THE TRIUMPH OF LOVE books and stories free download online pdf in English


The Triumph of Love

Written by Manu Peter

Thiruvanthapuram 2008

“Afreen, that’s not the way to talk to your Uppa. Can’t you see how tired he is ?

“But Umma…I need the money to buy a new lehenga to wear at Aisha’s mehndi ceremony…how many days I have been asking Uppa to give me the money so that I can do the shopping ? Tomorrow is the function and I will not go looking like a haggard…”

“Afreen, you are creating all this commotion just for a dress to wear at your friend’s wedding! Your Uppa’s health is of no concern to you ! When are you going to open your eyes and see the reality around you.”

“Asma, let her be. Give her the saved money so, that she can buy the dress”

“I will not give her the money. I have been saving it up so that we can see a specialist for your breathing problem. Ali, she has to understand the priorities in life. She is our only daughter and there is a lot that she has to learn from life”

“I am fine now. I haven’t had any issues for the past three days.”

“That’s because you haven’t been to work at the saw mill for the past three days. Otherwise you would be wheezing and coughing without rest.”

“I should have taken just a day’s rest. Now, we will have to borrow money at the end of the month to make ends meet.”

“I am sorry Uppa for troubling you. Its just that I was looking forward to wearing a new dress at the function. But, its okay, I can make some excuse and stay at home.”

“No dear, don’t worry about me. Asma, give her the money and choose for her a beautiful lehenga. I want my daughter to hold her head high wherever she goes.”, said Ali touching his beautiful green eyed daughter’s chin.

Asma finally relented, though halfheartedly.


At the shopping center, Afreen is just excited to see all the vibrant coloured lehengas and began choosing among the expensive ones. As she was taking few to the trial room, Asma stopped her,

“I hope you have seen the prices on these materials. Do you really need such expensive ones ? If we can buy a reasonable one, then I will still be able to take your Uppa to the hospital.”

“Umma, either I buy one of these or I stay at home, you can decide.”

“Afreen, If your Uppa hadn’t interfered, I would have never brought you here. Your reckless desires have blinded you. Its not the matter of a dress, it’s the matter of priorities. Your Uppa’s health should have been your priority. But you have made the situation such that even if I don’t buy you the dress, he will not come with me to see the doctor.”

“Well then, its settled, I am going to try the dresses and I am not going to come and parade before you because you might ask me to take the cheaper one, even if I don’t look beautiful in it.”

With these words, Afreen walked into the trial room and locked the door. Asma couldn’t understand how to explain to her daughter that one day she will have to hold the reins over her household expenses and attitudes such as these will never help her.

After sometime, Afreen came out and proceeded to the cash counter. With a heavy heart, Asma paid the bill with the money she had saved up with much difficulty, since past few months.


On the day of the function, Afreen got ready at home and when her Uppa got back from work, she ran to him to show her new dress and the matching kadas, jhumkas and necklace. Ali was so happy to see his little princess beaming with joy and called out for Asma.

“Look Asma, doesn’t she look beautiful in her dress ? And you know what, I think I have to start looking for a prince for my princess…she looks as exquisite as a bride…”

“Instead of a prince, why don’t you focus on looking for a down to earth boy with decent living and who has the ability to refuse our daughter when she makes unreasonable demands.”

“See Uppa, Umma always taunts me. She didn’t even comment once that I look beautiful in this dress.”

“Afreen, you look beautiful and…” there was a knock at the door. Her friends had come to go together to the mehndi function. She kissed her Uppa ‘good bye’ and left with her friends.

“Asma, you are very hard on her. She’s still a child.”

“No she’s not, as you said earlier, its time to look for a decent boy for her, before her desire for outwardly luxuries bring torment in her life.”


At the function, everyone commented on Afreen’s looks and dress, but her eyes were searching hither and thither for just one face. Suddenly, a strong pull and lo, he caught her in his arms. It was the arms of the one whom she had been longingly searching for…as they gazed at each other lovingly, she felt as though the whole world was just fading away and it was just them holding each other.

She pulled off and pushed him against the wall.

“Where were you Altaf ? Do you have any idea how long I have been searching for you ?”

“Exactly 1 hour and 15 mins…I was here before you came and was watching you the whole time.”

“What were you watching ?”

“The uneasiness on your face and especially your bold green eyes looking all over for was fun to watch.”

“If you had waited longer, I would have probably broken down in tears.”

“I know, that’s why I came down. So, what’s the plan, do you want to stay back for the function or let’s go for a bike ride in the city…”

Afreen smiled and poked at his cheek, “If you think that you can take me out alone before our marriage, then you are thoroughly mistaken. You told me that your mother will be coming for this function. Actually I got all dressed up to meet your mother.”

“Oh okay and I thought you were looking beautiful just for me. Well, she hasn’t come but, if you agree we can both go to my place and see her.”

Afreen sneered, “No way Altaf, but honestly, its disappointing that your mother is not here. You see, I bought this expensive dress just so that your mother will approve of me. My Umma had saved up the money to take Uppa to the hospital. His wheezing problem has not subsided yet. I had a tough time fighting with Umma to buy the dress.”

“Afreen, you didn’t have to go through all that trouble to impress my mother. I agree that my mother is used to her high status, but I don’t think she will disapprove my love.”

“I need a favour from you. Could you lend me some money to give my Umma, as I cannot return this dress?”

“No favours ! you can ask me anything you need…take this money and I think we should join the function now before someone realizes that we are missing.”


“Umma, I am back.”

“How was the function dear ?”

“It was good and everyone loved my dress. Umma, remember I told you that we presented a project at the college and won a cash award. Well, one of my teammates gave me my share of the money. Now I guess it should be enough to visit the doctor. I will also come with you both tomorrow.”

“Afreen, I don’t remember you talking about winning any project but I am glad that your friend was kind enough to return your share. We will go to the hospital tomorrow itself. Go to sleep dear and don’t feel bad that I scolded you for buying the dress.”


At the hospital

“Hi Altaf, what are you doing here ?”, asked Afreen who was excited to see him so unexpectedly.

“Actually I came to see a friend. He’s been admitted here since two days. Are these your parents?”

“Yes, Uppa Umma, this is Altaf. He’s a good friend of mine.”

“Hello Altaf, are you both studying in the same college ?”, asked Ali inquisitively.

“No Uncle, we met at a college festival. I am from Kannur and at times I come by Thiruvanthapuram for business needs.”

“What business do you do ?”, asked Asma

Just then the nurse called Ali’s name and they bid good bye to Altaf. While getting inside the doctor’s room, Afreen turned to Altaf who winked at her with a mischievous smile and gestured that he will call her in the evening.


