Amir Sharanpuri and Adam khan chughtai both of them were standing outside the girl’s house. Amir pressed the bell. They were waiting for them so the door was opened swiftly. The man who opened the door he was aged. He invited them to come inside. He guided them towards there drawing room. They entered and sat on the futon. Amir was sitting quietly and Adam was monitoring the room. There were many quranic verses were hanged on the walls. At one corner of the room there was aquarium and inside the aquarium multicoloured fishes were hovering. At one corner there were few black and white photos in were framed in wooden frames. The drawing room was carpeted but the carpet was tattered and damaged from many places and from some places the floor was visible. There was cupboard as well and which had some books and Adam was unable to read their titles because he was very far. In the meanwhile that aged man who opened the door for them, he entered with a lady. Amir and Adam stood up for their respect. Those gentleman and lady said together, “sit down please”.
They sat again on sofa that aged man broke the ice and said, “Who is sharanpuri among you”?
Amir said swiftly, “it’s me. I am sorry my name is Amir Sharanpuri and he is my friend Adam khan chughtai”. He grabbed his hand and pressed it and continued, “my brother, friend and bazurgh (elder and respectable person), for me he is everything”.
That aged man introduced himself and said, “My son, my name is shamsuddin sheikh. She is my wife. We have two daughters, one is married and other is still waiting for compatible match” (as he said his wife pinched him so he changed the track and continued, “What I mean to say many people came but we have given permission to our daughter to select the person after all it’s her life”.
Amir and Adam said collectively, “yes off course, it should be like that”.
During the conversation they came to know that sheikh sahib came to London to get diploma is accountancy and decided to stay here. He wanted to go back but the company where he was working they didn’t allow him to go back. He must be very hard working and efficient.
While they were talking, you can’t girl but she was a lady, she must thirty or above thirty, she was wearing shalwar qameez and she wrapped herself with dopatta (big scarf kind of thing), she entered in drawing room carrying tea trolley with biscuits and other food stuff. She said hello to everyone and then she said Salam lekum which was asalam-o-alaykum. After making tea for everyone she sat in the corner quietly.
Adam thought for a while that either he is Pakistan or in London. The girl wasn’t very beautiful but wasn’t bad at all. During this period sheikh sahib was talking with Adam. Amir didn’t say anything, he was quiet. The girl’s mother addressed her majazi khuda (virtual god), excuse me, I think if boy and girl sit in a separate room and discuss if they like because it’s their life”.
The girl’s mother took Amir and her daughter in a separate room so they can talk privately.
This was Adam’s first experience that he came with someone for asking the hand of someone’s daughter. He felt that he is in some marriage bureau. On the other side Amir was giving his interview.
The girl asked him first question.
“What is your name”?
Amir: gee Amir Sharanpuri”.
Girl: my name is Leila bint-e-shamas. What you do Amir in London”?
Amir: gee, this is my last year in M.B.A. (masters in business administration) and you”?
Leila: I have done I.T. I mean, I have done degree in information technology. I am working in a firm”.
Amir asked her strange question, “what you think when someone comes to see you”?
Leila responded him humbly, “i don’t feel strange because i see new people every day. It’s the part of my life. My parent wants me to marry someone”.
Amir said, “You can find someone here. Why a Pakistani, who hasn’t got permanent stay in England. Who is here for studying and his status is different than you people. The one who hasn’t got any future until yet”?
Leila said, “you are very right, I can marry anyone but (she laughed in a very strange way, it sound like that that there was less happiness and more agony in it) I can’t marry to anyone. I can’t marry against my parents will”.
Amir said perplexedly, “Miss Leila you are born here”.
