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Sayah Hashiya – An Overview

It’s my first review and I’m sure I’m going to make many mistakes but since I love novels so much and would love to discuss the one I am enjoying reading the most right now therefore I decided to write my thoughts down.

Sayah Hashiya is an episodic novel by Saima Akram Choudhary and it gets published in Shuaa Monthly Digest. Siyah Hashiya has so many tracks which are interlinked. There’s a ‘Neeli Kothi’ in one portion of which resides the family of Dr. Jalal. Dr. Jalal has two married daughters Daizy and Dr. Taiyyaba and a son Taimoor. He’s not happy with his son who resides in England and has sent his daughter Oraida so that his father’s heart will melt and he will be pleased with him. But that’s just his fantasy because Dr. Jalal is never kind with Oraida. His wife still has got sympathies with her granddaughter but Dr. Jalal hasn’t.

In the other portion, Dr. Hammad who is Dr. Jalal’s younger brother lives with his daughter Dr. Beenish and grandson Arsam. Oraida and Arsam like each other but they know that they’ll never be together because Dr. Beenish hates Taimoor and his family and at the same time she’s very friendly relationship with her uncle Jalal.

Second track is that of Aapa Saleha and her daughter Adeena who live in a village of Hasan Abdal with Adeena’s paternal grandmother and Mona. Aapa Saleha’s personality is very mysterious. She runs an Islamic madrasa and Mona who’s Adeena’s second cousin helps her in that. Adeena is engaged to Abdullah who’s a pious person like her and he also works for the same madrasa. Both love each other.

Third track is that of a beautiful girl Shanzay Ibrahim. She’s not interested in her studies and lives in a girls’ hostel with her room mate Rubab. Shanzay tells her that her father was an atheist and got killed and she too doesn’t follow any religion. She doesn’t know about her mother and has lived with her Aunt (Phupho). She is very fond of showbiz.

The very first scene of the novel is enough to arouse the reader’s curiosity. A girl is running and a voice is stopping her from running and warning her that if she crosses that black border/margin, she’ll burn in hell. She doesn’t pay heed to the voice and doesn’t see that black border and continues to run and in doing so, she crosses it and then realizes that it’s too late. She burns! One day, Mona and Adeena go to the mysterious store room to find Adeena’s diaries. In doing so, Adeena discovers a headstone on which was written, ‘Aakhri aaramgah Mohtarma Saleha Rafeeq zoja Muhammad Rafeeq Ahmed, tareekhe pedaish 22 February, 1970. tareekhe wafat 22 December, 1992.’ She’s shocked.

One day Abdullah has acrimonious conversation with Aapa Saleha because she had ordered him to marry Adeena ASAP whereas he wanted some time for that.
After that he goes to Malaysia for education and Adeena hears that the aeroplane in which he was travelling has crashed. She’s taken aback and can’t recover from the shock. She starts relying on tranquilizers and burns her medical studies books after that because she’s displeased with her mother who wants her to become a doctor.

In Neeli Kothi, Sarmad (son of Taiyyaba) visits his grandfather’s house every now and then. He starts feeling for Oraida. One day, Oraida’s elder bro Maheer arrives and after that, he tries to develop a relationship with Dr. Jalal but he’s always indifferent towards both Oraida and Maheer. Maheer has come to Pakistan to work with Sarmad on a business. Oraida sees old pictures and discovers that her father was engaged to Beenish. On inquiring about Daizy’s picture, old maid tells her that she’s died long time ago. Shanzay faces failure everywhere she turns. Sarmad sees her falling on modeling ramp and after one more encounter with her he befriends this cute girl. They’ve a good brother sister relation with each other. He gets her a job in his office where Maheer sees her and starts liking her.

One day Adeena feels remorseful for letting her mother down and disobeying her. They’ve an emotional scene where Adeena apologizes to Aapa Saleha and cries. She promises that she’ll get enrolled again as per her will. In this way, after wasting two years Adeena decides to continue her studies. But before that she memorizes Qur’an Kareem.
Agha Ji (Dr. Hammad) is having health issues and is admitted in hospital. Shanzay being chivalrous visits him because of Sarmad and Maheer. There Bari Amma (Dr. Jalal’s wife) finds her face similar to someone she knows and asks her name but is disappointed.

