your updates always amaze me...you introduce so many new things in their daily life that it becomes so beautiful...
Omg everytime I read an update u make me want to read this entire story again
Blissfull and Wonderfully Written part Dixiej..
Aaja Zari Wale Neele Aasman Ke Taley
It was Saturday teatime when Rashid and Siddiqui Saheb got Ayaan's message and the attached photo of the sleeping pride among the many others of Zaid's first visit to his dad's office.
"Kitni acchi tasveer hai! I'll have it framed. In fact, we should have a family portrait done," Rashid suggested.
"Haan, bahut accha idea hai ... aur mauka bhi," Siddiqui agreed. "Even Zeenat and Anwar Saheb are here; it'll be perfect."
They looked down again at the picture of Asad, Zoya and Zaid. It was such a charming sight--and such a powerful testament to mercy, love and just desserts. And already it was stirring other plans.
"I'm going to have a bring your child or grandchild to work day' in my office too!" both grandfathers piped up at the same time.
Then they argued about who would get to take Zaid first.
Raziya shook her head in dismay at their bickering. She had liked all their other ideas. Except this one. "Khayali pulao bana na band kariye aap dono. First you'll have to ask for Asad's permission. I don't know how he even allowed this to happen. He's so hyper about germs."
But she was secretly pleased about Asad's finickiness and crossed her fingers that he would say no. She wasn't too thrilled with Zaid being out among so many people. What if he got sick? Caught a virus? Zoya's enthusiasm had bulldozed over everyone's fears but Raziya really wasn't happy.
"Bhabhi, some time or the other he has to go out, na," Shireen had tried to pacifiy her.
"But why invite trouble? Is it necessary to take him out in the middle of all these people? Someome might have a cold--then what? Bechara mera bachcha, nanhi si jaan!"
She rattled off all possible medical ailments that people in Asad's office might be suffering from--there was that multi drug-resistant TB thing going around. She had seen all about it on Aamir Khan's show. Hepatitis, Dengue, AIDS, Swine Flu and god knows what other bugs floated in the air these days.
She had frowned at Anwar and Siddiqui Saheb as they dismissed her worries.
"Sar pe chadha kar rakha hai Zoya ko!" Raziya had mumbled as she trotted off to the kitchen.
She'd even rung up Dilshad to try to get her to put a stop to this nonsense. But apparently no one had the guts to stand up to Zoya's giggly tyranny.
Then she'd plotted to protect Zaid in other ways. Of course he would go to Asad's office armed with a dozen kala tikas behind his ear but she wanted something more concrete done.
"Dilshad, put haldi in his ajwain water and make sure he drinks the whole thing." She'd commanded in her sixth phone call that morning. "There's no point in telling Zoya. She'll only laugh at me."
Dilshad laughed too. Raziya had been mounting this protect-Zaid-from-epidemics campaign for about a week now. Even taking Zaid to the dargah would make her huff in annoyance.
Finally Raziya had called Asad to express her worries. Only he would be on her side and only he could tackle Zoya.
"Is anyone sick in your office?" She'd asked him and then interrogated him about a dozen other things. "What if people in their families are sick and they are carriers of a virus?"
"Umm, Aunty I can't control that."
"But you can control not taking your child to office," she'd muttered. "But no, nobody listens to me. Everybody only listens to Zoya rani and her lunatic ideas!"
Asad had prudently kept his mouth shut.
When even he seemed unaffected, she became teary-eyed. She'd heard so many horror stories of babies getting sick. What if something happened to Zaid?
"I understand your worries, Aunty," Asad had tried to comfort her. "OK, here's what I'll do. I'll have my office fumigated and bring in the best pest-control company."
"Haan, yeh theek hoga." At least he was taking her seriously unlike the others. "But the chemicals they use won't be safe for childre--" Fresh worries assaulted her.
"Good point. I'll make sure that we do it a week before and that they use the safest products."
On D-Day she had called several times to find out how Zaid was doing and had only just calmed down.
And now when she heard her husband's and Rashid's plans she felt the familiar panic return. Ya Allah! When would this craziness end? Why didn't any of them understand the perils? Kisi ki nazar lag jayegi.
"I told you this was a bad idea," she texted Asad. "You've unleashed a monster. Now your Abbu and Siddiqui Saheb are lining up to parade Zaid in their offices. You must put a stop to this! Immediately!"
