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He cast an inquiring glance, but she was silent, so he rephrased his words. My coming here makes no difference to you. Imamaam I right? What can I say? At least you can say No, youre mistaken, that No, youre mistaken, Imama cut him short. Her tone was as cold and her expression as indifferent as before. Asjad sighed in despair. Yes, I wish and pray that it may be so, that I may indeed be mistaken.
However, talking to you I feel you do not care. What makes you think so? Asjad detected a note of annoyance in her tone. Many thingsfor one you never respond properly to anything I say.
I do make every effort to reply properly to whatever you say. What can I do if you do not like what I have to say? Asjad felt that she was more annoyed. I did not mean that I did not like what you say: Sometimes, I feel as if Im talking to myself. When you ask me if I am well, I say yes or nowhat else can I say? If you want to hear a spiel in response to a simple question then tell me what you would like to hear and Ill say it.
She was serious. You could add something to that yes or no. If nothing else, ask me how I am. Ask you how are you are? You are sitting here across me, talking to. Otherwise, youd be at home, in bed, sick. Imama, these are formalities And you know very well that I do not believe in formalities. Theres no need for you to ask me how I am; I will not mind it at all. Asjad was speechless. Formalities aside, one can talk of other things, discuss something.
Talk to each other about what interests us, what keeps us busy. Asjad, what can I discuss with you? Youre a businessman, I am a medical student, What should I ask you? About the stock market position? Was the trend bullish or bearish? By how many points did the index rise? Or where you are sending the next consignment? How much rebate did the government give you this time? Or shall I discuss anatomy with you? What affects the function of the liver? What new techniques have been used for bypass surgery this year?
What should be the voltage of electric shocks given to restore a failing heart? These are our spheres of work, so what points of discussion can we have about these that will help us to achieve love and familiarity? I fail to understand. The color of Asjads face deepened. He was cursing the moment that he had complained to Imama. There are other interests too in a persons life, he said weakly.
No, besides my studies theres no other interest in my life, Imama said decisively, shaking her head for emphasis. After all, we shared interests earlier on. Forget about what happened earlier, Imama interjected. I cannot afford to waste time now. What surprises me is that despite being a businessman you are so immature and emotional; you should be more practical. Asjad was silent. We know our relationship.
If you think my practical approach to our relationship shows a lack of interest or indifference then I cannot do much about it. That I am here with you means that I value this relationship, otherwise I would not be sitting here having tea with a stranger. She paused a moment, then continued, And whether you coming here or not makes any difference to me, the answer is that we are both very busy people. We are the products of a modern age.
I am no Heer who waits upon you with delicacies while you play the flute, nor are you Ranjha who will indulge me for hours. The truth is that it really makes no difference whether or not we meet or talk. Our relationship,. Or do you feel it will change? If Asjads brow did not sweat, it was simply because it was the month of December. There was a difference of eight years in their ages, but for the first time Asjad felt it was not eight but eighteenand she was the older one.
Just two weeks ago, she had turned nineteen, but to him it seemed as if she had raced overnight from teenage to middle age and he had regressed to his pre-teens! She sat across him, legs crossed and eyes fixed on his face, impassively waiting for his response.
Asjad looked at the engagement ring on her finger and cleared his throat. Youre rightI just thought we should chat more because it would help develop some understanding between us. Asjad, I know and understand you very well. I am disappointed to learn that you think we still need to develop an understanding between us. I thought there already was a good deal of understanding. Asjad had to accept that it wasnt his day.
And if you think that talking about business and anatomy will improve the situation, then very wellwell do that in the future. There was an element of disinterest in Imamas tone. Youre not happy with what I said? Why should I be unhappy? This embarrassed him further. Perhaps I said the wrong thingnot perhaps, but certainly I said the wrong thing. He repeated the last phrase with emphasis. You know how important this relationship is for me.
I have many dreams for the future He took a deep breath. She continued to stare, expressionless, at the creeper along the wall. Perhaps that is why I am so sensitive about it. I have no fears about us. This engagement took place with our consent. His gaze was fixed on her and he spoke with emotion, but suddenly, he felt once more that she was not there, that he was talking to himself.
