Afifa had never seen that side of her father. She would barely see him except during Fridays as he would take her to the mosque. She had never seen him merrily wandering in the home and giving glad tidings to everyone who appeared in front of him.
Moreover, she had never seen her mother like this. She could not figure out why her mother was in grief after the unexpected change in his father’s behaviour. He would take care of her meals, bring her black grapes, and call her the Rehmat of God. Before this, he had never caressed the back of her hand.
As Afifa was puzzled in figuring out the reason behind such strangeness, Seema Bua came and Afifa was told to wait outside the room. She was afraid of hearing the screams of her mother and uttered Dur-o-Shareef to comfort herself. She jumped to peek into the room through the windowpane, but it was unreachable.
The clock kissed the arms of seven and she started seeing faces with different shades as if the rainbow has appeared without the rain. Seema Bua came out with satisfaction while Azad Chacha could only smile. She expected her father to be the happiest and her mother to be fine.
As expected, her father came out and embraced her. It was the first time she felt that. She could have the fragrance of his itar which smelled more like her mother. Curious to see her mother’s reaction, she let go of his embrace and hurried into the room. Her eyes searched the cradle but the anxiety on her mother’s face disheveled her. She sat next to her and stared at her in the same manner as she stared at her for the first time. She kissed her hands and saw the arrival of a smiling face as if the clouds have freed the shining sun.
“Alhamdullilah, Afifa’s made you smile,” a man wearing a khadi kurta and sweets in his hands said.
“Why were you not smiling’?” Afifa asked her mother. “Abbu’s brought our favourite sweet. Look it’s delicious.”
Her father walked toward her and settled down on the remaining space left. He saw his wife as if it was the last time, he would see her. Moving closer, he brushed her hair and gently kissed her chin. Afifa had never seen something more beautiful than that.
“Your Ammi won’t eat anything unless you’ll make her understand.”
“What do I need to? Maulana Sahib said I’m steadfast in giving explanations.”
“I understand, but it’s the second time,” her mother said with a less worried voice.
“You’ve given a sister to Afifa and a noor to me,” he said in a slow tone.
“Maulana Sahib told me a Hadees of prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) which says: whoever has three daughters and he cares for them, he is merciful to them, and he clothes them, then Paradise is certainly required for him.” It was said, “O Messenger of Allah, what if he has only two?” The Prophet said, “Even two.” Some people thought that if they had said to him one, the Prophet would have said even one,” Afifa said in a single breath and took a deep breath. Her parents were amazed to see their daughter’s nobility.
“And instead of rejoicing, why are you both worried?” she asked.
I have no blood in my veins. I have ink.