SO, what do you say…you want to go with me?" the boy asked, his eyes on the messenger window, fingers tapping out a staccato of messages to his girl friend. Zaiyab, ladies and gentlemen, the undisputed 'villain' of the office…this guy took the term 'bad to the bone' to new heights. There was never one so skilled in the art of getting under someone's skin, and with my legendary short fuse, I always veered close to bursting a blood vessel whenever he was around. So I surprised myself more than anyone else when I heard myself say "Why not? I've got nothing better to do."
Zaiyab's fingers stilled. He swivelled around and stared at me, "You really mean that? You'd go?" The incredulity in his voice was mirrored in his eyes. I ground my teeth, anticipating a cutting rejoinder. He was pretty hot stuff, the kind that attracted young girls like iron filings to a magnet, and he knew it. Heck, if it weren't for the fact that I was older than him, and also that I was totally toes over tea-kettle in love with my Mehryar (who hadn't called in weeks!), I think I might've actually been tempted…or not…he could be such a brat at times. "If you think you can handle my company for a couple of hours, yeah…why not?" I threw at him, bracing for a smug rejoinder. It didn't come. Instead, his scruffy features arranged themselves into a smile of heart-stopping sweetness. "That's great. I'll pick you up tonight after work, then."
"You've lost your mind, girl," I told the girl in the mirror, as I carefully applied mascara. A glance at my cell-phone told me that Mehryar still hadn't called, and I had to fight back unreasonable tears. It wasn't as if he'd said he'd call, and anyway, it was I who had neglected to call him back the last time. Love is so confusing. If only there was someway I could know what the adorable goats actually thought of me. Hastily stashing some money into my spectacle case, I checked my watch. It was half an hour past the time Zaiyab had said he'd be here by, and suddenly I felt very foolish. Maybe he hadn't been serious about wanting to take me with him. "Bah, who cares about that ex-rake anyway? He's got a girlfriend in any case." I plunked down on the bed with a huffy sigh, running my fingers through my hair, mad at all men. The doorbell rang just then, and a breathless Sameera, my sister, came running in to tell me that my 'date' was here. "He is not a date…we're on…on an assignment" I called out to the empty room; Sameera had already disappeared. "Ah, bah, let's just get this over with!" Casting a final black look at my cell phone, I went to join Zaiyab.
He was standing in the living room with his back to me when I walked in. He had changed into something slightly more formal than what he usually wore, and I felt a smile coming. He had told me about the last time he'd gone to that five-star hotel to scope out a story; he'd worn baggy shorts and had been a total oddity. He turned around then, and gave me this slow, lazy smile, and said, "Let's get this over with." Did I mention we tend to think alike?
Lesson number one: even if you're planning to go to a posh five-star hotel, avoid wearing killer high heels if you plan to do a lot of walking. It wasn't as if I really needed them, thank you very much. It's just this thing that my prima-donna cousins had drilled into my head about a pair of high heels adding class to any outfit. It was a pleasant evening, not too warm, and the air was crisp, and smelt like autumn was drawing to a close. Zaiyab was on a memory-trip that involved his girl, and was rattling off his experiences. If I weren't so busy cursing my unfortunate footwear, I'd have been properly touched by how much he missed her. If we didn't find a mode of transport soon…The pain in my feet had reached to a throbbing crescendo by the time we finally caught a CNG. I didn't bother stifling a small sigh of pleasure as I stretched my legs. Zaiyab lit a cigarette, smoke billowing out through his nostrils. Our eyes met and held for a brief moment, as they usually did at work. It was usually an unspoken signal that led to a contentious comment from either of us that led to a fight, but tonight, it led to a conversation about music and memories and future plans.
The doors swung open, and we found ourselves walking into a glittering room filled with gorgeously attired people, bright lights, and impeccable waiters and staff zipping about. I felt so awkward, I would've gladly made an about-turn and slithered off, but never let it be said that Ridita is a coward. We found a table and sat down. Zaiyab seemed strangely put off; he was muttering swear words under his breath. "Snooty f___! They call this a cultural event? It looks like a wedding ceremony, they're acting like it's a wedding ceremony, and…" he said, sniffing hard, "It even smells like a g-d wedding ceremony!" He crossed his arms and went into a sulk. His pose was so utterly comical, I couldn't help breaking into a grin. "Cool it, kid." I patted his knee. He grinned back. "Sorry I lost it. Come on, I'm bored. There's phuchka outside…let's go and get some."