The music from the annex behind the huge bungalow could be heard on the lawn in front of the house. Anyone would have been amazed at the level of endurance of those inside.
But one look inside, and one would know the reason behind this level of endurance. The room was full of swirling smoke and a strange smell. Empty cartons of food from a popular restaurant, disposable plates and spoons, bottles of soft drinks, and scraps of leftovers were strewn all over the carpet which was stained by ketchup. The seven boys in the room were. This was not allthey had been entertaining themselves with drugs too. This was the third time in the last two months that the boys had gathered here for an adventure of this kind.
So far they had experimented with four different drugs. The first time it was a drug that one of them had found in his fathers closet. The next time it was a drug which a schoolmate had bought from a club in Islamabad. Then it was something acquired from an Afghan in a Rawalpindi market. Every time they had combined drugs with alcohol, procuring which was no problem.
Each time this happened six of the seven boys ended up completely stoned. Even now it was only the seventh boy who was in his senses.
His face was covered with acne, and he was dressed in a dark blue shirt with its collar turned up Elvis Presley style, and hideous grey jeans which had Madonnas face adorning each knee.
He opened his eyes to glance at the others around him. His eyes were red but not because he was in a stupor like them. A little later he straightened up and shaking the remaining drug from the little container out into a cone, he pulled out a straw and began sniffing it. Then he threw away the straw and taking some of the drug on a fingertip, tasted it very cautiously.
Almost instantly, he spat it out. The stuff was of excellent quality, but his expression showed that he had not enjoyed the experience. He swallowed some beer as if to clear the taste of the drug from his mouth. The other boys lay around on the carpet, totally intoxicated and unaware of themselves: His eyes, though swollen, were bright enough. The drug had not knocked him out fully.
This had happened the last three times too. Though his friends had been knocked senseless after taking drugs, the effect on him was not so pronounced. The first two times he had left them in their stupor and had driven home, late in the night.
This time too he wanted to get away: He stumbled as he tried to stand up. He straightened up and picking his key and wallet off the floor, he turned off the stereo.
He looked around the room as if trying to remember something. Then he turned towards the door and sitting down again, put on his joggers, tying their laces around his ankles. Finally, unlocking the door, he went out into the dark corridor.
Groping his way, he went past the main door out onto the lawn. As he was coming down the stairs, he felt his nose was running and when he touched his upper lip, he felt a sticky liquid on his hands. He switched on the light in the entrance and saw blood on his fingertips. There was a strange sharp sensation in his throat which he tried to clear, but he felt he was suffocating. He took a few deep breaths to ease the constriction and spat two or three times. Suddenly he felt a tingling in his nose.
He doubled over as blood began gushing out of his nose pouring down the marble stairs like a stream. The prize distribution ceremony was underway at the Golf Club. Salar Sikandar was to receive the first prize in the Under-Sixteen competition for his seven under par score.
Applauding when Salars name was called out, Sikandar Usman thought he would have to do something about the cabinet where the trophies were displayed. The trophies and shields Salar would bring home this year would be as many as he had in the past year. All of Sikandars children excelled in their studies, but Salar was different from the rest. In winning awards, he was far ahead of them. It was not just difficult to beat this boy who had an IQ score of , it was impossible.
Clapping proudly, Sikandar turned to his wife and whispered, This is Salars thirteenth trophy and the fourth one this year. You keep a record of everything, dont you? Only for golf and you know the reason very well. I bet that even if Salar had been playing this tournament with professional players, he would have still won the trophy, he claimed proudly. Salar was shaking hands with the other winners seated around him. Sikandars wife was not surprised by his claim about Salar. She knew that it was not an expression of paternal sentiment: She recalled when he had played 18 holes at this golf course with her brother Zubair for the first time.
The way he had brought a ball that had accidentally fallen into the rough, out onto the green, was a display of expertise. Zubair was amazed.
I cant believe it! He had repeated this statement endlessly till the end of the game. If the shot from the rough had amazed Zubair, then Salars putters had floored him. As the ball rolled towards the hole, he leaned against his club and turned around to gauge the distance between Salar and his target.
