The Sunflower Girl (novel)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
Love has not yet defined in its perfect way. It's different to different people. Safety and security for a woman is necessary. But, as a human being and as an intellectual creature, there should be some rules and regulations to each genders in life.
Here, the author himself is attracted to a girl from his cousins marriage function. He realizes that she was both deaf and dumb. She falls in love with him.

Submitted: October 04, 2016

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Submitted: October 04, 2016

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PREFACE

This is not what I really wished to happen. It always is like that. Everything in life turns against us at a moment or all the time and finally, within a second, changes the climax of it. Most lives end happily in novels. But only a few ends in tragedy. Most stories are either from the reality and then stirred up by the writer, or the same true story without a good perfect ending. Life is very simple, and it doesn’t have a meaning without any difficulties. Every succeeded man has his own stories to share. But this new generation never listens to the wise. They end up in all dangers. In the case of women freedom, they argued a lot to get to the streets and fight for labor and equality. The religions protested against them, and they were right. Girls are not willed to go out and work. Instead be protective under their men’s arms. Unfortunately, as said before, neglecting the commands of wise men, they swirled in to the streets and end up in dangerous situations. Not all of them, but still, they should be in alert. Islam, Christianity and Hinduism taught morality and struggled to keep their sisters safe. They don’t still realize it. This is not just a story to read or enjoy. This one contains love, fear and humiliation, happened in Southern India. Life was beautiful for Sumayya Khalid, a poor girl from Mangalore, Karnataka. She was both dumb and deaf since birth. She had two elder sisters, Sufaida and Saadiya. Sufaida, the eldest was neither deaf nor dumb, but Saadiya was. Their father died when Sumayya was young. Their mother, Shahina, works in a textile shop nearby town. Once Sumayya passed her 10th , she ended her education. She doesn’t know the complete basic rules and regulations of her religion, Islam. And so, she doesn’t care about it too. She had no chance to go to Madrassa (Islamic school). You would think this is just about spreading Islamic light in your head. Not for real. Think like a genius. This is just to awaken girls who only learn from their feminist parents and preachers. And also, Islam is never an anti-feminist religion. It always turns safe buttons on women in every aspect of life. People misread the situations and all scriptures of every religion. Certain things are not mentioned for women and that’s always against female nature. Even though Sumayya was physically challenged, she is a good beautician. She gets invited to several marriages to make up the bride. Then she gets paid. And one day she got invited to her best friend’s marriage to make up her too.

*****

I. The Camera

“Kadija” the bride’s mother called her down stairs.

“Wow! Hi Sumayya, long time no see?” She stupidly asked her.

‘What?’ Sumayya was confused, she didn’t get her. Kadija gestured some signs to see if she was having a good time. Sumayya nodded. The house was not jammed with relatives, but her cousins and their grandma have come from Kerala. They were staying upstairs. Many relatives came visiting the bride. Now, let them see the bride. We can go upstairs. Here are our people from Kerala, two boys and a grandma, sitting on the bed. The younger boy, Anwar, is almost 20 and the other, Najeeb, is 24. I’m Anwar. And this is my brother. We both came to not just attend but to turn up this marriage. The number of relatives has increased down stairs, and the beautician has begun her work. She’s not allowing anyone to touch the bride. She wants her completely. Kadija’s dad brought her a Digital SLR camera. We brothers are gonna handle it “without care” this week. But my brother will return to his college tonight. So, Imma be the camera man. We went down to capture the event. Najeeb went in the bride’s room and started flashing lights.

“Anwar, come here. Go to the street and see if the bus has come” Kadija’s dad called me out.

“Ok, where are the keys?”

“What keys? No. Not the bike. Walk. It’s not too far.” I always wanted to ride the bike, whether it is near or far. I walked down the path and saw the tourist bus.

“Ya, it’s here”

“Hurry everyone, the bus is here!” All the people began flowing toward the bus. I was still holding the camera bag with me, so as to get hold of the camera.

“Anwar, here’s the key, you come by the bike” Hah, He gave me the keys and left.

“Follow us or the bus” Kadija’s uncle said. He’s gonna drive the bride’s car. Kadija came out of the house along with her mom, dad and aunts. She was completely wrapped with gold ornaments and way it weights too much for her. She walked bending towards the car smiling shyly. My brother didn’t take away his thumb from the shoot button. He was much excited to have that cam than his cousin’s marriage. The beautician was waiting outside the house for us to leave. She was wearing a- red and blue flowers-Churidar. She stood away from the camera until Najeeb asked Kadija…

“Why is she not coming?”

“She wants to change her dress. She will come later” She said and got on the back seat.

“How come she not come?” Najeeb repeated.

“She will…..” I think she must’ve used an ‘F’ word there. But, who cares? Suhaib, Kadija’s cousin, brought some flower garlands for the couples to wear after Nikah. I kept it in the front of the bike and everyone moved to the Unity Hall.

*****

I don’t realize why these people spend lots of money on marriages. There are lots of poor people living in the neighborhood. Most of the marriages in India cross the limits of luxury and waste a lot on their “only daughter” or “only son”. I don’t think they believe in the national Anthem or pledge, where every people become their brothers and sisters. I’m not blaming mere marriages. There are politicians who pledge to recover their wealth from people. They respect every single voter before every election and alienate them when they achieve what they wished for. If this changes, whether it is the succession of a Ram Rajy or a well bribing country, every step of an Indian will elevate the value of rupee.

