Faseeha & Danish | Episode 2

Introduction 

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 2 – Feisty Faseeha

Faseeha Asghar had anger issues and she was also a bit quirky. She hated the typical and conventional life, and she did not keep her thoughts to herself. Every now and then, she would declare her unhappiness about her childhood nikaah.

It was a weekend, and the girls had come to the mansion. Touba also stayed the night with them. Late at night, the same topic was brought up again.

“I have such a cliched life and such a cliched story,” Faseeha was depressed.

“Don’t worry. You might not like Danish bhai now, but you will fall in love after marriage,” Sameya said.

“And that is the same traditional story, isn’t it?” Faseeha noted. “The same old saying that the two words of marriage carry a lot of power and can change you and your life, that the hearts unite after marriage, that you fall in love once you live with that person. Where is the novelty? Where is the romance? It is all so BORING!” Faseeha spoke lying on her bed staring at the ceiling. Her silky brown hair spread over the bed and fell from the corner. Her big brown eyes stared at a non-existent point in space. Her pink lips were puckered and her eyes were squinted as if she was looking for something; perhaps she was looking for her life’s meaning.

“The digests have spoiled your mind and now you’re good for nothing,” Touba said.

“You have such high hopes for life,” Sameya said. “I’m afraid you’re headed for a huge disappointment because real life isn’t like digests and movies,” she added as she put body lotion on her hand.

Faseeha sat up, straightened her back and looked at her annoying cousins.

“Well… You two are so mistaken,” she said. “This is what happens in digest stories and movies… you know… childhood nikaah, childhood engagement with a cousin, falling in love with a cousin, argh…” Faseeha made a face as if she was disappointed in life. Then, she turned her attention to Touba. “Yeah, I have high expectations from life, and since I am already married, so I know very well that my life is headed towards a huge disappointment,” she said bitterly. “Tell me something I don’t know.”

“Faseeha aapi, you’re being so mean,” Lameya said. She did not interfere much when Faseeha spoke about he dreams, her ideal life. But Lameya also knew that if the conversation continued, they might quarrel for no reason. She got only a day and a half with her sister and cousins. She did not want a fight.

Faseeha, Sameya and Touba all glared at Lameya at her interruption. Lameya simply shrugged and shoved her head back under the blanket.

Sameya pondered over Faseeha’s words for a few minutes and drew conclusions according to her wisdom.

“So, you don’t want the life of a digest heroine, and you don’t want a romantic life.” Sameya guessed.

“I don’t want the life of a digest heroine, I don’t want a dull and boring and typical life but I never said anything about romance. Who doesn’t want romance? I want romance, an abundance of it, but my wants have no importance, do they?” Faseeha let out a sigh of exasperation, a sigh so cold that made Sameya shiver.

“You don’t have to worry about romance. Perhaps Danish bhai is like a typical hero… you know… he’s tough on the onside and is always rude to the heroine but after marriage, he is the most caring and most romantic person ever and he had always liked the heroine,” Lameya said from under the blanket; she did not want more stares coming her way.

“Yeah, as if!” Faseeha made a face as she spoke.

“Why are you saying that? How do you know if Danish bhai is romantic or not?” Touba asked suspiciously as if trying to find out if Faseeha and Danish are in touch with each other.

“Really? That’s your big question?” Faseeha quirked a brow. “I just know…” she said. She had no other reason, but she knew in her heart that Danish was not a romantic at heart.

“That’s not what Touba meant,” Sameya interrupted. “Are you in touch with Danish bhai over the phone?” she finally asked the real question they had been skirting until now.

“I am not,” Faseeha denied vehemently, “but even if we were in touch, it wouldn’t have been a scandal because we are already married,” Faseeha said.

Sameya and Touba exchanged a worried glance. They were exhausted and sleepy and just wanted this argument to end, but Faseeha was in no mood to relent.

“So, what do you want?” Sameya asked irritably. “Do you want to have an affair?”

“Astaghfirullah…” Faseeha felt bad.

“Then?”

“I just… What is new in life?” Faseeha said—the same old thing that she had been whining about all her adult life.

“Do you want to marry outside the family?” Touba asked the next question.

“Astaghfirullah…” Faseeha shivered again.

“What do you want?” Sameya asked. She was getting tired of this conversation.

“This is very boring. Childhood marriage and all,” Faseeha said.

“Really? Let me think. A grown-up gets married… Huh? Isn’t that boring, typical and traditional? What is new in this?” Sameya asked. The baseless argument had been going on for far too long.

Faseeha became incredulous.

“Let me sleep, I am exhausted,” she said and turned away.

Sameya and Touba exchanged another glance and smiled. They said a silent prayer of thanks. They could sleep, finally!

