The Devised Madness

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

This is a story from the Upcoming Book - "The Relation Games" authored by Dr. Saba Hilal

Submitted: November 09, 2017

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Submitted: November 09, 2017




Among the wedding chaos around, she was sitting on sofa with other women. It was the time when Shazana’s third son was getting married. Shazana was her husband’s elder brother’s wife but she was also her husband’s cousin maternal uncle's daughter. This was when She heard a five-year-old child Soha say “Leave her, leave her, she is the MAD woman" about Uzma who was also a relative sitting near to a kid and run away.

Sohel, Shazana’s younger brother standing nearby heard this and smiled with his wife.

At that time, she was sitting next to Uzma who was related to Shazana in many ways. Uzma was Shazana's maternal uncle's daughter, married to Shazana's maternal aunt's son Akbar. Shazana's real sister Hamida was also married to Akbar's younger brother. Then Uzma was also the wife of real brother of Shazana's daughter-in-law. Too complex. These roundabout relations. Sometimes these relations play a perfect role to make someone MAD. Sometimes...these relations make a wall surrounding you too high where screams don't go out...totally suffocating.

And she had known this since the time she has entered this house.

This is repeating now, with Uzma.

She looked at Uzma. Uzma is a beautiful lady, whose beauty can stand out when she is around others. And she didn’t look Mad. Neither did she sound mad, even while she was speaking. She seemed normal, just somewhat tense, somewhat worried.

In the last few years, she had seen Shazana’s sons getting close to Uzma. They were at Uzma’s house frequently. All of them had become her good friends. They were seen always surrounding her, lying on her bed, speaking to her with intimacy, even kissing her on her cheek on occasions... in front of a camera. Shazana’s sons were seen boasting that Uzma could discuss anything with them, almost anything, and everything. Seeing all this then even the newly married wife of a Shazana’s son had also fought with her husband out of jealousy, over his close relations with Uzma. When Shazana had heard this, she had defended her son in front of her daughter in laws, saying that Uzma is his “Khaala” (Mother’s Sister).

But, in last six months, the intimacy of Shazana’s sons with Uzma had suddenly vanished. These days she had been hearing a lot about Uzma from Shazana and her family, Shazana’s sons, her brothers and her husband. They had been saying that Uzma has gone MAD. She is too insecure about her husband. She wants to live alone with her husband. But Akbar doesn’t want to go to a separate house. Uzma do not know how to cook. It is Hamida who is taking care of him. No, Hamida will not let him go. Who will take care of Akbar? After all he has a mad wife. Oh! He is such a nice man. He deserves better. Muslims can remarry. It is allowed. And Akbar listens only of Hamida. He takes opinion of Hamida even for trivial things, poor chap. See, his wife is MAD, don’t you know. She doesn’t even know how to take care of her own clothes. It is Hamida who looks after Akbar’s house, his food, his clothes and his kid.

It was well known how limited the earnings of Hamida’s husband were and on the other hand how big the property inherited by Akbar from his Tayi was (his paternal uncle’s wife), who had in a way adopted Akbar as she had no children of her own and after her death had left Akbar all her property. So, she knew, this was in fact a game being played because of money.

The same game that had been played with her twenty years back.

She thinks, "I thank Almighty, that I was saved... that He gave me strength to come out of that suffocation...else I WOULD HAVE BEEN turned... MAD”

She notices now that all the main players are still here in the game. The trio - Shazana, Sohel, Hamida. What is different this time is that the target is another Woman, - the "other bahu of the house" and her husband. And yes, there are some additions; Shazana’s sons are in the game now as well. And the same game is being played again.

The GAME goes like this:

First starts the shower of ‘Family Love Drama’ over the couple. Making the "other Bahu of the House" and her husband drown in it. Then slowly moving into their bedrooms, and surrounding them in such a way that nothing remains hidden. Then starting the torture...high mental torture of the bahu and at the same time still showering the Family Love Drama on her husband...Shaming the bahu...All joining hands and propagating untrue things about her...Capturing her kitchen...her house... her room...her husband...Making her Mad. Then Getting Rid of her. Replacing her with another. Getting hold of her husband, economically and emotionally.

