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Authors: Suzanne Fisher Staples

Haveli

BOOK: Haveli
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Published by
Dell Laurel-Leaf
an imprint of
Random House Children’s Books
a division of Random House, Inc.
New York

Text copyright © 1993 by Suzanne Fisher Staples
Map copyright © 1993 by Anita Carl and James Kemp

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any
form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording,
or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the written permission
of the publisher, except where permitted by law. For information address
Alfred A. Knopf.

Dell and Laurel are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc.

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www.randomhouse.com/teachers

eISBN: 978-0-375-98588-1

RL: 6.5

January 2002

v3.1

To Jeanne Drewsen, my agent, whose faith has been constant;
Frances Foster, my editor, whose wisdom is an inspiration;
and the many people in Pakistan who gave of their time, energy,
and hospitality to make it possible for me to travel
and learn about their wonderful country

Names of Characters
italicized syllable is accented

Aab-pa
(
Aahb-
puh)—A healer and herbal doctor

Abdul Muhammad Khan
(Uhb
-dool
Muh
-hah-
muhd Khahn)—Pathan murdered by his brother

Adil
(Uh
-dihl
)—Shabanu’s male cousin

Ahmed
(
Ah
-mehd)—Rahim’s only son, betrothed to Zabo

Ali
(Uh-lee)—An old servant in Selma’s household

Allah
(Ah
-luh
)—Arabic word meaning “God”

Amina
(Ah-
mee
-nuh)—Rahim’s first wife, mother of Leyla and Ahmed

Auntie
(
Ann-
tee)—Dadi’s sister-in-law

Bibi Lal
(
Bee
-bee Lahl)—Phulan’s mother-in-law

Bundr
(
Buhn-
duhr)—Mumtaz’s stuffed monkey (Urdu word for “small”)

Choti
(
Choh-
tee)—Mumtaz’s pet deer (Urdu word for “monkey”)

Dadi
(
Dah-
dee)—Shabanu’s father

Dalil Abassi
(Dah-
lihl
Uh
-bah-
see)—Dadi’s proper name

Daoud
(
Dah-
ood)—Selma’s late husband

Fatima
(Fah-
tee
-muh)—Shabanu’s cousin, Sharma’s daughter

Guluband
(
Goo
-loo-buhnd)—Shabanu’s dancing camel, her childhood favorite

Hamir
(
Hah-
meer)—Shabanu’s cousin, murdered by Nazir

Ibne
(
Ihb
-nee)—Rahim’s faithful manservant

Khansama
(Khahn-
sah
-muh)—Rahim’s cook

Kharim
(Khuh-
reem
)—Murad’s cousin

Lal Khan
(Lahl
Khahn
)—Phulan’s brother-in-law, murdered by Nazir

Leyla
(
Leh
-luh)—Rahim’s eldest daughter, betrothed to Omar

Mahmood
(Muh
-mood
)—Cloth merchant

Mahsood
(Mah-
sood
)—Rahim’s younger brother

Mali
(
Mah-
lee)—Rahim’s gardener

Mama
(
Mah-
muh)—Shabanu’s mother

Muhammad
(Muh-
hah-
muhd)—Holy Prophet of Islam

Mumtaz
(Muhm
-tahz
)—Shabanu’s daughter

Murad
(Moo
-rahd
)—Shabanu’s brother-in-law, Phulan’s husband

Nazir Muhammad
(Nuh
-zeer
Muh-
hah
-muhd)—Rahim’s youngest brother

Omar
(
Oh
-muhr)—Rahim’s nephew, betrothed to Leyla

Phulan
(
Poo
-lahn)—Shabanu’s sister

Rahim
(Ruh
-heem
)—Shabanu’s husband, a major landowner

Raoul
(Ruh-
ool
)—Nazir’s farm manager

Rashid
(Ruh
-sheed
)—Son of Zabo’s servant

Saleema
(Suh-
leem
-uh)—Rahim’s second wife

Samiya
(Sah-
mee
-yuh)—Shabanu and Mumtaz’s teacher

Selma
(
Sehl-
muh)—Sister of Rahim, Mahsood, and Nazir

Shabanu
(Shah-
bah
-noo)—Daughter of nomadic camel herders, fourth wife of the wealthy landowner Rahim

Shaheen
(Shuh
-heen
)—Selma’s lifelong servant

Shahzada
(Shah-
zah
-duh)—Keeper of Derawar Fort

Sharma
(
Shahr-
muh)—Shabanu’s aunt, cousin of both of her parents

Tahira
(Tuh
-heer-
uh)—Rahim’s third wife

Uma
(
Oo
-muh)—Mumtaz’s name for her mother

Xhush Dil
(
Hoosh
Dihl)—Camel owned by Shabanu’s family

Yazmin
(Yahz-
meen
)—Servant girl in Selma’s household

Zabo
(
Zeh-
boh)—Rahim’s niece, daughter of Nazir, betrothed to Ahmed

Zenat
(
Zee
-naht)—Mumtaz’s
ayah

Contents

chapter 1

S
habanu awoke at dawn on a cool spring morning, with the scent of early Punjabi roses rich and splendid on the air, warm as the sun rising through the mist. The
charpoi
squeaked lightly, string against wood, as she rolled over to gaze at her sleeping child.