Back at home

“Ali, the doctor insists that your wheezing will subside only if you stay away from the saw mill. What do we do? Can’t you ask the manager to let you assist in the office or maybe in the stores, away from the saw dust?”

“I was thinking just the same. I will try to talk to him tomorrow. Where is Afreen? I need to talk to her.”

Asma called out for Afreen, who came and sat beside her father. “Uppa, how are you feeling now?”

“I am fine dear. I am just concerned about you. That young guy whom we met at the hospital, how well do you know him?”

“Uppa, he is having his own business and belongs to the Aramanakal family at Kannur.”

“He is a good looking boy, but I need to know your feelings for him. You know that you can share everything with us. You are our only daughter and we don’t want to see you sad in the end.”

After hesitation, Afreen opened up to her father, “Uppa, I love him, atleast I think I love him. The thing is I haven’t been able to place my feelings for him. I yearn to see him and I feel safe when I am with him. But do these come down to love, I really don’t know. I know that he is interested in me and wish to marry me.”

“But dear, Aramanakal family is the most influential family in Kannur and why would they be interested in getting their heir married to the daughter of a saw mill labourer, have you ever thought about that?”, asked Ali

“Uppa, you have brought me up in the best manner you could. Now what I am about to say might sound harsh to you, I am tired of this life. I don’t want a luxurious life, but I want a life wherein I don’t have to think twice about spending the money in my purse. Altaf is the best choice I have in hand. His family will be able to provide me with everything that I have desired from life.”

“But Afreen, why would they want you as their daughter in law? Wouldn’t they prefer to have their son marry in to yet another influential family in Kerala? ”, asked Asma

“Altaf has promised me that he will talk to his parents for me. I trust him completely.”

“I really don’t know what to say to you Afreen, I just hope that he will never let you down. Go, get some sleep. Tomorrow morning I want you to call Altaf so that I can meet him.” said Ali.


Next day

“Afreen, Afreen, where are you ?” shouted Aisha

“What’s wrong Aisha? Why are you shouting?”

“We have to rush to the hospital. Come quickly.”

“But what happened ? Tell me.”

“Its your parents. They have met with an accident and my Uppa is the one who took them to the hospital.”

Afreen felt her head spinning around. Aisha had to drag her down the stairs and push her in to the car.

On the way to the hospital, Afreen had just one prayer in her mind, “Ya Allah, please don’t make me an orphan. I need my Uppa and Umma”

Once they reached the hospital, Afreen and Aisha rushed to the Operation Theatre from wherein the doctor emerged with a downcast face.

“We are sorry, we tried our best, but we couldn’t stop the internal bleeding.”

Afreen just slumped down on the hospital floor with a blank face. No tears, it was as though her heart was being squeezed so hard that she would burst anytime.

“Afreen dear, we are so sorry. I really wish we could have brought them a bit earlier to the hospital. Do you where they were going so early in the morning?” said Aisha’s father.

Altaf, remembered Afreen, they had gone to see him. I should call him. He is the only one I have in my life now and she burst out crying.


After the funeral prayers, Aisha’s parents asked Afreen to stay with them, but she refused and informed them that she has relatives in Kannur and will be staying with them.

“But Afreen, Ali had told me that he was an orphan and once he married your mother, she was disowned from her family for marrying an orphan. So which relatives are you talking about?” asked Aisha’s father.

“We have other relatives at Kannur. I have already contacted them and they are expecting me. Uncle I cannot bother you anymore and take advantage of your kindness. You have treated me like your own daughter and I am forever grateful, but now I must leave.” said Afreen.

Once she was out of their house, Aisha ran up to her “Afreen, did you call Altaf? Isn’t he the same guy you were speaking to at my Mehndi ? Do you really know this guy well ? When my Uppa asked me who he is, I just told him that he was a friend of yours. You didn’t even introduce us to him. Why isn’t he here to take you to his home? You are going to his place, right?”

“Yes, I have already contacted him. I couldn’t talk to him over the phone properly. The moment I heard his voice, I couldn’t stop myself from crying. I asked him to come, but his mother is seriously ill and he cannot leave the place. He told me to stay with you guys for few more days and then he can come himself to pick me up, but I have to see him as early as possible. I haven’t told him that I am going to his place. Once I reach Kannur, I will try to find his home. I heard that Aramanakal house is not difficult to find. Wish me luck Aisha and I will keep in touch.”

“I really can’t understand how you intend to reach his doorstep without informing him. I hope and pray that Allah be with you all the way and please do call me once you reach Kannur.”


Kannur 2008

Once Afreen reached Kannur by bus, she got into an autorickshaw and asked the driver if he knew how to go to the Aramanakal house. The driver seemed to be good natured and he looked a lot like her Uppa.

As they passed the Fort Road, Afreen decided it was time to call Altaf to let him know that she is in Kannur. Though the call kept ringing, no one answered at the other side and this worried Afreen. What if Altaf is not at home, what do I do ?

The autorickshaw stopped outside the Aramanakal house and she got down, two men approached the gate.

“Whom do you want to meet?” asked one of the men

“I am here to see Altaf’s mother. I heard that she is not well.”said Afreen

“You may come right in, Sahib’s mother is doing well now. Today is the day that everyone at Aramanakal house get together to provide a feast for the children from the Yateemkana. Sahib’s mother is the one in the white sari.”

Afreen approached the hall where hundreds of children were seated in rows with plates in front of them and men are rushing to serve them the hot dum chicken biryani. The chembu vessel is so heavy that three men are carrying it. The look on the children’s face brought a smile on Afreen’s face, then a truth dawned over her mind that she too is an orphan. Just then a hand touched her and it seemed to be Altaf’s mother (based on what the man at the gate told her)…

“Who are you dear?”

“Salaam Umma, I am here to see Altaf’s mother.”

“I am Altaf’s mother. How do you know him?”

“Umma, I had met Altaf in Thiruvanthapuram and…”

“And ?” asked Altaf’s mother

Afreen bowed her head down and said in a shivering tone,“ I wish to marry him.”

Altaf’s mother Ranabibi was taken aback by her words. She had an instant liking to the green eyed beautiful girl standing with her head down in front of her, but…

“What’s your name dear? Where are you from? And your parents?”

“My name is Afreen from Thiruvanthapuram and I am an orphan. I lost my parents in an accident two days back and I have nowhere to go. I plead your kindness, please do not send me away” cried Afreen holding the hands of Ranabibi.

By then the rest of the ladies of the house had gathered around Afreen each asking a question of their own. Finally Ranabibi asked one of the aunts to take Afreen inside the house and let her take rest.

Afreen had a good bath and once dressed, she called up Aisha to inform her that she is now in the Aramanakal house. Just then there was a knock at her door. Afreen opened and there was a bunch of giggling girls at the door. The eldest one who looked around 16-17 years old came forward and just stared in awe at her.

