Betrayed by Fate: A Tale of Mystery and Obsession
By: Saira Ulfat
In a shocking twist of fate, he proved to be unfaithful! Just a few days ago, my world took a dark turn as my health plummeted. Racing to the local hospital, they ran tests, yet the results were fine. The Doctor prescribed medicine, but its magic eluded me, and my health spiraled downwards, sending shockwaves through my worried family.
My brother, unable to bear my suffering, vowed to seek the aid of a renowned city doctor the next morning. And so, as dawn broke, we ventured to Doctor’s clinic, who, after examining all tests and medications, initiated my treatment.
Praise be, within a few days, I was on the path to recovery. However, periodic check-ups at the doctor remained a necessity. Now, on Sunday was yet another appointment at Doctor’s clinic. As we arrived, we had to patiently await our turn, both my brother and me in suspense. Emerging from our reverie, we found solace in the shade, seeking refuge from the blistering sun, awaiting our turn. Lost in thought, an unexpected twist unfolded – a mysterious heavy object descended from the balcony!
Glancing upward, an enchanting yet agitated woman stood on the neighboring balcony. Without rhyme or reason, she unleashed a torrent of shouts upon us. We stood there, stunned and bewildered, our instincts urging us to flee. Seeking refuge in a nearby shop, the shopkeeper reassured us; she was merely a woman unhinged. My query about her behavior yielded an intriguing revelation – she erupted in anger at the sight of a boy and a girl together.
Mystified and lacking answers, we resumed our journey, clutching the prescribed medicine, haunted by the same question – what drove her to such madness? There had to be a hidden motive. Our restlessness lingered, days turned into nights.
Then, my brother proposed a daring question: ‘Shouldn’t we uncover the truth?’ My resolute response: ‘Peace won’t find me until we do.’ Thus, we revisited the wise shopkeeper who promptly recognized us, inquiring, ‘The doctor’s absence today is surprising; how you found your way here?’ We elucidated that our uncle had divulged the peculiar behavior of this afflicted woman.
His response resonated with an unsettling truth: ‘For a quarter-century, she has endured incapacity to endure the presence of young men and women together.’ We, inquisitive minds, pressed further, ‘Might there exist a rationale or has this affliction plagued her since infancy?’ The shopkeeper, now laced with remorse, intoned, ‘No, dear one, her existence wasn’t always shrouded in such a veil of madness.’
And in his response, we unearthed the story of Ruby – the belle of their neighborhood. Affectionately known as ‘Zulfi’ for her bewitching long black hair, she entranced anyone who gazed upon her locks. Her face radiated like the moon, and her voice sang like a nightingale,
It was not a wonder that everyone was enamored by her, but the astonishing part was that she had given her heart to Isaac when they were children. Isaac, too, was like a piece of the moon, caged by his own devotion. As childhood love matured into youth, the issue of social status emerged. Zulfi’s family was inferior to Isaac’s, and despite his relentless efforts, Isaac’s family resisted accepting her as their daughter-in-law. Despite all these obstacles, Isaac’s family held their ground.
They all swallowed Zulfi and Isaac’s happiness in their pride, altering the course of their love. Love transformed into distance, but they had promised that if they couldn’t be together, they wouldn’t belong to anyone else.
However, within few months when they were kept apart from each other Isaac’s family arranged his marriage elsewhere. Isaac returned to Zulfi and pleaded for forgiveness, claiming it was against his will. He urged her to move on, but the word on the street is that Zulfi congratulated him and added, “with your betrayal, my life is in ruins, may you also find no peace.”
And she continued to wander the streets, declaring him unfaithful, perhaps causing him to lose his mental balance. Perhaps Isaac, too, paid the price for her. I asked, “How?” They sorrowfully explained that Isaac had a terrible accident, and one of his legs was amputated during the incident. At that moment, I glanced at the girl’s tangled hair, and it was clear that she had fallen for someone else, but in my heart, I knew that no matter how people might label her as insane now, she still stood by her promise.
(The writer is author of ‘Talash-e –Kashmir’. She can be reached at [email protected])