Leila responded him calmly, “it’s true that I am British citizen, according to law nobody can force me but our culture and civilisation stops us or you can say my parent’s culture and civilisation stops them. Our parents ran away from their country due to economic problems when their children born here they started lamenting for their culture and civilisation. If they love their culture and civilisation norm and traditions, than they should leave their country, their norms and traditions, culture and civilisation. The people who have male kids they aren’t ashamed of this society, but the people who have female kids they don’t like this culture and they started believing that European society vulgar and obscene. Although, what I believe that there couldn’t be any man of Asian society who hasn’t been to red light area, the same thing does a girl than they realise that they are Muslim. They remember their culture and civilisation. I know neither our parents nor we are the culprit of this cultural schism but we are the one who suffer a lot. We spend our whole life on the horns of dilemma. At one place we have to follow Pakistani culture and on other side we have to follow British or European culture. It’s true, our certain cultural things are good and few things they have better than us. Like European juvenile age is very colourful and in Pakistan old people live in peace and harmony, European money and Pakistani facilities”.
Amir thought that he touched her wound. Amir was a little bit confused. He wanted to change the topic so he said, “can i ask you a personal question if you don’t mind”?
Leila said, “why not, you can ask me any question”.
Amir just said, “You”.
Leila said swiftly like he knew what will be the next question, “you want to know why i am not married until now. The reason is that that i can’t marry where i want to marry. When i completed my ‘A’ levels, all of us went to Karachi. I am sorry i haven’t told you that my parents are from north Naziabad. We have two bungalows there. One we have rented out my uncle lives in other bungalow. So i was telling you, my parents wanted me to marry with one of my cousin but you will be shocked to hear that even though i was British citizen, none of my cousin accepted. This is like ten years old story. All my cousins had their girl friends. My parents came back discontentedly. So like this i kept myself busy in my studies”.
Amir was very frightened and nervous. He asked her, “what about British born Pakistani guys”?
Leila said, “my parents believe that the guys who are British born, they drink alcohol and they keep their relationships with white girls as well after marriage”.
Amir said courageously, “people do drink alcohol in Pakistan as well. What’s the problem”?
Leila said, “These things you explain to my parents. By the way Amir sahib why you want to marry with me”? (This phrase she said in an exclamatory way).
Adam was a little bit mortified. He said, “The things”.
Leila didn’t allow him to complete his sentence and said, “I know what you want. You want have, leave to enter stamp on your passport”.
Amir wanted to elucidate and clarify his situation so he said, “it’s not like that, you might have heard about Karachi’s political problems”.
Leila, “but i have that the things are getting better”.
Amir was agreed what she was saying so he said, “Its true things are getting better but where i live the situation is still critical”.
Leila asked, “Where you live”.
Amir responded, “I live in Kharadar”.
Leila said, “You live in the heart of Karachi”.
Amir said enquiringly, “have you seen Karachi”?
Leila said, “I adore Karachi, i love that city whatever it has”.
Leila took a little pause and continued her conversation in ironical and satirical way, “you must love Karachi but the problem is that you don’t want to live there”.
Amir was confused and baffled. He didn’t what he should say. He controlled himself and said, “It’s not the truth, my parent wants me to marry where they want but i want to live my life the way i want. So i want to marry here. When they will come to know that i am married they will stop bothering me and although they will be exasperated and annoyed but at last they will forgive”.
Leila said sardonically and ironically, “If your sister does the same thing what you will think of it”?
Amir said, “I don’t mind. Everyone has his own life and he is allowed to live the way he wants to live”.
Leila said, “These are all bookish things. The real world is different”.
Amir convincingly said, “I am very broad minded about these matters”.
Leila wanted to check Amir’s broad and open mindedness so she said, “if you see your sister doing French kissing right in the middle of the street with some boy, will you be able to tolerate it although you must have seen many boys and girls doing in the streets. You must have done many times. You can do it because you are a man”
Amir’s condition was very bad like somebody has sucked the whole blood from his body. He didn’t realise that he will face this situation. When Leila saw that Amir isn’t saying anything she continued the conversation, “Anyway you are lucky my parent didn’t check your height and they haven’t taken the test of your Urdu and English. The people who came before you, they have checked their teeth as well. As they know that i am getting old and so now they are little bit lenient. Now they say that i can find some guy on my own. Now everything depends upon me, anyway if my parents like you than i won’t mind marrying you. It’s like television, chair and other household things which you need, for me same is the case for having husband. Okay Allah hafiz; if i said something wrong please forgive me. It’s my habit now because on every Sunday my parents invite someone. I never said something like but today i couldn’t stop myself. I have said what i wanted to”.
