Skin

a shiny brown face with black eyes

sometimes dark like thunder

somtimes like symbolic black rose

with wonderful white teeth  and

an acne under the glittering nose ring

low meek voice

afraid,hopeful,reluctant,guilty

immersed in a lake of silence

my friend with oily skin

Return

I died as a mineral and became a plant,
I died as plant and rose to animal,
I died as animal and I was Man.
Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?
Yet once more I shall die as Man, to soar
With angels bless’d; but even from angelhood
I must pass on: all except God doth perish.
When I have sacrificed my angel-soul,
I shall become what no mind e’er conceived.
Oh, let me not exist! for Non-existence
Proclaims in organ tones,
To Him we shall return.

RUMI

The Neighbour

I am a sixty year old retired army officer. I have no family. I married the love of my life when I was 24. She died delivering my child. My child , my son left me with a promise to return. He wanted to see the world and observe the obvious miracles of nature. I talk to him regularly and he tells me about places  he has been to. I had married again after my wife’s death. My second wife is my heart. I cannot live without her and when I say so I mean it. I will kill myself if she dies before me. I have had no diseases which could prevent me from living the life to its fullest. Old age has its own charms. There are only memories and less hopes.

These days I am living very peacefully in a city where search for peace has already taken many lives. My beloved city Karachi. I have a neighbour few bungalows away in the street. I know his family very well and we have been very good friends. He is younger than me, even younger than my son. We have long talks on weekends. Once I told him how an old age changes a man. I told him that youth is youth. It is beautiful. To this he replied that it is an illusion that youth is happy, illusion of those who have lost it.

Since last five years he has changed a lot. I have seen him grow beard. I have seen him trim it. Then I have seen him grow beard again. He has never trimmed it again. I am envious of his beard. When you are old you feel yourself nearer to God, in fact you try to be nearer to Him. Just like when you try to be nearer to Him when you are in pain or in despair. But the agony which causes painless pangs in heart when he…. I think it would be easy if i give him a name, let me give him my own name, Safdar ; so the agony which causes painless pangs in heart when Safdar tells me how he has reconnected with God is not describable. If I were a writer  I would describe this agony by making similes and comparisons but it truly is indescribable, I would have failed even if I really were a writer. I feel pain because at an old age you are not very idealistic. I trust my God with every fibre of my existence but I do not trust myself. A mysterious bystander in streets of my existence shouts noiselessly: ‘great time to remember your God!’

So one Sunday I told him one of my errands no one knows about. Myself and God, no one else, not my wife, not my son, just me and my God.

I am a murderer.

Safdar could not believe me and charged me with lying and joking. And when I told him the complete story, he said : ‘ I never knew you are a novelist, so how is it coming up, is that the end?’

I told him about a miracle.

 


 

I am a twenty-five year young accountant. I live with my family in a city where you will find insanity and various definitions of insanity appearing in form of highly sane people. Here you will find everything except blondes. My beloved city Karachi. I am a selfish man. I love myself, then I love my family and then I love rainy days, that’s it. No on else. I tell myself I love God too. I am not married yet. These days I am in great hardships, not financial, not domestic, not personal, just hardships, which do not exist and if they exist, it is because I lie to myself when I tell myself that I love God. It might appear somewhat advantageous to lie to other to not hurt them but it is always disastrous to lie to oneself.

I have a neighbour few bungalows away in the street living in a luxurious palace. We have been at good terms since long. He is old living alone with his wife. His son has left him with a promise to return. ‘Sons and their promises, I know very well!’ , often says my mother’s mother with a contemptuous face.

We sit and talk on weekends and share experiences and often they are his. Once I told him about my fiancée and how I do not love her very much to which he said: ‘ you know son, the love that lasts longest is the love that is never returned!’

One Sunday he, i think it would be convenient if I give him a name, let me give him my own name,Safdar, so one Sunday Safdar Sahab told me what I could not believe and what I expected in a movie or a novel.

He is a murderer.

The most interesting part is he did not tell  me why he did so just that he murdered. It happened that Safdar Sahab had killed a guy intentionally and then felt so great a remorse that he fainted and cried for days afterwards. He abandoned his wife for a month and went  away to a shrine of a saint. He cried and cried. He did not eat for days. He was reduced to sack of bones. He offered prayers so long, his feet ached. He says he forgot himself and asked God for forgiveness. He cried even more and ate even less day by day and prayed to God to bring back the time, to undo what his hands had done.

Then, one day, he slept.

When he woke he could not believe himself. He was in his room in cosiness of his bed and he found that impossible had happened. Time had come back. Time shrunk a month back and he was exactly in situation in which he had been before committing murder.

Every man is a labyrinth, strange, confused, illogical, in short, human.

Safdar Sahab murdered again. The same guy, at the same time, with the same weapon.

That Sunday when I went back home I said to myself that whatever regret I have for my actions is nothing before the causes which force me to commit a sin. That regret is surely something very abstract in front of my solid intentions to sin and even  if I were born again, I would commit the same sins again. Only thing which saves a human from being human is his ultimate faith in God, the faith as strong as the regret after a torturous crime, the faith which caused Prophet’s companions to bear the unbearable pain, the faith that God loves you and the faith that the God’s mercy is greater than his wrath. And I realized that Safdar Sahab is as human as I am and even I might have done the same thing if I were in his shoes. After all we all are humans.

Only thing that matters in the end is faith. In fact only thing that matter is faith.

 


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