*****

Too much traffic and a paused bridge work in the middle of the city made time go easier. I was following the bus and the garlands started to get covered with dust. Somehow, the Unity Hall appeared before us within minutes. The parking area was full of cars. I parked a little closer to the building and gave the garlands to a relative. A coffee stand was kept on a table outside. I took a sip and “YUK”, “What the hell is this?” It was so bitter. I threw it away. The front looked real nasty because of the dust and the dirt. There was a throne established near the entrance for the groom. Ladies were climbing the stairs up. The hall was so decorated with flowers and lights. The stage shows the luxury of the marriage. There was an LED screen lighting the names of the couple. I walked across the aisle to the front. My brother got up on the stage and gestured me to get up there too. A lot of men were adjusting their chairs behind the ceremonial desk. The Mangalore Qazi will soon arrive. The groom was in the green room behind the stage. Najeeb went inside there and flashed a little. In time, the Qazi arrived and the ceremony began. Two other photographers from the spouse’s family were on the other side of the stage. Flashes began lighting the area when Kadija’s dad and Nisar, the groom, sat on their chairs facing each other, and in between them, the Qazi. A muezzin (the one who calls for prayers) called out some hymns and the Nikah was about to begin. Ladies in the first floor were gazing eagerly to watch the event. Every face glittered happiness. Two huge families are gonna be one. The bond of relationship is about to be connected and blended. The Qazi took the microphone and held both Nisar’s and Kadija’s dad’s hands. “Qabilthu Nikkahaha…” The only Arabic words I clearly understood. The speaker was squeaky. He has accepted her in advance for the Mahr. It’s quite an advance, a proof for the marriage. And then began the prayer. Everybody called out “Amen” to the Qazi’s prayer except me and the photographers. They stood focusing on heads, hands and sideways of the people on and off the stage. I saw many black dresses on the first floor raise their hands too. “Groom’s relatives shall go to the left door” A man shouted suddenly after the Prayer. But everybody was so anxious to hug the groom and wish him. I too waited in the line to embrace and say “I’m Kadija’s cousin”. Unfortunately, the crowd was rushing in to Nisar. Soon, I too got the chance, but didn’t tell him who I was. Everyone assumed me as the camera man. My uncle came to me and we went to the right, the breakfast session. Mutton Biryani, curd and fried chicken were served on every table. I had my ‘lunch’ there. It was so sweet how they served us. But the time I heard about the expense of just the food section, I was out of words. “What, nine lakhs?” Why should they spend much money on just the food? Many questions wandered through my head unwilling to express. There were not more than 500 people including the children and this is what they eat?

Najeeb came to me and handed over the camera. Now it’s my time. I rushed to the entrance and began clicking the shoot button. The throne, the stairs, the cars parked outside, the kids, the visitors, the watchman, the coffee stand, the hall and everything I could get reach of inside the frame. It’s 32GB SD card and the battery is full. So, there’s nothing to worry about. Nisar was approaching the throne and his photographers came along too. I began my duty as a photographer. They stood parallel to me and took photos. Suddenly, my uncle told me to go upstairs and capture the women. So thrilled, I moved upstairs. That’s when Bruno Mars sang in my head “Beautiful girls all over the world. I would be chasing but my time would be wasting” Everyone’s fine looking. For a moment, I thought I was in a red carpet. Then I saw a girl made up to show her beauty. I could see the powder spread tardily all over her eyebrows too. She is trying to show something she is not – so pity. The first floor was also decorated with flowers and a small stage with two thrones on it. Kadija was sitting there. The other one’s for Nisar. He’ll come join her soon. Women were coming and whispering something to Kadija and she smiles every time they laugh. That’s too dramatic for her. An old woman came to her and held her Mahr and started asking several questions. She was in no mood to answer them but just said something. She told me all these later that night. The overlay of the mini stage was so astonishing. Yellow and orange flowers hanged from one edge to the other and on both sides of the stage stood two pots of sunflowers. Here, it’s worth a shot, to ensnare a bird. Many songs played emotionally with the beats in my head. The devil inside tried to pull me down. But my angel awakened me when I see my relatives. Kadija’s friends stood next to her for me. I captured as many as I could in different poses. Hours passed, many girls and women stood near her and I flashed some. The groom’s gonna be here in any minute. “Lunch time” The announcement was in Kannada language. I didn’t really get it until my aunt translated it to me.

*****

II. The Sunflower

I was tired of standing still and capturing several photos of unknown faces. I looked for a chair to take a break. Granny’s sister gave me a seat beside her. Not that I just sat, a sunflower arose from behind the flower pots. She was looking at me constantly. Her hair was in the air. A slim curved beautiful fairy in an orange salwar smiled at me over and over. I thought ‘why should anyone stare at me like this?’ I’m just a photographer to her. She doesn’t know me. I smiled back and wondered if I could impress her. That’s when she gestured me to take a picture of her with Kadija. All the enthusiasm vanished within a second. Uh, just for a picture. Why all these smiling and shy? She was smiling all the way to the stage. Her crimson lips kept striking my heart. Every time she posed as a model and Kadija answering questions like a student. An old lady came close to her and stared at the necklaces. I thought she may want some. But she raised one of the bigger ones and showed it to the crowd. “What the heck is she doing?” I took a pic of that too. Matter fact, they weren’t asking about the bride but the gold. They were glaring at the jewelry.

