Joined: 28 August 2010
Joined: 28 August 2010
Why does always this happen to me? Why is it that whenever I want to get away from somewhere, someone... destiny always brings me closer to them? Is this written in my fate? That I'm supposed to be walking endlessly, getting even more confused at my state? Can't I ever truly be happy? Can I ever get back my happiness? Will I ever get to forget that bad time in my life?
Life is so strange. The one place that I ran away from, today five years on, I have come back. But I guess this time, it's not my own decision. It's just a coincidence that I had to go back to Birmingham for a meeting. I can't bear it. The pain, the sadness that is linked to this City. Khala had tried to prevent me from going, but for how long can she protect me? I have to do this. And besides, it's only for a day right? What can go wrong? Maybe I'll meet someone who will change my life.
But then again, these sort of things only happen in films, right?
"Thank you for coming here, Miss Sultana. It was a great pleasure to meet you." Raina gave a meek smile as Mr Clark, the head of a High Street clothing store in Birmingham shook her hand. He was tall and slim, his hair turning grey. His eyes twinkled as he placed his hand into the pocket of his grey trousers.
"It was nice to meet you too, Mr Clark." She replied. "I'll take your leave." Mr Clark nodded before walking her out of his office.
It was a cold, October morning. The leaves from the trees were starting to fall off, creating a thick pile on the pavements. Many of the citizens had just started to wake up as the clock ticked ten in the morning, whilst the early shoppers were going in and out of the shopping centre. Raina walked outside to where her black Mercedes Lexus was parked. Unlocking it, she opened the door and sat inside, before igniting the engine.
She yawned. It had taken her three hours to travel from London to Birmingham, meaning that she had to wake up earlier than expected. Raina shivered, quickly turning up the heater in the car. She rubbed her hands furiously, trying to get warm. She remembered this place pretty well, no matter how much she tried to forget it. She shook her head, trying to keep her attention on the road.
"Oh no..." She muttured, noticing that the petrol tank was getting empty. Great, she thought. Just my luck! Raina sighed, taking a U-turn out of the motorway and back into Birmingham to the nearest area. It was quite a mixed area, full of different ethnicities. On the side, Raina noticed an elderly man sitting around talking loudly into mobile, in Bengali. She shook her head, wondering why people were so...enthusiastic this early in the morning.
There was a small supermarket with a petrol station linked to it. Raina drove into the empty station and filled her car with petrol. She groaned, inhaling the metallic smell that seemed to be a hundred times stronger than other stations. It was the type of smell that people either like or hate, and Raina was for the latter. She glanced over at the monitor, waiting for it to be full, before shaking the pump off. It was one of those stations where the payment had to be done inside the small shop, which was annoying for Raina as she was desperate to get away.
"You still need to pay fifty pence more." The shop clerk said as an elderly woman fiddled through her purse trying to find some loose change. The blonde worker chewed endlessly on a piece of chewing gum, sighing exasperatedly and rolling her eyes at the woman. The woman gave her a uneasy smile, gesturing her to wait a second. She sighed as she tried to find some money.
Behind her, Raina looked over concerned. She huffed as the worker seemed to intimidate the woman and placed her hands into her pocket, taking out a pound coin. Raina hastily threw it at the shop clerk, "Here. Keep the change." She gave her a pretentious smile. There was no need to be nice especially after how rude the worker had been. The clerk replied a meek thanks before letting the woman go and telling Raina how much she had to pay for the petrol. Raina rolled her eyes, slammed the bundle of notes at the worker and left the store.
"Thanks for that." The woman smiled, strands of her greying hair came through her loosened headscarf. Raina turned around and nodded. The woman picked up her carrier bags and straightened her back. "These days no one lets you go for a mere fifty pence."
Raina smiled, nodding. Her dark brown eyes sparkled as the soft wind blew her shoulder-length hair. "True that."
The woman nodded before starting to turn away. She stopped and turned right back. "By the way, what is your name?"
Raina pondered for a second, before replying, "Raina."
She nodded. "Thank you, Raina. Thank you." And with that, both women walked away, leaving the soft hustle of the store behind.
