Editor-in-Chief & Publisher: MIR JAVED RAHMAN


I'm Not Him


Issue Date 11 - 17 Feb, 2017 at 2:00 PM

I'm Not Him

The cops can definitely tell me who this guy is. They must have a video recording of the hit-and-run incident. Should I ask them right away? Why not?
A moment later, a cop was standing right in front of me inside the cell.
“So you want me to show you the video evidence?” he asked looking at me.
“That’s right,” I answered firmly, “I know my rights.” He stared at me for a while.
“Open the cell,” he ordered the cop standing outside. He left the cell and I was locked in again.
Five to 10 minutes later, he came back holding his laptop. I sat up straight hoping to get an answer. He showed the laptop to me on which a video was being played.
I looked carefully and saw it was someone very much like me sitting in the car’s driving seat. I was quite amazed. The video was zoomed in and was running in slow motion.
“Is that enough?” the cop asked sarcastically, “or you want to see more?”
“No, thanks, but let me assure you, you won’t be able to hold me for long,” I leaned back and said.
“Let’s see.” He shut the laptop and left the cell with the door still unlocked. I couldn’t believe this but it was true. He was a lookalike or a long-lost twin brother.

I had almost slept until I heard a voice calling me out: “You there! You’re free to go.” I opened my eyes with delightfulness and sat up immediately. I saw Kiran standing right in front of the police inspector’s desk. She was looking at me. I uttered, “Oh! Thank God!” I stood up and walked towards the door.
Few minutes later, I was descending the stairs with Kiran. I was walking carefully with my injured leg.
“Is something wrong with your leg?” Kiran asked, while looking at me. I didn’t answer and kept stepping down.
“Did they hit you?” I still did not respond and started to walk as we hit the footpath now.
“Hannan? Answer!” she demanded raising her voice.
“I’m fine,” I answered, getting irritated, “What I need to do right now is to make a phone call and that’s the first thing you’re helping me with once we get home!” She remained silent, but passed an expression showing she agreed to the idea.

Later in the evening as I was lying on Hannan’s bed, I looked at their son who was secretly looking at me standing outside the room. I ignored him as Kiran came up with her cell phone. I took it from her and said, “Thank you”. She was still standing next to the bed.
“Would you mind…” I looked up at her and said, “leaving me alone?” She stared at me for a second and then left the room angrily.
I couldn’t blame her. She had every right to be upset with me, after all that she had done for me.
The dial tone was ringing and the voice on the phone was quite clear. I was happy now that I could convey my message clearly.
“Hello?” Michael answered the call.
“Hey Michael! Can you hear me?” I said impatiently.
“Yes,” he spoke calmly. I was surprised at his response, but continued speaking, “Michael, I’m trapped; I’m trapped here in Pakistan.”
“I know,” he said as if it made no difference to him. I was quite confused now.
“Michael, is something wrong with you?” I asked. “I’m in serious trouble here and you’re…”
“Just shut up!” he exclaimed. I remained silent as I was really shocked at his attitude. I was dying to hear something from him.
“Let me tell you something,” he finally broke the silence, “You’re in Pakistan because I sent you there.”
I couldn’t believe my ears. “I was paid a huge amount of money to send you back to where you belong,”
he continued speaking.
“Where I belong?” I asked getting angry. “You know where I belong? You have known me for two years and all this while I had been living in San Francisco.”

I'm Not Him
“I don’t think that was true. Someone from Pakistan showed me a picture of you with your wife and son. That evidence was enough to prove that you had been lying to me these past two years. You were Hannan Khan all along!”
“Shut up! Just shut up!” I exclaimed angrily. “I was helping you with your wife’s murder investigation. And you… you betrayed me!”
“Here, talk to someone please,” he said handing over his phone to someone.
A woman’s voice spoke next: “Hello, Hannan.” The voice was not so familiar.
“It’s me, Rebecca” she spoke. I got goosebumps on my forearms. I definitely could not believe this. She was alive? How could that be possible?
“Are you happy now?” I heard Michael speaking again. I didn’t know how to respond and was about to say something but he started speaking again.
“Do you remember chasing that suspicious guy in the mall?” I surely did.
The teenager stood up and threw his chair over at Michael, and jumped, skipping a stairway of 10 steps. At the exit of the place, the teenager pushed away the security guard and escaped. I followed him rushing my way out.
“Yes,” I answered.
“Then you were pushed by someone over the stairs.” And again I recalled.
I was descending the first step when I felt someone was standing behind me. I stopped being vigilant and slowly turned to look back, but before I could, I was pushed really hard by the person behind me. I fell. I rolled. And landed brutally.
“Guess who he was?” Michael asked. “The guy who pushed you?” Obviously none other than Michael himself. I refused to answer.
“So everything…” I spoke after understanding the conspiracy, “the fake murder, the chase and sending me to Pakistan… everything was planned?”
“You are a smart cop,” he taunted, and then chuckled. I got really furious so I disconnected the call without looking at the cell phone.
What could I expect? Things were really getting worse.

Kiran came back inside. She had folded her arms and was looking at me irritably. I tried avoiding looking at her in the eyes.
“Hannan, I’ve had enough of your attitude,” she said rudely, “tomorrow I’m taking you to a psychiatrist.”
I was not listening to her. I had much worse concerns. I had unexpected foes. I couldn’t trust anyone. I had nowhere to go back and nowhere to stay.
What should I do? What would anyone do in my situation? Suicide. Yes, that is the only option I have left.
“Hannan!” Kiran raised her voice to get my attention. “Are you listening to me?”
“Yes,” I said, trying to avoid any argument, “it is getting late. I think we should sleep.”
“Sleep?” she asked feeling strange,
“already? It is a little too early for that.”
“Yeah, but as you said I have to go and see a psychiatrist tomorrow, so I think I should sleep.”
“But you haven’t even had supper.”
“I know… I need to sleep right now.”
“Okay,” she said, while feeling suspicious. She left the room shutting the door.
The lights were still on. I was looking around the room until my eyes finally rested at the window.
What should I do now? I wondered. I don’t want to die before looking at the person because of whom I’m being tormented. But waiting for him to show up would simply make things worse. As before, the doors of hope would turn out to be dead ends. This family who really cares for me is going to suffer after I die. Should I be bothered to care? I don’t think so.