“Your eyes are so beautiful…we are Altaf-ikka’s cousins… our moms were talking about a Houri who has come for our dear Ikka, so we thought to check you out. You are just perfect for our Ikka.”

“Is Altaf around? I need to see him.” said Afreen

“No, he’s not here. He’s gone to Kozhikode and will be back by tonight. Do you know that hot enraged discussions are being made downstairs as to what to do with you? Everybody is confused with the whole situation.”

As the girls left, Afreen sat on the bed thinking if only Altaf was here to help me.


Later that evening, Ranabibi came to Afreen’s room with the elders of the house. Afreen couldn’t even raise her head to look at them. She was filled with fear as to what they are about to say. Ranabibi came forward and touched her shoulder to ease her shiver.

“Afreen, the Aramanakal house has never closed its door on the face of the needy. We have always followed the words of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) and meted good treatment towards orphans. Since you sought for protection by way of marriage, we have decided to solemnize your nikaah with Altaf by tomorrow itself. I will talk to him myself. Take rest and we will see you tomorrow at breakfast. Do not be afraid, you are now one among us.”

Afreen couldn’t sleep that night. Everything was going so fast and though she was continuously trying to call Altaf, he was not answering her phone. Maybe he wants to surprise me…with this thought, she closed her eyes and dozed off…


Altaf came home very late at night. Ranabibi was waiting for her son in her room to talk to him. After dinner, Altaf went to his mother’s room to bid good night. As she was talking to him, there was heavy rain outside.

“I agree, Umma” were the words spoken by Altaf without any hesitation. Such was his confidence in his mother’s decisions. After his father’s demise, his mother refused a second marriage for fear that he will be neglected by her new relations. So, she single handedly raised him after overcoming all obstacles. Altaf considered his mother’s words as most important.

He returned to his room, but couldn’t sleep. He had to see her, so he tiptoed out of his room and went down to Afreen’s room. There by the window he could see her sound asleep and she looked so beautiful. Her hair fell over her face and how he wished he could touch her face. He stood by the window smiling for some time and went up to his room: tomorrow, you will be sleeping by my side in our bed.


Next day morning, Afreen came down to the dining hall for breakfast. Ranabibi asked her to sit and went inside the kitchen. Afreen’s eyes were searching all along the long dining table for Altaf, but didn’t see him. She decided to go to the kitchen to help out.

On the way, she bumped into a guy. She was about to fall and he caught her just in time. Their eyes met. He had an intense look, but very honest looking eyes. He held her strongly against his torso with his left hand. They looked at each other and the whole world just seemed to melt away. Afreen literally had to break free from his hold and stood slightly away from him. “Are you okay? Did you sleep well?” asked the guy in such a bold voice, “and why aren’t you sitting down for breakfast?”

Afreen was startled at the question. She fumbled with her words, “Yes thank you, I will sit with Umma.” The guy smiled at her warmingly and proceeded to the dining hall. Afreen’s eyes couldn’t help but follow him all the way to the hall. Suddenly he turned to look at her which made her feel very uneasy and she quickly ran to the kitchen.

The maids at the kitchen did not let her enter, “No dear, you still have time. Once you have become our Sahib’s biwi, the kitchen will be your dominion. Till then, you can steal few glances from our Sahib.”

“But I didn’t see Altaf all morning”

“He is standing by the door with Arbaaz near the verandah. Take care that you don’t talk to him in front of the elders. They might make a huge commotion.”

“Okay I will take care…” said Afreen and ran towards the verandah. There she saw Altaf talking to the guy who bumped her outside the hall. She waved at Altaf, who responded by winking and then suddenly the other guy turned around and saw her. He smiled at her. She didn’t know whether to smile or not and decided to move away.

The ladies of the house took breakfast together and she joined them. One of the girls who had come to her room yesterday asked her if she saw Altaf.

“Just a glance, that’s all. I forgot to ask your name”

“Rubina, that’s my name. Why just a glance? Was he with someone?”

“Yes, he was talking to some Arbaaz.”

“Arbaazikka is your darling’s favorite cousin.”

Just then Ranabibi informed that the henna designer will be coming before afternoon and the nikaah ceremony will commence by this evening. The dressmaker will be coming in the morning itself for the wedding dresses and the decorators have already started with the decoration work around the house.

Afreen was excited at the pace at which the preparations were going on. She longed to have a word with Altaf, but he always seemed to slip away. Maybe he is purposely trying to stay away to avoid the scoldings from the elders.


As Afreen was checking out the saris in front of the mirror, the guy who bumped her (Arbaaz) was watching her from behind the window. He started gesturing at her on which sari suits her and which doesn’t. Afreen was feeling irritated, though his choices seemed to match hers. Finally, she decided to take a vermillion red sari with beautiful golden embroidery work. He smiled at her and walked away. Afreen moved towards the window, Why can’t Altaf come to see me like this guy does? And why is this guy roaming around me always ?

While walking away he turned around to look at her, suddenly he slipped and fell down. Afreen ran to him and helped him to get up. At that moment, she realized that his right arm was paralysed. With difficulty, she put his arm behind her and pulled him up. Once he got up, they looked at each other and then he broke the silence, “Were you looking at me ? I think its your eye that caused me to slip and fall.”

Afreen stared at him How dare he accuse me.

“Well if you are expecting thanks from my side, then I know a better way to express my thanks. Actions speak louder than words. Have patience. By the way are you too comfortable in my arm that you don’t hear your name being called out ?”

Afreen moved away from him. He does have a very lovely smile, but alas! His arm…


The qazi was on time and the nikaah ceremony commenced. After the groom expressed his acceptance three times, one of the cousins came to Afreen who was sitting with the ladies inside to seek her acceptance. She uttered the word “Qabul” three times and signed the marriage contract. Everyone started congratulating her and she was led to Altaf’s room by his cousins and aunts.

The room was decorated beautifully with roses and jasmine garlands. The entire room was filled with the enticing fragrance of sandalwood incense sticks. There were different fruits on the platter beside the bed.

She sat on the bed and made a silent prayer : Uppa and Umma, I really wish you were with me by my side. Please pray for me so that I will be able to fulfill my responsibilities as a good wife and daughter of this house.

Just then the door opened and her husband entered their room. He shut the door behind him and sat next to Afreen. She was sitting on the bed with the veil over her head. He slowly lifted the veil and she shut her eyes tightly.

“Afreen, let me see the emeralds in your eyes that had mesmerized me the whole day.”

That voice, its not Altaf’s, then who is…

Afreen opened her eyes wide and saw that it was that guy whom she met in the morning.

“What are you doing in my room?” asked Afreen getting down from the bed.

“Where else would I be Mrs. Afreen Altaf Aramanakal? Why do you look so surprised?” asked Altaf.

