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  • Writer's pictureFolkloristan

Sher Alam Maimoonai

Once upon a time, in a village in modern-day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, there lived two brothers who were the best of friends. Their bond was so strong that they decided to make a special promise – to unite their future children in marriage. Oh, how they longed for their friendship to continue through generations!

As the years passed, the brothers were blessed with two wonderful children. A brave and adventurous boy named Sher Alam, and a kind girl named Maimoonai. As they grew older, their bond grew stronger, and true to their fathers' promise, Sher Alam and Maimoonai were wedded. Their love was both, unmatched and unbreakable.

Sher Alam was known for his jolly and playful nature. He spent his days entertaining guests and throwing delicious feasts in his home. His best friend was always by his side, and their laughter echoed through the valleys. But Maimoonai, wise and thoughtful, knew that Sher Alam's lavish ways were not sustainable. She tried to convince him to spend more time with her instead of his friends. Alas, Sher Alam's friend relied heavily on his extravagant habits, and he saw Maimoonai's efforts as a threat to his own happiness. He hatched a devious plan to keep Sher Alam away from his beloved wife and at his own hujra.

Maimoonai was deeply saddened by her husband's inability to see through his friend's manipulations. She spoke to Sher Alam about it, pouring her heart out, but he simply laughed it off, unaware of his friend's true intentions. One day, while expressing her concerns again, Maimoonai didn't realize that the friend was eavesdropping. Oh, the friend was furious that she dared to interfere with Sher Alam's spending! Consumed by anger, he swore to have her silenced forever, and from that moment on, he plotted a treacherous deed.

On a stormy and dark night, Sher Alam was delayed on his way back home from a neighbouring village. His hujra was open to all, and merry-making was underway. Among the guests was a traveller, who had heard of Sher Alam's legendary hospitality and decided to partake in the festivities. The traveller was warmly welcomed, and the night was filled with laughter, storytelling, and sipping on delicious tea.

As the night grew late, the tobacco ran out, and Sher Alam's friend ordered the servant to fetch his tobacco pouch from the main house. Unaware of her husband's absence, Maimoonai sent the beautiful pouch she had lovingly embroidered herself. Little did she know that this act of kindness would lead to a tragedy of immense proportions.

The friend tossed the pouch to the traveller, telling him to keep it, oblivious to the fact that it was a gift from Maimoonai to Sher Alam. When Sher Alam finally arrived and sat down with his friends, the friend called out to the traveller, asking for some tobacco. The traveller pulled out the pouch, and in an instant, Sher Alam recognized it. He was enraged to see the pouch in a stranger's hand, unaware of what had transpired. Before he could react, the friend swiftly took him aside and whispered a wicked lie in his ear.

The friend told Sher Alam that he had witnessed Maimoonai sharing intimate words with the traveller and had given him the benefit of the doubt. Seeing Sher Alam's reaction to the pouch had confirmed his suspicions, or so he claimed. He urged Sher Alam to go home and confront Maimoonai before jumping to conclusions. Blinded by fury, Sher Alam stormed into their home, waking Maimoonai and announcing her impending doom.

Maimoonai's heart sank as her beloved husband confronted her with anger in his eyes. At first, she thought it was a jest, and a smile adorned her face. But as Sher Alam accused her of deceit, her smile quickly faded, and she desperately tried to make him understand the truth. She recounted the tale of the servant bringing her the pouch, claiming it was at Sher Alam's request. But her explanations fell on deaf ears as he brandished his knife, fueled by mistrust and rage. In one tragic and heart-wrenching moment, he extinguished the life of the woman who had loved him with all her heart.

The news of Maimoonai's senseless murder spread like wildfire, casting a shroud of grief over the entire village. Whispers of the cruel act reached the ears of a traveller, who had never met nor spoken to Maimoonai. Alongside him was the servant, who had fetched the pouch on that ill-fated night. Overwhelmed with guilt and sorrow, the traveller came forth to share his testimony. And so did the servant. The truth was unveiled, but it was too late. Sher Alam, burdened by remorse, vanished into the hills, never to be seen again. Legends emerged of a tormented soul crying out for his beloved Maimoonai, their voices echoing through the mountains, a haunting reminder of love lost.

The tale of Maimoonai and Sher Alam carries a valuable lesson for all. It reminds us of the fragility of trust and the importance of open communication, especially in the sacred bond of marriage.

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