Zoya's Mourning9 mins 486 9 mins 486
Today is the eighth day of the New Year. The time is shown by the clock at 3:20 in the afternoon. I have not written anything for so many days or thought. How can I write without thinking? If there is noise outside, then one may protect oneself by going to a noiseless place. But when one has too much noise inside then there is no place. I know the origin of the noise, but I do not know how to get out of there. Perhaps I have no mind now to get out. Such pain was not there before. Till now I didn’t know that there was also pleasure in pain.
How good the pain looks. There is no desire for medicines. There is no longing for relief. I felt the days to remain like this. I was just immersed within myself when Zoya shook me. It looked as if someone has pushed me from a high mountain.
I expressed my resentment. She said in anger - "You are ruining everything. Well, does anyone think of all these?
I asked - "What's wrong in it? The pain is mine. Even the worries are mine. How does it affect you? What I should think and whatnot, at least, let me have that right. Why don’t you leave me alone? Why don’t you go away?
Zoya became very angry and looked at me with her blood-red eyes. It looked, if she had a knife in her hand, she would not have taken even a moment to pierce it through my chest. We both were debating when there was a knock at the door. The door was made of two wooden planks. An old type of bolts was fitted. In fact, there was no need for a door. But Abba had got it fitted seeing the need of the time. Even then I did not register any objection. I felt that it was for my good. Only less light or air will come. Leave it, what difference does it make?
But Zoya was very happy to find the door fixed. I suspect that she had put this in the mind to Abba, and instigated him to have this barrier. Do not know what she studies. Even after reading so many books she talks like a drying pond. She lives a confused life. Outwardly she looks happy. Only for namesake, I am the only daughter of Abba, but nowadays she has emerged out better. Abba finds two daughters only in me.
However, the knock was not by any person. Who had knocked is not known. Maybe the wind has done it. Yes, probably it was the strong wind. But when I peeped out and saw the wind, it was medium. The light was also bright. Then who was the one who knocked so gently? Even this time I did not like Zoya. She told me to keep the door properly bolted from inside. The door should be closed firmly so that people looking from outside should feel that there was none inside. There is no need to open the door and show excitement. I did not like it.
I said - "What is there inside which looks to you so exciting. Should I not even breathe?? What is the meaning of being a human in your opinion? We started squabbling. I had thought of getting rid of Zoya today. She had not allowed me to live happily. She merrily moves around as a pet of Ammi-Abba. But moves with a mask. She has no existence without me. She lives on lies. She kills herself and wants that others also die like her.
My talk and questions were hurting Zoya deep inside. She was totally upset. I had already seen the signs of her being violent on her face. But why did she not say anything and disappeared in a moment, controlling herself, is not known. I got relief from her leaving. I have often been a part of her predilection and unclear talk which I had never denied. She was my neighbor whom I had not displeased. But now she superimposes herself on me. She dominates me. I am sad.
After the knock, the door was slightly open. The lights covered in the entire house. The fragrance had spread all over as if many mogra flowers blossomed together in the morning. The light had a little warmth due to which the moisture and stickiness in the room were getting dried up slowly. This realization got absorbed through my pores inside. I knew how lucky it was to be a human being. I did not know when I slept with those sweet feelings in my heart
Evening comes after the day. This is the convention. But I had started looking in the reverse order. I started to understand the order as after evening, the day and then the morning. I had fallen in love with the darkness. Several months had passed. There was no trace of Zoya. I was happy because it was good that her visit had stopped. Since her absence, a balance was seen everywhere and it is still there. If she is not present in front of Abba then there is none to poison his ears. Happiness and peace pervade.
On a holiday, while cleaning my room, I was singing a song. Just then some sweet-scented letters struck my hand. My whole body started shuddering. With my ears, I perceived, sampled and tested the voices, to confirm that there was no one around. My eyes were looking at those letters. I got the same smell that spread in the room a few months ago when the light entered the room while opening the door. It was the same mogra smell. I placed the letters on a table and got busy in dusting. After work, I prepared a cup of tea for myself. As there was none in the house I had a pleasant feeling of freedom. After keeping the teacup on the table, I looked at those letters with a sweet smile. I opened the letter and started reading...
