Day 31: Laila is smoking


After three days of struggling with it, Laila is done.

I add an excerpt from it incase any of you are interested…

The next day two young men started the work of replastering the walls. Rashid watched them work till late afternoon and after instructing Laila to contain herself to the second floor of the house, he went away to his shop.

Laila was strangely disturbed since the men turned up at her doorstep. Rashid, who would usually leave by midmorning every day, was at the house till way past noon. That meant of course that she could not smoke for the whole time. Her routine thus disturbed, she found herself in a bad temper. The potato salad that she made for lunch was too salty, the plastering was making the whole house dirty and she had no option but to watch them helplessly.

Laila found herself in Rashid’s room as soon as he was outside the door. She had to have her cigarette. And smoke soon. She locked the door.

With her sensual stick in her hands, he heaved heavily for the first puff and lay on her back on his bed feeling the same harmonious sensations passing through her veins like a hot liquid. But she was also terrified – unlike most days she was not alone in her house today.

She was startled by a voice outside the window.

Yes, they were plastering the outside wall today. She had forgotten.

She caught a glimpse of the youth who was working outside her wall. He was perched on a ladder, only the portion beneath his neck visible to Laila, while he applied the white wall putty on the sunshade.

He was not wearing a shirt, his body was the color of wheat, muscular and lean. Laila stood transfixed by this odd apparition at her window – this man who was much younger than Rashid, with a perfection in appearance that came near to the man in the poster.

 She chewed her lips. She felt uneasy – felt the stings of a new passion gnarling at her heart. She stood facing the mirror, through a corner of which she could clearly see the young man.

 The man was working his way down the ladder. In a moment, he would come face to face to the window and then he would surely see her. She did not stop to think. She unbuttoned the back of her blouse, and stood there – her upper body bared, her youthful breasts drawn in fine parabolas across her chest. 

I must have started writing this story some five years ago. I never got around to completing the story then. That was the time when I had just started smoking and was falling in love with both the sensation and the experience. I remember lying down in my dorm bed at night, with all the lights switched off and smoking myself to sleep. In the darkness the glowing tip of my cigarette would gleam, like the eye of a monster. Thus the story of a muslim woman who was contained within her own house, caught in a loveless relationship with her husband. Privately she was very adventurous – albeit a bit too much. I resumed writing the story only now – and this time struggled to get it to completion. The narration is live – more like a screenplay. This makes us completely in the moment, not a passive writing like the Coconut Baron – but a story that unfolds in the course of twenty four hours.

I must have read Khalid Hosseini‘s A thousand Splendid Suns at around this time – that is probably where the idea of a muslim woman comes in and also the name Laila. That was a heart breaking book – beautiful narration and a lovely, heart wrenching story.

Ask me for the story, if you like it – my optical fibers! 🙂


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