Part 268 – Back

As narrated by Aara:

This was one of my favorite spots in the entire house. Well, this house was designed with most of my favorites in mind so it was difficult to choose at times.. But this place… This place echoed peace like no other place in my home.

It was a mini garden in the balcony of our bedroom, the spot where we would often offer our salaah and sit together in silence reading our Qur’an. Encased in glass with a retractable glass roof.. personally designed by Zoheb… it oozed serenity and my troubles seemed to vanish into thin air the second that I stepped into this sanctuary of sorts.

It was here that I often retreated to in these past four months. A place of solitude and comfort. It was here where I cried my heart out, spoke my heart out, bared my heart out. It was here where I found acceptance.

Acceptance that took less courage than I thought it would, one that gave me the strength to deal with my loss and where hope fluttered around like tiny fireflies on a darkened night.

I didn’t know how I would pass a day without him, but it has been just over four months and here I am. A little stronger, a little calmer, a little quieter and if I was lucky, a little wiser.

In my heart lay buried, memories of a man who I loved so dearly, a man who filled my existence with so much of happiness, a man who even though was now gone, but whose scent I could still smell within the walls of our home. I missed him so much.

I was a fool to think that I would never get by, because my Rabb has been with me before anyone else was and he will always be with me . He has made me realise that we are part of a bigger picture and have bigger tests to fulfill. It isn’t easy. But it isn’t supposed to be easy either.

I looked up for the umpteenth time into the sky, taking in the now burnt orange hues of the horizon. Reminding me that it was almost time to go, to return, to once again blend into the world. All my life, I had always identified myself with the color yellow… as bright as a daffodil happily swaying in the wind, but that stem was now cut.. what color would I be now?

I made my way back into my room to get dressed. Even though I didn’t feel like going anywhere, Riza and Laeeka had invited me for dinner as my iddah was now over and I couldn’t say no to them.

I peered into Hana’s cot and smiled at her sleeping form. Yes, Riza had kept to his word. He had brought her back the very night that he had taken her from me in front of everyone. The charade had passed and we would soon begin the legal process of restoring her to me. That Zoheb had forged my signature on the papers that made Riza and Laeeka her legal guardians, didn’t phase me. I trusted him. But it saddened me that it had come to this, it saddened me that the reasons behind him doing this were real, and I knew that I had to find a way to fix it for everyone. Life was too short. I should know.

I didn’t have to linger in front of my closet for very long, I needed to look presentable not dashing. I was now beginning my journey back into the world after these months of seclusion and it scared me to the point of it leaving me overwhelmed.

I tiptoed back to Hana’s cot and gently placed my hand on her tiny chest, breathing a sigh of relief that yes, she was breathing.

Trepidation. That’s what it was. Not a lack of faith. But that too was a contradiction, and I knew that I needed to work through it.

There was so many things that I needed to do…

The children had played the biggest part in my slow healing and I was so grateful for that.. but tonight there would be no kids. It would be just the 8 of us and I hadn’t really paid much attention to the lives of my friends of late. I didn’t know what to expect. Would I be comfortable? Would I still fit in? Would things still be somewhat the same?

And I would have to face Nemo again…Nemo who just wouldn’t go away!

It was the first time in 5 years that I would be going out for something without Zoheb and for the first time in 5 years I was desperately unsure of myself. But I had to do this…

With no way out of it, I finally greeted my parents goodbye and fired up Zoheb’s beloved Audi. As I ran my fingers across the steering wheel it was as though I could hear him reminding me as he always did, that I shouldn’t be nervous and that it was just a car. I smiled to myself as a tear escaped my eye, remembering my anxiety about driving his car.

I didn’t have any expectations about this dinner… I just wanted to find a tiny piece of myself in this puzzle that all of us collectively were.

And I had no idea that something beyond my expectations was about to unfold itself in front of us…

As narrated by Nemo:

“She’s left” , I said to Laeeka as I pushed my phone back into my pocket and continued with the salad that I was busy with

“Good, I can’t wait! “, Laeeka smiled

I had once read a silly quote on a billboard in Detroit and took it very figuratively. ” Life is like a salad, if you want it colorful, you’ve got to garnish it well ”

I was never particularly fond of salad but I had started making it back then. Almost every day. And each time that I made it, I surprisingly felt a little better. My somewhat obsession with salad making, would lead me to several different ethnic fresh produce markets and numerous cooking websites.. I pursued strange ingredients every single time and garnished it to “almost perfection”. Got to admit, it turned out to be quite therapeutic, becoming an interesting distraction even though I always gave it away and never ate it.