Later that night, back at home, Zoya saw Asad grinning as he checked his messages.
"What's so funny?"
"You're in big trouble," he'd replied.
"Me? Why? What did I do?"
"Aunty thinks you've let a genie out of the bottle. Now both my Abbu and yours want to take Zaid to their offices."
Zoya slapped her head. Oh Shi*t. Aunty would really go nuts this time. It was hard enough getting her to agree to Zaid visiting Asad's office. She was sure that Aunty'd already complained about her at her Ammi's gravesite. Her angry mumblings about spoiling grown kids and exposing babies to man-eating bugs would only get louder. Raziya was so upset about this that she hadn't talked to Zoya for half a day.
Yikes, she had created a monster!
And the only one who could save them from this monster was Zaid. He would have to spend all day at Chhoti Nani's house now. And let's hope his cuteness would surgically laser-beam all her anxieties away. But Zoya knew, Aunty would get her revenge on her for sure with the badaam and ghee maalish.
Zoya looked down at her son who was romping on the bed with Dobby.
He looked up at her. These days he was trying to wiggle and roll back on to his stomach. Usually he ended up thumping his butt in frustration. She wagged her finger at him.
"You better not sneeze, or sniffle, or cough, OK mister? Or dude, Chhoti Nani will beat up Ammi!"
He clapped his hands.
"Oh really?" Even her son was conspiring against her.
And then he sneezed.
Oh no, Allah miyan, no, NO!
She was dead meat.
May be it was just a false alarm. May be Dobby's hair had tickled her son's nostrils. Please, please Allah miyan! All hell would break lose and the army of grandparents would swoop down on her and peck her brains out.
Zoya knelt by the bed and clasped her hands in prayer before her son. "Please baby, don't you dare do this to me!"
Zaid's neck whipped back from another sneeze. Looks like the little mister had a cold.
"What?" He came running from the closet at the panic in her voice.
"We are so dead."
Zoya was torn between delight and guilt. Knowing Asad and his track record of giving her the best surprises, she knew that her birthday celebration wasn't going to be as mundane as he was trying to convince her to believe.
But what was he planning?
The suspense was killing her. Last year she hadn't expected much because they were still being hunted by Tanveer, but he'd still outdone himself.
Oh my god, he'd remembered her silly husband wishlist.
"Main apki har wish poori karunga," he'd said long ago.
And he had. He'd knocked off number 1 and 3 her last birthday. The breakfast in bed had been sooo awesome! And the post-breakfast action wasn't too shabby either.
Fine, it wasn't the first time he'd done the breakfast thing, but it sure was a wonderful surprise. The first time he'd served her breakfast in bed was for one sehri at their first Eid together.
And because it was Jahanpanah we are talking about here, he'd been not just excellent at dishing out the food but also keeping the kitchen cleaner than she could have ever managed. It must have taken him some time to pull it off. She didn't even know when he'd left bed to get all the prep work done. For sure, she'd married a magician!
And since then, it had become a kind of ritual between them. For the first sehri, he always got her breakfast in bed.
Ooh, good job, 16-year old Zoya for thinking up such super ideas!
But then you grew up ... and sometimes those ideas were used against you.
Thanks to Aapi's intervention and trickery her husband did get her pizza in bed for these rituals now, but they were evil disguised pizzas: whole wheat, loaded with veggies, low-fat cheese, and wait for it, low salt.
Are you kidding me here?
No doubt they tasted great, but c'mon! She always had to doctor them with hot sauce and more cheese later, and bless his heart, Asad would let her get away with it.
But what he'd done on her birthday night last year, had taken her breath away. It was cold out, winter was just around the bend and Jahanpanah being Jahanpanah had obviously taken the weather forecast and cloudy night sky conditions into account. If the skies had been clear, Asad told her later, he had plans for them to camp out all night. He had sleeping bags and everything ready.
She didn't know when he could have had the time to do it but when they turned the lights out that night their room glowed suddenly and Zoya had gasped in wonder looking up at the ceiling.
He'd come up behind her to hold and whisper in her ear, "so, did your husband take care of wish number 3?"
"Yes, he did, and how!" She'd spread her arms and twirled under the night sky painted by her husband just for her. And then she'd rushed into his arms and buried her face in his chest.
"Zoya?" Asad worried that she was crying. And truth be told, she did feel a bit sniffly.
"Are you OK?"
