetica and be free from the wretched signs once and for all,” the screen man concluded with a smile.
“And become a ticking time bomb the moment they dare to stretch their lips only a centimeter wider from their natural position,” Jaz muttered to herself.
She was very upset now. She missed her childhood, where all the sci-fi villainy belonged to her imagination and her mother played the role of an evil person by imposing certain rules. This real-life nefariousness was taking a toll on her nerves.
“If it got really difficult,” she told herself, “I will just laugh my worries out.”
“Most people aren’t really bad, you know”, she told him.
“If that is so, they don’t do a very good job of showing their true intentions”, said he.
“Why do you have to be so bitter all the time”, she was saying. He, however, was busy observing her. Her small lips were moving in circles as if her sentences had words with lots of Os in them. Her fake accent made her words come out all rounded. How he had hated the pretentious accents that were so common in his days! Yet, he couldn’t find it in himself to even slightly dislike hers. He ended up focusing on her lips. The one thing he knew he shouldn’t have done.
Do I want to kiss them? He reflected. Out of love, he added hastily to his incomplete thought. He’d kiss them out of lust any time. That he knew very well.
“So?” she asked.
“I don’t care”, he said and he didn’t. She wanted to know what had hurt him so bad. The old story he had repeated so many times before people who had shown even the slightest of interest in him and his miseries but who like him had never really cared.
She didn’t insist though, which was odd. He was actually expecting her to show more interest than she had or perhaps that was what he secretly wished for. You don’t care he told himself again, and she shouldn’t either.
Both of them were now boarding their separate trains of thoughts. But soon they were interrupted. “A moment of peace inside your head”, he told her, “is too much to ask you know”. She smiled.
They turned around to find the source of the disturbance. A group of hooligans was standing a few feet away from them. They were shouting obscenities, most of which, were directed at him.
He looked at her. She was observing him.
When he did not stir and made it clear that he was not going to respond in any way, she rebuked him.
“Why don’t you respond to them?”
“I am out of credit”, He told her.
“What do you mean?”, she almost shouted, “They are standing right in front of you. What do you need credit for to retaliate against their insults?”
“I have nothing to my credit. A nobody like me has nothing to say to the people who have a lot to say about my character without even knowing me” was his reply.
She looked disappointed. “You are a loser”, she told him and stood up.
She is not very beautiful, he thought. Drawn to her full height and she was still a small awkward figure that leaned heavily towards chubbiness. Shoulder length, rough brown hair, a too prominent nose, and a pair of ordinary eyes always in need of some kohl to avoid looking dead. Ah but those lips, he thought. She was wearing a lilac T-shirt with grey trousers. Her brown leather handbag with the long strap was dangling from her right hand. It took him a few minutes to realize what she was about to do.
He had thought she was walking away from him because he had upset her but she was going over to the villains who were still insulting him.
“Woohooo”, one of them shouted, “So the pimp has sent his girl to defend him.”
He was on his feet now taking long strides to prevent any harm before it would be too late.
By the time, he reached there, it was already too late.
“That is all you got? In a fight, you guys would last even less than you’d do in bed”, she scoffed, “And with your tiny excuses of dicks, that would be what? Microseconds?”
“You bitch”, one of them screamed.
“This bitchy pimp’s girlfriend has more balls than all of you combined”, she retorted coolly, “So scram.”
To his utter disbelief, they did!
At that moment, it hit both of them. She is too strong of a person for a coward like me, he thought. What was I even thinking, she thought, fancying myself in love with a loser like him.
Walking their separate ways, they both decided to live happily ever after.
“Not another triangle”, her mother scowled. The old woman was trying hard to control her anger but was clearly failing at it.
“It tastes perfectly alright”, Zebo protested in a small voice.
“Perfectly?”, her mother’s tone was extremely sarcastic, “Don’t you dare defend this misshapen piece of bread in front of me.” She exhaled and added somewhat sadly, “Girl you are not going to get married easily.”