Meanwhile, the beautician was reaching out her eyes at me for something. She waved her hands. Taming me? She was holding a sunflower. When I saw her, she placed the flower on her left ear and gestured me to take a photo after a while. I nodded and then she smiled again. I got a feeling that she might be a kind of an unconscious girl. There was a huge crowd in the hall consisting about 500 people. My cell phone was vibrating as she vanished among the conference. Najeeb came upstairs to me suddenly. He wasn’t looking at me while he was talking to me. He borrowed my cell phone and got away with it quickly. Kadija called me close to her.

“Do you know why he came here?”

“I was thinking about it. Is there any crush of his?” I smiled.

“Yeah, it’s Shamla. She is a friend of mine”

“Then why doesn’t he show up?”

“He is too shy” We laughed. Literally, it was tiny gossiping. She was a pretty white and religious girl. No make ups and show offs. I saw her there. A pure Muslim woman dressed in her protective Hijab. My brother saw her before in a photo and he was stuck with her. But, with all these merits of hers, she won’t fall for him. That’s a hundred percent sure.

*****

Girls should be like this. They should be very protective of themselves. Where ever we go, we will be able to see women dressed like they don’t even have any in their closets. Every religion preaches women to cover them completely, because they are the mothers of the society. They must be aware about others seeing their naked parts. Whoever ignores the truth, are the majority. Behind the sheets of development and feminism, most of the women are being cheated and mislead to danger. Critics may argue the safety women celebrate now-a-days. That is not “safety”. Those are steps misleading to harassment. There are certain things females are limited to do. Not all things men do are also able for women. Men are assigned to work and protect his women and children. Women are assigned to have kids and shed the light of happiness in the society through their men. Islam teaches the right thing for their wellness. A girl should not trespass any rules her groom has instructed her. If she does so, she won’t be able to achieve peace in her life. This is not a threatening to the women society. But a mere understanding can balance the serenity in the atmosphere. Feminism began when a few started to think out of the line. They failed to maintain the closeness to men. As nature can’t constantly be tranquil when people like animals live, they must have been mistreating their women. Hurting and harassing every moment they slip an inch. Men and women are both responsible for today’s women revelry. Judy Brady and Virginia Wolf stated many issues to conquer the male world. There was a massive explosion of women freedom all over the world. When the two phases of feminism passed, there were many female activists to come along with subjects like women job possibilities, politics, and finance.

*****

The groom had his lunch and is ready to go upstairs. I rushed upward and waited. Meanwhile, Kadija’s friends asked me to capture them with her again. Kadija’s younger sister, Maryam, asked my cell phone. She went to her friends and took selfies. I went to the balcony and took pictures of the parked cars and the people hanging around. Kadija’s younger uncles came and posed for some clicks. Whistles and howling sounds announced Nisar’s arrival. Men came first and placed some firecrackers in front of the stage. Party lights flashed the hall and ribbons lay down the floor. Nisar stepped every steps with flashes following him, back and front. I stood at the top and he was slowly stepping upstairs. The crowd screamed whistles as he stepped on the stage. The firecrackers blew aloud. There were a lot of sprayings and color powders in the air. I suffocated and covered my nose still capturing pictures with one hand. After a while, the crowd fell in to silence. My face was covered with glitter, not just mine, and everyone’s. The camera men were standing in front of the stage and me too. I stepped forward. We raced taking the least we could capture within that time. After all the craziness, Nisar made his way back to his home. I was hanging around with Kadija’s uncles on the balcony. They took my pictures. Nobody has taken my photo until I plead them to. “Oh no, the girl” the sunflower girl flashed in my mind and I suddenly rushed with the camera. She was sitting lonely in the corner of the hall holding the flower. Cute little fairy alike, I saw her crimson face when she saw me. Soon as I was about to take her picture, Maryam came along and grabbed the camera away from me.

“Hey, wait. I gotta take her pic too” I was helpless. I had to say the truth.

“What will the people think about you two?” Maryam argued.

“I’m just taking a pic of a friend” I didn’t want to give up. “I’ll give you soon. I want to take some pics too. You just take a rest” And she left. I looked at the sunflower girl. She looked sad and bent her head. I was confused what to do and walked away.

*****

All the fuss was over. A few slept. Kadija’s mom, my aunt, served the dinner. I was in Kadija’s room-to-be checking out all the pictures I took. That’s when it happened. Her cell phone beeped. A whatsapp message: “Send my photos” from Sumi. I took her phone and typed back “OK”. It was her, the beautician. Now I know at least her nick name. I looked the details and saved the contact in my phone. I sprang out the SD card from the camera. Inserted the card in my cell and copied all her pictures including some more of the marriage photos so no one would misunderstand the situation. I’d saved her number as “Sameer”. I searched and sent her “Hi, here are your pics” and attached all of her photos. I waited almost an hour until she saw it.

“Anwar, you’ll have to sleep in another house” Naufal called me out with some other friends. Noufal is Kadija’s younger uncle. ‘Osama, Basheer and an Usthad”, of course they were relatives.

“Where are we going?” I was so sleepy and didn’t matter where I have to nap tonight. Another uncle of Kadija is Akbar. He started his auto-rickshaw and we got on it. The rickshaw moved on. I kept unlocking my phone to see whether someone texted me. Locked the phone waited. I was dizzy. I didn’t care anything but the cold outside was harsh. It stalled my veins. They began to freeze gradually. Not a mile we passed, my phone beeped. Not once, thrice.

“I know you dp”

“I see you cam, Kadija marriage” she continued

“How you get my number, huh?”

