If you missed Episode 9 Click HERE
So, how was your meeting today?” Sheeba asked, putting a cream biscuit into her mouth.
“Well, as I’ve told you, the plan didn’t work like the way we expected; still I got more than what I wanted.” Deeba told her happily.
“Yeah.” Sheeba said thoughtfully. “I didn’t think he could guess about your dummy journalist role so easily.”
“How was his behavior?” Sheeba asked, curious as ever.
“His manners were flawless the entire evening, courteous, respectful, and ever the gentleman.” Said Deeba.
“Even apparently too.” She told Sheeba. “He looks so wonderful in glasses. Nothing like an Indian or English movie star, he is a unique star in his own self. He has his own district personality.”
“I see,” Sheeba gave her knowing glance. “It seems to me that you like him more than I thought.” Sheeba stated with a meaningful expression on her peace.
“Yes I like him.” Deeba said soberly. “More than that, I adore him, I respect him, but not like the way you think.”
“Meaning?” Sheeba raised her brows quizzically.
“What’s wrong with you Sheeba?” She asked her sister, giving her an angry look. “Okay, I admit, he’s very close to my ideal and he is my favorite poet. But don’t think I have lost my mind for him. And even if I had, he is too far from my reach.”
“Your ideal?” Sheeba turned to face her now. “You never told me about that. How’s your ideal?”
“Very much like him.” Deeba said dreamily. “Calm, yet dominating.”
“Come one dear, don’t you know I don’t like “dubboo” type or “buddhoo” kind of men?” Deeba stared at her sister, confused. “I’ve always like dominating men. A man who could guard his woman like a shield, instead of following her, walking behind her.”
“Oh yes, that I know.” Sheeba smiled in answer. “Your weird philosophy that Pakistani girls are mainly of two kinds.”
“Aha, and what are those?”
“First kind of girls want an all-time friendly husband, who always walks side-by-side with them, free and intimate as ever.”
“Hmm, and second?” Deeba smiled. She was surprised by the fact that her sister had not forgotten their once-held discussion about which kind of husbands they would prefer themselves.
“Second variety of girls wants a dominating husband. A man who could guide then through different twists and turns of life, holding their finger in his hand, right?” Sheeba wanted her confirmation.
“Yes, but it’s not just that.” Deeba added. “A husband who can be a strict teacher, guiding you about what to do and what not, a wonderful, gentle lover and a caring friend, all at the same time.”
“Well sister.” Sheeba sighed. “I can only pray for you that you find such kind of guy some time. Though the chances are very rare.”
Deeba didn’t reply this time.
“So, he was good with you, right?” Sensing her elder sister’s reaction, Sheeba changed the topic.
“Yes, very much. He didn’t talk anything rude or bad. His expressions, his gestures were very decent.” Deeba could never get tired of this topic.
“I still feel that he doesn’t belong to this world. I mean he looks so isolated.” Sheeba stated.
“That’s what he says too.” Deeba breathed coldly. “That he doesn’t belong to this world. He has his own world”.
“But I had an impression that he is rude and proud, specially his behavior with women……..” Sheeba remarked.
“Not at al.” Deeba cut in. “Go, and read all of his poems. He cares about women, respects them.
“Well.” Sheeba got up from her place. “I am not sure that he will tell you anything about his personal life. People like him feel weird pleasure in keeping themselves hidden and mysterious. They actually know that this is the secret of their popularity.”
“Wait and see.” Deeba smiled as she put her forearm on her eyes and closed them. “Let’s see what happens.”
He was sitting back in his chair, his hands cupped behind his head, when the telephone rang.
He rose to answer it.
“Assalaam O alaikum sir.” From the other side, came a familiar feminine voice.
“Sir, it’s me Deeba. Deeba Rizvi.” From her voice, she sounded very excited and refreshing.
“Oh” A long breath escaped out of his lungs. Surely he had not forgotten this very interesting girl.
“Sir,.you promised to tell me more about yourself.” She asked hopefully.
“Listen.” He replied spotlessly. “First, I didn’t promise that I’d tell you more about myself, and second it’s not next week if I’m not forgetting, I told you to call me next week but you’ve called earlier.”
“Oh, sorry. I couldn’t wait.” Said Deeba, now she sounded disappointed.
“Anyway. What do you want to ask?”
“Sir, I want to know more about you. I mean I’d be really glad if you could tell me more about your personal life.”
“Whoever you are.” He said a little harder than ever, and for the first time Deeba thought he was about to lose his temper finally.
But surprisingly, his voice and tone became normal again within a second, as calm and soft as ever.
