Following week after the Holi party, Aayat sat in the backyard at her house. She juggled with a few saplings before she decided which ones she was going to sow this time. More than anything, Aayat loved to see life grow. Plants, animals and in fact every being that has life, Aayat loved it with all her heart. She ran her hands in the bristle-like leaves of one of the saplings she was planning to sow. Between her palms, it looked tiny. Soon the cold leaves grew warm absorbing the warmth from Aayat’s hand. She watched it with such affection.
Outside, running straight from the entrance, a grey Baleno came to a halt. After a hectic week of meeting clients and parties, Noraiz Shaikh was back. Aayat heard the Car honk and immediately ran outside to see her Dad. Ever since her childhood, she shared an affectionate bond with her father. She was the first kid in her family after a long time. Her wishes were fulfilled even before they escaped her lips. She knew her Dad loved her more than any other person in the family. Noraiz Shaikh carried love alone in his heart. He never raised a voice at his kids. He was humble and down to earth.
Carrying a black bag on his shoulders with a grey kurta hung loosely on his well-built body with a pair of denim below it, he walked out of the car with grace. His personality was admirable. Aayat felt there could be no one like her father, as good looking and polite. Somewhere she compared her father’s struggle to that of Rishi’s and that was what was making her heart melt for Rishi even more badly. Even though her mind would pinch her every now and then for having chosen Rishi as a partner for her life, but her heart has already given him a place which she knew she can’t take back. Her desires of having a man similar to her Dad in her life was fulfilled after she met Rishi. So what if he was from another religion. So what if he was 7 years elder to her. When love takes over a human machinery, everything is right. The heart has no connections to the brain where love is concerned. Reasons and logics move out of windows as soon as love knocks on the door of hearts. You seem to think illogical and yet everything appears to be completely fine. In fact blissful.
“Assalamualaikum papa !! How was your trip ?” Aayat moved closer to her Dad and hugged him from a side.
Noraiz Shaikh happily hugged his daughter with affection.
“Waalaikumassalam…! Alhamdulillah everything was good!!” He replied generously passing his shoulder bag to Aayat.
Aayat’s mother was preparing Shami Kabab for evening snacks as her husband was coming back today.
The house was filled with cheerful voices as the beloved member of the family was back home after a long week. Aayat’s younger brother quickly jumped onto his father’s lap and hugged him warmly. No place could give the comfort of a father’s lap. How Aayat wished she was still a kid and could sit with her father just the way her brother, Adeen was sitting.
“Papaaaaa…Tell aaiii these Uncle chips are mine” Adeen spoke in his childlike voice. He sounded squeaky. As soon as Noraiz sat down, everybody ran into him and asked for the things he got for them, especially eatables. Aayat, being a grown-up girl too did the same as her 6 years old brother did. Irrespective of your age, you’re a kid for your parents as long as you are with them.
“Yes, beta…I’ve got this for everybody. These are yours” His father passed the packet towards him with a smile.
Adeen smiled back to uncle chips.
Noraiz had a beautiful smile that could win anybody’s heart. His lifestyle was simple. Even after being an entrepreneur, he never spent a penny on himself, but his family. The family enjoyed the evening together with nicely carved circular Shami Kababs which her mother had prepared. Such evenings were common at their house where everybody would join up for tea. Aayat’s younger sister, Aarzoo had asked her dad to bring some footwear for her. She was wearing those sandals and showing it to everyone in the house. In their family, Aarzoo was the fashion freak. She needed to have all the latest trends in her wardrobe. On the other hand, Aayat never really bothered about looks. She would be happy in wearing anything that would look nice on her. She was not even particular about brands. Her heart was more into books and now when she had Rishi in her life, her most of the wishes revolved around him. She had created her own little abode of hopes and wishes around Rishi. Aayat was the kind of girl who loved knitting a life around the people she loved. Earlier it was just her family, now it’s Rishi too. She considered Rishi to be a part of her family. Though she was creating a beautiful life of her own in her dreams and imagination, little did she knew that her dreams, hopes and love for someone which was so pure to be logical would put her into situations someday that would snatch her youth from her. When hopes and dreams get shattered, there’s no voice, but it pains a lot.
In the middle of all the laughter and the tea session, her cell phone beeped.
“It’s raining here. Let’s meet 😉 ?”
Her face revealed her heart’s desires. She wanted to see him. Her mother looked at her face and asked what any mother would.
“Who’s this ?” Her mother asked.
“Ever since you’ve got this non-sense msg card, your phone is never at rest !!” She added.
The colour on her face faded. She looked at her mom and said, “no … Just a friend”.
She tried too hard to be casual.
Moms needn’t ask their kids what’s going on in their lives. They have these hidden sensors to know what’s up with their kids.
Aayat kept the phone back without replying. She knew she couldn’t go out today. No excuse came to her mind as Zuly too had gone on vacations with her family. She can’t even tell her mom that she was going to meet Zuly. Neither did her mom knew that she shared some friendship with Rishi. However, her mom knew Rishi for a long time now through Zuly and her family but she did not know him so well that she would give her daughter to him. Also, her mother was strict about sending her anywhere just like that. She thought the world would kill her innocence. Her love for her daughter came out as strictness. Aayat knew this very well. She knew she would not get permission to go out, in any case, today and hence she did not even try. She simply texted back and denied any hope for having met that day.