“From Kadija’s phone, you asked your pics so” I replied

“U Kadija’s who?”

“I’m her cousin, from Kerala”

“Oh”

“What’s your name?”

“Sumayya Khalid, wat’s ur’s?”

“Anwar, Muhammed Anwar”

“So sweet name?” That was a quite good start for a relationship, I thought. Now it’s the time to get a nap. I was tired. Everything seemed fading and getting blurred. I was like a breezy on that platform. But the rickshaw kept grinding its engine. Akbar suddenly turned the route-left. It was muddy and a lot of holes in the path (or we can say “ROAD”). We climbed a hill however, and then turned right to a “House”- a hut. It was full dark outside as I got out. The sky was filled with glittering stars and the smooth breeze froze the soul out of me. The house was Basheer’s. It was not so beautiful but we could say ‘a place for a rest’. There were no much better arrangements in the way they kept it. The bed sheets piled up in a corner. Al though, there was a television. I don’t think they’ll turn it on this late time. It was 12.30am or say it’s midnight. I can hear howls from far away mountains. The silence broke with another beep.

“Hy” it was her, Sumi. I got on the bed and lied nearby the windows. Basheer turned the fan on. It was cold enough for me to shed ice tears. I got under the blankets. It’s warm now. Unlocked the phone and texted. “Hi” and opened Kadija’s profile and texted her too.

“Yeah” Kadija was first to text me back.

“You didn’t sleep?”

“Not yet, we are getting mehandi on our hands.”

“Who’s the mehandi designer?”

“It’s only me. Kids are surrounding me. Text me later. C U.” And then she left ‘online’.

“Hy. Wer u go?” Sumi has come back.

“I dint go anywher. Wat u doing?”

“Oh! M room”

“No, wat u studying?”

“I not study. I hate study. I love stay home”

“Thn, how much u studied?”

“I don’t like study” she repeated. Her English was too poor. I can’t get a word she says. At least I could get what she meant a little bit.

“Wat u studying?” she asked me now.

“I’m degree final year. I dint exactly like studying this. I was forced to study though.” I can’t resist the anger on the people who stressed me to join for this course. Meanwhile, I thought she might have been studying for medicine or something. I had to ask.

“How much you study. Tell”

“I only 10th ” She placed a small emoji to express her sadness.

“But I have 97%” And a happy smiley.

“Oh”

“Why you text me huh?” she began her investigation. She might have thought I was a seducer to her.

“I want to have a friend, that’s all” Not a satisfying answer.

“Oh, you don’t have friends?”

“Not girl-friends”

“Y?”

“I don’t really know why but I studied in a boys’ hostel, so”

“Hmm”

“Can you be my girl friend?”

“Wat?” her emojis’ showed her anxiety and puzzle.

“Just a female friend, OK?”

“Oh, hmm... K” It was becoming too late. It’s 1.00am. I must sleep soon. Everyone except me wasn’t snoring. The Usthad has slept on the floor. Osama was sleeping beside me. I didn’t notice that.

“I have to sleep. Can I text you tmrw?”

“Y u sleep?”

“A wat? U don’t sleep now?”

“No, I know you tired. K sleep”

“Y u not sleep?” Is she a vampire?

“I sleep only morning” Oh, it’s clear. Her gene must be of an Owl’s.

“Ok, I sleep. I’m really drunk now. The Pepsi, Mirinda, and se7en up is too much, so”

“Bye, C U” “Bye”

“I want to see your original face” I started over again. Huh? Bullshit.

“No, I send you other pic” Then she began sending me some of her photos and I kept downloading them. Another beep warned me of the charge saving. It’s mere 5% left in my battery. Oh no. This will go down soon.

“I’ll text you later, K? My battery only 4%” It turned down again to 3% the next moment.

“Hy, K”

“Salam, Bye”

“Salam, Tk cre” I can’t believe my eyes. She just told me to take care. Yeah! She has some feelings for me.

“Wat?” I wanted to know if she meant that.

“Nthing, go sleep”

“Bye” And I switched the phone off.

*****

9 am. It’s usual that I sleep more than 6 hours daily. But today was different. Osama wasn’t beside when I woke. There was only a single bathroom. I couldn’t resist the traffic in my intestines. After a short bath, I went to the front yard. The creepy hills looked green and beautiful. The clouds were still shading the land. I could see the sky touch the land far away on the other side. A wonderful showy natural beauty, the touch of God is clearly visualized here. I noticed a hill seemed to be a thicket. They said tigers and wild elephants live there. No wonder why they bluffed only just to scare me or to joke. There can’t be any tigers or animals. We killed them. We had. And we still do with our unconscious deeds. Osama’s mom had come in the early morning just to boil us some tea. But she didn’t stop there, she brought some biscuits too. We chilled while Basheer turned the television on and the Usthad turned his face away from it.

*****

The channels are not good projections of public service, but the worst kind of though. It makes people nervous about things they buy or use. My mom brought some stuff watching the TV advertisements and she lost her beauty now. We all know this is just business. Not that kind of social service. I don’t get why ego won’t help anyone get through situations. Cinemas take advantage of the audiences’ lifestyle and manners. Usthad grabbed the remote and scrolled down to Ten Sports. That could be cool enough to see if there were no cheer girls. Everything has its own dark sides. And here it’s the girls. I’m not arguing that all girls are a kind of depressing the integrity of a society. But, they have the highest potential to dim the light of a society. They have the power to entice men to do wrong. Now, women can be educated. So, imagine the possibilities of an educated female taking advantage of this door to cross the wall of traditions. They misread the situations of insecurities and push themselves into double trouble. They say, “Behind every successful man there is a woman”, is true but not only in the case of success, but failure too. It is a fact that women are weaker than men. There is no need to prove it wrong.