"I'm better than OK. Because I'm the luckiest girl alive! Thank you for making me feel so special."
"Thank you for making my life special," he'd breathed and then she did cry. Just a little bit.
"No more tears," Asad told her. "Come," he held her hand to lead her to the bed, "lie down with me and we'll trace them together."
And what do you know, he must have looked at astronomical images and charts to get the constellations precisely right! Just like her Jahanpanah to be so meticulous--down to the last detail. Her favorite, Orion's belt was there, right over her head. Zoya had blown a kiss to her Ammi. And the big dipper and the little dipper mirrored each other on the opposite side with Polaris perfectly lined up between them. Aww.
Perfect. Just like her husband.
"Asad, this is beautiful. How long did you take to do this?"
"About 3 hours."
"But when did you do it?"
"This morning when you went to the dargah and your Ammi's side. I asked Ammi and Najma to delay you a bit."
Ah, that's why Najma had insisted on a mani-pedi regimen with all stops pulled out. It was to give her Bhaijaan the time to set up for the surprise. "You are pure genius, you know that!"
"I know," he'd smirked. And when she'd opened her mouth to scold him for being so full of himself he'd shut it for her. And gone on to do things that had her biting off moans and screams ...
She was convinced that Zaid had been conceived that night, right under the stars that her super thoughtful Akdu had planted and plucked for her.
In fact she'd gloated about it nine months later when Zaid was born--a day before his Abbu's birthday.
"Umm, Mr. Khan, I hope no one does the math, but looks like he was conceived on my birthday to be born a day before yours!"
"He's my son, Mrs. Khan. Is there any doubt that he wouldn't do the most logical and mathematical thing possible under the circumstances?"
Zoya had laughed even then. Nope. There was no doubt. No doubt at all. "You're right. He's chhotu Akdu after all!"
"I told you not to call him Chhotu!" Asad rolled his eyes. "Ever."
"But he's a mini-version of you!"
"Hmm ..." he'd growled softly, still dissatisfied and jealous: The name Akdu was just reserved for him. Besides, his son was way too cute to be Akdu.
She wandered into the backyard with the baby monitor in her hand. Zoya hugged herself at the memories of their birthdays, even more deeply knotted now thanks to Zaid Miyan.
Yes indeedy, Mr. Khan had made her last birthday very special--in more ways than one. And he'd kinda painted himself into a corner there--how would he ever be able to top that?
Exhilaration rippled through her. He would top it though, of that she was sure.
But then the guilt angel jumped hard on her shoulder--with cleats. Zoya, how could you be so greedy and ... and thoughtless? Asad is super busy these days! He leaves early, comes home late, how would he even have the time to plan something big?
She shivered and sighed into the night.
"Kya hua, mera cheetah?" Anwar came to sit by her side on the bench and cover her with a shawl.
Zaid had been put to bed after bedtime stories from his mom and dad followed by a long FaceTime good night peppered with lots of kissiyaan to his Abbu.
"Missing Asad? Does he always come this late?"
"Yes, I am missing him. But no, he started coming late only since last month. They've taken on a new project and run into some issues that he doesn't tell me about much."
"And your detective skills haven't been able to root it out?"
She smiled. "I've kinda been busy too. Jeeju." Zoya slipped her arm through his. "I wish you'd stay longer."
"I would love it too. But kya karein, jana hai." He had only stayed on to attend her birthday and would be leaving the day after.
She hated these cycles of short visits and long absences. Each parting grew harder to bear.
"But we'll still see each other everyday--thank god for Facetime! Kitni kaam ki cheez hai, hai na? I don't want to miss out on a minute of my little girl and Zaid growing up."
"Aur nahin to kya! You're still my little girl. So what if the braces have come off and you're the mother of a little boy now. I just wish you hadn't found your happiness so far away from home though."
After Jeeju left, she thought again of Asad's plans. Or at least the plans he was telling her about. He wanted to take her out for dinner. "Just us, I don't feel like sharing you with anyone," he'd said.
Aw, now what girl wouldn't melt after hearing that?
She wondered, not for the first time, if her dream had anything to do with these plans. Come to think of it there were some awesome benefits to that ridiculous phone-nikaah dream she'd had a few weeks ago. Asad staked his bold claim on her more often these days. He would grab her up in his arms all of a sudden and just hold her to him. One night he'd growled and whispered, "I'll tattoo my name on that body of yours ... with my teeth," and she'd just combusted, like, right there. Mmm mmm mm.
