Zoya was woken up by the alarm which was set for her morning prayer. She wasn’t a perfect example of those girls who pray five times regularly; but she always tried to follow the teachings of her father. Her father had always taught her to try and strive towards the betterment of our Deen. Who knows when our Rub would be pleased by our efforts and make us one of His (The Almighty) beloved ones, whom he has gifted with Namaaz.
She looked around her surroundings; the other side of the king sized bed was cold and empty. The bed sheet wasn’t even rumpled on her husband’s side. It meant he hadn’t come into their bedroom last night. The night of Ruination.
The pictures and sequences of last night were now recapitulating in her groggy mind. She remembered seeing Shahzeb on the bar counter with a half empty glass of golden liquid. She didn’t know the type of drink he was consuming, but she remembered clearly that the drink was alcoholic. He had ordered her and Saba apa to go inside, declaring that the party was over for the ladies of the house. She had been shocked; Saba apa had literally dragged her inside from the crowded lawn. To say that she was aghast would be an understatement. When she had entered her bedroom last night, with Saba holding her securely, her gut was twisting painfully. She had emptied her stomach in the toilet bowl. She remembered asking Saba apa to approach her husband and stop him from poisoning himself.
She couldn’t see him ruining his Emaan and drowning himself into the material liberalism of his so called elite-class status. She had waited for Saba apa in her room with a heavy heart and teary eyes. Saba came back after an hour, and gave her a glass of warm milk. She deliberately made Zoya drink her milk and laid her on the bed. Saba told her that Shahzeb will be back in an hour, and he wants her to relax herself. Plus he has Raghav with him. Saba didn’t tell her that when she went back outside, Shahzeb was already drunk and was leaving with Suhana Malik.
Zoya felt her eyes stinging again. Shahzeb didn’t come back; nor did he call her. Tears started pouring down her cheeks. She collected her broken soul and weak self, changed into her simple white Khadi Kurta with matching palazzo and wrapped her head with a white and yellow cotton dupatta (scarf) after her ablution.
She prayed with her heart and soul, asking her Rub to save her husband. She wasn’t sure what she should pray for. Her mind was blank. Once again, tears started rolling down her beautiful face with indescribable agony. She didn’t even realize that it was already half past 7 in the cool morning of late January. The maids had already started their cleaning chores and tending to the kitchen needs. She pulled herself back from the heart to heart meet with her Almighty and ran her palms over her flushed face to end up her prayers.
The room was already filled with the soft rays of the morning sun.
Zoya took a sharp intake of oxygen into her system after the sudden realization that her husband was out of the house all night; where had he spent his night after getting drunk? She got out of her bedroom in search of Shahzeb. She thought of asking Saba apa whether he had informed her of his whereabouts or not. As she was about to descend the stairs, her eye caught the sight of Shahzeb through the slightly ajar double doors of his library.
Zoya hurriedly entered in the library, with her heart thumping loudly in her rib cage. The sight, which wasn’t clear from afar, snatched her breath for a moment as she came near him. Her husband, the mighty Shahzeb Alam Khan, was unconsciously sprawled on a leather recliner in the most disheveled and disgusting state she had even seen him before. She almost ran towards him.
“Shahzeb, Shahzeb wake up,” Zoya impatiently shook his face with a worried urgency. Her throat seemed choked on seeing her darling husband in this unkempt state in such a disturbing position.
“Shahzeb, please wake up. Apa, Bilal ….” she called them with all the strength she could muster, although her voice was not loud enough to reach them on the ground floor. One of the maids, who was dusting a first floor bedroom, ran towards the direction where her mistress was shrieking with panic.