Publicity Stunts

  • 13 Jan - 19 Jan, 2024
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Fiction

It is my voice but the words are not mine. I can assure you this because my accent is way different than the one you’re hearing on that video. So all of those who are smart enough to judge between real and fake can easily understand the conspiracy behind.”

Yahya who was watching the show at his home commented:

Wow, what a way to fool everyone? I mean how stupid of him to bring up this excuse. There were way better other ways of lying.

Professor Shahrukh continued:

“I do not claim that I am very informative. And I do not expect you to think that my memory is strong like computer systems. I am a human, I can forget things. But I would never make a fool out of others. You people are important to me. I do not want you to lose faith and trust from me. And if you do then it would make me really uncomfortable. This is the reason why I’m here today. To speak the absolute truth.”

Yahya switched off his television getting slightly angry.

 Next morning, Yahya was on his bike. He was riding it but he stopped as he reached his old friend Usman’s colony on the way. He realised at the moment that how much he really missed his friend.

He wasn’t expecting this but his friend Usman happened to walk by at some distance. Usman, who turned while walking saw Yahya on his bike. The two friends looked at each other for few seconds but Yahya turned away his eyes first.

Yahya prepared to leave until someone wildly tried to attack him from behind. He jumped out of his bike as he felt someone rushing towards him and attacking him from behind. It was some criminal holding a large knife. Yahya fell on the ground while trying to run and the criminal threw his weapon towards him.

Yahya’s right arm got injured as the knife landed below his elbow.

Yahya’s right arm got injured as the knife landed below his elbow. Usman who witnessed the entire scene, came to his rescue. He ran towards the criminal who was about to attack Yahya with another knife. Usman held the criminal’s arm and kicked him with his knee.

Injured Yahya saw his old friend fighting with the criminal. He was pleased but at the same time he was feeling extremely painful. He however blacked out.

Hours later, Yahya opened his eyes while lying on the bed. He felt some bandage on his arm. He looked at his arm and saw that the wound was completely covered. As he looked around, he saw that he was admitted at some hospital. He looked around and saw his friend Usman talking to the nurse. Yahya smiled as he looked at him and called him out:

“Usman! Come here!”

Usman turned and looked back at him. Usman went quickly towards him and asked:

“Are you okay Yahya? How are you feeling now?”

“I’m fine, Usman. I just want to thank you. I want to say that I am grateful to you without any doubt and I’m saying this without any hesitation.”

“It’s okay my friend. You’ll get over it.”

“No Usman, I owe you an apology. You are a good friend. You always were a better person.”

“I don’t know about myself,” Usman replied looking towards the room’s door, “but I want you to meet a great person. Let me repeat, a great person.”

Usman called someone looking at the door:

“Can you please come here for a moment?”

Mr. Ahmad Malik, an old man with long beard came walking towards them and looked at them kindly. Yahya couldn’t believe what he was seeing. The person he believed to be the only saint in his country was coming towards him. He sat up to show some respect.

“How are you feeling my child?” Mr. Ahmad asked.

“I am, I am…” Yahya answered stammering, “I am good. I am fine.”

“Good, that’s wonderful,” he smiled.

Yahya looked up at him as if he was looking at some angel who came from somewhere outside the world. He then heard his friend Usman’s words:

“It was Mr Ahmad’s kindness that saved you. If it weren’t for him, if it weren’t for his kindness then we couldn’t have made it.”

“I’m really grateful,” Yahya said to Mr. Ahmad looking up with deep respect.

He held Mr Ahmad’s hand and pulled it towards himself. He kissed his hand showing his respect and gratitude towards him.

“It’s okay my son,” Mr. Ahmad Malik spoke politely. “There’s no need. Take care of yourself.”

Mr Ahmad left them and before leaving he said:

“Please do let me know if you need anything.”

Yahya and Usman kept on looking at him for a while. Usman said to his friend:

“You know what happened? I made a phone call and asked his ambulance to come here. Someone responded that there is no driver and they couldn’t make it. So the next thing I heard after a while was Mr. Ahmad’s voice. He asked me with concern about what was the situation. I told him everything. So you know what he said? He said ‘Don’t worry kid, I’m coming’. And he reached there within half an hour. He was driving the ambulance himself.”

“Oh, my God!”

“Yes, he was the one who brought us here.”

“Oh man, I owe my life entirely to this guy.”


They both looked at Mr. Ahmad again for a while. Yahya however broke the silence:

“Quite like my father, I also got injured in the arm. We both got injured at the same body part. I think my father’s accident was not really an accident.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean to say that the guy who tried to attack me today was the one who actually tried to kill my father.”

“Why do you think of that?”

“Because I have a lot of enemies. You know that quite well. And they are trying to threaten me.”

“Oh, come on, don’t think like that,” Usman pleaded. “Just thank God for what you have today.”

Yahya sighed out and spoke:

“Well, today I’m happy for what happened. Today, I met this kind man because of that criminal. If it weren’t for that criminal’s attack, I would never have made here.”

“And probably we both would have never reconciled.”

Yahya looked up at him and offered his hand for a handshake. The two friends shook hands.

 Four Months Later
At some TV channel, Professor Shahrukh Rizwan’s new show’s first episode had just begun. He began his speech randomly without any memorised lines:

“So ladies and gentlemen as you all know, this is my new season’s new show and our show is based on Science and History as usual. But let me tell you that other than these we will also talk on current affairs and give you more awareness.”

