Literature · short story · writers

The Veiled Woman.

She was wearing an abhaya going to the bazaar for some supplies when the fakirni came to her to beg. She gave her 20 rupees and went on her way. She was fasting and wanted to buy fruits for iftar and the fruits are always fresh in the early hours of morning. All around her she could see thailay walays and the usual khachada surrounding the carts. It was a an everyday sight and she was immune to the unhygienic market and continued her purchases of ripe red apples, grapes, melons, bananas and the mangoes that were in season. She chose the sindhiri because she liked it best. As she was busy in purchasing the fruits, a firework was heard nearby and she without paying the shopkeeper, she fled for her life and ran as far as her feminine legs could carry; until she reached her home and offered a silent prayer to Allah for protecting her . During the bombing her neighbour Rukhsaar was severely injured and was taken to the government hospital that dealt with the emergency situations like the one Rukhsaar was in.

As soon as she turned on the television, she was left aghast at the body count. So many people died and many wounded. Is this the way her life is going to be? Her husband had died in a bomb blast not many months ago and her son was left paralysed from the legs from a gunshot in one of the many fireworks that displayed their horrifying assault on the victims of this forsaken life. Is life really about getting up for Fajr prayers at home and end with a janaza at Isha? As she recollected all this in terrible tranquillity, her door bell rang. She answered it at the fifth bell for fear that the terrorists had come to finish her off. It was her Ruksaar’s son Saqib who came with glad tidings that his mother had succumbed to the fireworks and was now an angel with wings looking upon the sordid affairs of humanity from the vanilla skies of Jannat. She kissed his forehead and said: Inna Illaha Wa Inna Elehe Rajeoun. She said she would make the iftar for them today and he went away with the lightest heart filled with grief, revenge and bloodlust in his eyes.
The woman locked her doors and went straight into the kitchen. It was noon and she was already tired. Obviously the fasting was getting to her and she had yet to offer Zuhr. After offering her prayer, she went to recite the Quran. She cried during the tilawat and drops of blood fell on the muqaddas kitab. She wiped them off her face and closed her eyes, raised her hands to the heavens and asked Allah if he could grant Rukhsaar a place in the shaheeds of shaheeds. She did not know if her prayer was to receive a reply but she had faith. It was Asr and she started with the fruit chaat first. She felt that he should have paid the thalay wala for the fruits and if he died during the blessed fireworks, then May Allah forgive her transgression in the state of fasting. Twilight was upon her and Maghrib was fast approaching. She packed the fruit chaat, samaosays, dhai bhlaays, lukmias and imli ka sherbet. She was unlocking the door when there was chaos everywhere and her area of Saddar was burning and she was taken to a Holy incident that happened at Qaum-e-Luth (A.S) and she shuddered at the thought of what afaatain Allah has in store for her people in Karachi. She went back to her house instead of crossing the familiar threshold rather than the unfamiliar territory she saw beyond her and without a second glance backwards, she went to her room and knelt as if she were in sajdah. When she got up, there was darkness everywhere.


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