And he couldn't resist calling her Mrs. Khan or Mrs. Asad Ahmed Khan every few hours these days. Even his pillow talk was peppered with more possessive words: biwi, begum, wife. So much so, that she was missing him calling her, "babe." And if he had to get her to agree to anything these days, he'd always jerk his chin a millimeter and ask: "qubool hai?"
She loved it!
Who knew even stupid dreams could have such super rewards!
"Are you trying to seduce my subconscious mind into never having such dreams again?"
"Hmmm, you're on to my diabolical plans. Is it working?"
"I don't know. But can this daily drilling of nikaah vows really work?"
"If that drilling doesn't work I have other kinds of drilling tha--"
"Asad! You're so bad."
"You've made me this bad, Mrs. Khan. You've made my blood go mad. I'd chain you to me if I can help it and forbid you to answer any phone call unless it's from me!"
She laughed. "Umm, Mr. Khan ... you seem to have forgotten one important detail. In that dream, I was answering a call from you! And that's when the haan-haan' disaster happened!"
"So basically in your dream, it was still my fault that you got phone-married to someone else."
"Brilliant," he muttered. "I'm wrong even in her dreams. She messes up, and it's somehow my fault."
"Asad!" She kissed his cheek. "No, remember we decided long ago that you're my Mr. Right?"
"Good. Remember that. And I want every inch of your body to remember it too. Every cell, every nook and cranny, crease and crevice of your sleeping and waking mind must remember: that I will stamp out any stray dream your mind dares to dream with my mark and stain on you."
Zoya's breath caught and eyes misted. This was kinda the reaction she was hoping for when she'd first told him about that dream. But no, that night and the next day, Mr. Khan had been too busy laughing at her. Hmm, der aaye, duruust aaye, like Jeeju always said!
Asad grabbed her chin to force her to look at him. "If I could I'd wipe out the word, haan,' from your mental databases. But then I wouldn't be able to hear you say haan' to me, right?"
"Haan," she'd whispered. And added, "but if you want, I could just say qubool hai to you from now onwards!"
"Good girl! See, it's already working!"
But when he'd bent his head to suck her nipple hard and walk his fingers between her legs to dip and stroke and swirl and strum, her grateful body ... and blitzed-out mind had screamed "haan, haan," in a million myriad ways.
Oh god, may be Asad was right. They did need to be alone. She didn't want to share him with anyone either. And she couldn't wait for tomorrow to come already!
"Asad, you didn't have to make breakfast today!" Zoya scolded him the next morning, rosy with birthday anticipation and glee. She'd told him several times not to do so last night too. "Get a full night's rest. You don't have to do that!"
But a full night's rest hadn't been completely possible. Back home Aapi and Jeeju would wake her up at midnight by walking into her room singing the birthday song and carrying a birthday cupcake with a tiny lit candle. When she told Asad about that ritual he'd grumbled that he'd be too sleepy to follow in his in-law's footsteps.
And that they'd spoiled her rotten and set her expectations too high.
But then he'd grabbed her awake at midnight to rub against her and wish her happy birthday. "Babe, I'm your birthday cake and I have a candle for you to blow," he'd teased.
"Mr. Khan, you are so wick-ed!" she'd slapped his shoulders before dissolving into a giggling fit. Mmm, birthday laughs and birthday se*x were a great way to start a birthday.
Zoya looked down at the tray before her and smiled. "Pancakes? Yum!" She poked them around with a fork. She was pretty sure he'd made them even healthier somehow, besides the sliced bananas on top. Ah yes, right there: oats. Never mind. She loved oatmeal pancakes too. Just as long as no one rationed her syrup.
Asad dashed off to get ready for work as she dipped her finger in the syrup to give Zaid a taste.
Oh yes, he liked this. He smacked his lips and Dobby came up to sniff his face. Zaid batted him away and lifted his head toward his mama. He wanted more of that sweet and sticky thingie.
"Mmmummum mumumm," he babbled begging for more. His fingers tried to grasp her sleeve. She smeared more syrup on his lip.
"I've ordered a special delivery for you so make sure you stay home today," Asad called out from the closet.
"And something else for our date."
"Ooh! Can't you give me a hint?"
Asad came out and brushed her nose with a finger, "no."
"Not even a little one?"
