THE SUNDAY YARN ~ Begum and mistress!

Nawab Kazzan loved the slim body line in green and purple polyester cotton. The frame made him swoon, the straight spine with just the right curvature of her spars were made for fondling and real flights ,,,,,, of pleasure. The bridles were just right for subtle control and the tails though adding to the uncertainty gave it the right mix of excitement.

 The Nawab had access to many as good but this was his special love. He had won many a tournaments with this one – particularly the All-India Kite Flying Tournament organized in the Capital after a gap of almost 30 years in 2002. More than a 100 patang-baaz from all over the country had participated.

Presently, he was contemplating how to get out of a family commitment ,,,,,,, the marriage anniversary of his sale sahab – Mansoor Mia. He knew his begum (he never called her by her real name – Rukhsaana) would insist on it and he detested accompanying her to his in-laws. He hated their snobbery, the adherence to traditions long forgotten by the rest of the world and the daily grind of maintaining flamboyance that was unaffordable in the present times. His main grouse was that in spite of being better off financially he was considered as a below rank due to his family background. The attitude had persisted over the last 21 years of his marriage.

He decided to give it a miss come what may.

The Nawaab reached home around midnight after a evening out with his friends. Begum was still not back. He went to sleep ,,,,,,, relieved that the word-war was postponed for the time being.

The begum returned the next day. They had lunch together and to the immense relief of the Nawaab she talked of the festivities, of this and of that but no mention of his absence was made. A sense of foreboding came over him but he soon got rid of it. He went out at 4:00 the usual time to manage the affairs of his small ittar-factory.

A week passed peacefully. The Nawaab patted himself on the back for his firm stance. His occasional jibes at his in-laws became more frequent. The Begum took them in her stride and all was peaceful.

Diwaali that year was on Friday and Saturday would be Jamghat  the annual kite flying jamhoree of the city. Thousands of kite would be flown and there was big money to be won. Nawaab sahab had a wager with his permanent adversary Raaj Thaakur. The bet was for Rs 100,000 a sum nawaab could not afford with ease. There were no deposits but non payment would ensure that other had to leave the city or live his life in deep disgrace.

On Monday preceding Diwali, Nawaab sahab decided to check out his sports ware and replenish what ever was lacking. He went to the small loft and started checking the trunks full of kites, manjha and the saddi on their charkhis. All was in order. He was closing the trunks  when he had an overwhelming desire to have a look at his sweetheart, the one in green and purple.

He opened one of the trunks, removed the packing of waste paper and took out the special bamboo frame he had specially made for it. In the dim light he could sense that some thing was wrong ,,,,,a premonition hit him in the pit of his stomach. He took the frame out of the loft to view it in better light. Alas his beloved was no more. Its spine has been bisected with a sharp instrument. Though it looked fine in its frame – it was beyond all repairs.

The jamghat that year lacked the usual gaiety. Of the two prominent patang baaz only Raaj Thakur was present and he had not even brought his kites and other paraphernalia.

The Nawaab was nowhere to be found. There had been a tragedy in his family. His wife had been found dead on her bed ,,,,,,,,,  her spine had been hacked in to two by a heavy axe while her children were visiting their mamoo – Mansoor Mia.

Rumors of dacoity and kidnapping were rife in the city.

English: Kite shop in Lucknow

English: Kite shop in Lucknow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Enhanced by Zemantabegam~wife, patang baaz ~ kite flier, manjha~special thread coated with glass powder, saddi~ thick kite flying thread, charkhi~ reels, jaghat ~ day after diwali, mamoo ~ maternal uncle.

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