5 | Abid Yazdani

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Humayrah descended the stairs, her frustration evident as she muttered under her breath. "No courtesy in this house at all," she grumbled. "Itni derr se ek guest akele room mein hai, lekin kisi mein manners nahi kuch khane ka puch lein."

(It's been a while since a guest has been alone in the room, but no one has manners to inquire if they want something to eat.)

Hours had passed, and no one had bothered to inquire about her hunger. Determined to remedy the situation, she made her way pit of the room, a determined glint in her eyes as she sought to satisfy her neglected appetite.

"I was off at Chaudhary's house; despite being in captivity, at least they provided timely meals."

But as she reaches downstairs, she gets confused, uncertain of where to go, as she looks at three passage ways.

Javed Khan, noticing her confusion, approached with an air of dominance, his voice sharp as he demanded, "Aap niche kya kar rahi hain?"

(What are you doing downstairs?)

At first, Humayrah was startled with his rough voice, then she got offended by his tone and crossed her arms over her chest.

"I'm hungry, jabse yaha ayi hoon mujhse kisine khane ka nahi pucha," she retorted, unapologetic. She wanted to make him aware of how bad of a host they are.

(I'm hungry; since I arrived, no one has asked me if I want to eat.)

Javed Khan, taken aback, observed her closely. There was something in the way she spoke that stirred a memory.

"Bhai, main apka wait kar rahi thi, aaj maine khana banaya tha aur aap bahar se khake arahe hain?"

(Bhai, I was waiting for you. I cooked the food today, and you've already eaten.)

With a snap of his fingers, Javed Khan called a nearby servant, who scurried over. "Inke liye kuch khane ke liye leke aye." he ordered, his tone now tempered.

(Bring something for her to eat.)

As the servant hurried off, Javed Khan looked back at Humayrah. "Behtar hoga agar aap uppar jaye, niche aney ki zaroorat nahi jab tak apko koi na bulaye." he instructed, the resemblance in her mannerisms triggering a flicker of recognition.

(It would be better if you go upstairs; there's no need to come down unless someone calls you.

Humayrah's squinted eyes followed Javed Khan as he departed, her disdain clear. "Everyone in this house is weird," she muttered under her breath, a hint of frustration in her voice.

"Aur mujhe laga tha sirf Mikaal hi ajeeb hai.... waise yeh Mikaal hai kaha?" Her thoughts drifted to Mikaal, the reason she found herself in this peculiar mansion.

(And I thought only Mikaal was the strange one... Where is Mikaal, by the way?)

Determined to locate him, she hastened upstairs, navigating the corridors in search of Mikaal.


In the dimly lit room, the man in his mid-50s, Akbar Chaudhary, summoned his loyal servant, Bahadur.

"Woh admi kaisa hai?" He inquired.

(How is that man?)

Bahadur, his voice tinged with worry, replied, "Kal raat se behosh hai. 3 din se kuch khaya nahi hai."

A flicker of anger crossed Akbar Chaudhary face as he spat, "Toh tum yaha kis liye ho? Ek bandhe hue bebas shaks ko khana nahi khila sakte?"

(Then why are you here? Can't you feed a helpless person forcibly?)

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