After reacting out of proportion a feeling of regret overwhelmed Khurram.
“How will I restore the lost confidence? “, Khurram quizzed himself.
He felt a strange uneasiness. Weird thoughts began to frequent his mind.
” I should not have reacted the way I did. She has never let me a reason to feel so. I am turning too selfish”, Khurram kept thinking!
He was about to explode when his cell phone rang. Khurram didn’t care in the beginning and let the first call go unanswered.
Again the phone rang. This time Khurram picked up the phone,
“Oh! Faizan is calling “, He exclaimed!
” His brother is getting engaged and he has invited us for a lunch today “, He recalled.
Meanwhile it was heavily raining and it looked very bleak to attend the lunch at Faizans residence.
” Sorry dear. I can’t come. It is raining terribly and there is skeletal transport out on the roads”, Khurram told him.
However Faizan was not ready to listen to Khurrams logic and took a promise from him to have lunch along with the other friends at his residence. Khurram became a little puzzled.
“What to do? ”
Khurram was just pondering over it that Baasit called him over phone and told him to manage till Kunzar. Shahid was coming in his car. Shortly after Imtiyaz too called and gave his accent for his participation. Khurram had the choice now.
It was raining incessantly. It was raining the way it had never before. The elders at Khurrams home turned serious and began to talk about the looming floods. Even the ghost stories began to make rounds!
He gave a slip and reached Kunzar.
There was no one from his friends. The Sky was furious and rain drops fell like fires on the body. Everyone was taking refuge where ever he would find.
A similar thought struck Khurrams mind.
He entered the tea-stall and called for tea. While sipping tea Khurram looked outside. He had never imagined that he would feel scared by rain. Encounter with rain had, otherwise, always been thrilling for him. His preoccupation had shifted. In the early morning, He was obsessed with the guilt he felt while being rude to his friend, he simply adore!
And now the rain was looking furious. There was concern reflecting from every face, sighs and involuntary prayers, while Khurram sipped the tea.
His phone rang and Imtiyaz sought his location. Khurram boarded his car and in the meanwhile Shahid, too, arrived in his car. They left together and Shahid picked Baasit from Dhobivan.
The discussion revolved around the rain and the possible danger at hand. However, Khurram had a reason to feel surprised.
Imtiyaz was listening to (enjoying) the good old songs , he otherwise spurned !
Further, the anticipation of yummy and luscious food shortly lightened their apprehensions. However at the back of Khurrams mind, his rudeness towards his friend was killing him inside. She had just told him not to sit idle and engage in some creative pursuits. Khurram maintained a calm composure, nevertheless.
They reached Magam and were received by Faizan. They met the man of the occasion, Faizans brother, and were served the traditional ‘Kehwa’ . A little chat and they were told to get ready for lunch.
The lunch was served. It was more pleasing to senses than they had anticipated. Meanwhile the sky was pouring down its anger downwards.
They hurried and got ready for departure.
On their return they had a glimpse of the ferocious shape of water. The stream which passes through Magam was swelling with anger.
Imtiyaz dropped Khurram at his home amidst the danger.
And while Khurram returned to his room the early morning fiasco kept haunting him.
” I have to be more reserved now and don’t let my worries and inner tussle be made public”, Khurram was trying to pacify his bewildered person.
In the evening Khurram had a small chat with her. It seemed as if everything had changed.
“The friend with whom I felt free to give vent to my feelings. A friend who turned to be a reason….. A friend with whom I wanted to script my destiny”.
“Oh God! She is becoming a history for me now “.
Khurram felt a metamorphosis. Khurram didn’t sleep well that night. However in the last quarter of that night Khurram had her in his dream.
A satisfaction descended upon him.
“Yes I had overreacted. I have perhaps not swallowed the fact of her eventual departure from me. My heart is still not ready to look beyond Her”.
Khurram was in a predicament. He had to make the choice. Over the years, Khurram had nurtured an intense longing for Her. He had, nevertheless, learned a blink of sacrifice.
“you have to sacrifice your longing! Khurram “, Khurram addressed himself.
His throat felt parched with this very thought. The whole day He wavered between one extreme and the other.
It should not have been so difficult.
” I am unable to bear this agony”, Khurram said so sobbingly but silently!
Meanwhile the social media became abuzz with the emerging floods. More than 60 people who had accompanied a groom were washed away in Rajouri in the flash floods.
Again, Khurram had a little chat with her that evening. But a feeling descended upon Khurram that She is more happy without him .
“I only turn a reason for a shift in her mood towards feeling perturbed”.
“I should rein in myself and try to learn ethics. Be more mature “.
Khurram decided to tender apology from her the next day. It was Friday.
Saturday saw South Kashmir submerged. Radio Kashmir was broadcasting live the happenings across Kashmir. The social media was overwhelmed with the desperate calls for help and rescue.
In the evening the chief engineer came live on radio. When he mentioned about the devastation in the villages of South Kashmir, Khurram became afraid for his friend namely Mustafa . He dialled his number several times but to no avail.
Kurram called Mohsin (his another friend) and enquired about the safety of Mustafa.
“Oh My Lord! Shazia (Mohsins fiancée) and her family are in serious danger. Help and save them. And also save Mustafa”, Khurram felt desperate.
But to the surprise’ of Khurram she visited him in his dream again even though, at least, that night Khurram had no reason to host her in his dream!
The predicament of Mustafa and Shazia had overwhelmed Khurram while he had fallen asleep.
Next day was Sunday.
And it turned out to be the most disturbing in the evolving scenario. The anchors in the live programme on radio Kashmir could be heard trembling. And when Taahir, one of the anchors, left the studio midway to save his children only to find himself trapped enroute his home, one could have an idea of the urgency of the situation.
