A few months earlier~~
Never in her life did Adeela feel so blessed. Her dream was coming true and her beloved teacher was behind this miracle. Mrs. Gomez was taking care of all finances for her F1 visa which was giving Adeela the unexpected opportunity to finally study in America and more importantly, see her mother. The last time she had talked to her mother was a few months back. Adeela was the one who called her from a telephone office and luckily she got hold of her mother on the second try. “Adeela! Is it you ma??? I am so sorry we were not able to reach you for a while…” her mother began with a tone of guilt, while the screams and cheers of a toddler filled the background. “Sorry dear, that’s Maisha, she gets excited when I talk on the phone” But Adeela already had a limited time in the telephone shop with a dozen men waiting behind her to use the telephone, she had to make it quick. “I can’t wait to see my little sister!”
She took in a deep breath…
“Ma! I am coming to you! I’m coming! I got the visa Ma!” Adeela was so excited just to break it up to her that she burst into tears again before her mother could even say anything. She had told her mother about this situation after she was done with school. The line was silent for a few seconds..”Ma are you there??? Did you hear?” She heard sniffing and a soft graceful voice break down and what sounded like a bangali dramatic cry of joy had followed up. “Oh Allhamdulillah! My baby! Oh I am so happy Adee you have no idea! God had sent an angel with you Adee Oh my baby! Your teacher is an angel send from heaven I am so happy my Adee! When are you coming?”
The conversation was one of the best most joyful talks they ever had in their life and everything went well until Adeela finally asked about Jafir, her step-father. All of the sudden Adeela’s mother’s tone weakened and a sense of fear emerged in her voice. She felt it from her mother even in an unclear telephone that was about to cut off any minute. The last thing she heard from her mother was, “Don’t worry, there won’t be any problem. Everything should be fine.”
Adeela sensed hesitance again before the line cut off. She came back to reality. Horns honking, riskshaw bells jingling and babytaxis brumming all at once. Her getting out of the small conjusted shop surrounded by way too many smelly men, all tired, busy, complaining about something. An indian tune playing at a nearby audioshop, people cursing, yelling, laughing, beggars begging, women calling out taxis and rickshaws, bargaining. Adeela was surely going to America, but what where was she going now? She just realized that she has no home here in her motherland. Nobody is willing to accept her. Her father’s family lost contact with her after her mother’s marriage. Her aunt kicked her out of the house and practically disowned her after what Adeela’s own cousin tried to assault her, and her friend was away, married. She was all alone. Going back to her hostel she thought, was she putting her mother into more trouble? What if her step-father didn’t want her to come? He hardly talked to her anyway. So many thoughts went through her 16-year-old mind. She heard a familiar voice by the busy noisy street calling her.
She turned behind and her face lit up and she forgot about all the problems she ever had. “You! What a pleasant surprise!” It was the old rickshawwala. The old man she bought sandals to. He still wore the same sandals. It had been 2 years. She was relieved to see that he was still the same with his rickshaw and bata sandals. His small towel wrapped around his hat and grey beard, and not to forget the sincerest smile in the world.
“Please don’t call me Apa! I am so much younger than you. Why so formal?” She asked with a smile.
“You are my granddaughter’s age Adeela ma,” he grinned.
Adeela smiled back.
“Guess where I am going?” She boasted proudly like a kid, “America!”
“Emerikaaa!” The rickshawala exclaimed. “I heard there is people of all color there. And the clouds fall on the land. Like heaven!”
Adeela giggled, “You mean snow?????”
The rickshawwala gave her a ride to her hostel and he wished her all the luck.
“I am a poor man, I am not able to give you anything ma, but I will pray for you. My dua for you will always be present. You might forget me eh..”
Adeela’s eyes filled with tears. She would never forget him. That was the last time she ever saw him.