Shaking his head in disbelief, he looked at Salar. Salar Sahib is not playing well today, muttered the caddie standing by the golf cart behind Zubair, who turned around in surprise.
So hes not playing well? He looked at the caddie. Was this a joke? Yes, sir, otherwise the ball would not have gone into the rough, the caddie said. You have played here today for the first time, but Salar Sahib has been playing here for the last three years. Thats why I say hes not playing well, he added. Zubair looked at his sister who was smiling benignly. Next time, I will be fully prepared when I come here, and I will also select the site for the game. Zubair was somewhat miffed as they walked across towards Salar.
Any time, any place, she confidently challenged her brother on her sons behalf. I want to invite you to Karachi this weekend, with all expenses paid, Zubair said casually as he approached Salar.
To play on my behalf against the president of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce. I lost the election to him, but if he loses a golf match, and that too to a child, hell have a heart attack. So lets settle the score. Salars mother laughed at her brothers words, but a frown creased Salars brow. He repeated with emphasis the only objectionable word in Zubairs comment. Uncle, I think Ill have to play another 18 holes against you tomorrow.
Asjad opened the door and entered his mothers room. Ami, I need to discuss something important with you. Yeswhat is it? Asjad sat down on the sofa. Have you been to Hashim Uncles lately? Nois there anything special? Imama is over for this weekend. Very well, well go this evening. Have you been there? Shakeela smiled at him.
How is she? Shes come home after a long time, Shakeela remarked. Yes, after two months. Shakeela sensed Asjad was upset. Is there a problem? Ami, I find Imama a little changed, Asjad said with a sigh. What do you mean? I cannot explain what I mean. Its just that her attitude towards me is rather strange.
Asjad shrugged his shoulders. Today she took offence to something quite minor. Shes not the way she was before. I am not able to figure out the reason for this change. Its your imagination, Asjad. Why would her attitude change? You are thinking too emotionally. No, Ami. Initially, I thought I was being oversensitive, but after today I dont think I am imagining things.
She treats me in a very offhand manner. What do you think is the reason for this change in her attitude? I have no idea Did you ask her? Not just once, but several times. Like you, she always says that I am mistaken. He shrugged again. Sometimes, she says its because of her studies, sometimes, she says it is because she has matured now Its not so far-fetched; perhaps, that is the reason, Shakeela replied pensively. Ami, its not a question of her becoming serious!
I think shes moving away from me, said Asjad. Youre being silly, Asjad. I dont believe theres any such issue. You have both known each other since childhood. You know your temperaments. Shakeela felt her sons fears were meaningless. Obviously, changes do take place as the years pass: Stop worrying over trivialities, she tried to reason with her son. In any case, Hashim Bhai wants the two of you to get married next year.
Imama can continue and complete her education afterwards. He wants to fulfill his responsibility, Shakeela revealed. When did he say this? Shakeela was taken by surprise. Many times. In fact, I think they may have started the preparations. Asjad breathed a sigh of relief. Maybe that is why Imama is agitated. Yes, possibly. The wedding should take place next year, Asjad replied with some satisfaction.
He was dressed in sports shorts and a baggy shirt, and had on cotton socks and joggers. He was in the middle of a crowded road, on a heavy duty motorcycle which he was racing recklessly without any consideration for traffic lights or oncoming traffic. Zigzagging his bike through the traffic, he periodically lifted both his feet off the pedals performing wheelies. Then, without breaking speed, he turned and changed lanes going the wrong way through the oncoming traffic.
Suddenly he braked with a sharp screech. He raised his hands from the handlebars and the motorcycle slammed full speed into an approaching car.
He was flung into the air and thrown down. He had no idea of what had happenedhis mind plunged into a dark abyss. The boys stood behind the rostrums on the stage, facing each other. They were both canvassing for the post of head boy and this was part of the election programme.
