Sunday, March 31, 2013

Dark Dire Deeds-Part 3

The moon stood all alone in the dark. The news of my fight with Karim Chacha had spread like wildfire. After hearing about it, even mother did not visit me; I sat all alone-just like the moon-racking my brains for a new modus operandi. I was so immersed in my thoughts that I didn’t notice my best friend, Muzaffar Lal Khan come and sit beside me.

The same age as me, Muzaffar was more agile and muscular. At the height of 6 feet and 3 inches, he spent two hours at the gym daily in order to remain fit and fine at all times. Dressed in the traditional Pakistani clothing of shalwar kameez, he also sported an earring and also a tattoo on his hand.

He sat down silently next to me and asked,” Why didn’t you call me?”

“I did not want to be a burden on you,” I replied sullenly.

“You sure are an idiot. Well, I came here to tell you something. The jeweler, Khan Sahib, has gotten delivery of a new consignment of diamonds today. And the whole package could be worth at least 50 thousand Rupees. And..."

He stopped midway and looked around nervously. He was about to continue when I looked up at him.

"No need to continue. I know what you mean," I said with a twinkle in my eye.

"So we together in this," he asked.

My reply of affirmation sparkled on his face in form of a smile. He embraced me and left. I sat down on the bench, a plot already being drafted in my mind. This would be my first big step on the path of evil and I, unaware of the future, had continued with the idea which would take me far away.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Dream Come True

He woke up drenched. Drenched in his own sweat. It was the nightmare; the same one which always woke him up; the one which scared him too much; the one which made him fear living the next day; the one where she left him and went away forever.

The neon display of the clock beside his bed screamed out a time just before 3 in the morning. He wiped the sweat lining his brow with the t-shirt he wore and rose up to get a drink of water. Having forgotten the fact that he had bruised his leg the day before, he stepped down too hard and as the spasm caressed him with the pain, a soft moan penetrated his mouth. Walking back he checked the phone beside the bed. The light shone loudly in the darkness, but there was no notification. He slipped back into the covers; and the dream kept replaying itself again and again. He kept on turning in bed till darkness overcame him and sleep took him away.

His eyes opened as the rays of the sun shone through the French windows. He rose and walked to the window to enjoy the stunning sunrise. On the way he picked up the phone and said a silent prayer to keep everything all right. In the distance, the orange ball glowed strikingly hot, and refurbished the dark blue sky into a blanket of red and yellow; wiping away all of the dark from the slate of the sky. But as he keyed in the lock to his phone, the message on its display took the earth away from beneath his heels.

The brightness of the sky vanished in an instant; the murky and gloomy night returned. The only thought which crossed his mind was the dream; not the dream, it had to be a nightmare. It had been true, it had to be; now it wasn’t a figment of his imagination, it was reality. The moment which he had been scared off had come to haunt him.

His reply was short and concise. It just asked the details and what was going to happen next. As the message left his phone, the clock chimed 8 times to signify the early winter hour. And then he waited. Waited for his phone to reveal her reply.

Thoughts flooded his mind; memories punctured his soul; and her face danced in front of his eyes. The time they had spent together played itself all over again in his mind. The walks they had in the park; and the never ending talks. The moment when she first held his hand; and the first time she had kissed him. All of the memories returned back to him. Everything flashed back.

Silence reigned as he slid to the floor, drowning in his own tears as the sorrow engulfed him. His experienced 23 year old brain slid into action and took command of the situation. The thoughts of sadness and misery soon were taken away from him but the question still remained in his mind-what had he done to receive such brutal treatment from God?

Had he hurt her so much? Had he been too possessive? Had he been such a pain to handle? These questions flooded him, and as time passed, he started becoming sure that it was his fault. He was sure he had been such a pain for her. He had loved her more than his life, but he had made her cry. He had made her suffer. He had done so many things in her life which could not receive forgiveness. He had made her life a living hell.

Whatever be the matter, he would not go back to her. No way would that happen. He would not hurt her again. But he would solve this issue first, but her reply was necessary for that. The thoughts still hovering in the background of his mind, he lifted up the phone which had slipped from his grip and lay overturned on the floor and checked for a reply. There was none. He felt as though he had waited for hours, but the display of the mobile phone in his hand thought otherwise. It just displayed a minute past 8. Time was sprinting past him at the speed of a sloth.