I chose to be old school when it came to veggies unfortunately. Aara, Zainab, Laaeka and Maariah though, like many other woman.. loved salad! So a treat for them and a distraction for me. Slicing almonds and chopping dates took my mind away (momentarily) from the fall out that Aara and I had just days ago. And her words pierced through my ears like swords dipped in hot oil.

“Do you think that you can take his place???”

“Hana is NOT your daughter!”

I was just trying to help. I had no ulterior motive. And the last thing that I wanted to do was to anger a friend who seldom spoke or interacted with any of us recently and I understood that. None of us would completely understand what she was feeling or what she was going through, I get it. But after her sharp words,I realised one more thing too.

That the Aara I grew up with and loved was no more. We had buried her along with Zoheb on that day… And this version of her that was still physically here was partially just a shadow of her old self and a mixture of a new person who I didn’t know. Who none of us knew.

I looked up at the security camera in the kitchen. Immy and Maariah had arrived and by the looks of It, Mari had gone on a baking spree!

Zainab and Arshad then made their silent appearance and eventually wandered off into the kids play area at the back to “talk”. Lol… Yeah right

The hands on the clock moved by painstakingly slowly…

After a solid twenty minutes, while I leaned against my car, cigarette in one hand, phone in the other… the familiar roar of a silver Audi caught my attention. I closed my eyes for a split second, envisioning Zoheb grinning at me as he revved the engine on this infamous contraption that left many wannabees in the loop.. We had laughed about it every single time that we had raced random cars down the freeway!

Half expecting Zoheb to jump out of the car, I lifted my eyes and grinned unconsciously.

” Naeem ” , Aara said stoically, exiting the vehicle

I nodded and looked down. Okay I rolled my eyes too but I wasn’t going to let her see that!

She took longer than it normally would take to remove a single packet from the boot, as though she was hesitating or thinking about something that pulled her back into an old memory…

I decided to take my chances and walked towards her car.

“Need some help? ”

She shook her head slowly and closed the boot. She had definitely been lost somewhere and had now, maybe unwillingly, been yanked back to reality.

“Listen Aara.. “, I continued.. ” I’m sorry about the other day, I should have asked where the line was… I was really just trying to help ”

I stepped back slowly yet immediately.. if that made any sense.

Aara turned towards me and either I had something stuck on my face or she had seen my stupid reaction, but her demeanor changed. She seemed somewhat amused even though she didn’t laugh as she normally would have.

“It’s okay.. I know that I overreacted, I’m sorry”

I nodded.

“Its chilled”

She looked around for a few seconds, taking in the house that she hadn’t been to in months and instead of singling out a new flower patch or something, her eyes fell on a small pitchfork that was lying not that close to us….

I was right! She asked me to pick it up and put it into the shed and I obviously didn’t know where the shed was.. So here I was following Aara in the direction of the kiddies play area in silence… but not for long.

Voices coming from that very area made us stop dead in our tracks in shock…

“I’ve had enough of this! ”

“Why don’t you want to try?? ”

“How many times must I tell you that it’s over Arshad.. I kept quiet because of the situation but I can’t keep up with this facade anymore! ”

“We can make it work please love.. ”

“No.. I want the divorce Arshad and I’m not changing my mind! ”

I was glued to the spot that I stood in, and a few steps ahead of me, Aara was too. She eventually turned around, her eyes mirroring the same bewildered look that was locked in mine.

Arshad and Zainab’s ugly spat continued, with both of them being completely unaware of our presence.

How long had this been going on for…we had no idea. Were we really this oblivious to the misery that they were seemingly in all this time?