Khala: Aunt. (Mainly used for mother's sister but can mean someone who is like your mother).
Joined: 28 August 2010
There comes a time when every life goes off course. In this desperate moment you must choose your direction. Will you fight to stay on the path while others tell you who you are? Or will you label yourself? Will you be honoured by your choice? Or will you simply embrace your new path? Each morning you choose to move forward or to simply give up. - Lucas Scott (One Tree Hill)
Two months have past since I last wrote in here. Two months since I last visited Birmingham. It's so strange isn't it? Visiting the same, monotonous place that I used to live in. Nothing has changed. People are still their supposed cheery selves. But even I know that everything, even their smile is fake. Behind every closed door, there's a hidden secret, a hundred questions and a thousand tears. The question is, do we have the strength to know the truth? Can we ever be truly happy? I guess not. Life isn't fair. We won't ever find our happiness, nor would other's let us be happy. This is the true reality of life.
"Raina?" The dimmed lights became brighter as a woman dressed in a simple black salwar kameez stepped into the room. Her dull black hair was wrapped around in an immaculate bun as her dupatta was wired around her neck. She was tanned, her dark brown eyes looked tired as it sat besides her grey rimmed glasses.
She was stressed, after all who wouldn't be?
She was the Head of Meera Fashion House, a company that she had created and invested in from her younger years. At age forty-five, she had achieved what most women couldn't and now designed clothes around the globe. She was famous in the fashion industry: her clothes designs were not only unique and beautiful, but were elegant and classy.
"Aminah Khala?" Raina looked up from her desk, making sure that the pile of papers were sorted into their respected files. She smiled, her light skin radiating up the room. Raina was like a daughter to Aminah, someone who she had adopted five years back. She had found Raina on the streets, crying her eyes out. Her heart yearned to comfort her, to take away her tears. She was sitting on the ground, her hands red with mehendi as Aminah pulled her up and took her in. Though Aminah had no children of her own, she loved Raina much like her own mother did.
"Are you still up?" She asked.
Raina yawned slightly before stretching her arms. "Sorry, Khala. I had to finish off these last few pieces of paperwork. And now I have to finish packing." Aminah smiled as Raina hurriedly folded her clothes and packed them into a black suitcase. Soon after they had both met, Raina became Aminah's most trusted confidante, with Raina soon becoming part owner of Meera Fashion House. Aminah helped her pack the remaining few clothes before zipping the case suit.
"And now you're done." Aminah stated, smiling. "Acha, listen. Have you got your passport and tickets?" Raina nodded. "And you know what time you're catching the plane, right?"
"Ji, Khala! 9am tomorrow, I remember everything." Raina laughed. "Stop worrying about me."
Aminah rolled her eyes. "How can I stop worrying about you? Ever since you came back from Birmingham, you've been quiet." She held Raina's hand. "Whenever you're upset, please don't cut me out okay?" She gave her a soothing smile, pressing down on her hands. Raina was much more than just an adopted daughter or a business partner, she was her best friend as well. For Raina, the only person she trusted in the whole world was her Khala.
Raina nodded. "Don't worry Aminah Khala. I'll be fine. And anyway, weren't you the one that said nothing will happen to me? After all, I am your strong daughter aren't I?"
Aminah laughed as she playfully slapped Raina's cheeks. "Fool, you're my ONLY daughter."
"And you're my only Khala!" Raina laughed as she hugged her Aunt. Her heart became mellow as she tried to numb out the pain of her past. This was her daily routine, she would always smile when Aminah was there because she couldn't bear to see her Aunt stress over her. But, deep down Aminah knew of Raina's act after all she too didn't want Raina to see her own sadness.
"Acha, now go to sleep. Tomorrow you have to wake up early right?" Raina nodded. "Now this time, do me a favour. When you arrive in Paris, take some time for yourself. You don't need to keep working like this."
Raina smiled. "Okay, my dear Aunt. I'll do whatever you want." She giggled as Aminah left the room and it fell back to complete silence again. Raina sighed as she leaped into her bed and tried to sleep. But sleep wouldn't come. She hadn't had the peaceful sleep since the past five years.
After all, how could she?
