- 24 Oct - 30 Oct, 2020
- 19 Sep - 25 Sep, 2020
Twenty Years Later
At some village near the sea, during afternoon, an aged man wearing old clothes was walking with his fifteen year old son. The son asked his father,
“Dad, is this true that this village was on fire several years back.”
“No, it was not fire. It was some other disaster.”
“What disaster was it?”
“It was a flood. It wasn’t exactly a tsunami but it was more like it.”
“Oh…so why do people mention the fire incident?”
“Yes, that happened as well. But that very moment the flood came over and extinguished the fire.”
“Oh,” the son reacted.
“Son, now that you are growing older, you should take part in these activities.”
“The activities that involve helping others.”
“Oh, okay I will.”
“Let me tell you an important thing about this incident. There was an educated man in this village. He was quite old back then.”
“How old?” the son asked.
“He was above sixty. But the important thing to know is that he was not quite rich. He just came here to spend his holiday. Anyways, as he saw that the village was almost ruined because of water, he left the village and sold his home. His house was his only property.”
“Why did he sell his house?”
“Because he was a very generous man. He wanted to help the people of this village. So, he sold his entire property and helped the people of village constructing their broken homes again. The farmers who were jobless then, were given huge amount of money. He did this for the entire village and restored it to its original state. He was a saint.”
“We must learn to be like him.”
“Who was that saint?” the kid asked. “What was his name?”
“His name was Rizwan Tariq.”
In the same city, where Rizwan and his family lived twenty years ago, Rahman was sitting with his wife Anum. The two of them lived alone in this house. The couple was having an unusual conversation as Anum asked him,
“Why don’t you ask your father to move in here?”
“I have, I have asked him plenty of times, but he does not want to live a luxurious or comfortable life. He is living an uncomfortable life on purpose. He is spending his time while praying.”
“He can do it here, can’t he?”
“I know, I have asked him too but he is satisfied with whatever he is doing.”
“I know, but don’t worry we’ll go and meet him.”
“We go once a month. We should increase our visits.”
“I agree, how about every week.”
“Sure, that sounds great,” she commented.
“Okay, good talk!” Rahman stood up as he said this.
“Hey Rahman, do you know how much your life’s story brings pain on me?”
“Forget it, we’ll discuss this some other day.”
“No, I’m not saying that we should discuss it now, I’m just saying that you have really seen some misery and tragedy in your life. I kind of admire your patience.”
Rahman was speechless as his sister’s face appeared before him.
“This is just breaking my heart,” Anum said.
“Look Anum, this is a very sorrowful topic. We will discuss it some other day.”
“Okay, I understand.”
“Great, thank you.”
Saying this Rahman left the room.
In some other corner of the same city, Rizwan Tariq who was quite close to seventy years of age was standing at his apartment’s balcony, holding a stick. He was too old to walk alone without any support. His hair had all grown too white and so had his beard and moustache. He wore spectacles that could help him see clearly. While he was standing, his other hand was resting on the railing of the balcony.
Rizwan shut his eyes and some important faces that passed away in front of him appeared before his eyes. First of all, his daughter Omama appeared before him, after her his first wife Sidra’s face appeared before him and after that his father Tariq Yasar appeared before him.
He opened his eyes in grief and felt shaken for a minute. He then pulled himself together and said,
Let it go. It was all God’s will.
He then tried to distract himself by thinking of some other matter. However, he came across a thought and whispered,
I don’t meet Rahman quite a lot. I am growing really old and soon I’ll be gone forever. I should and I must spend more time with my son and daughter in law.
He came to think of Rahman a bit more and asked,
Why hasn’t he presented me with a grandson or a granddaughter yet? Maybe, I should leave that to God too.
He then turned to walk back into his room. He walked with the help of stick that he was holding.
As he entered inside the room, he saw his wife Alia lying on the bed all alone. As he looked at her, he wondered in his thoughts,
We both have grown too old. I had no idea that our life would reach this spot ones day. We won’t be able to walk without each other’s support. This hurts me.
He then walked straight towards another room. It took quite a time for him to complete the distance. He said as he walked,
I think I should pray now.
Several Days Later
An old man stepped out of the main gate of a central jail. This man was so old that he had a hunch on his back. He could hardly stand up straight. His white hair had grown curlier and it reached his shoulders. This man was sixty five years old and he had spent last twenty years in jail.
As he stepped outside completely, one of the central jail’s security guard said to him,
“Congratulations Hannan! You are now free as a bird.”
