*back to part 7*      
110) By the morning train Rahat, expressing his thanks for the hospitality, set out. The date of his wedding had already been decided, and he was in a hurry.      
111) After this, in that house eggs were never fried, parathas were never warmed, and sweaters were never made. Tuberculosis, which for some time had been pursuing Bi Apa, running after her from behind, made a single pounce and seized her. And she silently confided her unfulfilled existence to its embrace.      
112) [*N17*] And then in that same sihdari, on the wooden platform, a fresh, clean linen floor-cloth had been spread. The daughters-in-law and daughters of the muhallah gathered. The white, white coarse cloth of the shroud, like the mantle [anchal] of death, spread out before Bi Amma. From the burden of endurance, her face was trembling, her left eyelid was fluttering. The empty wrinkles of her cheeks were terrifying, as if in them hundreds of thousands of serpents would be hissing.     == The cloth for the shroud is like the aa;Nchal of death, or the unwrapped end of Death's saa;Rii .
113) Having aligned the weave in the cotton, she folded it into a square, and in her heart countless scissors began to move. Today on her face was a terrifying peace and a verdant conviction. As if she might feel absolute confidence that unlike the other outfits, this "fourth-day outfit" would not be discarded.     == Or, literally, that this outfit wouldn't be discarded the way the others had been.
114) Suddenly in the girls seated in the sihdari began to twitter like birds. Hamidah, having flung the past far away, went and joined them. On the red twill ---- the look of the white cloth! In its redness, the marital happiness of no telling how many innocent brides has been created; and in the whiteness, the whiteness of the shrouds of how many unfulfilled maidens had sunk itself, and welled up! And then they all suddenly became silent. Bi Amma, having made the last stitch, broke off the thread. Two fat teardrops began to crawl slowly, slowly, down her soft, cottony cheeks. From within the wrinkles on her face rays of light burst forth, and she smiled. As if today she had come to have confidence that her Kubra's brilliant wedding outfit had been made and was ready, and in a few moments the shahnais would begin to sound.      
  _ _  

~~ Ismat Chughtai index page ~~ Platts Dictionary ~~ Glossary ~~ FWP's main page ~~