One rostrum had a poster saying Vote for Salar pasted on it, while the other had a poster of the other contender, Faizan. At this point, Faizan was telling his audience what he would do for them if elected. Salar watched him intently. Faizan was the best orator in the school and was impressing the boys with his performance in a clipped British accent which was so popular. The excellent sound system carried his voice very clearly and there was pin-drop silence in the hall which was sporadically broken by the thunderous applause of his supporters.
When Faizan finished half an hour later, the clapping and whistling carried on for several minutes. Salar Sikandar also joined the applause. Faizan looked around triumphantly, and seeing Salar clapping, he nodded in appreciation. As Faizan knew well, Salar was not an easy opponent, The compere called Salar to begin his speech. To a roar of applause Salar began. Good morning friends He paused, and then continued.
Faizan Akbar is certainly an asset to our school as an orator. Neither I nor anyone else can compete with him He stopped again and looked at Faizan, who looked around with a proud smile.
But the rest of Salars sentence wiped the smile off his face.
If it were only a matter of spinning yarns. Sounds of giggling filled the hall.
Salar maintained a serious attitude. But theres a great difference between an orator and a head boy: The hall echoed with the applause of Salars supporters. I do not have the eloquence of Faizan Akbar, he continued. I have my name and my record to speak for me. I do not need a stream of words where just a few would do. He stopped again. Trust me and vote for me. He thanked the audience and switched off the mike. Thunderous applause filled the air. Salar had spoken for one minute and forty seconds, in his typical measured style and calculated words, and in that brief time he had overturned Faizans ambitions.
After this preliminary introduction, there was a question and answer session. Salar responded in his customary brief manner; his longest response was not more than four sentences. On the other hand, Faizans shortest response was not less than four sentences. Faizans eloquence and way with words, which were his strength, now appeared bombastic compared to Salars short and sharp responses on stage, and Faizan was all too aware of this.
If Salar gave a one-line reply to a question, Faizan, out of sheer habit, went on with a monologue. Whatever Salar had said about Faizan seemed to be proving true to the audiencethat an orator can only speak, not act. Why should Salar Sikandar be the head boy? Because you should elect the best person for the job, he replied. Wouldnt you call this arrogance? No, it is confidence and awareness. The objection was refuted. What is the difference between arrogance and confidence?
The same as the difference between Faizan Akbar and Salar Sikandar, he replied in a serious tone. What difference will it make if you are not appointed head boy?
It will make a difference to you, not to me. If the best person is not appointed as the leader, it affects the community, not the best person.
Again, you are referring to yourself as the best person. Once again, there was an objection. Is there anyone in this hall whod equate himself with someone bad? Perhaps there is Then Id like to meet him. Sounds of amusement rose from the audience. Tell us about the changes Salar Sikandar will bring about as head boy. Changes are not talked about, they are demonstrated and I cannot do this before I become head boy.
A few more questions were asked and answered and then the compere. A Sri Lankan boy stood up with a naughty smile. If you answer this question of mine, then I and my entire group will vote for you. Salar smiled, Before I reply, Id like to know how many people there are in your group. Six, the boy replied.
Salar nodded in assent and asked, Okay, whats your question? You have to calculate and tell me that if is added to and then is subtracted from the total and is added to the sum, he read slowly from a paper, then the figure is multiplied by six and divided by two and is added to the final figure, what would be one-fourth of it?
The boy could barely complete his words when Salars response to this silly question came with lightning speed. The boy glanced at the paper in his hand and, shaking his head in disbelief, began clapping. Faizan Akbar at that point felt that he was merely an actor; the hall was filled with applauseFaizan saw this entire programme as nothing more that a joke.
An hour later, coming down the stage ahead of Salar, Faizan knew that he had lost the competition to him even before it had begun. He had never felt as envious of this IQ scorer as he did now. Imama Apa, when are you going to Lahore?
She looked up from her notes with a start. Saad was slowly cycling around her. Why do you ask? She shut her file. When you go away, I miss you a lot, he said. Because I like you very much andyou get toys for me and you take me out for drives andyou play with me, he answered in detail. Cant you take me to Lahore with you? Imama was not sure whether this was a suggestion or a question.
