This is Home

8 11 2013

This is Home

It was the last day of curfew imposed by General Din Sukh. He wouldn’t be alive the next day.

The Sun woke up early to announce the General’s demise. But he was pleasant today, the Sun, not harsh like he was the last couple of years, burning people’s tongues and butts; “A comrade of mine”, the General would vociferously declare when ordering his men to ‘take care’ of the questioners who had the guts and education to speak negatively about his dictatorship by making them strip and lie naked on the boiling land, on the back if lucky or on the stomach, with tongues pulled out if found pulling supporters to demand an explanation.

He came here to do what he was supposed to, did it nicely, inviting no publicity and was packing his bags while everybody cheered the one-hearted General’s death. Streets were filled with men, women, children and dogs. Dogs barked for their part. Children danced for theirs, men and women cried out of joy. He spent his last hour in the town which was his home for 29 days, praying to god, his parents for giving him birth, and his President for having faith in him.

He loaded his bags into a camouflage jeep and drove away to a new beginning. He would be welcomed with dollars of money, dollops of gratitude since the mission was secretive, and a smiling country. He was going back to his family. He had had enough in the hot town, plotting and talking to himself, eating lamb and witnessing public stoning. A real smile eclipsed his face, held tears seemed no way of being held anymore, they were let out, in drops, the town didn’t have enough water to make him cry buckets.

He hit the brake one last time to see the town that was beautiful and sad, full of meaning and love, hope and death. He had no courage to go back, for a moment he thought he belonged here than anywhere else. He got down the jeep, stood in silence, looked up to see if there was a Call. There was none. There was none.

He felt his bags, in it were food and weapons; remembrance and forgetfulness.

Yet he was being dragged to the very place he wanted to run away from. His feet pointed north, he slowly walked back into the town, telling himself he would go home an hour or a day later. He didn’t carry his bags, he knew they would stay there, like an unmovable stone, people wouldn’t care about anything now that the General’s dead.

The town was colourful, never had he seen such happiness in those familiar faces, never had he known there were so many children, hidden all these years behind closed doors, never had he been part of a community.

“The bastard is dead. May he rest in peace lest he come back to punish us for celebrating his death” said Ahmad Durrani, grandfather of nine, father of thirteen, husband of three.

As he walked along, he compared himself to Rudra, the Hindu god, who is said to be an evil vanquisher. He laughed at his own thought and admitted he had done a good deed indeed.

“Taste this” Neti passed on manti, delicious as he had been told, while he stopped at a family cooking outside their house. Manti was being served as a symbol of accomplishment. He thanked her for serving a complete stranger and moved on, stopping at the next house who were playing loud music on what looked like a battered stereo. A kid ran towards him, from inside the house, arms stretched out with a playful appearance, unmindful of all the violence that had been present until a couple of hours ago. A lady, he knew, as the kid’s mother, was running behind the running kid. He remembered her from a death before, her husband’s. Shot at the face and chest several times to make sure he is dead, and to further make sure, nobody would have a spine and a hand to draw funny pictures of the General. He caught the running kid and threw him up into thin air; the kid after a long time seeing an elderly man play with him asked for more. The kid’s mother was surprised to see a new man befriending her only blood relative. She smiled with all her thankfulness. He saw her. Her gentle-grace was in his hand in the form of her kid. Their eyes reciprocated willingness in less than an instant. “GHWAA’RI CHI MAA SARA WAADA WUK’REA ?” He asked her with her kid in his arms. “YES, I WILL MARRY YOU”, she said in English. He had already slipped a ring onto her finger, she hadn’t noticed it, she had forgotten the ground she was standing on, the above that shined bright, the sides were – all him. She was brought back by her son’s “Mummy, mummy, my new friend, my new friend.” He was her new friend too. When she bent forward to kiss them both, her hands mildly pressing onto his back, she discovered something on her finger; glistening. A platinum ring she had so far only seen in smuggled magazines was hers. The metal painted a cloud to her sky; attractive and emotional, she kissed him, lifted by the jubilant spirit, she yearned for a long life with him. She cupped his face, studying his features – his long nose, long ears, brownish eyes, and wrinkled forehead.

Where he wanted to see a free town, he saw love evolving, greater than his home, bigger than his anger, larger than he could ever understand.

In a place enshrining faceless god, the moment halted for the lovers to continue their humanly affection.




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Platinum Day of Love