Mohammad Afaan,the chief anchor, made repeated requests to save his friend and colleague. So did he with regard to others.
And then when Mohammad Afaan bid goodbye to his listeners, the panic increased. There was a terrifying silence. Meanwhile rumours kept circulating about the devastation the floods were causing.
“Two stories or more are submerged, O My Lord”!
Khurram could only sigh.
Khurram began worrying about her. His concern for South Kashmir friends was overshadowed by her well-being. Khurram started dialling her number.
No! It didn’t work.
He sent her a few messages but to no avail.
There was an increased palpitation. But He had to keep his composure intact.
Suddenly Khurram heard a rescue team had left to evacuate the stranded labours of his native village in Bemina, Srinagar. He started dialling the number of Umar, his relative, and one of the members of the rescue team, but Khurram found it only out of reach. Back home in his native village, Lalpora, the water level was increasing monstrously and so the wailing of women and sighs of the old folks was quite natural.
Tension mounted with each passing moment. All sorts of rumours kept circulating. There was no information about the rescue team of Lalpora . Meanwhile evening descended. The elders, especially those whose kiths and kins had left for Bemina, were a worried lot. A few began to narrate the ghost stories!
Khurram had never seen the panic of this magnitude. Even those who otherwise were very strong began to faint. At the back of the mind, nevertheless, Khurram was concerned about her and a number of weird thoughts frequented his cranium.
“When shall we meet and talk again”?
“I have to apologize her”.
It went on.
Khurram would flip through the conversations he had with her.
” Can I be back at my best”?
Khurram quizzed himself!
In the end all he could manage were a few words,
“My lord have mercy on us. Keep her and all those who left Lalpora in your protection. Keep everyone safe”.
There was an uneasy calm. Khurram had a reason to be more disturbed. His close relative was a part of the rescue team.
It was 11 pm that the two tippers arrived. The rescue team arrived with the stranded labours.
There were hugs. They had a reason to celebrate.
After hearing about the flood fury, Khurram asked his relative, “Is Maisuma, Srinagar safe”?
” What are you saying. It is deluge in Srinagar “, was his reply.
Khurram murmured a few words.
Even though the mobile networks had almost ceased to function, still Khurram dialled her number a number of times.
He couldn’t tell anybody his predicament.
The natives of Lalpora didn’t sleep that night as water level was increasing every hour. There was red alert declared.
Next morning, the natives had to keep themselves busy with evacuating their fellow people in and around Lalpora.
The scenes are beyond the scope of description.
The day passed off. There was no news from Srinagar. A few rumours made people believe that thousands have died.
“How could I get to know about her”? Khurram felt choked inside.
Next day water level came down in Lalpora and so many people left for the different parts of Srinagar.
Khurram insisted, against the initial plan of other accompanying people, that they will visit Maisuma.
They drove towards Maisuma.
There was destruction everywhere.
Khurram could well imagine the trouble she would be in.
But there was a silver lining.
Khurram talked to a few people there who were confident in their assertion that there was no major human loss.
A sigh of relief!
A tender smile!
Meanwhile a few boats were roving on the waters and Khurram only fumed at not knowing her exact place of residence.
“This was a close call. I could have reached and get to know about her”, Khurram said to himself.
Alas! It didn’t happen.
Nevertheless Khurram enquired about the water level and the condition of people in her area.
On hearing the reply, He felt a little contended.
Another day passed.
Khurram could not believe himself. His mind and heart were fixed on her. Apparently he would feel strong but inside he was dying to hear from her.
“What kinda feeling this is? What sort of relationship I have with her? It is much more than loving her “. Khurram was lost in her bewitching and captivating persona.
His only solace was seeking the mercy of Lord.
” O Lord, keep her and her family in your protection “.
His finger always strolled on her number.
The next day there was some sort of network in his cell phone. His first reaction was getting excited.
” I am very close to reaching her now “!
Khurram started dialling her number. Alas! His efforts proved a failure.
He then sent a number of messages but He again had to embrace disappointment.
There was dejection and despair.
Khurrams heart was brimming with an intense longing to see her again.
He started murmuring,
“My dear, I have been rude to you. I have been very indecent. I have reacted often out of proportion. But the love and care I have for you is unfathomable! All I want at this time is to get in touch with you “!
Perhaps it was the biggest ordeal of his life. His longest wait!
There was a strange stirring beneath the physical appearance of Khurram. He looked upwards and would find the stars tumbling upon him.
There was desperation. There was distress. He was growing mad. The irony with Khurram was that he couldn’t tell anyone his predicament.
“let no one encounter the ordeal of this kind”, he sighed.
The feeling was indeed overwhelming. Khurram kept dialing her number. Upon being asked by the onlookers, He would answer that he was trying to reach out to his relatives and friends. Yes Khurram made a few calls to them also.
Finally Khurram had a call from her but he missed it. He fainted in excitement. Weird thoughts came in his mind as he had missed her call. Khurram began calling her but to no avail which enhanced his frustration manifold.
He kept calling her till late night and it continued the next day. While Khurram failed in his attempt to reach her via phone, He began checking the figures.
Yes. Khurram had dialled her number more than 800 times in less than three days!
His eyes finally twinkled when he had her SMS. A relieved mind and a soothing soul, Khurram could experience. A feeling consolidated deep within that she was fine.
Soon Khurram managed to talk to her over phone. It was altogether a different feeling. A bliss!
And then when Khurram returned to normal state of mind, his heart tried to intrude again his conscience.
“Why can’t you be only mine, my dear”?
“I am caught in muck. I can’t afford to stay away from you. The very thought of losing you is terrifying. ”
Yes, very soon she is heading for her conjugal journey with the prince charming but Khurram has the faith that she will always press her delicate hands in service to steer him towards stability!
Mohd Zubair Ud Din