I had just tasted the juice of the first line when Zoya landed suddenly from nowhere. She pulled the letter from my hand in anger. I also told her in anger - "Are you getting mad? Don’t you know that one's private letter is not to be grabbed! "
She was hissing and ready to bite She said in anger, "You never cared for Abba’s respect. The news of slander has spread all over the colony and everywhere you are the subject of talk. The way you have waved your scarf (dupatta) now every boy is desperate to be in its shadow. You should remember that you are a girl. You think about yourself. You idiot. The effect of studies is not seen in you. What sort of fire has set into your body?
Zoya went on talking. I tried my best not to hear her. I did not hear her. But she became violent and suddenly attacked on my precious possession. She swooped on the letters kept on the table and fled towards the kitchen. Shouting Zoya, Zoya, I followed her. My mercury shot up. I was not in my self. Even then, I pleaded before her for those letters.
Zoya lighted the gas stove by the matches lying nearby. I repeatedly told her, 'Zoya, return my letters'. She pushed me with both hands on to the front wall. I tried to recover, but I was still sent to the wall. The backside of both my elbows was badly injured. Even then I got up and zoomed towards Zoya. My agility proved that it was not fast enough. She dumped the letters on the gas stove heartlessly. I also cried taking the names of Ammi and Abba I thought they would come from somewhere hearing my call and stop Zoya. But there was none so how would they come? A bright flame emanated from my burning letters with black smoke turning the letters into black paper-papad. My love had turned into ashes. I was boiling now. I gave a loud push to Zoya. Her head collided against the wall with utensils. Meanwhile, there was a loud noise of falling utensils. But I did not have patience. I wanted to tell Zoya that she has done a big crime and she can not be forgiven at any cost. I pushed her with full force.
But she was no less. In her, the blood of a good upbringing flowed. For her, the two words which mattered most were honor and dishonor. According to her, I have committed a great sin by falling in love. I do not have any right to take such flights. She touched her forehead with her left hand when the blood oozed out. She could not see her own blood. By seeing her flowing blood, my heart melted with pity. I ran near her to see her but by then she attacked me with a knife. She got up and knocked on my stomach with a knife several times. I knew that now I will die. I was weak.
Zoya was dangerous. She had imbibed cruel thoughts from her childhood. I did not entertain any cruel thoughts. I wanted to live with the full realization of other's feelings, but in the eyes of Zoya, it was no less than a crime. My body had fallen on the ground. There was blood in the kitchen. The eyes which I closed with pain did not open again.
Zoya, on the other hand, was happy that she could put an end to a seduced girl, for not following the rules, by taking out the soul from her body; she buried my dead body at the land lying vacant behind the house. Zoya had tremendous mental and physical strength. So she did not find any difficulty in doing this work. In almost two hours she had wiped out all the traces of mine. There was nothing left. It did not appear as though someone was murdered in the kitchen.
After one day Ammi and Abba came and by then Zoya had become normal. Ammi also had some doubt that” I “was missing from Zoya's mind but Abba said that our girl is perfectly well. You worry unnecessarily. Even at dinner, I could not be found inside Zoya. Abba said that the effect of studies has affected the child's mind. When she will relax, everything will be fine. But Ammi’s suspicion was not leaving her. She smelt blood in the kitchen. So she came to Zoya at night. She was trying to make some investigation herself...Zoya was at her study table. It was dark. Ammi kept her hand on Zoya’s head when I started crying vehemently. I told Ammi that in her absence Zoya had killed me. Ammi could not make out what had gone wrong with Zoya.
A few days later, Abba brought some cuttings of rose and placed it where I was buried. I was relaxed. I felt the chillness. Ammi looked after those tiny plants with great care. The rosebuds started coming in them. Everything was going well. Now Zoya's behavior had also changed. She remained calm as if she was living with repentance for the crime committed. Ammi kept a watch on her.
One night, Ammi entered in her diary - "Zoya was watering the roses by her tears every night in the darkness... Do not know which shadow has enveloped my only child! She is dreaded all day long as if she has murdered someone. She sits near the rose plants with such calm as if she bemoans the death of someone near and dear. I have told Zoha’s Abba to offer a sheet of cloth on the dargah. I want my child to be free from all her maladies quickly.