When Amir was leaving the room it’s was nearly impossible to for him to leave the room. When he left the room, is head was down face was weird. As he entered in drawing he said, “Lets’ go Adam”.
Shamsuddin sheikh said, okay my son we will phone you whatever we will decide, anyway everything depends upon our daughter. She is the one who will decide. You are okay for us but (he was looking at Amir’s height)”.
He didn’t complete his sentence; Amir took the permission and came home. Adam asked him many times but he didn’t say anything.
It has been two years that Adam was living in London. Police never checked or controlled him. Nobody asked him either he is legal or illegal in London.
Whenever he had day off he has been to some historical or tourist place to see. He had great desires to see things in Turkey, Yunnan and Italy but he never told anybody but here in London he saw all those places what he wanted to see. He has been to National Gallery, Tate Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London Bridge, Hayward Gallery, Saint Paul church, Westminster Abbey, parliament house, Tower of London, Madam Tassaud Museum, British museum, Big Ben and Victoria and Albert Museum.
Adam had a chance to see Charles dickens house where he stayed from 1837 to 1839. He wrote three famous novels in this house, Oliver Twist, Pickwick Paper and Nicolas Nickelby. Other than that he has seen the houses of John Keats, Karl Marx, Mohan Chand Gandhi, D. H. Lawrence, Shelley, Leigh Hunt and William Makepeace Thackeray.
When Adam came to know about Crystal Palace he got shocked. In 1851 a fair was inaugurated in Hyde Park. The most beautiful thing in that fair was crystal palace. In 1851 from May to October six million people have visited this palace. There was fire in this palace in 1936 so this palace was converted in to ashes. Now you can see this monument only in photos.
Other than this royal festival hall was built in 1951. As London was famous for historical building on the other hand new things were constructed as well like telecom tower which is 180 metre high and it was inaugurated on 1964. Lloyd palace is a modern building this was designed by famous architect Richard Robert. It was opened for public in 1984. The Canada tower is the tallest building of London and it height is 250 metre. The charring cross’s building is new as well and it has been constructed across the Thames River.
As the Muslim’s population was increasing in London so they needed mosques as well. Two mosques are very famous, one is Jammea Masjid Brick Lane (central mosques brick lane) and other is in Regent Park.
Brick lane’s mosque’s building was built in 1743 but it was Jews synagogue and it was converted into mosque in twentieth century. At the entrance gate of this mosque is still written in Latin, “Ombra Sumus”. Lots of Bengalis live in this area.
The biggest mosque of London is called Jammea Masjid London or Regent Park mosque. This mosque is in between trees. This mosque was built under the supervision of Sir Frederic Gibbard in 1978. One thousand and eight hundred people can offer their namaz (prayer) in this mosque.
While they were working bajwa told Adam that today we will go to Equinox discotheque after finishing work. Kazmi, sheikh, shirazi and sharanpuri will be there. There friend has came from Pakistan so they want to enjoy this evening. He is the son of some M.N.A. (member of national assembly). They have specially invited you because you are good dancer and tomorrow you are free as well.
Adam said, “It all right but how we will come back”.
Bajwa said, “You needn’t to worry about it. They have cars. They will give us lift definitely”.
