3. A visit to the past

Here she stood again yet this time not with her husband but with her only daughter. She never in a million years thought that one day she'll have to return to the same place which abandoned her husband only because of marrying her.


"Mujtaba, I am nervous, I don't think your father will accept me"

Both of them stood outside the haveli gates, ready to enter before she stated her assumption.

"I am with you Ammara, I am with you, You need not worry yourself" He assured her.

"But.. he asked you not to marry me, Why would he accept me now?"

"Ammara you are a very virtuous and upright woman. He does not know you yet but when he would recognize the real you, he will accept you." he held her hand and lightly caressed it to relieve her.

"Now come on, we should go inside,"

They moved towards the haveli gates, the large gates opened and let them in. She looked around to analyze the haveli and her mouth hung open. The haveli certainly was so lavish. She never had been to such a beautiful place before. Its posh exterior left her in awe. The mere lawn was so breathtakingly beautiful. It was beautified by lush green grass, trees, and heavenly flowers like roses, lilies, daisies, tulips, and what more. The contrast of the scorching sun radiantly shining on the green grass, ornamental trees, and beautiful flowers with a fountain in the middle amazed her to no extent. It was such a masterpiece.

And now she felt out of place. She could understand the reason why Mujtaba's father did not want to accept her as his daughter-in-law. She belonged to a lower-middle-class family. And his father might think her off as a gold digger.

Her parents passed away when she was 18 and her elder sister who was already married after their parent's death shifted her to her own house and supported her all the while. And 1 year later when she got a scholarship in one of the universities of Islamabad, she crossed paths with the love of her life, Mujtaba.

Love happens in the most incomprehensible and unfathomable ways. And so was their love. They both could feel an unusual and unknown attraction between them when they were around each other.

They realized that it was love.

They deeply love each other. But Mujtaba's father was a mafia don and a very strict person regarding rules. He laid the rule that every man or woman of their family must have to marry someone within the family. Marriage outside the bloodline was not allowed. Ammara was neither a part of their family nor from their bloodline but Mujtaba loved her madly and despite his father's warning of not marrying her, he still married her and shifted to Lahore because his father ordered him to leave the haveli after their marriage. They leased an apartment there but his father's displeasement with him didn't suit him well. Then he decided to take his chance and now both of them were on their way to gather blessings from his father and request him to accept Ammara as his daughter-in-law.

Ammara kept on examining the haveli. Its interior was more opulent than its exterior. Her footsteps halted and she came across a door. Mujtaba was still holding her hands and her grip tightened when she realized it was his father's study. He knocked on the door and both of them entered into his study and found him seated on his chair.

"Assalam alaikum, Agha Jaan," Mujtaba greeted him. His father snapped his head upon realizing his son, his disobedient and defiant son is here along with his wife. His anger knew no bounds when he saw both of them standing in front of him.

(Greetings, Agha Jaan)

"Why are you here?!" he snapped.

"Agha Jaan we are here to take your blessings," Mujtaba told humbly.

"Did you take my blessings when you had your nikkah?"

(Nikkah: Marriage)

"I am sorry Agha Jaan bu-"

"I do not want to see your face again! get off of in front of my eyes!!"

"Agha Jaan please at least give us a chance."

"Did you listen to me when I asked you not to marry this woman? Didn't I order you not to marry her? Still, you married her and now you are asking me to give you a chance? When you cannot give a chance to what I say then why should I listen to you now?"

"Whole life I did as you say but for the first time I took one decision, one single decision against your orders and you disowned me for that? How is that fair? Do not I have a complete right to decide with whom I should marry?

"This woman," he pointed towards Ammara, "this woman had wrapped you around her pinky finger that you are going against your father"

"No Agha Jaan it's not what you think. She is a very upstanding and righteous woman,"

"I know how much a pious and righteous woman is she. Only because of her today you are standing against your father. You've displeased me. You preferred this woman over me! Over your father!"

"No! No Agha Jaan I never preferred anyone over you. No one can take your place in my heart. But at least I had this much right in my life to decide whom I want to marry! I love her!"

