“Lol! Do you think you can even pick it up Amir? Let it be, it’s not your cup of tea.” The same mocking style, the same sarcasm, she was mocking him like always. Underestimating his capability as a worker, as a man, as a human. She just thought of him as a jerk, as a man good for nothing. Not that he did anything, like just anything that could have proved her wrong. She mocked him for being himself. The thin, boney fellow with a minimum height of 5’3, much lesser than men of his area. The one with voice very soft, not that it was low, but he never felt he needed to scream to show he had a high volume and luck as worst as his reputation amongts others, always on the looser side. That’s what she called him, a looser!
She herself picked up the heavy suitcases one by one and half dragged them, half pushed them and kept them in her room. She has just returned from her hostel after a year, couldn’t be back during the half yearly vacations because she had an important project to submit. She was just given her exams for the last year in medical. As bright as her fair skin and shiny eyes, she was an all rounder, a perfect girl with no negative sides in her. She was tall, say about just his height, was fair, had some amazing beautiful features that could force you to look at her twice, had large brown eyes and was a genius in her studies. So much that she finished her medical studies all through the scholarships the school provided her. Her parents, living in a small chawl, couldn’t have afforded to give their daughter a good education though they themselves wished her to get educated. Hence, even when they have to part with their loving daughter, they still gave her the education she deserved.
Amir missed her badly. He admired her so much. She was the only girl he have loved all his life. She was the secret love of his life. He wanted to tell her that, but he knew she hated him badly. And why not, he was an orphan, the son of her father’s relatives living since childhood with her father and carrying the job of a butcher at her father’s chicken shop. He knew she cringed being anywhere close to her, and it’s not her fault, he was always surrounded by a stingy smell of meat and chickens. Which girl would like to be around him then? But he couldn’t control himself from loving her with all his might. That was why even if she mocked him or insulted him, he never felt bad.
She was looking gorgeous in that pink dress she wore, chewing apples while aunty was busy cutting vegetables for lunch. Amir was staring at her from his room that wasn’t much far from where these two were sitting in the verandah. “What have you thought about your future humaira? You have completed your studies and you are soon going to join the local hospital as a doctor. What do you plan to do after that?” Aunty was asking her casually. “Hmmm nothing much maa, I’ll go on as time goes by. Let see what happens.”she just waved the question away. “Oh no! I was talking about marriage, do you like someone back there at the hostel? We want you to get married as soon as we can beta. After your brother staying away with wife, we really are worried about you.” “I haven’t thought anything about marriage maa, what’s the hurry? And why are you worried about me, I am strong, have stayed alone at hostel for so long and would be earning soon too.” Amir just couldn’t help but hear more intently the conversation going on there. “No beta. It would be really very good if we can marry you with a good man. We really want to see that day. If you don’t like someone already, let me suggest you one, I know if a very good boy who would keep you happy for your whole life.” Aunty have said something that gave amir the shock of his life. How could aunty find someone for Humaira, he thought she knew how much he felt for her and she loved him like his own son.
“Ok maa, let me know who he is, I’ll think about it.” Humaira was ready to drop the subject. “Amir! He’s a good boy, is hard working, works with your father and an honest man. He’ll definitely be the best one for you. Even your father wishes to marry you with him. And what else, he likes you too.” Amir controlled himself from jumping in an giving aunty a tight hug. She was indeed his mother figure. He loved her. He couldn’t have imagined a better way to send his proposal to humaira.
But the next instance he got the worst surprise of his life. “What? How can you even think of this maa? I will never marry that rotten rat, that looser Amir. Don’t you know how he looks? And he’s a son of a cobbler. That too the one who died of begging continuesly. When dad picked him up from road side, he was begging too. And he’s not even continued his study after tenth. So you think I’ll match him and he’ll be a good pair for me? Even if he would have been the last man on the earth, I wouldn’t have married him. He’s a weak, looser. He needs a woman to protect him, he’s so weak.. I wish him dead and to hell.” She stamped her feet and ran away to her room.
That day Amir cried after a long time, after his Baba’s death. He felt as if he was full of dirt and she was an untouched lotus. He already knew how she felt about education deeply, that’s why after she started her studies in hostel seven years back, even he started his private classes from the nearby school and started taking an interest in studies. The money for this he payed from working part time at the nearest garage. He just loved cars and hence, couldn’t help but work around with them as a part time job. For the chicken shop, he did that just for uncle. He knew how much uncle felt for his family business of the chicken shop and they have done so much for him. He just wanted them to know even after their son left them saying that he hated the father’s business and a cheap life, he wouldn’t ever leave their side. And for his looks and weakness, he wishes he could request nature to make him tall, dark and handsome just as she liked. After all, it wasn’t his fault he was the way he looked.
