“There is sweetness to be found in the sorrow of parting”-that is what they say. But is it always the case? It wasn’t for Tabassum. Not this time,not ever. She never got an option to choose for herself. She had always been forced upon with the decisions of Allah! That was the trend that ruled her life.
Today’s incident wasn’t of a different color either. But it was not cruel, it was Monstrous… Something that the little soul of 15years did not know how to handle. She had always excelled in the art of submission and a fight back thence after. This time, she didn’t know how to act, react or do anything for the matter.Tabassum had lost her father in her early years of three. Her mother, Meher had been both her Ammi and Abbu since then. Rafiq, her dad, was a fisherman when he was living. Meher took up her better half’s job as her way of earning
Tabassum had lost her father in her early years of three. Her mother, Meher had been both her Ammi and Abbu since then. Rafiq, her dad, was a fisherman when he was living. Meher took up her better half’s job as her way of earning livelihood. Many of her “so-called” supporters during her lows, advised her to work as a maid or choose something more woman-like. But Meher promptly declined to the idea for she knew it was fishing she relied upon. How could she manage to go deep into the sea? Who cared? She didn’t! She was fine with it as long as she could get loads of fish back from the ocean to sell in the market and earn to feed Tabassum and send her to the village school, educate her in English.
Meher had full faith upon Tabassum. She truly believed that someday her daughter would go to the city school and have her higher education like that of the children belonging from the wealthy class. She kept imagining Tabassum in the school uniform with a brand new school bag and brand new books. What if she becomes a doctor? What a pride would that be for Meher! She had always planned of retiring from her going into deep waters once Tabassum is earning.
Now she could see her lovely daughter fulfilling her dreams. Last time Tabassum has come up to be First among all the other students of her class. Her teachers had often talked about how brilliant a student Tabassum was. Meher used to find her head give a spin and her face booming with pride. Rafiq had often told that Tabassum would be the one who would take her parents out of the nasty fish smelling slum. Meher trusted her husband. She knew that her husband couldn’t be wrong, no never! The day he did not come back from his daily tours to the ocean, she was devastated. Tabassum being so tiny did not even get a hint that she would never see her father again. She just saw her mother crying out profusely, holding her tight in the embrace of her arms. Meher has taken up all the pains possible, or even out of the possibilities of being a woman to bring up her only daughter. Tabassum has grown up seeing her mother struggle yet keep a broad smile on her face to avoid any questions from her. Being a kid, Tabassum was easily fooled by her mother with this tactical act of hers. But lately, Tabassum had outdone her mother in this wit. After all she was growing up, how could she miss out on the miseries of her mother? Meher had often referred to her father’s fishing as an immensely reputed job, just as the soldiers as it seemed sometimes. Yes! That was the way Meher used to glorify fishermanhood. Tabassum had some shaky, foggy and unclear images of her Abbu in her mind. She would often dream of him sailing into the deep green sea with a bright blue vacuum reigning above with fluffy white cottony clouds moving around. The only difference was his attire in peaceful white color and his boat of fine teak wood. He had an ear-to-ear smile that talked of “no complains”. That was the way Meher had often described her father’s existence in Jannat. She loved the air of whiteness around her father. She wished, she could touch Abbu, just one more time.
As Tabassum gradually grew up to be a beautiful girl with dusky complexion, straight nose, pearly eyes that were emerald in color and a beautiful smile that often gave her an angelic aura around her, her Ammi got worried about her protection. Such beauty in the house of slum dweller wasn’t supposed to be a sit-back case. Tabassum when gradually started understanding her Ammi’s concern, used to say, “I will be fine Ammi. I will fight those evil people out!”And with that, Meher would just smile and hug her daughter to her heart and Tabassum would smile either ‘cause she knew there won’t come a day ever when she will be fighting the world all by herself. Her Ammi would pounce before her. Meher was proud of her girl to be reading in the same class with her one year elder friends and topping the list. She has appeared for a scholarship test and Meher was eagerly looking forward to her results. She knew her daughter was too brilliant not to crack it.
Due to some unknown reason lately, however Tabassum wanted to go with her mother to the oceans. She always had an intense feeling of going deep into the sea where her mother says that the water changed colors. Her Ammi had often described how mesmerizing would the horizon look when the Sun move at a snail speed, sleep into the Ocean. She has often dreamt of going there. But recently the feeling has grown to some unknown heights. She requested her mother, but Meher declined to her proposal. Meher said her to sit back and study because the city school won’t be easy for her if she takes it for granted. Going out to the oceans is not her cup of tea.
“Who would receive the admission letter of the city school if we both aren’t available? You stay back at home and take care of the house, receive the letter and study harder,” Meher said.
Today it was the same case as Tabassum pleaded to her mother a great deal. But as the daily ritual was, Meher promptly denied to take her along. She had this strong instinct that the letter might arrive today itself. Tabassum pleaded her heart out to her Ammi for some reason which Meher evaluated as her daughter’s growing stubbornness and mentally made a point to act a bit tough with her when she is back. She happily chose her love to be the culprit for her daughter’s behavior.
It was a Saturday and Tabassum’s Ammi had promised her to get back early from her tour, as per the traditions, the last night. It was around 11 in the morning when the admission letter of Tabassum to the city school arrived!! Tabassum was happy, extremely happy.. not just because she could go to the rich people’s school but because she knew that her Ammi will be happy. It also meant that Meher would not have to spare a single more penny for her daughter’s education ‘cause Tabassum had earned it herself. It was a dream come true for either. Tabassum was simply overwhelmed with many kinds of positive vibes streaming into her – happiness, excitement, anxiety and that intense urge to see the smile on her Ammi’s. Tabassum knew that her Ammi wasn’t too happy when she left home in the morning. But she just knew everything was going to be okay.
The sun was already overhead, yet there wasn’t any sign of Meher. “Ammi might have been stuck somewhere.” Yes! She was stuck. Stuck somewhere far, faarr away.. Away from the world, away from the people who meant everything to her. To some distant land.
It was when the sun was setting, that Tabassum just heard her neighbor say, “Your Ammi will never be back, Tabbu! She did not get back from the oceans!”
Tabassum felt her feet go numb. Nothing was registering in her head any longer. All that she could see, was a huge blackness. Something really void! She fumbled to find a feeling, an object, a sting, a click – anything, anything would do. She fell on her knees. She could not just feel anything, no emotions, no tears!
She just didn’t know for how long was she sitting there or what was she thinking. But it was when she looked out of the window and saw the Sun creeping under the sea, that she wailed, “Alllaaaaahh!!”
She could relate so much to Darkness now!
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