*****

We got back to Kadija’s house and everything was changed. The front yard was filled with chairs and decorations all over the house to welcome the groom’s family the very next day. I went in and took a clean shower. My phone has beeped several times. It wasn’t her, Sumi. But by last night, I have fallen for her. I felt pity on her. She was dumb and deaf, but smart. I asked Kadija about her.

“Don’t bring any trouble on your own” This was the only info I got from her. I thought about my father. He will be pissed off when he knows. I can keep it as a secret but, for how long? I got upstairs and lied on the bed. The sunlight kept waking me up. I pulled the curtain down and took a small nap. There’s nothing to do. I’m a guest and they should treat me fine. Not me helping them. I felt guilty, ran downstairs and talked to my aunt and relatives. Sumayya wasn’t awake until then. I texted her and thought that she might’ve forgotten me.

*****

The keys were on the table. I rushed out without even brushing my teeth. I had my mouth washed. This early morning, I just wanted to breathe in some cold fresh air. The phone had beeped a lot but I didn’t mind touching it. I left some tea in the glass, wiped the rest off on my lips and got on the bike. The air was cold, as I expected. I drove and drove without any plans until I stopped on a T-junction. There’s a road to a hill. I rode up the hill and parked the bike aside for a while. The panorama view of the Mangalorian nature just caught my attraction. Mists moved like clouds through me. I had this feeling once when I climbed a small hill in Ootty. That was an awesome trip. I could stay there for more time but I had no choice but to drive back. All the way back, I dreamt of coming here once again after all the programs. There are two more days for the whole marriage stuffs to end. That’s crazy coz money is spent a lot.

*****

III. The Sunflower Girl

There’s more to tell about her, the Sunflower Girl. When I chose her to be my best friend, she chose me as her groom. She didn’t waste more time to propose me that. I was shocked at the moment. Was it because I told her my family details? Though she didn’t know much about me, she wasn’t trying to attract me towards her. I asked if she had a boyfriend before, just to confirm she is pure a good girl. She told that many boys tried to be but she refused to. Then why should I become her fiancé? I asked that too. She knows me as her best friend’s cousin. So I’m not that kind of guy who runs away after everything’s over. That was too much because if someone wants to be your friend, then why become something more than that? That puzzled me. She told me several habits and hobbies after the marriage functions over. She doesn’t sleep at night. I don’t know why but sometimes it could be the reason that she was deaf and she can’t grasp the idea of ‘Human beings sleep at night’. Sometimes she chats along at night and I will be answering my eyes half closed. That’s most of the time. In other words, she caused me insomnia. She is my insomnia. She sleeps at morning and now me too. She changed me a lot. My aunt once said that I’ve changed a lot after I got in touch with her. Yeah, friendships can change you, whether good or bad, it’ll be a change. Once you know your real friend doesn’t like a thing you usually do, you’d probably stop it. I didn’t have to keep this love friendship with Sumi secret for a long time. I told Kadija about it. I told her mom too. I’ve said to two ladies, so not a secret now. It is natural that females can’t keep a secret for a long time. I said because I need them to know it, to chat with a girlfriend when your kin knows it doesn’t make you feel wrong about it. But, these two females just flashed this secret along to my mom and brother, Najeeb. He told me to control and not to fall for anyone who you really don’t know. I said I’ll handle. I said to mom not to tell dad. She was not really angry but she felt pity on me because Sumi was a physically challenged girl. And she doesn’t believe that I could look after her even if we got married. Things got too far and Sumi began to plan something impossible like our honeymoon. She wasn’t educated too much. She stopped going for school after her high school. But she was good at studying though she hated it. People like her have abilities in another way. Some have better mind power or memory capacity than the normal people. Some can create things. But this will only help them if their guides find their destiny. Her language skills were poor. She doesn’t know her own language completely, Kannada. She somehow knows English a little bit. We used to text without grammar. She used to send her pictures to me, I wonder why? When someone sees her pictures, they can’t say that she is a Muslim. The dress code can also reveal one’s religion, but not merely. She didn’t go to Madrassa for religious studies. Her mother taught her how to dress when she was young. But she threw it all away afterwards. I asked her whether she could come back to reality and think like a Muslim. She was kind of a modern type of girl, but she said she’ll do anything I say. So, I decided to recover her lost religious face and told her to dress like a Muslim when she goes out. At first she refused but I insisted.

*****

Why do girls want to show off their body to the public? Their beauty was the best among nature. But after all these feminist kind of things and after they began to project their buttock shapes and all, they got ugly. Islam prohibited women to show off their body to other than their husbands and parents. That’s how Islam respected a woman’s beauty. The meaning of respect has changed to publicity. Celebrities came along with fashion ideas and that made them strip their clothes off. We can clearly compare them to whores. When a woman or man exposes his/her body and the public enjoys it, they are absolute prostitutes. In other words, celebrities changed the world to a brothel. Apart from this, when Islam preached to respect the woman society, the modernists and feminists argued that respect can be given through freedom. And this is the freedom they expected, a freedom to derail culture from humanity. By depressing the values Islam gave to the women society, feminist ideologists began to blame Islam for being a low cultured and freedom-less religion. Islam has given right to a woman to be paid for feeding breast milk for even her own child. The husband must pay if she demands. The Mahr is given to the bride when she gets married. If the groom wants to avoid her without having sex, she will only have to return the half of the Mahr. Or else, she doesn’t need to give any. Everything including the prayer and the fasting has tuned according to her status. If she’s pregnant while in the month of Ramadan, she doesn’t need to fast. If she has menstruation, she doesn’t need to pray. And there’s more to describe, and these are only meant for women. They are safe in Islam. The only thing is to respect her husband. If her husband is a bad guy, she should maintain the values of Islam first, not her husband’s.

