She glanced at her reflection as she clasped her ear ring, there was gazing back at her someone she didn’t know existed before! The person in the opposite side of the mirror was just stunning, totally captivating. “Nazm!” She turned with a start! Gazal was standing there catching her breath. She was in a total fix. Nazm was looking beautiful in her golden bridal Sharara. She was ready to place her heavy worked dupatta on her head, all ready to come downstairs for her nikah ceremony. But, little she knew that it wasn’t possible now. Not when…. “Gazal, what happened? Why are you so nervous? Is everything ok?” She knew. She could sense it, something wasn’t right. There was something that was wrong down there. It was her Nikah ceremony, her wedding day. But God knew why, she felt as if there was something really bad that was going to happen.
“They are leaving Nazm, there’s a quarrel happening between Abbu and uncle Mirza.” Hearing this, catching the base of her long bridal dress, she swept downstairs with her sister. If her father was having a fight that too with her would be father in law, there has to be something really big reason for it and she wanted to know it. “Mirza bhai, I am marrying off my dearest daughter to you. Not a spoilt commodity for which I have to give something for you to keep her. I told you before, we aren’t going to give a penny in the name of dowry in my daughter’s marriage. Gifts yes, whatever we think our daughter wants as her wedding gift, we’ll gift her. That too by our own choice and wish, you can’t demand as to how much gold we have to gift to our daughter or how many watches are we gifting her husband?” Her father was in range, she could sense it with his each word he said. “Khan Bhai, we were just asking you, if you would be buying a branded watch for your son in law. If not, we are just suggesting you to give us the cash, we’ll buy it ourselves.” Mirza was very cunning this time. He knew he was standing between a crowd of hundreds. “And asking lakhs for just a watch?” Mr. Khan’s simple sentence said beyond words. “Of course uncle, I love international branded watches.” His son, the groom came forward for his father’s defence. Nazm couldn’t believe it. She could clearly see greed written all over his face. She didn’t believe she chose a man who depended on his bride’s father to buy him his favourite watch. “Oh, so how many international watches do you own now young man?” Phuppo, her aunt came forward and asked in a strict tone. She could see him staggering for words, “Well, aunty, let’s make it simple. Uncle Khan is like my dad now as he’s the father of my life partner. So I can ask him to buy me a good gift for my wedding.”
“And what if I said no! I can’t afford such a gift that’s worth twenty to twenty five lakhs! Then?”
“I know you are joking uncle, after all you know, it’s your daughter’s nikah ceremony today. And if she doesn’t get married on the same day, you know how hard it’s going to be for her in front of the society!” He smiled wickedly.
Zaaatttt! Her palms burned where she had slapped him. She heard the blackmailing words from the stairs, but she couldn’t bear the fear that ran on her abbu’s face when he said such things about her. “You know what, I’ll face the society with pride, that I didn’t marry a greedy, slave of a dowry man! If the society points out to me, I have the guts to answer them, just like I had the guts to convince my dad that you were a good fellow to marry! But, now I know what sort of a rotten man you are!” She chewed each of her word and faced Mirza uncle, “Sorry uncle, but I couldn’t marry your son. The one who depends on my father for his hobbies, I don’t think so he can afford a wife, when he can’t even afford his own needs and demands. It’s better you try to sell him somewhere else, or rather flaunt him off outside some shrine! At least the spectators will give you some pennies to see this dowry beggar and within a decade or so, you can buy him an international watch with that!” She spat at him forgetting all her basic manners. Forgetting she was dressed as a bride, forgetting that she was surrounded by hundreds of people. She just knew he was asking dowry from her dad to marry her, as if… as if assuming she was a load on him, which they were taking from him in return of those money!
“Phew!! That was harsh Nazm!” He came from behind the crowd. With a seriousness of his face that couldn’t be hidden and with a dangerous expression on his face he went straight opposite the groom and said,”Hope you got your message loud and clear man. You don’t need a watch to know your time is over here!” Zeeshan showed him the way towards the gate while the groom just gritted his teeth. He was staring with dangerous hatred towards Nazm but Mr. Khan came in front of her.
“Mirza! My daughters are my pride! I know they are worth of crores. But I won’t ever exchange them with crores to get them their life partners. Your son may be for sale, but we refuse to buy him for some lakhs and in return get a life full of misery for my child thereafter. So, it’s better that you leave now!”