He took her hand, held against his chest and said “You know, today morning when I met you, I was totally baffled as to why such a beautiful girl like you would want to marry a disabled person like me. Afreen, I assure you that you don’t have to feel a bit worried here and you will be well taken care of. My family adores me and you will also be the apple of their eye.”

There was a knock on the door, “Altaf dear open the door.” It was Ranabibi with a glass of hot saffron almond milk. She placed it on the table and turned towards both Altaf and Afreen,“This is for both of you. May the sweetness in the milk bring the same in your lives.”

“Thanks Umma.” said Altaf and closed the door behind him.

What is happening here? If he is Altaf, then who is… why would he give me a wrong name? how do I tell this guy what happened ? I am legally married to him now. I can’t understand what is happening. My head is spinning…Afreen was about to fall when Altaf caught her and placed her on the bed.

“What happened to you? Here, have some milk.” said Altaf

Afreen drank a bit and Altaf finished it off. “Sleep well, we can talk tomorrow.” and he laid beside her on the bed.

Afreen couldn’t sleep and just then she felt his hand on her shoulder. She couldn’t resist him, what reason could she give ? He turned her to face him and he kissed her on her forehead. “This is my way of saying thanks. Sleep tight.” and he switched off the lights.


In the morning, Afreen sat up on the bed and looked around for Altaf. Eventually she found him exercising outside their balcony. He was a sight to look at, while doing the push ups on the floor with one hand. He noticed her standing near and got up. Altaf moved towards her and reached out for his towel which he swung over his shoulder.

“How did you sleep?” asked Altaf. Afreen just mumbled ‘good’ and turned around to go back to their room. He pulled her close to him and kissed her on her cheek “Good morning”. She just couldn’t react other than stand numb in front of him and swoon over his mesmerizing smile.

She pulled away from him and ran back to the room. Ya Allah what is happening? what do I do? He is so nice to me, but I cannot commit till I understand what is going on…Why hasn’t Arbaaz tried to see me, why did he tell me that his name is Altaf, I have so many questions to ask..I better take a shower and get to the kitchen before Altaf is back.


After the shower, as she was combing her hair in front of the mirror, Altaf came from behind her and rested his face on her shoulder. The way he looked at her was just enchanting. He turned her to face him. Her eyes were brimmed with tears, just waiting to trickle down her face.

“Afreen why are you sad ? Tell me, what’s wrong ? You asked for this marriage and yet you seem as though you are not happy. Your silence is killing me.”

“I have to go to the kitchen”

“No, you don’t have to. Nobody will question you if you don’t go to the kitchen. Sit down and tell me why you are upset. I will not let you leave till you answer my question.”

“You need to get ready for breakfast. The elders will be waiting for you.”

“No Afreen, I need an answer, everything else will wait.”

He will not let me go easily without a reply, what do I tell him “I don’t know what to tell you. I feel fine.”

Altaf turned away from her and said “Afreen, there is something that you have to understand about me. I detest lies and liars. I may forgive, but I never forget when someone has hurt me. In this family, my word is sought to end every little squabble. That should make you understand how much the family reveres me.” His words pierced through her and the way he held his head high made her realize that the moment he comes to know about the relationship with his cousin, he might never forgive her.

Altaf looked at her and asked again, “Tell me, is there anything that you want to talk to me?”

Afreen shook her head sadly and went out of the room. What will I tell him ? It does not seem right if I say something before talking to Arbaaz.


At the dining hall,

Altaf kept refusing every dish that Afreen tried to serve him. “Why aren’t you taking any breakfast Altaf? Aren’t you hungry?”

“No Aunty, I don’t feel hungry. Rubina, please pass me the tea.” Afreen did not dare touch the tea cup for fear that he might just get up and go.

She went in to the room while he was getting ready and asked, “Why didn’t you eat anything?”

“Because you were serving them.” he replied coldly, “There is something in your mind that you are not telling me and I cannot stand that. Once you feel that you can trust me completely, only then come near me. Right now, get out of my room and don’t come back while I am here.”

Afreen couldn’t believe what she was hearing and ran out of the room. She stayed outside till he left for work. I have to talk to Arbaaz, I cannot go looking for him, what will the family think about me.

She was about to close the door when a hand stopped her. It was Arbaaz. Finally, he decided to show up.

“What is happening here? Is your name Arbaaz, then why did you tell me that your name was Altaf? What is the meaning of this whole drama ?” asked Afreen

“Oh my dear Afreen, you look so beautiful, even when you are upset. Let me enter the room or would you prefer that I do the explaining outside the door.”

Afreen moved out of the way and Arbaaz entered the room. He turned to her and asked, “So how was your first night with Altaf? I am sure it was uneventful. He is a godly guy, he would never force himself on anyone.”

“You are right, he is a nice person.”

“Oh please don’t tell me that you are falling for the one handed fool.” said Arbaaz in a sarcastic tone.

What is wrong with this guy ? why does he sound so cruel? He is not the same person who used to visit me back home.

“What are you thinking so hard? Is it regarding the names? Well, you have guessed right about the names. It was just a part of my conniving plan. You see, after Altaf’s father died, my father was supposed to have the control over the finances and assets of the Aramanakal family, but none of the elders supported my father due to his spendthrift nature. Everyone wanted Altaf to take over. That one handed fool obliged to the wishes of the elders and we were left with nothing. Every penny that we need, we had to get his approval. His confidence and perseverance won over our suppliers and bankers and slowly even the elders started seeking his suggestions over every single issue. It was too much for me to handle. I decided to break his confidence in himself. I knew that his umma was looking for a suitable to get him married, but who would agree to marry a one handed fellow, despite his good looks. It was getting close to impossible to get him a suitable girl from a respectable family. That’s when I met you. I knew that you saw me as a good catch and played along.” But, the shock was the demise of your parents and you coming here all of a sudden. Why do you think the elders agreed for your marriage with Altaf? You are good looking and a Yateem. They carried out the nikaah under the pretence that we have given a life to an orphan. But you surprised me when you stayed yesterday night with Altaf without any drama, though you understood that something was wrong.”, said Arbaaz

“I was too shocked to react. How could you be so heartless ? Altaf considers you more than a brother and you were cooking up devious plans behind his back. How inconsiderate and cruel!”, screamed Afreen

“More than a brother ! Are you joking? He is friendly with me because he knows that I am a threat to his position, that’s all. You have actually ruined my plans. I was expecting his downfall yesterday night itself. I was hoping that you would scream and bring the whole household down and finally you would annul your marriage with Altaf because he is disabled. That would have killed the confidence in him and he would never be able to show his face again to anyone. But you kept quiet and I still can’t understand why.”

“I kept quiet because I felt a sense of sincerity in Altaf’s voice and he was decent enough to give me my space yesterday night. Honestly Arbaaz, I am happy that we didn’t end up together. I cannot imagine spending my life with someone so cruel. Stay away from me, Arbaaz. I don’t ever want to see your face again.”

“Oh how so naïve! did you really think that I would just let you enjoy your life after ruining my plans? Either you tell Altaf about us and annul the marriage or I will tell him and you can be sure that if I am the one who is going to do the talking, then I would make sure that he would despise you. It’s your choice, but I need an answer.”, said Arbaaz.

Ya Allah ! what do I do? How do I get rid of him? What if someone comes to the room and sees us together? I can hear foot steps, who would it be…

“Arbaaz, someone is coming. Please go. I don’t have anywhere else to go, please don’t ruin my life.”

“Oh Afreen, You will always have me. Just get out from this marriage and I will be waiting for you.”

Arbaaz stepped out of the room and went away, just then Altaf came in. “Who was that?” asked Altaf.

“It was Arbaaz, he was looking for you.”

“He walked right in to our room looking for me ? Why? Didn’t you ask him?”


“Why would you want to know why he is looking for me? You will want to know only if you care about me, which you don’t. What are you still doing here? Didn’t I tell you that you shouldn’t be here when I’m here?”

Afreen wanted to tell him the truth, but something in her stopped her from doing so. She felt that the time is not right to talk to him and walked out without saying a word.

After Afreen left, Altaf couldn’t hold back his emotions What is she hiding from me? I can read from her eyes that she wants to tell me something. She doesn’t dislike me, but she is holding back her feelings, why? I have to find out.


“Umma, shall I help?”, asked Afreen while standing outside the kitchen.

“No dear, I too am not doing much. Look here everyone, this is Afreen our youngest bibi. Afreen, all of them have been helping us out with for the past many years. Is Altaf back?”

“Yes, he’s back.”

“Didn’t he ask you for tea?”

“No, shall I make his tea?”

“Of course dear, if you want to make something special for your husband, you may do so. Remember the way to a man’s heart is by giving him good and tasty food.”,said Rananbibi lovingly.

“But what if we don’t know how to prepare tasty food?” asked Afreen naughtily.

“Mmmm, food is just a means to get to your husband’s heart. Nothing beats true and selfless love. Moreover this love should be expressed. What is the whole point in keeping your love within yourself?”

“Umma, I have made a cup for you too.”

“The tea smells good, did you put cardamom in it?”

“Yes, I hope he will like it.”

“Just offer the tea with a smile and he will love it. He is a simple person dear. Just take good care of him. Its your responsibility now.”

Afreen smiled at Umma and walked out. As she knocked the door, Altaf opened and she offered the cup of tea with a smile. He took a sip and asked if she made the tea. Afreen thought for a moment and said “No, Umma made it. Good?”

“How would it not be good? Umma made it with love and thus it tastes excellent. But how would you know about love?”

Afreen smiled at him and stood outside the door till he finished the tea. It is so lovely to see how much he adores his mother. The way he looks at me while taking sips is enchanting. I truly feel that he likes me too much. I will not hurt him as Arbaaz has asked. I should find a way to tell him everything.

She collected the cup from him and walked to the kitchen. She has such lovely eyes, but they are hiding something.


“Umma, what happened to Altaf’s arm? Was it like this from birth?”

“No dear, it happened after a terrible accident which we have not yet been able to forget. Altaf had a sister Alifiyah, who was three years younger to him. She was very fond of him and they never left each other’s side. He was very protective of her and used to fight with everyone who tried to trouble her. They were both like beautiful butterflies, always flying around the whole house. One day, the driver was bringing both of them from school and our car collided with a truck. Altaf was just ten years old at that time. The driver and Alifiyah died instantly. People who gathered around the car pulled out Altaf, but his right hand was held by Alifiyah. She held his hand so tightly that the people forced to release his hand. He was screaming hysterically to pull his sister out and violently kicked back everyone who held him in place so that he doesn’t try to get back in the overturned car. By then, the ambulance came and took the bodies away. Altaf became unconscious on seeing Alifiyah covered in blood. When we reached the hospital, Altaf was restrained to the bed because he was being difficult to control. I sat beside him the whole night. He woke up before me in the morning and was staring at his right hand. I tried to make him understand that Allah wanted Alifiyah to adorn His bountiful garden and we should be happy that she is in a better place. Can you imagine my situation where I didn’t have the privilege to mourn for my darling daughter of seven years, as I was trying hard not to lose my son who was at the verge of insanity?”

“It must have been so hard Umma. When I lost my parents, I didn’t have anyone to console me except my friend and her family. I lost everything at that moment and felt so lonely in this world. I too consoled myself saying that my parents are in a better place than I am.”

“You don’t have to feel lonely anymore. You have us in your life.”

“I know Umma, that’s a blessing from Allah. So, Altaf lost his arm in the accident?”

“Yes, after that Altaf’s uncle took to him to a specialist, took several scans, x-rays and finally informed us that he will never be able to revive his arm due to some internal nerve injury.”

“Was that Arbaaz’s father who took Altaf to the hospital?”

“Yes, why?”

Ya Allah, if Arbaaz’s father is the one who took Altaf to the hospital, then whatever he said cannot be trusted. From Arabaaz’s conversation, it is obvious that his father too would have done anything to secure his position in the family. It will be good if I can get my hands on those reports and show them to Aisha’s father.

“Umma, do you still have those reports and x-rays with you?”

“Yes, but why are you asking for those?”

“My friend’s dad is a neurologist; maybe both of us can go to meet him on day with all these reports.”

“But why dear?”

“I have few doubts, please trust me. Can we go together tomorrow to my place? I assure you that we can come back before evening. Please Umma.”

“Okay, but don’t forget to inform Altaf that we will be going early tomorrow.”

“No, we cannot tell him now. I will tell that we will be going for shopping.”

“I can’t understand why the secrecy, but its okay.”


In the evening,

“Aisha, I will tell you everything tomorrow. Just please ask you father not to go to work before seeing me. I will be coming with Altaf’s mom and we have to return before evening.”

“No problem, I will take care of things here. It will be so good to see you after so many days. Bye.”

Where is Altaf? Its late and he hasn’t come to the room yet.

As she was going out to search for Altaf, he came inside. “Where are you going in the middle of the night?” asked Altaf.

“I was coming to look for you.”

“Why? Is there something that you want to tell me?”

“Yes, Umma and myself will be going out tomorrow for shopping. Is there anything that you would like me to buy for you?” asked Afreen

“No, I just want to know what it is that you are hiding from me. Don’t deny it.”

Afreen just kept quiet and when she reached a point where she could no longer bear his stare, she pointed at the bed and asked “may I go to sleep?”

