Urdu Script : Wasim Aqeel Shah
English Translation : Ghulam Mohammed Ansari
Suddenly the morning of Diwali, Amisha’s eyes opened – maybe she was dreaming of a nightmare. She got off the bed with rubbing her eyes and began to look for her father. She saw in both rooms of the house but her father was not in the house.
She leaned towards the verandah. Her mother was squeezing clothes on one side of the washed verandah. She had just finished all the work and had just bathed. Her hair was wet and her face was shining.
Amisha searched in the verandah, Papa was not even here.
“Mummy, Papa didn’t come …….?”
The mother looked at her with a loving eyes, and the next moment, she said with a dissent:
“I told you that your father would come before Pooja in the evening. Why is it repeatedly asked – go to bath, the water is hot. “
After hearing her mother’s answer, she was disappointed and stood there for some time as a idol.
The sun had risen. The sunlight looked good in the cold morning. The birds were chirping on the branches.
After standing like that for some time, Amisha came to the wall of verandah shivering with cold and placed her chin on the upper surface of the wall and started looking at the street – the street was looking very clean today.
There were only dry leaves that were being run around like mischievous children. It was the occasion of Diwali, so almost all the houses in the village were colorful and looked clean.
But Amisha’s heart was sad – she was very sad – every now and then a pain would rise in her heart. Meanwhile, seeing her classmate Akash’s house, she became even sadder. Akash’s house looked like a desolate place without color or paint.
Their houses were not painted! These people will not celebrate Diwali.
She got up on her paws and inspected Akash’s house which was right in front of her house.
“It’s not even clean – her mummy might still be asleep, and Akash might not even wake up yet – go pick him up?”
Amisha asked herself a question and looked at Mummy. Her mother was engaged in her work like a machine. Amisha seized the opportunity. She was about to step out when the grandmother reached the gate with a bundle of wood on her head.
Baby, did you wake up? Your face is like your father’s, I wish your luck was like your father’s.
Saying this, Grandmother came across the gate – there Amisha’s mother smiled as she put the clothes on the rope –
As soon as she saw Dadi, a flame of hope lit up in Amisha’s heart – she said as if reassuring herself.
“Papa will come in the evening, won’t Grandma?
“Yes…he will come, he has gone to the city, he has not gone to other countries, you have me worried.”
Dadi asked to avoid further questions.
Ameesha had really worried everyone since yesterday. Yesterday Akash had casually reminded her that his papa had died in the city last year. The next day i.e. the very day of Diwali, his “Arthi” was raised. This is the first Diwali after his death, so they will not celebrate Diwali.
Hearing this, Ameesha was anxious, because her father had also gone to the city since yesterday morning. Since then, she was worried. Very strange thoughts were coming to his heart and mind.
However, because of Dadi, Ameesha changes her mind about going to Akash’s house and moves back in with her but turned around and also took a look at his house.
On the table in front of Ameesha were her favorite puranpoli, gluoni and amti, but each morsel was like a mountain for her – her eyes kept glancing at the clock.
Time seemed to stand still. Even then it was one o’clock. With what knocks and what beats she had spent the time from morning till now, only her innocent existence knows and how painful it will be for her to cut the time till Pooja now! There were only two questions in her heart and mind. ‘When will it be time for Lakshmi Puja’ and ‘When will papa return home’?
On the other hand, she had left twice to go to Akash’s place, but both times she could not go due to some reason. Not long ago, when she saw Akash on the road, she ran to meet him, but her mother had suddenly made her sit down to eat. She was burning like a fire cracker. She could eat only half of the poli and left the house with two “Batashas” in her hand.
Amisha entered Akash’s house with a batasha in her mouth and one in her hand. In the next room she saw Akash’s maternal uncle who had probably just come from the village today. Mama was entertaining Akash’s younger sister in his lap. In the kitchen, Akash’s mother was cooking something with a deep sadness on her face. She went to the back room where Akash was sitting with his uncle’s son.
Amisha felt that there was an eerie silence in the house. She remembered the lesson in her seventh class book about the sudden death of a cow and its two calves and the whole farm sinks into a terrible silence.
Seeing Akash’s dejected form, she felt great pity for her – she explained her heart and asked them both to walk on the road. The three came out of the house – the three played under the neem tree for about an hour. Talked like dreams about crackers and new clothes. Then they returned home quietly.
Like an innocent child, the sun was hiding somewhere far away in the west. The evening darkness was slowly covering the sky with a black blanket. Meanwhile, a new world of lights was shining on the ground. Lamps were lit in every house.
The courtyard was lit up with beautiful modern lanterns. The time for Lakshmi Puja had arrived. – The sounds of “Tan Tan” coming from the houses were creating server in devotion to Mother Lakshmi but the pooja had not yet started at Amisha’s house. Her father had not returned home yet. The eyes of her mother and grandmother were also now frequently raised to the door. Amisha was sitting on the steps of the gate, staring at the edge of the street.
Meanwhile Amisha was looking like a masterpiece of an expert stone carver. She was wearing a yellow flamboyant “Ghagra choli”. Imitation pearls of the same color also looked good on her.
Ameesha’s mother and grandmother were also worried when the hands of the clock moved forward. Her mother kept dialing the number on his mobile phone from time to time, but there were constant reports that the phone was switched off.
After waiting for a long time, Amisha got up from the stairs and with heavy steps went to her grandmother and sat on the bed in the verandah. The end of waiting was clearly reflected in the grandmother’s old eyes. Amisha still had the edge of the street in front of her. She hoped that her papa would show him coming from there. Wherever she was looking, Akash’s house was also on the same road. At that time, it was not a house, but an extinguished lamp in a row of bright lamps.
Suddenly Amisha said in a tearful voice:
“Grandma, papa didn’t want to go to town, but you sent him!”
“No son, his contractor went to his city for Diwali vacation, without paying him and called him there -“
Don’t worry, he will come – he told me on the phone that if he came so far from the city, he will also come to take some things – that’s why he might be late – “
Grandmother interrupted her and explained to her, but there was fear in her last sentence.
Akash’s father had also gone to the city two days before Diwali last year, why was he killed by so many people?
At the same time, mother-in-law and daughter-in-law became anxious.
“No son, Akash’s father had not harmed anyone – those people had a misunderstanding -“
“Akash was saying that his father was beaten to death by people of our own religion, mistaking him for a man of another religion -“
“Leave it, what do you do with it – do not listen to such things -“
“But mummy, Akash and his mummy are not able to celebrate Diwali because of this. How sad is that?”
Ameesha’s mummy slowly pulled her close and started diverting her attention.
At that moment, a person entered the street taking a quick step. Seeing him, Amisha, who was clinging to mummy, jumped up and ran towards the person, shouting ‘Papa’ with joy.
Then suddenly many rockets were released in the air. The sky shone with countless grains of light. Rows of firecrackers on the side of the road began to burn “shr shr”. Children started jumping with “phuljharis” in their hands and the whole street was resounding with the sound of crackers. But, unfazed by all this, Amisha hid in her father’s dreams like a little girl.
Wasim Aqueel Shah
15, Shahkaar Salar Nagar,
Contact No.: 9322010089
Email : [email protected]