By Saima Rashid
It is raining smoothly outside. The tapping on rooftop is invigorating a strange sense of resemblance in her. Who sits standstill in such weather? A thought flashes a flicker of smile on her face. This caged sense and her weird sensibility often stir up a strange storm in her mind.
Amid these lingering thoughts, she keeps tossing, turning in bed. It might be another dark night—another nightmare. Somebody should see those eyes she wears on her blank face. Darkness is indeed a shroud of emotions.
She won’t sleep for the night. She never sleeps during the rainy hours. She sits on a window shelf. Pitter-patter of raindrops is creating a different melody for her. Her situation resembles the situation of Mathew Arnold who had sat on the Dover Beach while the ebb and flow of waves reminded him of the past times when masses were innocent and worshipped a lone God.
The tunes of raindrops are drifting her twenty years back.
She gets a flashback. A terrible one! She dreams why life didn’t stop when she was ten. Life then was full of fun and frolic. Dreams and passion walked together. None was there to restrict her from dreaming any dream…
“Rafiya, did you take enough bedding?” her mother shouts, derailing her flashback. “You never know temperature might fall low.”
“Yes, mummy! I did take enough blankets to manage with this cold night,” she replies, sounding grateful to concern. “You please sleep comfortably.”
She again resumes dwelling in some painful memories.
She is ten, and it is spring. It is raining, but drizzle. She tells her mother: “Mom, I want to be an astronomer.” She will take her family to the space as well, she vows. Her mother giggles, blesses her angel.
Her father as usual comes with bunch of CDs. He always gets her Astronomical movies.
“Look at her eyes,” her mother remarks. “All the time she keeps watching the movies of aliens and space. I am sure she will be spectacled soon with those big round glasses.”
Instead of taking her words seriously, father winked at Rafiya implying a casual dismissal of her mother’s note of caution. Both of them start giggling, trying to escape her attention.
“It is your quiz competition,” the mother says, “so get ready quickly—till then, I will make your favourite breakfast.”
Rafiya has been always a smart student. Teachers keep complimenting her. But she least takes pride of it. She believes the journey of success is yet to begin. Her classmates are very envious of her. All the time they keep themselves busy, thinking, “how to make Rafiya feel bad”, but Rafiya pays least heed to it.
She remembers her father’s words, “you can’t please everybody. If you do so, then, for sure, something is wrong with you.”
Rafiya keeps repeating these words to herself while clinging hard to her dreams. She wins her quiz competition. Another medal adds to her glass closet.
“Guess what mummy? I have been selected for national level competition,” she blurts out, making her mother’s eyes moist.
Her mother had always wished to give birth to a son but today she believes she had had a greatest blessing.
But the dream run didn’t last long. She kept on winning competitions after competitions, but life was unfolding some harsh realities: eve-teasing, harassments, marriage by choice…
Rafiya’s parents changed with time, situation. Though they had a complete faith in their daughter, but the rampant run of social evil made them restless. “What if Rafiya also became the victim of such cases?” her mother troubles herself with the thought. Her father was no different, thus derailing the daughter’s dream run.
“Are you up,” her mother shouts, while banging at the door. “You are getting late for school. At least, do some errands before leaving for your few hundred rupee job.”
She jolts herself awake. She was about to fall off from the window. The dream she dreamed last night has disappeared. Dawn of a new day has brought with it a routine toxic feeling. But she can’t afford to stay nostalgic. The former ‘dream girl’ must recollect herself to get ready to venture out—not to chase her dreams, but to teach in a crèche!