Years ago when the rich landlord had brought red silk for making curtains for his house, Abdul saved enough material to tailor his daughter Abeeda’s wedding dress . He hid the dress in a box which he opened on the day she got married twelve years later. Abdul invited everyone to the wedding, but the rich landlord.
Kasim, the butcher was invited too. Kasim’s daughter Sakina was Abeeda’s friend. Sakeena eloped with Kasim’s assistant and came back home five days later at midnight, bruised and beaten. Kasim took her to his slaughterhouse and lynched her. Her body was never found.
The whole village had eaten Sakina bit by bit the next day, at the price of a cow’s meat. Abdul knew this because he got the bone which matched the size of her hand. He puked, but he kept quiet.
A few months before the whole village ate Sakina, Kasim had come to Abdul to get his trousers loosened. Abdul found a lottery ticket in his pocket and hid it in the same box in which he hid Abeeda’s wedding dress.
After a week when the lottery winners were announced, Kasim’s ticket won a petty sum that wouldn’t buy anything more than a good meal for two. So Abdul took the ticket to Kasim, expecting a good meal as an appreciation for his honesty. Kasim shut the door on him and swore that he will tell the entire village that he is a thief. But Kasim didn’t do that; he just stopped going to Abdul to get his trousers loosened.
Abdul was happy that Abeeda didn’t elope. If she had, he would have given the red silk dress to the rich landlord and hid Abeeda in the same box in which he hid the dress.
But she didn’t elope and she got married and nine month later she gave birth to Suleman.
One day when little Suleman was sitting in the mud, Abeeda asked Abdul, “Papa, will you make a dress for my Suleman’s funeral. And keep it in the box in which you hid my wedding dress”.
“Yes, I will.”
Abeeda looked longingly at her Suleman and asked Abdul in a trembling voice, “Papa, how tall will my son grow?”
“Taller than me.”
Abdul was right. Suleman grew up to three and a half feet, a good two inch taller than his grandfather. And when Suleman died an old man, shrunken by an inch, they took the dress, which Abdul made seventy years ago, out of the box. It fit the dead body perfectly.
The box remains empty since then.