Zebo knew there was no point in arguing anymore. Her mother’s honey-brown eyes were flashing with anger. She glanced at the grandfather clock that stood in the kitchen. It was 1:30 P.M. Abba would be here any minute, she thought. She grabbed her dupatta, which was hanging on the knob of the kitchen door, and covered herself. She left for her room as Amma stood up from her favorite chair. She would make a new one for Abba, she thought, it would be a perfect sphere.
Zoobia Shahid was among the brightest students in her class. The 14-year-old had only recently learned that world was elliptical. Copernicus and Galileo had faced quite a handful of troubles before the perfectionists finally came to terms with the fact that their beloved earth was not a perfect circle. She didn’t know what kind of sacrifice she would have to make for her parents to appreciate her truly.
“The girl has exceptional talent with words”, her language teachers would tell her parents on every parent-teacher meeting at school. While her Abba looked proud about it, Amman would only frown.
“Let’s go talk to her Home Economics teacher”, she would tell him. Zebo dreaded that very moment since she knew that teacher Zulaikhan would tell her parents about all her mischiefs.
“She shouldn’t be called a girl”, Ms. Zulaikhan would start. Her Abba would look annoyed about it but her Amma would only nod her head in a gesture of understanding and sympathy.
“She is the perfect definition of the word disaster”, her teacher would resume the chiding, “She had cut herself more times while peeling vegetables in the class than politicians tell lies in their entire lifetimes. Recently, she reached new heights after she accidentally set fire to the tablecloth on which she was working. You have no idea what a nightmare it was!”
Her mother would add snippets of her sins too. “She broke a dozen eggs before coming here…”, “You should see what a mess her room is…” and “One day she was playing with her younger brother. This girl had the nerve of using the cover of my new hot pot as a shield while she pretended to safeguard some imaginary kingdom with the rolling pin…”
“Oh, I can totally imagine the horror”, her teacher would gasp in a dramatic way. After a while, they would get bored of talking about Zebo. Then one of them would comment on some fine stitch on the other’s dress and they would enter a fantasy world of their own.
“Women”, Zebo and her father would sigh simultaneously.
Then there was the Rishta parade. Zebo was 100% successful in crushing yet another dream of her mother. The girl had effectively been rejected by a dozen rishrawalas. She deserved bonus points for being rejected for different reasons every single time. Her most popular tactics included revealing to the guests that the amazingly delicious delicacies were not prepared by her as opposed to the claims made by her Amman, sitting improperly, laughing too loudly, and bragging that she could twist her left thumb into an abnormal position. Once she had even told the potential groom’s mother that she might be at the risk of developing breast cancer because of family history. Her Amman had only one breast.
“What’s in the other cup then”, the aunty had asked her jokingly. Zebo had looked at her mother who was glaring at her from the adjacent sofa. “Probably some weapon of mass destruction to destroy my existence”, she had replied.
“There is no way to domesticate this wildflower”, her mother would often say and smile. Apparently, she was wrong because her death did the trick. Her Amman’s other breast had cancerous cells too. However, they were incurable being at the last stage.
Zebo is now a mother of two. You would never find a sphere more perfect in the world than the Rotis she cooks.
Fall, the official season of goodbyes
So let go of your emotions,
Like smoke goes up in the skies.
High and high!
We have had our jokes,
Lets laugh no more.
We have shared our pains,
There is nothing more to gain.
Boon or bane?
Lets forget each other
Forget me, as if I never was,
As if my laughter,
Had never made you pause.
Forgive my intrusion,
In your monotonous routine,
No ripples had there been.
Quiet and silent
Like this fall
Losing every leaf afterall.
Open the book,
Or close it.
Every page is empty.
You are losing a reader,
For I am going away,
On an adventure
That’s a folklore.
But the story will continue for you.
I may not hear it anymore.
And life goes on,
Even after it ends.
Remember my friend,
Legends never end.