Nazar Ali’s Glance
Dr. Sayeeda Sharmin: The complete silence of the morning has not yet passed. Just a few birds chirping to greet the morning light. But through all the silence, after a while, mother’s call is heard. It seems that someone may be calling his mother. Anyone can call what is there to be surprised? But it is surprising if someone calls his wife mother. And if his mother comes forward, he does not call his mother.
About twenty-five or thirty years ago, the people of the village came down on the day when Nazar Ali got married and brought his wife home. Everyone in the village had the same words, ‘Where did Nazar get such a beautiful wife? The people of the village told him to take care of the wife since he did not have good habits and they warned him that because of his behaviour his wife might leave him. After getting married, Nazar stays with his wife all the time. His sweet behaviour went on for one day, two days and some months. But one day he eventually went back to his extremely rude behaviour. His poor innocent beautiful wife just remained at home all day. But in other hand, NazarAli’s eyes were seeking for other women. When Nazar Ali met his wife for the first time he was so stunned by her beautiful look that he named her a “fairy”. Nazar Ali would constantly talk about how beautiful his wife was that even his own mother and sisters were emotional about his love and would tell the people in the village that his wife’s name from Fuljan is now a “fairy.” Although, they would share their love stories with others in the village but at home they never accepted him calling her a fairy nor their love. Mother-in-law would call his wife Nazar Ali’s wife, and his sisters would call her “bhabi” (sister-in-law). In the beginning when it was just a month after their marriage, Nazar Ali called his wife very fondly – ‘Where did the fairy go? Fairy come here. My fairy wife please give me lunch”etc.
A month later, Nazar Ali’s fairy-tale, in Nazar Ali’s eyes, began to disappear. Because in the meantime, Ashraf found out that Rahimuddi’s brother daughter Sakhina from the house next to the chairman has come to visit Rahimuddi. Sakina was pretty as well, but not as beautiful as Nazar Ali’s wife. Although each women have their own beauty no one should be compared to be the same. Nazar Ali was searching for one victim after another. His mind never dwells in the world. No illusions in the world could hold him back. While Nazar Ali spent his days trying to flirt and find other women, in between all these Nazar Ali had two songs and a daughter
Fuljan (Nazar Ali’s wife) wakes up at night with a smile on her face and doing her chores and Nazar Ali accepts this wonderful service as if he deserved it. For him, the best food in the house should be there. During sleep, there should be silence in the whole house. But even if he screams at the head of the house while others were sleeping, they would still remain quiet.
As his sons began to get older, they had started to lose respect towards their father. But Fuljan always tried to make their children respect and love their father. She tried many times to make them understand that their father is not to be blamed.
But once respect is lost, no one can regain it. Nazor Ali was always a criminal in their eyes.
The boys are now grown up, as well as their daughter. The girl seems to have got her mother’s appearance, skills, talents and manners as well. Even Nazar Ali’s mother had difficulty understanding him. By then the whole village knew and understood that he was too busy Because everyone has understood that he is busy catching one fairy after another. Some of these women also would fall into his trap. All the village people also know this action of gaze. But there is no shame in that. One day his sons came running home from school crying to their mother that their friends at school would make fun of them and say bad things about their father. His daughter would also cry about the same thing. As they would cry about this issue, they would tell their mother that they would not go back to school anymore. His kids would feel very insulted because of their father’s action. Fuljanunderstood their pain, but she was unable to do anything.
Their mother would always try to encourage them to study and grow up being educated. She told them if they become educated and kind then their mother will no longer be sad, and she will be the happiest mother in the world. The sons would often remain silent hearing that from their mother and the daughter would run and hug the mother. Mother named their daughter Aleya very affectionately. She always told her daughter, “My daughter, your name is Aleya, you will light up the world with your light.” Aleya would always shake her head. The elder son Johar Ali is now walking between adolescence and youth. Karam Ali the other son, he was one year younger than him.
Johar Ali would often look for money from his mother, if she was unable to give him any money, he would abuseher and leave the house. That’s how it was most of the time with Johar Ali. One morning the local police came to Nazar’s house. Everyone in the household was surprised. Nazar Ali was wondering how he had never done anything wrong, thus why would the police come to their house now. The police officer told the family and Nazar Ali that his younger son Karam Ali was involved with theft and robbery. And found out that Karam Ali did not come home that night and Nazar Ali was not informed about it. The officer told Nazar Ali that “Nazar you should stop what you do as you’re old now and focus on your family and your house. Your children grew up just like you, your eldest son is not home either for days because yesterday he was involved in drug trafficking.
