Nov 2, 2010

All They Wanted

By Rida Baqai

The frivolity with which Mehtab sat in the Nadia Coffee Shop at The Marriot in her skanky red sari
earned a scorn or two from the passing ladies. Little did the ladies know that their husband’s enjoyed
scantily clad Mehtab’s sight as much as they hated it. She clutched her bag: a fake DKNY peeked
inside the pockets and then ordered a glass of limewater. Her calm countenance faded as her phone
kept ringing .Her eyes scanned the men at the shop, separating the suitable ones from this lot. Her
reddish brown hair curled at the tips, it was so long that it covered her cleavage at times, whenever
this happened she would toss her hair back. And she never forgot to hurl a flirtatious smile at men who
smelled of money. All she wanted was fame and fortune.

Karim Mani was just up for a midday stroll in his own hotel, The Marriot. He walked slowly. he seldom
raised his eyes to watch where he was going which were glued to the floor. On his way, he struggled in
ignoring all the salaams he received from his employees. He took out his personal cell phone from his
DKNY pouch for the tenth time in the past, half an hour but the mobile screen stared blankly at him. His
eyes fell upon this young couple who seemed intensely hung up in each other’s company, too busy to
notice the world and envy gripped him for a few seconds .Immediately he wanted to look away ,so he
moved his eyes to the left .What he saw spellbound him. This delicate, ethereal beauty dressed in red
sat, poised on one of the tables in the coffee shop .He knew he wasn’t dressed to kill. His white shirt
and blue diesel jeans did not look that impressive but he knew that he wanted to talk to her .He moved
towards her table quickly. All he wanted was love.

Tired of covering the press conference of a B grade singer in the boardroom of The Marriot, Ahmed sat
in the waiting room agitated. He gave the actress’s pictures a cursory once over then put his camera on
the table. Next to the camera lay the menu: untouched. Hunger pounced on him every now and then
but he couldn’t do anything more than just stare at the menu. He loosened his DKNY belt, the one he
had picked from a thrift shop in Karachi, to ease himself but hunger couldn’t be satisfied by anything
except food.

His mind searched for a story which could make headlines the following day. Anything from a scandal,
rumor, trivia, gossip, politics, affairs, sports, simply anything. Anything that would give his wallet weight.
Enough weight to sufficiently provide for his wife’s needs. When he checked his phone there were
several texts from his wife, he replied to her in Urdu telling her that he would be late. All he actually
wanted was money.

Three long hours had passed ever since and Mehtab was yet to come across someone with who she
could lead a life of fame. Her dreams of leading a life of a celebrity seemed very surreal to her all of
a sudden. It seemed that she couldn’t bid farewell to the world of a struggling actress after all. Her
back still ached of the long bus ride but she straightened up because she saw this decent looking man
approaching her. She could read a man’s interest in her from miles, one of her few idiosyncrasies.
Although the man who was approaching didn’t show any signs of fame or fortune but Mehtab thought
she would just take the benefit of the doubt.

Kareem pulled the chairs next to the lady. He introduced himself, small talk followed. Kareem could not

resist staying away from his Goddess. He had contained himself for a good one hour. He couldn’t do
it any further. He rubbed his hands on Mehtab’s thigh back and forth .His left hand reached her lower
back and he worked his way through .For he was offered with no resistance ,he moved forward and
kissed her, her lipstick smeared all over his face.

As Karim spoke to Mehtab, Mehtab couldn’t help noticing an I-phone and a Blackberry in Kareem’s
lower pocket. As Kareem moved closer and closer, Mehtab got a better chance to sniff Kareem’s cologne
which sure as hell was very expensive. When his neck bent forward she saw gold chains jangling with
diamond pendants. He then kissed Mehtab and she offered no resistance for the diamond piercing in his
ear, conveyed wealth, rather she kissed him again.

Suddenly, The Marriot blared with camera flashes, as if a journalist somewhere had stooped on the
city’s biggest scandal. As soon as Ahmed learned that the frivolous man and woman he was seeing was
none other than the owner of the International Chain of Hotels, he wasted no time in trying to make it
the next day’s headline. Ironically neither did the scantily clad women nor the hotel owner refuse for
pictures rather they comfortably posed with one another.


Sana Riwzan said...

I really, really enjoyed reading this. This is wonderful.

Fatin said...

I found this very amusing.
And loved the repeated reference to DKNY.

Saman said...

I loved reading this!!

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