"Bird Of Paradise" (Ep#1) Read Count : 5

Category : Books-Fiction

Sub Category : Romance

Prologue:

The grape vines, wrapped as some serpent with the exterior wall of the courtyard were depicting a dull shadow of an evening of fall in Azeem House.
This year’s October was not dull only in the terrains of the house, as it always used to be, but there was a strange grief within the atmosphere which was new to this month.
May be, October was also lamenting over the lives of  its inhabitants or probably over all that which was going to happen to her life, the scars of which were going to persist forever.
“She destroyed my son”. Aasia Begum murmured, in a grieved tone, as she saw her eldest son’s blank and worried expressions who just came back home and ignored her mother, may be willingly or unwillingly, who just became free after offering her Maghrib prayer and was now there at the courtyard, noticing the heavy fall this year.
She could clearly read from his face that he was suffering in silence from the past few weeks, burning quietly in the emotional turmoil, caused by his broken marriage.  
He was quiet from that time, spoke very less of it to anybody who seemed more interested in knowing the reasons behind his divorce. 
Some assumed, it was Ayesha’s irresponsibility towards her child and husband, which had worsened the situation up to a level, where there was no other way except ending their two years marriage. Others blamed him of being so aggressive and strict, that Ayesha felt suffocated in this relation.
One can simply sum it up to “As many chronicles, as there are bards.”
When people asked the reason from Aasia Begum, she simply said, “Things happened  at their own, it was written in their fates, It was a part of Allah’s strategy, no one could do anything against His strategy, for He is the best planner of all.”
More or less, every family member had the same perspective on this divorce. Everyone was trying to avoid this topic as much as they could, but sometimes, the things from which we run, are the things which keep on haunting us everywhere throughout our lives.
       Ayesha on the other hand, seemed to be careless about all that had happened with her life. The three sixty degree shift surprisingly, didn’t affect her at all. She was satisfied; at least one could make this statement by seeing her apparent condition. She left Tauqeer at her own.
It was her decision to end a relation, which according to her, was already meeting its dead end.
She visited Azeem House, two times after her divorce and both of the visits ended unpleasantly. The visits were solely for gathering all of her belongings from that house which appeared to her as a cursed dungeon.
The first time, she entered into the house, after cutting all chords with the inhabitants over there, she was strangely welcomed there.
      Sania, Tauqeer’s younger sister, was the only one who welcomed her with a bright grin, holding Ayesha’s month old infant daughter. “Bhabhi!see she has opened  her eyes and is looking around, may be she knows, her mom is here. You would like to take her.......”.Sania’s sentence was cut in the middle, with an unfamiliar strangeness, a strangeness with which Ayesha said, “ Don’t connect me with Tauqeer’s girl, I’m only here for getting all that which was left behind, not for creating the bonds, which never originated at the first place.” With this she stepped hastily, to upstairs where there was Tauqeer’s room, which once belonged to her too.
     But past has no significance, it gives nothing except regret and she didn’t want to regret at anything.
Sania saw her and then the infant who still opened her round button eyes, looking at the alien environment, unaware of  everything, happening around her. Tears rolled down Sania’s cheeks and she kissed the infant passionately. Ayesha gathered all her belongings and quietly stepped out of the house with the same strangeness.
      Second time was no different than the first one, the only exception was that, this time his father-in-law Azeem Abbas was also present, who witnessed her strange attitude, with her own daughter, the one whom she kept in her womb for nine months and now she was treating her as an animate creature. This made his heart ripped apart, though he was a man of strength, but seeing his grand -daughter being neglected by her own biological mother, made him weakened as if all his might was taken at that moment.
He in his broken voice said, “Ayesha, beta at least hug her once”, to which she curtly refused. This was the end of all the efforts being done from her in-laws to bring her close to her daughter and with this ending, her relation with her infant daughter came to an end.
             For Tauqeer Azeem, the new addition in his life didn’t matter a lot. He had no or almost a very little interaction with her daughter, since the day, she was born.
