From the toddlerage up to the phase of adolescence, I had a sheer crush. Whenever I found even a few signs of my beloved anywhere nearby, my heart started to beat at hundred miles per minute and I wished to meet my love at once. It was none other than the appetising vanilla ice cream for which I always remained ready to sacrifice my life (but I never dared do so because if I had, how would I be able to enjoy it, afterwards?). It was the love of my life!
The enticement of having yummy scoops of vanilla ice cream was as much tantalising to me as kursee to our politicians. But it was influenza which always created hurdles in my way. Apparently influenza seems a little ailment, but in my case, it was not less than a “Qiado” (a villain in one of all time favourite Pakistani movie “Heer Ranjha”). Whenever I wanted to sink my teeth into my beloved ice cream, I got captured by this devious ailment.
My youngest khala was just two years older than me. That’s why both of us were great friends. Whenever I visited her place she spooned me over vanilla ice cream. Despite constant warnings by mom neither I nor my angels bothered to think about the cunning Qaido (influenza). And when Khala forbade herself, I bluntly replied, “Khala, Jab Payar Kiya tou Darna Kya! (Why should one fear when he has loved!)”
One day when I had gobbled up three scoops of vanilla ice cream (that too during sheer chill), I got captured by Qaido (influenza) so seriously that it took me more than a month to recover. This time I was austerely warned by the doctor not to have even a single spoon of ice cream for at least six months. Mom also warned Khala that if she ever tried to be a bridge between me and my beloved, she would be responsible for the consequences.
It was the time when the four corners of the world seemed to be overcastted. I felt myself like ‘a fish out of water’. After spending entire three weeks without vanilla I couldn’t stop myself and mustered up the courage to meet my beloved furtively at weekends. Obviously, it was unattainable without Khala’s support. Convincing her, though, was a hard nut to crack but once again my innocent face did the job.
They say that ill fortune can’t be predicted, one day when Khala was arranging vanilla ice cream for me, my elder brother (who always happened to be the biggest opponent of mine) caught us red-handed. Despite my honest entreaties, he didn’t take pity and sprinted to inform mom about my innocent crime.
I stayed at Khala’s place for hours, but then realised how long could I stay there. “Sonu Miyan ‘Petaee’ is fated today.” I ensured myself and saw Khala off. She wanted to come along with me for support in “Supreme Court of my Mom” but as mom was president of home (and dad PM) that’s why I knew she would not listen to anyone. So I thought it better not be insulted in front of my dear friend-cum-relative.
The pleasant outlook of my house which was a sample for the builders seemed worse than a cell that day. The scorching rays of sun, pitiless behaviour of my brother and gigantic looks of my home, everything was against me and now it was my puppy’s turn. My faithful doggy always welcomed me with a smile whenever I entered home, but this time he started barking as if I were a thief. The sheer silence in ambience was such as if heralding something monstrous.
“Hahaa haa haa, it’s really nice to see you after a long time.” My ears could not believe hearing this and that too in mom’s voice! “Sonu Miyan, is it a dream?” I muttered unconsciously and moved ahead. But unfortunately the addressee of this dreamy statement was Mrs Faryal, my mom’s best pal. “Come… come Sonu… come! Meet aunty Faryal,” mom spoke with a broad smile at her face (out of the blue. huh!). After greeting mom’s friend I drifted towards my brother’s room.
“Bhai, you never dust your room. Where is the duster? Give me, I have to clean my room I’ll dust yours as well,” I tried to grasp my brother.
“Stop buttering… tell what I should do now? I was going to reveal the whole story to mom but your innocent face slowed me down.” Bhai, growled.
“Oh you haven’t told mom! How sweet you are, bhai…”
“Sonu sahib, come to the point. What would you do for me if I don’t reveal your crime to mom,” Bhai snarled again.
“Whatever you say bhai… whatever…!” I replied fearfully.
“That’s like a good boy…!” Bhai gave a conceited smile and continued. “So what you have to do is merely polish my shoes, clean my room, press my school uniform and last but not least wash my bathroom…!” My brother wanted to enjoy undue advantage.
“But bhai it’s more than enough, how would I be…” Before I could complete that he shouted, “Mamaaaa….!”
“Ok… ok…ok… please don’t yell, everything would be in apple pie order in 30 minutes.” I replied in a shivering voice. “Oh God! I, who neither touched the duster ever nor saw a polishing brush, how would I do this all at once?” I desperately asked myself. “Don’t worry Bhai, let me get a chance once only, I would even the score.” I murmured again.
“Did you say something to me, Sonu?” Bhai questionably spoke.
“No no… No bhai, I was crooning a song.” I replied right away.
It took me more than 60 minutes to clean the room and iron the creasy uniform. I was brimming with perspiration and anger at the same time. But my conscience encouraged me by whispering, “Lovers sacrifice their lives for their beloveds and you can’t even an hour!”
After watching a brightening room and newly pressed clothes I couldn’t believe myself. “All this is done by me, just by me…” I was swollen with pride. But the thought of next expedition drained all my arrogance. “Bhai I’m not going to wash the bathroom at any….” I was requesting but bhai cried again “Mammaaaa…!” and I swiftly put my dirty hands on his mouth that were shoved abhorrently at once. Burning with anger my brother was about to reveal the whole saga of ice cream but my crocodile tears did the trick.
Enfolding the mouth with a cloth, clutching a wiper in left hand and surf in right I entered the bathroom like a burglar and slipped straight away, and ended where flush started. Killing five cockroaches and one lizard, I completed this mission in 30 odd minutes.
After the tiresome parade of two hours I felt like been crushed. In the evening, chirping birds in trees and rays of setting sun looked relaxed as I was. My faithful puppy Lassie with his swinging tongue was also in cosy mood. I was looking outside the window when Baba’s car horned. I ran to open the door. But when I re-entered the house everything was on its head, as Khala was sitting beside Mom. “Oh Mar ga’ay!” I whispered unconsciously. Khala had revealed everything to mom and at the same time appealed for amnesty as well. But Mom, whose dictionary didn’t have the word “forgiveness”, was staring at me as if I were Osama Bin Laden and she Chachu Bush!
On the other side Baba thought that he had committed something wrong, so he spoke tentatively, “Sorry begum I was a bit busy in office that’s why I got late,” saying this he dashed towards the bathroom. I, who had grasped the fact, wanted to sprint as well. But before I could do so I received a bouquet of slaps from mom whose ‘fragrance’ echoed in the entire room following mom’s shrill voice, “Do you remember, doctor has forbidden you ice creams and bottles… Why don’t you take care of your life? Are you mad?” The whole panorama was portraying a terrible scene of Sultan Rahi’s fighting movie.
After being scolded by everyone when I made my way towards my room I had to face another monkey business of my brother. He had pasted a number of posters on the wall containing, “Jab Payar Kiya to Darna Kya!” I got red with anger and threw a glass of water at him from the windowpane. But since ill fortune was reigning at me that particular day the glass of water couldn’t hit the target and fell directly on my brand new dress which my uncle had sent to me from London. It was 9:00 pm now and vowing to forget this day of my life permanently I closed my eyes and headed towards my dream world.
Since then I never faced my beloved vanilla ice cream. But as they say “Sabr ka phal metha hota hai”. It proved quite right in my case. After 16 years of this incidence, I regained my love on a permanent basis. Because today, I’m working as senior executive in one the most famous ice cream factories of the country. Now throwing cautions to the wind, I daily enjoy my favourite vanilla ice cream countless times and there isn’t any fear near around, ‘Jab Payar Kiya tou Darna Kya!’