It rained red that evening in Lahore. Stars weren’t out yet and the sliver of the moon wasn’t enough to light up the land of the dead that had plunged into darkness. How old does someone has to grow up to speak the language of hatred? Faiz hasn’t reached that age yet.
He was taking his little steps in the solitary street, overjoyed after breaking through his home arrest. Oh, so happy he was with his achievement that the smile didn’t depart from
his lips until his rabbit eyes collided with a crowd of silent men.
There were many plagrounds where he would play Gilli Danda with Abdul, his elder brother. But this playground was stranger than anything else, for the fact that no kid used to play in there, as if reserved only for grown-ups. These days this playground was never empty, for Faiz to find the opportunity to sneak in and take a look at what games do you play once you grow up.
‘Go away kid, this place isn’t for you.’ said the man in the white bushy beard that reached up to his waist. He hovered in front of him, blocking his way.
‘No, Baba. I am old enough to play in this playground now.”
‘Playground? This isn’t a place you play in. This is Kabristaan, now leave
at once before I make you.’
Rebellion sprouted in Faiz’s heart but he retreated back to his home. In the dreading of the scolding his Ammi would thunder down upon him, he sneaked in through the open window to the room where his Abbu was taking his meal.
‘Where’d you go, Faiz? Didn’t your Ammi tell you not to leave the home all alone by yourself?’ His Abbu finished up the last bite from the mashed potatoes which Faiz was so tired of eating everything that he refrained from looking at it.
‘I went to Kabristaan today, Abbu’
Oh, what a thunderclap were these words to his father, he nearly choked on his last bite.
‘Why do people cry while playing in that place? I heard someone say ‘Dafan’, how do you play that game Abbu?’
Tears welled up in his father’s eyes as he spoke to his little son, who was just too young to understand why Allah and Bhagwan couldn’t share a home together.
‘Faiz, my son, Dafan is burying people deep in the earth. You wonder why we do that?’
Faiz nodded with a sparkle in his eyes.
‘We bury them in the Earth because the world out there is bad beyond boundaries. Once we bury them and give them in the arms of mother nature, she makes a promise to us that it won’t let any harm touch the ones we love. Earth gives her word that no shadow of evil will befall that person so dear to us.’
The next day when the dawn was breaking, every door in the village was banged with a cry, ‘Have you seen my Faiz, my little son?’ Not a single soul in the land knew the answer to the question. Yet, in a little corner of the Kabristaan, Faiz was sleeping over a little heap of earth he had dug out in the night, to bury the photograph of his family.
‘Promise me Earth, you won’t let any harm touch my family…’
Thank you for your time.
It would mean the world to me if you would just drop a comment, because this place doesn’t feel like the place I left an year ago when I don’t have people to talk to. I would love to reconnect and build the bridges once again.
In this year, so much has gone so far, it feels like I’ve travelled a lightyear. There are things I let go, there are things I wish to hold on to. Most of all, there are things I wish to cherish that I still have by my side.
I kept on thinking about what to write, since comebacks are meant to be big and grand, but I couldn’t seem to write anything. Maybe because beginnings aren’t what matters at the end. So, I have posted this story I wrote once in a writing workshop. I hope you liked it. 🙂