Atifa's pov :
It was a pleasant day, the birds were chirping and the sun was shining brightly. I came back running home from my school bus. Today was a big day for me.
I opened the door and entered my home calling out 'Assalamualikum', and reciting the dua, I closed the door and ran to ammi knowing where she would be present. And as expected, she was in the kitchen, making my favorite food. It was Chicken Biryani. I hugged her from behind. "Assalamualikum Ammi" I greeted her and pecked her cheeks.
"Walikumussalam beta, How was your school?" Ammi asked me while carefully closing the lid of the pot. (Son/daughter)
"Alhamdulillah it was good. Today I am so happy ammi, I won first prize in our Quiz competition! You know? It was so much fun! I even got a free period to spend time with my bestie! We were even able to play different games…" I began my rambling.
"Calm down bacche, first drink water and go pray. Your abbu might be coming soon and lunch is almost ready. We can talk afterwards!" Ammi interrupted with a smile while handing me a glass of water. (Child)
"Ammi, Where is Mira?" Suddenly, I remembered about Amira, my little sister. She is three years old and she is the cutest thing ever! The house seemed pretty quiet today so it made me suspicious as well as worried about her.
"She is sleeping in my room right now." Replied ammi while turning back to do her work.
"Oh okay." I sat down on the chair in the kitchen island, said 'Bismillah' (In the name of Allah) and drank the glass of water in 3 sips and said 'Alhamdulillah' (All praise is due to Allah alone) as it is sunnah to drink water in 3 sips while saying these praises.
In today's world if a person follows a sunnah they get the rewards of 100 martyrs, so why not gain the rewards. Then I went up to my room to freshen up and pray.
After praying, I thought of doing some homework. But the excitement of telling my parents everything was eating me up. Nevertheless, I started doing my English essay and got so engrossed in it that I forgot the time. English was my favourite subject. I was just completing the essay when I heard ammi calling me down for lunch. 'So abbu is back' I thought excitedly. "Coming!" I shouted to let her know that I heard her. I closed my book before running downstairs.
I saw abbu sitting on the table, waiting for us. Our house was not big, but it was not small either. In fact it was perfect for us. There were four bedrooms attached with washrooms, a living room, a drawing room and a kitchen along with a dining room. The living room faces the kitchen which is attached to the dining room. As I was standing on the steps I could see the dining room from here. Three bedrooms were upstairs while the remaining room downstairs.
"Atifa api!" Amira squealed while running towards me. She was, I guess going to the dining room but saw me and decided to run towards me. Oh yeah! I forgot to introduce myself. I am Atifa Ahmed. I am thirteen years old and studying in class eighth. What else can I say about myself? I guess we will get to know as the story proceeds…
"Assalamualikum Mira." I greeted as I caught her.
She squealed once again as I lifted her to carry and replied sheepishly, "Walikumussalam api."
"What were you doing all day princess?" I asked her while walking towards the dining area.
"I played with my dolls and then I learned the poem Twinkle-twinkle with ammi." She told me excitedly, her arms flailing around.
"Oh really?" I asked her curiously.
"Yes and she told me I could go to the park with you today if I would be a good girl." She replied with a grin.
"Accha, and were you a good girl?" Abbu asked, faking her curiosity.
"Yes, I was. I even helped ammi in cleaning today." She replied while nodding her head.
"Assalamualikum abbu." I greeted as I went towards him, smiling brightly. I sat Amira on a chair and stood behind her chair as ammi returned from the kitchen carrying a bowl of salad.
"Walikumussalam Atifa, What were you doing?" Abbu questioned while looking at me.
"I was just completing my English work. How was your day abbu?" I asked him after answering his question. I knew once I started rambling about my day, I won't be able to stop talking. I was a talkative girl.
"It was good, I was just missing someone…" Abbu replied as he glanced at ammi mischievously. At that ammi's head snapped in his direction and she glared at abbu. Smiling slightly, I went to wash my hands from the kitchen and came back.
"What? I didn’t say it was you! It was my daughters!" Abbu was defending himself with a frown.
"Awww abbu! It's so sweet of you to forget your wife but miss us!" I teased. I knew what was coming next, so I went and sat beside ammi as I struggled to suppress my upcoming laughter. Amira was sitting beside abbu as she played with the salad on her plate.
Abbu glared at me playfully and replied "No actually, I was only missing my younger daughter."
"Oh Yeah! I actually believe that…" I snorted at that.
