The Tumbler of Boza

“This woman, is just good enough to make Boza for me!, scoffed Kadir.

His yellow, tobacco stained teeth and the jeering look, were a sight, Nazia had accepted indifferently, after years of living together.

Nazia and Kadir , were immigrants to Bosnia, which had been their home, for more than two decades. Back home in Turkey, her father, a poor man with six daughters, had been more than happy to get her married off to Kadir, who was at least a decade older to her.

The mesmerising lake, just a mile away from their cottage was very picturesque. A visual delight for all the tourists, coming to the Cincar mountains, of the Dinaric Alps, a major tourist destination in Bosnia.

For years together, this lake had been her soulmate. She used to sit and stare at the calm waters, for hours together, as if sharing her grief and sorrow. Little did she know, that this lake itself will be a turning point in her life.

At dawn, each day, she used to make the Boza, a famous fermented drink, something she’d learnt in Turkey.

She used to take the winding road, from her cottage.Climb down the mountain to reach the lake and offer Boza and Turkish Coffee to the tourists.A small tumbler of Boza or coffee, depending on the season, would be kept ready for Kadir, to drink whenever he woke up.

“This concoction, every morning and night , is something, I can’t do without”!, he used to say dryly.

It had been her ritual for years together now.”Not a word of appreciation from this thankless man”, she used to feel at times.

The breathtaking view of the lake nearby and the snow capped grace, of Cincar mountain, failed to mesmerize her today.

In her mind were ringing Rafique’s words. “Enough is enough, Apaa. You deserve solace and freedom from this abusive husband of yours. My contacts at Zagreb, shall help you cross the border”.

Rafique, too was an immigrant like them, who’d come seeking work, a couple of years ago.

He used to offer ferry rides on the lake, to drop the sightseeing tourists to the next town, where the bus would be waiting pick them up for their onward journey.

In him, she saw the son, she never had.

“Hah..! You are the one at fault, you feeble woman”! Kadir’s words, had pierced like a hot arrow through her. She was being blamed for her husband’s impotency. But, it all seemed like another life now, thought Nazia dejectedly.

Rafique had seen his Nazia Apaa, sitting forlornly near the lake everyday. And they had shared some ineffable bond, since they’d met.

And today, she did take the step. She had left behind, that tyrant, snoring husband of hers and came down from the cottage with her savings she’d managed to accumulate.

They crossed the lake, in Rafique’s ferry and both, hurriedly climbed the waiting bus. She was on her way to the next town.

Nazia would be long gone, before Kadir woke up. Her tumbler of Boza yesterday night, had done the trick.

She looked back at the lake, as if, thanking it, with a parting shot.

She was finally free..!

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