“Tell me a story, ” said my brand new wife just as I was trying to pull the pullav of her sari: “I love religious stories.”
“Mr. Ali next door told me a story this evening while we were waiting for the guests to depart. It’s an interesting story. And very religious.”
“Tell me, ” she said, “I haven’t heard many Islamic religious stories.”
As I reached out to switch off the table lamp, she held my hand. “First, the story.”
I said, ” Mr. Ali said he was quoting this from a couple of well-known Hadiths recorded by a certain Sahih Bukhari. He said: “May Mr. Bukhari, (whoever he was), lie in peace till the final reckoning.”
I went on: ‘ This is how the story went. When Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) visited Heaven on a reconnaisance mission prior to his final departure to the place, Jibril showed him around the wonderful setup created by God for his faithful servants who won their cases in the final judgment, and for Muhammad himself. Jibril, you know Darling, is the foremost angel of God who carries messages direcly from Him to Muhammad, his wordly Messenger for the benefit of all mankind. Anyway, as I said, Muhammad was in the wonderful heaven. Its ground was made of gold, there were pearls and gems all around and marvelous fountains. Flowers had bright colours not seen on earth. Water in the pools was clear like you’d never see on earth. The beauty of the place and that of the virgins standing around invitingly were beyond compare.”
She blushed, no doubt identifying herself with those beaurtiful virgins of paradise. Pleased, and certain that she was in just as inviting a mood as the heavenly virgins, I continued:
“Thoroughly satiated with what he saw, Muhammad wanted to take a look at hell as well; which Jibril warned him against. Muhammad stood his ground. Since the angel (Jibril) though caste in fire was destined to prostrate before man created with mud (Muhammad) and hence bound to give in, he finally relented and led Muhammad to the several fiery furnaces in hell.
“The Prophet watched the terrible goings-on in hell with the same equanimity as the run-away young British teenager Shamima Begum watched severed human heads in a garbage bin in Syria. Muhammad, of course, had known what to expect. What surprised him was that more than half of the flaming inmates sucking pus from festered wounds (while still on flame) were women. Somewhat worried about the fate of his favourite young wife Aisha, Muhammad asked why.
“Jibril explained: “They are the evil wives who ignored all the good things their husbands did for them, such as taking each of the four of them to bed in uniform regularity, yet complained when they (husbands) made a minor mistake.”
My wife gave me a strong shove, away from her. If I had not held on to the headboard, I would have fallen. You should have seen my wife’s face.
“I’m sure that only men will be taken to Hindu hell,” she said. “Not a single woman. Women are Devis – goddesses. And I will not have a woman-hater like you touch me.”
I tried to calmly explain: ” My dearest, the story was what Mr. Ali told me, please understand, I did not invent it, and would not have told it if you had not insisted. Please, forget the story and let’s get down to business.”
“She said, “I am sure you set me up so you could tell me this story as a warning. You devil of a man, I’ll have nothing to do with you.”
She pulled back the pullav, held her sari tight around herself, and screamed “Get out!”
Then she began to sob.
‘Devis, I believe. What a bloody Devi,” I screamed back and turned the other way.
I hoped she would turn around and apologize after things cooled. The audacity of the woman. After nearly an hour had passed, I had to stroke myself to calm my taut nerves.