my people

30Jun06

i’ve been trying to write a book for the last three years. and the process has given me some insight into how difficult it must be for a mother to rear a child in a way that he fulfills all her dreams for him. writing, my friends, is hard! its harder when you’re writing about something thats close to your heart,like the subject of my people is.

the book was intended to be an insight into what must go on in the mind of a suicide bomber. its not supposed to be an advocacy of terror tactics. nor is it an apology for violence. it is simply my opinion of how it must work. i am probably wrong in the assumption that i can even begin to understand the psychological state of a man willing to blow himself up for a cause. i am the guy who didn’t go for juma prayers because it was too hot. but this book is as much an exercise into finding my own passion, my spirit and my faith as it is an exploration of the world of today. the world in which i have not only a right but a duty to speak out, to express and to protest.

i am going to use my blog to slowly showcase the book to an poor sap willing enough to read it. chapter by chapter, paragraph by paragraph. maybe the little critiquie i can get will help me in finally finishing the darn thing. i’ve usld “lack of research oportunity” too long as an excuse.

so here goes

epilogue as a prologue.june 9, 2004

the roadliner he caught from zahidan pulls into the crowded saddar area and even before the door opens he can smell the unwelcome smell of home. the diesel from the buses mingling with the scent of ripe mangoes on the pushcarts. the sense of controlled chaos, of happy schooldays in the school a few hundred meters away, of the confused adolescence of years ago, the passion of youth, the pain of conversion. he decides there and then he will not stay the night.

the rickshaw ride to mevashah costs fifty rupees. he knows its too much but he’s not focussed enough to bargain. he looks with pained eyes at the broken dome of the first mosque he sees on the way. “suicide attack kills 37, injures 143 in m a jinnah mosque blast” the headline flashes before his eyes. the bile rising to his throat as he thinks of the bitter futility of it all.

the potholed roads of mevashah distract him from his reverie. even after all these years he still knows the exact route to the jaffery bagh, a small cemetery within this large acropolis within the metropolis of karachi. the gate is still the same rusty orange, there is still a tanker parked at the broken hydrant right across the narrow street the same way it was when he came here so many years ago. he only difference is in the number of graves. there are so may more now. so many alleys have disappeared to make room for more graves. it takes him a few moments to recognise the peepal tree under which abbaji is buried. “three aisles down, corner plot” was how hadi had described it.

he steps slowly towards the grave. standing by the marble tombstone he is distracted at the realisation that right across the aisle is phuppiamma’s old borderless grave. she should be happy, he thinks. haider bhai was always the apple of her eye. and now he’s so close. the small smile fades away as he thinks the condition his brother’s body must have been in when it was buried and it suddenly seems to him that the wetness on his aunt’s grave is not the caretaker’s watering but her quiet dead tears. a foolish thought, he knows. an unbecoming dramatization. but he sits down misty eyed on the side of his brother’s grave, fingering the week old rose petals left no doubt by mukhtar kirmani who still comes every thursday.

“saheb, its a martyr’s grave, don’t sit on it”.

the child is all of 9 years old, no doubt one of the caretaker’s neverending flock. he’s carrying a packet in which he’s collected half burned incense sticks and disposed metro milan agarbatti boxes and some assorted paper garbage. obviously to sell to the small recycling plant down the road. he waves him off, absent mindedly and the child is obviously in no mood to argue.

the tears come suddenly, with great sobs shaking his chest as he finally reads the name on the tombstone. he musn’t cry he knows. its the fulflment of an ambition he knows. its the eternal life he knows. but the name of his brother has too many memories associated with it, too much baggage. the urdu lettering seems to be moving through his tears and the wind blows through his hair he way his brother used to ruffle it in those long ago days of affection. he takes out a handkerchief and gently dusts off the dirt on the red lettering before wiping his tears.

haider sabr-e-abid (shaheed), they read.

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3 Responses to “my people”

  1. xill-e-ilahi

    poor old sap at your service 🙂

    brilliant.

    sneak preview shows a lot of promise.

    you probably would need to give us more to see how the structure shapes up to give life to the characters

  2. thanks buddy 🙂

    i will be giving u more. as soon as i can make sense out of my thirty nine pages of notes. keep visiting for updates.

  3. My fellow on Facebook shared this link with me and I’m not dissapointed at all that I came here.


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