Oct 19, 2010

Mrs. Khan

By Mahin Shamsi
My eyes locked with Mrs. Khan’s. Her exhausted look suggested that she had given up on her daughter-in-law to be. I gave her an apologetic smile, knowing that my boss could also be a handful. Whoever said new brides are shy? This one was completely insane months before the wedding.

Coming to work in the morning I had expected a slow day. Other than Mrs. Khan’s bridal appointment, there were just a few pickups scheduled for Monday. What I did not anticipate was a lunatic bride who would bring out the neurotic side of my boss. Geeti was known to be slightly crazier than most designers, but her odd ways did not change the fact that she was very talented. But if the events of that afternoon got out, Geeti’s reputation might not be redeemable.

Mrs. Khan walked in promptly at three as promised. Poised and charming as ever, not a single strand of her gray hair was out of place; which is why when I saw the bride I knew immediately that it wasn’t an arranged marriage. The girl who followed, beautiful as she maybe, was nothing like you would imagine Mrs. Khan’s daughter-in-law.
She walked awkwardly because of her height, and being as thin as she was, it made her seem gangly. An untamed mane of dark curls framed her heart shaped face. Her kohl rimmed eyes scanned the room, judging. She had an air of confidence even though she looked completely out of place in her skin tight denim and loose fitting tunic.

I greeted the women and ushered them into the studio. Once they were seated I asked them if they would like tea. The girl rolled her eyes at me; I ignored her and looked at Mrs. Khan who politely refused. As I took my place on the desk and switched on the computer I saw her glance at her watch and sigh impatiently. I hadn’t even been five minutes I thought to myself.

Geeti walked in exactly five minutes after I had seated the clients. This was no coincidence, rather a practice. She believed it made her client think she was a very busy and sought after designer. But she would tell everyone she did this so they would appreciate the setting of the studio, which she changed each month. Geeti was an amusing person, never boring to work for. I struggled to keep up with her.

But today Geeti’s client was already impatient and Geeti despised impatient clients. She sat down and pulled a pencil out of her hair, auburn locks spilled onto her shoulders. The color of the week was ‘cinnamon honey’ but to me it just looked a shade lighter than last week.

“Mrs. Khan, so nice to see you again!” She said Khan with two syllables. Geeti went to art school in Canada, she made sure no one forgot.
“And this must be your son’s bride,” she continued facing the girl.

“Yes, this is Mina,” said Mrs. Khan.

“What a beauty she is!”

Mina returned Geeti’s compliment with a forced smile.

“So glad you finally found the time to join us,” Mina said with bitter sarcasm in her tone.

It was the respect for Mrs. Khan that made Geeti ignore that, and it was uncharacteristic of her to do so.

“So what occasion are we placing an order for today?”

“Aren’t you optimistic Geeti,” Mina smirked, “Can we see look at some designs before we start placing orders?”

I saw Geeti curl her fingers into a fist and slowly breathe out. It had been two minutes, now this was a record. Mina was a spoiled little snob and Geeti was equally impatient. It was like clash of the Titans. I was surprised they both managed to agree upon a color palette and cut without pulling each other’s hair out.

Mrs. Khan now seemed ashamed, as was I. Geeti’s attitude was becoming very unprofessional. She would make faces at Mina’s suggestions, it was downright childish. Mina would snap at Geeti and maintain her snobbish attitude. I knew this appointment was going nowhere.

After another half hour, Mina had enough of Geeti’s excuses as to why she couldn’t get what she wanted. And Mina’s constant complaining made Geeti pull out a cigarette.

“Aunty I’m sorry,” said Mina throwing her hands up, “this woman does not want to work with me, what kind of professional acts the way she is acting?”

“My apologies for not tolerating brats” said Geeti calmly as she exhaled a cloud of smoke.

“You’re a crazy woman, throwing away a bridal order like this,” Mina snapped.

“I’d rather not take your crap, please leave and don’t ever come back,” Geeti said coldly. Then she turned to Mrs. Khan who was furious and ashamed. “Mrs. Khan, I have the utmost respect for you and hope to see you again soon, little word of advice, cancel the wedding, this girl will eat your son alive.”

 “Thank you for your time,” Mrs. Khan said. I could understand her emotions as she followed Mina who had already stormed out. Her head was held high, but she was infuriated at both Geeti and Mina, disappointed about wasting her afternoon but mostly tired and desperately in need of a cup of tea.


Lamia Fahim said...

Poor Mrs. Khan.. I don't like Mina, but I do like your story. :)
Perhaps the ending could have been a bit more interesting?
Well done. :)

Najia Navaid said...

I like it Mahin, well written :)

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