“But Amma, I don’t want to get married!” Sahiba was loud enough this time, daring to reach her whole community.
“Hush! Your Abba is sitting in the next room with some of his well reputed friends! Are you left with any sense at all?” Nusrat tried to curb down Sahiba. But, as a regular rule, no one could dominate her without proper logical analysis backing up their very own points.
Sahiba stood straight and looked at the dull tired eyes of her mother. Nusrat was in her forties; but the family burden had taken its toll on her miserably. Her hands trembled all the time due to some severe nervous tension. Diabetes, hypertension – Nusrat was not exempted from a single lifestyle disorder. While Khursheed was busy with his outer attachments; political conventions, business and Moulabi meetings, Nusrat was in charge of all the household odds and upbringing of her seven children. Sahiba is the youngest of the lot. She is the only daughter of Murtaza family as well. Unfortunately, that had not showered any mercy upon the poor girl. She was merely seventeen. Khursheed had planned to get her married in a year’s time.
Sahiba hugged her mother tightly. “Have you peeped into the outer world Amma, ever? It’s so blissful! Every time, I look at the same from the terrace at midnight; I feel the enchantment of this Great Universe. Amma! I want to see this world; I want to be enlightened! Why it is that women are meant to be the marriage material only! Why can’t we be the Pirs, Fakirs? Why only men can enjoy being Absolute! Aren’t we their ‘Better Halves’ – better than them in all aspects! Allah has imbibed his secret of Creation in our bodies only! That’s why, We reproduce! We give birth! And then, we recluse in oblivion! Why? No Amma, I cannot push myself into these age old systems. I am not against marriage; it is just that I am yet not ready for the same! Let me explore the possibilities – then only, I can let you know, whether I will be Really interested to play the cards of this matrimonial alliance. Let me be the Saint first; then only I can gulp the fruits of this conjugal life!”
Nusrat embraced her progeny affectionately. She herself felt the trauma and the fury of her young lass. Her voice trembled as she tried to gather her thoughts to console Sahiba. “ Beta, I completely understand your points; not because, I am your mother; but being a Woman myself! Even I questioned my family’s decision of my getting married. But, now, you can see, how happy I am with you all! Marriage helps you to have your own blood line! Isn’t that the enough reason for tying the knot?”
Sahiba took a deep breath and sat across the old ridden armchair. “Look at the mirror Amma? Are you really content? Yes, of course! Your happiness is showing in your premature ageing! I can’t remember any account in my recent past where you have smiled, laughed, danced, and enjoyed! All the day, either you are busy managing your household, or you are sitting at this chair gloomily sewing a new sweater for Abba or Bhaijan! Amma, have you ever sewed even a handkerchief for me? You haven’t – as I am your daughter. I hope, you won’t deny this!”
Khursheed overheard bits of the conversation on his way to the Prayer Room. He entered gloomily. Sahiba and Nusrat turned pale in agony and fear! Khursheed looked at both of them hastily, then declared,” Sahiba, pack up your bags. Get ready for your Sainthood my little Enlightened One!”
Nusrat still sits on her worn off Armchair. She has bought lavender woollen fibre to sew a lovely outfit for Sahiba. She has locked herself in her daughter’s room and stopped communicating with anyone else. She only waits for her daughter whom she now realises to be the dearest of all. At nights, the falling stars blinks tenderly; caressing her womb, her motherhood.
Sahiba smiles gracefully while attaining her eternal bliss!