Fiction- Outside my window
Buzo’s welcoming bark told me Sakina has arrived. She is this 16 year old Kashmiri girl who comes in daily to cook and clean for me. She possesses a chirpy demeanor which goes well with that hard working attitude of hers. Not to miss are those incredible Kashmiri apples nestling in her cheekbones which blaze with sunshine every time she smiles.
A dry cough told me Badi Bi has decided to grace me with her presence today. Ah Well! I wasn’t quite getting into my writing mojo today and a break is just what the doctor ordered.
Badi Bi is Sakina’s grandmother and your typical harridan; mind you not average but typical. She is extremely cantankerous and can rant for hours on end. It takes little to set her off. The weather, the sunshine, traffic on the roads, her aching joints…… you get the drift.
She has one of the worst cases of hypochondria I have ever come across in a human being. A mouth sore turns into a tumor and she will drive everyone insane over it including the dentist who proclaimed it for what it was. He is now trying to kill her – that’s her “medical” opinion of him these days.
Outside my Window
I poked my head out from the open window to greet her with a quick Adaab and wondered if she will join me for a cup of tea.
She took that as a command to brew me a cup and leapt up with an alacrity that is at odds with her aching joints and rheumatism complaints.
Sakina bought up the tray to me while Badi Bi chose to sit on the bench in the garden, outside my window. She chose to hold court from there as was her norm.
I braced myself for the latest storm and was not disappointed. Its Zeeshan’s turn today – he is Sakina’s older brother and at 17 is the bane of Badi Bi’s expectations.
Badi Bi’s sons and daughter in laws hold many jobs. The sons own shikaras (Kashmiri boats) which they ply in the tourist season to earn well in the summer months. They also tend to their tiny patch of rice field where they grow seasonal vegetables too. Winter months are spent in weaving and embroidering shawls – something that fetches them a tidy sum of money. It gets so cold in winters that the months are spent indoors, people hardly venture out. So this is the best vocation to keep them busy and make a neat bit of earnings too.
Winters are just setting in Kashmir and the family is preparing to settle down to weave and embroider now. Zeeshan has shown great aptitude at weaving but dithers when it comes to embroidery.
It’s his eyes you see.
He has the most gorgeous gray eyes that I have ever seen; placid and calm like the lake. But he has a squint in the left eye, leaving you wondering where he is looking.
It’s this squint which is the bone of contention for Badi Bi. She kept moaning about how this affliction has robbed him of the ability to embroider and made his future bleak. On top of that, when he weaves shawls, he makes the most absurd patterns which she fears will never sell.
If you have ever seen a Kashmiri shawl, you might have noticed the delicate web of diamonds woven in the weave. This is the famous Chashme-bulbul pattern that is basically concentric diamonds woven in very intricately.
Zeeshan’s weaves wavy lines and circles that seems satanic to Badi Bi, She is considering an intervention from the Ojha to jhad-phoonk the evil spirit out of his body. It’s not just the weaving but he seems to pick colorful threads to weave when the norm is to use neutrals like gray, brown, etc.
“Definitely some evil is at work”, she intoned ominously and waited for me to say something over her discourse. Badi Bi welcomes opinions for it lets her argue on for hours and she has absolutely no intent to give in at all.
Being a city slicker, she expected me to make light of her superstitions.
On one hand she is quite taken in by the notion of the single me who lives alone and apparently has no intention of settling down. On the other, she feels it’s her duty to make me see the error of my ways.
So you can say that I present quite an interesting conundrum for her which is why she ambles over once a week to have a “chat” with me.
I have been quite persistent in explaining my motto of “Live and let live” to her and that the Divine made us all with a purpose that we alone have to discover.
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With a sigh I launched into it again, mentally sympathizing with Zeeshan.
I have spent a lifetime battling parental expectations, which ruined my childhood to some extent and gave me intense complexes as an adult. I am in the process of eliminating them from my system at the moment and you could stay this is my catharsis for it.
“Badi Bi if you constantly moan and groan over Zeeshan, he might come to believe he is an unwanted and unloved child.
Allah made each one of us unique – you have to agree with that at least. And children are his greatest gifts to us. I know so many childless couples who bend over backwards every day, just to have a child.
And here you are with a healthy, happy and normal child whose only sin is that he was born with a squint in the eye. Have you ever stopped to consider why Allah made him so?
Stop looking at his shortfalls and appreciate what he brings to your lives. Perhaps what you see as rubbish might be considered the most unusual weaves by others. Have you ever considered that, that is what his gift might be?
Tell you what, you bring me his woven work and I will show them around to some of my friends in the city. You never know, he just might be the very next thing in the fashion world.
All five fingers of our hands are not equal; do we spend our days trying to make them of equal length? ”
There was absolute silence from outside my window; making me wonder if she had dozed off. So I peeked out and there she sat in a silent repose, carefully turning my words over in her mind.
Little bit amazed at the turn of events, I turned back to the keyboard. It was time for me to get back to my writing.
Have you experienced parental expectations? Are you one such parent who burdens their child with them? I would love to hear your thoughts about this topic.
I am participating in the #WordsMatter Blog Hop and this post is in response to the prompt “Outside my window”. I received this tag from Anjana at Myriad Musings. It’s my pleasure to pass on this tag to Jyoti Babel at Jyoti Babel
I am dabbling with fiction after a very long time and am feeling a little bit rusty. So apologies if this post is not upto my usual standard. Just in case you enjoyed my fiction writing style, then perhaps you would like to check out this post