How can I take you with me? I live in a hostel myself, so where will you live? He pondered this over as he cycled round. Then you should come more often. Very well. Ill come more often. She smiled at him. You can talk to me on the phone. Ill call you. Yesthat sounds good. Saad liked this idea. He began to race his bicycle round the lawn.
Imama looked at him absent-mindedly. Saad was not her brother: She did not know where he had come fromand was not concerned but she knew why he had been brought in.
He was ten years old now and had settled in with the family. He was closest to Imama. She often felt very sorry for him, not because he was an orphan, but it was his future that she felt sad about. Her paternal uncles had also adopted orphans and their future too was a cause for concern for Imama. Book in hand, she continued to look at Saad cycling the garden. Watching him, she was often troubled by such thoughts, but she had no answersthere was nothing that she could do for him.
All four of them were in Heera Mandi, the red-light district of Lahore. They were between eighteen and nineteen years of age and their appearance gave away their upper class background; but out here neither age nor social background meant anything, because young boys often frequented the area and the elite were among the most regular customers.
The boys made their way through the narrow lanes of the bazaar. Three of them were lost in conversation but the fourth looked around with interest and a sense of mystery. It seemed that this was his first venture into this domain, and a later exchange with his friends confirmed this.
On both sides of the lane, in open doorways, stood women of every age, shape, size and complexionfair and dark, beautiful and plainall heavily made up and dressed in a revealing way. And men of all ages also passed through the lane. The boy observed everything very carefully. How often have you been here? He addressed the boy to his right who laughed and repeated the words.
How often? I dont remember nowI havent kept count! I come here quite often, he said proudly. I dont find these women very attractivenothing special about them, the boy shrugged his shoulders. If one has to spend a night somewhere at least the environment should be pleasantthis is such a filthy place, he said looking distastefully at the potholes and the piles of garbage in the lane.
Besides, whats the point of coming here when you have girlfriends? This place has its own charm and theres no comparison between these. Girlfriends cant dance like the women here, the other boy said with a laugh. And today one of Pakistans top actresses is going to performjust wait till you see her. But you had taken me to see her dance, the first boy interrupted. Oh that was nothingjust a mujra at my brothers wedding.
But here its a different story.
But that actress lives in a very posh locality; why would she want to come here? His tone was somewhat suspicious. Ask her yourself today, if you want.
I dont ask such questions. The other boys laughed at this remark, but the first one looked at him askance. They finally reached their destination at the end of the lane. From a shop near the entrance, they bought garlands of motia which they wound round their wrists, and also on the wrist of the boy who was objecting to being there. Then they bought paan laced with tobacco and also offered one to himhe had probably never had paan before.
They went up the stairs. He looked around critically and a look of satisfaction crossed his face when he saw that the place was not only clean but well decorated too. The floor was covered with white sheets and there were bolsters to recline on.
Curtains fluttered softly on the doors and windows. Some people had already arrived but the performance had not yet started. A woman with a lovely but fake smile swiftly made her way to them. As she spoke to them, the first boy took in her appearance. She was middleaged, plastered with make-up and sported masses of rose and motia garlands in her hair. She was dressed in a screaming red chiffon sari and her blouse seemed to have been made not to cover but to reveal her body.
She led the boys to a corner of the room and seated them. As soon as he sat down, the first boy immediately spat the paan out into a spittoon nearby. It was hard for him to talk with his mouth full of paan; besides he did not quite like its feel or flavor.
The other three boys were speaking in low tones. He looked around at the other men in the room who reclined against the cushions with wads of notes and bottles of alcohol in front of them. Most of the older men were dressed in starched white clothes; it was the first time he had seen so many people dressed in white other than at Eid congregations.
He himself was dressed casually in black jeans and a black T-shirt like his friends and the younger crowd. A little later, another woman in garish clothes entered the hall and, seating herself in the centre, began to sing a ghazal.
After a few songs, she collected the money that had been showered on her and left. Then the famous actress for whom they had all been waiting entered the hall and everyones eyes were riveted on her. She twirled around and welcomed her admirers with a gracious nod. The musicians did not play this time and loud recordings of raucous songs filled the room. The performer began to dance.
