The day for Kamaal to depart came and Shree was there to help him in preparing for his baggages. It was in Kamaal's apartment and while they were working to prepare the baggage Ibna was not present. Both young men were free to discuss their topics. Shree wanted to find out what would be Kamaal's reaction if Ibna stays back and never returns; he really did not know how to open the subject however it was very essential to get to that at any cost. While Shree was contemplating on that as to how to open up the topic, luckily for him Kamaal began to talk about his village and rigid customs practiced there. He was by heart appreciating the type of freedom everybody was enjoying here and how absurd it was in his village that every thing was controlled by a few persons in the name of their religion. He felt that Islam was a shackle rather than any support to people. He began to narrate events happened in his village where innocent people were panelized for petty mistakes and there was no sense of proportion in the mistake and the punishment. He told Shree that he would prefer to stay away from his country as far as possible and would want to permanently settle in some European country, preferable Germany or Turkey, leaving his country's nationality. This talking gave Shree some moral support and he decided to push a little further to know what could be his ideas about his sister's life. Shree exclaimed abruptly, "It is all right for you, being a man you are comparatively free to take such decisions about your life but what about women from your community? How they can escape deadly clutches of village chiefs?" For a while Kamaal was quiet and after some moments replied, "Your query is fitting, see for example my sister Ibna, she has seen better world and now at home they want to get her married to a man almost my father's age just because he likes Ibna and he is rather wealthy as compared to us. This is really not correct but what can we do. We are hard pressed by the community leaders that as per our age old custom she should marry him, saying that she will be happy all her life as the man proposing is wealth; all bullshit." He looked very disgusted as he uttered it.
"What would you suggest if she decides not to return and stay back here with us?" Shree
Shree was expecting that kamaal would react sharply but to his surprise he did not; instead he looked back to Shree with a smile and uttered, "Is it possible?"
"Why not? Provided you support!" Shree
There was silence for some time, Shree was very eager to get Kamaal's personal approval for that arrangement and if that happens everything was simple for him. Shree was breathing heavy and as silence continued for more moments he began to loose his patience.
Finally silence broke and Kamaal whispered, "I personally would be very happy as I knew of all Mahaale people and you particularly, also we are partners and if she is here I shall feel doubly confident of future of our business but how that is possible. She is scheduled to leave as her work is completed".
"I want to get some points cleared by you Kamaal." Shree
"What points?" Kamaal
"What will happen to your family if Ibna stays here and marries me?" Shree throws a point blank question.
"This is important as my family will have to suffer some, may be very severe punishment under so called Sharia." Kamaal
"What would be that punishment?" Shree; he had by now become bold enough to ask such direct query as he now knows that Kamaal was in favor of Ibna staying back.
"I cannot say what, but it shall become clear only at that point."
With a smile on his face Kamaal looking to Shree asked, "Why you are worried about what happens to them? You got your wife, so will that not be good enough for you?" Kamaal
"I am sorry, but every thing matters to us, we are good people and Ibna's family in trouble means we all are in trouble!" Shree
"I am very happy that your culture makes you worry for people you have never seen and may be shall never see, if such marriage takes place; because most probably, village chief would like to kill my father and mother in retribution.
This answer by Kamaal gave jitters to Shree, he could not possibly imagine of such dreaded consequence. For a while he felt of forgetting Ibna but things were not as easy as that.
"What is your opinion about that?" Shree to Kamaal
"Well, if you want my frank opinion you two better get married and start life, do not bother for them as, any way people have to die at the end, let us think our parents died for a good cause and pray for therm."
"How dare you even think of such things, Kamaal?" Shree
"We Arabs are like this our religion has made us heartless and so looking to other people's good is not in our system. We kill people so easily for such paltry excuses that death never bothers us. And you know our parents are now old enough to die anyway! Just forget all that and think of your future, I am also going to leave that dreaded place for good and you know not a single well meaning educated person wants to stay there." Do you know, my one uncle was killed by village chief because he wanted Ibna to learn and get educated and do something.
What you see of ibna is because my uncle died. So that is life in Arabia. We are sort of subhuman race and killing is an everyday affair there. Our religion tells us to kill others naming it Jihad! Kamaal gave a sad laugh at that.
Go ahead and please do not look back. Your cultured thinking let not create obstacle in the life of my dear sister.
Shree was aghast listening to this cold blooded advice of Kamaal.
This Story continues in the next posting.
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