Both the father and son hadn’t expected this kind of humiliation. They were standing stunned staring at the bride’s family when one of the guests from their side came and told them silently,” it’s better that you leave Mirza, if they call the police and get you arrested for asking dowry, you’d pray for your death in jail.” That was when one of the other guests overheard them and called the police for the same, but they have dispersed till then.
After taking the necessary details, the police authorities went in search for the groom’s family. Her father dropped in a chair near the stage. He was looking around with sad eyes, it would have been her daughter’s wedding day, it would have been her happiest day, but what did it turn out to be! If only, he would have inquired better, if only he couldn’t have been blinded by those sweet talks they did in front of him.
Nazm saw her father’s tears. She forgot hers! She went towards him and hugged him,” Abbu, it’s ok! They weren’t good people. Everything would be ok Abbu!” Even phuppo came towards them and assured them it wasn’t anything to worry but her father didn’t utter a word. He just went inside with his head bowed down. She clunged to phuppo and Gazal with silent tears and saw him leaving.
“My baby, it’s ok dear! He wasn’t worth you beta. Good that we knew them before the wedding, otherwise he would have made our lives hell after marriage. I did told bhaijan that…!” She stopped in between then continued,” let it be. You just go and rest, everything happens for a good reason.” She tried letting them go inside, when her father came and told them to stop!
“Apa, can I ask you something?” His face was towards phuppo, “you asked sometime before about Zeeshan’s proposal for Nazm, are you still adamant on that?” Phuppo was glad,”oh yes! You know how much I wanted that Bhaijan”.
He then faced towards Nazm,” I am still not forcing you! You know how much I wanted you to marry Zeeshan but you wanted an engineer and hence you chose Mirzas when it came for marriage. But today, I am asking you once again, would you consider Zeeshan as your husband?”
She was stunned! She didn’t knew what to answer. Suddenly, his face sprang to life on her mind. The 6’2 heighted, tanned skin with strong features. He was all a girl could ask for. What she didn’t like was, he always used to stare her with those deep penetrating eyes. Used to read her mind, say exactly what she was thinking before her and knew her better than herself. They grew up together alright. Phuppo has been staying with them since she got divorced and later when her mom died, she played an important role in their upbringing. She loved her a lot, she never ever missed her own mother because she had Phuppo who loved her so much. As for Zeeshan, she hated the Mr. perfect he was always! Doing everything so well as if to let her down. Irritating her with those hidden poems and sarcastic comments. That was the reason she agreed for the Mirzas instead of Zeeshan saying that she loved engineers more than mere businessmen and for the first time in life she saw him go blank.
And now her father was asking her if she wanted to marry him! After just an hour of her marriage being called off, he was asking her to consider marriage again? “Dad, what’s the hurry now! We can talk about it later.” She tried to dissolve the subject but he wouldn’t budge this time,”this is the right time my girl. It’s not that I am afraid of the society. I just want you to marry the best guy incase if I die. These type of greedy eaters are everywhere, not all the times can you be saved. Hence, I want to see you married. A pair of greedy men can’t destroy your happiest day, can’t let you cry like a widow on your wedding day.”
“It’s better if you ask him first.” She said in a low tone after hearing his views. “I want to know your answer first. According to the shariah, you should be the first one to give the consent for the marriage.” He talked to her calmly.
“All right, if he’s ready for it. I don’t think so he’ll be now ready for the wedding after being rejected the first time.”
“I AM READY !” Came the strong voice from behind. Her heart started beating heavily, ” Ok then Zeeshan, call the Qazi at the earliest!” Abbu was all excited again while her protest of getting this slow down a bit died in herself as Phuppo took her upstairs again.
She caught his eyes as she started climbing those stairs with Phuppo, they didn’t have the hate that she has grown accustomed to catch in them recently. Rather, something different, as if a sea of joy, that was going through beyond that calm face with a soft hill of concern….. and something that she couldn’t guess! May be, because she couldn’t feel it… but just gaze at it numbly… while she climbed the stairs with Phuppo….. she just kept thinking….
Jo hua wo hua, wo hua bhi nahi
Ya’ni jo kuch tha,wo tha bhi nahi
Ek ajab daur-e-haal hai is dil mein
Ya’ni mein bhi nhi aur wo bhi nhi
Lamhon me ab muamla kya hogaya
Dil pe ab kuch guzar raha bhi nahi
Jane ab kaha le chali hai ae zindagi
Mein to khud se kahin gaya bhi nahi!
(Next part coming up this week… let me know if you loved the Urdu poetry and want more romantic ones included in the next part)
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