"Baba uthain na baba! apni ankhein tw kholain!!" she cried wholeheartedly in front of the lying corpse.
Papa wake up! open your eyes!!
"Amma dekhain na!! baba ko jagayein!! baba uth jayein gey! Please wake him up," she turned towards her mother who looked almost lifeless showing her state of stupor.
Mama look at him!! wake him up!! he will wake up
"BABA!! MERAY BABA!! MJEY AKELAY NA CHORAIN! MEIN AP K BEGHAIR KIA KRU GI??" Her eyes were red and her whole form was shaking with her sobs.
Papa, my papa, don't leave me alone. What I'll do without you?
The whole room was filled with her desperate pleas and cries. Last night, she had dinner with her father and in the morning he was no more. He died due to a heart attack, The reason for his heart attack was the constant stress and hypertension which increased the blood pressure and eventually myocardial infarction.
"It's time for the janaza" her cousin, Daniyal spoke from behind which made her cling to his father's dead body like her life was dependent on it.
"No!! No! He is alive!! No!! I won't let him go! Please don't take him!!" Her aunt moved forward to help her to get off of her father's body and with full resistance she finally moved and hugged her aunt tightly and cried on her shoulders.
The men in the house took the janaza and headed for the graveyard while she cried and cried till her tears died down. Her mother couldn't seem to get out of the trauma and immediately locked herself in the room after all the guests left which came for the funeral. She took sleeping pills to escape reality, leaving her only daughter on herself.
It was noon but Zahra still has locked herself in her room. She could not accept the fact that his father is no more. The bitter reality was eating her from inside deepening the hollow pit in her heart in which she was encaged for the last 5 years. Her parents were all she had. That doesn't matter to her that they were poor but she only craved happiness and attention from her parents. And after her father's death, she only wanted to die along with him. She had no wish to live. She was so connected with her father and always tried to do anything to make him happy. She always looked up to him and wanted to be like him. A man full of self respect and dignity who would do anything for his family.
She was just thinking about the memories she had created with her father and that made a fit of sobs hit her hard. And big sobs raked her whole form and she was a crying mess now. A knock on the door ceased her sobbing and diverted her attention. She only wished her father is knocking on the door.
"koun hai?" she asked in her heavy voice which was all hoarse due to crying.
Who is there
Its me, Daniyal
"Daniyal," she whispered.
On realizing he stood there, she immediately stood up and ran towards the door, unlocked it, and gave Daniyal a bone-crushing hug. Her emotions took a toll and she started to cry wholeheartedly on his shoulder. He was left bewildered, it was the first time, her love had hugged her or touched her. Nonetheless, he patted her back to soothe her. His heart wrenched on seeing her vulnerable state.
Daniyal was her cousin by her mother's side and they both deeply loved each other. When her parents were working hard to earn money he was always there to dismiss her loneliness and gave her the best company ever and since then they both realized they were in love and their relationship begin. He was the only man whom Zahra trusted other than her father. Despite being in a relationship, Zahra didn't permit him ever not to touch her in any way neither she allowed him to even hold her hand.
"Shhh Zahra sab thk ho jaye ga. Don't cry." Daniyal said soothingly.
Shhh Zahra, everything will be fine
"mein kesay na rou, meray baba chalay gaye mje akela chor kar." With that, her sobbing renewed.
How come I don't cry? My father left me leaving me all alone
"mein hu na Zahra, mein hu tmharey saath aur hamesha rahun ga"
I am with you Zahra and always will be by your side
"mje kabhi mat chorna Daniyal mein tmhare beghair nahi jee sakti" Zahra said. "Promise me you'll never leave me"
Never leave me alone Daniyal I cannot live without you
"I promise, I swear on my life I will never leave you but first relax and calm down. Please stop crying Zahra, my love" Daniyal cooed her.
"Ehm Ehm" someone faked cough as a gesture to make their presence known.
Zahra lifted her eyes and saw Shoaib Bhai, the elder brother of Daniyal standing there. She immediately left Daniyal's shoulder and reached for her dupatta which was on bed inside the room.
"Assalam Alaikum Shoaib Bhai," She said in her heavy voice, and her eyes cast to the floor. Anyone could easily say she was nervous.
"Wa alaikum salam." He turned to Daniyal, "Daniyal ammi
is calling you downstairs. Go now"
Daniyal nodded and headed downstairs. Zahra on noticing that she'll be alone with Shoaib immediately tried to follow Daniyal and when she walked past Shoaib, he abruptly grabbed her elbow and whiffed in her fragrance to intimidate her. Zahra forcefully let her hand go of him and ran downstairs. While he only smirked as he has won something.
She was facing this harassment for the last 5 years. Whenever she went to her aunt's place his eldest son, Shoaib would harass her. But she kept quiet because she thought at the end she will be accused of a bad character. Moreover, her parents used to be too busy to give her any time and they lost her trust. She became hesitant about telling anything to her parents and they were also covered in heaps of works to note any changes in her daughter. Zahra noticed that her parents were overburdened on something so she does not want to increase their burden and henceforth kept quiet.
