Murder. Mystery. Mahesh.

February 5th, 2018 / 04:08 AM
I heard the news of a politician and his wife being found in a room after being shot dead. It looks like a plot from the next Hollywood blockbuster but I guess even someone from Pakistan would not try to make a movie or at least a drama on this happening. A famous politician of Sindh was found dead and in two days the police have come to a conclusion that first he shot his wife. Later on he committed suicide. I have lived in neighborhoods where people are more friendly and open to each other. At least that is one way of defining a poor neighborhood. A perk of a poor neighborhood is that people know a lot of about their neighbours. This can be a blessing sometimes while mostly it’s a nuisance.  The investigations are still underway but the official statement that comes from the department of investigation states that the politician had doubts about the character of his wife which is why he first killed her and then took his own life. If anyone can get inspiration from this news and even the cast from this country, then that would be Mahesh Bhatt. I mean just look at it. The story has glamour, the story as politics and even a bit of sex. A politician kills his wife. Thick plots. Tall houses. If I had money in spare, I would definitely Invest in making a movie about it. But remember, truth is not always that comes to you from official sources. What if there is more to the story. I tried to follow up on that news story which happened in the same neighborhood a few months back where a security guard killed a boy of a powerful policeman. God knows what happened next but what we heard from the newspapers and television back then was that the Bodyguard had relationships with the mother of that boy and the boy found both of them together in a room one night. That led to a fight which the security guard claims to be just an accident. I don’t know what happened to that guard. Who knows what happens behind tall and thick walls in a posh neighborhood. Many have a fetish about this subject. I live in an apartment the balcony of which blesses me with decent views that sometimes become indecent. Now that is a story I also like especially when I have more than one cameras and long zoom lenses. Mahesh Bhatt is not wanted in this case at all. I don’t like him in the first place, the kharish wala director.

Minister and His Wife
Minister and His Wife

(Random photograph)

Bad Bad Girl (short story)

He was already late for the flight when he left his hotel room Worried that he might not be late for the flight, he kept asking the cabbie to pace up the ride. The city’s evening traffic was always a hell. He always felt that the erratic minded folks on the streets were responsible for him being late. In a while later, he was sitting peacefully in the waiting lounge recalling his day. Like a movie reel playing at the back of his eyes, he lived the whole day in a couple of seconds. It reminded him of his great uncle who used to tell him that in the old age a man sees the gone days of his youth like a film and then that seems more like a dream he had lived years ago and sadly cannot live again. How good are the tricks of mind that allow us to time travel. He came to the city a few days back to attend a seminar on ‘Nano-medicine and Oncology’. He always thought of coming back to the place he had graduated from some years ago. But the pace of life took him far away from here. Two days ago he came here hoping to find a chance to go to his college but couldn’t. The only time he could visit it was during the day and then he was occupied. He wanted to touch and feel the walls of the place where he laughed, learned and loved. Every path of this city was rigged with memories. Even the air of the city carried a nostalgia.

He was brought to the present moment by the announcer who was announcing the upcoming flights. Around him were passengers from every walk of life. He scanned the lounge. Not much changed about the airport since he was here some fifteen years back. Even the color was as old and boring as it was then. He observed the people. There was old couple right at the far end of the lounge arguing on something reflecting their love strengthening in old age. There were bachelors laughing together in another corner. A group of air-hostesses entered the lounge and the team of those bachelors couldn’t help but carefully examine each of the hostess from head to toes. A few families were scattered here and there. He looked at his phone only to find notifications he didn’t even bother to check. He wasn’t a teenager anymore who would get excited to see some closed envelopes on the screen. A caffeine craving was rising in him, asking him to get up and grab himself a cup of the needed dose. Winters were setting in already. A strange and odd restlessness was sweeping upon him which made the demand of the caffeine more intense. He got up and walked across the hall to reach the appropriate counter. The tea was served in a few seconds. A wave of freshness entered his tired mind and drained limbs. Sipping in the hot liquid, he took another glance at his watch. Four hours seemed to be a very long time to kill. What could be more efficient way to kill the time than his phone. So he pulled out the screen and checked his log. It was no different than what he had expected. After replying to a few people, he thought about an old fellow who happened to be in the city. He took his tea and returned to his seat almost colliding with a child on the way who was enjoying the best years of his life unaware of the blessing. That call was soothing to his soul. Even after all the technology that plagues our lives, we seldom find moments for the people who made this life a blessing in the first place.

