Faseeha & Danish | Episode 1


A story of a typical girl who didn’t want to lead a typical life…

Faseeha loved reading digests and novels and clichéd romantic stories, but she never wanted to be part of one. She sought novelty in her life, something unique, something that sets her apart. To her dismay, she knew her life would be a clichéd one—a childhood nikaah to her cousin Danish. She spent most of her time sulking about her not-so-happening life.

And just when Faseeha’s feelings about arranged marriages changed and she was happy in her married life, everything fell apart.

“Faseeha & Danish” is a stand-alone novella with a happily ever after theme. It is squeaky clean and does not contain any profanity or sexual content.


Chapter 1 – The Typical Girl

“Let me see. You have seen him a million times. He is your foster brother,” Sameya whispered to Faseeha.

“You are going to see him for the rest of your life. If you don’t see him today, it doesn’t matter,” the reply came in an equally loud whisper.

Sameya and Faseeha, the two of them stood outside the male baithak and kicked each other to peek inside.

“You’re such a horrible, horrible person, Faseeha. Do you want me to marry your brother without even seeing him once?” Sameya asked mocking a hurt expression.

“Well… the alliance is finalized. Even if you don’t like him, nobody will listen to your objections. In our community, once a proposal is finalized, it is carved in stone, until death does you part,” Faseeha said with exaggerated sympathy in her tone and a glint of mockery in her eyes. Sameya burst laughing and Faseeha joined her laughter.

At that very moment, a harsh male voice interrupted them.

“What are you girls doing here?”

Startled, Sameya and Faseeha stopped bickering and turned at once to see Danish staring at them, as though he would not mind killing them.

“Your brother is looking at us as if he wouldn’t mind eating us alive,” Faseeha whispered.

“Well, that makes him a cannibal, he is not a cannibal, but he is furious, good luck!” Sameya said. She did not wait for a beat and took off like a deer in the forest after seeing a lion. Faseeha, on the other hand, stood there, all set to argue with Danish. Firstly, Danish’s yelp had escalated her heartbeat and it was yet to become normal again. She could not let him go without reprimanding him. Secondly, Danish was scolding her—princess Faseeha. How dare he? A suitable reply was a must.

“We are at home. What is your problem?” she hissed, her hands resting on her waist, like a woman who likes to quarrel.

“You were peeking inside the living room,” Danish barked, almost.

“So?” Faseeha arched her eyebrows and asked, as though peeking in the male living room was no big deal. The fearless facade concealed her fears. They were at fault. If the elders found out, they would surely be reprimanded. But she could not let Danish see just how scared and guilty she was. She wanted this to be over soon, but she was not willing to back down.

“So? Do you have no shame? The girls of Mohammad Akram’s esteemed family and such shameful shenanigans…” Danish gritted his teeth. He had not expected such insolence from girls, and he most certainly had not expected Faseeha to argue with him.

“Yes, Sameya wanted to see Kamran alive,” Faseeha said. Danish’s face clouded with confusion, so she quickly corrected herself, “I mean, Sameya wanted to see Kamran in person, aside from the photograph. She has not seen him since we were kids. When we grew up, our elders forbade us to mingle with the boys. Kamran and Sameya are getting married, and it is her right to see her future husband,” Faseeha explained. “As for me, Kamran and I are foster siblings. He is my mahram. Don’t you know about that ruling of Islam?” Faseeha asked bitterly.

“Apart from Kamran, there are boys, too. Danish said angrily.

“You are here. Sameya is your sister. I am Faseeha, your cousin and coincidentally your mankuha. I don’t have to do purdah when you’re around,” Faseeha said sarcastically and briskly walked away.

Danish stood there, dumbfounded by the bitter words. His eyes were fixed in the direction where Faseeha went. He could not believe what had just happened. It was probably the first time since their childhood that they both talked face to face, gazing into each other’s eyes.

Danish’s job was in Kanpur. The three girls also used studies in Kanpur, but they lived in a separate apartment. Even if they were present together in the haveli, the question of the meeting would not have arisen because the atmosphere in the house was religious. Men and women had their own sections in the haveli, even meals were eaten separately. So, Danish had not seen or spoken to Faseeha since their childhood, any meeting or conversation was simply out of question. And now he had met her, in such unlikely and unpleasant circumstances. Danish put a hand to his chest feeling a strange sensation almost as if he was injured by Faseeha’s sharp words.

Faseeha went straight to Sameya’s room and stood by her head.

“You traitor… cheater… Bad girl… Why did you run away leaving me alone there?” she shrieked.

Sameya was unperturbed by Faseeha’s anger or outburst. She sat up excitedly and started questioning.

“I was so scared just seeing Danish bhai there. What happened?” she asked excitedly. “Were you two fighting? Or maybe you guys had a lovely heart-to-heart conversation…” Sameya’s eyed shone with mischief. She was teasing Faseeha, and it did not go well with the person on the receiving end of it.

“Don’t talk nonsense.” Faseeha gritted her teeth angrily.

“What has happened? Will someone tell me?” Lameya asked who was listening to their bickering until now looking at them as if they had lost their minds.

“Faseeha and I were peeping into the male baithak to see Kamran. And then Danish Bhai came there and scolded us. I escaped out of fear, but something must have happened between Faseeha and Danish bhai,” Sameya narrated the story. She was having fun, and it was evident. Faseeha glared at Sameya as if she wanted to pull her hair.

“How romantic!” Lameya clapped happily. “Then you should ask what happened?” she looked at Sameya and then at Faseeha.

