Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Skirmish

The pick-up truck drove down the bumpy mud-path road filled with ups and downs, and protruding stones and debris. The morning sun rays heated up the dusty path. Three men were in the vehicle. Two sat in the front seat, while the third had propped himself up in the rear cargo bed of the pick-up truck. Their faces were wrapped in a dark coloured cloth. The third man adjusted the cloth to cover the whole of his face. He shut his eyes and tried to get some sleep, knowing that it would be a futile attempt with the hot sun pouring over his face. A Kalashnikov, assault rifle sat on his lap.

Beside him,a pile of Kalashnikovs and a few rocket launches lay on the metal floor. The latest arms to pour in all the way from Libya. All for their holy cause. The man’s finger tightened over his rifle at such a thought. He was not Pakistani, but he was here, in Pakistan, just like he had traveled to Afghanistan, Iraq and even Syria. He would travel the world ten times over, if Allah allowed him to bring down his will to earth. He would be the hand and helper of Allah and do his will.

The pick-up came to a stop. They must have reached. He heard his comrade call out to him. He pulled himself up and the cloth slid from his face. A brown grizzly beard over a dark sun-tanned brown skin revealed itself. He smiled at this friend, as he strapped the cloth around his face. He sprang out of the pick-up.

Now, his full attire could be seen. He wore a light coloured kurta, and his pajamas were baggy. He stretched out his hand and pulled a Kalashnikov towards him. After all these years, he felt naked without a weapon. Men were approaching the vehicle similarly dressed like him, they wanted the arms to join in with their Jihad.

The man walked forward, he stared at the sun, he definitely wanted some sleep. Tonight would be a busy night.

He heard the rumbling of an engine far off. A vehicle was coming. He wondered who would be coming at this time, perhaps more comrades of Allah’s cause. He continued walking to the hut.

Maybe, if he had not been so sleepy he would have been more alert, but when the military vehicle appeared and poured out bullets on them, he didn’t have a chance. Bullets ripped through his body and he collapsed to the ground. Suddenly, darkness was pushing itself into his mind. He fought against it knowing if he went there, he would not come back. His gun, he needed to fire that once, kill one of these infidels before he left this world. His hand crawled out to the gun, but his fingers did not reach as death took him.  

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


He was sitting on a rough cloth. His eyes looked straight ahead at the crowded road. Once upon a time it used to be a challenge, but today this was how his life was. His right hand grabbed the handle and he pushed and pulled the chair’s rubber wheels forward. He could hear the honking of annoyed drivers, who always got on his nerves. He wished he could put on earplugs and block the noise. But that would hinder his already handicapped body in travelling on the road.

So his wheels pushed on, trudging the bumpy tar roads, hugging the edge of the road. With each push and pull on the handle, the chain revolved and turned the wheel. Once upon a time his metallic chair may have been shining, but now it was covered with a thin coat of rough red rust.

His knees throbbed, like a fleeting presence that once was, a shadow throb. He wanted to rub them and make the pain go away, but in the middle of traffic that was not a good idea. He passed by the signal and stopped pedalling with his hands.

He reached down to his knees and his fingers began massaging his knee sockets. The skin felt rough and hard. Phantom limbs that’s what it felt like, that’s what it always felt like, like phantom legs hanging in the air.  

He was not some war hero who had lost his legs, he was just a fool who had decided to cross the tracks.

And now both his legs were gone.

After a minute of massaging, the throbbing reduced and though it did not wholly vanish, he pulled up his hand.

He put his hands to the pedal and continued pushing and pulling, moving his chair-cycle forward. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Greedy Drunk

The man could smell the dirty stink, but he was used to it. It’s something he carried around. He could see the look of disgust around him. The girl twisted her her face and whispered in her girlfriend’s ear, both of them sniggered, staring at him. A mother pulled her child closer to her, clearing his path. He did not care about them. He stopped caring a long time ago.

His dark green jacket was torn and old. Cotton and fibre spilled out from some holes. His pant was tattered and kept together by patches. His black hair had turned wiry, knotted and brown with all the dirt.  He put his hand in his pocket. The layer of cloth was barely holding together. He felt the notes between his fingers and felt reassured.He worked hard to get those notes. His blue jeans looked white, and at some points it was held together by just strings.

The shop was not far away. He could see the Saturday crowd standing around it. Mostly youngster trying to get sloshed tonight. He pushed his way through the crowd and as people noticed it was him pushing, they on their own, took a few steps back, trying to avoid him, trying not to even make physical contact with him.

He reached up to the counter. He removed the notes from his pocket. They were crumpled and rolled into a ball. Using his rough fingers, he stretched them from the ends and tried to flatten out the notes on the palm of his left hand. The lady at the counter glanced at him. She gave him an ugly look. “Bottle of rum, 80ml”, came his rough voice through his unruly beard. She took his notes, careful to avoid his fingers.

A few minutes later she shoved a bottle wrapped in a paper bag.

It felt good to have the bottle in his hand. He felt the hard glass and the liquid shaking in it.
He pushed himself through the crowd and came outside the shop. His fingers pulled down the paper, twisted open the cap and then took a sip greedily.

80ml was less, but for today he could forget his sorrows, he could forget his loved ones, he would forget the world. He took another sip greedily. Warmth spread through his body, and light-headedness spread through his mind.