Usman who was watching the episode at his home picked up his phone and texted his friend Yahya.

Several minutes later, Yahya checked his text message at his own home. He read the text:

Watch Shahrukh Rizwan’s new show. It is really interesting.

Yahya felt a bit fed up and kept his phone away. But he however turned on the TV and switched to the channel. In the show, Professor Shahrukh Rizwan was speaking:

“Let me begin by putting an interesting experiment in front of you. This experiment was conducted by psychologists. Back in 2009, an issue was raised regarding teenagers lifestyle. The teenagers those days in Western countries used to stay up late. And then they couldn’t concentrate on their studies, at school. Do you get it? They used to wake up early as usual, before eight o’clock. But they used to sleep late. So in 2009, there was this high school in England. Monkseaton High School in Tyneside. So what they did was that they delayed the timings of the lectures. They delayed it for two hours. The lessons used to start at ten o’clock in the morning. And for how long? Five months. For a whole five months, the students used to wake up late and they used to go to schools late. And do you know what the outcome was? Want to know what the result of this experiment was?”

Yahya sat up to hear him closely. In the show Shahrukh continued:

“The students improved. Their results improved. Their participation level, their activeness increased. They performed even better in their studies. Their grades had improved better than expected. So what this result tells us is that it’s the sleep. It’s the improvement in sleep that led to improvement in their results. So what I’m trying to say is that our upcoming generation is going towards this direction. We need to do this what they need. We must delay the school’s timing. The schools must open after ten o clock in the morning. That way the students would be even more participative and more…”

Yahya turned off the TV immediately realising something unacceptable. He placed his hands on his face kind of regretting it.

This can’t happen. He spoke out loud. I cannot be impressed by him. I cannot. No, I just cannot.

He just denied this fact that he was impressed by the person he disliked the most.

Later that day’s night while Yahya was scrolling down some YouTube videos, he found some thirty minute video that was labelled as ‘Recommended for you’. It was entitled Professor Shahrukh Rizwan as a guest in Faryal Albani’s show. He clicked on the link to watch the video. He saw further that the video was published in 2014. The video began with Anchor Faryal Albani speaking:

“Ladies and Gentlemen… Our today’s special guest is Professor Shahrukh Rizwan. He is here today to share the grief of two mothers who were shot dead by the criminals few days back.”

Oh, this show is regarding that issue.

As the video ended, Yahya asked himself:

What was that? Why was Yahya afraid to talk on that traffic signal incident?

 Two days later, as Yahya switched on the TV to see Shahrukh Rizwan’s live show, he saw him wearing yellow shalwar kameez along with black waist coat.

He looks odd… and stupid in this dress he commented regarding his dress.

The next thing he saw was something that really disappointed him. He saw Mr Ahmad Malik was the guest in Shahrukh Rizwan’s show, sitting on a sofa next to him.

Oh, my God! Yahya uttered. How could you Mr. Malik? How could you drop your standard of thoughts?

He angrily turned off the television and sat on his bed.

Why did he go to that show? He wondered by himself. I really admired Mr. Malik but now I am not satisfied with him.

He saw his step father walking past his room. He stood up and walked towards him. After calling him out, he said:

“You won’t believe who is the guest on Shahrukh Rizwan’s show.”

“Who is it?” his father asked.

“It’s the charity worker Mr Ahmad Malik.”

“Oh… So what’s wrong with that?”

“I just don’t like it. Him going to that hypocrite’s show.”

“Don’t think like that son. Mr Ahmad Malik is a great human being. He must have went to that show so he can teach Shahrukh Rizwan to be a good person. To improve his manners and be kind to others.”

Yahya liked his words and agreed with him so he said:

“You’re right. Well, said Dad, you taught me something new today.”

Several hours later, during the night while Yahya was reading some magazine, he felt his cell phone vibrating. He looked at it. It was a text message from Javeria. He read her text:

Did you see what happened today at Shahrukh Rizwan’s show? It was unbelievable.

He felt a bit confused reading it. He happened to reply back to her text until he saw his phone vibrating again. It was a call from Shan. He answered his call:

“Yes, Shan?”

“Yahya did you see the fight in Shahrukh Rizwan’s show today?”

“Fight? No, what happened?”

“Oh man, you have no idea.”

The call got disconnected. Yahya felt quite uneasy and curious. He dialed Shan’s number back until he disconnected it himself. He thought of seeing the video himself. The moment he went to his room, he saw that his laptop was not charged. He immediately inserted the charger’s wire inside his laptop and waited for a while.

Yahya then checked his phone. He saw messages on messenger. They were from Usman. He read those two messages:

Worst ever fight took place!

At Shahrukh Rizwan’s show…

He got even more anxious and he was now desperate to see the video clip. He turned on his laptop and waited for a while.

After a minute, YouTube was right in front of him. He clicked on the trending videos. He wanted to see if the video was among top 10. To his surprise, the video was number 1 on YouTube. The video was entitled: ‘Professor Shahrukh Rizwan’s Love and Respect for his Country Proved Today’.

He clicked on the link to see the five minutes video. The video began:

In the video, Shahrukh Rizwan was sitting on his sofa. And on a couch towards his right hand side, Mr Ahmad Malik and two other guests were seated. Mr Ahmad Malik was seated between the two guests.