It was as if Nazar Ali stepped into his own world after so long. Everyone around him felt like strangers. Now he called his wife and said, “oh Fuljan I couldn’t raise my two sons?” What sons and daughters have you given birth to. Fuljan answered, which she never did before. But then with a loud voice she yelled out said “Go ask your mother, how did she gave birth to a son like you who had no humanity and treated people so ruthless.” Nazar Ali’s eyes became big as if the blood vessels of his eyes were about to pop out and he roared like a lion. Then started abusing in unspeakable language.
After some time, Aleya became older and one day she gotmarried. Aleya went away from her parents to her in law’shouse. This was the first time Nazar Ali realized that he had many duties towards his family. Fuljan’s heart cried all the time for her daughter. The entire house felt very empty. Fuljan couldn’t express the pain she had. Perhaps, no language has been created in Fuljan’s mind for such feelings. This is how the world works, this is the rule of the world. Aleya came to visit her father’s house one day. But Aleya is crying, “Father, I will not go back to that house.”Aleya begun to cry out loud and muttering that her husband would bring random women into the house or go out with them often.
Fuljan said in a calm voice, “Aleya my dearest daughter, ” remember that we are far away from you. Your mother -in-law’s house is yours. You are the wife of that house. How much more can you endure? Before Fuljan’s speech was finished, Nazar Ali roared up – ‘What is this my daughter will not bear it?’ He married my daughter now another girl came his life? such a big courage! I will go to the police station, and complaint against his name.” Nazar Ali was so angry as he shouted at his son-in-law. He shouted, “I will punish him to have affair while he is married to my daughter.” He looked at Aleya with a soft look and said, “Aleya, you stay in this house with us, don’t go near him. Oh, will kill him if I see him”. A long breath of self-pain comes out of Fuljan’s chest. There is no place to express her sadness and sad feelings. There is an endless desert in front of her. It is as if a tide of darkness has descended in her life today.
Meanwhile, Johar Ali has gone to jail several times. This became the norm in his life. Time also moves from a definite beginning to a definite end. Nazr Ali called Fuljan one day and said – ‘O Fuljan, our sons grown up and became a man, my sweet daughter did not become happy. What was the sin? Why did this happen, oh my wife? Fuljan stood up as a witness of time. There were tears like mountains in his eyes. Meanwhile, Nazr Ali’s eyes have been robbed of sleep. There is no day or night, he had the same thoughts that were eating him away. Why is the girl not happy, why is the son-in-law characterless, why are his two sons becoming like this etc. Sometimes he tried to explain the elder son. But sadly, nothing worked, his son became very egoistic. One day he approached the youngest son and tried to explain about life, but the son burst into anger – “Dad, let me see my past before you try to explain me things.” His son with anger built inside of him burst out crying and shouted “It is for you that we have fallen, you’re sad about Aleya, oh because of you do you remember the countless night mother cried. He sobbed crying and told his father, “When I was a child, I saw that my mother used to tolerate your torture. And we couldn’t bear it, father, we have become worse than you are now.”Nazr Ali’s face is as if someone put a nail on top of his head today. Nazar Ali’s mother remained quiet and did not look into anyone else’s eyes. Nazar Ali’s mother hadgrown very old now and was suffering from some illness over time and was unable to feed herself so Fuljan would feed her mother-in-law with her own hands. Nazr Ali came and said, “Let me feed my mother”. The old mother shouted and said – “No, you are not staying here.” The wife whom you have given so much trouble, O, but she never given trouble to your mother even for a single day.”Nazr Ali bowed his head and left the room
Nazar Ali went out for some time and sat under a banana tree near their home beside the field. Nazr Ali immediately remembered how beautiful Fuljan, the day he brought her home as his wife. The whole village praised her appearance. The people of the village would often say “Who had such a beautiful wife in his house, why did he go to other girls? Whose house is so beautiful flowers are looking for flowers in the forest, such a shame.” Nazar Ali realized he never spoke to Fuljan, his wife with love, he would always curse and hurt her. Suddenly, why did he feel very disgusted with himself. He was standing up while thinking and suddenly his head was shaking. He returned home with great difficulty. After two days, Nazar suddenly fainted. He rushed to see the doctor and sadly Nazar Ali was paralyzed, which made him unable to speak or move his body. Nazar Ali suffered from a severe stroke.
Fuljan was always in service. It was his wife that would take care of him day and night, no other women whom he had those affairs with was by him today. This is how the days would pass every day. Fuljan would just cry and cry every day with her heart out. Everyone in the village was saying it was a punishment for Nazar Ali. But Fuljan never wanted such punishment. Fuljan has assumed that he will bear all the pain, all the pain, all the punishment alone. Nazar Ali was taken to many other doctors, dervish and many holy places but his condition remained the same. There was no improvement at all. Every day, Fuljan triedto get her husband to talk, to move his arms and legs just like a mother who teaches her little child. Nazar Ali kept looking at his wife. She would constantly try to make him call for God, but he was unable to speak or do any movement. But one day Fuljan’s student learnt to pronounce a word. Although Fuljan would often get mad that she has been trying for Nazar Ali to ask for God, but he learnt the word “Ma” and constantly would utter the word “Ma.”
