Alisha Takes the Veil
Chapter 10 – Blinded by the Veil
The next week, the same pattern repeats. Alisha spends an evening with Javed, he behaves as a perfect gentleman, she prays, her mother feeds her and changes her into her now obligatory cocoon before she attempts to sleep, gets up, prays, is dressed in her outdoor attire and then spends each day working at her desk as normal. Or at least as normal as somebody wearing so much and with two of the burqas stacked over her computer and desk can. Yet she is becoming used to the heat and feels faint less of the time. Staying in at least a reasonable degree of purdah may indeed be possible when she goes abroad.
She is also quite often interrupted by the arrival of more customers attracted by her one woman advertising campaign each evening. At least her comment about being a model has come true.
She spends Thursday in the bridal burqa once again. Only this time her mother has lent her own wedding dress for Alisha to wear underneath, though she also wears a few of the bridal negligee sets they sell underneath that to protect it from any staining. The blusher on the veil is pulled over Alisha’s face ensuring Javed’s view of her is minimal. The long heavy train is bustled up adding quite a load to her back but avoiding it being noticeable trailing behind her. But the swish of all the netting in the dress is more than noticeable. She glides around the office as regularly as she can, sure she is arousing him.
“Come on,” she mutters to herself, “I’m packed and oven-ready for any type of wedding you want. Propose!”
Despite this, Javed doesn’t respond so at five o’clock she heads for the new female toilet. Of course it is impossible to use the room for its intended purpose without some major garment removal, something she has promised not to do of course, but it gives her somewhere to add a special custom made burqa, this time in a most dramatic golden hue. And just as dramatic as the colour is the weight. This burqa is by far the heaviest she has ever worn, probably doubling the already significant weight of clothing she is wearing at a single stroke. And as she goes to move, the pull of the back indicates a couple of feet of heavily padded material remains on the ground to both hide her feet and restrict the use of those same items.
Rana definitely doesn’t do things by halves when she tries.
She adjusts her attire in the mirror, then leaves the small room and makes her way to his office.
“I really am cooking this time,” she mutters to herself as the heat generated by her movement builds up in an uncontrolled manner. She stops outside the office and takes a short rest to try to cool off a little. Than she enters slowly and elegantly and shuffles her way to the space in front of his desk. There she drops to her knees and lowers her face.
As he has all day, Javed has watched this vision of perfection and loveliness enter in silence. But now he looks over the edge of his desk.
“You are doing it again.” he laughs, “Though at least there is nobody to stare at us here.”
Again a gloved hand reaches out from under the layered burqas and gives him another note, then lowers her face fully to the floor.
He opens the note and reads it. It is in his mother’s writing, never a good sign. But it is in English so he reads it aloud.
“Your mother asks you to assist in a test of Alisha’s trust in others. She named you as the person she most trusts so we ask that you lead her unseeing through the streets to her home without any harm befalling her. I trust you will assist her in this task.”
He sits quiet for a moment.
“Why are you doing this? Why is she doing this? Can’t you tell me?”
Though her face is still almost pressed to the floor, she gives a discernable shake of the head.
“I see. And this seems to indicate you cannot see anything out of there?”
A nod this time.
“This awrah thing isn’t necessary here. You can talk … uh … can’t you?”
This time she shakes her head again.
“Oh boy. She hasn’t gagged you, has she? I wouldn’t put it past her.”
A suppressed giggle from the floor indicates not.
“Oh well. I assume I’d better take you to your flat then. Shouldn’t take more than all night.” he laughs.
He leads her carefully, describing everything in front of her. Several times he tries to assist her by touch but each time she stops rigidly. At her front door, he tells her where the door is. She produces the key from somewhere in her attire but pretends to be unable to put it in the lock so turns to him with a barely visible shrug of the shoulders and a tilt of the head to one side. He laughs at her cute response, then takes the key and unlocks the door. But when he turns he finds her totally blocking the way. And then, in spite of or perhaps because of all the weight of her attire, she manages to shuffle him inside. He stands in the entrance looking highly embarrassed.
“What will my mother say?” he almost shrieks.
“She will say …” a familiar voice replies from an internal doorway.
“Well recognised my son. Now as I was saying before you so rudely interrupted me, your mother will say when are you going to put this wonderful girl out of her misery and propose marriage to her? Or to her parents if you prefer to do it in the traditional manner.”