“Dad’s home. Won’t get permission to go out today. Sorry. Can’t meet :'(“
She briefly told Rishi about the scenario at her house. He too did not force her into knowing the sensitivity of their relationship. He knew he could not afford to take even one wrong step.
“What’s the tentative date for your result?” Her father asked her while he poured down some more tea into the saucer.
“It’s 25th may. But it keeps changing. Two days ago when I checked the website, it said the expected date is 21st may. I think they keep on shifting the dates ahead. I’m so nervous. I don’t know what’s going to happen!” Aayat replied. Just the thought of the most awaited boards results coming out gave her butterflies. She was not tensed but she was excited to pass that year and finally enter into more professional a course. Her concern was not whether she would pass the exams with good marks but that whether she would top her school or not. Her love for that brown board hasn’t died and she prayed every day to get her name there. She knew how much hard work and affection towards her books it takes to be there. It’s an everlasting memory which you get by being the topper. She was afraid of her competitors in school and she never underestimated them. She learnt “The Rabbit and the Turtle” story at her school very seriously. She knew how just one irresponsible act would do to her 12 years long dream of seeing her name printed over there. She couldn’t afford to do that. And hence she kept a keen eye on everybody from her friends to her batchmates and especially to those 5 students in her class whom she thought would give her a tough competition. She never underestimated them but neither did she underestimated herself. However, there had been days when she was scared about not having her name there. On days like those, Rishi would comfort her by telling her things she was good at and that she doesn’t have to worry about the results. Sometimes all we want is to hear the things which we already knew from the one we love the most. It gives an unknown courage which nothing else in the world can.
“Don’t worry beta. You’ll do good. You’ve worked really hard” her father replied as he got up finally finishing his tea.
Aayat had occupied herself into some preparations from the last week. Ever since she got to know that Rishi’s bday is in the coming month, in fact, 28th of Maybe precise, she has got her brain cells to work towards it. She wanted to make that day very special for him. She started saving her pocket money and decided to gift him something. She somehow managed to get Vikram’s number from Rishi’s cell phone and texted him about her plannings for the day.
“We’ll do whatever u say miss. U r special now :-)”
Read his text when she was finally done telling Vikram about her planning.
Moreover, the preparations for Rishi’s bday kept the anxiety of her result away. She practised things to say to him on his bday. Also, she thought she would tell Zuly the same day about Rishi and her being together. Not that Zuly didn’t know this, but she wanted to confess on her own. After all, Zuly was the one who helped them be together for most of the time, unknowingly. Besides that, Aayat loved the way everything was going for her.
A perfect loving family, a blissful love life and an amazing academic position to hold on to. Her life was near perfect in every aspect. But !!! There’s no such thing called perfect. She had to deal with things the other way. She had to let go of a lot of things and accept realities, sooner or later.
Spending hours on just writing a beautiful birthday note, she hadn’t satisfied herself yet. She would scribble some more and then cut the entire thing out. She wanted to make the day memorable for him. And hence, unless the perfect words spilt out from her pen, she kept on scribbling.
Finally, after a struggle of about a month, she was ready with the gift and with the things, she will say to him. More than him, she was excited for the day. But before his birthday, her result was about to come. But now, she was more excited about his birthday. This is the thing with love. As soon as you got into this love thing, your dreams take the mould of someone’s else’s. Your hopes, fears, likes, dislikes, routine and every big and small things seem to take their shape. You got nothing of your own. To say the least, you step into their shoes and live their life constantly with them. You do it even when you’re not asked for it. Sharing every little detail about your day with sharing your life with someone, it is a great deal to continue being in love. It’s easier falling in love than continuing to be with that person even when you see your own life moving away. Aayat had done just the same. She had moved out of her own and worn Rishi’s life happily. Now she was not that old Aayat Shaikh, competitive an focused. Not anymore. After all, she became Aayat Gujral, without even knowing it. In her mind, she had accepted Rishi as her husband. It was too early but that was what it was. In the truest and deepest sense.
Being too young to fall in love, she couldn’t see what she was stepping into. The worst part was she wasn’t even prepared for it. An unexpected unwanted and unknown storm was coming her way from a distant end. But before that, she would have to see some more of the good days before she finally dives into a pool of sorrows.
“Kisi se Mohobbat karna ya na karna hamare haath mein nahi hai … Isi tarha kisi ke saath hum kitna waqt guzarenge ye bhi hamare haath mein nahi hai … Insaan pehle Mohobbat karta hai, phir usmein khud ko kharch karta hai aur phir ek din wo Apni aane wali zindgi ke baare mein Faisle karta hai aur Kahin na Kahin ye bhool jata hai ki uski apni zindgi uske haath mein nahi to phir kisi aur se kiye waade wo kaise nibhaega … Jab use khud Apne agle pal ki khabar nahi hai, to phir kisi ka saath zindgi bhar maangne ya nibhane ka khayal bhi usko aana nahi chahiye … Zindgi isi ka to Naam hai … Waade karna aur phir unhe khud todna … Rishte banana aur phir khud unhe Mita Dena … Jis Mohobbat Ko Insaan khud bade khuloos se likhta hai, use ek din wo mitata bhi khud hi hai …”