He ignored her and picked up Zaid to play their goodbye game: A lot of belly and face kissies that made Zaid end up smelling like his dad. Hmm, Zaid would wonder why his Ammi kept her face buried in his hair half the morning.
The baby would giggle so much during this game that his face would turn all red and he'd be breathless with delight. And surprise, surprise. His daddy never minded the spit and slobber that got on to his cheek and collar--it was precious baby DNA transfer that even Akdu Jahanpanahs pardoned.
All day had been a giggle fest thanks to birthday wishes, calls, texts and gifts. Zoya's eyes sparkled brighter than any star her husband could pluck for her. But it was one gift she waited most for. And when it arrived she hugged it to her in awe. Just when she thought she knew everything about Jahanpanah, he surprised her yet again. She had no idea how he'd pulled it off.
"I got it," Zoya purred on the phone when he took her call.
"It's sensational! But how did you--? Why did you?"
Asad leaned back in his office chair. "I just wanted to see you in a dress. Take you to a special place ... that's why."
"But a dress? You'd be fine with me out in public in that?" Zoya ran her hand over the luxurious fabric. It was a deep, deep red ... redder than blood. She still needed to try it on but she knew the fitted column dress would hug her just right. The thinnest straps held its front and back together. Well, what was left of the back that is. So wearing a bra was definitely out. With cutouts for her shoulders to peep through, the long sheer sleeves made up for all the skin the backlessness would expose. And the slit in front that ended mid-thigh? Whoa, was Jahanpanah on bhaang or something?
"It'll be just for me."
She didn't question him anymore. Not even to ask how he was sure the dress would fit right. Who designed it? When did he even order it?
"I can't wait," she whispered. And knowing him she also knew that she wouldn't need to ask about how he'd arrange their rendezvous. How would she walk out the door without Ammi or Aapi or Jeeju seeing her dressed in this? And Zaid? What about Zaid?
"Zaid is going to Chhoti Nani's house. Nana will read him stories, Khala will sing to him, Phuphi will play peek-a-boo with him and Chachu will enact Zaid Miyan and Dobby Miya-oon ki rangeen duniya." Zoya counted off on his little fingers and kissed Zaid's toes as she got him ready for his special night out without his parents.
But damn, she felt guilty. She'd even texted Asad. "Should we really be away from him for so long?"
"He'll be fine. Zaid's a tiger. He'll still be going strong and everyone else will be asleep around him."
That was true. Zaid was a study in constant motion. Like the Energizer bunny, he kept going and going and going. If he ever stilled, it was because he was sleeping. Because when awake he wiggled and squirmed and rocked and shimmied trying endlessly to reach for things to touch and taste. God alone knows how much of a workout it would be to chase him around once he started walking.
"You be a good boy, OK?" Zoya kissed his tiny foot as she settled him in for a feeding. "I'm gonna miss you. Ammi loves you."
Zoya giggled. Zaid was really getting noisy these days as he fed with the greatest gusto. He smacked his lips and made such loud satisfied sounds that it was impossible to feed him anywhere else except behind a firmly closed door. Sometimes with music on.
She should have known that Asad wouldn't let her step out of the house in this dress! When he'd said that it was going to be just for him, he meant it. For his eyes only.
Her last birthday he'd taken three hours to scatter the stars on their ceiling. This year he was too busy to do any of the work himself so he'd outsourced it. Though when and how he'd arranged to have people sneak in and set up the terrace for some rooftop romance, she didn't know. And didn't want to know. Magicians were allowed their sleights of hand, showy diversions and trade secrets.
He'd taken a long time to admire her first. Zoya had burned under his gaze. And become shy.
"Look at me," Asad said.
She couldn't. Zoya shook her head, tongue-tied as a virgin on her suhaag raat. He pulled her to him.
"Happy birthday," he whispered in her ear before running his tongue over its shell.
She shivered, arching and clinging, expecting the birthday bash to be delayed.
But he led her out of their room, up the stairs to the roof where she let out a tiny gasp at the transformation. A million twinkling lights competed with the stars overhead. And the riot of colorfully draped silks and brocades, high-pile throw rugs and cushions would have made any emperor jealous. It could have been a little slice of Morocco or Istanbul's Grand Bazaar, or the inside of royal tent from the middle ages.