Adam and bajwa were knackered due to working hard in the shop but when they saw loads of people in queue outside the discotheque equinox they forget everything and Adam starts moving in queue. At the ticket counter there was very beautiful girl who was fully made up. There were millions of lights here which were sparkling and shining. It must have been mid night. Everything was visible like a day light because it was flood of lights. They bought tickets hurriedly and entered inside. They went to cloakroom and stood in the queue once again. At their turn they have given their jackets and she took one pound each and given them token. They kept their tokens at safe place and entered in the main hall which was dancing floor. There were loads of colourful lights which were blinking and flashing with music. The whole equinox was banging with strident and piercing sound of techno music. Adam was wearing black T-shirt and black jeans. As he heard techno music he was out of his senses, he forgot everything and started dancing. It as they were standing in the corner, they heard the voice of sharanpuri. They did hear what he was saying than he came closer to them. He guided them where they dancing. Their sweaters and jackets were in the middle placed on the floor. They were dancing around this heap of jackets and sweaters. Some of them were carrying bear and some of them were carrying coca cola. Adam bought himself bottle of water giving them company. The discotheque was jam pack. Boys and girls were dancing on techno music frantically. It seemed like that that they don’t care about this world. This is all because of techno music. Nadeem kazmi came closer to Adam and he said loudly, “if you want to find a girl in discotheque, go to women’s toilette because they can’t piss in standing position. You will find many outside the toilette waiting for their turn”.
Adam started laughing and he thought what kind of person he is. He is very innovative and he has versatile ideas. All of a sudden the deejay played run D.M.C. and Jason Navin’s song “It’s like that and that’s the way it is, check this out”. The whole Equinox was waiting for this song. Everyone started showing his talent. Someone was waving, someone was doing knee spin, someone was doing head spin and someone was doing back spin. Adam wasn’t very good but he was better than many. He started doing break dance and came in the middle of the dancing floor. He did many steps but when he performed back spin everyone appreciated and clapped for him. While he was dancing a Jamaican came in the middle of the dancing floor. He was very slim and smart. He started his performance. He was very good dancer, Adam had to leave so he left the floor. That Jamaican boy shocked everyone. Finally he did wind mill which is very difficult. Everyone appreciated and praised him. Adam clapped for him as well.
Adam had been to Ministry of Sound (its Europe biggest discotheque apart Ibiza’s discotheque on Spanish Island) once with Allahyar Khan. He had good time there and today he was having good time with his friends. Everyone said we get drunk with bear and get drunk with water.
Four ‘o’ clock in the morning they left equinox and they were dying of hunger. There is mc. Donald few steps far from discotheque. Either its hot weather or cold especially on Friday and Saturday night this part of London is always busy on weekends and mostly at night. Where there is equinox there is another discotheque called hippodrome and Piccadilly Circus’s underground station is here as well and on the other side of the road is Leicester square tube station so because of these two main stop this area is always busy.
They ate swiftly in McDonald and took their way to home. Everyone appreciated Adam’s dance. They heard about him that he is good dancer but they didn’t know that he that much good. All of them were little bit tipsy and they were making so much noise and they were thinking that nobody can hear them. As they switched off their cars outside the house they banged their cars door one after another. One of them opened the main door’s lock and all of them entered inside the house. It was nearly dawn and they were able to see things. It was quiet and calm in this part of Wimbledon area so it was very easy to hear their noise very far. Next to them there was some Pakistani who was living with his wife and kids and he very annoyed with them. He used to have argues with them about making noise today when they came he woke up and switched on the light and then he switched off again.
Adam requested to keep quiet but nobody wanted to listen what he was saying. All of them were drunk and tipsy. There next door neighbour banged the wall once but they didn’t pay attention finally they went to their rooms and slept there.
The bell was ringing. Adam thought that he is dreaming, he woke up and move the window’s curtain it was enough light outside. He thought there must be someone to see them. He went to the main door and opened the door. Three policemen showed their id card and entered inside the house. Adam didn’t have time to ask them for search warrant. They scattered everywhere. They started removing quilts and blankets to wake them up. They thought their neighbour complained so that’s why they were here. The truth wasn’t this. In fact some Asian guy beat up some police man and they found this address on his id. They were searching him. They asked everyone for documents. Four of them were on student visa and bajwa had political asylum. Adam was the only person who hadn’t has documents. On suspicious bases they took him and during investigation they found that Adam is illegal immigrant. They kept him in a detention cell which was near to Heathrow airport. Adam wasn’t ready for this catastrophe. He never thought of it that he this will happen with him in England. He phoned bajwa from detention cell. He was very exasperated and infuriated and said that why he hasn’t told them that he hasn’t got documents. We thought you must be on political asylum.
