Nazi could distinctly hear Alie’s muffled cries coming from the back seat of the car. Asma was continuously comforting Alie with her soothing words. Nazi didn’t know how to stop her from crying. Her increasing pain was slicing his own heart into tiny pieces. Nazi had never felt such pain before; not even when he had slipped on the muddy wet ground of his middle school and his head had banged into an iron rod; splitting open his skin and requiring 4 stitches to close it back. At that time also, Nazi hadn’t felt the pain that he was feeling now; a heart-wrenching pain which was increasing with every passing moment. He yearned to do something to ease Alie’s suffering as soon as possible, but had no idea about what could possibly be done.
With fisted hands and biting lips, Nazi looked at the back seat where Alie was crying silently, gripping her left calf tightly in her hands.
When she looked up at the man who was looking at her with saddened eyes, her heart skipped a beat. Alie was seeing the same pain in his eyes that she was feeling in those moments. His black eyes were invisibly shedding tears for her misery. Her glossy eyes smiled at his tenderness and love. The throbbing sensation of uncontrollable pain lessened like frost melting on fire.
Nazi looked into her dark doe-like big black eyes through the rear-view mirror and assured her of his presence around her.
“We are almost there,” he announced when the big gigantic brown wooden gates of the white marbled haveli came into his view.
Shareef (chauffeur) honked to gain the attention of the guard. The guard opened the gate and the luxury car drew inside the haveli and on to the lush-grassed lawn. The young chauffeur parked the car at the front foyer, and immediately stepped out to open the door for his injured employer.
Asma and Nazi also hopped out hurriedly to reach the other side of the car. Asma helped Alie in getting out of the car, but she still couldn’t stand on her feet. Her ankle bone had by now swollen like a puffy cushion. She had really injured herself severely. Alie groaned painfully when her feet came in contact with the ground and sat back helplessly on her place. Even a slight pressure on her left leg was squeezing the life out of her. Her chauffeur called her mother from inside, who appeared hastily along with an aged maid. She seemed panicked to hear her daughter’s terrifying state. Asma and her brother greeted the lady, but she was too occupied in her daughter’s muddled-up state to answer their salam. She looked at her daughter who was still sobbing silently.
“Ya Allah, what you have done with yourself. I always tell your father not to allow you to go to the fields by yourself. But he never listens, and now he will be blaming….” her mother touched her swollen ankle while blabbering absent-mindedly. Alie shrieked in agony. Nazi interrupted the older lady in the midst of her absurd babble.
“Chachi, we need to take her inside for her treatment. This is not the time to look for excuses.” Nazi looked in Alie’s sobbing and pleading eyes. Her eyes were swollen and red by the excess amount of crying.
Alie’s mother came to her side to support her badly injured daughter but she was unable to walk, even with support. The young man came forward, eyeing Alie’s mother for her consent to take her daughter inside.
The older lady nodded her head in agreement.
Nazi collected Alie’s soft, afflicted body in his strong arms and looked into her eyes. She did not wrap her arms around his neck this time; just grasped his shoulder for support, and downcasted her eyes.
He took Alie inside the haveli, led her to the ancient-styled big main lounge, and set her down on the plush velvet divan (couch) with the support of some bolster cushions. Alie’s mother sat down beside her and examined her swollen ankle. She ordered the maid to bring some lukewarm paste of turmeric and lime to apply on the wounded tibia bone.
“Chachi, please don’t mind, but I think we should take her to the hospital. Her ankle seems fractured to me because the swelling is increasing with every passing minute,” Nazi interrupted the older lady before she could even touch Alie’s ankle. The lady looked at her beloved daughter’s foot and nodded her head.
“Sughra, call your saheb’s office, I need to talk to him,” the lady ordered the aged maid. She tugged the loose strands of her daughter’s hair behind her ear which had been clinging to her wet cheeks.