*****

After I advised her about being a perfect Muslim woman, she gradually stepped up her own to surprise me. She began wearing the Hijab while she goes outside. And she wore a scarf while video chatting me. There’s nothing special while we video chat, except that she shows eating constantly. I asked her to stop it. She said she wants to get motta and liked eating a lot of sandwiches. That’s cool, I said. ?.

*****

IV. Old Angry Bird (Granny) & The Lottery Maaman

I came back to my home in Kerala. Granny was really tired and her legs were bulged. She eats a lot of medicines than food. Every month I go with her to check up her medical report and it always shows a see-saw result. Once glucose will be spiked and Cholesterol will be low. And then Glucose will be low and Pressure will be spiked. She gets angry all of a sudden every time. We might not expect what she is going to do next. She has no Alzheimer’s but her illiterate behaviors make us doubt it. She got married when she was 13. My mom got married at 15. My elder sister got married at 17. God! It’s progressing. Over here, it’s me, my granny and my two uncles. One of them, Rameez, is an accountant and the other, Ibbay, is a security guard. It’s a whole lotta different story. Rameez has a lot of friends his age. But Ibbay has friends older than him. He had a mental issue long since he was at high school. Some say, Rameez and Ibbay got into a fight and Ibbay’s head hit on a wall and broke a nerve. And that’s how he got mentally disordered. Stories about him then were like action movies in Bollywood. He overthrew an auto-rikshaw and threw rocks on several people passing him. All these happened some 12 years ago. And now, he seems normal but with a few problems left. Granny had a limp on her right foot. She walks painfully because of the varicose veins. She has it a lot. Even though she had gone through several operations, they didn’t show a much better result. My grandpa died when I was 9. Rumors say he was killed by his second wife, Saina. But before that, his left leg was cut off because of a contagious disease. Mom said it was “Aaniroogam”. It started from his small finger and by the time he was in Umm-al-Kuwain, UAE. The doctors there cut his little finger and waited. After some days, it spread to his ankles, and then the doctors prescribed to cut the whole leg to prevent it from spreading to the stomach. They took it from him. Then, my eldest uncle sent him back to India and treated here. Indian doctors said it’s not a problem and can be solved my mere laser operation. It was a set-back to the foreign doctors. That’s how he got on a wheel chair since then. He married three women and my granny is the third. The first one died and soon he married Saina, the assassin. Literally, she didn’t take care of him. Once she asked him to sign the property for her. He denied, and she locked him in a room. Her daughter, who felt sympathy for him, unlocked the door and set him free. He himself travelled to my granny and stayed here. The rumor was that, when grandpa went back to Saina, she poured oil on the bathroom floor and he slipped and hit his head on the floor. And that led him to death sooner. Granny was the only one to have 9 children in our family, four sons and five daughters. My mom is ranging up to that count, coz she has 7 kids right now. The newgen always feel this “having-many-kids” as a bad idea and a cheap tradition. They don’t know the real value of life and happiness.

*****

I logged in to my FB page and scrolled down simply. Granny served the lunch for us. Ibbay was talking about his failed marriage and regret about losing her. He was married a year ago and he failed to win her back three times after they broke up. It was only because of his attitude on women. He believed that his wife must respect him and do whatever he orders. She was not that kind of girl. But she tried her best to keep him happy. She does all the work at home and yet, she carried his painful smacks like the girl in “The Exercise Book”. He was telling how much he tried to call her and didn’t answer them. By hearing all his wetness worries, granny gets angry and yells at him “Satan”. That’s how she feels relieved. I call her “the Old Angry Bird”. Ibbay always buy lottery tickets. He gets low salary and yet, his ego was huge. He calls a lot in his phone. No matter what, he simply calls people he met on the railways, police stations, streets and people who come to sell stuffs in every house. He collects their numbers and suggests them job opportunities. Rameez gets angry hearing his calls. He has won a lottery of 5000 ? a long time ago. He spends a lot of money on lottery tix. We call him “the Lottery Maaman”.

*****

V. The Mud Path

Part I

You know, when life is going so smooth for you, it won’t last too long. There will be some deviations in your path you should be coping with. If you don’t have the strength to cope with the immediate obstacles, then you gain the big zero value for your life. Sometimes, you’ll have to choose between things that you can’t live without. Maybe, it could be a test from God. But you should be firm about your decisions. Nothing should go wrong after your decree. You’ll have to act wise or listen to the wise. It was hard for me to keep this affair as a secret. My aunts knew I video-chat her. They were not puzzled in front me but they kept gossiping my behavior to others. They weren’t my problem; Ma wasn’t happy about me. She thought I could get in trouble loving someone far away and handicapped. She had to tell Pa about this. He called me.

“Why do you love someone this far away?” He wasn’t saying what I expected from him. I thought he would yell at me about the “love-affair” at this age.

