They entered flat with loads of gifts and flowers; there Yamuna was waiting for her to receive them. Yamuna had expected that the two will be in a very jovial mood but she sees the seriousness on their faces and feels somewhat puzzled. While collecting the load of gifts and flowers from their hands she asks, “What is the matter, you do not look very pleased. Has any thing gone wrong? Both girls look to their Aatya with sad smile and utter together as if planned, “No, nothing”. Then they planting kisses on her cheeks move to their respective rooms. Yamuna intuitively gets the feel that something is definitely wrong and decides to be patient with them.
Yamuna looks to the flowers and a heap of gifts they had dumped in the living room amusing about them sits on the sofa waiting for the two to come out for the evening meals. After some waiting she gets up and moves towards kitchen to arrange the plates to serve meal. This she does as hears about the sounds of the two coming out of their bathrooms. As she was preparing the plates they slowly step in the dining place in the kitchen. Yamuna looks to them but decides not to say anything unless they open up. However, she does look to Veena with some anticipation; she wanted Veena to tell her what the matter that makes them so disappointed is. As Ibna steps in the place she comes up to Yamuna and pushing her head deep into her bosom begins to cry. This most unexpected move of the girl startles the old woman. While Yamuna looked perplexed staring at her niece; Veena shows sudden sadness on her face keeps looking alternatively to her friend and to Yamuna. Now that was rather too much for the old woman, she rather shouts to ask Veena,
“What is the matter?” “Did you say some thing to Ibna that hurt her so much? Why you two do nit tell me anything?”
Nodding disapprovingly, Veena with a very sad smile, hold her palm to request her Aatyaa to wait. After some moments Ibna controls her and moves a little away; she was still crying that she simply could not stop. That was moment that disturbed Veena most and he also began to weep silently. All things confused their Aatyaa all the more. She looks to Ibna, her swollen eyes red and full of tears dripping down them, that was very pitiable and true to the nature of a woman now Yamuna also began to weep even without knowing what the matter was. She knew for certain that something very wrong has happened but what? Moments passed by and now they came to some reasonable level of control on their emotions.
Veena told that Ibna has to go back to her people and they are going to get her marries away to some old rich Arab. That is the reason why she is so sorry and disturbed mainly because she has no control on her destiny in the Arab world. Ibna has seen freedom and enjoyed it here for all these years and now she has to go; this has disturbed her so much. That is the reason she explains. That Shree factor, even though was the prime one cause, Veena prefers to skip it to avoid further complications. They sit to eat and they do it without any further comments or discussions on that subject.
Even though, Shree factor Veena avoids, Yamuna understands the way the girl was crying that it is the matter. She was a young girl herself and she has also passed through all those feelings at some time during her youth. After the meal was over they together come in the living room and relax, looking to each other not saying anything but that silence was more eloquent than any words.
Yamuna asks Ibna, “So what are your plans on that?”
Ibna twisting her lips, looking nowhere moves her head showing her helplessness.
“There are always ways to go by” Yamuna.
“With Arabs there are no ways!” Ibna
“At times I feel that I should suicide than returning to that hell. There we woman have no life, Aatyaa.” Ibna exclaimed very abruptly. I have enjoyed good freedom and I now know what is living here and now after all this freedom if I have to return to that place where I shall be locked in the harem of my old husband that is almost like hell for me!”
“Please do not think of that. Life is dear we should not waste it that way.” Yamuna
“For a woman in Arab world life is not precious, Aatyaa. You do not know of that place.” Ibna. “It is living hell for them particularly for those girls who know and who have experienced freedom.” Ibna utters still weeping. On that both the ladies decide to stop any further discussion on that topic and allow Ibna to relax.
This Story continues in the next posting.
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