Smitten, Zoya let out a giggle. "Jeez Jahanpanah, you re-created a harem! And look at me--a 21st century feminist, and I absolutely LOVE it! No wonder you didn't want me to bring my phone. I won't be needing it cos. we'll be time-traveling!"
Asad laughed. "That, and because I got you something special."
"Something more special than this? You are spoiling me, you know!"
"I know." He took her hand and pulled something out from his coat pocket. Jewelry?
But no. He knew her too well after all. She bounced on her toes when she saw what it was. A perfect blend of the 21st and 17th centuries that her Jahanpanah was.
"The Apple Watch!"
He knew she'd been salivating over it ever since its release. He'd been scoffing at it so that she wouldn't pre-empt his gift and order one for herself.
"You are so devious," Zoya said as she allowed him to slip it on for her. "And so perfect." She slipped her arms around his neck not needing to go up on her toes as much thanks to those sinful heels.
They swayed in each other's arms. They had the world to themselves. Asad's hands spanned her waist to drag her closer. The dress fit perfectly over her curves. His hands traveled south to cup her bottom. "Good girl," he breathed as he felt no panty line. Thinking of that slit in the front made him harder.
She moaned. With a remote from his pocket he dimmed the lights before letting the cover of darkness cocoon them.
"So a 16 year-old girl just wanted to hold hands with her husband under the stars. Let's see what the older Zoya wants." Asad flung his arm out to embrace the night sky. "I ordered the stars for you, babe. Show me what you got."
"Oh god, Asad, don't put me on the spot like that! I have nothing. My mind is such mush right now. I can only feel you ... hot and hard against me, your hands on me under these stars ..." She ground against him rotating her hips sensuously.
"I'm already so wet for you. Can't you smell my heat?" She sighed.
He jerked in helpless arousal, "Zoya!"
She gripped his collar as she vined herself around him. "Say what Rumi would say on such a night. I can't remember his words ... if I could that's what I'd say too. And then touch me ... make love to me ... make me explode like a supernova that'll burn brighter than this galaxy."
"Mrs. Khan, you always make me do all the hard work," he teased but his voice was ragged with desire. "Your scorching science nerdtalk is burning me up ..."
"Shh," she placed a finger on his lips. "Woo me with some Rumi nerdtalk, please."
Zoya clung tighter to him and he sighed. His hands roamed her naked back molding her to him. She nuzzled his neck.
"The one about the moon knowing the night and being one."
His voice lowered. "The way the night knows itself with the moon, be that with me?"
"Yes, that one," she moaned. "I love it."
He twirled and spun her in a thousand circles and as she slammed into his chest he whispered in her ear again. "When someone mentions the gracefulness of the nightsky, climb up on the roof and dance and say, Like this."
"Like this," was all that Zoya could repeat after him as he spun and dipped her this time. Her nerve endings were on fire. The cool night air made her burn more.
When he straightened her she stroked his cheek. There was that one line from Rumi she did remember after all. "When lovers moan, they're telling our story... Like this," and she kissed him deeply as her leg took advantage of that voluptuous slit to slither up and hook over his thigh.
"That's my girl," he said as they came up for a breath and his hand crawled up her bare thigh. "I am a sky where spirits live," he continued. "Stare into this deepening blue, while the breeze says a secret.
She wiggled against him, hot and breathless from this poetic foreplay.
Unable to bear her heat against him any more Asad carried her to that gorgeous half-tent of silks and brocade, zari and satin to lower her into the whisper-soft cloud of bedding. He was quick to shed his clothes; but he wouldn't let her do the same. Asad couldn't resist a few more words from Rumi as he traced tiny kisses up her knee. "The stars will be watching us, and we will show them what it is to be a thin crescent moon. You and I unselfed, will be together."
"Like this," she cried out as she threw her head back to feel his electric mouth on her. Only when he'd exacted a shuddering orga*sm from her did he help her out of the dress. He wanted to see her longer in it; but he also wanted to see her naked body glowing under the stars.
"The way the night knows itself with the moon, be that with me," Asad repeated as he entered her after turning her over on her knees and elbows. He loved it best like this too. The rawness of this lovemaking allowed him to take her deeper and the sounds she made brought him too precariously close to the edge ... The struggle to rein in his undoing as he hastened hers was that much se*xier.
"Unselfed ... come undone for me ..." he gasped, straining at the effort to control himself.
A thin crescent moon ... be that with me ...
