“Did you remember to pray[i] today?” Sania asked, sitting across the table from Emil, as they were about to start dinner.
“Yes, of course.” Emil replied, running the fork over different dishes, trying to figure out what to start with.
“Properly? Tell me you did not just talk to the voices in your head and mumbled about the things you want.”
“I bowed my head and called myself thy.”
“Emil! How often do I have to tell you this? You have got to start doing these things properly. You want to be with me, you have to start doing what I ask you to do! Promise me you will start praying five times a day from tomorrow, promise me!” Sania, pointing her fork menacingly towards Emil.
“Do you mean it?”
“Yes. I promise.”
“Good. I will wake you up at dawn.” The fork came dow…back up again, “Do not turn your phone off again tonight.”
“I did not turn it off, Sania. It ran out of charge. I use an old model.”
“Then charge it! Go on, do it. Now.”
“It’s fine today. There is enough…”
“Just charge your phone Emil. I don’t like it when I call and cannot reach you.”
“Sure, I’ll charge it right now.” Emil got up and hooked his phone to the charger. There was going to be no sleep for him that night. He sighed.
Sania smiled, “So, how was work today?”
“It was good…”
“Did you talk to your boss? Rasel?”
“Yes, him. Did you get around to talking to him about a raise?”
“Well, not yet. We got a new brief today and everyone was…”
“Why do you do this to me, Emil? What, do you enjoy ignoring everything I ask you to do? Is it funny somehow? Maybe we can laugh about them together from now on.”
“No, we really did get a new brief, and…” Emil said.
“I do not care about your brief! Or your puny agency! Abbuji could buy them out with his lunch money. Why do you still work for them?” She dropped the fork from her hand which landed on a dish with a loud clattering noise.
“Because I like my job, Sania.” Emil replied.
“Like? What does like has to do with work? Do you think Abbuji built his empire by doing things he liked doing? You do what you have to do. Do you want to be rich someday? Do you want people to respect you? Do you want to be able to give me the life I deserve? Or do you want to keep living in this dingy, one-room apartment? Is this the best you are offering?”
“I happen to like my apartment,” he said.
“It’s a hole! And you are a tenant! Do you expect me to move in with you here when we are married?”
“We’re getting married?”
“Yes, married, Emil, married! I have wasted two years with you! Two years off my prime! You bet your ass you are going to marry me. But not before you straighten your life out. Then we get married.”
“Have you also fixed a date and a caterer already?” Emil asked.
“Stop joking around! This is serious. You either talk to your boss about a raise by the end of week, or you come work for Abbuji. He’ll give you a good job if I talk to him. You have till end of the week, Emil. No more!”
’First Zara and now this,’ Emil thought, ’this is not going to be a fun week at all.’ “Ok, I agree that I have not taken my responsibilities seriously for far too long now. I have been acting like a child and the fault is entirely mine. I promise you I will go have a talk with Rashed bhai. And if things do not pan out favorably, I will go and talk to your father next week. I promise you, by the beginning of next week, everything will be alright.” He gently smiled towards her; a candle between them would have been nice.
“Promise?” she asked.
“Yes, Sunday.” he reached out across the table and took her hand in his hand and gently squeezed it, “I promise you. I fool around, but you know I would never lie to you, right? I will make this right. For you.” Promise made; vow sealed. Sania’s eyes, and nothing more, watered, “I know. And that is why I love you so much.” She said, “Because I am the best thing in your life and you know it so well. I love you, Emil!”
“Ah, yes, thank you very much. Me too. Now let us eat this beautiful spread before it gets cold. I am so lucky to have you in my life.” He said and shoved a meatball into his mouth.
[i] What does it mean to pray?
To pray means for a prayer to petition to a prayee to reduce or eliminate entirely the gap between the desired and actual state of being through suspension of the natural laws of the universe (in the favor of the prayer, of course). Pray is what you do when you would rather not do anything else. It is clear, then, that what Sania actually meant was to ask if Emil had worshipped, and not if he has prayed.
What does it mean to ‘worship’?
Ever had a crazy, possessive girlfriend who threw a tantrum every time you went an hour without expressing your eternal and undying love for her?