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A World Apart Part I

The holy month of Ramadan was coming to an end and with that came along the buzz about Iftar parties. The girl had been explaining a somewhat complicated mathematical concept to her classmate when she was approached by her friend Leila.

“My parents are holding an Iftar party on Wednesday and I want to invite you to it,” she chirped, eyes shining regardless of being deprived of food and water. Sometimes, Ifrah wondered why if people actually wanted to forsake food and water or if they were all engaging in some sort of secret competition with another and trying to emerge on top.

Regardless, she was excited at the prospect of being invited to a party with loads of food and drink and other classmates to play with in the evening instead of just praying at home. She went home from school and promptly informed her mother of the invite and begged to go. Her mother wanted to say no for some very obvious reasons but seeing the light in her daughter’s eyes, coupled with the excitement made it hard. So, she didn’t say a word and allowed her to go.

Ifrah put on her favorite clothes for the occasion; it was bright orange lehenga that she donned with a matching orange dupatta embroidered with golden wiring. The dress shimmed and glimmered in the light as she spun, trying to make it spread out in a circle like they did on television.

Leila’s house was located somewhere near her school, which was a well-off area, more developed than the mohalla from which Ifrah belonged. She was aware of how different that part of the city was but was yet to experience the difference outside of school.

Her mother did not drop her off at the Iftar party directly. Instead they went to her friend Rameen’s house, where all the girls would gather before going to Leila’s. The minute she went inside the house, she looked at her friends and felt slightly uneasy.

Everyone was dressed a lot more casually than she was. Not only did she feel under dressed but also as if everyone’s eyes were upon her watching her, judging her and talking about her behind her back.

Rameen approached her and passed her a smug smile.

“I knew you were going to wear…that.”

Ifrah didn’t completely understand what was so wrong with the clothes she was wearing, seeing as they were far better than the ones Rameen as well as the other girls had donned. She loved the lehenga. Her father had brought it for her when he had been promoted for the first time. He worked in another city and rarely came to visit but every time that he did, he would bring her something special.

Regardless, she pushed aside the feeling of being out of place and joined the other girls as they were escorted to the party. It was when she traversed the streets, she found herself combating an odd feeling. Before she could identify it, they were at Leila’s place.

What she saw there astounded her to no end.

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