Images of their hot air balloon ride flashed through my mind, Arshad’s heroic transformation, their wedding..their son…

And the only thought that boomed through my mind as we silently headed away from them was that…all that glitters was certainly not gold because pure gold was not visible for everyone to see, you had to dig deep for it, finding it didn’t mean attaining it and attaining it didn’t mean that it stayed with you forever. Sometimes it slips through your fingers, sometimes you’re only meant to keep it for a short while, sometimes you take it for granted and don’t realise its worth until it’s no longer yours to hold…



20 thoughts on “Part 268 – Back

  1. Ahhh! That feeling when you see an LLD post ❀️ And a post that didn’t make me bring out the Kleenex πŸ™ŠπŸ˜‚ Love this transformation that Aara is getting into although I still miss Zoheb πŸ˜” He shall driver be in our hearts though! ❀️❀️ And here’s goes the Zainab and Arshaf Drama 😬 Would it be wrong to say I suspected something like this from day 1? πŸ™ˆ Hope they can sort their crap out without the divorce πŸ˜” Thanks for the brilliant post as usual Shazia! πŸ˜„

    Liked by 2 people

    • Youre welcome Mary 😘 yeah kleenex has issued summons bru πŸ˜’πŸ˜©πŸ˜± lol… Nope youre not wrong in thinking that but thats what i was trying to highlight with arshad and zainab allllll along 😊


  2. Thanks so much really missed it for a while n now after zohebs passing every time I read it I have tears in my eyes it’s lyk I also miss his character but I hope araa Will be ok oh no arshoo n zai I hope dey work things out. LLD is definitely my favorite plz post soon coz each time I read it only gets better:-* love ya πŸ˜€


  3. Aside from tear jerking but also the rolling on floor laughing out loud moments too. . Man i miss those. . Hmm. . Kinda figured u were heading to make a note of it that having an extravagant type wedding doesn’t guarantee happiness in the marriage afterwards. I see Immy & Maari having the most barakah as they never really dated & the nikaah was quick too. Thats the way to go. . So glad that Hana is with Aara. . Hana will be Aara’s reason to take on life. Not easy but not impossible. . Wonder what’s gonna happen next. Eagerly awaiting the next post. Thanx for the post too. . Always love them. .πŸ’

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Can I take one helluVa wild guess.
    Aara nd Nemo will try to put them back together (zainub nd arshoo)?

    Well Aara took the first step and I’m happy that she’s on that road to come back.


  5. Loving ur blog totes!!! I’m glad in a way that ur highlighting the after effects of having an extravagent wedding. I’ve seen a similar case where such a wedding led to divorce not long after. Not all extravagent weddings end this way but it does snatch away the barkat in a marriage. Simple is the way to go,like Immy and Maariyah. Missing Zoheb lots!!!


    To him we belong and to him we shall return! That’s reality of our life’s and Allah has commanded that we women need to sit is iddah after we lose our husbands! Allah works in great ways u see he gives us theses months to morn and also help gain our strength to move on with our other half! We woman are weak so we need this time surrounded by our close people that understand when they are shouted at or screamed at and will still be there ( like Nemo)! Thank shaz ! Good to have some non crying postπŸ˜„


  7. Aww! Aara and Zoheb were the cutest mahnπŸ’• I want to have a favorite spot like Aara’s nice one😻 So I can just get lost in my thoughts and feel nice and urgh. Why wasn’t I fictional?😩 Eish, the Zainab and Arshad thing is hecticπŸ™ŠπŸ˜­ I just hope they make it work and sort their differences outπŸ˜” Oh well, whatever’s maktoob will happen🌚 Amazing post as alwaysπŸ’œ


  8. Dear authoress sazia jee,
    I don’t know how to begin…ok. I would first like to ask you may I call u aunty sazia. Sorry ,if u feel embarrassed but the thing is I am 17 and u have a loving husband, so as per rules or u say etiquette in India…. I hope u understand.actually I came across ur blog just a week ago but it feels like I knew it already for years and I have definitely lived life as aara. Yeah it may seem normal to u and everyone here as u are such an amazingly talented writer. But in addition to this something is more in my case maybe u all will not believe or maybe believe as I have seen ur immense faith on miracles of Allah. So here it is the second reason… actually I have battled four long years of depression and I was out of wits even to be able survive. But I don’t know how many days I woke up reminding name aara and all… And many times amira and all of surti diaries. It was strange..until now when I don’t know how I came across both of them. So it may feel like something weird and even I felt like it then because I have even never heard these names and I would woke up being eccentrically happy or sad. Yeah u all may not believe but it is a weird magical and strange experience. So finally after a lot of thinking I have told u all. I don’t know whether to call it god’s will or what … Here in my circle we all never know about such blogs but I just not only follow these two but also finding solace and diary of confessions. Hope u all believe me and welcome me in ur group…..
    Thanks a lot


