BY RAIS SIDDIQUI
My younger sister,Shaheen,is a very talkative girl. She speaks so much all the time. She just came from school and started talking even before putting her school bag down.
My mother angrily said,” O, my talkative daughter! Aren’t you feeling hungry? Other children demand for food as soon as they come from school but only you are much fond of talking. First, eat something, and then chatter around.”
Even though Shaheen sits down to eat lunch, her gossips never end. She doesn’t care if anybody is listening to her or not, she speaks tirelessly.
Meanwhile, I was trying to write a story, but her talking was disturbing me a lot, because for writing, a peaceful atmosphere is required so the work can be done with concentration.
I called on her and tried to convince her, “Shaheen, look, I’m writing a story for children. Please be silent for a few moments.”
But she didn’t listen. Her tongue kept running like scissors. I again called on her and said with all the affection I could muster,
“Shaheen, if you keep quiet for half an hour, I will give you a fifty rupee note for buying chocolates. Currently, the time is 2:30pm, be quiet for 30 minutes.”
The trick worked as she silenced herself and went to her room.
As I continued writing, my elder cousin, Rasheed Ahmad visited us from Lucknow. Being very fond of my talkative sister, he spent no time to ask me where she was.
I pointed my finger towards her room.
When Brother Rasheed entered her room, he saw that the talkative girl was silently laying on her bed. He said, “look, Shaheen! Look at what I brought for you from Lucknow.”
Listening to Brother Rasheed’s voice, she sat straight on her bed and after paying her regards, she asked him to sit on the chair near the bed with the help of hand gestures without uttering a word.
Seeing her in a silent manner, Brother Rasheed panicked and spoke loudly, “Shaheen, why don’t you speak? Beta, my child, what is the matter?”
Even then the chatty girl stayed silent. So,Brother Rasheed became even more worried and called everyone with an urgent voice,
“Aunty, Sister Nargis, Firdous, come, look, what happened to Shaheen?”
Then he called me too, “Raees, come here and see what happened to our Shaheen?”
After listening to Brother Rasheed’s loud voice with grave concern, everyone hurried to Shaheen’s room and worried about her silence as she’s never been so silent for so long. ‘God forbid, has she lost her voice?’, everyone thought.
But I was standing in a corner of the room and smiling, silently observing all of the happenings.
Brother Rasheed was furious with my reaction and asked me rudely as to why I was smiling.
I told him in detail about how I asked her to be silent for half an hour and promised fifty rupees in return.
But everyone present in the room didn’t trust my words.
Then Brother Rasheed asked loudly,“Shaheen, Is Raees right? Tell me the truth, if it’s true, I will give you hundred rupees instead of his promised fifty rupees, come on, take this, my treasured sister.”
Shaheen smiled and took the hundred rupees, but even then, she didn’t say a word. Right at 3 pm, the alarm rung.
After hearing the alarm, Shaheen sprang from her bed and embraced Brother Rasheed asking him, “Bhai Jaan (Brother), what did you get me from Lucknow?”
Nobody asked her why she was silent for so long, but she told us herself, “Brother, you shouldn’t be angry. I wasn’t talking because I promised Raees Bhai to keep silent for half an hour.”
She continued, “Everybody considers me a talkative and chatty girl. Nobody listens to me seriously. People make jokes about me and say,
“Oh, she is a very talkative and chatty girl. She speaks too much. She is a gossip-girl!”
If I would have broken the promise, then you people would’ve ridiculed and mocked me, taunting and calling me as a liar and promise-breaking girl.”
Author is an ex-IBS Officer in AIR/DD and Sahitya Academy National Award & Delhi Urdu Academy Award winner Urdu Laureate and can be reached at [email protected], 9810141528