The silence that had preceded her performance was broken by applause as the men noisily appreciated her dancing and drinks went around. Some of the more intoxicated men got up and began to dance with her. The only one who sat still watching the performance was the first boy. His face was impassive, but if one looked closely it was obvious that he was enjoying himself. When the actress came to the end of her dance about two hours later, most of the men in the hall had passed out.
Going home was not a problem for them as they had not come with the intention of going back any time soonthey were there for the night. The four boys also spent the night there. The next day, on their way back, one of the boys turned to the first one who was looking out of the car.
So, how was the experience? All right, he replied casually. All right? Thats all? Honestly Annoyed, he broke off in midsentence. Its a good place to visit occasionally. What more can I say? But it did not have that something special touch about it. My girlfriend is better than the woman I spent last night with, he retorted.
Hashim Mubeens entire family was present at the dining table. They were chatting amiably as they ate. Imama was the subject of their conversation. Baba, have you noticed that Imama is becoming more serious with each passing day? YesIve noticed this over the past few months, Hashim Mubeen replied, his eyes searching Imamas face. Imama stared at Waseem as she took a spoonful of rice. Imama, is there a problem? Baba, he talks nonsense and you fall into his trap. Im serious and busy because of my studiesafter all, not everyone is as useless as Waseem, she said with some annoyance.
He was sitting next to her and she. Baba, what will become of her when she qualifies as a doctor if this is what she is like in the early years of her studies, joked Waseem.
Itll be years before Miss Imama Hashim smiles Everyone smiled around the table: It was seldom that Imama and Waseem did not argue with each other. But Waseem was also Imamas best friend probably their being the siblings closest in age lay at the heart of their friendship. And just imagine that Imama but she did not let him finish this time. She turned around and landed a fist on his shoulder with all her might. It made no difference to him.
What else can we have at home but a doctor with a healing touch? Youve just seen a demonstration and you can guess how doctors treat their patients these days.
One of the reasons for the rising death rate in our country Baba, please stop him! Imama conceded defeat as she implored Hashim Mubeen. He suppressed a smile as he turned to his son who dutifully kept quiet. He emptied the entire contents of the paper bag into the grinder and turned it on.
The cook entered just then. Chote Saab, let me help you, he offered but was waved away. No, I can manage. But get me a glass of milk.
He turned off the grinder. The cook got him the milk. To half a glass of milk he added the contents of the grinder, stirred briskly, and gulped it down.
What have you cooked today? A look of displeasure crossed his face. I wont have anything. Im going up to sleep; dont disturb me, he said harshly and left the kitchen. He looked unkempt with a stubble, and except for one or two buttons in place, his shirt front was open. Dragging his slippers on the floor, he went into his room and locked the door behind him. Then he walked over to the huge music system and began to play Boltons When a man loves a woman at full volume.
He flung himself face down on the bed, remote in hand, and feet swinging to the music. Except for him and his bed, everything in his room was in order. There was not a speck of dust anywhere. The audio-video cassettes were neatly. Another shelf was filled with books and the computer table in the corner reflected his organized nature.
Posters of Hollywood actresses and various bands adorned the walls, while the bathroom door and a few windowpanes were decorated with cut-outs of nudes from Playboy. Anyone entering the room for the first time would be startled because the nude pinups in the windows were life-size and lifelike and placed in special order.
Along with the audio system, there was a keyboard, and a guitar, a piccolo and an oboe hung on the walls. It was obvious that the occupant of the room had great interest in music.
In front of the bed was a television cabinet on the shelves of which were several shields and trophies. In another corner of the room cricket bats and racquets were artfully slung across posters of sports stars. It looked as if a tennis racquet was in Gabriela Sabatinis hand, while the other was held by Rodney Martin, and the squash racquet was in Jehangir Khans hand. The double bed where he was lying on the crumpled silken sheets was a mess.
