• The Feminist Times

Ismat Calling!

It was 7:30 in the morning as Virein woke up. Angry, beads of sweat on his forehead struggling to find their way down to his neck, he found himself tied by an invisible wire. A few minutes passed, he realized he could barely remember the occurrences in his dream yet getting rid of the nightmare seemed impossible. As soon as he opened his eyes, he spotted a collection of stories by Ismat Chughtai lying on one of the bookshelves in front of him.


Before he could realize the day and date of the month, his phone rang. The broken screen read ‘Aditi calling’. No sooner had he picked up the phone than a pleasant sound touched his ears. The caller was playing notes of the ‘Happy Birthday’ song on a guitar. Bombarded with calls, Virein decided to switch off his little device thereafter, trying to escape the reality. Sitting on his sofa, dejected, Virein started introspecting the past twelve hours of his life.


“We are getting divorced,” his father had told him the night before.


“Neeta aunty is moving in with us; we are dating,” the father continued calmly as Virein stared in horror.


The 50-year-old could see ample of questions in his son’s eyes, wanting to touch the lips. Yet, he chose to stay silent.


An hour later, the bell rang. Barely had Neeta stepped in the house than Virein moved to his study room.


“Bitch!” he mumbled as he banged the door behind him.


“Infidelity is a man’s prerogative,” he asserted, smashing his phone on the floor.


The silent banter with Ismat was interrupted as Virein heard scratches on the door.


It was time for Kabby, his 2-year-old golden retriever, to begin his day.


Without stopping to think, Virein moved towards his mother’s room wanting to check on her.


With leaden steps, he pushed the black door open. The-17-year old gasped, his eyes widened as he saw his dear mother’s lips touch Neeta aunty’s.


- Shikha Nangru


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