Nahla felt nauseous after the day’s events. Bad for hoodwinking a perfectly innocent chap and disgraced at having to compromise for a meaningless future with a raunchy and unscrupulous man. She stared at the first carpet that Kaizer had offered. It felt soft and instantly reminded her of his pleasant face. All these years she had never met anyone who had believed her so easily. For the first time, she didn’t feel a sense of accomplishment. On the contrary, she felt overcome with an extreme sadness. She wondered how anyone could trust another so simply.
What was his name? Why hadn’t he asked her any questions? What had he come to Sumer for? What use did he have with her goats? Where did he live?
Even more humdrum questions like- Were all the people in his country like him? Did he have any sisters? Why did he have a halo of leaves on his head?
How precisely parallel he was to Amar Suena! And that brought her back to reality. Amar had announced their wedding in 36 days without even bothering to ask for her consent.
Isn’t it funny, how, to get out of one mess you pull yourself even deeper into a whole new jumble? No, there was no way she was going to let someone dictate her being. She had already cheated hundreds of people for his selfish motives. But letting him ruin her life was not quite on the agenda. That left just one solution....running away.
But where would she go? There was no one to whom she could turn to for help. A sound plan had to be drawn up. She could not do this on her own. If she left the house, the people would recognise her and send her back.
That’s when the stranger from the market came to her mind. She had instinctively liked him for his simple odd features, his forthright manner and casual smile.
Would he help her? He undoubtedly had a good heart. But off course, when you like someone, everything about them seems just right, just perfect and justly endowed.
Besides, he was to meet her in the same span of time.
She decided to place her trust in him. There really wasn’t much of her mind working there anyway. Go was the word that her heart echoed and she obeyed.
Kaizer thought back of the woman he had met at the market earlier in the day. Her modesty had enchanted him. The more he thought of her, the more he wanted to think of her, the faster his heartbeat raced, the sooner he hoped time would pass as 36 days would come to an end. She had become an enigma for him, one who could only be admired from far. He tried to rehearse what he would tell her, but for that he needed to find someone who could teach him the language. Her language.
As he held the jar close to him, he wondered what may be in it. The seal however could not be broken until the day of the agreement settlement so its contents had to be held suspense. He shook it once again. Maybe he would crack just a part of it and take a peek inside. He took a large stone and hit it on the edge. The seal broke and as he inverted the jar, a string of stones fell from inside. He was quite taken aback.
How could the jar contain stones? It was supposed to have miniature trinkets of goats. Had the woman in the cloak cheated him?
Had it been another person, he may not have rebound so abruptly but to have been cheated by someone he had been smitten so much by, made his heart sore. All hopes of meeting her were now replaced by anger and resentment. He decided he would go away to his country. He didn’t need a bunch of crooks to deceive him. NEVER would he come back again to this hated place.
As he walked on the pavement retracing his steps towards a journey back home, he noticed a person across the road hit against a solid bar, sprawled on the road with a bleeding eye. Kaizer rushed to help the ailing man and removed from his garment a small burette of yellow coloured herbal ointment and applied it on the outer edges of his eye. The bleeding stopped shortly and the man recovered.
The man thanked Kaizer for his timely help and enquired of his name and whereabouts. This was the first person so far who understood Pashtun (his language) and almost felt to him like a man from his own mother land. Sumer, he realised wasn’t such a bad place after all.
On hearing that Kaizer was homeless, the man insisted on him to stay for a couple of days in his house. Besides, there was rather a lofty occasion coming up for which his presence would be solicited.
Given the little spacing Kaizer had to deny this offer, he accepted and just as they walked homewards, the man introduced himself
‘My name is Amar. Amar Suena.’, he said and smiled.