Then Target Hit and the Game is over.

The same game was played with her twenty years back. She remembers.

Her husband Nishat is a doctor. He was living in Delhi and she was also working there when they were married. She had resigned from her job a month before her marriage as her husband had planned to move to Churu, Rajasthan. But later he thought of not leaving Delhi. So, after their marriage, she had come to the apartment where her husband was living. That time, he used to work in a hospital at walking distance from that apartment. The apartment was on first floor, had one bedroom, one bathroom and a small kitchen outside. Although, it was an arranged marriage, they had become good friends in the few months after their marriage date was fixed. At the time of her wedding, her mother had given money to Shazana and her husband to arrange a double bed, and a dressing table for her, but that money was spent by them for other things. So, the apartment she came into after her marriage only had two single beds that were provided by the hospital. They had joined the two single beds together and made a double bed. At that time, they were in air, newly married love birds. Things such as not having double bed seemed too small.

Soon after marriage she got pregnant and when this news broke among the relations, Shazana sent her real brother Sohel to their house on the pretext of taking care of her, for she couldn’t be left alone in pregnancy. Sohel was six months younger to her husband and had lived with Shazana in Rajasthan since his childhood.

So Sohel arrived at her place and the planned torment began.

The beds were separated. One of the beds was given to Sohel. The other was shared by the husband and the pregnant wife. And then started the arrival of guests. Guests...Guests…Guests...All time Guests. Some used to come for getting medical opinion and used to live in her bedroom for days and weeks, others came to see the village patients in their illness, some others to visit Delhi as it was a place worth seeing. Some used to come with Sohel or to visit Sohel and of course because they all said that they loved her husband dearly. All her in-laws were from Shazana's parent’s side and her mother-in-law's parent’s home as it was the same. She had arranged carpets and mattresses to accommodate guests staying over. For elder guests it was a routine that they would sleep on the bed and she and her husband will sleep on the floor. So, the two beds in the bedroom were mostly occupied by someone else. And all her time was spent in the kitchen, day and night and she was pregnant. She remembers the days when she used to feel sick with nausea, fatigue, dizziness, abdominal pain, and on both the beds in her room there were always some relatives, elders, others. Sometimes not even a chair left for her to sit. So, often she used to knock the door of Mudita, a neighbor living on the same floor and sat on the chair in her house, and at other times, during the pain, she sat on the stairs. Even when the guests were not at home, Sohel was. He used to lie on the bed and watch TV all day. Sometimes he used to go to his native home in a village of UP. Then he used to come back the next day, saying he doesn't like to live in that village.

He used to joke with her husband saying "You know people there were asking me, they have only one bedroom, so where do you sleep. So, I told them "Bitchi me sota hoon" (I sleep between them).

So, that was the state of their privacy at that time. There were rarely the things that were personal, not even her husband's wallet, his shirts, and not even his shaving razor. She felt that her life was on the cross road, when people claimed that they knew even of her bedroom details. Then there were discussions and gossips about everything related to her. She was new bride. How could she speak? Daily there were verbal stones hurled at her. She still remembers some…

[When she served aaloo parathas to Shazana’s husband, on his bed]

Na Namak na Mirch, kaisa khana banati hai? (No salt no pepper; don’t you know how to cook?)

[When she made halwa for breakfast and served them that on the bed]

Shazana’s husband: Aisa halwa to hamari Shazana chakhe bhi nahin.  (Our Shazana will not even like to taste this Halwa)

[When she served vegetarian food to Shazana’s father on bed]

Shazana's Father: Gosht se to mooh gila bi nahi karaya. (You didn’t make my mouth wet with non-veg)

[When her mother sent her salwar suits for her.]

Shazana: Inki maa ne jo kapre diye hain, woh sau sau rupai ke mangal ke bazaar me milte hain.

(The clothes that her mother has given her are the clothes that are too cheap)

[When she brought a light blue color kurta pajama for her husband birthday]

Shazana, in front of Nishat: Nishat ki to achchi pasand hai. Yeh kya ladkiyon wala rang utha layeen.