We stood outside, munching on phuchkas, admiring the bright lights, when we saw the candyfloss stand. "That," Zaiyab declared, "We'll save for the very end, okay?" Did I mention that I love candyfloss? Then he asked me why I didn't come here with Mehryar, and I wished he didn't. To think that Mehryar would actually take me out on a date was just the height of wishful thinking. I mumbled something about his crazy work schedule, and hoped Zaiyab wouldn't press for details. He didn't. For a self-proclaimed super-villain, this guy can be real considerate when he wants to. Even then, some of the magic of the evening was spoilt, since I managed to check my cell phone, and found no messages or missed calls. I wished I could just die there on the spot and not have to endure another moment of dealing with Mehryar's seeming indifference.
The meal passed on in the same light-hearted vein, marred only when Zaiyab nearly attacked a waiter for almost snatching my plate away, but I managed to placate him before it turned into a scene. Halfway through the final course, the cultural programme began, and we enthusiastically sang along to the numbers we were familiar with, ignoring the slightly incredulous looks we got from their neighbours. By the time the show ended, we were sitting back in our seats, smiling at each other, completely relaxed and at peace. Zaiyab leaned over and whispered, his warm breath fanning my ears, "Let's get that fluffy pink candy, and then we'll call it a night."
Back outside, the candyfloss guy was about to close his stall, but Zaiyab managed to sweet-talk him into making just two more. "This," he sighed, stuffing pieces of pink fluff into his mouth, "Is turning out to be a fun assignment." He grinned, showing bright pink teeth. "You know what? I know almost all the people in the room" My jaw dropped. "If you knew all those people, why…why didn't you talk to them the whole evening?" "What? And leave you sitting by yourself? What do you take me for?" I tried to dig into my list of all the things I thought about him, but they seemed to elude me at that moment. He smiled pinkly at me, and handed me a paper napkin. "You look like you had too much paan, Granny." Numbly accepting the paper napkin, I had to fight an inexplicable and unreasonable urge to weep into it. Zaiyab turned away, fished out a cigarette, lit it, and jerked his head in the direction of the gate. "Let's go."
We finally arrived at my gate, and it was real late. The taxi zoomed off, leaving us standing on the road, facing each other. "Thanks for a great time, Zaiyab." He bowed, and started walking off. I turned to ring the doorbell. Behind me, I heard him shout. "Thanks for the lovely date, Rids!" "It was not…" I turned to retort, but he was already gone. It wasn't a date…but I won't forget it in a hurry…
By Sabrina F. Ahmad
In Hiroshima, Japan, there was a young girl named Sadoka. She was 12 years old. She lived with her parents, brother and sister. She was an energetic and playful girl, eager about everything. The thing she loved to do most was running. Unfortunately, her parents always tried to make her stop running so much. Her mom was afraid that she would get injured. They were over-protective about Sadoka. They had a good reason for their behaviour. Sadoka was a little girl when the Hiroshima bombing took place. Many people died from the explosion, including Sadoka's grandparents. Her parents were afraid that Sadoka would get sick any time, but she grew up to be a healthy girl.
day when she was running in the playground of her school, she suddenly
felt dizzy. She didn't worry about it, but, as she kept running, the
dizziness increased. A teacher immediately took Sadoka to the hospital.
Her parents were informed. The doctor did some tests. When the parents
arrived, they were called away to talk in private. Sadoka's mom looked
pale as she came out of the doctor's chamber, but she said that everything
was fine and they would very soon take their little angel home. Sadoka
understood that something was wrong. She was right because later she
came to know that she was suffering from blood cancer. She got it from
the radiation released during the bombing of Hiroshima. The next day
when her parents came to see her, she told them that she knew she had
blood cancer. The parents started crying. They told her that it was
not that serious and she would recover soon. Her condition didn't improve.
She was so sick that she couldn't even walk and had to use a wheelchair.
One day, one of her friends came to visit her. She had a gift for Sadoka.
She showed her a piece of square paper. Then she said if Sadoka could
make thousands of cranes with square papers, then her wish will come
true. Sadoka stared blankly at her friend. She couldn't understand anything.
Yet she thought of making some cranes everyday. From the next day she
started to make paper cranes and at the end of four months she made
a lot of cranes that were scattered all over her room. She soon received
the news that she was going home. The next day her parents came to take
her. She wasn't looking sick at all. Two weeks later, she had a relapse,
and was again brought to the hospital. Her sickness was worse this time.
She couldn't eat and got tired quickly. She didn't stop making her paper
cranes though. One morning a nurse appeared and found her dead.
How Cool is your Baba?
So you have read
all the articles on different types of dads, but how cool is your own
daddy? Take the quiz and find out.
| Issues | The Daily Star Home|
© 2003 The Daily Star