Her past still haunts her.
Joined: 28 August 2010
It was a bright and sunny morning, unusual considering the typical murky British weather. But of course, being December in England no longer meant days full of snow, but more like a random mix of weather. It may be sunny and cold all at the same time; or sunny in the morning before falling below zero degrees celsius by the evening. And today, was one of those days.
"Rehaan, come down quick we're going to be late for the plane!" Fahmida Malik, Rehaan's mother looked intently a the clock in their living room. It was just past eight in the morning and they had just over an hour before their plane leaves for Paris. Which was unfortunate knowing that the busy streets of London. It was early December and everyone had taken a week off work to have a family holiday. Normally, they would travel to Southampton, a city south of England where Fahmida's brother and his family lived.
With children swarming over the place, babies crying as they looked for their mothers - no Southampton was never boring. However, this time they had opted for something different: the heart of France. The beautiful city of Paris itself. It was one of those cities where people just have to visit sometime in their lives. Elegant, dazzling and spectacular. Words can never rightfully express the essence that belongs to Paris.
"Rehaan, jaldi!" Fahmida shouted from below the stairs, sighing as her son told her to wait a minute. She groaned, fixing her cotton off-white saree by carefully folding in at the hem and tightened her headscarf. It was somewhat of a tradition for widows to wear simple clothes, as a sign of respect for the deceased husband.
Behind her, her daughter Faiza stood with one hand on her hip as she waited for her elder brother. She flicked her wavy, brown shoulder length hair and adjusted the buttons on her black coat. She was the youngest child after her two brothers, and the apple of her mother's and brother's eyes. She had never known her father, who died a month before she was born due to an illness. She didn't mind, not really. With a loving mother like Fahmida and protective brothers like Rehaan and Ibrahim, she never felt the absence of her father. Sure, she wished that she could have met him perhaps just once, after all which daughter wouldn't? But, fate was such a strange thing, what happens perhaps happens for the best.
Upstairs, Rehaan hurriedly placed the remaining clothes of his into the suitcase. He had been held up earlier when his sister was in the bathroom for what seemed like hours, and he needed the clothes that was in there. He had been meaning to finish packing yesterday but was halted by an important job call. Being a paediatric doctor meant that he was often called at the wrong hours, for either advise, help or for extra shifts at the hospital. He had just become qualified at a higher level, at only age twenty seven and needed the extra experience. Plus, seeing as it was London, the largest city in England, there was a need of qualified doctors in hospitals.
Packing the final shirt, he zipped up his suitcase and begun to carry it out of his room when his phone started to ring. Shoot! he thought. He thought, hoping that it wasn't from the hospital. Though he did ask for a week's leave, there was no guarantee of when he would be asked to come back. Rehaan took out his black iphone from the back pocket of his trousers and answered it without bothering to check who was calling.
"Rehaan! Long time dude!" A man's voice echoed from the phone. "How have you been?"
Rehaan let out a short laugh and shook his head as his childhood best friend yelled down the phone. "Tanvir. You had to call me now?"
"Why? Are you busy? Wait, are you with a girl?" Tanvir hurriedly asked. It was one of their private jokes. Tanvir always tried to match Rehaan with someone, but none of the girls he chose was good enough for Rehaan.
"No, I'm not." Rehaan instantly replied. "We're just leaving for Paris right now..."
"Shit! Paris? Not fair, the day I actually call you that day you're busy." Tanvir let out an exaggerated sigh. "Oh well, I'll let you go. Who knows maybe you'll find your future wife there? As they say love in Paris and all that." He laughed as he ended the call.
Rehaan shook his head, sighing at his friend's foolishness. "This boy will never change." He muttured. A minute later, Rehaan skidded down the stairs. Wearing his long military jacket; his dark, tousled hair was brushed back whilst in his hand, he held his suitcase. He walked towards his mother with a solemn expression. "Sorry Amma." He apologised to her and picked up his mother's side bag, twisting it around his shoulders. "Blame this Faiza. Look how long she takes in the bathroom." Faiza gasped whilst she applied her rouge tinted lipstick. He smirked at her expression, his dimples highlighted within his slight stubble.