“Tell me, why aren’t you concentrating on your studies? She will become a hindrance for your success” He began his lecture. I heard all of it and realized that he wasn’t yelling at me for “loving”.

“Don’t you know it’s prohibited to fall in love with a girl and you got into chatting with her?” He got to the point which I expected the first time. He told me to stop chatting and leave her for my good. He also told me to choose between them and her. That’s what all the parents do. I don’t know why, but I’ll know why when I get to their position. I thought it could be something serious about being clean mentally. I thought about it through. Her face didn’t vanish from my mind.

Every time I closed my eyes or when it’s dark, I see her smiling. That night, fluids ran out of my eyes. Those tears never belong to my eyes, they belong to her. It belongs to the deviation I see forth my life. It’s tough, too hard to believe that I have to leave someone behind unhurt. Her heart would break, or their hearts will break. I imagined that when situations like this approach, we should prefer the majority. So I, unwillingly, broke her heart. The blood splashed on my face, leaving the clotted dots on my heart. She had told me that it won’t be good to keep this affair if my parents hated it. I told it will be alright. But I failed. I fell down. I’ll have to get up, myself. I felt like I was walking in a mud path. Ma and Pa would hate forever even there is a tiny spark of love in them. They are always my parents.

*****

“I’m not feeling good” I texted her. I had woken from a lot of nightmares. I saw her drowning holding my hand. It was all blurry then. She was screaming.

“Wat hpnd?” She sent a puzzled emoji.

“I don’t think we could be chatting anymore” I held my breath. She was typing something.

“Ok Bye” She did it. She also sent a crying emoji.

“U block me, I don’t talk yu” She meant it. It was too hard for her too.

“I won’t block you, we could stay friends” I wanted her to be in touch with me.

“No, if you don’t love me then no friends” What??

“I love you. But, we cannot talk anymore. Can you understand me? My dad is not happy”

“K. bye” She went offline. I laid there in my bed; closed my eyes and tried to relax. It’s not working. God! I’m an idiot. I threw the pillow away. I’m not really feeling good. My body was heating up.

*****

Since we broke up she didn’t even text me. I was in a kind of paranoid situation. Exams were ahead and I didn’t feel like turning a page over. It’s my final exams. I should work my ass off to get at least 60 percent. If then only I could do a P.G. with dignity. I’m here completely broke with final exams ahead. This is the worst test I ever have to face in my teenage life. God is really taking this as a mission impossible for me. I’m not Ethan Hunt to overcome this tragedy. I’m not Charles Xavier to control anyone’s mind. But, I have one thing. That’s hope. I hope everything will get better. I’ll just have to stay calm and study.

Part II

Since both breakup and examination “heats” eradicated my repose, I felt worse about my mischievous behavior. Either I’ll have to overcome it; rather, I should be getting started. Preparation for examinations wasn’t that much easy for me. I’ve been doing this on my own, as a distant student. Days Passed… Train is at 9.35 am, I’ve searched it via an app called Rail Jankari. Whatever it be, Indian Railway engine drivers also should check out their time schedules. I left home at 9 to catch up with the train on time. Never mind, they didn’t know when to reach, I waited until 10, and the horns blew my ears off. Most of the compartments were vacant. I got on one and sat on a window seat. It was comfortable, but the sunlight tortured me until I changed the seats. College students got on the same compartment as it reached Kannur Railway Station. Beggars, Tea suppliers, and lottery sellers seemed alike. It took an hour and half to reach Thalassery. “Hey, Salam alikum” I met Munaim, my old friend from college. We had breakfasts and went to a mosque nearby to revise our chapters. Many students were praying Zhuha Prayer. It is said that, for every joints we move in our body, we are obliged to Allah by saying Alhamdulillah (Thank God). But, instead for all these time, to save, we only have to pray the Zhuha Prayer. It can be prayed in twos, fours or eights of Rakahas. I thought why should people argue about being born naturally and not by a superior power? If their ego doesn’t tolerate them to bear the bundle of faith, why must they ignore instead of proving wrong? We revised and chatted until the Azan called. We prayed Duhr and set out to the examination halls. Exams were at 1.30 pm. There were girls from other women hostels. We were separated from them in the halls according to the registered numbers. After the exam, I returned directly to Railways. Munaim called me out for a movie. It was terrible to watch Indian cinemas because most of them wouldn’t have the deep messages as in Award films. Anyway, we both, along with another two friends bought tickets for a comedy movie. It was very fun to laugh with old buddies.

*****

The rest of the exams passed the same way, but the final one was different. I rode from Thalassery to my last college on Munaim’s bike. It was midnight and the roads were empty. We flew through the NH roads until I saw a Police Jeep parked on the side. A cop was lighting his torch signaling us to stop. They had to check us for drugs or weapons. They asked the worst questions in the world. Who sent you? Which one this time?, and so on. Their mind was full of cases and disgust perceptions. We were stopped and checked up almost at five places before we sneaked in to the college. When I was riding then after all these five checkpoints, I realized that their lives are miserable and complicated. They can’t even think positive about an ugly looking person. They are helpless and rude. I also compared them to U.A.E cops. Their behaviors calm our mind and think happy about them. When they start talking to us, they greet Muslims with “Salam alikum” or others with “Good Morning/Evening Sir/Madam”. I once got down an elevator of Dubai’s Metro Station and was confused about the platforms. I was wearing a Kandoora (The long Arabic dress) and an Arabic turban. So, I approached the cop at the enquiry counter and asked him my doubt. He first interrupted me by saying “Salam Alikum, Shu Akhbaarak?” (May peace be upon you, how are you?) That made me less stressed too. I was smiling then whilst I elaborated my doubt.

