Once upon a time, a good-hearted king ruled over Paristan. This king had six daughters, although Allah did not give him a son, yet he loved his daughters very much and cared a lot for them. That is why the king not only educated his daughters but also started teaching them all the martial arts like princes. He brought them up with love and trust. Everywhere in the Paristan, there was talk about the king and his brave daughters. Time was passing.
The king was informed that a tyrant Jinn had entered Paristan, who took away the fairies and imprisoned them.
Gradually such reports as well as the king's anxiety began to increase, so he summoned his ministers and royal magicians to the court. Among them was the royal astrologer and magician Alibaba. Alibaba had a magical satchel, which contained many magical objects, which from time to time helped Alibaba in various tasks.
Using their magic one by one, all astrologers tried to find fairies but failed. Suddenly the royal astrologer and minister Alibaba opened his satchel and put his hand inside and took out the magic parrot. Everyone was amazed to see this parrot. Alibaba offered the parrot a beautiful apple to eat. The parrot enjoyed it and spoke, “Alibaba, ask what you want to ask.”
Alibaba inquired about the fairies. After thinking for a while, the parrot said, “The Dum Dum Jinn has taken the fairies away, and very soon he will eat them. I can take you there, provided you do not imprison me again.” Alibaba promised.
With the king's permission, Alibaba rode on horseback under the guidance of the parrot.
Dark clouds suddenly surrounded Alibaba as soon as he left the boundaries of Paristan. Alibaba saw the parrot flying over his head with questioning eyes and the parrot replied that Dum Dum Jinn was aware of his arrival. Alibaba kept moving forward without fear.
When the two reached near the black mountains, big black rocks began to roll. But the parrot told Alibaba not to worry, as Jinn could not harm him.
Turning a corner, they both reached the entrance of a large cave. The parrot blew a loud whistle and the fairies inside knew that someone had come to save them. Ali Baba opened the door by reciting the mantra of Sim Sim. When it opened, all the fairies wrapped around Alibaba.
Alibaba took out a Solomon rug from his satchel and covered the fairies with it, which caused them to disappear from sight.
Suddenly, Dum Dum appeared yelling Adam Bo, Adam Bo. Alibaba asked Jinn in a threatening tone, “How dare you kidnap and imprison fairies?”, who laughed out loud and said,
“Instead of trying to escape from here, these fairies start screaming with fear and dread, so I have a lot of fun, and then I eat them.”
Saying this, Jinn attacked Ali Baba. Ali Baba beheaded him with a single blow of the sword.
As soon as he died, all the clouds disappeared. Now the fairies were free.
Ali Baba and all the fairies boarded the flying carriage and the flying carriage started towards the palace. All the fairies thanked Ali Baba and Ali Baba said,
“Look, children, many jinns like Dum Dum Jinn will keep coming, but maybe every time Alibaba will come to the rescue, therefore we have to find a solution.”
All the fairies were upset when they heard Ali Baba's words.
Alibaba began to say, “Children! You must learn to protect yourselves, and try to save the lives of other children, instead of being afraid. Be brave by removing fear from your heart and mind.”
Upon arriving at the palace, Alibaba released the magic parrot as promised, and reported the whole incident to the king.
The royal fairies were also listening to all this. They requested the king to teach all the fairies of the Paristan to protect themselves.
At the same time, the king issued a decree that in addition to reading and writing, all the fairies must be taught martial arts and defensive methods so that no one could harm them in the future. Royal fairies were enforcing this law in their authority.
There was no end to the happiness of the fairies, now that every one of them was very strong, and there were peace and tranquility in their land too. They were sure that they would deal with anybody now.
While doing the after-dinner dishes in the kitchen, I heard a familiar voice behind me.
"Auntie, Mama is asking for some curry, please."
I turned around, only to find the twelve-year-old Hassan standing in the kitchen door; he was the son of my neighbor, Hajan, and presently was carrying a small bowl in his hand.
I took a bigger bowl from the kitchen, took out curry in it for him, and asked, "Hassan, what did mama cook today?"
Haji Sahib was at risk of high blood pressure and God knows how the salt in my dishes was always more!
"Umm….Nothing, Auntie", Hassan gave a serious reply.
Noises from last night's fight began to echo. 'They must have reached the houses at the corner of the street', I thought.
I would often be surprised hearing Haji Sahib screaming and would wonder, "Is it possible for a man to have such a loud voice?"
Haji Sahib's abode was popular as 'The Big Bungalow' among the neighbors. The house which had been bought for 30 lakhs five years ago was worth nearly 85 lakhs now. It was the sole responsibility of Hajan to cook the meals and complete the chores of her eight kids, her step-parents, and that house.
Hajan was -after all- a Hajan only in name. Although the age and recurring pregnancies had begun to show their effects, yet she was attractive.
She had tied her mother's advice to the knot of her headscarf that a woman had to have enough energy and will power so as to perform the home tasks even when she was just walking around or even relaxing!
Hajan's mother proved wrong. As the children and their responsibilities grew, so did the abusive remarks from her husband.
Haji Sahib had not married for the sake of children. They were his profit, and very obedient too. Hajan had taught them manners well.
One day, I opened the door to her house only to find the eldest daughter washing the courtyard, so beautiful as if white flour was mixed with vermilion.
"Such a lovely maid!", I said lovingly. She laughed and replied," Mama says we have to save money, so we can use it in the house". I smiled at the wisdom of Hajan and walked inwards.
Hajan and I were more like sisters than neighbors. One day, I inquired her about everyday fights. She turned pink and spoke, "Children are growing up and I am not able to give him enough time. That's why his mood deteriorates. But when I do, he stays happy."
More often, the fights were either about her cooking or household expenses. "But isn't it God's will to spend on your children?", I would think, listening to the high pitched voices coming from the high roofed house.
After school, Hajan's young Hassan would sit with the hawker in the vegetable market; he was thus able to bring some vegetables home for dinner. Two of the younger ones were appointed by Haji Sahib to sell mosquito nets at the street corner. There were two taxis as well, that belonged to him.
When I saw Hassan holding a male shalwar kameez in his hands and saying, "Mama, make this Papa's shalwar kameez short, now it feels hot in thick clothes", my annoyance was up to the roof that day.
On another occasion, I simply lost patience. There were light pink fingerprints on Hajan's white cheek. When I looked at her with a questioning gaze, she said, "Bringing up children is not an easy task. I had asked for curry from you last night because there was nothing left for Haji Sahib and when he found out, he got angry. But don't worry, I will cheer him up today. He will be all right soon."
I lost my hearing right there…..and wished to do the same with her second cheek too.
The next day when I visited her, Hajan was there; drying her hair, lips covered in light red, and a shine in her eyes. I understood that Hassan will not come to ask for curry today.
Written By Rabia Saleem (Translated By Fatima Saleem)
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