“A hint my son. Now would be a very good time.”
“Uh … could we possibly discuss this matter a little first?”
“Okay. I’m not an unreasonable woman. Well not most of the time anyway.”
A quiet giggle appears from under the burqa.
“Silence please my girl. You haven’t been asked to speak yet. Once more and your bottom will be experiencing that old custom of yours.”
Rana continues “So you may make your points. Or ask some questions. But remember if I see any silliness I will take it upon myself as your mother to arrange this marriage for you anyway.”
Javed looks around. There is nobody to help him. His brother or an old uncle might have offered useful support. But at least their absence means their wives are also not present, not that his mother usually needs much in the way of support.
“I was not aware Alisha wanted to be my bride otherwise I would not have allowed myself to be alone with her so often.”
“Oh don’t be so silly. Why else would she be learning to be such a devout Muslim girl?”
“I wasn’t aware of that!”
“Oh come on. You’re not that naïve, are you?”
“So why have you been letting us go out alone?”
“She’s in strict enough purdah enough for neither of you to have your honour compromised. And in any case I don’t think her mother would be interested in chaperoning you two around, would she?”
“I suppose not. But there’s much more to being a Muslim girl than wearing a veil.” he replies, “Or lots of them even.”
“Indeed there is. In fact if that is the main requirement I’m in real trouble.” she laughs.
Another faint giggle appears from under the shroud. Then without prompting, the golden veiled mass bends over double. Equally without comment, Rana removes a shoe and administers six smacks to the upturned bottom with the flat heel. Even with the padding of many layers of silk and cotton, the sound of leather striking her bottom indicates she is not taking it easy.
Meanwhile her son looks on with horror.
“A good Muslimah should remain silent unless spoken to.” she explains.
“But why are we even speaking English mother?”
“Because I think Alisha should still be able to hear what we say.”
“But that made her giggle and cause you to spank her.”
“Excellent training, don’t you think? As I said, a young Muslimah should be seen and not heard.”
“Uh … okay.”
“So if it isn’t to be veiled, what is the main duty of a Muslim girl then? Or of a Muslim man even?”
“Uh … to pray.”
“About five times a day.”
“That’s actually the minimum, is it not?”
“Well … I suppose it is.”
“And how often have you managed so far?”
“How many my son?”
“Uh … twice mother. Well sort of. I’ve been rather busy today at work.”
“Hmm. Now my dear future daughter. I think you actually call it daughter-in-law here don’t you?”
The burqa clad figure nods but stays silent.
“Well done. I assume you have been at work for as long as my son has today?”
Again a nod.
“Good. You may speak to answer this one. How many times have you prayed today? I realise you haven’t converted yet so you don’t actually have to do any of course.”
“Five times ma’am.”
“And these were for?”
“Once for Fajr. Then once at the beginning and once at the end of Zuhr. The same for Asr. Magrib will begin soon and I will end the day with an extended Issha.”
“And for how long?”
“About two hours in total so far ma’am. I would hope to extend this to over three hours before the day’s end.”
“Indeed you should.” she remarks, then turns back to Javed, “Though I trust that will soon be a minimum of five.”
“I shall make it so ma’am.”
“So my son. It would seem to me that you have an easy choice here. You take a devout and devoted girl willingly prepared to convert to our religion and offering herself to be your wife and to pray for your unworthy self to be allowed to join her in paradise …” she then dramatically pauses for effect, “… or you burn in eternal damnation.”
This time poor Alisha cannot resist yet another giggle even if it may cause further discomfort to her bottom. His mother is doing a far better job of matchmaking than she could ever do herself and it would be more than worth it.
Fortunately for her bottom, this time his mother ignores the sound and continues “Okay, by the rules I have to stay here with you two but I think Alisha is more than adequately covered and you’re both old enough and wise enough not to do anything silly. You have the consent of both your parents so now you must talk it through and both agree to this marriage.”
It would at first appear Rana is giving her son some choice. Her next statement proves otherwise.
“But I’ll be back in two hours to collect my future daughter as she will be staying with us from now on. We can’t have a young girl observing strict purdah living on her own any longer, can we?”