  9. Its okay if u don’t post my previous comment. But I would really like to tell u that this blog is one of the best thing which happened in my life..the lessons it taught has enabled me to completely win over my ailment. Even surti diaries has . Yes I can’t choose between u two but I would be always thankful to u both to give be new lease of life. Its just impossible to explain how much I am grateful to u for the lessons and u a sort of gave me new life with all ur teaching. Hope u understand .. This is truly from bottom of my heart. Thank you multiplied by infiniteeeeeeee……..


  10. Coming to my views about it. Along with reading posts I also read comments. Yes initially even I was partial and sometimes a member of team zoheb and sometimes a member of team nemo…. I also felt really sad for nemo’s condition after aara’s marriage. I was also in fix about this love triangle after nemo’s confession. But yes aara was right. I just don’t mean that nemo’s love was less but the thing is although he was her first love and she will always love him but while nemo’s recovery…. She herself has said that she has killed her that part evey second and moreover its just that she moved on and Ashe fell for zoheb in completely different and amazing way. Yes nemo’s condition after her marriage was truly something we can feel bad about. But please guys there should be nothing like that we hate aara and zoheb for anything. But think in this way that maybe Allah wanted nemo to undergo trial to fulfill what zoheb said to Aara about him. Maybe my lord just wanted to check and make nemo so strong that.. Allah can prove the world that aara, riza and arshad’s effort were not futile. It was just not that nemo got their support due to some special mercy rather our beloved nemo deserved it as he is truly a diamond…. The death of zoheb is really saddening but maybe he deserved only this much life and after all he died a death which only god’s favourite child can die. Yes it is heatbreaking to see aara’s happiness ending so soon. Yes we all felt that trials she went in past are enough and she should get happily ever after. But look in this way that what this blog teaches us that it rains most on people who deserves sun the most. So we can be proud of aara that she is such a wonderful soul. I know it will never lessen our grief but …i don’t know. The most important thing about this blog is that its truly concentrated on everyone with not just one being protagonist and others in supporting roles. Yes sometimes it may seem to people that this is aara’s story as aara is more there but the thing is that she has more happenings in her life and she is a beautiful connecting thread. You know what earlier I thought aara is just godly and nemo is silly and I even thought aara is lucky to have zoheb as husband. But now I feel none is better than other its just they all are uniquely perfect with all their imperfections. Yes aara is lucky to have zoheb but similarly zoheb is lucky to have aara and it applies to each one of them in their group with respect to each other and definetly both nemo and aara and even others are really very strong . Sazia jee your legacy will truly inspire generations to come because every action teaches us so many things about life that can’t even expressed in words but I truly promise u from bottom of my heart that with inspiration from ur teachings and my life’s teachings I will truly try to become someone on whom u ,my lord,my mother nature and each and every person can be proud of…ur last words in this post is truly what everyone needs to learn about relationship. Each one of us here truly long for such group of friends but nobody looks at what was needed to grow seeds of such relationship into a sting tree. Yes small or big marriage is not what is required for a strong relationship. Its just what u said . Even many small and likewise many large marriages and very strong. Its not due to perfect weeding setup but due to perfect dedication of both the imperfect people….and by the way these list of learning and thanku is endless like what aara said to riza and Arshad in their stay at that beach on Durban. So let me cut some slack for myself and calm down my sssooooooooo thankfullll heart and mind…….. Okay just one last thing I am really surprised and proud that u are so big fan of Bollywood movies. I was really overjoyed to know. This. Moreover ur love for my favourit dahiwars was also pleastly surprising thing for me. And zoheb’s initial comment about rain in Bollywood films was also very nice. To tell u a secret I have a dramatic history with the movie kuch kuch hota hai. Ihope u can guess from my name only actually I was to be named something else but my yongest chachu wanted me to be named Anjali as he liked the really very much. Onco again dear thanku for evey laughter and tear u gave me and yes please don’t worry I a. Perfectly fine now and as u always say even in my life this trial is one of the most amazing thing happened to me and I am really proud and thankful for it…. Infinite hugs and thankkkkkkkkkkkyooooooouuuuuuuuuuuu…….


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