"Enough! No more talks while eating" Ammi interrupted sternly. Although we all knew it was fake strictness, but we also knew it was better to follow her orders.
"Okay, Sorry!" I sheepishly smiled at ammi. I took some biryani and started eating after reciting the dua 'Bismillahi – Waala – Barakatillah.'
(In the name of Allah and with the blessing of Allah I begin (eating)).
After we completed having lunch with minimal talks - you know how desi mom's can be - we recited the dua 'Alhamdulillahillazi – Hua – Ashbaana – Wa – Arwana – Wa – Anaama – Aalina – Wa – Afzal' (All praise belongs to Allah who filled our stomachs and quenched our thirsts, rewarded us and give us plentiful.)
After that abbu asked ammi to bring the ice-cream which he brought. I squealed in delight as I found out it was my favorite flavor, BUTTERSCOTCH! I mean, who doesn't like that flavor! It is also ammi's favorite flavour so... You get the catch! Well anyways, watching me squealing, Amira also started squealing. Oh! I forgot to add, she is just like me in imitating things like now. I just love her so much. "Yayyy abbu! Jazak Allahu Khairan, I love you so much!" I exclaimed in delight. A grin adorning my face.
"Jazak Allah, I love you too abbu." Amira mimicked happily, waiting for the ice-cream impatiently.
"You both love me or the ice-cream?" Abbu questioned, a bit offended or maybe trying to be offended.
"Abbu, we love both of you, but ice-cream a little bit more… Since ammi is there for you..." I teased him. I love to tease him. Our relationship was not like any typical father-daughter relationship. He was more like a friend for me.
Before he could reply, ammi asked me something which I had momentarily forgotten about. "So Atifa, what were you telling me about when you came back from school?" She changed the subject smoothly, sitting down beside abbu now and scooping out ice-cream for everyone.
So today was my quiz competition with other school students. Inter School competition, if you have heard about it, it was that. And Alhamdulillah I won that competition. I was so happy about it and I was telling my parents about it. I just didn’t want to bore you all so I thought of telling you in short. Anyway, back to the topic at hand. By the time I finished my rant about it our ice creams were done and we sat in the living room talking.
"I still can't believe that she won the competition!" Abbu said in a fake, surprised tone.
"Because she is my daughter, that’s why she won it. She has her ammi's brain and I am thankful about it. I don’t know what would have happened if she would have gotten your brain!" Exclaimed ammi, sitting beside me with a beautiful smile adorning her lips. I love that smile of hers because it always makes her look a few years younger.
"You can't make fun of me like this in front of my kids! I have a reputation here. And I am your husband!" Abbu exclaimed playfully while glaring at ammi. I was just watching their interaction, amused. Amira was busy playing with her dolls.
"Api, Will you please play with me?" An innocent and small voice asked from beside me making me turn to look at her.
"I will play with you after I complete my work Mira." Mira was a nickname given by me to my cute, little sister. I turned my attention back to my parents when she nodded her head.
"Does it look like I care? And I know what reputation you have here. You have spoiled my girls." Replied ammi, shaking her head.
Abbu huffed before saying, "They are my princesses and they deserve to be treated like one! But I think that my princess here has cheated in her quiz competition!" I wasn't expecting that.
"Abbu I can never do that! You both didn’t teach me that. I can never do anything that will hurt you both and I will never do anything that will hurt you both, I promise you that." After saying that I got up to go to my room. Although I knew that he might just be kidding, but I was still hurt. How can abbu even think like that?
But before I could leave, abbu stopped me. "I am sorry princess, I didn’t mean to hurt you, I was pulling your leg, just like how you were pulling mine in the dining room sometime ago. But honestly speaking, I am so happy that you won and you don’t have to make that promise because we trust you." He said lovingly as he made me sit by his side while pulling my hand. I guess ammi was glaring at him before because he was now looking at her apologetically. They were talking with their eyes. And I could never understand how they can even manage to do that.
"It's ok abbu, you don’t have to apologize and I won't take my words back. I have promised you both and I will stay true to my words In Shaa Allah." I replied as I passed them a smile. They were also smiling at me. Someone said 'The most beautiful thing in this world is to see your parents smiling and know that you are the reason behind that smile.' It is very true.
Amira, watching everyone smiling also smiled.
It was one of the best moments of my life…
Assalamualikum – Peace be upon you.
Walikumussalam – May the peace be with you too.
Beta – It is a word used as endearing in Urdu. It literally means son but it can be used for both the genders.
Alhamdulillah – All praise is due to Allah alone.