The blazing warm rays of the early summer sun were bathing the whole city with much needed warmth after the harsh winter. The whole city was covered in the hot glow of golden hue. There were some food cart vendors lined up in the narrow footpath, trying to attract students of the college to buy some items from them.
He had parked his master’s Mercedes Benz in the shadow of the college building, some feet away from the main gate. It had been more than 20 minutes since he had been waiting for his young mistress to emerge from the college gate. Today was her last exam paper of 11th grade. They had promised each other that after her paper they would spend the whole day together in celebration of their pious new bond. After their nikah in the Darbar Shareef, they hadn’t met for even some private moments together. The daily journey to and fro between college and home couldn’t be considered as a meeting.
Today, as promised, they had decided to meet and spend the whole day with each other; but there was something which was clouding Nazi’s demeanor with unseen tension. He was looking dull and exhausted, somewhat tired. There was no happiness or calmness on his face, which could otherwise invariably be seen gracing his features whenever he had a meeting with his Alie.
He looked at his moderate wrist watch clasped against his strong wrist to check the time. It was almost 12 pm. Her paper must have finished at 11:30, but still there was no sign of Alie coming out from the gate. Today was the last practical of his Final Year also, and the University had recessed for the summer vacations. He had directly arrived here from the University to pick her up. Nazi’s light blue shirt was drenched in perspiration on account of the extended wait in the heated afternoon. He thought of getting back inside the car for some much needed respite from the heat. When his eyes looked at the gate one more time, Alie was coming out from the big iron gate with her group of friends, exhibiting her signature carefree laugh on some random topic. Alie cast a glance at her car parked some feet away, and her eyes immediately seemed to sparkle on catching a glimpse of Nazi. She smiled and bid her friends a final adieu, and hurriedly walked towards Nazi.
“Asslaam alaikum.” Nazi smiled at her and took her hand in his firm grip. He felt some of his tension suddenly lessened by her closeness. Alie smiled back and sat inside the car on the passenger seat. Nazi took the driving seat and pulled the car in reverse.
“So, how was your paper?” he asked her lovingly, expertly navigating the bursting roads filled with different vehicles.
“It was perfect Nazi. In-Sha-Allah, I will score impressively and make my baba proud.” She was talking continuously when her gaze fell on Nazi, who was silently driving the sedan, hearing her nonstop banter. Alie placed her hand on his tanned and tense hand, which was placed on the gear. He looked at her, then again turned his gaze back on the road ahead. The next 10 minutes passed in the unknowingly fallen silence between them. Nazi parked the Mercedes on the driveway in front of the foyer of her house as the iron gate behind them was closed back by the guard.
Alie came out from the car and walked towards the entrance of the gigantic house, while Nazi parked the car in the garage.
Alie pressed the bell and a middle aged woman opened the door.
“Where is khala?” she asked the middle-aged maid who was mopping the floor and was about to finish her work.
“Khala ji has gone to the bazaar (local market) bibiji,” the maid replied to her with respect.
Nazi entered the main lounge and sat down on the plush leather sofa. Alie gestured the maid to leave the room. Alie walked in the kitchen and brought a bottle of cool water with a glass in her hands.
She filled the glass and handed it to Nazi who was seated on the sofa with his head resting on his hands. He took the glass of water and gulped a few small sips.
“Bibiji, I am leaving now. I will come in the evening.” The middle-aged maid appeared again to inform her departure.
Alie nodded and stood up to bolt the door. She walked back to the sofa and sitting in front of Nazi, she took his large hands in her small ones.
Nazi looked into her doe like eyes for some seconds before exhaling a deep tense breath.
“What is the matter Nazi, you’re not feeling good? Is everything okay?” she asked softly. Nazi looked at the beautiful vibrant girl, who wasn’t any less beautiful and fresh than a drop of crystal clear dew on a half bloomed rose bud after the first rain of the season. She had the charms to make his mind spin with her innocently careless jovial nature. His demeanor relaxed on soaking up the visual charms of his secret wife.
“Please tell me Nazi, your seriousness is scaring me,” she asked again. This time her voice was laced with pure concern and love, what could have only been seen with Nazi or her amma and baba.
“Ammi isn’t well Alie. When I was at home two weeks ago, she seemed dull to me. When I asked her about her illness, she just told me that she had a minor stomachache, nothing serious. I didn’t pay any heed then because of my finals and resulting urgency to come back to Delhi. But last night Asma had called me. She was very worried; and I think she was crying on account of ammi’s falling health. She said ammi was not well; her stomach ache had increased to the extent where she sometimes starts throwing up her food. I don’t know what I should do next. I still have my final project submission left. But I can’t leave ammi there alone with just Asma.” Nazi told her about his stresses and worries for his mother.