*****

VI. A Lousy Vacation

Part I, Job Hunt

As soon as my examinations were over, my parents began to force me to work for a while. It was tough for me to find one because all my conscious said me was a little later. Then days passed unrecognized and I was still waking up all day late and sleeping late except one thing was early, posting new profile pictures on Facebook. Friends began to complain me about the posts constantly. Likes began to shrink and that made me worry even more. I felt like my surroundings were affecting me negatively. Granny grumbled every time someone talks about me. She wanted me out going for a job, earning some and lending some. I came up with a mind to earn but not lend just as a pocket money. Najeeb advised me a lot about earning money and saving it in the bank so I could buy a new mobile phone or something else. I asked my uncle, Rameez, to find a good job for at least three months. He always shook his head and forgets it. When Najeeb pressurized him seriously, he came up with the idea of me staying in his office as his assistant. I can’t even think about such a position but he told me to keep knowledge of the records and meetings he should attend in future. So I joined the office and it turned out that I didn’t have to do anything but sit there and spoil the time. Finally, I got a computer space there and still I had nothing to do but surf the internet for more music videos. It was a little interesting then. The office was clean and quiet. Rameez and his partner friend were in a separate lobby at the entrance. There was an air conditioner and blurred glass in it. It was easy for me to watch if he was coming out. I was sitting against that lobby. A little more interesting I got is when I decided to hack their Wi-Fi password. Too simple; I had learned it from YouTube a long time ago. The office “work” didn’t last too long, I quit. I waited Chris Brown to release his music videos to download them via the office Wi-Fi. Soon after I got out from the office, or the week later, my friend Junais asked me a favor. His mother was sick and admitted at a medical college. So, he asked me if I could write his examinations. I was kinda puzzled at first. But when he said he’ll pay for the trouble, I said I’ve to think about it. Then he began speaking numbers; 5000 bucks. Done! Examinations went well and nobody doubted me for that. The matter was my friends started asking me why I should write a re-test if I had written it precisely great before. I made up reasons like “I didn’t expect much from the previous exams”. Junais sent me the money and I had a great feast that evening. I got suspicious eyes gazing over me though my reasons were true. It’s a violation; I could end up in prison for this shit.

Part II, Bitter in the Flower

Meanwhile the illegal examinations, a girl from the women’s college reminded me of someone I really missed. That girl was so replica of Sumi. I got frustrated; hated to see anyone at this moment. Is it a mistake that I let her go away? Did I respect my parents by keeping her away?

“Hey, Anwar. Whachya worried of?” Munaim put his arm around my shoulder and walked toward the railway station.

“Nothing bud, it’s just that girl from Mangalore. I saw a similar face. I wonder what she’s doing now!”

“Bro, let’s get this over with. Have some fun. Cheer up. It’s all the thing you can do in this short life is to be happy. Make the people closer to you happy. You made your parents proud of you. They love you. Don’t let your feeling drown just for a girl you know for a month. She might have found another person for her”

“No, she won’t. She said she won’t ever date some random guy. She’ll only be with someone she feels better”

“Ask Kadija, your cousin sister. She might know about her status”

“Hmm, that’s true. I should text her” I asked Kadija about Sumi. She didn’t know anything about her. She was just an ordinary friend without much better contact. I asked her to inform me if she knows anything about her.

“What about a juice?” Munaim asked.

“Let’s go then”

*****

"Hy, it’s me. Hw R U?” No reply. The message didn’t even show two check marks. Did she block me? Why isn’t her picture showing? She might have blocked me. Oh no! She blocked me!!! I unwillingly texted her on Whatsapp. She was unavailable. I asked Kadija’s sister, Maryam.

“Do you know anything about Sumayya?”

“Why? Are you tryna get back with her?”

“No, no. it’s not that. I just want to know about her”

“Yeah! Well. She has a boyfriend”

“What the hell????”

“Her aunt told our neighbor about her. She is with her cousin brother”

“I can’t believe this. Why would she do that?”

“Oh come on. It’s better for you to avoid her. Relax and get over her”

“But why her cousin?”

“It’s nothing Anwar, she had a crush on him before. She told me once. But it’s not a bigger deal or something. She is rich and now spoiled by her family members. She can’t be religious anymore”

“Hmm. This is so weird though” Her cousin Suhail, it’s his name if I remember, is a freaky street kinda boy. She is so gone with that lad.

*****

Sometimes we will have to think about weird things in our life in a positive way, even it does change being negative. Lots of things to do to the world and we’re here sitting watching the birds fly and backbiting others. I had to swim against a strong wave and you know that waves don’t die. It’ll grow stronger and stronger. We see the waves flowing back after it hit the shore. But, it’ll sure come back with more power than before. Mother Nature taught us several things. And she still is teaching us how to beat our feelings one by one, step by step.

“If I got no honey from a flower, I gotta go find another sweet flower. And if it ain’t there too, I shouldn’t be disappointed, coz it’s the flower who doesn’t have the sweetness.” - Says the butterfly.

“I’m out to feed my offspring. I gotta find food and come back. Feed them and fly back to strive hard. I strive and strive, until my feathers have used for someone I’ve meant more to. I got nothing to worry, coz my hard work has made them stronger. I’m in them. I’m them.” – Says the bird.

*****


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