A few pornographic magazines, mostly Playboy, lay scattered about with a paper-cutter and snippetsevidence that he had been cutting out pictures. Chewing gum wrappers, an empty coffee mug, a packet of Dunhills and a lighter, an ashtray and scattered ash littered the white silk sheet that had holes burnt through.
Somewhere there was a wristwatch and a tie, and a cell phone by the pillow where the young man lay face downward, perhaps half asleep as his hand mechanically but unsuccessfully searched the bed when the phone rang.
The beeping went unheard and the remote in his hand fell to the floor as his grip relaxed. Michael Boltons voice continued to fill the room with the lyrics of When a man loves a womanthe knocking on the door became persistent and louder, but he lay motionless on the bed.
Dont tell me! Imama, are you really engaged? Zainab appeared jolted by Javerias disclosure. Imama cast an accusing glance at Javeria who looked at her shamefacedly. Dont look at herlook at me and tell me if its true that youre engaged, Zainab addressed Imama sharply. Yes, but it is not something extraordinary or amazing that you should react like this, Imama replied with composure.
They were all sitting in the library and trying their best to talk in low tones. But at least you should have told us. What was the big secret?
Theres no secret and neither is it so important. Besides, we have become friendly only recently and the engagement took place years ago, explained Imama. What do you mean by years ago? I mean two or three years ago. But still you should have told us Zainab persisted.
Imama smiled at her. When I get engaged again, Ill definitely tell youwhether or not I tell anyone else. Very funny.
Zainab glared at her. At least show us a photograph of him Who is he? Whats his name? What does he do? As usual, Rabias questions came pouring out in one breath.
Hes my first cousinhis names Asjad, The words came slowly and Imama paused thoughtfully. He has completed his MBA and runs his own business. What does he look like? Imama looked at her closely. Hes all right. Im asking you is he tall, dark, and handsome?
Imama smiled at Zainab without a word. Javeria replied on her behalf. This is Imamas choice Yes, we should have knownafter all hes Imamas first cousin. Now Imama, your next task is to show us his photograph, ordered Zainab.
No, her first duty is to take us out for a treat, interjected Rabia. But now lets leave; I have to go to the hostel. Imama got up and they all left together. By the way, Javeria, why didnt you tell us about this earlier?
Zainab asked her. Listen, Imama did not want itthats why I never brought it up, said Javeria. Imama turned around and gave Javeria a warning look.
Why wouldnt Imama want it? If I had been engaged and that too to a boy of my choice, then I would have screamed it out from the rooftops, Zainab declared loudly.
Imama chose to ignore her. Your son is amongst those 2. With this level of intelligence, whatever he does may be extraordinary, but not unexpected. Salar had been at the International School for only a week when Sikandar Usman and his. The school psychologist had informed them about Salars various IQ tests in which his performance and score had amazed his teachers and also the psychologist.
He was the only child in the school with such a high IQ and very soon he became the focus of everyones attention. During his meeting with Mr and Mrs Usman, the psychologist got another opportunity to dig out more information about Salars childhood.
He had been studying Salars case with much interest which was personal rather than professionalit was the first time he had come across such an IQ level. Sikandar Usman remembered well that when Salar was just two years old, he was remarkably fluent in his speech, unlike other boys of his age, and very often he came up with things that left him and his wife wondering.
She attends her senior shabiha's lectures in secrecy from her family and her roommates, Javeria and Rabia. While studying in a medical school in Lahore , she falls in love with her friend Zainab's elder brother doctor Jalal Ansar. But Imama's family tries to coerce her into marrying her first cousin Asjad, which is unacceptable to her, her parents respond by grounding her and taking away her cellphone.
Imama seeks help from Salar whom she is antagonistic with since she is a religious girl and Salar is not. He is a rich boy with an IQ level above Imama wishes to marry Jalal, but Salar lies to her that Jalal has married someone else. Imama is saddened and asks Salar to marry her so that her family will not be able to force her. Salar helps her and marries her but soon after loses contact with her. Imama finds a sanctuary under Sibt-e-Ali and his family.
She changes her name and completes her studies and starts working in a pharmaceutical company in Lahore. She hates Salar because he refused to divorce her as he had promised.