On her bed, Faseeha lay awake, her head still replaying their conversation. Her cousins were not alone in feeling restless about her. She herself found her idealism baseless at times. She didn’t know what she wanted. All the knew what that a little voice inside her kept shouting seeking something new, extraordinary, and unique.

~~~

Summer vacation had begun. After everyone’s school and college ended, the commotion over Sameya and Kamran’s marriage started. The elders had been preparing the for the same for months. But now, the young generation was also ready to enjoy.

The wedding festivities had begun with dholki. Guests and relatives started arriving. Sameya was the bride and flatly refused to help with any household chores. Touba was also there to help. Lameya was still young and careless, but she did try to help as much as she could. And then several maids worked relentlessly to keep the guests happy. Dealing with a haveli full of guests wasn’t easy.

The responsibility of looking after the guests had befallen Faseeha’s able shoulder. Whether it was her responsible nature, her age or a sense of her dual, she had become the go-to person in the family and she was acing at her new role in the house. During the wedding festivities and had also learned something—if something is to be done right, do it yourself. In her attempt to do everything on her own, she was in a tight spot with no time to even breathe peacefully.

A few days back, Kamran had come to haveli for some work and that’s when Danish caught Sameya and Faseeha peeping inside male baithak. That’s when the real issue had begun.

Danish could not forget how Faseeha spoke to him. Until then, he had never thought about Faseeha or any other girl. That little verbal spat reminded him of a soft corner in his heart, and that soft corner was now Faseeha’s throne.

It was two o’clock at night and most of the people were asleep. Danish was not able to sleep. After twisting and turning for a while, he decided to come down and make tea for himself.

Faseeha was alone in the kitchen doing the dishes and throwing them angrily.

“Ahem!” Danish cleared his throat to get Faseeha’s attention. Faseeha turned and looked at Danish once, and then turned back as if Danish’s presence made no difference to her. “May I Come in?” he asked.

“It’s your wish. Everyone has their own will.” Faseeha replied curtly and slammed a glass on the platform. She slammed it so hard, Danish winced at the sound.

“Are you okay?” Danish came in. “What wrong did these dishes do to you? Who angered you?” Danish stood a few steps away from Faseeha as he asked the reason or her annoyance.

“What should I be angry about? And what does my anger matter to anyone?” she spoke bitterly. Danish just knew it wasn’t a plain annoyance. It was something serious that bothered Faseeha.

“What happened, Faseeha?” he insisted. “Tell me something, please.”

Faseeha pondered for a few moments before speaking.

“It’s just that… It’s like people get a license for indecency at weddings.” Faseeha spoke in a venomous tone as if she could feel bitterness in her mouth.

“Are you talking about me?” Danish wondered. Then he thought of something and smiled. “What’s indecent about it? You were the one to remind me that we are married…” he took a step closer, “and I haven’t done anything indecent…” he whispered. Then, he leaned in, his face only inches away from Faseeha’s, “yet…” he added with a teasing smile.

“Nikaah!” Faseeha seriously corrected him.

“Marriage, nikaah, it’s the same thing. So, my dear mankuha… Mrs Faseeha Danish, please make tea for your husband, please.” He ordered her, pulled a chair and sat down.

Faseeha bit her lips. Danish’s words had hit a nerve and she had no witty comeback.

“I’m making tea,” she said. “You can go, I will ask someone to bring it to your room,” Faseeha said. It was evident that she was trying to be rid of Danish’s presence in the kitchen.

“Who will bring it at this hour?” he asked. “If anyone was awake and available, I wouldn’t have come her myself. Now, you can bring me the tea in some time, or I can stay here and wait. Which option is better?” Danish asked. Faseeha remained silent and stared at the tea pot as if speaking further was just against her glory.

“What happened? Tell me something.” Danish tried again. He had absolutely no interest in knowing what Faseeha was up to; he just wanted to talk to his wife. He had been reminded of the nikaah between them, there had to be some effect.

“My aunt’s son Salim and elder aunt’s daughter Meena were sitting together in the dark. They were watching something on the phone for two hours without knowing what they were doing. Meena is already engaged. If something happens… But no one cares. Both mothers have closed their eyes and let their younger once just do whatever they please,” Faseeha spoke passionately.

Whatever she had was enough to trigger Danish as well, but first, he wanted to calm down Faseeha.

Danish got up and stood next to Faseeha.

“Why are you so bothered?” he asked.

“If something happens, there will be a scandal.” Faseeha stared at Danish. Is he so dumb? Can he not understand even this much?

“If you say anything, it will be a bigger scandal.” Danish tried to explain in a low tone.

Why is he standing so close to me? Isn’t getting a bit too friendly? If Sameya and Lameya saw us together, they will make up a million stories and I will never hear the end of it. Allah! Faseeha kept thinking, she did not even respond to Danish’s words.

“Hello. Where did you get lost?” Danish waved his hand in front of her eyes. Faseeha shivered as if something just awakened her from a deep sleep. She was thinking unnecessarily about what Sameya had said about romance.

“Yes. You are right,” she said. “There will be petulance, but my blood is boiling. I will do something. I can’t sit like this doing nothing,” she added.

“We will do something about it, don’t worry,” Danish said. He did not know why he comforted Faseeha. He failed to take his eyes off Faseeha’s face. Her face was a canvas full of colours—one moment it showed anger as her veins popped out, the other moment it showed deep thoughts as her eyes narrowed; one moment it showed stubbornness as her lips pursed, and in the next second, her veins would pop out again. Her face was like an open book.

Danish gawked at Faseeha and Faseeha kept staring at the boiling tea.

“What are you thinking?” Danish asked again.

“Something has to be done. I will not let it slide like this,” Faseeha said adamantly and turned off the stove.

The rea was ready.

Faseeha sieved the tea into two mugs and placed a mug in front of Danish, then she picked up her mug, all set to leave.

“Sameya must be waiting for me,” she said. It was her way of informing Danish that she was leaving. Or maybe she indirectly asked Danish to leave.

Danish took a sip and smiled.

“Sameya must have fallen asleep,” Danish said confidently and sat down on the chair.

“Nah…” Faseeha said but her voice lacked conviction.

“I might not know about your habits, but I know my sister’s habits. Sameya must be asleep; she can’t stay awake till late at night. I think that you are running away because of me… Or maybe you are trying to drive me away,” Danish said. He took another sip and sighed with content. A good cup of tea has a distinct intoxicating effect.

“Why would I run away? What am I afraid of? I’m not scared of you,” Faseeha said. She pulled a chair and sat across Danish. Danish put the cup to his lips to hide his smile.

~~~

You can read the complete story here

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Shabana Mukhtar