(Nishat’s choice is good, what have you brought these girlish color clothes)

[If her husband tried to tease her in front of Sohel]

Sohel to her husband: Sale tujhe pom pom ke alawa koi kaam nahin hai kya. (Don’t you have any other work to do accept playing with your wife?)

And in those days, all about her was being gossiped in all possible ways, with all possible people, in UP and Rajasthan. And everybody believed as they claimed that they even knew her bedroom details. She was shamed, disparaged and traduced. And her husband was quiet all the time for he was too emotional about his family.

But, not all was bad. She had her happy moments also. Private moments that her in-laws didn't know about. Her husband loved her, and she loved him. They used to make love in kitchen, the stairs, the bathroom, and sometimes on the bed inside the blanket that they shared when guests were not there in the room, too slowly, holding the breaths, taking care not to wake Sohel up as he slept in the next bed.

The mental torture was slowly raised to another level.

One weekend her husband took her to his cousin maternal uncle’s house, Sohel’s native home in the village. It was a usual visit, with salam, dua, talks and gossips. But there was one thing very unusual that she was noticing since the time they had come to the village. Hamida was clinging too much to her husband, holding his arm most of the time. At the time of her wedding, Hamida was engaged to her cousin (the son of the real sister of Hamida’s father). That was the day when she was told that Hamida's engagement to that cousin has recently cancelled. The reason - the girl didn't like the boy.

She remembers that evening clearly.

All elder and younger were talking. On one of the rope cot her husband was relaxing under the sky. He was not wearing shirt. She was sitting near his feet on another cot with other family members.

Then Hamida came and cuddled her husband and settled in the cot besides him. Laying her arm over him as she laid beside him. The bahu looked at her husband. Was he taking this normally or pretending? She didn’t know. She noticed, all others were taking this very normally, as if there was nothing unusual. But she had lost her voice. Pain got stuck inside her. And that pain moved to her throat. Tears were ready to spill out.

That night she argued with her husband and he told her that Hamida was a kid, not to be taken seriously. They returned the next day.

A few days later, Hamida was sent to the couple’s house to try her luck, this time with the husband. The excuse of her presence was that she had come with her father who was there for his eye checkup. As, her brother Sohel was already living there, she decided to stay, even when their father returned. Obviously staying in the only bedroom, they had.

And the mental torture continued. Hamida used to go out and then she used to call, not her brother Sohel, but Nishat to pick her up from someplace on the road. And Nishat used to go to bring her and when they used to come back home, Hamida used to ensure that his wife sees her clinging to Nishat while sitting behind him on the scooter. Slowly Hamida started openly showing off her closeness with Nishat in public.

One day it was a relative's wedding and Shazana had come to attend it. They all went together in that wedding. Hamida, Shazana, Sohel, the couple and other relatives. Hamida was as usual walking with Nishat, clinging onto his arm. The funny part was that the wife was not allowed to do so with her husband in public, but this other girl was. The usual Family Love Drama.

And the wife was just seeing the girl's behavior with her husband. Then suddenly somebody called Hamida. As soon as Hamida left, Nishat sat on a chair beside his wife. There were others sitting on chairs at that time with no chair left near Nishat. Within minutes Hamida came, furious. She shouted in the public. "Tum hamesha apne miyan se chipki hee rahogi!" (Will you keep sticking to your husband forever?). The wife replied, "Yes, I will. Else girls like you will take my place". It happened in spur of the moment. Shazana heard it and ignored. That day, after wedding lunch, when she was sitting with Shazana, Hamida came and sat on her side. So, now she was sitting between Shazana and Hamida. And both sisters started making fun of her. "Nishat se poochna kahin phisal to nahin jaoge” (Ask Nishat was he sure not to slip), Shazana winked and said to Hamida. They both laughed. And she was sure now that it was a planned family conspiracy going against her.

And it continued. At home Hamida used to lie on the bed with her husband, in front of Sohel and even her other family members, her father, mother, sister Shazana and brother Sohel. The little INNOCENT kid...just rightly grown up to be capable to decide how and why to break her engagement.

