I NEED LIGHTS TO SLUMBER
By Burhaan Peerzada
Munching and sipping sounds accompanied with snow falling from roofs composing a pop music in a harsh December morning when frogs were freezed in burrows and milkman was drenched with white powder milk on eyebrows and partly worn joker cap. Dadi was on her routine prayers which were started prior to dawn and would continue till office time. She was not even watering her lips before she would be tired of praying her aged wish which never seemed to be answered, but was as hopeful as a young sharp boy of his marriage.
In an instant, Aayat, Aisha’s granddaughter, came and pulled off her veil and naked her snowed head, which was too annoying during prayers. “Dadi, I am leaving, give me……! “A partly spoken wish, by which Dadi was familiar. “wait”, Dadi retarded “Dadi, you are wishing which will neverrrrrrr…..!!”This was not easier than a cloud burst, tears started to shed through old fleshy streams which tasted too salty, but she doesn’t even make a sigh. Nobody was aware of what happened in prayer room, Aayat shrunken in the corner, only snow slices from roofs heard the unsung dirge of Aisha, they started wailing and shedding which proved a wind gust to fire in which Aisha was burning, she started to whisper sighs with broken blames to God.
Nuzhat, Aayat’s mom covered with a woolen pheran (two gowned outfit) designed with colourful flowers, invaded the prayer room for leaving permission from Dadi. She found Dadi sighing softly which seemed as last sigh of her to her, she screamed brutally like she found her mother expired. Hurriedly whole brood rushed up towards Dadi as fishes run for a single grain in ponds. Arhaan, elder son, called Faheem through windows which were too cruel to open as they get fat in winters, for his personal decorated 90’s model car.
The car paved the way by its own downing the slopes but the doddery tyres were losing their courage at upward drives. By bawling Ya-Allah Ya-Rahmaan, the healthcare cum maternity centre was nearby.Dadi murmured words, “Open the window, I can smell him”. These words were like the last meet of two lovers before their depart where only tears drench the cheeks, meeting is just for show off. Arhaan as obedient opened a window by her head, a glacial breeze provided a relief to her voyage, while others were abutting to be polar but they encountered it to the abyss of their courage. Dadi was taking long breaths as she never inhaled oxygen freely before. She was staring cloudy sky as she was feeling its ugliness in her heart while she was carried on stretcher from car to the ICU for initial care, then she moved to another ward.
There was a wide mass of people in lobby, some were sighing some were filming the set round a bony lad who followed the same procedure as Dadi followed in hospital. His bed was adjacent to Aisha’s, his skull and arm was covered with white bandages through which the blood stains were visible. Dadi felt pity on him as everybody round there was. She was yearning to start an exchange of forlorn tales but his mouth was too bandaged, he even can’t answer her tales by gestures, his eyes and ears were too hard to see or hear. Everything was trembling like there was an earthquake hit, sky was pouring red tears, everything appeared as a pale corpse. Suddenly he murmured with broken voice, “It is being decades, I felt happy”Catalysed sighs to wails and Aayat hid herself behind transparent curtains. White overcoats nurses now removed bandages and Dadi slowly exhaled and papers flew.
Now Aayat advised with grief visible on her wrinkled face, “Enough tonight dears, turn the lights on and slumber near the fan”.
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