Later that night, Kiran opened the door of the room where I was presumably sleeping. As she came inside, she switched on the lights and was worried as I was not lying on my bed.
“Hannan!” she called out. “Where are you?” She went back outside the room and called out impatiently:
“Hannan! Honey, where are you?” Her son came out from his room.
“Have you seen dad lately?” she asked him.

We are back here again. Here, I am hiding at the terrace of someone else’s house. I am about to jump off the terrace. I close my eyes and stand next to the railing and tell myself it is time; don’t be afraid. You have no other option. Just jump off if you want freedom from all of this.
I open my eyes and climb up the railing and look down 12 floors. I hear the sound of a door opening behind me. I step down from the railing and look back. It was her. Kiran Khan.
“What are you doing?” she exclaims.
“Don’t come near me,” I warn her. She ignores my command and starts walking towards me.
“Come with me, please,” she pleads. “Let us talk honey. Everything is going to be fine.” I see tears in her eyes. She was concerned about me. I don’t know her, but she seems to know me for years.
She is crying for me.

I'm Not Him
I cannot be so selfish to die, while leaving others behind to cry for me, so I step down from the railing. She rushes towards me and hugs me tightly.
“I’ll do as you say,” she cries, “please don’t leave us again.” I stand motionless, feeling pitiful for someone who has lost her husband.

We were back in our apartment; she brought me back. I was willing to talk to her politely now, as I could only see a woman in her who really loved me and considered me to be a part of her family.
A moment later, we were sitting face to face on my usual bed.
“Now tell me what is it that you’re running from?” she asks me. I am running from a lot of things.
But to make this conversation less complicated, I say, “I have to repay a debt to some goons. They injured my leg. They threatened that they might harm our entire family. And I don’t have a single penny to pay off with. And if I don’t, they will harm all of us.”
“I was expecting that,” she says calmly.
“You were?” I ask, getting surprised for how did she know all of this.
“Don’t worry. I’ll help you pay off. What was their deadline?”
“Wait… wait,” I stop her to get a clear picture on this, “you know all about these people and my deal with them?”
“Yes, but you don’t have to worry about it. This will be over before anything gets worse.” Thank you so much is what I want to say to her.
“What else is bothering you?” she asks. I’m just curious to find out Hannan’s deal with these goons.
“I can’t remember anything, honestly,” I pretend, “can you tell me how did I get involved with these rogues? What kind of a deal did I have with them?”
“Forget it, love,” she speaks kindly, “like I said, you don’t have to worry about them. You just relax until I sort out your problems.”
As I was looking at her, I realised that in this new world of ultimate troubles and horrifying situations, she was the only nice person who could help me.
Now should I plan to go back to where I was brought from? No. There was nothing left for me. My own friend sold me. I had no reason to go back and continue living my life as an undercover cop. So here’s what I finally planned. I will live here with Kiran and her son.

Two days have passed. My debts have been paid off and I’m free from trouble. I can roam around freely with no one demanding anything from me like before.
I’m happy here. I have a wife who loves me and a 10-year-old son who also really cares about me. I don’t want anything else; I don’t want to go back to where I was brought from. This life is not mine, but I’ve been gifted by Hannan Khan who looks just like me. The only thing that scares me now is, what if Hannan returns and demands his life back.
I was in the living room, watching television with Umer. We were watching an animated movie. Kiran comes to the room and waves at me to come with her. I stand up without hesitating and go up to her.
“Hannan, I have taken an appointment from Maria. It’s time we go and see her,” she says.
“Maria, who?” I ask, unable to recall.
“Psychiatrist Maria, I told you about her.”
“Oh yeah, I remember.”
“We have been through this before. Now let us not get late and leave.”
“Look, Kiran I am fine,” I try persuading her by lying, “I really am. I remember everything.”
“I’m asking you one last time,” she says getting seriously irritated. “Are you coming with me to the hospital?”
“Look Kiran, let us talk this out.” She leaves me angrily and walks towards the exit. She opens the door
and leaves.
During the next hour Kiran was at Doctor Maria’s consulting room sitting face to face with her.
“So your husband didn’t want to come?” Doctor Maria asks.
“I don’t want to force him,” Kiran answers. “But as you know the entire case history of Hannan, I don’t think it’s necessary to bring
him along.”
“Oh no, it’s not like that. I have figured the disease he is suffering from. But I still need him to be here.”
“What is his disease?”

The next day, in the afternoon, I was with Kiran in her car. She was driving me to a place I wasn’t aware of, but I cooperated because I completely trusted her. She stopped the vehicle outside a children’s park.
Why are we here? I had no
idea but she had promised me earlier that there was nothing harmful expected.
“So what do we do now?” I ask her. “Just sit here and watch?”
“No, I want you to go inside and see something,” she replies.
“What is it? Is someone waiting for me inside?”
“No, everything’s fine. Just go inside, please.”
“Okay,” I say opening the door of the vehicle and stepping outside. As I stepped outside, I heard Kiran talking to herself: “We are lucky that the place has not been modified much in the past 10 years.”


to be continued...





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