“Noor! Noor! Kaha thi itni der?” her mother yelled at her, as she tiptoed into her house. “It is my anklet, it has to be”, she thought to herself.
She knew wandering around so late in the evenings was not very safe, and besides it gave a bad name to the family, but she enjoyed the thrill these escapades of hers gave her. And above all, this was the safest time to meet Imran.
Imran, the very thought of him lit up her midnight black eyes and a warm shy smile appeared on her face!
Imran entered his house, smiling, only to be greeted by his father’s grim, disapproving gaze. He knew it, he had sensed it. Imran’s instincts were at work again. For the 21 years of his life, and for as long as his memory allowed him to remember, he knew that his father would always know what he has been up to without him having told him anything. He dreaded it, he tried to hide, lie, and nothing worked.
“Kaun hain woh? Kya karti hain? Kya tum firse who Anwar ki beti, kya naam hain uska, ha, Naaz, uske saath toh nahi…” Salim Mohammad Khan’s stern and powerful voice breaks through the awkward silence in the room. “abhi se he bol deta hun, accha nahi hoga yeh, tum jaante ho na ki Anwar ka mazhab bhale he islam hain, par woh hindustani nahi”
Imran is speechless. He looks at his father coldly, his blood boiling inside.
Anwar Rahman Sharif is one of those unfortunate Indian Muslims who haven’t got their due in their own country. Born to an Indian mother and Pakistani father, at the time of partition, his mother, decided to stay in her country. His father had been killed in the post-partition riots; a few months before Anwar was born.
He had never seen his father’s face, which is probably why he was hostile towards emotions, barring that of hate, towards love. He had been bought up in a torn country, still healing from years of slavery and then a part of hers being brutally cut away. In the beautiful snow covered valley of Kashmir, Anwar could only hear painful screams echoing through his growing up years.
“Abba ko pata chala na to tumhari khair nahi”, Naaz’s thoughts are interrupted by her mothers voice.
She looks at her mother and quietly walks into the kitchen, avoiding meeting her eye.
Anwar Rahman Sharif is sitting in his courtyard, smoking a hookah, when Iliyas, one of his employees comes rushing to him. “Maine un dono ko aaj fir saath dekha, wahi jagah par. Main, maaf karna, eek chotey muh badi baat kehta hun aapse, yeh thik nahi ho raha”
“Utha lo use, maar do” Anwar says cooldly.
He waits for Iliyas to leave. And then he storms into the house.
“Naaz!” he yells.
She comes running out to her father, her heart beating fast.
“Aaj ke bad dum is ghar ke bahar nahi niklogi, aur agar Imran se milne ka socha bhi toh bas…”
She tries to speak, but words refuse to come out of her mouth. She has never seen her father this furious.
Quietly she walks into her room, shutting the door behind her.
“Main usse kal milungi, dhopahar ko jab ammi-abba so rahe honge tab bhaag jayungi, aur wapas nahi aaungi”, she tells herself.
Imran is walking back home after meeting a friend. It is close to midnight and the streets are deserted. Suddenly he feels something hit his head really hard. He falls on the ground unconscious.
His head hurts, his body is tied, his throat is dry, its dark around him, he tries to move, that’s when a light comes on, and Iliyas’s face appears from the dark, “Yeh Naaz se pyar karne ke liye hain”, and stabs him in the stomach.
Imran struggles to say something, his body giving up. His mind is running wild. He can hear Naaz calling out his name, giggling on his jokes, the sound of her bangles, her anklets. He makes one last attempt before he gives up forever and shuts his eyes for the last time picturing Naaz looking at him her hands stretched out, smiling.
Naaz packs her bag through the night, her heart beating fast with excitement. She occasionally stops dreaming of her life with Imran. At noon the next day, as planned she sneaks out. She goes to their secret place, where they meet everyday. Half and hour and she knows he’ll be there.
“Abbu ne kaha tumse kabhi na milu, toh main bhaag ayi. Hum saath rahenge. Ab toh mere ammi-abba ko pataneka dar bhi nahi!” she thinks about what she is going to tell him again and again.
He is late, she is getting restless. She fidgets with her dupatta, looking around. The sun is about to set. She can’t even think of going back home; Atleast not without him. He doesn’t come. He never will, but what has happened of him, she will never know...
*I'm not too sure of this one so comments would be appreciated.