Despite seeing nothing, Alisha bows towards the door as the woman departs. Once she hears the door shut she turns around.
“Where are you?” she asks politely.
“Uh … over here.” he replies.
“Well come here then. It’s alright. I won’t eat you.” she laughs, her details still invisible beneath her extensive coverings of course.
“Oh. Right. Well at least the sound is back on at last. So you mean all of this?” he asks.
“Of course master.”
“Please don’t call me that.”
“Why not … sir?”
“It’s … well … oh, I don’t know. So you really want to become a true Muslim?”
“I really want to be your wife. I’ve been assuming the one implies the other and your mother has been helping me with my education.”
“Let’s start with the wife bit.”
“Because you’re the kindest and most considerate person I have ever met.”
“I think you’re seeing only one side of me.”
“I’m sure I can handle the other side.”
“But I can’t see why you would want a husband like me?”
“Well you’re good looking. Generous. Considerate. Amusing. Quite the perfect gentleman.” she lists out slowly, then adds the punchline. “And you’ve been giving me the hots since I first met you even if I didn’t do that with you.”
“Ah. You didn’t realise then.”
“The problem is you gave me the same effect so much I could hardly control myself. Did you make me flush or what ! But Muslim boys are taught from an early age that it’s such a bad thing that we have to chastise any woman showing herself to us like that.”
“That’s good to hear. So will you?”
“Will I what? Chastise you?”
“Take me as your wife of course! I’ve been dying for you to ask me for weeks but you just don’t seem to want to.”
“I genuinely didn’t realise you would want me as a husband.”
“So why did you think I was dressing like this?”
“Well I obviously realised we enjoyed each other’s company but I was getting a little worried you might soon want sex with me.”
“I do want sex with you! That’s what married people do.”
“I meant just the sex. No marriage.”
“Ah … I suppose it could have seemed that way.”
“Sorry. Perhaps I believe too much of what is written about women here. But you really want to do it properly?”
“Of course. More than anything in the world.”
“Excellent. Wow even, to use your own words. But as I am sure I am not perfect, may I ask in advance what you’ll be asking of me to change.”
“Oh that’s an easy one.” she giggles, “Do your tie up properly!”
“Oh. But …”
“But what? You cannot think it looks better hanging round your neck there like a limp dishcloth.”
“Well it’s just many Muslim men don’t like tight things on their bodies. I don’t wear a wristwatch or a belt either if you’ve noticed.”
“I think if I can manage all of your traditional attire like this, the least you can do is manage to put a tie on properly. Can’t you do just this one thing for me please? Please? Please?”
“For you my dear Alisha, of course I can.”
“And I’ll buy you a nice silk one when I can see again.”
“Ah that you cannot do I’m afraid.”
“It is haram for a Muslim man to wear silk and gold.”
“Oh. Why is that?”
“Well they claim it’s to do with men appearing effeminate but really I suspect it’s so that there’s more for you Muslimahs to wear.”
“An excellent rule.” she giggles.
He grins and adjusts his tie properly, not that she can see this of course.
“Done. Now I think this is how you do it in the West, isn’t it?” he kneels in front of her and takes her gloved hand from under the burqas. “Beloved Alisha. Will you please do me the great honour …”
“Hang on.” she interrupts, “I’m sorry but there is one thing you need to know. Your mother told me not to mention it but I can’t lead you on unaware.”
“Oh.” Javed is lost for words. “What is it?”
“I … I … I won’t bleed on the marriage bed. I’m … uh … not a virgin. I was young at the time. Please don’t discard me for this failure. I love only you.”
“Oh my dear Alisha, do not be silly. Once you become a Muslimah then you will be restored as a virgin. There is no problem in my eyes.”
“Thanks. I mean it when I say I love you. I promise you won’t regret it.”
“I know. Shall I begin again?”
“Beloved Alisha. As we have the permission of our parents, will you please do me the great honour of becoming my most beautiful and kind wife. I promise to provide for and protect you and our children for as long as we live.”
She gives a slow nod. She hadn’t been expecting the mention of children although everything she has learnt has indicated how important they are to her new religion.
“I would prefer a verbal acknowledgement. It isn’t everyday a man asks a beautiful girl to marry him.”
“Of course I will.” she screams, no number of layers of garments able to contain her delight.