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Ehsan Elahi Ehsan

Her real name was not Gurya but she was called by this name so frequently that she accepted it as her real name. Her mother had died when she was 10 years old. Her father was already dead when she was in her early childhood. She had no sisters, no brothers, all alone. She had only one aunt, her father’s sister. When Gurya was left alone, her aunt took her under her own care. She was herself a poor woman. She pulled Gurya, somehow to the age of 17 years. When Ramazan’s mother went to ask her hand, her aunt felt relief. She had the sense of completing her duty amicably. Gurya was married to Ramazan.

Ramazan was also 17 years. The match was good. Ramazan’s father was killed by a truck accident. His mother, Rani, wanted Ramazan to get married soon for domestic circumstances. Ramazan had acceded to it.

Gurya and Ramazan were very happy as husband and wife. Ramazan’s mother was too happy. The real cause of her happiness was not Ramazan’s marriage. It was her own second marriage for which she had already planned. Rani ran away with a person Noor, a few days after Ramazan’s marriage. It was a great shock for Ramazan. He could find no reason and the need for Rani to enter into a second marriage and that too hastily. He took this shock to heart. It looked strange to him that the parent was using her own son to fulfil her own secret design. He was frustrated. He looked for some escape. He overworked the van of which he was the driver. He was often awake at night busy with his thoughts. He could not sleep but felt sleepy all the times. One mid-night he struck his van against a tree. The accident was fatal. Gurya’s dream of a happy and peaceful family life was shattered to pieces. She was now the head of the family with heavy burden of responsibilities on her shoulders. Apart f! rom herself she had to look after the two little girls, Bano and Shano, Ramazan’s sisters. One of two years and the other of one year. She was conceived and after ninth months she would be mother as well. The mother of a baby who would not see his/hers father. She accepted the challenge and decided to treat Bano and Shano as her own real sisters. She had got so much love from Ramazan in a short period that she could not think of any other man. She decided not to marry for another time. She would nourish the two and would-be three children as a worship. She would devote herself heart and soul to them. She made it a mission of her life.

She had no proper source of income. The people of the village were very sympathetic. They gave her charity in kind and cash. She did not like it but she was forced to accept. She could find no other means of income to keep herself and the family living. The way the life was going, she had not much problem to meet the basic needs of life. She decided to send Bano and Shano to school when they came of age for that purpose. She began to think of standing on her own feet.

The time passed in routine doing and routine thinking. She gave birth to a child. It resembled Ramazan. Her joys knew no bounds. Bano and Shano were overjoyed to have a living toy in their home. They were too young and forgot every thing or nearly every thing about their brother or mother. Gurya was every thing to them. The new comer in the family was given the name of Rizwan.

"Why not to purchase a sewing machine, learn the art of sewing clothes and earn her own livelihood by working." One day when she was absorbed in herself the idea flashed into her mind. She was overjoyed to have this idea. ‘She would save money and do this’ she said to herself.

There was an old woman in the village, Aunt Bhari. ‘She would go to her", Gurya thought. Aunt Bhari did the work of sewing for the whole village, men and women, there was no other person doing that job. Aunt Bhari was very popular with the people especially the women. She was a woman or very pleasant nature. Every body felt happy and consoled meeting her. One day Gurya went to her home. There were four or five women sitting with her. They were chatting, they were commenting, and they were laughing. When there was a discussion on any topic, Aunt Bhari was the final judge. ‘Hello Gurya, how are you" Aunt Bhari asked her. "It is so. so" Gurya replied. When Aunt Bhari looked to Gurya’s face, she felt that Gurya had come for some special purpose." Probably she wanted some money’, Aunt Bhari thought to herself, " and did not want to ask before these women." "Yes Gurya it is good that you have come, I wanted something from you, could you come to the room for a few minutes’ Aunt ! Bhari said to her, and with this she rose and went to the room. Gurya followed her. "What is the matter, do you need something from me" she asked. Two big tears appeared in Gurya’s eye brims. " Actually I have come to you with a request that you may train me in sewing. I want to stand on my own feet. Please help me in this’. Aunt Bhari was a very kind person. She embraced Gurya and said, " Why not. I would be very happy to train you. Come to me from tomorrow for one hour daily. It would take only six months and you would become mistress in the art of sewing dresses for the villagers", Gurya was fascinated by this. She kissed Aunt Bhari and thanked her. She came back home with the feeling as if she had found a new path of life. When she was back home in the room, she was muttering, "six months, money, sewing machine, her own work, her own earning, education for Bano and Shano and Rizwan when he is of the required age. She would save money in these six months and purchase her own s! ewing machine." She continued going to Aunt Bhari regularly.