The next morning while having breakfast their eyes met, he actually lowered his gaze feeling hatred he saw in her eyes. He could hear those words again in his ears. She was starting at him with hatred and insult. After aunty went back to her work in kitchen she came and stood in front of Amir, “so you beggar, are you dreaming of marrying me you ugly rat? Do you think you can afford me, or any woman for that matter? So you have in you the husband thing by any chance?” She challenged him openly. “Look at you, you are good for nothing. Just keep in mind, don’t you dare think about marrying me. My parents have kept you as a servant and that’s what you are. You are a cobbler’s son and you are destined to remain on our shoe tips forever. Got that?” She snapped her fingers in front of his eyes. “you can’t ever, never be equal to us, never!” And she left with a pride walk.
Amir was thrashed! He Just couldn’t stay at the same roof with her any more and excused uncle and aunty saying he need to go to a neighbouring town to help a friend in business for some time and left. The insult, the hurt she gave him, he couldn’t just bear it. He left the town and within a week was under severe depression. His friend couldn’t see him like this. “Amir, be brave. Life doesn’t end up after a proud girl and her lashings. There’s so much to it. Come on, show her you aren’t weak, show her your own potentials.” His friend was trying to being him back to life. “She hates me Azar. I can’t bear seeing my own face in mirror. And you know what’s the sad part in this? I am a beggar’s, a cobbler’s son. I am a filthy weak and ugly fellow. I am a good for nothing man. These are all the facts she stated.” He again started weeping badly. His friend saw him, took about his favorite book, copied a quote from there and stucked it on the cupboard door along with a picture of a car.
It was another dreadful day in Amir’s life. He got up and took a look around, bright sunlight was entering in the room and then he read something written on the cupboard, something with that pic of the lovely car.
“You must not let anyone define your limits because of where you come from. Your only limit is your soul.” – Ratatouille
He sat there gazing at it for four hours, then he started rushing, showered, changed in his best clothings, took out a bag and opened it to get an envolup, he touched it lovingly, and repacked it and rushed out to never come back to the old Amir again.
They were all packed up, all their belongings in a small bunch of bags in the varandah. They were just waiting for the owner to come so that they can hand him the keys and leave. Then there was the knock on the door, she opened up just to step back in shock. She wanted to clutch something that can prevent her from falling but he came forward in a stride and took her in his strong arms. Strong arms? How can that be possible. Was she dreaming?
Aunty rushed forward crying and hugged him tight. “Amir, where have you been my son. We have missed you so much. Why did you go away. Its been a year. Look what have happened to us after you went away. Our shop went in loss, everything is sold, even this house is! Our beloved house is also sold. And Humaira’s wedding got cancelled because they knew we were now bankrupt and the hospital deprived her of her job because of a minor fault is some case.” Aunty said it all while weeping and even uncle came forward with teary, silent eyes. He felt ashamed of himself of living them in this condition. And she was there standing aside embarrassed and may be still in shock.
“Don’t worry aunty, you aren’t going anywhere now.” He calmed them down.”But no beta, the new owner is going to come at any minute now, our house is sold off”. Aunty was explaining him when he called the name of the new owner, he was standing outside, he came in. Amir asked him the amount he payed for the house, removed a cheque book from his pocket, signed a single one with the amount and have him back. They were all staring at him when he turned back and then he knew he need to explain.
“My love for cars got me engineering degree I completed when I used to work in the garage. I started drawing good designs and even got a huge offer for some of them. But I didn’t want to leave uncle alone, so I just kept the letter packed in a bag. Then one day, after going from here feeling rejected because of what I was, I read a quote that made me understand my future lies in what action in do, not what my parents did or what I used to be before. Hence, I sold my designs, got working on some more and now I am the highest paid automobile designer in the whole city. I started with sports and mingling with people to forget Humaira but I couldn’t do that. So, I returned to try my luck once again and ask her if she would accept me now, for who I am, accept me for the souls I am not my body”.
Aunty and uncle were so proud of him. Humaira was crying and looked embarrassed too, ” I am sorry Amir, I judged you badly and punished for something you were not guilty of. My own deeds were in front of me when I got rejected because of bankruptcy and the job which I took a great pride on, was snatched away from me. I am sorry and I’ll be honoured to marry you”.