"Will it be as beautiful as the wedding of my 'gudda' and 'gudiya'?" - she thought to herself. Dressed as a beautiful bride she awaited the wedding 'shehnaiyan'. What happened next is a heart-wrenching story...
Yet another soul bruised and traded...yet another dream lost to the curse of poverty.
The poem captures the merciless trade of human trafficking. A must-read.
This morning the impression of,
Allah-o-Akbar, Allah-o-Akbar, was heard loud by those ears as she did not sleep that whole night.
As for other days even the intensity of jerks, pulls, and boisterous mouths,
Could not drag her out of her slumber.
Things seemed different.
This manikin imp baptized her.
Took her bath on her own,
for the first time without nagging.
Holding a piece of broken glass from the mirror, she sat.
Clapped seeing that brand new makeup kit clasped in her mother’s hand.
Perfect, perfect it was.
Not just her lips,
but eyes, nose, cheeks, chin and even ears were smiling.
And why not such capriciousness.
After all, her improbable dream would soon be juxtaposed by reality.
Doing her bindi right,
she smiled pressing her lips tight.
Her exquisiteness was at its height in her favourite lehenga with incarnations of salma and sitara on it.
bought from the idis she collected since she was just five.
Her mother pressed her little finger softly on the kohl and then,
Just below her left ear.
Shibboleth at its extreme.
Suddenly a BMW rushes in,
breaking the silence between the boulevards.
Two men in a white robe,
out from the front door.
Four from the back in the same attire.
One holding a grey suitcase.
All entered bending more than slightly down fitting themselves into that four and a half feet way in.
She rushed to her father,
“Abbu they have come”.
Mother, busy in the kitchen.
Doing her chapattis and korma.
Side by side.
Almost perplexed by her nonstop questions.
Ammi where is Reshma?
Why has she not come yet?
Where are other guests?
When will they come?
Yet very happy.
Prepared chapattis with her mother.
Tied Sakeena’s hair.
Sung lullaby for Ruby as she cried in her cot.
Dressed Ruksana in black chicken kadhai salwar kameez.
One that Salma aunty brought from Lucknow, this Bakrid.
One more hour passed.
She did not.
And then again a hushed boulevard.
Four years gone.
Today it’s her eighteenth birthday.
Mizpah is seen to have taken this family again into the trap of that Saudade.
-By Saneya Arif
Eidi (Urdu)- money which children get on the day of Eid
Salma and Sitara (Urdu)- incarnations of shimmer and shine on the fabric to make it look beautiful
Mizpah (Hebrew) – worn (as by lovers) to signify remembrance
Saudade (Portuguese) – is a deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves.