Jamila Part-204 mins 9.3K 4 mins 9.3K
I took a quick look around, at the empty walls, the small table on which an unstitched cloth was kept folded.
Then steeled myself for her reaction and said, ”I don’t see any photographs of your husband?”.
She looked puzzled,”why do you want to see his photograph?”
‘I was wandering, whether Murad bears any resemblance to …”
Her eyes flared up, her pale face turned red with anger. She came and stood looking down menacingly and almost hissed on my face, ”he is not like my husband. He resembles his father. Your uncle. And you know it, don’t you ?”
I sat there absolutely stunned. I had not expected such a reaction: such a blatant affirmation of Murad’s parentage .
“Now”,she said , her visage livid, “tell me what are you going to do. Tell mewhy you have followed me.”
I just kept staring at her amazed – unable to say anything. Azra was perhaps right – when she said that Jamila had earlier wanted to hide the fact, as she feared that Uncle may take Murad away from her. Now that he was no more did she feel less threatened. If so, she may agree to take some monetary help.
“I wanted to apologize to you on behalf of my grandmother. And also ask forgiveness for uncle.”
“There is nothing to forgive“. The anger gave way to melancholy and a tear trickled down her cheek as she said,”I don’t blame him.”
She took another chair and placing it close to me sat down her hands covering her face trying perhaps to conceal her anguish.
“ Amin Uncle said you were angry. You refused to take the bracelets.”
“ Yes.” she said, removing her hands from her face, but keeping her eyes lowered. ”I was very upset. I felt betrayed, especially when I was pushed into that marriage. It was nightmarish. But once Murad was born, my resentment subsided, to a great extant. And time heals and also gives perspective. I realized how much he would have to sacrifice in accepting me – his parents, his family, his lifestyle, perhaps his inheritance. He was used to such luxury, he knew nothing of life’s struggle. He would not have been able to cope with the daily struggles. And I wouldn’t have been able to see him go through it. He was happy with her”.
I was a bit taken back that she had seen Uncle with Sakina Masi.
“You saw them together! Where?
“O quite a few times. I used to take Murad to the fair. I saw them at the fair once. It was obvious; they loved each other.” She said ,wiping a tear.
“Yes. But they were keen for a child, their wish was unfulfilled.”
“ But they had each other. Now even in death, he is buried next to her.”,she said lifting her eyes, and the pain was visible
“Sakina Mami was so desperate for a child she died trying for one.”
“ I know. I saw her at the Dargah whenever I visited it on the first Thursday of the month. I used to go to collect money for Murad’s fees from its charitable trust. She used to come to pray and feed the beggars”.
“So at least you had his child”.
“ Yes, but the only regret is I cannot tell him who his real father is. I am afraid, of his reaction. I will fall in his eyes- in his esteem He would never trust me. And I can’t bear that”. Her eyes again clouded with tears”. Therefore I have kept his photograph inside the trunk locked”.
”You have uncle's photograph?”
“Yes the one in the robes and cap he wore when he got his degree”.
“Oh so you have that one – We kept wondering where it disappeared".
“I took his permission to take it". She sounded offended, ”He knew how much I wanted to take a degree and wear similar robes. I want Murad to wear one”.
“He wants to be a doctor. He is a bright child but with all the competition – he may not be able to make it. I have no money for his coaching”.
“Look I can give”.
“No, thanks. I don’t want him to go near your family. I am afraid he may”, she broke off her lips nervously quivering. Fear writ large on her face.
“You needn’t fear I won't tell him anything. By helping him, I will be able to atone for my family’s wrongs. And uncle will be happy where ever he is. You want him to be happy, don’t you?”
She was silent. Her eyes were fixed on to the door. I heard the sound of the latch opening and a minute later, Murad entered.
To be continued .