She got that now. Her fingers twitched on the silks as she felt him move deeper inside her ... impaling her ... filling her ... touching her womb. His hands steadied her hips as he powered into her ... thicker ... fuller. She felt stretched and ... yes, a thin crescent moon ... because they'd be wrapped so close into each other that they'd be one ...
No, even less than one ...
And the tremors came then, cascading over one another.
"Aaannh ... Asaadd ... I'm coming. I'm coming!"
The jealous stars winked down at their still bodies and thrashing hearts from a moonless sky. Noisy sub-lunary lovers must combust and flare ... and become seamless ... supernova ...
... like this.
"Do we have to?" she complained.
"Yes," Asad replied as he fixed his pants and started to button his cuffs.
She watched him dress under those stars. She was still naked and replete, unwilling to move or get dressed. She wanted to romp more on the bed of stars.
"But why?" As if asking him a lot of questions would dissuade him. But hey, it was her birthday still and may be she'd get away with it.
"Because they're waiting for us. Who knows, there may be more surprises for you on your birthday. The day's not done yet, babe."
Zoya huffed. Nice, using her own birthday against her. "But I wanted to spend more time here in the 17th century."
"We will. When we get back."
"Won't it be fun to watch everyone's faces if I walked in wearing this dress?"
"You wouldn't!" he yelped.
"Relax, Mr. Khan. I wouldn't do that to you, OK? Trust me."
"You behave, OK?"
"Or what will you do?"
"I'll ... I'll run downstairs naked!"
His eyes bugged. And then that slow smile curled his lips. "Do it."
"Allah miyan, what's wrong with you Mr. Khan?"
"Stop pretending to be a horrified virgin, Mrs. Khan. You know you want to do it!"
"Fine," she giggled and rose to totter on her heels which she'd still kept on during their lovemaking--those were the unwritten Jahanpanah rules.
She grabbed her tossed dress and slung it over her bare shoulder like a cowgirl. And then she marched to the door and down the stairs without holding the bannister. Asad followed close behind. At the landing, he couldn't bear it anymore. He scooped her up in his arms to carry her to their room.
Zoya smirked in victory. "Hah! Took you long enough!" she teased.
"I was taking in the delicious sights along the way."
"Mr. Khan, step out of the 17th century. I'm not a piece of scenery!"
"Yes, you are babe. Yes you are. More majestic than the Grand Canyon or the Niagara Falls."
Now how could a girl resist this hyperbole? She patted his cheek. "You must be deluded, or blind Mr. Khan, but I love you more for it!"
And another surprise did wait for her at the Siddiqui house. It was time for yet another family portrait.
Zaid had already starred a leading role with all his aunts and uncles and grandparents in at least a hundred professionally arranged photographs. Because everyone had also wanted individual shots with the little suited-booted Zaid.
And good boy that he was, he didn't fuss ... well except for that one time when he needed a change and his Khala did the honors of cleaning him up. Ayaan Chachu had tried to help but Khala had to throw him out of the room for being no help at all. And then there was also that one time when Zaid got snippy because, hello? Where was his Ammi? And Abbu? ABBU--
The fat tears that gathered in the corner of his eye and those quivering lips were heartbreaking.
Thank god that his Dadi had shushed him and then he'd beamed again when everyone sang his Abbu's song for him: "Zindagi ki yahi reet hai." This time Khala was really happy with Ayaan Chachu as he played the guitar.
Zaid flung his arms and legs in tune with the song fully aware of his pint-sized charm.
Who knew baby clothes came in tuxedos. And how did Anwar Nanu think of bringing this little thing for him all the way from New York? Looks like Nanu had a thing for suited cutie pies. First Big bear, now lil' Zaid ...
Most of the pictures were done. They were just waiting for the star's parents to complete the family picture. And when they came, a cheer went up; Zaid was the happiest to be reunited with them. A quick feed and re-bonding in a quiet corner in his Ammi's room as she apologized for abandoning him by giving him a thousand kisses ... and he was brand new again.
As they posed for the family portrait Zoya had loved to see her son chewing on his red bow tie even as Asad tried to grab it out of the tiny hands.
"Mr. Khan, let it be. I want him to be chewing on it in the picture. It's so cute! And those bow ties are so ridiculous anyways. I love my son's way better!"
Asad shook his head in rueful defeat. As much as he strived for perfection, his wife was an expert in imperfection. And her way seemed more playful, enchanting ... and kind of perfect in its own way.
