Born to die in a life of squalor, he smiled wryly. An eerie silence pervaded, the glowering light serpenting its way in from the outside world. One could hear the whispering winds lurching by the cold steel windows. Looking around, he thought to himself: “At least it is quiet.”
At that very moment a shrill voice pierced through the hushed nigritude of the night. “Please let me go. It’s all a mistake!”
“Mistake!” he spat in disgust. Looking down at his rough, grime covered hands – long chapped nails and all. He could hear voices screaming inside his head.
“Bhaya*, I told you it was a mistake!” her voice – a distant memory.
“Asif, hold your little sister’s hands and don’t let go if you are really taking her to the shop,” Amma* yelled from memsahab’s balcony.
“Bhaya… how can you let amma make me marry Qasim. We have all lived together and he is like my little brother!” she had pleaded with tears welling in her big russet brown eyes.
“It’s a good match. Qasim is matric pass. She is earning good money from her hospital job and your amma can also get her a small cleaning job at memsahab’s place. We need the money Asif!” Khalla amma* confided convincingly.
He waited with bated breath, perspiring profusely. He was about to turn back when he heard a familiar voice purr from inside: “I don’t care anymore! I will do as I please.”
“I hate you… all of you! You never listened. I told you it was a big mistake,” she spat out. “But this is between you and me. Leave him out of it!”
* Bhaya: Big Brother
* Amma: Mother
* Khalla Amma: Maternal Aunt