In detention cell they offered him to apply for political asylum but Adam refused their proposal even though they were providing him free legal advisor or lawyer. His friend forced him requested him that don’t miss the chance but he didn’t listen to anyone. At last Bajwa made his baggage ready and brought everything in detention cell. This was his last rendezvous. Adam had some saving. He thought he will start some small business in Pakistan or if it will be possible, he will marry with Lolita.
Two retired soldiers accompanied Adam up to aeroplane. Adam thought they will leave him in aeroplane and go back but living illegally in England was a crime so it was their duty to accompany him up the border of Pakistan. They have given Adam’s passport to pilot and sat next to Adam in the aeroplane. Both of them were very nice with Adam. One of them said, “You would have marry with some Pakistani girl or you would have applied for political asylum so like that you would have chance to stay in England. You know how difficult it is to get British visa. There is always a long queue outside the embassy”.
Adam said, “How do you know that”?
So he responded, “One of my cousin he gave expensive gifts to get job in British High Commission in Pakistan. He comes every year on holidays and he tells us different kind of stories”.
Adam got shocked after hearing these retired soldiers stories.
Eight ‘o’ clock in the morning the aeroplane arrived in Rawalpindi and Islamabad’s area. Adam had a glance from windows there were small houses and Islamabad was like a patch of land with many small boxes. Aeroplane’s speed was lessoning slowly and it was coming closer to runway. It has been five years or more since he left Pakistan and this was his first experience air travel. Before he travelled by road and after turkey he used the illegal way to enter in Yunnan, Italy, France and England. Adam was thinking about his fate and luck that where he had the chance or deportation, he wasn’t deported from those countries and from England he never even thought of it but they deported him. He was very happy that he coming home. He will step on his mother land. He won’t be afraid of police. Nobody will humiliate him. He will laugh and breathe in his own country. Nobody will say “documenti, papier s’il vous plait” (show me your documents). Over here nobody will say either you are legal or illegal. The aeroplane stopped with a jerk and his imagination got interrupted. Aeroplane was at the corner of the Rawalpindi-Islamabad airport and an escalator was attached with the doors of aeroplane. The passenger started getting off from the aeroplane. All the passenger went to the immigration counter to get their passports stamped and after this they were going to the baggage belt to get their bag but these two soldiers left Adam in federal investigation agency’s custody and said good bye to Adam and left him.
They brought him a small room. The F.I.A.’s workers were walking to and fro. Someone was ogling at him some of them were asking, “who he is”? The answer was, “he is from Bartania” (England or Britain). They have deported him. Someone said, “Than he must have a lot of money”. One of them said, “They apply political asylum there and disgrace their country”. One of them said, “They live voluptuous life there. The alcohol is easily available there that’s why when they come back from there they are very healthy and strong”.
Adam was sitting there and listening everyone, what they were saying. A guy came and said, “The big officer wants to see you”. Adam was bewildered and panicky that what happened to him. He was at his homeland from last two hours and he was still in the airport. Adam followed that gentleman and he took him in a cabin. As he stepped in the cabin, he saw a man was sitting in the cabin without uniform. He was sitting on a chair and his head was towards the pile of files. He indicated Adam with his hand to sit down. He guy who brought him here, the big officer ordered him to get some soft drink or tea with biscuits. Then he addressed Adam, “my son you have committed crime. If you go in details, your case will be more complicated. So do what i am telling you. He typed some numbers on calculator’s screen and showed to Adam and said, “You have to give nazrana (baksheesh) and you will be free from here without any problem”. Adam glanced at it, twenty thousand rupees. He said, “Pounds will be fine”. That gentleman said, “Yes off course, why not. You go to wash room. I will send someone with you. You give him two hundred and fifty pound”. Adam looked around, he saw the cameras and he understood everything. That big officer pressed a button which was underneath his table. Adam went with that gentleman who came with bell’s voice. He accompanied him up to wash room. Adam gave him two hundred and fifty pound. That gentleman said, “Give me fifty pound as well”.