It was anybody's guess as to who Zaid would take after.
And so that's how this 16X20 family portrait would look displayed in various houses in Bhopal and America: A gaggle of adults surrounding a Zaid munching happily on his bow tie. Only he would know how many kala tikas crowded behind his ear, if he could count that is. His Khala and Phuphis wanted to be by his feet as he sat enthroned in his dad's lap with his dimpling mom on their side.
She'd tell him later that it was her birthday that day when they took this picture. And that she was the only one who fought for his right to chew on his bow tie. Because bow ties were evil. And Zaid would grow up to protest perfect little bow ties all his life too. Because his mom was right. Well, mostly.
Ayaan Chachu flanked him on the right. Chachu didn't even know that he had Khala's lipstick on his collar. He blanched when Zaid pulled at the smeared collar--it looked good enough to eat.
Even Dobby was there, perched on Anwar's shoulder. He was also sporting a red bow tie that he'd happily love to chew on too. He had wanted to be on Asad's shoulder but had to settle for Nanu's instead.
But at least Dobby got to star as the trusty sidekick in some portraits of just Zaid Miyan and Dobby Miya-oon. Yes, wouldn't these pictures make great cover art for the comic books based on their adventures? Someone should give it some serious thought. It was money in the bank.
There was cake of course to cap off the festivities and Zaid even got a lick of the frosting. So did Dobby.
And Khala and Ayaan Chachu even performed a skit and a dance on "Pataka guddi" for his Ammi as Zaid clapped at "Ali, Ali, Ali, Ali," in the refrain before finally falling asleep in his Zeenat Nani's arms.
"Thak gaya, meri jaan," Raziya cooed.
"Thak nahin gaya, battery khatam ho gayi. Charge ho raha hai," Anwar added.
"iCloud pe backup kar raha hai," Humaira piped up.
"Are you sure it'll be OK?" Zoya whispered an hour or so later.
"Trust me," Asad said this time.
It was too late and thankfully not too cold. And he was prepared as he led her and a heavily bundled up Zaid to the terrace. The weather had cooperated perfectly and the stars aligned just right this year. Either Mr. Khan was really a magician and getting better each year, or may be it was all Zaid and his superpowers.
"Mr. Khan, if he catches a cold this time I'm telling everyone this was your idea!" Zoya said in a low growl.
Because the last time had been a bit of a scare.
Even though it was just a minor sniffle.
Still, the mom brigade had swooped down on them with a thousand gharelu nuskhas. Zoya had burst into tears when she saw Raziya. "You were right! I'm a horrible mom," she'd sobbed.
"Chupp, pagal! I'm the terrible mom," Raziya had hugged and soothed her. "Sirf chhota sa cold hai. He'll be fine. Sher hai hamara Zaid." And I've done so much worse, she'd thought to herself. I've been a terrible mom to you.
Zoya had felt better after that and done her own research into American pediatric solutions; Asad meanwhile went and purchased top of the line humidifiers and air purifiers. Lots of water and rest, vicks rubs, steamy air as per the doctor's instructions, and Zaid was good as new pretty soon thank you, Allah miyan!
Asad remoted the lights on and led them to that slice of 17th century. He held Zaid as she settled on the plush bedding and then handed him to her. Once she'd nestled the baby next to her Asad got in too and covered them with a heavy-duty rajai. He flicked the lights off.
"Oh god Asad, it's so beautiful," she sighed looking up at the stars.
"Mr. Khan!" she stage-whispered but with no real steam. She felt mellow and generous ... and just right. Like Goldilocks.
She turned on her side to hold a sleeping Zaid closer and dropped a kiss on his head which was covered with a hand-knitted cap his Dadi had made for him. This was heaven. Zoya moved her arm out of the rajai--she was already toasty by now--and pressed her palm against the baby's heart to feel his deep breathing ... dhak-dhak-dhak-dhak-dhak-dhak it played a steady beat.
Asad reached out his hand to cover hers.
With Zaid safely and snugly sandwiched between them, they nested high in the sky's velvety and zari wala embrace.
And they slept like babies.
It had been a long and perfect day, thank you Allah miyan.
Song in Title:
Slumdog Millionaire (2008): "Jai Ho"Edited by Klondy - 2015-12-22T09:37:39Z
Topic started by dixeij
Last replied by -jass-