Story : Pazeb | Storybox with Jamshed Qamar Siddiqui – Hindi Audio Story : PAZEB | Storybox with Jamshed Qamar Siddiqui

In those days evenings used to come like this… Lazy, silent and burdensome. Children playing up and down in the street, the voice of a hawker and the sound of Khuda-Witness songs playing at Mahmood’s Confectionery shop at the corner of the street. There was one voice in all these voices, if I had heard it, then I would have been in some corner of the house… I would have got up and gone to pick up my school bag. Because I knew that this sound is of Ayaz sir’s scooter. The one who has just come and stopped at the door. And exactly after fourteen seconds, neither a second here nor there… there will be a sound “Shazia….”

Listen to this story in audio here –

Ayaz sir was so punctual that you could match the time of your watch just by looking at him. Well, I answer his voice “Coming Sir” Saying this, she would then look at her mother and say “Mummy, sir has come. I am going to study Then hanging the bag, I would walk towards the outer room. My mother packing dozens of tiffins in the kitchen – Tahira used to smile seeing me. Only me and my mother, Tahira – we were the only two people in the house. The resounding silence of the whole day would be broken by the arrival of Ayaz Sir at 5.30 pm. Then it seemed as if the house was buzzing. The house used to light up with live voices. Otherwise, the whole day after school, I would be in my room and my mother would be making Rajma in the kitchen, sometimes dal-rice because of her tiffin service. Ayaz, dressed in a checkered shirt and loose pants, would come in and sit on the sofa, turning his head. Light gray hair, slightly protruding belly, shining eyes and a smile always on the lips.

“Slalekum Kum Sir” I would say keeping the bag on the table, he would say, “Hmm… alaikum salaam… so it was algebra practice? Take out the book… let’s see” Ayaz sir was teaching me tuition for the last three years. Last year, I would never have got first division in my 10th board exams if it were not for Sir. I was weak in both English and Maths but Sir made me prepare a lot. Sometimes he used to get so late while teaching me that he used to miss his coaching classes.
“Shazia, tell mummy to drink some more tea” If he would have said with a mischievous face, I would have raised my voice. “Mummy a cup of tea… for the head” And after a while mummy would enter the room carrying a cup and some snacks on the tray. And this would be the moment I had always been waiting for. Because at this time I used to see that color in the eyes of Ayaz Sir and Mummy… which is the most beautiful color in the world.
Ayaz sir’s behavior would show a strange commotion when mother used to enter the room with a tray in her hand. As soon as they came in front of each other, the eyes of both of them seemed strangely confused. As if both of them have been caught stealing.
“Tea… Aa… Chai Bahut Aa… You have made it well” Ayaz Sir looking at his mother, she used to smile and say – “How do you know, you haven’t even drunk yet?”

Brother, we can tell by looking at the face of the tea, how it is. If I had said sir, my mother would have gone inside shyly.
Yes, I knew that for the last seven-eight months, a relationship was brewing between my mother and Ayaz sir. The delicate thread of a relationship whose two ends were held by two people who needed each other.
In the last seven months, I had noticed a certain change in my mother’s behaviour. She was starting to be happy now. Used to smile This was probably the first time, since the death of my father, who worked in Saudi Arabia, nine years ago, that I had seen my mother standing in front of the mirror, tousled her sparse gray hair.

Happiness is like a train passing at high speed on the adjacent track. With a noise, causing trembling in the body, they come out throbbing. But sorrow… Sorrow is like a boat slowly sliding on the water in a far away river. It takes time for him to disappear from the eyes. It took mother nine years to recover from the grief of father’s departure.

In these nine years, I have never seen my mother laughing openly. Haven’t seen anyone buying new clothes for themselves on Eid-Bakrid or any other festival. Well, after father’s departure from Dadihal, our relationship had almost ended. Sometimes no one used to come and go except Farida Fufi. But sometimes even if a wedding card comes from there, mother does not go. The dust used to settle on the makeup donation. She used to stay in the kitchen all day and at night she used to lie on the other side sad. Often in the morning I found old letters from my father from Saudi Arabia under his pillow.

But life was now taking new turns. After returning from school, when I was helping my mother pasting stickers with customers’ names on dozens of tiffin boxes, I felt that she was happier than ever. It was the first time I heard my mother humming while she was cooking. Although the voice was so soft that it was not known what she was singing. But she seemed happy. For a few months, mummy had also started keeping sweets in a part of the tiffin box.

Shazia, can I tell you something? In school, my friend Pragya said to me one day while having lunch during the interval. “yes, what happened” I casually said, then she said, “Look, don’t mind but… But Ashu was telling that he saw your mother and your tuition head at the cafe in Sector 15.” I paused for a minute, then smiled and said, “Yeah I know.. so?” Pragya blushed and said, “It’s nothing, I was just telling” She kept looking at my face in astonishment which showed no shame or hesitation. Rather it was happiness. I just wanted my mother to stop crying and move forward in life.

Coming home the same evening, when I opened the drawer on my mother’s side of the bed for some work, I found a new anklet there. A silver anklet wrapped in shiny gift paper, with a shining blue stone on it. I took it in my hand and saw that beautiful anklet with fine work was testifying to the new beginning of two lives. I lifted the pillow and saw that Papa’s old letters were no longer there. To get somewhere you have to go somewhere and I was happy that mom was leaving her past.

It started raining on Sunday afternoon when I was returning from the street corner grocery store with some household items. When I reached home drenched, I saw Farida Aunty sitting at home.
“Slalekum Fufi”
“Peace be upon you. You are completely wet… Go wipe your hair, son.
When he said yes, I looked at my mother while nodding my head. There was a look of sadness on the mother’s face. I took the towel and started going to the other room. Then I heard the muffled voice of Farida Khala. “No, tell me if I am saying something wrong? All this sounds a bit good. Two women each in the house, and men alone in the house came inside everyday. What would people say? You can’t shut people’s mouths, can you? Hey, find a girl to teach.. What a problem. Standing against the wall, I was wiping my wet hair but my eyes were getting moist. Aunty continued, “If someone became low yesterday, then it would be said that the man used to come to the house every day, the widow woman trapped him… why give chance to someone without any reason. Are you listening or new? What if brother is new, we have a relationship with you. If you are defamed, then we will also be defamed.. the world also has to think about it.

(Listen to the full story on ‘Storybox’)

Leave a Comment