Dark Dire Deeds-Part 2

Days passed on in dark barns of Faridkot. Friends and some of my family members, especially my mother, kept passing on food and drink to me. Never once did my Abba come to visit me. I roamed around with my friends in search of work, but everything was in vain. No one entertained me in their shops; nor did they talk. Finally, my futile search took me to a sweetshop owned by dad’s best friend and I lifted up my hopes.

“Chacha, can I get some work,” I asked. Karim Chacha was my dad’s best friend and Karim Chacha was the brother my dad never had.

“So finally you appear at my shop looking for work. Your dad is a very good friend of mine, and his son should deserve work at my shop. But, on the contrary, if I give you work; it would be an insult towards your father, as he has cut off his ties with you. Frankly speaking, no one in this town will give you work. As you are like my nephew, I would like to give some advice to you. Resolve all of your issues with Amir; then come back to me. I will provide you with a job and even a salary,” Karim Chacha told me with a hand on my shoulder.

“Chacha, thank you for your advice. But, I am seriously not interested in listening to Abba. I don’t even want to talk with him. And if you or anyone in this town will not give a job to a sincere boy like me because I’m his son, then that would be called discrimination,” I countered calmly, but there was a violent storm brewing in my head.

“Ajmal Beta, that is how life works. This is not discrimination.”

“Then I’m going. Away from here; away from this town. And I will earn more than any of you; I will be more famous than any of you; and then you all will welcome me here,” I said, now literally shouting. Turning away, I walked out of the shop in the wake of incessant muttering, with no clue whatsoever about what I would do. Karim Chacha called out to me, but I didn’t stop; and after that he got back to breaking up the throngs.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Dark Dire Deeds- Part1

“Baba, I want new clothes for Eid. These old ones are completely worn-out and almost torn,” I told my father, Amir Shahban Kasab, furiously.

“Not now. We’ll talk about this later. We don’t have any more money to meet all of your foolish teenage demands,” Abba jaan told me irately.

“You never tell no to Suraiyya and Munir. Why am I the only one to receive such harsh and cold treatment from you? Am I not your son as well? Leave it. There’s no use of arguing with you. You will just snub me out and if I say something correct you will just pick up your belt and will flog me like always.”

“You just wait and see what happens to you today. You think too much of yourself, right?” He moved towards me while loosening his belt. But today was enough.

“It’s enough. Tomorrow is Eid and you’ll are fighting before an auspicious day? Ajmal, we will get you a coat next week,” interrupted my mom in traditional Urdu.

“He’s not getting a coat. I’m not giving him anything new, not right now. This good-for-nothing boy is 18 now. He doesn’t do anything other than loafing around with his equally useless friends. We barely manage to feed our family and this royal prince wants a new coat. Well, you can go and earn for it first,” retorted dad.

“Fine. I’m going. One day, I’ll be famous and my photograph will be printed in the newspapers, then you will accept me as your true son. I will return with success and I will also bring money and happiness. Wa alaykum us salaam mom and dad.”

Turning away, I walked away with nothing but just my clothes. Walked away into the darkness, far away from home as mom wept hysterically, and dad stormed around bristling with anger and annoyance. Unaware of my fate or destiny, I kept on walking; all alone in the darkness, with not even my shadow to keep me company.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Flowing in the past...

The horn shrieked and the massive machine slowly freed itself from the confines of the concrete. People waved to their near and dear as they left for their respective destinations, but as a lone figure stepped into the already moving contraption, he was just greeted with silence and the fact that he was all alone; he had no one to see him off with the usual waves and smiles.

Dressed in nondescript clothing-a blue jeans and a white t-shirt-he clambered on. Vanishing to take a glance at his seating position, he returned in less than a minute; he clutched the vertical rod tightly, so tight that his knuckles turned white. The well-lit haven of the platform had disappeared quite a while ago and now darkness reigned.

The echo of the train reverberating through his ears, he stood there, as still as a shadow...and the thoughts flooded his brain, all about him...and his current life.

As the door of the compartment became the centered location for late night smokers, he walked robotically back to his empty berth. His face was void of emotion as he deposited his backpack on the berth. His eyes revealed not even a glimpse of the storm raging in his mind; something which would surface later and it would consume him and all those around him.

A sudden movement near the door woke him up. How was it possible? How had she come to him? Happiness brimmed in him and he got up to have a better look at her. Yes, it was her-his sweetheart, his love, the one he was going to marry, Rubeena.