He loved teasing her.
"Bhai, it's not my fault! You should have packed than be on your so-called hospital calls. And besides, girls take longer in the bathroom." He rolled his eyes at her comment, he never really liked girls who spent too much time getting ready. "Right Amma?"
Fahmida sighed, tired of her children's constant bickering. "Hai Allah! I don't know who is right." She placed her hands up in frustration before opening the door of the taxi. Rehaan opened teh front dor of the taxi and sat in whilst his mother and sister sat behind.
"What happened?" Ibrahim asked. He was always teh sociable brother out of the two. Loud and playful as opposed to Rehaan's quiet personality. Besides him sat his wife, Naila and their twin toddlers, Humera and Hamza. They were sleeping in their parent's lap, still tired from being up till late last night due to their excitedness.
"What must have happened? Rehaan bhai and Faiza must have had an argument, again." Naila replied. Between her and Ibrahim, they were the ones who had to patch up the other sibling's argument. It was something that Naila had gotten used to since she had married into the household four years back. She had become like a second mother to Faiza and a good friend to Rehaan.
"Bhaiya! Look, Rehaan bhai is saying that it was my fault that he gets late." Faiza complained to Ibrahim. She was twenty four years old but being the youngest, she hadn't gotten rid of her childish personality. Rehaan rolled his eyes as he watched the interaction from the taxi's rear view mirror. He looked on as the car slowed down waiting behind the red traffic light.
"But you do take quite a long time getting ready, Faiza." Ibrahim stated. Faiza opened her mouth to reply but shook her head, not thinking of a suitable comment. Rehaan quietly chuckled at his sister's defeat.
"What will happen to you when you get married?" Fahmida asked Faiza, shaking her head in disapproval. Faiza crossed her arms and sunk into her seat.
"I won't get married until Rehaan Bhai gets married." She smiled as she watched Rehaan jerk up in his seat, surprised at her reply.
"Then you'll have to wait a hundred years because I'm not getting married any time soon." He replied keeping his attention on the moving road. It wasn't that he had anything against getting married, he wanted to wait until he felt like he was ready. And to wait until he found someone who was his soul mate. Unfortunately, that time wasn't now.
Ibrahim chuckled at his sibling's stubborn behaviour. "You both will have to get married some day, after all who else is going to put up with you?"
"Whoever Rehaan Bhai gets married to, I feel sorry for her. She'll have to put up with his so not funny attitude, his long lectures about education." She tapped her chin, thinking hard. "Oh my god, I wonder if the girl he gets married to will be a doctor just like him." Naila couldn't help but laugh at Faiza's words.
"And whoever this fool gets married to will have to put up with her clothes all over the place." Rehaan replied. "And Oh my God!" He faked a high pitched voice, mocking his sister. "I wonder if the boy she gets married to will be a fool just like her." Rehaan gave a pretentious smile as Ibrahim and Naila laughed. Besides them, Hamza stirred in his sleep whilst Naila quickly hushed him.
"Will you two ever finish your fight?" Fahmida asked as the car halted near the Heathrow Airport. "Look, we're here. Now no more argument or else this trip will be cancelled." Faiza gasped straight away. For her, this was one in a lifetime chance of leaving London even if it was just for a week. Noting that her mother was serious, Faiza bowed her head and quietened down as Ibrahim paid the taxi driver and they made their way inside the airport.
They were instantly hit by the buzz of hundreds of people waiting for their plane arrival. Around them, lines of families stood to get their packaging and suitcases checked in whilst single people waited on their own. A loud tannoy placed over the building called out the destination whilst a crowd of people rushed towards the gate. Ibrahim left to check in their belongings whilst the rest of the family waited in the queue to check in their boarding pass.
"I'm sorry but there's been a problem." A blonde Caucasian woman gave Rehaan a sympathetic smile as she checked her database. Naila and Faiza, each holding a twin in their arms gave each other a confused look. "Somehow the tickets have been mixed up and you have got four boarding passes whilst the others have been declined."
"What?" Rehaan asked. "Can you please check again?"
