Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A Flock of Noisy Birds

Waqar didn’t reply and again looked at blue sky, brooding, slowly nodding, as if listening and agreeing to some divine voice from sky. He seemed to have gone to his trance once again. Tariq drank and waited patiently, closed his eyes and thought about Praveen and Ali his son. He decided to cool off his relations with Waqar. It would do him no harm or perhaps be a better option, given to his friend’s dangerous obsession and preoccupation with a lunatic revenge plan. He wished it was one of those crazy ranting and Waqar would go back to his life as before.
“I some times wonder, what I am today?”
Tariq could feel he was being exposed to some hereto-secrets hidden in recess of his friend’s fertile brain. He tried to listen carelessly as he had always done-betraying no keen interest and eagerness, which he was indeed developing.
“I am an unknown shopkeeper with some money? But who knows me back home? No body.”
“ Is it that important to be well known?”
“Yes it is. I want my name remembered by every body.”
“Remembered? What do you mean?”
“ I loved football and wanted to be a professional footballer. But couldn’t become one, because my father wanted me to be a doctor. He never listened to me and made sure I missed my practice of the day, being locked up in my room with my tutors of various size and shapes to mug up physics, chemistry and biology lessons. Some of them looked like heartless monsters. They would test my memory and hit a ruler on my extended soft palm. I felt humiliated and I wanted to kill the devil and thought of various methods that would result in an accidental death of those hated monsters. But could not venture beyond the planning stage and never gathered courage to execute the plans and prove myself, at least to my self. Later when I got to know their own miserable conditions and compulsions to make my father happy; trying to prepare me for a career in medical profession; I gave up those grand assassination plans, those poor tutors were just trying to make a living and earn to keep their kitchen fires on.”
Waqar took out another beer. He was a gracious host and would make sure his guests would have had enough of delicious food and drinks.
Tariq knew all this background, having heard his friend many times over, but Waqar seemed so lost and trying hard to explain his position, he had no option but to listen and nod in agreement as he was suppose to do faithfully. One has to be and seen attentive and react in proper way when elders are saying some thing or any thing they felt like saying at any moment. Waqar resumed his monologue.
“ Now I am sure that stage is near and look quite possible it’s with in my own reach. No matter if they approve my plan or not. I have other options and some like-minded resourceful friends with me. And they are as passionate and willing as I am… I mean…”
Waqar looked away and fell silent and kept looking at the noisy children and ladies, his eyes becoming moist. Her daughter Henna raced toward them threw herself at him and started to sob.
“ Arrre. What happened to my dear little darling?” Waqar wiped his tears and Tariq took his beer to save it from spilling over the child.
“ I don’t like Bhai pulling my hairs.” She increased her effort to gather tears and started to howl loudly.
“ Oh, he is just a small child and does not know any thing.” Waqar made a funny face and tried to pacify the child.
“ Why don’t you tie his hands?” She stopped her howling and demanded abruptly. Her voice was shrill and efforts produced streams of tears from her innocent large eyes. She could rain teardrops on drop of a hat and smoother his dotting father to her outrageous demands. Henna now seemed proud of running little streams flooding her pink cheeks and delicate neck. Her mother Jahida had already got fed up of requesting Waqar not to pamper the child so much and spoil her for forever. But he would not listen and indulge his dear daughter further. She had no option but gave up completely and let Waqar deal with the little girl. She told him to find a boy for Henna, who could put up with such noisy tantrums and she would better be excused of such daunting responsibilities.
She would say- we don’t know what troubles she might face in her adult life; what kind of boy would she merry, how would he treat her. Please have mercy, don’t spoil her and think of future. Nobody likes a woman who throws tantrums and behaves unreasonably.
“ No need for that. I will tell him to behave.” Waqar put Henna on his lap and promised softly. Tariq could see little tears still sticking to his friend’s eyes.
“He won’t. I hate him.” She resumed her howling and threw legs violently on his chest.
Waqar caught hold of her tiny legs and made a funny face, which made her stop shrieking.
A flock of birds descended nearby and she sat up, wide eyed.
“ Abba, see these birds, I will catch one today.” She forgot her hair-pulling brother, funny-faced father and developed keen interest in the flock and ran after it, which raced dozing her expertly.
Waqar slowly drew his contorted muscles back in place and returned to his menacing, brooding, lamenting posture. Tariq watched him being transformed from a loving father of little girl to a fanatic, dreaming a grand terror strike, which may deprive many young girls of their funny-faced fathers, loving harassed mother and hair pulling cute little brothers. They perhaps, will never dare to howl again and would seize their interest in flock of noisy birds.

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