Altaf nodded and watched as she got on to the bed and laid down.

By the time he came back after changing his clothes, she was sound asleep. He closed the door and laid beside her. He turned to her side and slept off while gazing at her lovely face lit by the moonlight.


Next day morning,

Afreen woke up hearing the alarm go off. She remembered that they have to go to meet Aisha’s father. As she was getting up, she noticed that Altaf had his left arm around her waist while still sleeping.

She looked at him lovingly, and slowly lifted his hand and placed on the bed. She dressed quickly, grabbed the reports and went outside.

Umma was waiting for her in the car and they left for Thiruvanthapuram.

Altaf woke up hearing the sound of the vehicle and remembered what Afreen told him yesterday. Why did they have to go so early for shopping? This girl will slowly drive me nuts.


At Aisha’s house,

“I have gone through the reports and from what you have told me about the accident, I strongly believe that Altaf is suffering from a psychological condition called Conversion disorder wherein a person loses abilities such as seeing, hearing, or speaking or becomes paralyzed with no medical explanation. It arises due to some traumatic or stressful experience.”

“You mean there is nothing wrong with his arm and it is just a psychological hindrance.”

“Exactly, there is physically nothing wrong in his arm; everything was normal as per these reports.”

“So, how do we revive his arm? What should we do?”

“I believe Afreen is the one who should actually try to accomplish that. He should go through a similar traumatic experience and it should pressurize him to use his arm. I can provide you with few tips.”

“I still cannot believe why Altaf’s uncle would tell us that his arm would never be revived.”

“Uppa, tea is served. Afreen, come, I will show you my Mehndi photo album.”

Ranabibi also was looking at the pictures and suddenly gave a startled look when she saw a picture of Afreen and Arbaaz together. She looked at Afreen inquisitively.

“Umma I will explain everything.”

Afreen spoke to Ranabibi in front of Aisha and her parents. She explained to her everything from the day she met Arbaaz, how he told her that his name was Altaf, how she came to Aramanakal house after her parents demise, Arbaaz’s conversation with her yesterday morning where he explained how he wanted to ruin Altaf’s life and how he wanted to use her to accomplish his task.

“Umma, the moment you told me that Arbaaz’s father is the one who took Altaf to the hospital, I had my doubts that there must be some evil ploy in everything. I even doubt if the accident was pre-planned to get rid of Altaf and Alifiyah, thus to emotionally weaken Altaf’s Uppa.”

Ranabibi, who always stayed strong in every predicament, broke down and sobbed uncontrollably. Afreen hugged her tightly and said “Don’t worry Umma, I love Altaf and will not let anything happen to him as long as Allah permits me to live. I will also try my best to bring back life to his arm. He will hug you with both arms. But please promise me that till then, nobody will come to know about any of this. ” cried Afreen.

Both Ranabibi and Afreen bid good bye to Aisha’s family and left for home.


At home,

By the time Afreen reached back, Altaf was already at home.

As she entered their room, he asked her angrily “Where did you guys go? Don’t you have a mobile? Why didn’t you call to tell that..? Before he could finish his sentence, Afreen ran to him and hugged him tightly. “I love you very much.”

He touched her chin and raised her face towards him

“What did you say?” asked Altaf

“I said I love you very much and want to spend the rest of my life happily with you.” said Afreen shyly.

He leaned forward to kiss her, but stopped himself “why this change of heart?”

“I didn’t know what a gem of a person you are. I sincerely mean it, I love you very much and I want your love in my life. I don’t have anyone else, Altaf.”

“I fell in love with you the moment I saw you that night before our marriage, but was heartbroken when I realized that you didn’t love me, though Umma told me that you told her you wished to marry me. That’s when I understood there is some other story lurking behind those lovely eyes of yours. Till you tell me what that is, I will not be able to love you.”

Afreen moved back from him and went out of the room. I know I have hurt her, but she has to tell me what it is that she is keeping away from me.


In the evening,

“Altaf, why haven’t you come down for dinner?

“I am not hungry Umma.”

“Are you okay, son? Do you need something?”

“Umma, can you please send for me a cup of that special tea you made yesterday?”

Ranabibi smiled and said “I didn’t make it, your wife made it; she wanted to make for you something special and so prepared the cardamom tea. It was absolutely refreshing, wasn’t it?”

Afreen made it, but then why did she say that Umma made the tea?

“Did Afreen tell you that I made the tea?”

“Yea, I think I heard like that.”

“Okay then, I will ask Afreen to bring you the tea.” said Ranabibi and walked away.

After sometime, Afreen came in with the tea.

“Close the door behind you.”

Afreen kept the cup down and closed the door. She lifted the cup and gave to Altaf. “So, who made this tea?”

“I did.”

“How about last time?”

“I had made it last time too.”

“Hmmmm, how come the sudden burst of confidence?”

“The confidence is due to my hard core trust in your love for me.”

Altaf was amused at her words. “Did you have dinner?”

“No, I too am not hungry.”

“Would you like to have some of the tea?”

“No, it wouldn’t be enough for you.”

Altaf handed the saucer to Afreen and poured out some tea in to the saucer. “If you have the will, then the way opens up for you” said Altaf smilingly.

They shared the tea and Altaf asked Afreen if she wanted to go up to the terrace, “Whenever I don’t feel sleepy, I go up to the terrace to sit for a while.”


At the terrace,

“Look at the stars, they look so beautiful.”

“Not as beautiful as the stars in your eyes.”

Altaf and Afreen gazed at eachother lovingly and suddenly Altaf turned away his face. “Afreen do you trust me?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Then tell me what is it that you are hiding in your heart from me?”

Afreen turned him to face her and asked “After hearing what I have to say, will you abandon me?”

“Never. That’s my word.”

“I trust you”. Afreen started off from the day she met Arbaaz, how he told her that his name was Altaf, how she came to Aramanakal house after her parents demise, Arbaaz’s conversation with her yesterday morning where he explained how he wanted to ruin Altaf’s life and how he wanted to use her to accomplish his task.

“Stop it Afreen! What do you think about yourself? I love Arbaaz more than a brother. He would never do this to me.” shouted Altaf.

“Altaf, today morning Umma and myself, we went to my friend’s house and there Umma saw a picture of myself and Arbaaz together attending my friend’s Mehndi ceremony. She knows him as Altaf because that’s how introduced himself to us the first time.”

Altaf curled up his fist and spoke to Afreen angrily, “I cannot believe one word that you say, the day of our marriage, Arbaaz was talking to me that someone had come out of the blue and has asked to stay here. If he knew you, why wouldn’t he say that he knew you? You said that Umma knows about this, I will talk to her and if she says anything differently, then May God help you.” He stormed away in fury.

