As narrated by Aara :
Sonia was an unconventional physiotherapist , at times I felt that she pushed me too far, but today I welcomed it! She had me put my good leg on the ground, my injured leg held in an angle by a suspender and shackle, boxing gloves on my hands and a solid punching bag in front of me! And I let loose…I hammered all of my frustrations into it. Being unable to run, unable to make a proper sajda, I felt cooped up from within. I didn’t even realise that I had started crying and only when Sonia handed me a tissue at the end of the punching bag session, did it click.
“Feel a little better?”, she asked
I just nodded and straightened myself. But I felt great ! Even my irritation over this mornings annoying episode seemed far away. Before I came here with Immy, I was so angry with my father, brother, Nemo, Riza, Arshad and Zoheb who I’m sure also knew about it! None of them wanted to take me for physio, citing some lame excuse over another, as if they had other plans or as if my session wasn’t important enough! But now…now it didn’t even bother me much.
I felt rejuvenated from within!
I made my way, on my crutches, towards Immy who waited patiently for me in the visitors lounge with a warm smile on his face.
“Ready to go? “, he said as he looked at his watch. ..gosh what was going on today!
“I’m holding you up aren’t I? ”
“Not at all Aara, in fact let’s go grab a bite to eat?”
As much as I would never say no to food, I decided to take full advantage of Immy’s free time..because I wouldn’t be able to go there otherwise. Not until I was able to drive again anyway, and this couldn’t wait.
“I’d like to go somewhere else please”, I said softly
“Okay…where do you need to go?”
“I want to go and see Aadil”, I said quickly, while I still had some courage left in me
“I was wondering when you’d decide on doing that”, he said knowingly
Immy’s reaction startled me, but at least I knew that I wouldn’t have to justify myself.
“So you aren’t going to give me a lecture?”
“On the contrary…I believe that demons should be faced when you are ready..and all it takes is a single moment of courage..”, Immy said as he walked ahead of me, “call it part of the trade, training, experience..”
What ever it was, he was right. I needed to face my demons before I embraced the next chapter of my life, and procrastination never helped anyone!
Demon also didn’t simply mean a monster, it could be a feeling, a face, a piece of an old memory, a responsibility, a something unexplained.
And I would begin with Aadil.
As narrated by Zoheb
Today was the day. My palms were sweaty and my heart thudded faster than usual. She wasn’t talking to me much, she never answered my calls but spoke briefly to me only when we were in a group.
And she was right. Her anger was justified. What name did our relationship have anyway? I was desperate to win her trust again, desperate to show her that I really meant every word that I said, desperate to do this as soon as possible!
I could have easily dropped down on one knee and asked her the question that would change both our lives, and I will do it, just not yet. I needed to ask her parents first.
The girls insisted on us fetching a few fancy platters from them, so Nemo and I were on our way to Zainab’s . He was adamant on being a part of it even though we both knew that it would be very painful experience for him…He just wouldn’t take no for an answer. So we were going to Aara’s apartment without her being there. It was going to be a part of an elaborate surprise that we were working on and for that she couldn’t be there now. Also, I have to admit that presently, I was a little scared of her!
“She threw a major tantrum this morning when Papa and Sahal didn’t want to take her for physio”, Nemo laughed, “and then she gave Riza, Arshoo and I a nasty tongue lashing after that as well!”
“I can picture that actually “, I said as I let out a small laugh, but it didn’t last long before my tummy went into knots again
“Relax will you…it’s not like they are going to say no”
” It’s hard to explain “, I mumbled
“You look and sound like Arshoo now “, Nemo laughed yet again
“Now that I know how mentally taxing this really is. . I don’t even blame Arshoo!”
“You’ll be fine “, Nemo said reassuringly
“What about you? Don’t tell me that it’s one of those things because Nemo I genuinely wish that the situation could be different”
” I know that you do…maybe that’s what makes it easier to accept”, he shrugged
It would never be easy. Not now, not ever. Why does life have to be like this? There was a point in time where Nemo and I could never see eye to eye , and it would irk me knowing that he was the only one who seemed to know how to diffuse the nuclear bomb named Aara, and that may still be so. Both of them had strong personalities, were very hot headed , could possibly die for each other, and both of them were optimists who behaved weirdly, but fire and fire once joined, will destroy every thing in its path, until it reduces itself to ashes. But then again, from the very pits of boiling hot lava….come diamonds. It was a contradiction hard to define and at some point one realises that it’s best left alone, like a volcano on an isolated island, away from the prying eyes of intruders.
My girl on fire, was tired of burning and wanted to submerge herself, and I welcomed her in the same way that the ocean runs to the shore, covering it, embracing it, engulfing it, protecting it, over and over again.
