Culture & Society

Short Story: The Daughter Of My Landlord

Faisal Nazir writes a short story for Outlook.

Photo: Getty Images

It was the first time he shifted to Delhi in the quest for a promising future. None of his parents had ever been to university. While departing he went to meet an uncle in neighbourhood. He genuinely tried to suggest Asrar not to get indulged in political activities of university and not to join any organisation and not to fight any regional group in the campus. His uncle further added, “University not just can bring the best out of you, rather it can bring the worst as well.” 

Looking at the news headlines, he was right. From absurd story of love and obsession and regrets and loss to the gang war, rivalry, crime of passion, attack on students by outsiders, attack on teachers by insiders, to the disappearance, to scuffle with police, to suicide to murder and ragging, everything was happening inside Indian campuses. His uncle studied in his time at Allahabad University that was the center of crime at the time. So, he nodded silently and left after hugging him. 

Next day he landed at Hazrat Nizamuddin station in the national capital New Delhi and a relative chose a rented room for him near the university locality where he was trying to enroll into. His roommates were very kind and polite. They had just finished their studies and were working in corporate. So, they used to leave early to reach the office at 9 o’clock. The whole day Asrar was left alone in the room. He hadn’t embraced the city and vice versa, it was yet to discover and understand. All day alone in this lonely city he used to look out of his window. His apartment was located on the fourth floor on the first floor the owner was living with his family. 

He disliked his owner at the first sight. He was like any other landlord: authoritative, rude, and commanding. But he just kept it inside his heart. Three months passed. He had become a bit familiar with the locality, known the bazar, teashop, and mosque. He once or twice observed that a beautiful girl was coming out or going into the first floor. He thought she might be daughter of his landlord and that was why he was very strict on closing the main entrance early in the night. 

He didn’t pay any heed to that girl. Once he was up after dawn mugging up his syllabus on the terrace of his building, a girl came to the roof with a little boy. He continued his gaze on the book and did not think of her as landlord’s daughter because many other families were residing in the same building as well. Asrar felt that someone was staring at him, but he continued studying and repeating his words. 

Few more months passed very quickly like days of prosperity. One day he was going to the university and in a bit hurry, on narrow stairs he encountered that girl with her college bag, he got it immediately it was the landlords daughter. He looked at her, she also looked at him, both locked their eyes. She became bit nervous and speechless, he silently gave her the way, and left.

After a few days, he was again reading on the roof. There was sound of footfall. He dared to have a look. She was there. This was the first time he had a complete look at her beautiful face. She was young, well-built, around 20, with perfect shape and complexion. She also had a look at him, if not broadly smiling, not frowning at all. With an approachable look. 

She was bit forward, and being the owner of the flat, and daughter of its owner, furthermore, being Dilliwalli, she asked: What’s your name? 

He replied slowly, afraid that anytime landlord may turn up and create a problem. He said quickly, "Asrar."

She asked about the studies and hometown and then left. 

After she left, he was a bit relieved. At night, he was about to sleep when his phone beeped. He checked it and it was Facebook notification of friend request. It was from the same girl, the girl he had conversation in the early morning. He accepted it, browsed some pictures, and slept. 

Their love bloomed and they peeked into each other time and again. They met at community centers and movie halls. But both noticed a decline in their academic performance. Being the eldest son of the family, he was a bit worried. This love thing was uncontrollable. Sometimes, he used to wake from deep slumber just to have a look at her window, thinking, she might be standing there. One night, his phone rang. He quickly answered it so the roommates might not wake up from noise and get angry. He answers the phone and it was his love, his infatuation. 

She was muttering and slowly saying: "Can you come to the roof. I am here. Basically, papa has gone somewhere for some work, and mama is sleeping." 

He became worried and said: "What if your mama wakes up and does not find you there?" 

She said: "She won’t. Just come to the roof slowly."

He went there, half asleep and half conscious and half thrilled with joy and half afraid with consequences. She was standing in the dark, looking intoxicated with love and lust as well. She was looking like the full bright moon in the moonlight. Her perfectly shaped body was ready for an erotic encounter. Her body was craving just like her soul. 