Boom. The train jolted to a halt, and with it took her away. In the event, he managed to scrape his hands and also bumped his head. Swearing in the darkness, he looked for her painstakingly. All through the compartment, all around. But she was gone; she had just been a figment of his imagination. There was nothing he could do than wait; wait for her to come and be his. He settled onto the berth and shut his eyes harshly to prevent the tears from flowing. Gosh, he was missing her so much; and this was the last thought he had before darkness overtook him; and he slept. He slept the way he had as a small child. But not for long. He returned to his thoughts in just over a couple of hours.

He walked alone. The two shadows behind him raced on and became one as she ran to surprise him from behind. It was dusk. The orange ball was just lazing into its daily retreat, transforming its home into a pinkish blanket with wisps of red, yellow and orange.

Scaring him like she usually did, he started his daily performance of being angry at this little playful mischief. Used to his demeanor and acting, she put up her baby-face which always caught his attention and made him smile. But today was different.

He kept walking into the horizon, with her in tow. She equaled with him and slid her hand into his; he walked on, unmoved by her action. Gently poking him in the ribs, she asked him," Hey honey, what's the matter? What's wrong with my baby today?"

"Ruby, it’s nothing. I just fought with mom and I'm just giving it some thought."

"Don't lie to me dear. I know you very well. Whenever you fight with mom, you never think about it. You just shout it out or you remain silent till I completely brainwash you to open your trap."

"I so hate you for this. You know me so damn well that nothing stays hidden from you for long," he said, an expression of exasperation on his face.

"You hate me? After all this time I get to hear this from you? Why did I have to see this day would have been better to die rather than seeing this day?"

This banter brought the hint of a smile on his face and this lit up a fountain of hope and love in her heart for him.

"I had a dream. About us. We were together and it was a Sunday. You had held my hand just like now and we were walking on a beach, surrounded by clean sand, water and the colorful heavens. A cool breeze raged around us and kept us safe from the material world."

"This means we were not anywhere near here." She was referring to their city of Mumbai where they resided.

"And how can you say that?"

"Well, Mumbai has no clean beaches, where we can be alone with nature. There's just garbage all around!!"

"Will you let me complete or do you wanna spoil this conversation with your "snide" and "witty" remarks?

"So, we were alone and we were having a great time together. And then, you stopped. All of a sudden. Just like that. You left my hand and..."

"Then what sweety? Spit it out dear, keeping these things inside you are bad for my health," she told him lovingly.

"How will it affect your health," Zamir asked.

"Well, if you don't say it, you'll keep thinking about and you won’t sleep well. So, you'll get headaches and you won't be fine as well. And if you not fine, then how can I be? Did you get it or not my mad idiot?" Rubeena explained.

"Ohh. Then you slapped me. And told me that you were done with me. That you never loved me. And without letting me reason or even to say a word, you just turned and walked away. And you never returned."

Silence ensued after this reply. Both of them walked, hand-in-hand on the sand, and none of them uttered a single word.

She broke the silence, but without uttering a single word. She just clung to his arm. Her action did not go unnoticed; his grip on her arm tightened and the pace of his walking slackened. He turned her to face him and she turned.

Tears glistening in her eyes, she hugged him tight.

"You idiot, I'm never leaving you and going. I love you too much to lose you or to get separated from you. Without you, my life is nothing. There won't be happiness, fun or light. There will just be the dark of the night and the grey of sorrow.

Today, I promise to you that I will never go away. I will always be at your side, whatever be the matter. I will hold your hand and will stand with you even if God is against us. I will forever be yours."

Hearing this, Zamir broke down. Tears flowed freely down his cheeks, and he pulled her into a tight embrace. And they held on.

More than 4 years from this incident, at the age of 22, Zamir got roused from these thoughts by the vibration of his phone. He did not mind it and let the phone remain in its place. He walked back to his perch at the door, and glanced towards the heavens. And up in the sky twinkled a star, much like the eyes of his darling, Rubeena. And imagining this, he smiled. Smiled to himself and looked up. And he thanked God for giving him such a great partner and an even better friend. And he smiled on to himself in the dark of the night.

Was it a sign from God, or mere co-incidence, the text message he had received had been from Ruby and it portrayed similar feelings. Feelings he was just thinking about and remembering...