He was negligent towards her for two reasons, firstly he and all his family strongly wished to have a boy, as the sole heir of their tradition and generation since the time Ayesha announced her pregnancy. But, to their utmost disappointment, it was a girl, though the family accepted her with open heart, yet for Tauqeer, she couldn’t get the place, which was reserved by him, for his son only.
The second reason was truthfully hurting, she was the daughter of Ayesha Wajid, the woman he hated the most, she reminded him of her ignorance and hatred. Therefore, he most of the times reluctantly denied to take her into his arms, as her face was a mark of shame and failure for him.
Her custody was yet to be given to one of the parents and both were not at all active regarding this matter. Ayesha’s family was putting pressure on her to file an appeal for having her daughter’s legal custody, because of the tremendous pressure and efforts of Ayesha’s brothers, an appeal was finally made, and this was the first time Tauqeer’s father intervened in this matter.
“Abba g! If they want her custody, let them have her, I never wanted a daughter, if in her place, they had my son, I would have hired a lawyer , but this is something we can sort out by our own selves, without pushing this into the court.” Tauqeer clearly said to his father Azeem Sahab, at which he became furious and said, “Tauqeer! She is our blood, she is our honour, she is a girl. If we let them have her, we are in one way letting them take our honour, if tomorrow she turns out to be a disgrace, it wouldn’t be a disgrace towards them, but the blood is ours, It would be a disgrace to us, to those who have preserved their honour in such hard times, people will point fingers at us, that our blood wasn’t pure”, Tauqeer unintentionally agreed to his logic, and the defence against the custody was arranged over night.
After four hearings, both Tauqeer Azeem and Azeem Abbas had accepted the fact, that there was no way, they could get the infant’s custody, as the lawyer made it clear that, there was no existing law, which could separate an infant from her mother, till the age, the child becomes wise enough to choose to stay with one of the parents.
The lawyer further said, that her custody could only be granted to them, if her mother agrees to give it or due to any cause, she fails to appear before the court at the final hearing.
Two more hearings were still left, but the spirits from both sides were now almost lowered.
It seemed that none of the side cared, about the child’s future, as both the parents had already denied their daughter’s presence in their lives and once we make our minds to deny something, we make it clear to ourselves that this thing is of least importance to us, then no decision, no choice, no incident can change that mentality.
Since she was already a stranger to her parents, her presence or absence created no difference to them.
     At the final hearing, unexpectedly Ayesha backed off, she didn’t turn up to the court, and the verdict was declared in Tauqeer’s favour.
He had finally earned his daughter’s custody, but it didn’t make him happy anymore. To him, it was just another responsibility which was left on him by the woman, he hated. He felt no real happiness, as compared to Azeem Sahab who was relieved at the fact that their “honour” was now preserved by them.      
“Allah will give you a very high reward of this generous act, Azeem Sahab, as you are taking the responsibility of a mother-less child upon your shoulders, especially at an age, when a child cannot survive without mother.
Allah will bless you for this. May Allah curse such shameless woman, who couldn’t even remain loyal to her motherhood.
That is one reason, I’m against educated independent women. They think they can chain men, by deciding what they want or not and then showing stubbornness to nature’s laws.” Tauqeer’s  lawyer, who was in his late forties commented abruptly, as they stepped out of the court room. “Buss g! We have done a blunder by marrying him to her, I won’t say anything bad, as I have my own daughter, but she never considered us her near and dear ones.
Her job was the only thing important to her, nothing else mattered, but who I am to say anything now, when she has proved her upbringing by leaving her husband and child.
May Allah protect us all from such women.”With this, the discussion ended.
   Upon reaching home, Azeem Abbas explained everything to her wife. Tauqeer preferred to keep himself away from  all this matter, as he didn’t want to become a part of this burning hot discussion anymore, so he left it entirely upon his parents, to decide  whatever they find  suitable and after a great round of discussion, it was decided that Sania will look after the infant, as long as, they don’t find another bride for Tauqeer and another mother for her.
         This was the day, She legally became a part of Azeem family and this became her identity for the rest of her life.
Chapter 1.
5 years later:

"What’s your name beta?", Ms. Shaista was asking her.
      “Mirha”, she uttered this abruptly, while keeping her gaze at the plate of cookies placed alongside the tea cups which were orderly placed, one in front of  Ms. Shaista and the other infront of Sania Azeem on the table, which functioned as the only barrier between her and Ms.Shaista.
“Mirha! Tell her your full name, the one you told me at home, she wants to know Mirha’s full name”,Sania persuaded her enthusiastically.
“Mirha Tauqeer”, this time her voice was sharper than before, may be she was not liking all that, her only interest was still that cookie plate.
“Mirha Tauqeer...! well.. I loved your name,that’s a very beautiful name, Mirha...
Your Sani mama says, you know a counting rhyme, can you tell me that?...I love to listen rhymes, Is Mirha going to rhyme for me?”,another request was done.
“One....two...buckle my shoe
Three... four ...shut the door
Five..Six.. pick up the ticks
Pick up ticks..,, pick up the ticks”, she started rhyming the rhyme very next second, clapping her hands, she stood  from her chair, claps were getting intense, may be she wanted to act according to the lines.
While being fully immersed in the rhyme, she repeated the third line again and again, it was a sign that she forgot rest of the lines, but her expressions totally denied the fact, that she has forgotten the rhyme.
Her eyes were still brightened with joy and passion. The repetition was disturbed when her aunt stopped her.
“Mirha! what happened, why are you rhyming it incorrectly and where are the rest of the lines.
Remember! Sani Mama rhymes it every day when Mirha colours her drawing books.” Sania her aunt was looking surprised and worried too.
“Its alright Sania, Mirha has rhymed it quite well.
I’m very much impressed from her rhyme, but now I want Mirha to repeat it after me, will Mirha do this for us?”, Ms. Shaista stood up from her chair and leaned towards her, noticing that the brightness in her eyes was there no more, she looked glum, again a weird seriousness took hold of her and she was not that bubbly kid anymore.
She looked at Sania, for approval of repetition, Sania gave her an encouraging smile, upon receiving the signal. She nodded slowly.
“One...Two....Buckle my shoe.....
Three... four ...Shut the door......
Five...Six...Pick up sticks.......
Seven...Eight...lay them straight.....
Nine....Ten....begin again”, Ms. Shaista rhymed it beautifully while she repeated the rhyme after her. But, this time she was not at all excited about the rhyme, her repetition was more like a formality, her tone lowered as she approached towards the end, until a whisper was left only from her side.
It was in her nature, it was in her blood, the stubbornness, she had, may be was a gift from her parents, she innately received and depicted in her attitude, everytime her ego got hurt.
   May be she liked mistakes more than perfection.
“Mirha beta! I didn’t know, you learn so quickly. Excellent!
You were awesome, while you rhymed those lines. I
would surely like to hear this rhyme once again from you, but soon after, you’ll become a part of this school.
You like to draw and rhyming rhymes naa..... I’m sure then you will like this school, because here fairies will teach you your favourite things and you will make new friends here, you can call them elves, do you like elves....?”,Ms.Shaista was again asking affectionately.
“I do......but I like chocolate fairies more”, reply was given with utmost seriousness.
“Sani mama, can I take that”, she pointed towards a cookie placed in the cookie plate, without considering Ms. Shaista anymore.
“Sania pass her one”, Ms. Shaista said, gazing at Mirha lovingly, who was now looking down, playing with the big red flower of her embroided frock.
She was cute indeed, and kind of a chubby kid. Mirha took no notice of her gaze.
May be she was still angry on the “corrected version” of the poem, which was told by Ms. Shaista and not her. Mirha Tauqeer liked to make her own incorrect versions than the conventional correct ones.
Sania passed her the cookie silently and she began eating that, without thanking her. This was a part of Mirha Tauqeer’s personality, her anger was always expressed in her silence.
“Mirha! we have also got swings in this place, Buaa will take you to them.
You take swings,while me and Sani mama will wait for you here” ,Ms.Shaista said to her while calling the maid.
Sania knew what did it mean. So, she didn’t resist against it and allowed the maid to take her outside the office.
Mirha stood up silently, with expressionless features and left the office with the maid.
"You have given Mirha, quite good manners, she is angry on us, I can perceive that yet she has not complained anything.
Children of this age usually don’t behave like this. I’m surprised, how she has learnt to become silent over things which she doesn’t like at such an age, when I daily see kids quarrelling with their moms and care takers at trivial things.”
         Soon after she was gone, Ms. Shaista praised her nature and Sania’s upbringing.
“This is not what she has learnt from me or from anyone else in home, but she has this thing from the very beginning, whenever she is rebuked, corrected or mocked, she doesn’t argue but stops saying anything.
       Though , this silence is short living and she becomes normal again, yet I have noticed that she avoids the same situation again.
She tries to distance herself from things which make her feel absurd. It feel as if she starts hating that reason, which sometimes makes me afraid.”Sania said in a concerned tone.
“Afraid?.....Afraid of..?”,Ms.Shaista keenly asked.
“Ahhh...nothing that much serious, but I only fear that one day her silent hatred will make her hypersensitive towards every minor situation, which she will think, is hurting her apparently.
I don’t want her to become a deep person, just like her father.
Because, you know well how Tauqeer bhai has changed over the past few years, since after things didn’t work well in between him and Ayesha.
Depth is dangerous, it leads one to slow emotional death, suppressing emotions is equivalent to murdering them.” Her eyes got wet, while saying this.
“My brother has turned into a stranger, in front of my eyes. He rarely meets her own biological daughter. He knows nothing of her choices.
Keeping himself  away from his daughter is just a way through which he wants to run from his past, his broken relationship.
But he doesn’t know that how is all this creating a boundary of unfamiliarity between him and Mirha. She becomes afraid of him and Abba g appears to him as his "Baba".
Bhai rarely calls her towards him. Its been five years but both of them are strangers to each other”. Sania paused, her gaze was fixed at the pen holder, which was placed there on the table, may be she was thinking of something.
“Sania beta!don’t you believe Allah’s plans.
He creates bonds of love between strangers, than how is that possible that Tauqeer and Mirha will not love each other?
Mirha is Tauqeer’s blood. It is impossible for him to unlove his own blood, apart from denying or avoiding this reality, there’s another  reality and that is Allah’s strategy, which is the ultimate reality of this world.
    Believe this and you will see the time proving this thing that Mirha is only her father’s daughter.” Ms. Shaista solaced Sania sympathetically.

She was right, Mirha Tauqeer was always her father’s daughter and time proved this everytime.
   
                                 (her journey still continues....)

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