Sameya giggled

“She is not telling us anything… She wants to keep it a secret,” Sameya said. Both sisters were rejoicing among themselves thinking of a possible romantic conversation between their brother and sister-in-law. They completely ignored the fact that the said sister-in-law was glaring at them as if she would chew them raw. Faseeha was maddened by Danish’s words, and now Danish’s sisters were adding fuel to the fire. At the same time, she also knew that neither of them would let her sit calmly until she had narrated the whole thing; she had to tell them. Besides, she was so angry; she had to vent out.

“Nothing happened. Your dear brother scolded me for peeping outside into the male baithak. So, I told him that it was Sameya’s idea,” she said. Sameya’s jaw dropped.

“Really? You told Danish bhai that I wanted to see Kamran?” It was Sameya’s turn to shriek.

Faseeha looked at Sameya and stuck her tongue out as if saying—if you throw me under the bus, I will drag you with me.

“This is so much fun!” Lameya enjoyed the moment as she was not part of it. “Tell us more,” she probed.

Faseeha smiled recalling Danish’s shocked expressions. She was mad in the beginning, but she was enjoying the storytelling now.

“Then he was like, why are you here? So, I told him the obvious—Kamran is my foster brother, and you and I are bound in the bond of marriage Masha’Allah. I don’t have to observe purdah because you’re my future husband,” Faseeha said and chuckled at the end as if still relishing the look on Danish’s face. How did he feel when I said that? Faseeha wondered. She shrugged as if someone had tickled her.

“Wow! What a romantic story!” Lameya said with dreamy eyes.

“Oh, puh-leez… there is nothing romantic in this. Faseeha spoke curtly. “He did a stupid thing, and I gave him a befitting reply.” She was not ready to accept that anything remotely happened between her and Danish.

Because nothing had.

“That’s romance, my dear sister-in-law. Hero and Heroine suddenly meet accidentally, Hero gets angry, and Heroine misbehaves with Hero. There is a fight, an ego tussle and then slowly both will start taking care of each other, start liking each other, and start falling for each other. Eventually, both will fall in love and will not be able to live without each other,” Sameya summarized a good “enemies to lovers” romance story.

“And they started living happily. The end.” Lameya said, clapping her hands and beaming with joy.

“Absolutely…” Sameya nodded while Faseeha only rolled her eyes.

“Allah… It will so much fun…” Lameya chirped.

“I know…” Sameya said. Then she turned to her sister-in-law. “Faseeha, when that happens, promise us that you will tell us everything, okay?” she pleaded.

“You know what I just realized?” Faseeha asked.

“What?” the two sisters asked excitedly hoping for some juicy gossip.

“I just realized that I don’t have to listen to your nonsense,” Faseeha said. She tilted her head and stuck her tongue out. Before the two sisters could say or do anything, Faseeha got up and went outside.


Mohammad Akram and Syeda Begum lived in Muzaffarabad, a village near Kanpur. Their family resided in the ancestral mansion. They had four children. Mohammad Akbar, Akbari Begum, Asghari Begum, and Mohammad Asghar.

Mohammad Akbar was married to Samina Begum. They had three children. Danish Akbar, Sameya Akbar and Lameya Akbar.

Akbari Begum was married to Ijaz Ahmed. They had three boys. Afzal Ahmed, Akmal Ahmed and Ajmal Ahmed.

Asghari Begum was married to Mohammad Aslam. They had two children. Kamran Aslam and Touba Aslam.

Mohammad Asghar was married to Safia Begum. He had only one daughter. Faseeha Asghar.

The marriages took place only a couple of years apart. . Allah had blessed them all with kids—Afzal Ahmed, Akmal Ahmed, Danish Akbar, Sameya Akbar, Kamran Aslam, Faseeha Asghar, Touba Aslam. Ajmal Ahmed and Lameya Akbar.

The Akram family was a traditional one, living in an old mansion and leading a traditional lifestyle. Or, as Faseeha said—boring.

Living under a joint family system in a big mansion, a conservative family, spending the first twenty years as a daughter under the strict supervision of elders followed by a marriage with a first or second cousin of the family… The next stage of life was to be the most-obedient wife and the most-obedient daughter-in-law under equal strictness and supervision. And once they start a family, life would end in the same old routine—running the household, maintaining relationships and giving sacrifices.

As was the tradition of her family, Faseeha was also married to her cousin Danish when both were young.  Sameya was engaged to Kamran, who was also Faseeha’s foster brother. Touba was engaged to Akmal. In short, these relationships were like tangled threads.

Akmal, Afzal, Danish and Kamran were worried about their livelihood after completing their studies. Aslam and Ejaz both were Civil Engineers and ran construction in partnership with each other. Among the younger generation, all four boys except Danish were also in the same profession.

Danish’s hobby was a little different. He had chosen to become a Chartered Accountant. He had a job in Kanpur. Even though Akbari Begum and Asghari Begum had their in-laws’ homes in Muzaffarabad, they spent most of their time in Kanpur.

Mohammad Akbar had an apartment in Kanpur where Danish lived. Mohammad Asghar also bought two apartments. When college started for girls, they started living in one of those apartments. Afshan Aapi and her husband Majeed Bhai who worked at the haveli moved to Kanpur to look after the girls. Afshan took care of the household chores, while Majeed Bhai took care of everything else from driving to groceries to manning the gate.

Faseeha, Sameya and Touba were settled in the Kanpur apartment. Lameya was still in school and lived in Muzaffarabad. It was her greatest wish to finish school and join the college as soon as possible so she could live with her sisters.

Life was pretty boring, as Faseeha put it.


You can read the complete story here

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Shabana Mukhtar