"Sure." The woman replied, clicking the keyboards and sighing. "I'm sorry but it's the same problem. I think your information has been mixed up with someone else's." She gave him the four boarding passes. "Here are four out of seven boarding passes." He took them in, nodding.
"Is there anything we can do? I mean is there any way to get boarding passes?" He asked her, getting annoyed.
The woman looked onto her computer screen. She struggled to think of what to say. "I think it would be best if you purchased the other tickets, but..." She glanced over at her screen again. "right now all the seats to Paris have been booked." Rehaan closed his eyes and took a deep breath. "Although, there is another plane leaving in the evening. If you want I can transfer you onto that schedule?"
Rehaan lingered in thought for a second. "Er, hold on. I'll come back." She nodded as they all moved out of the queue. Ibrahim arrived to see Rehaan in deep thought.
"Is everything alright?" He asked as Rehaan told him the problem. "What? How can this happen?"
The younger brother shrugged. "Some mix up, I suppose." He handed the boarding passes to Ibrahim. "Bhai, you take these with the twins and Bhabhi. I'll take Faiza and Amma on the next plane later."
Ibrahim shook his head. "No, we can't go without you guys."
"But bhai, it would be better. Besides there's four passes, and you obviously need Bhabhi to handle the twins." Rehaan insisted. Ibrahim gave a dejected look to his mother and sister.
Faiza smiled. "Bhaiya, don't worry about us. We'll go later, it's fine. And besides we're taking different paths but the destination is the same right?" She passed Humera to Ibrahim.
"Right." Fahmida replied as she looked up at her son. "Go, we'll be fine." Naila nodded her head as her, Ibrahim and the sleeping twins waited for a few minutes until the plane arrived. With a heavy heart, both Naila and Ibrahim made their way into the plane leaving behind the rest of the family. The twins, held up in their parent's arms waved back before looking up in awe at the scenery.
As they went, Fahmida started to cough, hitting her chest furiously. Rehaan, the dutiful doctor and son, looked back at his mother in concern. "Are you okay, Amma?" He asked.
She nodded her head. "I just need some water." She let out a raspy reply. He nodded and left Faiza to care for Fahmida as he went to get water.
Raina groaned into the phone as she gave her details to the cashier. "What do you mean you'll be delayed?" She had just learnt that her three colleagues would not make it to Paris until the following morning which was a huge problem seeing as they all had to prepare for a meeting the next day. "Okay fine. I'll see you tomorrow." She switched the phone off before taking her boarding pass. After being reminded constantly by her aunt, Raina had made it to the airport just in time until the plane left. She sighed, knowing that she'll be alone in the plane. Well, she wouldn't exactly but she'll be surrounded with people she didn't know and especially since she was travelling in the Business class, where they was more space and less people. She didn't mind but sometimes she missed the squashy, homely feel that was in the economy class. She asked the blonde woman, checking in her pass to hold onto the others, not wanting to take them unless they lost them.
She sighed. It was one of those times when she was completely alone. She didn't mind it, as it gave her some time to think but sometimes it got just too lonely. Have you ever been in a crowded room but you felt as lonely as ever? That's exactly how Raina felt at this moment. Her aunt, Aminah didn't accompany her on this trip as she had important work to handle back in their London Office. Raina placed her hand bag over her shoulders as she made her way towards an empty seat. She noticed a family wandered around. She smiled looking at the children who seemed like they had just woken up. She liked children. She liked their innocence, the way they played as if they were in their own world. She noticed a younger woman about her age cooing one of the children.
Raina walked besides a shorter woman who had her back faced towards her. She struggled to move to sit on the seat. "Excuse me?" She asked.
The elderly woman turned around, startled by the new presence. Her worried face was now emerging a huge smile. She gasped as her eyes glistened in delight, seeing the same face that she had seen nearly two months back. "Raina?"
Bhai - Brother (But can also use Bhaiya which is a more loving phrase or Bhaisab which is formal. If an elder brother's wife is younger than the husband's brother, then she may call him bhai as well..)
Bhabhi - Sister in law
Joined: 28 August 2010
Joined: 28 August 2010
Joined: 28 August 2010
Joined: 28 August 2010