Art & Literature

A crying Daughter: Aslam Shah

There lived a man Wahag with his wife Ganjatoon in the outskirts of Balochistan Dasht-e-Kodan. Wahag had three children: Bramsh, Shamboo and Shapoo. Wahag had a shop near his home and from the shop he borne the expenses of his home and children. Next to Wahag’s home there lived an elite and affluent man Meeren. Meeren also had three children: Naz, Jumma and Jammi. Professionally Meeren was a drug smuggler and into some extents he also dealt with the business of cars smuggling.

Shamboo and Shapoo had made great friendship with Jumma and Jami within a short period of time while Bramsh could not become a great friend of Naz just because she was not satisfied with the business of Naz’s father.

It was a very sunny day when Wahag closed his shop and began moving towards his home suddenly his eyes went to a tree whose leaves have been burnt by the sheer heat of the sun and under that tree he saw his sons buy taking sips of drugs with their close friends Jumma and Jammi. Wahag felt as if he was hit by a bullet in his heart when he saw his sons doing so and yet he did not say anything and sustained his journey towards his home. When Wahag reached home Bramsh brought a glass of water for him and then inquired, “How was your day father?”

Wahag took the glass of water from her hand and put her in his laps in a very loving tone he replied, “My little fairy the day was not so good today.”

“Why papa?” asked Bramsh while playing with her father’s beard.

“Sweetheart when I was coming back home from the shop I saw your brothers indulged in doing something unworthy.”

“Papa then what will you do to them when they get back home?”

“Nothing my little angel because they are grown ups and it mandatory for them to know what is right or wrong and what is worthy or un-worthy for them.”

As soon Bramsh could say something in response to her father’s words suddenly Shamboo and Shapoo came home and like great children they sat next to Wahag and began showing their appreciation about their friends Jumma and Jammi. Wahag was well-known about their characters and he just made his mood so terrible and tried to slap both of them on the faces very hard but he did not because Ganjatoon had arranged the lunch and called them to come and eat. Everyone enjoyed the lunch. After that Wahag went to take a short nap, Bramsh helped her mother in washing the dishes while Shamboo and Shapoo went out to their friends Jumma and Jammi to enjoy the fanatical sips of the drug.

This trend of Shamboo and Shapoo progressed for years and finally they became so used to drugs that left their physical structure sunken and they had burns in each part of their bodies. Wahag was extremely despondent and frustrated by the stern condition of his sons and then one day he called them and flawlessly quoted that you have my final words whether to choose me or the drug. Shamboo and Shapoo were so used to drugs that they did not pay attention to the words of Wahag and went away. Bramsh was also present there while his brothers left forever. A few years later the news of the death of her brother was spreading like a global pandemic in the village and soon after three days their bodies were handed over to Wahag. Wahag did not feel a little bit of pain and regret because he knew if they were alive they would not do anything great for themselves. In addition he was so happy that a terrible load had been lifted from his shoulders.

But this very unbearable death of her brothers made Bramsh so strong spiritually and intellectually while Ganjatoon was very depressed by the brutal death of her sons whom she thought would become shadows for her by the time she becomes old.

The funeral was held in the evening and as soon the funeral was finished everyone went in their homes and soon after some moments a romantic air began breezing. The air was followed by a wind and the wind had brought heavy clouds. The clouds then covered the whole sky and a very heavy rain began falling that evening. Bramsh had loved the rain from her childhood and in order to take the full excitement of the rain she went in the balcony of the house and after a short while Bramsh became depressed and in an extreme despondency she kept looking at the graves of her brothers. The blows of the wind had brought such a fragrant smell in the nostril of Bramsh that she had never felt. That night Bramsh was in deep pain due to the death of her two brothers and tears began flowing from her eyes. During that moment of crying Bramsh predicted as if someone was standing in the rain and when she opened her eyes it was Naz who was standing and she wanted to meet Bramsh for the first time in her life. Bramsh could not believe that she was Naz and she thought that how come her father had let Naz go out of the house in such in terrible rain. Bramsh then wiped her tears and kept looking at Naz. Naz could judge that Bramsh was confused and then she said that this Naz Meeren and I know you are wonder-struck that in such rain how my father had let go out of the house but I have left all those barriers for I have something momentous to discuss with you.

“So shall I come?” asked Naz while shivering in the rain. Bramsh became so excited that Naz has become changed now and then told her that come upstairs. Naz went upstairs and she was very much wet from head to toe. Bramsh offered her a pair of clothes from her drawer and told her to “Wear them,” because you are wet and then few minutes she offered her a cup of hot tea and then both of them sat together and began talking.