But Mumtaz had slipped out, perhaps before first light. Shabanu closed her eyes again and waited for the sun to creep through the open doorway of their room behind the stable.

She lay on her back and stretched her arms over her head. Mumtaz was nearly five, and there was little time for her to be free in this life. She would be safe enough within the ocher mud walls of the family compound near the village of Okurabad on the road to Multan.

Shabanu did not force her daughter to stand to have her hair untangled every morning. She allowed her to wear her favorite old
shalwar kameez
with the
legs halfway to her knees, the tunic faded to a grayish wash. Soon enough Mumtaz would have to stay indoors and wear the
chadr
. For now Shabanu wanted her to have whatever freedom was possible.

Shabanu remembered how she’d rebelled when her mother had forced her to wear the veil that reached to the ground and tangled around her feet when she ran. It had been the end of her climbing thorn trees and running among the sand dunes.

Outside, the sun dappled through the neem tree, and Shabanu imagined her daughter hiding behind the old giant, her matted head against its leathery bark, the dirt powdery between her toes.

The spirit stove popped as old Zenat started a fire for tea in the kitchen beside the room. Already flies darted in and out of the doorway. Shabanu rose from the
charpoi
and stretched.

Dust rose around her bare feet as she moved about, folding bedding, then gathering things for the child’s bath—tallowy soap and a rough, sun-dried towel.

Shabanu went to the doorway. A flash of sunlight caught in the diamond pin in her nose, sending a glint straight to where Mumtaz hid behind the tree. The glass bangles on Shabanu’s arm clinked as she whipped her long black hair into a thick knot at the base of her neck. She turned back inside to reach for her shawl and saw from the corner of her eye a small movement as Mumtaz flitted away, silent as a moth.

Wrapping her shawl around her, Shabanu followed her daughter toward the old wooden gate that led to the canal, where Mumtaz loved to play in the water. The small dark head bobbed beyond the bushes that framed the inner courtyard of the big house where Shabanu’s husband lived. Shabanu was the youngest, by eight years, of Rahim’s four wives, and Mumtaz was his youngest child. The other wives lived separately, in apartments in the big house.

Shabanu and Mumtaz had lived with Rahim until early in winter when Shabanu had persuaded him that life would be easier for her and the child if she could take up residence in the room near the stables while he was in Lahore, capital of the Punjab 150 miles away, for the winter session of the provincial assembly.

There had been incidents, a few of which she’d told him about—the scorpion in her bed, the rabid bat in her cupboard. Rahim had raged and demanded to know who had done these things. A small, thin boy was offered as the culprit.

Then Rahim said there was no need for her to move out of the house. Why would she rather be off, away from the rest of the family? Why would she give up the convenience of running water, electricity, servants? But Shabanu knew that danger lay precisely in her staying, and she had remained firm in her insistence. At the last moment before leaving for Lahore, Rahim had acquiesced.

The others said the stable was where Shabanu and Mumtaz belonged, and laughed wickedly behind their veils. She didn’t mind. It gave her privacy from the insolent servant women who walked into her room without knocking, and reported everything back to the other wives.

Shabanu followed the child to the stand of trees past the pump, where Mumtaz stopped. On the broad veranda, beyond the wide silver pipe with water dripping in sparkles from its mouth, stood bamboo cages in which desert birds blinked their fiery eyes.

The birds came from the dunes of Cholistan, where Pakistan meets India, a land of magic and camels where Shabanu had spent her childhood. Mumtaz never tired of her mother’s stories of the desert’s wizards and warriors. She was fascinated by her father’s birds. She loved to come in the first morning light to help the old
mali
remove the linen covers from the tall domed cages. Shabanu stopped to watch her daughter approach, her hands stretched out toward the feathers that shone brightly from between the thin bars. The
mali
returned with pans of maize, clucking and mewling to the birds, and asked Mumtaz to lift the cage doors.

BOOK: Haveli
13.32Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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