Adam gave him fifty pound too than both of them came to big officer. That gentleman winked his eye, which was the sign of okay. The big officer offered Adam him to sit down. The tea was being served. Adam took tea swiftly and hastily and he wanted to say khuda hafiz but big officer gave him his visiting card and said, “my son if you have any problem, just ring on my mobile number and listen if someone ask you about me just tell them he is my uncle. He was just saying hello, hi. I hope you won’t say anything stupid”.
Adam was very shrewd and sagacious now. He did what that big officer said. That gentleman came with him and he told everyone that he is A.B.C.’s relative. Everyone has given him way. As he came out, carrying his trolley. It was outlandish and weird scene. There were many men with big moustaches and they were wearing starched shalwar qameez. There were women, kids girls were waving to people who were coming out from airport. Everyone was shouting for his relative. At one corner there were private taxi driver were shouting.
“Hat oay hat ay mayra ay” (stay away he is mine)
Naye oay naye ay mayra ay” (no no he is mine)
“Ao gee bao gee kithay janran ay” (Sir, where you want to go?)
One of them tried his levels best, “hello come my car”.
Adam was so confused because they detain him. He forgot to change money.
After seeing certain things Adam felt very strange and bizarre that people were walking at the airport like it was a picnic spot. Same is the case with hospitals in Pakistan.
Adam saw a taxi driver, he seemed like a gentleman. It doesn’t mean that other taxi driver weren’t gentlemen the reason he selected him because he wasn’t shouting a lot. Adam was going towards him, suddenly a boy came in front of him. He was shuffling some plastic cards. He said, “Excuse me do you want to phone somewhere”. Adam just wanted to get rid of him so he said, “no i don’t need to. I am coming from Lahore”. He sorted out like this the situation.
He put his baggage on taxi’s roof and sat next to driver. He started breathing at a fast pace. He was breathing in free air of a free country. Over here nobody will ask him, “pind kayrah ay”. What is the name of you village or “picho kithay day o” where you from? He was sick of all these phrases.
Taxi left the airports environs and vicinity. The light poles, eclectic wires and the scenarios around him were wacky and uncanny. He started thinking that when he left Pakistan this place as it is the way it was before. There was no change in it. He didn’t like the traffic system. It was unorganized and undisciplined. Nobody was following his lane. All cars were giving horn each other to get way. On the other hand in Europe if someone gives you horn, it means you break some traffic rule or you made some mistake and he gave you horn as a curse or indication. Sometime if someone gets marry, all the cars with couple they klaxon. If someone is switching on and off the head lights of his car, it means there is some kind of checking or there is some speed control camera so he should control his speed limit.
Adam thought many times his taxi driver will hit some car but it didn’t happen. There taxi was very near to Punj Sarki patrol pump (pentagonal road’s petrol pump). The taxi driver followed Adam’s instruction s and turned his car in alley way and he stopped the car in front of his house. There was creep sound of breaks and finally he was at home.
Adam didn’t have Pakistani currency so he gave ten pound to taxi driver and him said, “bao gee give me hundred pounds”. Adam started thinking, what kind of person he is, to earn hundred pound i have to stand on foot for ten hours for one week, which means sixty hour and then i get hundred pound. Above all i have to hear boss’s taunts as well. This gentleman how calmly said; give me hundred pounds like they are hundred rupees. Adam forced him to get ten pound and took his bag from taxi’s roof. The taxi driver was very annoyed he was mumbling something, might be cursing him. He starts the taxi and went away.
In must be afternoon. There was no one in the street. Adam pressed the bell of his house. There was no respond. He placed him suitcase in front of his house and sat there. He thought many times that go to kharal sahib’s house than he thought he should go to najma begum’s house but it wasn’t nice. He started thinking while he sitting on his suitcase that he has been all around the Europe and he again there where he has started his voyage. All the houses in the street were reconstructed except their house. He and daowd left home together and daowd nearly achieved his goal but Adam didn’t find his destiny. He was very tired of this long travel so while he was thinking, he slept on suitcase.
© Copyright 2016 sarfraz baig. All rights reserved.