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Published Book or Work by:

Laila Shabir

The Irony of Fate

The Irony of Fate
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Published by Young Times
It is said that man always dreams, and aspires for what seems almost impossible for him. And it is often seen that man, in his unawares, often loses the most precious and the most valuable things in life, in search for more. Dalia had a dream. She aspired to be someone, not just ‘anyone’. She didn’t want to live in that murk forever. She wanted to be rich and successful someday, and she was dead optimistic about her plans. After completing her secondary schooling, she wished to fly to the States to pursue her studies. And she was impatiently waiting for the right time to express her wish to her parents, not caring how and where they would arrange for her expenses. She didn’t care. Not a damn. She was so much so intoxicated by her ambitions and her dreams, which she believed would definitely come true in the States. Time flew, and Dalia was in her secondary. Still one more year left. And Dalia was yet the same, stubborn and impudent young woman she used to be. The moment of trial arrived soon, when Dalia declared her future plans to her parents, and questioned them if they were letting her go or not, lest she should think of other ways. Yes, she said that. It was an easy task for her, but for Dalia’s parents, it was a big issue, of course. They couldn’t just answer in a yes or a no. After much consideration, her parents decided to settle her with studying in Karachi, though they themselves hadn’t seen the place in their whole lives. But the unsuccumbing girl wouldn’t listen. Rather, she threatened her parents if they wouldn’t let her go, she’d find some other ways of reaching there. *** *** *** *** *** *** *** Dalia did reach States. She did get admitted in a reputed university, too. Her parents had to yield to her demands, after all. But they had to discontinue her three younger sisters’ education. They had to sell their house, their land, and live with their relatives for a time. Her mother had to sell her only possessions—her wedding gold ornaments, which she had so keenly kept aside for the four girls’ marriages. The little savings that the family made, also had to be done with. And for the first time in her life, Dalia felt thankful to her parents. But even then, she had this feeling in her mind that she actually deserved all that. “No big deal!”, she thought. But the sad fact is that, Dalia wasn’t doing what she was supposed to. She had found a more convenient and a more pleasurable path to reach her aim, her goal in life. There was this guy, she was going out with. For the first month, everything was fine. Dalia attended the university, dreamt amazing dreams, and made a lot of friends until she found ‘the man of her dreams’. Look, I have no clue where or how she found him. All I know is that she had been with him, oh, let me put it in the typical way, she had been ‘dating’ him from the very second month she landed in States. Glen. Glen was his name. And Dalia considered him just the ideal man for her for he had all she wanted—wealth, good looks, fame and he too was an ambitious person. She loved him, and so did Glen—at least that’s what she felt. So, here, Dalia’s attention began diverting from her studies. She found it difficult to concentrate. She couldn’t ‘live’ a single day without meeting Glen at least once in a day. She didn’t mind her grades falling like a pack of cards with a slight breeze. *** *** *** *** *** *** *** Dalia married Glen. She had a wonderful daughter from him—Stephanie was 1. Almost two years had passed since Dalia had last spoken to her parents. Their existence or extinction made no difference to her. She had this feeling in her heart that her parents had never wanted her to be happy. She felt so because two years back, when she had told her parents about Glen, they weren’t pleased at all. They had asked her, rather requested her with great humility as not to marry him. He belonged to another religion. He was a Non-Muslim. “JUST because Glen’s a Non-Muslim, you don’t want me to marry him!?” Dalia had asked in utter astonishment. She felt that it was the most irrational reason one could think of. “They don’t want to see me happy. They don’t love me.” She had concluded. And that was when she had decided never to look back at her past, to forget her parents, her siblings, her previous life. She had decided to start anew. Anyhow, Dalia was incredibly happy with her new life. *** *** *** *** *** *** ***Dalia’s life had changed drastically. More than 5 years had passed since Dalia and Glen had got married. But Dalia wasn’t as happy now as she used to be a couple of years back. She missed the excitement in her life. She could feel the cavity inside her. Something was missing in her life. Stephanie was 4 now. Dalia had awakened to the harsh realities of her life. The tainted character of her husband. She couldn’t bear his drinking any more. Glen was a hard alcoholic. She was tired of his late arrivals in the night, drunk, and then at times he even used to shout at her for no reason. Glen also stayed out for several days, and refused to answer when questioned about his disappearances. He no longer seemed interested in her. She wasn’t the recipient of his love and affection anymore. Instead, she suspected him of other affairs. They used to have frequent fights over trifles. Yes, Dalia was sick of him, though she never admitted that to herself. “Never mind” she thought. There was still enough money Glen had, and he never stopped her from spending it, nor he stopped her from doing whatever she wanted to. She had the absolute freedom which she once craved for. She had everything she wanted, all the luxuries she had dreamt of. But somehow, she wasn’t contented. *** *** *** *** *** *** *** Dalia was on her way to Pakistan. Fuming, she got into the airplane. She had just divorced Glen. Dalia had received a call from her younger sister in Pakistan. Her dad had had a heart attack and was in a very critical condition. She didn’t know why, but she couldn’t resist the urge to fly to her family at the very instant. Perhaps Glen was responsible for her misery. Yes, he was. And that was when Dalia realized, it was her parents, her family that she missed. It was their caring, their affection, that she missed. Despite her unruly behavior and the irreverent way she had spoken to her family that day, exactly 8 years back, they had called her up to inform her. She could feel guilt take over her mind. Glen wasn’t letting Dalia go Pakistan. “Stay with me, or fly back to your parents. The choice is yours.” Glen had seethed. Dalia knew exactly what she had to do. She divorced him on the spot, and decided to fly back to her parents. She couldn’t believe she would have to see such a day. Stephanie was with Glen. He didn’t let her come along. Tears misted Dalia’s eyes as she regretted her decision of marrying Glen. *** *** *** *** *** *** *** Dalia sat there frozen. Her eyes moist, her mind and body absolutely numb. Right in front of her lay her dad, motionless. He was no more. Dalia couldn’t have a last word with him. He’d been waiting for her for so many years, but could wait no longer. Not even a couple of minutes. She was late. Too late. She had no idea where to go, what to do. She had failed in her life. Life had mocked at her. She had been an unsuccessful daughter, an unsuccessful wife, and an unsuccessful mother. She had lost the battle of life. As tears flowed out of her hazel eyes, she held her father’s cold hand and all she said was, “Dad, I’m the most ill-fated woman in the wider world. When I had wealth, I never cherished it. Now that I’ve lost it, I wish I could have changed myself earlier. Dad, I wanna tell you that I love you. Dearly.” But he never heard those words. Parents are your most precious possession. Love and value them before you lose them. You might be a great person tomorrow…you might be nothing tomorrow. But whatever you’ll be, you’re all because of them.
Short Story
 
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