And then she was into all her husband things asserting her claims. All the time she was surrounding her husband. With no time spared for the wife to even let her speak her heart out to her husband.

She again fought with her husband as she found time. She asked him to stop this girl. Told him, clearly that it was tearing her apart. That night she cried, and her husband also cried with her. He was sad as he felt that his wife did not trust him. Then he told her it was not possible to stop the girl. To many binding relations, all will break if he said a word. He told her. What will Bhabhi say? What will Sohel say? What will Mamu say? What will Bhaisahib say? What will Ammi say? What will the village people say? All will leave us. He was afraid.

So, the option of stopping the girl was gone. She was left to bear it. She used to lay awake at night thinking about the circumstances. With her sleeps lost, in pregnancy time, she often felt that she will become MAD. She had no one to speak to. Hamida used to go to her village, but used to come back to their home on each small excuse. Hamida freely flaunt possessiveness about Nishat. And the wife was asked to remain quiet or ignore. She was nine months pregnant at the time, but bearing all this mental torture alone. When the child was born, Shazana had come to her house and her sister had gone back to the village.  On the twentieth day of her delivery, Hamida came back again on the pretext of seeing the baby.

And she remembers the day that made the glass of her patience overflow.

It was her first anniversary. It was the routine for her now, the Guests, and Guests, and Guests with Sohel, Hamida and now the little baby. She was busy all day. There was no option to celebrate that day as some village relative was at home for medical reasons. And people were coming from the village to see that patient. Hamida's mother had also come that day to see the patient. So, she was busy in the kitchen that entire day preparing food for Guests, and her husband was in hospital.

In the evening, her husband came with eleven red roses in a bouquet for her. He wished her in front of all guests. He whispered, "I will give you this every year with added roses.” She was ecstatic and on cloud nine. And a moment later she fell back on earth, flat on face. What had happened?

Hamida came, snatched the bouquet and then flower by flower she turned it into pieces. She threw all the flowers on the ground saying, “I wanted this."

And all watched, including Hamida’s mother, her brother, and Nishat, but nobody said a word. After all, she was the INNOCENT girl!

Their first anniversary was ruined. She sobbed whole night. She felt no one was with her. She was hurt as her husband has just watched the whole drama quietly.

In the morning she decided that she couldn't bear this anymore. She told her husband straight that day, “I am going to tell this to the person with whom Hamida has broken the engagement and then he will tell it to rest of the world. I am asking you the last time to stop her if you can and send her back home or I will stop her my way.”

And she knew that her husband wanted to let her do it. She believes that Allah gave her the strength that day.

They had to go to the village that weekend in a relative’s wedding.

Once there, she opened her heart in front of the village’s daughters-in-law (women in related to Shazana’s family). And told the things that were being done to her by Hamida. She made sure that her conversation is clearly passed to Hamida’s family.

And then what happened was what Nishat was afraid of. His elder brother and Shazana asked all in that village and all other relatives in UP and in Rajasthan, to break relations with them, isolate them. Even Nishat’s mother was forced not to speak to them. She believes, she could have been left alone had Allah not given her husband the guidance to stand by her. She and her husband were continuously pressurized and forced through phones, by relatives to say “sorry” to Shazana and her husband and Hamida, but she refused to do so.

She told them that she is ready to talk about this in public. She will come but she will talk in front of daughters-in-law of Shazana’s parent side. And she knew that they will not have the guts to do that.

Though, that tough time was over after one year, however in those days of difficulty she and her husband had seen the way of light.

As her husband’s faith in his brother and Shazana shattered, he became a strong man, who could say things straight and decide on his own.

Sohel and Hamida went back to their village home.

Many so-called relatives, who have left them in those days on Shazana’s direction, didn’t find the space again to show their fake intimacy and the line of guests became limited.

After, nearly a month, few came to show them support from Rajasthan and UP and Nishat knew that these were those few who really love him, while others were the worthless relations.


© Copyright 2019 Saba Hilal. All rights reserved.

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