Unexpectedly Oraida gets 90% marks in F. Sc. on hearing which, Dr. Beenish is very jealous. She had sent Arsam to a hostel after his intermediate level education. Oraida also lives in a hostel on her bro’s advice so that she can concentrate on her studies. There, Adeena is her room mate. Somewhere between this, we’re introduced to Bakhtawar and Hashim. Bakhtawar loves Hashim, a university fellow, for his kind heart and nature.
She talks to her parents but they aren’t convinced so she decides to elope with him. They’d fixed her Nikah with another guy. But when they go to hostel to receive her, she had already eloped. They were hiding from Bakhtawar’s family but one day in a hospital, a doctor asks her surprisingly, ‘You’re Dr. Hammad’s niece, right? When did you get married?’ So they change their location.

Then we are introduced to the past period of Taimoor’s life. Beenish is an arrogant, jealous girl who thinks very highly of herself. Her uncle loves her for her intelligence  but aunt doesn’t. Taimoor is engaged to her and he’s not happy about it. Beenish’s father’s ‘manshi’ has a daughter Bindiya who’s weak in studies and her father has sent her their so that she gets good marks and also to spend good time with Beenish as Beenish feels lonely after her mother’s death. Bakhtawar faces financial problems in initial days of her marriage. Then hashim gets a job. Taimoor suffers from a heart attack so Maheer goes to England and takes his grandmother with him (after Dr. Jalal’s permission). Dr. Jalal is still indifferent. In their absence, Oraida is sad so she decides to bring home her friend Adeena. Aapa Saleha allows her to stay there to her surprise.

One day, Arsam tells Oraida that Dr. Beenish has fixed his engagement with his cousin (daughter of phupho who’s come to Pakistan for her son’s wedding). He proposes to her a solution: to marry secretly. She firmly refuses to do so. He becomes angry over her. Dr. Jalal overhears their conversation and is kind of shocked. After this incident, he changes his attitude towards Oraida.

Bindiya and Taimoor start loving each other. Beside their liking, another factor of Beenish & Taimoor not getting married was that Beenish is arrogant and she thinks noone has the balls to become doctor in her family other than her. Dr. Jalal is displeased with his kids as Taimoor is studying different subjects and Daizy too isn’t studying medical sciences. Only Taiyyaba is getting medical education. Oraida and Adeena go to a restaurant and on their return when they were walking towards parking lot Adeena collides with a guy. He turns out to be Abdullah! Actually, he had missed his flight and he didn’t inform Adeena about that because he was displeased with Aapa Saleha. Now, Adeena is displeased with him.

Then Daizy (the same Bakhtawar) elopes and Beenish makes fun of their family which Taimoor hears. He asks his mother to arrange his Nikah with Bindiya. She refuses but when she overhears Bindiya and Beenish’s conversation, she agrees. Beenish was telling her that after that Daizy has eloped, she’s moved Dr. Jalal to get Taiyyaba married as soon as possible. His friend phoned him for his son’s proposal. When he asked Beenish’s opinion, she had said that he’s best for her. He’s 17 years older than her! She doesn’t want anyone else to become doctor that’s why she did it.

Shanzay and Maheer love each other and Maheer had taken a promise from her that he’ll get her a chance to work in showbiz on a condition that she’ll never work again in this field. She agrees but when he’s out of the country, she signs a drama and works. She’s expelled from the hostel and starts living with Rubab in an apartment. Bakhtawar is expecting twins. One day her brother in law visits Hashim, she overhears their conversation and is shocked. Because it reveals that Hashim is an atheist. But her friend consoles her by saying that it might be her misunderstanding. On their return, Maheer and Bari Ama bring Taimoor with them. Dr. Beenish doesn’t like his coming back.

Dr. Jalal is indifferent to his unhealthy son. Saleha is having cancer but she hides this news from Adeena. Mona takes her to hospital and on return, Aapa Saleha’s gaze shifts to a board and she is shocked. It was Shanzay’s face on the poster. Then at home she tries to see her again and at last, in a biscuit ad she sees her face. Then when Mona is watching a drama starring Shanzay, she asks her name and storms start swirling inside her.
Abdullah comes again with his mother and they apologize and Saleha finally accepts the apology. Sarmad’s mother Taiyyaba has already asked Oraida’s hand for marriage.