And for the last 5 years, continuous harassment and her parent's negligence made her nature introverted. She no longer was an extrovert girl who wanted to live her life to the fullest. A feeling of dread always crept over her nerves whenever any male was around. She did not trust anyone easily especially men. The harassment led her mind to create a haunting perception about men in her mind and she always tried to get away when any unfamiliar person was around her. She judged all men with the same eye. The eye that was born as a result of the harassment.
Regarding males, she only trusted her father and Daniyal.
"Amarra sab thk ho jaye ga, Allah par bharosa rakho"
Amarra everything will be fine, have faith in Allah
Right now, they were sitting in the drawing-room and her aunt was sitting beside her mother and was consoling her.
"Neelam, sab thk kaise hoga akhir? mein apnay mujtaba k beghair kia kru gi? mein tw uss k beghair kuch nahi kar pao gi." Her mother cried on her sister's shoulder.
Neelam, How will everything be alright? What will I do without my Mujtaba? I will not be able to do anything without him
"Allah par bharosa rakho. Sabar Karo." Neelam consoled her sister.
Believe in Allah. Be patient
Zahra came and sat beside her mother on the couch to comfort her but tears again brimmed in her eyes making a sharp pain in her nose indicating she is on verge of crying, at last, she couldn't hold her emotions and salty tears cascaded down her eyes soaking her cheeks. She only wanted to be strong at least in front of her mother but her emotions could not seem to get in control.
Her father was her life and she never once thought what her life would be without her father. The mere thought of it always made her depressed but now her life took the biggest turn leaving her in a blind alley. Currently, she had no goal nor any will to live. And she was praying for her death in order to meet her father.
"Ammi, please stop crying," she beseeched, while she herself was crying her eyes out.
Her mother laid her head on her lap and gently caressed her long brown locks to ease her. But Zahra didn't have it and begin to cry out loudly. Her body shuddered with big sobs flushing her face red. She cried her heart out on her mother's lap and at last sleep engrossed her.
Her eyes fluttered open and she found herself in her room. Her head was aching so bad while her whole face seemed to be frozen. Then reality hit her hard and what she thought was a dream happened, her father was no more with her. Before her emotions could control her, she heard unfamiliar voices coming from downstairs. She thought that they must be the people who came for condolences but their voices and the vicious way with which they were talking tell another story.
She grabbed her dupatta and headed downstairs. She was halfway through the staircase when she could hear them.
"We want the rest of our money back," a goony voice demanded.
"How could we even give back this much money when you know that all we have is this house. Why don't you go and ask Asim?" the desperate voice of her mother had her eyes widened. She didn't know what was happening and what money were they asking for.
"Asim told us that you have the money and all the papers had Mujtaba Shabbir Syed name, not Asim's" another voice snapped.
"Asim made us sign those papers we only demanded 1 million not 20 million, which we ourselves know we are not able to pay."
"We don't care our boss only wants the money and it's up to you to pay back us our money in the given time"
"How could we gather this big amount of money, it will almost take a lifetime to pay back the rest. For the last 5 years, we made all possible efforts but it is next to impossible to gather this much money in such a short span which you are asking"
"Either you give us this house or return our money" After hearing this Zahra was left bewildered and immediately ran toward the TV lounge, from where the voices were coming. She was hysterical at the moment and didn't care about the outcome. She only did what she wanted and what she wanted was for those people to leave her house, immediately.
"NO!! LEAVE US AND OUR HOUSE NOW!" she shouted frantically.
All the heads immediately turned towards her. Her mother, her aunt, Shoaib, and Daniyal were there. Those two goons eyed her lustily and exchanged glances with each other showing that a mischievous plan hit them.
"Zahra, go inside" Daniyal seethed after noticing those two men exchanging glances.
"NOW!" he boomed. Zahra jumped but didn't back off.
"First ask them to leave our house. NOW!" she said with the same intensity.
"Let's make a deal," one of those men suddenly said.
"What deal?" Shoaib asked.
"Either you give us this house," he looked around.
"Or what?" Neelam challenged.
The men looked at her then at Zahra,
"or hand over this girl to us"
Everyone visibly gasped out of shock.
"Now it's up to you what you would like us to give"
"Take this house but don't dare to even look at my daughter. I will claw your eyes out." Amarra deadpanned looking straight in their eyes.
"Two days," he raised his two fingers, "we give you only two days to leave this place." and with that those two men left the house.
Zahra was traumatized, it was a thunderbolt for her. She never knew such inhumanity exists. She stood baffled at her place for good two minutes. But her aunt's question took her out of her trauma and now she was anxious.
"Where will you go, Amarra?" Neelam asked.
"You can stay at our house, khala," Shoaib said.
Zahra knew the hidden motive behind his suggestion. He only wanted to be close to her so that he could easily do whatever he wanted to do with her.
"But I think Waqas won't allow it. You can stay at our place for a week, for a month even I want you to stay for the whole life but still omer-" Amarra voice cut shot her sentence.
Waqas was Neelam's husband. He was a very greedy person and a penny pincher and if he let Ammara and Zahra live in his house he definitely will humiliate them on every step they take and Amarra knew that.
"I know where we will go," Ammara told.