One day, finally his old sick mother brought a seat and sat Infront of him, but Nazar Ali kept looking somewhere else and called Ma constantly. His mother was very confused since she sat right in front of him, but he would still call out for “Ma.” All day Nazar Ali would scream the word “Ma” and would only stop when he fell asleep. Overtime, people in the village and at home discovered that Nazar Ali would stare at his wife only when calling for “Ma.” If Fuljan came in front of Nazar Ali and screamed to stop calling out Ma he would immediately stop like an obedient child who listens to their mother, just like that Nazar Ali would listen to everything Fuljan would say.
After some time, Nazar Ali’s mother passed away. In between all these miseries the eldest son got married. His daughter-in-law tried to help and feed her father-in-lawand Nazar Ali would strictly refuse to eat anything. He would only eat, bathe, and everything by Fuljan, his wife only.
Just as a mother who bears the pain of a small child, so does Fuljan. Every day everyone in the neighborhood wakes up to the screams of Nazar Ali’s screaming maa’ maa’. No one could imagine what the future was waiting for. Fuljan tries again to teach Nazar Ali to call for God. But he just couldn’t move his tongue to call out God, not even once.
One day, Aleya’s husband refused to let Aleya go to her parent’s house to visit. Her husband mocked her that her father calls her mother “Ma.” Aleya still begged to go for once and eventually she was able to visit her parents again. She began to cry out loud when she entered her parents house and cried out to her mom asking why her father calls her mother “maa beside doing anything else. She cried to her mother and told her everything that her husband mocking her and strictly banned her from going to her own parents’ house because of her father calling her mother “ma.”
Fuljan has now turned into a difficult human being to suffer. Now, she became a woman with shield of pain thus no other trouble can touch her. She told her daughter that, “I cannot neglect your father, your father cannot remember anything, because you all are calling me ma, he’s assuming I’m his mother too. He is assuming he is a little child as well.” He explained to his daughter with love that, “He married me, but now his brain has stopped working but I’m still a human being I cannot just throw him away. Aleya remained quiet and later that day she returned to her in-law’s house.
One day the wedding date of Nazar Ali’s son Karam Ali was fixed. Karam Ali went to his sister Aleya’s house to invite them, but her husband told Karam Ali with anger that Aleya would not attend, although there were just two days left until the wedding. While Karam Ali was returning home he was extremely upset about his brother-in-law’sbehaviour and especially that his sister would not attend his wedding. Upon returning home Karam Ali explained everything to his mother and Fuljan became extremely angry. She grabbed Karam Ali’s arm and rushed to Aleya’s house. She came front of the house and shouted like a wild tigress “Aleya come out and come with me.” Aleya and her husband came out from the inside. Aleya’s husband Muttalib screamed back “No, Aleya will not go to that house.” Taking Mutalib’s words away Fuljan grew with anger even more and in a huff and said to him “How dare you thinking you can stop Aleya, look at your character, keep that controlling behaviour of yours locked up.” And she looked at Aleya and shouted, “Come with me Aleya, he needs to think what will happen to him not you.” Aleya ran to her mother as Mutalib just yawned and looked at them as they walked away.
The day as finally arrived; it was Karam Ali’s wedding. Everyone in the house was busy.
Fuljan does not have a single moment of leisure. Suddenly, the screams of ma and ma began to break through the sky. Fuljan was running late to feed Nazar Ali,and he was angry and refused to eat. Fuljan repeatedly explained it was Karam Ali, their son’s wedding today. Twodrops of tears rolled down Nazar Ali’s eyes. Fuljan started screaming from the front saying ‘Ma’ Ma’. So many things today. There is no time to sit at all. But he can’t do any work. It’s just a little bit of a loud mother’s scream. But today he is calling a little more than other days. Nazar Ali couldn’t live a moment without Fuljan. But there was a time when Fuljan wished so much for a little bit of love from Nazar Ali, she used to wish that he would be with her.
As the wedding ceremony began to end, Karam Ali came by his father’s feet and Nazar Ali looked at his son and began to cry. People around did not understand why he was crying. Slowly the bride and groom along the guests has left. The house was empty, it was only Nazar Ali and Fuljan. Nazar Ali begun to call “Ma, Ma.” Fuljan came near Nazar Ali and Nazar Ali looked at Fuljan blankly. The look made Fuljan very uncomfortable, she felt the vibration of the body. Fuljan wanted to run away but she knew it was too late, even if she wanted to escape, she couldn’t anymore. She knew after all these years now Nazar Ali’s eyes has stopped searching for other women, he’s eyes would only glance at one person, Fuljan.