One day Gurya went to Aunt Bhari an hour earlier than her time. She wanted to finish the work of the previous day that had remained uncompleted. When she entered the home, Aunt Bhari was not at her working place. The sewing machine was also not there. No other woman had yet arrived. She called out, "Aunt Bhari’, (she was called by this title by every body younger or older, men or women). A feebled voice came out of the room. When she entered the room Aunt Bhari was lying in her bed. She was groaning with pain. "What has happened aunt’ she asked. ‘It is the old kidney problem. I often kept it hidden from the people. Today it has become uncontrollable.’ "Should I call some one to take you to the doctor to Chakwal city’. She said. "No, no need for that, I know this is the end’. Aunt Bhari said with tears in her eyes. "Nothing would happen aunt. You are so boild. You have been providing consolation and comfort to every body. You have always been a model of courage for all the! people. Don’t be so much disappointed." " I am not disappointed my child, my Gurya but I know this is the end."… "Take care of the people who come to you for their sewing work. Never be greedy. Never be selfish. Take your own fair wages and that is all. Help them in whatever manner you can. I have been a widow myself since my youth. I know there are times when the passions seem to take hold of you. You have to practice restrain. Learn to sacrifice for other. Always keep in mind to give people little pleasures you can." She paused for some moments. Gurya did not think it p roper to speak. She kept silence. "Always extend a helping hand to every body who needs from you. The real happiness lies in sacrificing for others and providing happiness to them. If you do so, you shall always remain happy." She again paused. " I am saying to you this because I may not be able to have another chance" Aunt Bhari was silent. Two more women, in the meantime came there. They were very much disturbed! to see the aunt in this condition. The news spread. Soon there was a crowd of men and women in the house. Every person wanted to help Aunt Bhari in some way or the other. "Take her immediately to Chakwal hospital" Somebody cried. Four men advanced to Aunt Bhari’s cot. They asked the women to be aside. ‘Aunt Bhari, how are you feeling. We want to take you to the hospital" one of the men said. There was no answer. He brought his face near Aunt Bhari’s and looked into her eyes. Those were open but fixed. "Aunt Bhari," he said with a crying voice." There was no answer. He felt her pulse. Of no use. Aunt Bhari had gone far away from the noisy world silently and patiently without any complaint. All the people present there began weeping. Every man and woman felt as if he/she himself/herself had died.

Time passed. Gurya got the sewing machine. She got enough work to do. All the villagers got their clothes sewn from her. Gurya took another step forward. She started a training centre for sewing. There were ten girl students including Bano and Shano getting their training from her. Bano and Shano were continuing their regular education as well. Rizwan was also studying. They cleared Matriculation examination. Rizwan stood first in the Board’s result and was granted a scholarship. Guryar wanted to give him as much education as he wanted. Time passed.

Now, the whole family is happy. Very happy. There is no misery, there is no loneliness. The bold Gurya has come over her difficulties. She is very happy. Some times, when she is all alone, she thinks of Ramazan, how would he be happy to see his home turned into paradise. She wanted to provide him similar kind of happiness but….she stopped. She is now paying her full attention to the young ones. She has provided them good education. Rizwan to her is a living memory of Ramazan.

It is the morning of a day. Bano and Shano and their fellows are there. They are busy with sewing work. Gurya is sitting on a cot and giving instructions to them about their work. The girls are chatting and working and cutting jokes with one another which titalate them and their youth. The women of the village are telling different stories.

Today is a very busy day. Women are checking the kinds of clothes. Some are folding them and the others are unrolling them. Some are making the measurements. The girls are sitting aside and making themselves ready for the jobs they are to be given. There are extraordinary smiles on their faces. Some thing is going to happen. " How are you feeling Bano’ some girl cries suddenly and there is a roar of laughter. "How are you feeling Shano" another twitters and yet there is another laughter. " Bano and Shano have been engaged in the village and they are to be married the next week. The whole village is busy in making preparation for the marriage ceremony. Gurya is sitting in the centre of the women instructing them, chatting with them and passing judgements on their discussion. She is now Aunt Bhari of the village.

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