"Huh love! Don't you love your father? Get out of my sight right now!"

"No! Agha Jaan I love you and respect you with all my heart! please forgive us, please at least give us one single chance. I am your son. I am your blood. Please forgive us, if we had hurt you"

"If you want me to forgive you Mujtaba Shabbir Syed," he stood from his chair and moved towards them,

"then divorce this girl right now"

Ammara's eyes widened. She had no idea his father would make such a demand. All the time she only bore this humiliation for her husband, but the demand of divorce left her bewildered.

"Amarra is a very honest and innocent woman. You don't know her yet. You will accept her when you will know her. I can't divorce her not now not never."

"If you can't divorce her then you are no longer my son. I disinherit you from all of the property. Leave my house along with your gold digger wife before I throw you out"

Mujtaba couldn't bear the disrespect of his wife anymore and turned around to leave.

"And if my blood runs in your veins then never step into this haveli again and don't show your face even if you're dead,"

With that, Mujtaba opened the door and left the haveli. For Forever.

Flashback ends

'Don't show me your face even if you're dead' these words of his father kept ringing in her ears.

'Ammara, never inform my father of my death' these were her husband's last words. Till the last breath, he only had respect for his father. Till the last breath, he only complied with his father's order.

'I am sorry, Mujtaba. I couldn't keep up your will. I am sorry. I have nowhere to go. Our home has already been taken. We're on the roads. This is the last place where I could seek some shelter' she internally told her husband.

Before a tear could escape her eyes, her daughter's troublesome voice broke her reverie.

"Mama, I'm nervous. They won't accept us," Zahra stated her assumption.

They stood 5 feet away from the haveli gates, holding all the stuff they packed.

"Let's hope for the best. We should go inside now," Ammara sternly stated trying to maintain a strong composure outside but inside she was crumbled and broken. But she knew she had to be strong, for her daughter. If it was not for Zahra, she had never came back to this place again.

"Let's go" she started to move towards the haveli gates but a tug on her arm halted her movements.

"Mama I don't think that he will let us live in there, he abandoned my father then why would he accept us?" Zahra said again.

"If he will not allow us to stay then I'll ask Haider to give us a place to live"

Haider was Mujtaba's elder brother, who loved Mujtaba like his own son. Despite, his father having cut all the ties off with Mujtaba, Haider was still secretly in contact with his younger brother.

"But mama you told me that no one can go against the head of the haveli if he is the head, then how Uncle Haider, without his consent, will help us?"

"I know my Zahra, but we can hope that he has passed on his position as a "head" to one of his son or grandson, then we might have some chances to stay in there," she affirmed.

"Even so, he is still the eldest, how come someone can go against him?"

"Being the eldest and being the head are two different things, if the head approved it, regardless of the consent of the eldest person in the household, it still has to happen no matter what."

"Hope so, he is not the head anymore, I am really afraid to face them, mama,"

"Zahra, daughter, there is no need to be afraid of anyone, your mother is with you and always will be and Allah is there who loves you more than seventy mothers combined. Believe Him and only Him, what He will do, will be the best for us" she relaxed her daughter although from inside she was a nervous wreck and moved towards the gates, holding Zahra's hand.

For the past 20 years, she had no idea about haveli and its inhabitants. She had never talked about his father with Mujtaba after that haveli incident and the only person she knew here was Haider. She had even no idea whether Mujtaba's father was alive or not. They didn't contact him for the last 20 years as his father had cut all the ties from him and his family. She was worried for her daughter, if she was all alone she would have gone to any old age home but now she had her daughter, who has the complete right at this place. She could only hope that his father could let them live in this haveli, if she have to she'll work as a maid only for her daughter.


We are heading towards my grandfather's haveli and I am so afraid to face him.

Why would he accept us when we were the sole reason for his son leaving him?

In just two days my life turned upside down.

I lost my father

And then I lost the roof from my head.

I lost my only home.

