Sameeha was the apple of Aapa’s eyes. Sameeha was all she had, ever since the fatal accident took away everybody in their family. She had devoted her life to Sameeha who was barely three when their world shattered. Neighbors and friends worried about Aapa and how she would deal with the crisis. Sameeha was the only reason why Aapa had not crumbled.
Their house was brimming w/ life and excitement. Sameeha’s marriage had been finalized w/ Ahsan and today was the Nikah. At last Aapa could breathe easy. She had strived to give Sameeha the best of everything and she constantly fretted about the kind of family Sameeha would marry into. Now her fears were rested. Ahsan was a fine boy from a respectable family. She knew Sameeha would get all the love, care and comfort that she deserved. Distant relatives and friends had gathered in the house. A feast was cooking, and children played in the courtyard. The men-folk chatted away as women-folk busied themselves supervising the preparations. There was music and laughter all around. Sameeha sat patiently as four girls stooped over her, applying mehendi to her hands and feet. Her girlfriends teased her about Ahsan while elderly ladies squeezed in words of wisdom every now and then. Aapa sat in a corner, observing and shouting orders as needed.
She was happy for Sameeha yet, her heart broke into a million pieces every time she thought of Sameeha’s bidai. Years flashed by her eyes. How little Sameeha had tightly clutched her hand as she mourned the deaths in the family…Sameeha with her lovely locks and smile……How she had scouted the bazaar barefoot one summer afternoon only to get Sameeha the red velvet slippers that she had wanted….Sameeha the chatterbox…..Sameeha the singer….the Sameeha who studied day and night for her exams…Sameeha the caring doctor…and now, Sameeha the bride…
She would never hear her laughter, her chatter and have her around like she used to….she would have to wait months, just to see her darling for real and even then, it would never be the same…a heavy sadness choked Aapa’s heart. She tried to lift the weight by hollering for some chai and day dreaming about the joys that lay ahead in the future…she had to be strong and able for doing all her duties, she warned herself…Allah would help her survive without her lifeline – Sameeha.
Aapa was her world for many many years. She was her friend, philosopher, guide and her idol. As she grew up her world expanded, but Aapa was still at the center of it. But now it seemed Allah was testing her, by sending Ahsan into her life. All of a sudden it was expected of her to accept Ahsan as the new center. To her surprise, even Aapa wanted it! Although it seemed easy at times, this shift filled her w/ guilt. It was not so hard for her since Ahsan, was the man of her dreams, but what would happen to Aapa?....How would she deal w/ it? Her heart was torn in a game of tug of war; on one side there was Aapa and on the other Ahsan.
Memories flashed past her eyes like a picture slide-show….Her strong Aapa, who rarely smiled….Aapa the taskmaster who never said CAN’T DO…Aapa, the best cook she had ever known….Although with a temper of her own, Aapa who soaked in all her tantrums…. the Aapa who had locked away her tears ever since their family perished….Aapa, who stayed up w/ her as she studied for her exams….Aapa’s embrace, the most comforting thing in the world….Aapa’s trust and confidence that had always pulled her through her lows…..the Aapa who knew her more than herself…and now the Aapa, who was standing and smiling just for her with a heavy stone on her heart... “Ya Allah!…guide me well”, Sameeha prayed.