After Oraida’s family’s return, Adeena decides to go back. One day, Oraida shows her the old pictures of her deceased mother and upon seeing old album Adeena is shocked to see a face in it. When asked, Oraida tells her that she’s Daizy phupho who’s died long time ago. She asks again for confirmation. Then she thinks that it’s no wonder if phupho and niece resemble each other.

Bakhtawar’s daughters are born but one of them dies during delivery and the other daughter dies after 10 days. She’s so very much sad. Hashim is making us realize through different actions of him that he’s an atheist. One day, Bakhtawar decides to put Fatima’s (daughter) small stuff in a safe place. She opens Hashim’s trunk and is shocked at finding out a book from his trunk! That book was ‘Satanic verses’ by Salman Rushdi. She fights over it with Hashim and burns the book. He strongly denied the ownership of the book saying that it’s one of his friends’ book. But when she burns it, he slaps her. Taimoor secretly marries Bindiya and Dr. Jalal gets Taiyyaba married to Salahud Din. On Taiyyaba’s Nikah day Taimoor misbehaves with his father saying that it was due to his wrong decisions that Daizy eloped and she’s done a good job by escaping from this hell, he slaps him. Taiyyaba however continues to study after marriage. She’s initially displeased with her father but then starts visiting the house.

Hashim feels guilty and tries to satisfy Bakhtawar. But then he gets fired from the job. He’s very anguished and becomes mad on his wife for no reason. Bakhtawar is expecting for the second time. She starts working in a school to help themselves financially. She’s expecting a girl and is disappointed.
Then suddenly, Hashim tells her of his friend with whom he wants to do partnership in his publishing business. He had returned him a very old debt and they’re happy about it.
Upon returning Maheer tells Shanzay that he intends to send his family for her proposal. She’s bewildered because he’s unaware of her working in a drama. Sarmad knows that and is unhappy about it too. Rubab tries to persuade her to stop signing any other project because after that she’ll get married to Maheer, she can convince him to permit her to follow her dreams. So, this is the story.

I like how writer has managed to keep us enthralled by this novel. Thirteen episodes have passed but I feel I’ve just started reading it. It’s interesting to connect facts together to come to a conclusion. Aapa Saleha is shown many a time opening her old trunk and kissing small stuff of a baby. She’s also shown regretting what she’s done. Story is very intricate. Now we know that Daizy and Bakhtawar are the same person and also that Hashim is an atheist. So Shanzay is Bakhtawar’s daughter but her surname is Ibrahim… Why? That will be revealed with time. I like how writer has kept things simple. I also like the relationship both couples share i.e. Adeena & Abdullah and Oraida & Arsam. Both girls keep their self respect above anything else. Both girls know how to remain in limits. The scene in which both were regretting why did they fall in love with boys was impressive. It’s very easy for some boys (and in some cases girls) to suggest secret marriage but only dignified girls know how to keep such temptations from affecting your decisions.

I also like that scene in which Oraida was trying to defend Arsam in front of Adeena and she replied, ‘Konsi akhri had? Kisi larki ko apni buzdili ki saza dena kahan ka insaf hai?’
‘Buzdili ki?’
‘Jab koi mard apni mohabbat ke lie stand na le sake, use apne hi ghar me wo maqam na dila sake jis ki woh haqdar ho, yeh uski buzdili awr nakami hi hoti he.’
‘Laikin agar koi mard apne ghar walon ko chhor kr use apnata he to ye uski mohabbat ka sb se bra saboot he.’
‘Ye mere nazdik mohbt ka sabut nhin buzdili ki dalil he.’
‘Wo kese?’
‘Kisi larki ko chhup kr Nikah ki trghib dilana awr phir us par amal dar aamad karwane ka kaam wohi mard kr skta he Jo us ki khatir zmane walon se nhin lr skta.’

The concept of love is presented in a commendable manner. On the other hand we have Adeena and Abdullah whose love is very pure and within limits. I was excited to know about Bakhtawar’s twins but then they died. Now I hope that it’s revealed in a month or two that who’s Bakhtawar’s daughter. It’ll be indigestible if they reveal Adeena to be her daughter. No, I don’t think so that it’s possible. Oh, another point! Maid was telling Bindiya that Beenish’s mother was a divorced woman having a son from previous marriage. Hmm… A son! Well we just have to wait and see. So, curiosity arises with every scene of the novel. Whoever is fond of good literature should read it.
Waiting for comments.
S. Hassan

Updated: Oct 6, 2016 — 12:16 AM

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