Hannan turned and looked at him. It was really difficult for him to look at him while turning around, so he simply raised his hand while he was half way through. He tried to show some respect to the security guard and then he started moving forwards.
Hannan was walking in really slow speed. He was excited but he was more upset that he was all alone and nobody came to pick him up. He simply walked and remembered his family. As faces of his father and brother appeared before him, he said,
I have not been a good family member. I should have been better.
He walked with the support of walls and wondered,
If I had been a good brother or a good husband, then someone would have surely come to pick me up. It’s all my fault; I have been a bad person.
As he had covered quite a distance, he saw some taxi. He asked the driver through his gestures if the taxi was available. The driver nodded in response, but as the two got face to face, the first thing driver asked was,
“Were you a prisoner?”
“Yes,” Hannan said in an unclear voice.
That moment, the driver rushed to the driver’s seat. He turned on the engine immediately and accelerated the vehicle. He left the spot in fear.
Hannan looked at him go and said,
Everyone’s going to be afraid of me now. How am I going to live like this?
One hour later, he was sitting in a public bus. He was sitting in the backside and was thinking where he would go as he had no place to live. As he looked around at stuff that was written on the bus, he came to realise that his eye sight had gone really week and he could hardly read anything at all.
It’s going to be really tough. Hannan commented in his thoughts, I’ve been in prison for two decades. I have no idea what the world has become. I have no clue about where this world is headed. How am I going to survive this? Will I be able to survive this society?
He then observed the clothes of people around him, he realised for a moment that the world has changed to a huge extent.
He however, tried to stand up as he wanted to change his seat, but unfortunately he couldn’t as he was too weak to do it by himself.
I wish to die Hannan said looking at his condition.
One Week Later
Rahman and his wife Anum were at Rizwan’s house. They were on a monthly visit. So, while the father and son were seated on the same couch, they had a usual conversation,
“So, what else?” Rizwan asked kindly. “How’s life? What are your plans?”
“Well, life is usual. Anum and I were thinking that we should come and visit you more often.”
“Well, that’s a great idea!”
“Yeah!” Rahman agreed.
“You should, you should come here more. In fact, you guys are always welcome here.”
“That’s good to know.”
“You know, I feel really alone. I had only one friend Khattab. And nowadays, he is very sick.”
“Yeah. So, where is he? At the hospital?”
“Well, last time I heard from him, he was at his son’s place, and his son was sort of looking after his medications.”
“I see,” Rahman replied. “Well, I hope he gets better.”
“Yeah, you should pray for him.”
“Can we go and visit him sometime?”
“We can. I think we can.”
“Great. So, what else?” Rahman asked trying to change the conversation.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, what else is going on?”
“Oh… nothing special at all. I’m just living the last years of my life. I think about my entire life these days. I think a lot about my youth.”
“Oh… So how is it? I mean, how do you feel about your life at this stage?”
“I think it went great. It was an experience just like any other person’s experience but there were things that make me stand differently.”
“Oh, come on Dad,” Rahman said, “You can’t think like that. Your life was different. You were not like everyone else. You were an extra generous person. Your wealth came to zero just because you helped others. You have gained prayers of poor people.”
“Oh, I don’t think so,” Rizwan said with modesty.
“I also want you to acknowledge the fact that you were very brave. You have suffered quite a lot.”
“I don’t know, maybe that’s true but I’ve learned to live like that.”
“Yes. Your experiences made you stronger.”
“But you were younger than me. You saw your sister’s demise and her family’s while you were too young.”
“If I am brave and courageous at all, then it’s all because of what I have inherited from you.”
Rizwan was speechless for a while.
They had a little more conversation until Rahman and his wife had dinner at Rizwan’s place.
One Week Later
Rahman was sitting in his office as usual, when he felt his cell phone ringing. He checked the caller’s ID. It was his father’s call. He was a bit surprised and he said,
Why is he calling? And why at this hour? I wasn’t expecting his call at all. It must be something serious.
Rahman answered the call,
“Yes Dad,” Rahman said curiously.
“Son, Uncle Khattab is in really critical condition. He is admitted in the hospital. I think there’s not much time left for him.”
“Oh, my God! What happened?”
“Look whatever it is. We have to go to meet him today.”
“Okay, I’ll be available after seven o’clock.”
“Okay, just be there at the hospital. I’m leaving now.”
“No Dad, we’ll go together. I’ll pick you up in the evening.”
“Are you sure? Is if it’s not convenient…”
“…It is fine,” Rahman interrupted. “I’ll be there. We’ll go together.”
Rahman disconnected the call and felt a bit stressed.
I hope I can handle this he whispered.
to be continued...