“Bramsh,” expressed Naz, “I am very hurtful for the certain death of your brothers and on the other hand I am apologetic that due to my brothers Shamboo and Shapoo dies abnormally and unreasonably.”

“My little sister Naz I know how hard it feels when someone losses two brothers together but it is not the right choice to shed tears on those who had never existed mentally and I would say it is the right time for you and me to consistently with great commitment and persistency convince our parents to send us to school so that we could accomplish our dreams because when we want a change, we have to be the change ourselves first.”

That night Naz was very much convinced by the words of Bramsh and early in the very morning she went to her father and said, “She wants to go to school and she want to be a singer because she was keen to share her feelings to her brothers and sisters.” Meeren was an extremist minded and when he heard the word “singer” he slapped Naz in the mouth that it began bleeding rapidly. Naz wept very loudly because the slap had hurt her so painfully.

The very same morning Meeren was very emotional he took Naz in his hands and began warning her that if next time he hears the words “school” and “singer” he would probably bury her alive. But Naz a very committed girl she had never let her father become a distraction on the way to her goals and dreams.

In the very same morning Bramsh also went to her parents and told them, “I want to be educated for I am fed up of sitting at home and being caged like a bird.”

“Bramsh do you even realize what is coming out of your mouth? Don’t you know about the rules and laws of our village? You are a girl and a girl means respect and honour then how come we ourselves would be abusive our respect and honour,” quoted Ganjatoon.

“Bramsh your mother is right. It is not a good thing to educate the girls because once they get educated then in return they would forget who they are and what their values are,” expressed Wahag in response to Ganjatoon.

“My lovely father I am not in such an age to argue with you but this is not what you and the society thinks about the girls. You need to know that it is an informational age and the world is progressing at a very great speed and now is the time for you and the society to stop being naïve, traditional and mythical otherwise the flooded rivers would perish you to the core,” retorted Bramsh.

Bramsh parents were a little bit conceptual and conscious and they had acquired a firm belief in the clarity of Bramsh’s ideas and then at last Wahag accepted to break all the distractions and barriers on the way to his child’s education. There were no schools in the village for girls and there only one school which was full of boys. Now Wahag had to take the risk to enrol Bramsh in the same school. The people of the village raised their voices against breaking the rules and ethics of the village but Wahag was unstoppable, unbreakable and limitless. He enrolled Bramsh in the school and one day when Bramsh was going back home from the school she saw Naz. Naz was covering her mouth. Bramsh stopped Naz and then went to her. Bramsh knew that something had happened to Naz that is why she was covering her mouth and she asked her, “Naz Jan why are you covering your mouth?”

“My dear sister Bramsh Jan there is nothing hidden from you. The same morning when I told my father that enrol me at a local school so that I could become a great singer. He slapped me very hard in my mouth and warned me that if next time I would say “school or singer” he would bury me alive,” expressed Naz with tearful eyes.

“My dear sister Naz Jan don’t worry one day these extremists, naïve and mythical persons would change their perceptions and sooner or later would come on the right tracks,” Bramsh consoled Naz and then both of them went to Bramsh’s home. Ganjatoon was excited that her child was being educated.

The people had said very abusive words to Wahag but he consistently faced everything and then once in a very hot day he dropped Bramsh to school and he went back home and complained to Ganjatoon that he has a terrible pain in his belly. Meanwhile Ganjatoon went to bring some medicine and the pain of Wahag’s’ kept deteriorating and he died on the meantime. Ganjatoon was moved by the death of her bread winner and now she was thinking about the future of her only candle and moonlit Bramsh. When Bramsh came back from school she saw her mother unconscious and her father was missing. After a couple of minutes Ganjatoon came into the state of consciousness and she saw Bramsh had come back from the school.

“Mother, where is my father?”

“My little angel your father died today because of a terrible stomach-ache.”

“My father died and now I am an orphan. Then what about my education and my dreams who would support me to accomplish,” cried Bramsh.

“My sweetheart this is not ending of your journey. You need a lot more to face because it is impossible with discomfort you could get somewhere comfortable and most importantly you should be very believable and muster the beliefs within you because it is the most powerful force for creating good in your life and always remember one person with a belief is equal to a force of ninety nine who have only interests,” Ganjatoon encouraged Bramsh.

From that day Bramsh continuously brought ritualistic improvement within herself and then slowly the people began sending their girls to school rather caging them in the homes just because they don’t deserve freedom. Finally, Naz’s father became convinced he also sent Naz to school and then to college and like Bramsh today she is a singer and Bramsh a writer.

Bramsh had opened a publishing company where she prints newspapers and writes her own articles, blogs on different issues regarding the females, feminism and fundamentalism and one of the best quotes of Bramsh goes like this: “If they can, so can you.”

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