As the call ended, he plugged in his ear-buds and started playing some music. What his eyes were seeing seemed like a video complementary to the music on his playlist. The tunes silenced the noises of the surrounding. There was a couple sitting three rows away from him with their backs towards him which is why he could not see their faces. The child he collided into a few minutes ago reached that couple and the man hugged the child. He was a very beautiful boy. That complete little family had his attention when the mother of that child got up from her seat and turned. Then he saw her face. He did not know that there was something else very close to him in that lounge at that time which was carrying the power of same nostalgia, far stronger than the winds and streets of that city. He was seeing a face after years. Everything was changed yet everything was the same. For a moment he felt the surge of strongest emotions in his blood. Time seemed to have frozen in that moment. His mind played the tricks, like a mind always does and took him some years back when the face he was seeing was more fresh, more younger, lively and a joy for him. The track changed on his playlist. Nature’s coincidences occur for more than just coincidences.

“…tera naa japdi phiran sohniya…”
“…’cause I am a bad girl…”

Time goes by so fast. And when we look back, it’s gone and disappeared into the ravines of nothingness. He felt jolts of memories all over his mind. He sat there frozen. But his flashbacks were not. The black of the burqa of that woman transformed into every color his eyes had known, learned and cherished. His imagination of the bygone days pulled out the locks that stole the peace of his life which were were then so well hidden under that black hijaab. He was flowing with the rhythm of the tunes and words pouring into his ears. He didn’t close his eyes and still saw everything his imagination was bringing right before his eyes. Past was morphing into present or present had metamorphosed into past..

“Tum itni achi kyun ho?”
“Kyun?”
“Kya kyun?”
“Acha hona mein koi masla hai?”
“Masla to nahin lekin….”
“Lekin?”
“Rehnay do…”
“Lekin kya? Bata do!”
“Lekin yeh keh…”
“Keh?”
“Keh boys ko achi girls achi nahin lagti.”
“what!”
“G!”
“To buri ban jaon?”
“Haan ban jao”

And she smiled and tried to run away. And he recalled grasping her wrist and pulling her in. 

How quickly time faded the things that were his life. He was still looking at a fragment of his life or a part of his past which was no longer his. Even being just a viewer, he knew that element would live on forever like a cherished scar. The woman took the child and carried him. He could see the smile on her face. She hadn’t changed much. Maybe it were her clothes that were making her look different. He didn’t want her to see him. So he sank into his chair a bit more. That concealed him quite well. A distance of few meters wasn’t just a few meters then. It was years and miles long and he knew that he could not cross that by any means. The years of his life won’t be enough. The “Good” and “Bad bad girl” was right before him.

“…tera naa japdi phiran sohniya…”
“…’cause I am a bad girl…”

 He wanted time to pause. But that is exactly what men had wished for in the past but it never stopped for anyone. From Prophets and Kings to common men, no mortal could ever stop its flow. Some announcements were being aired on and off. At one such announcements, that family stood up and picked up their bags. It was destined to happen. Even he knew it, he wanted something else. That glimpse of the past was sweeter than what was concrete. He dipped his head for a moment. A few seconds later, he looked up again. They were leaving to board on the plane. And just when he was sure that they were at a safe distance, he stood up and felt the cold air against his ears. The track was about to end. Just then he saw her come back to the place they were sitting. Apparently she had forgotten something. He was not able to hide himself again. It happened so suddenly. Then she stopped momentarily and looked at him. She knew about his presence. That stare stopped his heart. At that moment the song ended.

Short Story (Scene – II)

It was a warm day. The weather has begun to change. People were already welcoming this change. Who wouldn’t after such a long summer that in some parts of the country caused massive damage due to floods and in some burnt down the skin tones without much rain. I feel quite blessed being in the north of the country. The downpour had been a lot but summers surely left their mark. Today, however was a day which was not humid like rains and not hot like summers. It was September and the winds were carrying the feelings of my favorite season, winters. My life has been quite carved by the winters. From being born in winters to being married in winters and even becoming a mother to a little doll, winters have affected my life in every way. I was lost in these thoughts when a sound pulled me back to the real worlds, the sound which fills my heart with immense happiness. My one year old daughter had woken up and her movements against her toys made me dive into all those happenings that blessed me with her and the home every woman imagines. I wanted to finish all the chores by noon. Becoming a mother had made me more of a responsible person. I felt like growing out of a carefree damsel to a responsible mommy. It sounded scary when I was in school. But it was a life-turning moment. I still remember the happiness on the face of my father when he held his granddaughter. And now here I am, having vacations and eagerly waiting to be done with the households and talk to my father. He wants to see his granddaughter everyday. Thanks to the technologies in our lives, even being away he can’t remain away. Grandparents are always magnetically attached to their grand kids. These vacations have been kind so far. At least that’s what every person with a job and a long vacation thinks. I wanted to spend much time home with my family and that’s what I was enjoying. The king of the house however was on his duty. I hate doctors and shockingly fell in love with a doctor. Every marriage is a different story. My dad always says, “Marriage kills love” but that never happened in my case. He also says that a good doctor always has a bad handwriting. That too never happened. Love just happened and I love him more and more everyday, and not just him but his handwriting which appears on all the letters he sent me. Then love bloomed to marriage. Even though I have all a woman can wish for, I feel afraid. I don’t know what fate has written on the next pages of life for me.

