The tension between Hamas and Al-Fatah has escalated, announced BBC. But nothing was uttered about the war which was going on at my homeland. Every nook and corner of mountains were blowing with bombs. All the cars which transported goods were stopped. They were restricted by the army for almost eight hours. Nobody said anything, and just stayed like statues. Except a narrow horn of a car, everything then turned utterly standstill.

For all the day, I was waiting for the cars to come. But then as I got up, the cars also arrived. Bahot informed me that Mazar had brought flour from Iran and some books of Ahmad Shamlou, but the books of Iranian poets were seized.

I then found myself listening to a song from radio; of course, the government channel. I was standing near the window and looking towards the mountains which were widely extended as far my sight could reach. I just wondered how many statues could be there in the mountains and for how long have they been there and how many new statues were made in previous days. Meanwhile, a flock of pigeons numbering ten to fifteen appeared; flying above the city. Below those pigeons, there were some white kites, all made of plastic.

Ahmad Shamlou; I exclaimed. Then I decorated a smile on my face and wondered that this time our magazine would lack materials regarding Iranian Balochistan. Then I left the window and came near the table. The teacup was unmoved, but tea was cool. The inkpot was unlid and two drops of ink were dried on the table. The pen was unlid too and its nib was dried. I checked it, but it did not work. I dipped it into the inkpot and it started working. Where is its lid? I searched thoroughly, and eventually found it under the table. I took up the scattered books, the inkpot and the register and put them in the bookcase.
Previous night was exhaustive. I had to work late at night. Actually, till the end of the month I had to send the magazine to Karachi, so that it would get published sooner as possible. Composing was almost accomplished, except some write-ups and two short stories, which were already checked by Homar. All I had to do for the whole night was to give a proof-reading. Once or twice electricity went off. Twice or thrice the wind opened the window. And once a cat entered from the opened door. Besides all this, it was I, the proof-reading and yes; the rain. It rained all night, but I was heedless of it.

When I got up at morning, there wasn’t any rain. After putting the books in the bookcase, I took up the radio which was hanging beside the bookcase, turned it off and put it on the table. Then I just realized that I had to translate the short stories of Fuentes. I sought the book and put it on the table. Now on the table there was a dip pin, some white pages, the radio and Fuentes. Radio was turned off. It was previously fixed on government channel and it still was; something that made me furious, at least, for sake of nothing. I quickly started shuffling it until it sticked somewhere between blank noise. But still I gave it full volume. The room was then all over filled with blank noise. The noise was so loud that I didn’t even realize when Nako Ismail had come to my room. I turned the radio off, welcomed him and inquired his health.

“How are you doing with asthma?” I inquired. He did not reply me and, as usual, asked me of Kohi. I consoled him and told him that I don’t know where Kohi is, but one thing I must say; “wherever Kohi is, but with thought of you.”

He burst into tears and, with a sorrowful cry, he informed me that the fire had informed him of an ill omen about Kohi. “I am afraid if he is suffering from bad health or he is in a dangerous situation.” I didn’t laugh at his statement, because I knew that this old man of almost 70 years has never stretched his legs or either his finger towards the fire. However, I remember of him saying to me once, that he had put the dust of his feet in the fire, so that he wouldn’t be able see the picture of Kohi, all out of anguish. So I laughed too much at that. But then everything turned over and nothing was left for laughter.

The war was turning even more devastating after every next day. And then I don’t know how many Nako Ismails have kept coming across my office to discover; when will Kohi come? When will he return?

Maybe somebody had told him that I knew the people of mountains (People of mountain is a common phrase, indigenously used for those who have rebelled and have gone for fighting into the mountains). But I only knew Kohi, who had gone to mountains; gone for fighting and was gradually becoming a statue.

I also knew that Nako Ismail was suffering from asthma; that he does not go to government hospital, fearing that people would not say that Kohi’s father has sought help from government hospital. And when asthma attacks him, he would instead take dust of Shay Nojwan’s grave and wrap it to his hand as an amulet.

When in the room, it was utter silence, there was a pen on the table, some white papers, Fuentes and only the radio. Nako Ismail had just left the room. And what I observed; this time Nako Ismail had wrapped the amulet to his right hand instead of the left. I knew that last night he had undergone from asthma. Last night combat between Hamas and Al-Fatah had also escalated. Last night war in our mountains had also initiated. And yes, last night it had rained too.

Then it was me, observing the city from the window. The vehicles were rushing. It was noise and crowd all over. Then I earnestly looked at the sky. There wasn’t any pigeon anymore. But the plastic kites were still flying and dancing. I smiled and took up the pen and started translating Fuentes’ short story.

Originally written by Dr. Haneef Shareef

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