Saturday, July 24, 2010

Father Part 3

As soon as Aly got a job, his attitude towards his parents changed. He
thought they were old fashioned and slow. After leaving for a position abroad,
he didn't even return when his mother died. Sid sighed as he
thought of that day when he had returned home to find his beloved wife
lying on the ground, dead. After the burial, he tried calling Aly but
the only answer he received was from his wife who told him that Aly was
away for a tour with his friends. Aly came back to Pakistan when his
company offered him a lucrative position. That was when Taimoor was
born. Sid cherished the time he had spent with his grandson until he
was four years old. Aly was returning abroad and had decided that Sid
didn't need the large house in Islamabad as he was living alone. So,
Sid had been moved to this one-room place in Rawalpindi where he
received his monthly stipend from his son.

Sid was called back to reality by a knock on the door. He ambled to the
door and opened it to see a smiling Shamim holding a box in her hands.

' My cake!' hooted Sid clapping his hands together.

' Yes, Uncle Sikander, it is your delicious chocolate cake' said Shamim
moving it towards him. ' It also has extra chocolate shavings as a gift
from me,' she told a grinning Sid.

'You are an angel, my dear!' exclaimed Sid taking the cake from her and
moving towards the table.

'I thought I should bring it to save you the trouble of walking to my
house' she said as she walked in behind him. She took the cake from
Sid's shaking hands and arranged it neatly in the centre of the scanty

'Aly's stipend barely covers his daily food cost, mother,' fumed an
enraged Shamim to her mother after she got back home.

'I know, dear. There is nothing poor Sikander can do about it. He worked
for a private company which sacked him when he reached 50. With no
savings and a bad health, he has no other choice,' sighed her mother as
she cut the vegetables.

Shamim looked out of the window and saw a car stop in front of Sid's

'I think the grandson is here,' she said watching closely as a good
looking young man rolled down the window and looked at the number on
Sid's door.

' Well, I hope the son is better than his father ever was!' said
Shamim's mother getting up and smoothing the wrinkles in her shirt.

' Uncle Sikander is still not ready to hear anything negative about his
son! Can you believe that?' inquired Shamim turning around to help her
mother clean up.

Her mother smiled sadly and lovingly patted her daughter's head.

'You will understand it, my child, when you have children of your own.'

Shamim went back to the window and smiled as she saw the young man
walking towards Sid's door.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Father Part 2

Sid sat up with a jolt as he realized he was picturing the homecoming of
his son not his grandson!

'What is wrong with me?' he thought shaking his head vigorously as he
got out of bed.

'It isn't as easy as it used to be,' he screamed out as his joints
cracked with every move. ' But today is a special day' he said and,
pulling himself together, he waddled off to the kitchen.

At first he was surprised to see that it was clean and tidy but then he
remembered that he had done that before going to bed last night. 'nine
thirty five' said the clock in the kitchen, not much time before
Taimoor gets here. It was a good thing that he had requested Shamim,
his next-door neighbour's daughter, to bake a cake for him. He would
have to mow her lawn in return for the favour but that didn't matter as
chocolate cake was Taimoor's favourite. He set about arranging things,
in his only room, for breakfast.

The warmth of yesterday's phone call was still fresh in his heart as he
placed the plates on the table. Taimoor had called him at Shamim's
phone number, he couldn't afford a phone himself, and said that he
wanted to meet him. He still couldn't believe that his grandson wanted
to see him when his father had decided it was impossible to keep him in
the house. The house that he had built with his sweat and blood, the
house that his loving wife had decorated with her savings. They had
been so happy in that house and the arrival of their longed for only
son had made it an even happier place.

Aly's first day at school had been difficult-not for Aly but for his
parents. They couldn't trust the people in that place called school
with their darling.

'Would they understand his feelings? Would they see the potential behind
his quiet nature? Would they let him have his way as they did?' These
were only a few of the worries that plagued the parents of the
resolute young boy who walked into school. His teachers, however, did-
as teachers often do- see the darkness that lurked behind the small,
dark eyes. When Aly was in eighth grade, his teachers summoned the
parents to school to talk about his selfish and disdainful nature. They
told Sid and his wife that Aly showed a total disregard for other's
feelings and his own responsibilities. Sid, who flared up at the
notion, screamed at the teachers and abused them for maligning the
character of his perfect son. So, Aly changed schools. He
changed it again when he was in his final year of high school due to a
similar situation. Being a brilliant young man, Aly was admitted into one
of the best universities of the country where he scored outstanding
grades. He was employed by the most successful multi nationals of the
world and that was when the trouble began.

Monday, July 12, 2010


The small room felt so much larger today to the man
propped on the bed in front of the lone window. He sensed a change in 
the wind coming through the flimsy curtains that hung down in tatters 
behind him. The room had acquired a brightness notwithstanding the 
peeling paint on the walls and Sid, as people called him, felt on top 
of the world. His 19 year old grandson was coming to visit. It had been 
15 years since he had seen Aly, 15 long years he had spent in this 
small one room house with no one to smile and tell him he was loved. He 
chuckled to himself as he thought of the time when his grandson had been 
born a tiny premature baby. 

He had been waiting outside the labor room when the nurse came out
smiling and holding a tiny bundle in her arms. He had suddenly been 
transported back 28 years to a similar place with a different nurse and 
a different baby-his son. It seemed like yesterday when he had held his 
first and only son in his arms and gazed down into his puffy face. Now 
he was smiling down at what he had helped to create-his grandson. A 
beautiful baby with his high nose that had run in the family for years. 
Sid smiled now as he thought of the day they had brought him home and 
his wife had laid him down in the pretty little room specially 
decorated for him. Flowers bloomed in every corner of the room and 
stuffed toys smiled down at the newest member of the family. 

To be continued...

Crocodile Tears

He died the night I thought I was dying. 

“I can’t breathe,” I whispered, when I heard his languid voice on the other end.

“Why? What’s wrong?”

Gasping, I described the excruciating pain in my lungs.

“How bad is it, darling?” He asked, affecting anxiousness. I groaned in reply.

I heard a sigh, laboriously drawn and I smiled in spite of the pain.

“Why don’t you call a doctor?” he suggested. “Or should I call one? 

“I’ll do it,” I croaked.

A long silence.

I felt tears trickle down my cheeks as I crawled to the bedside table. It was in the bottom drawer. Clutching the remote, I crumpled to the floor. I heard sobs through the crackling of my handsfree.

“Darling?” I whimpered.

A sniff and then, “Yes, I’m here, love.”

“Please, don’t worry, I’ll be fine.” I pressed the green button, turning on the camouflaged monitor in the large framed picture on the wall. He never liked that picture.

“Oh, I’m so far away when my darling needs me,” he sobbed piteously.

The monitor stopped flickering and I could see him curled up beside the naked brunette asleep beside him. Behind them, I could see the immaculate carvings of the bed in our holiday home.

“It’s been five days,” I said, pressing the harmless looking pink button and hoping he had his briefcase with him, the one I had fixed up with a false bottom.

And the screen went blank.