When Asrar became close to her, he found her more attractive and captivating. He just stood there gazing at her. 

She said in a curious and playful way: "So what are you looking at?" 

Asrar said: "I’m looking at a crazy stupid girl." 

She put her arms around his neck and said: "Well, that’s the power of love, it takes sanity out of you." 

Asrar said, "Your madness is going to kill me."

She said, "No, not to kill you, bit little less then killing."

And she laughed. She pushed Asrar towards her. He also held her hand gently and rubbed it like she was feeling cold. Both sat down, and staring, talking, and flirting, she took her mobile and saw her father’s number. Asrar had written ‘landlord’ with 'U'. She told him: "Your spelling of landlord is wrong; it should be with 'a'." 


After a while, she got the humor behind A and U. 

She said, "You are so funny and mean to my father. Let me correct the spelling. But first tell me why you wrote it with U." 

He said, "I just hate landlords and their behavior." 

She said, "Hates landlord but loves his daughter. Paradoxical, isn’t it?"

He said nothing. 

After a while, she said, "Can we stand? I do not like sitting here." 

He stood up and she kissed him so passionately that Asrar first was surprised than he supported her move and obeyed her. Then suddenly Asrar became brave and started kissing her neck like a crazy baby licking tasty ice cream and trying to grab it all in one go. She was pushing Asrar away, but he continued to her shoulder from which her breasts swelled. She was shaking and pushing him away. He inserted his lips where the breasts joined together. She blushed crimson with embarrassment and said nothing. After a while, both felt like a few moments of ecstasy and he pushed her against the wall and kissed her ferociously. They both were making sounds like someone hungry was chewing an apple. 


Suddenly, there was some noise. Both stopped and watched here and there. The girl rushed towards her flat downstairs and Asrar hid behind the water tank. She thought her mother might be awake. But as she reached home, everything was fine. Later on, on the phone both talked that might that a cat could have caused panic and a heart attack. Asrar jokingly said heartbreak and heart attack were so similar and close in result. As the early morning’s sun shone through the window, Asrar first moved his hand to check the mobile if it had a message from his love. She wrote her father was coming that day. 


"But don’t worry. I’ll make a way," she said.

Few days later, she called Asrar to come on the roof, he said but your father? She said: he is very tired, even Hiroshima like explosion won’t awake him. He hesitated but in love, your brain is overtaken by passion and enamour. He unwillingly went to the roof, behind their flat there was high boundary of a private hospital called Holy Family. But it was back side of the hospital, sometime one can see watchman and few nurses coming and going. 

Asrar was waiting sticking to the wall like thief or alike an armyman waiting to strike. Suddenly, the gate to the roof opened and she appeared.


He slowly said, "Are you mad? Your father is at home and you are here! And he doesn’t like me."

She said, "I'll leave early."

She hugged Asrar. His heart was beating fast, but not in love, terror rather. He also half-heartedly kissed her and kept telling her to leave. But kingdom of love is like boundary of China. It never settles on one line. It keeps expanding the boundary of desire. For a while, both became unaware of their surroundings and enjoyed the touch of body and smell of each other. 

Suddenly, they saw a huge shadow of a man in the brimming moonlight. Both of them separated in utmost horror. 


It was the father of the girl. He came in full rage and slapped her daughter. 

Asrar saw a lane to run away but he had closed the roof's gate. After slapping her daughter and abusing her, he faced Asrar. Now he was in complete owe and fear. He grabbed Asrar’s shirt and beat him and murmured, "I'll throw you down, you bastard. How dare you! You illegitimate son of a bitch!" 

Asrar immediately thought he was going to die. He suddenly made up his mind that if he throws him, he would die, but if he jumped carefully by himself, his chance of survival were more. He gathered all the courage and might and pushed that man to the corner and ran to the other corner of the roof and examined the suitable place to jump from roof of the five-floored building. He prayed something in his mind and before the landlord could stand and grab him shouting abusive language, he just jumped.