Suddenly the phone rang.

Ghar – A tale (Part I)

Dr. Amaan was appointed as head of neuro-department in a renowned mental hospital of Hyderabad. He was delighted to see me when i went to meet him. We used to talk for hours remembering our old days when we were studying together. Amaan took me on a tour of the hospital. He showed me different wards,different patients.I was really amazed to see them. It was more like of a rare breed human zoo! The patients really behaved odd. Their acts were unpredictable.
When i returned to the staff quarters, Dr. Amaan told me that whoever has reached this hospital, some tragic event has happened in his life. But there is one patient whose life had faced such an incident that no person is ready to believe,but all what happened is death-true.
I was already looking forward to hear any adventure from my old friend Amaan so I agreed. Dr. Amaan told me that according to old staff and doctors this patient was brought to the hospital three years ago in chains. At that time,his mother was also with him. According to the statements given by his mother,he has become violent towards women.He even attacked her and injured her seriously.When his mother was asked what really happened,even she couldn’t elaborate.
His mother told that his name is Salaar. Since his childhood,he never remained in good company. He used to roam out late and never came back home early. One night he returned home. When i saw him, i was shocked. His hair were messed up,and eyes were red. He was all drenched in sweat.Even he himself was in a state of shock.As soon as he entered the house,he pointed towards the door and said,

“Mother! Save me from her! Just save me!”

And fell on the floor…

His mother told us that she got very worried and scared,and thought that some person is trying to kill him and followed him to the home and to make sure,she went to the door and looked out in the street. But there was no one outside.

His mother added that she with the help of neighbors took him to hospital as he was having a high temperature. After two days,he came to his senses. But he was still behaving very odd. He always pointed to the door and told me that someone is coming to kill him. After many days,he recovered. Finally she took him back good. After many days,one night again he turned violent. Whenever he saw any woman,he tried to attack her. All the day he remained sitting in one corner of his room,scared. Telling us such detail,she broke into tears and begged the doctor to save her only son. That day i went to the guest room in hospital’s quarters but couldn’t stop thinking about Salaar. My curiosity made me helpless. I asked Amaan that i want to know what really happened to Salaar. The next morning I woke up early. I went to the hospital where Amaan was already waiting for me. After a formal talk,he asked his peon to send “HIM”in. I knew whom Dr. Amaan was calling in. After about two minutes, the door opened.
A man in his mid 40’s entered the room. Decent face,moderate height, wheat skin, and very absorbing eyes. We greeted him. Dr. Amaan told me that whatever happened to Salaar is such that if he had told me,i wouldn’t believe myself so he called for Salaar himself. By his looks it was impossible to say that such a good looking man remained “MENTALLY ILL” or a shocking event disturbed his life. After a long pause, Salaar told us the terrifying truth. He spoke, 

“My name is Salaar Ahmed. I’m the only son of my parents. We were settled in Lahore. Being the only child, i was quite privileged in the family. Though poor, we never lived a starved life. At an age of six i joined school but i couldn’t meet up the expectations that my parents had with me and studies got out of my life’s elements. I was in my eighth standards when the first dark chapter of my life was written by fate. One day it was the marriage ceremony of our land lords, and my father was called to the ceremony to serve the elite class. The food that was circulated among the servants wasn’t good and when my father returned home,he complained a severe stomach ache. I was about to leave to get any doctor that I could get at that time of night when my father was no more. That night wasn’t only tragic for me. Eight servants in all died that night in Lahore who were serving at the ceremony of that landlord. Some said the food was poisoned. Some said that perhaps a lizard fell in the cooking soup. Whatever the cause was, no support came for us by that landlord although my father served him his entire life. I was still small at that stage. My mother used to go to some houses as a maid who wasn’t ever paid on time. Later she learnt sewing. And life passed on in misery. In those days i left school.
Although my mother was very strict and even she beat me whenever she could for my better future,but i couldn’t stop the distortion that was entering in my life due to roaming late night out and having a bad company. Though my mother knew all this,she remained silent. Behind the curtains of her apparent anger,was an infinite ocean of love. That was the age when i did my first robbery. I robbed an old man of his money.That was my profession’s first step.
Time never stops. Not even for those who can’t learn,who can’t get education. And such boys become men quicker than those who remain in custody of their parents. By the age of twenty, I was a thief. To be saying correct, I turned out to be a thief who not only robbed valuables, but even hearts! Though having such rare talents, my life had women but remained void of love. I had seen the tears of my mother and of those women who live a down trodden life in poverty. I made two friends at that time who were like me. But once after getting caught by the police, I turned solo but I never stopped theft. God gifted me brains of genius that I used for only the negative. That genius was the only thing that kept saving me from getting caught. 