Afreen went down to their room and lay in the bed thinking what is going to happen next. .


“Umma, what is Afreen talking about?” shouted Arbaaz

“Calm down son and close the door behind you.”

“I just can’t believe all this. How can Arbaaz even think like this?”

“I can understand your predicament. But one thing is true, they knew each other before because I saw a picture with both of them together. I am still baffled as to how cruel and cunning your uncle must be to hide from us the truth that your arm doesn’t have any permanent internal injuries.”

Altaf jumped up from his chair “What do you mean Umma? Where did uncle come in all this?”

“Oh Didn’t Afreen tell you ? She took me to her friend’s father who is a neurologist. He went through all the reports and told us that your arm is healthy and it doesn’t have any permanent injuries. He added that the trauma has caused a mental block in your mind and because of this yo feel that your arm is paralysed.”

“So, does that mean my arm can be revived again?” asked Altaf hopingly

“Yes dear, infact Afreen has promised me that she will help you in bringing the life back to your arm. Till then she has asked me to promise not to reveal anything to anyone. Altaf, you have to pay more attention in the accounts and other affairs of the house, especially when dealing with your uncle’s family. Keep Arbaaz away at an arm’s length and whatever story he tries to concut about your wife, don’t believe them till you confirm the same with Afreen. I think he will do anything to break your marriage. Stay strong son and don’t let anything pull you down.” advised Ranabibi.

When Altaf was about to leave, Ranabibi touched his shoulder and said “Altaf, be kind to her. Don’t forget that she is an orphan. Allah will never spare our family, if we ill-treat orphans. Moreover, I have seen the love she has for you in her eyes. If she wasn’t honest, she wouldn’t have gone through all this trouble. Keep her close to you. She is a strong willed girl and will turn out to be your strength.”

Altaf nodded and walked out.

When he reached his room, he saw her fast asleep. He saw her tear stained sweet face and he understood that she must have cried herself to sleep. She must be worried that I might turn her out of the house. Poor thing.

He touched her face and said to her, “I will always be with you and keep you close to me.” and kissed on her forehead.


In the morning,

As usual when Afreen woke up, Altaf had his arm around her and he held her close to him. With difficulty, she lifted his hand and moved out of bed.

After her bath, as she was on her way to the kitchen. Arbaaz stopped her. “Good morning beautiful, did you sleep good last time? I saw Altaf going in to the room late night. So hows the pattern Afreen, like you go to sleep first and then he joins? asked Arbaaz sarcastically.

“I didn’t know you were watchkeeping my door.” said Afreen.

That angered Arbaaz, but he controlled himself. “How come this sudden burst of confidence? Don’t forget what will be your condition if I reveal certain secrets about us.”

“There was never ‘us’. I was just a pawn in your devious plan. You never had any feelings for me. Don’t ever come in my way, it will not be good for you.” said Afreen glaring furiously at him.

“What’s happening here?” thundered Ranabibi. They moved back the moment they saw her.

“Oh its nothing aunty, I was just asking Afreen whether she liked our place.”

Not a bit amused, Ranabibi looked at Afreen and asked “Did you give tea to Altaf? He must have woken up by now. Don’t stand here and waste your time in unnecessary conversations.”

Afreen left and Ranabibi walked towards Arbaaz “She is now a daughter of this house. Her comfort is with her husband. You don’t have to be concerned about her. All of us are here with her. Go and have breakfast.”

Ranabibi watched Arbaaz walking away to the hall. He turned around and saw her watching him till out of sight. “What happened to aunty? She has never spoken to me in this manner. Maybe, Afreen said something to aunty, but then wouldn’t she land in the streets, if she did…”


In the kitchen,

“Thank you Allah that Umma came at the right time. Arbaaz is becoming a nuisance. I shouldn’t be afraid of him. He cannot do anything to me. Umma understands me well and I just hope Altaf would also recognize my love for him.”

She went to her room with the cup of tea. Altaf was still sleeping. Afreen sat beside him and looked at him lovingly. “He looks so adorable while sleeping.” Her glance moved to his right arm. She slowly touched his arm “I will do my best to bring back life to your arm.”

Just then Altaf pulled her towards him and she fell over him in the bed. Her wet hair touched his face. He kissed her on her cheek and said “I want you to wake me up every morning like this.” She smiled shyly and got out of the bed. She looked at him and asked “Are you upset with me about yesterday?”

“Umma told me everything. You are my beloved wife and I have decided to smother you with all the love I have in me, despite my disability.”

Afreen stood in front of him and placed her head on his torso “I don’t see any disability in you. You have a strong heart and it is filled with the love for me. But there is one wish that I have.”

“And what is that?”

“I wish you would hug me with both your arms.”

Altaf backed away from Afreen and turned to leave. She caught his left hand just before he could leave. “You felt bad, didn’t you? The moment I heard that your arm has no problem whatsoever; I had made up my mind that we will do everything that we can to make it possible. I only need your whole hearted support in this matter.”

Altaf looked at her “I still cannot believe that uncle would lie to us, but my Umma seems to have full trust in you. I don’t know if your wish will ever be fulfilled but I just want you to know that I love you very much and I wish you can put my disability aside, so that we can start our life together.

With these words, Altaf went out of the room. “He thinks that I am not being close to him because of his disabled arm. That’s not true. No matter what ever pain I may have to go through, I will accomplish what I have decided.


At the office,

Altaf couldn’t concentrate on his work, What if Afreen and Umma are saying the truth ? maybe, there is nothing wrong with my arm. I should check this out without letting anybody know in the family.

In the evening, Altaf came back home and went up to his room. Afreen was praying Isha. He sat on the bed and watched her do the rakats. After Afreen completed with her duas, she noticed Altaf sitting silently on the bed.

“I didn’t hear you come in. Shall I get you a cup of tea?”


“Is everything okay? Why are looking so glum?”

“I went to a specialist clinic to check on my arm.”

“And what did the doctor say?”

“My arm is fine and the obstacles are in my mind, which I have to conquer by myself.”

Afreen hugged him tightly, “Not just by yourself, I will also support you in every way I can.”

“Its not just my arm that’s bothering. I still cannot believe that Uncle and Arbaaz would do this to us. I loved Arbaaz as my own brother and how could he do this to me?”

“Altaf, money and power can at times bring out the worst in people.”

Ranabibi came up to their room and asked why they haven’t yet come down for dinner. Altaf and Afreen followed Ranabibi to the dining hall.

“Afreen, is everthing okay with Altaf?” asked Ranabibi and Afreen just nodded her head.

At the dining hall,

Everyone started having dinner after Altaf joined them. Rubina was chattering with everyone at the table about her day at the college. In midst of the chitter- chatter, Altaf asked his uncle to temporarily halt the construction work and to bring the relevant files to his office the next day. His words took his uncle by surprise.