“I just don’t understand why you have this much interest in my personal life.”
She kept herself silent this time.
“Do you have any convincing reason why I should let you open the private book of my life?” He asked firmly.
“Yes sir.” She said courageously this time. ‘I can convince you.”
There was a long silence on his side. Perhaps, he was thinking.
“Alright.” He finally answered. “You have five minutes to convince me why I should tell you about my personal matters.”
“It would be something better for the newer generation like me, to follow upon.” She gave her first reason.
“We can learn a lot from your mistakes if you did any. People want to know, as your fan, someone has right to know about you as much as he or she could.”
“I just don’t understand why and how you see it as something beneficial for you.” He argued.
“Then let’s talk about it and we shall see.” She was determined to try until her last effort.
Again, he took several moments to give his answer, but when he spoke, it rang wedding bells in her ears.
“Alright Miss. Deeba, I’ll see you at my home tomorrow, 5 p.m sharp.”
And he hung up the receiver.
The next day, when she entered his luxurious house at the arranged time, she could hardly believe that it was actually happening. Aariz Ali, who had his popularity as someone who doesn’t care about others, never gives any interview, never appears on media, had agreed to talk to her about his personal life.
“Miss Deeba?” He had come forward to greet her as she looked at him.
His personal life, she thought, as she made her way towards his dinning room. A mysterious book, which no one had dared to open until now.
With the faintest of smiles, he leaded her up the wide carpeted stairs.
Once she took her place on the big, blue sofa, he lowered his frame into the armchair that matched the blue-flowered sofa.
Once sat comfortably, she took a detailed look of him.
He looked tired. Wearing plain, black shilwar suit, he looked uniquely stylish. Through modern black-rimmed glasses, his eyes look sleepy, like he’d not slept for days. He had some book in his hands and from it’s thickness, Deeba could judge that it was very lengthy.
“Do you know Deeba?” He said calmly, setting down the book he was reading.
Her own name on his tongue for the very first time brought all of her senses to full alert.
“It seems like there’s some invisible power that pushes me, orders me to tell.you things which I’ve always kept limited to myself.” He said softly, his eyes not on her face as usual.
“Anyway,” He tipped his head back to the headrest of his easy chair. “I’m prepared now. You may proceed.”
She decided to ask right away, instead of wasting her time in preliminaries. As she was not sure of he’d keep on telling all these things she wanted to inquire about or he would change his mind at any instant.
“What was the biggest mistake of your life?”
“Mistake?” He laughed huskily. “I personally believe that I’m one of the biggest sinners of the world.” He gave her a wounded smile.
“In-fact, my whole life has been a mistake.”
Without going into depth of his comment, she asked her next question.
“Do you live here alone? No family?”
“Next question please.” His lips tightened together.
Her mouth tightened but she did not argue.
“Do you believe in relations and family values?” She asked.
“Relations like what?” He asked back.
“Umm, like mother, father, siblings, wife.”
He smiled absently. “No, I have no one. I live here, all alone. I have no family, no relatives now.”. He murmured expressionlessly.
As usual, this time too, she didn’t miss the chance to see the wetness in his eyes, which was a hallmark of his smiles. Deeba noted he was not looking like the Aariz she had met the other day. This Aariz looked too tired, tensed and broken.
“Don’t you have any friends?” She tried to change the tensed atmosphere.
“Yes, I have, few ones.” He said uniformly. “Friends, like books, should be few and well-chosen.”
“People say there’s a hand of some woman behind every successful man. Whose hand was involved in your case?” She inquired, staring at him deeply.
“Who said I’m a successful man?” He replied, peering at her over his spectacles.
“People think so.”
“I don’t care about people.” He replied instantly. “But yes, I do believe in relations like mother’s….” His voice became husky and thick, his throat heavy.
“What is mother?” Can you define this word?”
On her question, he gave her a long look, very long, for the first time. From his expression,.she thought she had asked something really terrible. At some instant, she thought he was about to cry. His gaze shifted to some distant point, and then he closed his eyes painfully.
His voice hollow, he said, ” Mother is a person, who on seeing, that there are only four pieces of bread for four people out of five, announces that she never did care for bread!” He smiled sadly.
At first,.she couldn’t understand what he’d said but as soon she did, she was lost in the beauty of his words.
“Hey you there?” He swayed his hands in front of her eyes……and she came back from the trance, which his talking had produced.
He said no more, which did not surprise her, for he never spoke of his family or background.
“Don’t you ever lose your temper?” She asked petulantly.
“Not since I was…..” He caught his tongue before he could say further. “Since the time I have become mature…”
To Be Continued…