I was so lost in my own thoughts that I hadn’t realised that we were already outside Zainab’s house. Zai’s house was huge, even huge was an understatement, it was palatial. Her father had renovated it further for the wedding, and that to me made no sense at all.
The house was abuzz with people, the decorators busied themselves and the landscapers were busy with the massive garden. No guesses that that too needed a makeover!
We finally found Laeeka,Zainab and Mari, around the dining room table with two other ladies, busy adding the final touches to what I assumed were my platters for Aara. The table was loaded with a whole lot of cake boxes and sweetmeats and I subconsciously licked my lips! Nemo on the other hand was being himself;)
“Nemo those are samples for us to choose from!”,Zainab shrieked as Nemo devoured one of the cute mini cakes from those designer cake boxes
“Well where does it say so?”, he said through his stuffed mouth
“He’s right you know”, I said as I took a giant piece of halwa “and besides, I need the sugar!”
“What are you nervous for Zoheb, they aren’t going to say no”, Laeeka said as she ruffled my hair
Nemo waved his finger at me as if to say that Laeeka was right. His mouth was just too full to talk
“You both are so barbaric !”, Zainab said before she turned towards the two ladies who for some reason , were grinning from ear to ear! , “Rums, Fati , meet Zoheb and Naeem, our resident jungle animals”
My eyes widened in shock!
Nemo slapped Zainab lightly at the back of her head and introduced himself to Rums and Fati, in typical Nemo style. Lol! These ladies had turned red in the face!
“And this is Zoheb, we’re taking his proposal to Aara’s today”, Nemo said to them
“Aara…The Aara that we met yesterday?”, Fati asked as she looked towards Mari
“Yep, she and Zoheb here are going to be tying the knot soon”, Mari clapped
“That’s wonderful, congratulations Zoheb”, Rums smiled
“Thank you…and only congratulate me once today is over please. ..Aara is an unpredictable thunderstorm!”
Rums burst out laughing. ..”are you … scared of her?”
“Terrified “, I nodded
“He’s kidding mahhhn he’s just really nervous “,Laeeka said as she handed me a glass of something green to drink, I had no idea what it was but it tasted great!
“Don’t be Zoheb, Aara seems like such a lovely young lady”, Rums said to me. I liked her already! She had such a pleasant demeanor about her and although I didn’t know her, she gave off such positive vibes and it instantly made me feel better!
“Well I will definitely tell you all about it Rums, you can count on that “, I smiled
“It’s part of what we do, except we add our hearts into it “, she said with a reassuring smile, “don’t we Fati?”
But Fati here seemed to be lost in a world of her own and her eyes were fixed upon me!
“Fati? “, Rums said as she snapped her fingers in front of Fati’s face
“Huh?”, Fati said, her eyes still glued on me
“Arre Fatima Bibi…he’s taken! You can look at me though!”,Nemo laughed, causing Fati’s face to turn a shade of beetred!
“No…it’s nothing like that….I was…I was daydreaming Naeem “, she said a little too honestly
“Call me Nemo”, he winked, “everyone does…and now we need to get moving because Riza and Arshad have probably already fetched Nani…Zai what’s what here?”
They had made four platters for us, a sweetmeat, a pastry, a platter full of mini cakes and a dry fruit platter. Oh well, if Aara is still mad at me, at least she’ll soften seeing the food!
“Thanks a million ladies”, I said as I hugged Mari, Zainab and Laeeka “wish me luck!”
“Good luck Zoheb!” , they laughed in unison
“See you all later”, Nemo said as he scooped a few more cakes “padkos Zai”
As narrated by Mari
“This is quite a group of friends that you ladies have”, Fati said to us over tea
“You have still to meet the other three “, I said, ” there’s Arshad, Zainabs fiance, Riza, Laeeka’s fiance, and my hubby Imraan…Riza and Arshad are going with Zoheb and Nemo to Aara’s place, and we had Immy volunteer to take Aara for physio so that we could go ahead with Zoheb’s proposal”
“Isn’t Aara going to be there as well?”, Rums asked, a little surprised
“It’s part of a surprise for her”
And we proceeded to tell Rums and Fati all about the Zoheb-Aara-Nemo story.
“Wow…and Nemo is still going with Zoheb?” , Fati asked wide eyed
“Yup, that’s what makes them so unique “, Zainab smiled
“I think that all of you are unique…In all my years, I’ve never come across a group of friends like yourselves” , Rums said as she wiped away a tear
“Yeah…It truly is amazing “, Fati said as she also wiped away a tear
Our story brought tears and smiles to everyone who heard about it…but we had lived it, we are living it still, and the feeling that came with it, was one that made my heart brim over in a happiness that could never be explained by any number of words.
Some of you should be receiving something in your email some time tonight:)