Once I targeted the bungalow of a rich man. By the appearance of the house, I estimated what prize could I possibly earn. That house was in a far end of Lahore. I watched that house for many days. After so much of wait, one day brought me the good news. That rich man with his family went to attend some ceremony out of Lahore. They put a big lock on the door. The more I saw that lock,the more my heart got excited. It was winter. I waited impatiently for the night. At the desired time, I got into dark clothes and took a black coat. It was all I had for such tasks and to prevent cold. I took my torch, a rope and my pistol. In fact that pistol was also stolen. When i was about to leave home, my mother told me to be back soon. I satisfied her that I would be back in time. Roaming in the streets, and killing hours of time that lay ahead, I reached that neighborhood where that house was located in. By that time people had already gone to bed. It was quite dark in streets. Using the pipes and the rope I had, I entered the bungalow. And same happened what I was expecting. There was jewelry, prize bonds and cash worth sixty thousand rupees. My joy was boundless. I put all in my bag. There were some other valuables like a gramophone, a television and very precious silk clothes but I couldn’t carry everything back. So I left the house with the gems and the money and jumped into the street.

The street was very dark. I had hardly taken five steps when I saw a shadow. Being a young man, I felt surge of fear mixed with excitement. It has already happened that during one robbery the people of the house woke up and I was nearly caught. So it wasn’t the first time I faced fear and excitement. When the shadow came near I realized it was the watchman. I could see an axe in his hand. He also saw me and shouted

“Stop! Who are you?”

At that time I did what any thief would do – I ran. He started shouting behind me and ran after me. As I were running in the dark streets, I could here his footsteps  not far away from me. In that moment there was only one aim in life. for me and that was to run and run and run until there was no one behind. I could hear doors opening and lights turning on in the streets behind me. Hiding in shadows, following narrow streets, opting a zigzag path, I reached the end of the neighborhood. I knew i was trapped. But I was a bit aware of that mohalla. I knew that there was an abandoned house in that part of neighborhood which was not deserted for years. I had no time to search for that house. People were behind me as was obvious from the noise which was not far away. I was breathless. I saw an open window to my right. Without a second thought, I jumped inside. I sat down. I could hear the noise and sounds of the people outside then. I stayed as still as I could and waited. Slowly those voices faded and I realized that for then the danger was over. I had gained my breath and stamina. The sweat on my body started to make me feel the slight cold of the winter air. I didn’t want to be caught by the people or police, which I thought that the people must have alerted by then. Moreover I didn’t want to wake the inhabitants of this new house up or else the “fruit” I had reaped so far would be gone and a new chase would begin. No one is lucky again and again. So I stayed still for almost an hour and a half. I felt my pockets. My loot was safe with me. The feeling of safe and full restored a lot of my energies. I realized one thing however. Even after one hour and with the noises outside, there wasn’t any sound of any sort in that house. It was in my favor though but the feeling of why someone hasn’t woken up so far was a little unsettling. Maybe the people of that house are gone out too. More loot. I felt that it was my day. Like a child, excitement was crawling under my skin. It was too dark inside to see anything beyond a few feet. I pulled out my torch and pressed it on. A beam of light fell upon the opposite walls. Upon seeing the walls clearly for the first time since I jumped in, I realized that I was in that very same abandoned for years house people talk used to say was possessed by some unknown presence. Thinking paranormal didn’t upset me but at that moment it was not a good feeling at all. I rushed to the window to look outside and leave that forsaken place but the window didn’t budge, even slightly. The feeling of I was trapped was taking over me. I stepped forwards and shone the light on the far end of the room. There was a door. I wondered what or who was on the other side of that door. Then I heard a mild thud. I couldn’t make out from where that came. The dead silence made me listen to my heart beat. I waded through the dusty deserted room and reached the door. I tried listening to anything from the other side. But the shadow and the silence seemed to stretch to every corner of that house. Then I turned the knob.
. . . TO BE CONTINUED. . .

(The story is inspired from an urdu book Zulmatkada