“Why Altaf dear? What’s wrong? Tell me, did anyone complain to you?”

“Nothing of that sort, I have few other plans in mind.” Altaf tried hard to control his anger and to speak as amicably as possible.

But Arbaaz didn’t like the way Altaf asked his father to present all the documents. “Altaf Ikka, I don’t think you should talk to my Uppa this way. You sounded as if you doubted him. He’s elder to you; atleast you should respect his age.”

It was way above for Altaf to control and he threw down a glass near Arbaaz and hissed at him “I did not seek your advice, so keep it to yourself.” After saying this, he walked out to his room.

Everybody were shocked at Altaf’s reaction and began asking Ranabibi what happened to him.

Afreen ran from the dining hall to their room and found Altaf pacing up and down angrily. He stopped and looked at her. His anger startled her, nevertheless she picked up some courage and spoke to him calmly,

“You shouldn’t have lost your temper there. We need to be patient until we get some proof.”

“How dare he try to teach me how to behave! After all that they have done to my family!”

“I understand your anger, but till you have some proof against, its best to keep calm.”

“Go to sleep, I need to go for a walk.”

“Shall I come with you?”

“No, go to sleep. I will be back after a while.”

After Altaf left, there was a knock on their door. Afreen opened the door and saw Arbaaz smirking at her.

“Altaf is not here. Come back later.”

“I am here to have a chat with you. What was the whole charade that Altaf tried to pull off at the hall?”

Afreen looked at him with a straight face and said “He knows EVERYTHING.”


“Yes, I told him everything from the time we met till date.”

“And he believed you? Instead of turning you out, he turned against his family?”

“FAMILY? You call yourself as his family? After all that you conjured to ruin him, you still expect to be considered as a part of his family? My poor husband considered you as his own brother. Damn it”

Arbaaz did not expect this outburst from Afreen and went away.


In the morning,

Ranabibi came to Afreen and asked her why Altaf hasn’t yet come down for breakfast.

“He left early for work.”

“The elders are upset about his behavior yesterday. Did you talk to him?”

“I did, but Umma can we really blame him for the outburst.”

“Afreen, we know what is churning in his mind, bt others are unaware of this and it will not be good for him. Try to talk to him calmly. You have to make him trust you and tell you everything, so that he can ease out.”

“I will try Umma.”

Just then her phone rang,

“Hello who is this?”

“Your husband is under our custody. Don’t breathe a word to anyone and come quickly to Cheruvannamuzhi Dam, if you wish to save him. Come alone!”

Afreen couldn’t believe her ears. Someone has kidnapped Altaf! But who could it be?

“Umma, did Arbaaz join for breakfast?”

“No, he went yesterday evening and hasn’t been back yet.”

“Does anybody know where he is?”

“I am not sure because this is his normal routine. He goes with his friends and comes back home after two or three days. He informs his whereabouts only to his father. What happened? Why do you look so scared? Who called you just now?”

Afreen gathered herself and replied “It was just a friend of mine. I don’t feel so good, may I go to my room?”

“Of course dear, do you need anything?”

Afreen nodded her head and left. She tried Altaf’s phone, but it was switched off. I have to leave the house without anyone noticing.

After a while, she managed to sneak out and hailed an auto “To Cheruvannamuzhi dam please.”


At the Dam,

“Altaf, Altaf”, shouted Afreen. Her voice echoed across the dam. Tears started brimming over her cheeks. Where is he?

A hand touched her shoulder and she breathed a sigh a relief. “Oh Altaf” she smiled and looked back and saw Arbaaz sporting a wicked grin.

“Sorry to disappoint you dear.”, he said sarcastically.

“Where is my husband?”

“Look there, my men are finding it really difficult to contain his strength. I guess all the body building is finally paying off.”

Afreen saw Altaf held back by goons. He looked tired, but he was struggling to break free.

“Why are you doing this Arbaaz?” She asked tearfully.

“For you. I want you.” Afreen was dumbstruck at his words. “Don’t be startled Afreen. If things had worked out my way, you would have walked out of this marriage straight in to my arms. But, you fell for this one armed fool.”

“I will never be yours.”, screamed Afreen and started stepping back, as Arbaaz moved forward to hold her. She slipped and fell overboard the dam.

“AFREEEEN”, screamed Altaf and tried to pull away from the goons holding him back.

Even Arbaaz was shocked at what happened and looked down. He saw her hanging by the bars. He held out his arms to pull her up. “Afreen hold my arms, I will pull you up.”

Afreen didn’t move. “Don’t be stupid, just hold my arms, if you want to live.”

She looked at him shivering and said “To live, if I have to hold your arms, I would rather die.” Then she looked at Altaf, “I love you Altaf and if you wish to live this life together, then I need you to pull me up.”

“Don’t be crazy Afreen, even if he wishes he will not be able to with just one arm.”, shouted Arbaaz.


“Ahhh I cannot hold on any longer, I am slipping. ALTAF!”

As she slipped, she felt two strong arms pulling her upwards. It was Altaf. He raised her over the bars and sat on the ground beside her exhausted. She hugged him tightly and cried over his shoulder, “I knew you could do it.”

“I cannot lose you. I love you so much.”

She moved back and smiled at him, “So, my husband fought with the goons to rescue His princess like a bollywood hero ?”

“That happens only in movies, Afreen.”

Altaf got up and tapped Arbaaz on his shoulder, “He asked them to leave me.”

Afreen stared at Arbaaz “You told them to leave him, why?”

“Because I know how stubborn you are and you will be willing to give up your life to prove a point.”, sneered Arbaaz.

Altaf smiled and hugged Arbaaz, “All your issues can be sorted out, but I only wish you would understand that money or power can never replace the love that your family has for you. The only reason I am able to forgive is because I have always loved you as an elder brother should.”

Arbaaz hung his head low, “I didn’t know about your arm. I apologize on behalf of my father.”

“Let’s go home.”

Once they reached home, Ranabibi and the others ran out eagerly to see them. “what happened to you Altaf? Why are you wet? And where did you disappear Afreen? And you are also wet?”

“Oh Umma, I love you so much.” said Altaf and hugged his mom tightly with both his arms. Ranabibi couldn’t believe her eyes “Your arms are fine, Alhamdulillah! How did this miracle happen?”

“We will explain everything later. We need to freshen up”, while walking up the stairs, he looked back at Arbaaz, “we will talk in the evening”.

Afreen and Altaf came into their room and as Afreen closed the door, Altaf pulled her towards him, “now its time to give you your wish!” he held her tightly in his arms and kissed her forehead “Your persistence and love helped me get through my disability.”

Afreen nuzzled into his chest and purred, “Yes, this is the triumph of my love for you.”

The End