FEATURED STORY: “Bibi Tells a Lie” by Sana Nasim

Sana Nasim

Bibi Tells a Lie

Three years ago I went to Karachi to spend my summer vacation and take a short course in block printing. I stayed at my cousin’s house. It was my first experience away from my family. I was worried about how I would spend two months there.

My cousin warmly welcomed me. Her little daughter, Biya, helped me overcome my doubts. She was a talkative girl. They set up a separate room for me on the second floor. That first evening a lady of about 55 years came by. She brought a beautiful teddy bear for Biya. She looked like a family member. My cousin introduced us. Everyone called her Bibi. I was tired so I excused myself, but I promised Bibi we would talk soon.

The next day I visited institutes which provided art courses. I enrolled for a course at an academy close to my cousin’s house. That first week it was difficult to adjust but in the second week I found the class so interesting. My hours were from 9am to 2pm.

One day, on the way back, Bibi called me, “Saba, come to my home. I cooked a delicious biriyani. Let’s take lunch together.”

I accepted her kind invitation. Bibi’s house was beautiful. She told me about herself and her only son, Saad, and about her husband who died when her son was five years old. Her husband left a good inheritance so she could give her son the comforts of life. Her son worked for a multinational company. During the two hours I stayed there she just told me about her son. I thought about how lucky her son was. Lunch with Bibi became almost a daily routine. The conversation started and ended on her son. And every day she cooked something special for him. My curiosity to meet him grew.

One Sunday I asked my cousin to invite Bibi and her son to lunch. My cousin looked at me and said, “Saba, are you crazy?”

I said, “She has invited me so many times for lunch.”

My cousin told me Bibi’s son died a year earlier in a target killing.

Sometimes I see in the news about target killings. Political parties killed innocent people to threaten other people to obey their rules and regulation. Nobody thought about the innocent and their loved ones.

During my stay I met Bibi daily but I did not tell her I knew. I could not snatch that twinkle which appeared in her eyes when she talked about her son.

Sana Nasim lives in Sialkot, Pakistan. She is a visual artist. “Bibi Tells a Lie” is an excerpt from Surfing in Pakistan, a book about her experiences told via a dialogue with Caleb Powell. The first chapter with two of her stories was published by The Seneca Review. Sana currently works for SCOON (Special Children Organisation Of Norway), a Norwegian NGO that helps disadvantaged children in Pakistan.

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