The home where I created a lot of beautiful memories with my father.

With that, I lost my mother's smile.

I lost all the joyous memory which we created together.

Ahh! What blissful days were those, even I didn't have much attention from my father due to his busy schedule but I still have him by my side? How much I wished I could die along with him.

But I had to be strong for my mother. No matter if I am broken from inside but I won't let my mother watch me fall weak.

She already had enough, I know how much my mother and father loved each other and after his death, she is totally broken but she has kept herself together only for me.

My parents have suffered a lot of depression and anxiety and that's all because of that Asim.

When those goons left our house that day my mother ordered me to pack all of the essentials and we will be leaving for my grandfather's haveli (mansion). My maternal aunt and we all were left bewildered, we all knew about the circumstances in which my parents were married. But Mama was dead set on to go there. My Aunt convinced her to stay at her place but mama knew my aunt's husband won't permit my mama and me at their house, so my mom decided to come here.

We had a little money and after packing all our stuff we went to the train station, said our goodbyes to everyone and set on our journey. This voyage was the most sorrowful and depressed voyage ever since I came to knew about the actual reason behind my father's death.

Asim was one of my father's colleagues and at first, he appeared out to be a friend. In those days baba was trying hard to earn money so he could construct a house for us. Yet, he got in a debt of 1 million which he asked from Asim. Baba trusted him, he gave the impression of being a very pious man and a good person, but it was all a facade. Asim made my father sign some documents in which it was claimed that my father had taken a debt of 20 million from a man called, Yawar. And after making him sign those documents, he gave us 1 million and took the rest of 19 million and ran away.

My father didn't realize it until that day, when some goons were sent to our house, demanding their money back. Which was a huge amount of 20 million. They were the mafia's men and they threatened us not to go for the police else they'll kill me. Baba didn't want to take any chance on my life so he did what they said. All the documents had my father's name, his hands were tied.

They continuously pressurized my father. He was completely bound. He worked hard like a maniac day and night only to pay back the money which he didn't even get. He kept telling them how Asim made him sign the documents but they never believed him instead they threatened him.

That snake, Asim framed my papa and he was depressed and anxious to a level that it caused the heart attack. I was enraged and helpless tears streaked down my eyes because I couldn't help my father. That Asim was a devil, may Allah curse him. I could not believe my ears when my mother told me the whole story.

I have been torn apart after listening to all of this. I was shocked but what I felt the most was rage, infuriation. I could not help my father in any way. This guilt was clutching my heart. I do not know what my father has been through and that's all because of that Asim.

Oh Allah, does this inhumanity exist in this world? Is this the actual face of the world? Unsympathetic, insensitive, and merciless?

There is no will left inside me to live anymore but I have to do it for my mother because now she is the one all I have.

I am being strong for her and she is being strong for me. However, we have to survive, we desperately need a roof at our head, and this haveli is the last option to be our shelter.

The haveli was huge, posh, and gigantic. Its exterior was so breathtakingly beautiful, I wonder what would its interior be like? I felt out of place because our house was nothing compared to it. It was so small and not so beautiful but still, I loved my home.

We were getting closer to the large metal gates and a weird feeling inside was creeping me. My subconscious kept telling me something bad is going to happen to me, I had no idea about it.

We stood right in front of the gates. A lot of security guards were at duty. All of them had handguns resting on the holster on their waist and snipers as well hanging on their shoulders. They all were bulky men, had a well-built body and bulging muscles.

There was a small office kind of cabin near the gates, where a man was seated. On noticing us, he opened the window of that cabin and asked us,

"Why are you here Madam?"

"Ask Mr. Haider Shabbir that Ammara Mujtaba is here," my mom replied, asking for my uncle.

He instantly called someone and after the call ended he nodded his head to us and signaled the guards on the gate to let us in.

"You may go in,"


With that the large doors opened, the metal clanking against each other.

And we entered inside.

Little did I know it was going to be a pit of hell for me.

Little did I know these gates were my prison bars.

And little did I know I was going to be caged here.


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