Of Old-homes and Madarsahs


From a black sparkling Toyota XLi, they pulled off a man onto a wheel-chair and took him into the shelter home; the board outside, read “Gill’s Shelter Home”. Two men in crisp white got off from the same car and shuffled hurriedly behind the man on the wheel-chair. They had some documents in their hands. I sighed.

The inhabitants of the shelter-home are always brought in this way. Their departure sometimes is very grand when their family takes them back for a nice and grand burial, ignore the sarcasm if you’ll please. While sometimes their departure is as quiet as their arrival.

All through the year, the shelter-home remains a forlorn, lonely place. Some people, who notice it, click their tongues a couple of times and pass. Some, like me pledge that they will pay a visit sometimes. Some however fail to see it altogether, their vision fogged by their own problems.

I remember the day it opened, or rather the day they put up the sign board; I was taken aback. I had heard of such places, but for the first time I saw one. The “inauguration”, of the shelter-home was a quiet one. And although I did not for a moment expect fireworks, I thought that may be the people of the area will not let cobwebs adorn the place. Days passed. I forgot; so did the people I guess.

Until the day, when in the same locality, a Madarsah opened.

There was a grand inauguration. A dars, refreshments and the inhabitants of the area were invited. Most of them went, pledged to read the word of God, and send their children. People were assigned duties so that the Madarsah never remains un-attended.

This was the day when I remembered the shelter-home again.

The Quran has been read, understood and preached around me ever since I was a kid. After 2 decades of seeing the word of God being honored and held to the hearts, I wonder, when will come the time, to practice it.

As a student of medicine, I see life at its least and highest worth in the same place all day long. I see people struggling to arrange money for one basic diagnostic test in ways un-imaginable. I see them being dragged on stretchers underneath the buildings of Civil Hospital Karachi that are under-construction and through alleys where uncovered man-holes puke all the human shit out of their bellies.

And at the end of this day when I get back home and attend a wedding because it is rude not to, I see the same people who preach, and read the Quran at the Madarsah spending millions over the food and deco.

I do not weigh and put everyone in the same scale nor am I one to mock at the Madarsahs or against Quran being read and preached. But I simply want us all to realize that it’s high time we stop making religion an excuse for our puny irrational motives and politics and live up to it, instead. The best way to reach God is through His people. That is what we need to be teaching our kids more. The best way is to make them realize what they have, that others don’t and let the love of God brew in their hearts. No amount of incorporating Insha-Allahs and Jazakillahs in our lives, can bring us closer to Him as compared to using our time and money for His people.

©2014. Habiba Danyal

P.S. Turning off the like button. Comments are deeply welcomed.

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They don’t let go…


He struggled hard to breath. His lungs were full of smoke and the stench that surrounded him.  The thought of what his feet had touched made his stomach lurch and his guts emptied the burden of what he had seen out of his system. His heart remained heavy though. No outlet for the poor thing…

“Will you make me a promise Sheheryar?” 

“Yes maa.”

“Promise that you’ll be a good…”

“… good man and I’ll prove that I was raised by a queen.” Sheheryar finished her words.

She laughed, her head fell back and her lips stretched into a smile he adored. She kissed his fore-head in that moment of mirth and held his face in her hands. She loved it when he improvised it that way and called her a queen.

Sheheryar Sikander felt dampness on his cheeks. He rubbed his fingers on his face and brought them before his eyes. Dirt and tears. She had taught him never to hide his tears.

“Boys do cry Sheheryar. It’s okay.”

“But everyone else says they don’t.” He pulled his face straight and refused to give in to tears.

She smiled that saintly smile of hers and held his hand between her two. “What’s more important is, that boys don’t make others cry.”

He met her eyes and let her words sink in. They found an easy passage all the way to his heart. Tears came and then some more. He buried his face in her and cried like a child.

“Does this mean that I am weak?” He asked.

“This means, son, that you have a strong and kind heart.” She pulled him back into her embrace and cried with him until they both felt better.

He had left his boots back near the cinders; where he carelessly threw them off to distance himself from the woman. But he could feel something. It was the hand, he had stepped on in his haste to pull off his boots. He wished he had kept them on. The fire would have been better than the feel of her flesh. He stood up and rubbed his feet on the leaves that covered the forest floor. He rubbed them against the bark of trees to get her hands off them. His feet bled and hurt. They were back on fire. He fell to the floor, feeling better. He welcomed the fire.

He lay there for hours or may be just a few, he didn’t know. When he woke up, he found himself in the village hospital. The first thing he was aware of was not the strong smell of the place or the bright light that came in through the window and pierced his eyes. It was the hands that clung to his feet beneath the bandages.

He pulled off the bandages like a maniac, howling with pain and frightening the other patients. There was nothing there, but the feeling wouldn’t go. It clung to him like a leech. He raked his fingers through his hair and held his head in his hands, banging his feet on the small cot.

For years Sheheryar Sikander couldn’t shake off the hands that clung to his feet. He was often seen in public without shoes. He gave a thousand pointless excuses for not putting them on. He kept his socks on though. So that no one could see the bruises. He had hurt himself countless times and welcomed the pain.

He knew there was only one way to shake them off. He had to do justice to the woman who was burned alive in the forest.

©2014. Habiba Danyal   600 words for:   This week’s question is:

“Why are your boots off?”

Success.


This year I figured that success is actually three steps away.

1. You take the first step. Purely an impulsive act.

2. You may be pushed back, way back than from where you started. Rejection that you need to accept gracefully.

3. Try a leap this time because you realized earlier that a step wont do. Persistence and determination do the trick, if you’ll take my word.

Bingo! You have what you wanted the most, ergo success.

Proudly announcing, that Precipice Volume 3, A literally Anthology of Write On Edge, is now available for pre-order, with a release date of 11.17.2014, courtesy the Bannerwing Books.

This year’s theme “Boundaries” was open to contributions from authors all around the world. The contributing authors granted the honor of publication include :

Fiction

Duffy Batzer

Valerie Boersma

Shelton Keys Dunning

Sara Healy

Dina Honour

Ashley Kagaoan

Laura Lord

Jennifer Williams

Elizabeth Yon

Memoir

Elaine Alguire

Melissa Kirtley

Morgan Kellum

Andrea Mowery

Kristin Shaw

Janice Wilberg

Poetry

Habiba Barry

Angie Kinghorn

Kirsten Piccini

Find my words and their’s in:

precipice-cover_final.jpg

 

Print editions will be available for purchase on 12.1.2014. The pre-order link is: http://bit.ly/Precipice14

Happy Reading!

©2014. Habiba Danyal

 

Returning love.


“I’ll go for a Pixie-cut,” said Sandra, eyeing her hair.

Ming carefully placed the brunette’s chopped pony-tail in a Ziploc bag.

“First time, here?” asked Ming.

“Nope. Used to come here for the wig. Just giving back some love, darling,” Sandra replied.

©2014. Habiba Danyal

For:

 

This week’s question is:

Is this your first time?

Bedroom window


“This is where he came in from.”

“How do you know it was a he?”

“Because women don’t fire through their victim’s head.”

“Yeah, right! But it wasn’t “the he” who came in through the window. I did. Was in a rush.”

©2014. Habiba Danyal

 

Gargleblasted 42 words for Gargleblaster #177. This week’s question is:

What came in through the bedroom window?

Eden


The Elder, carefully tucked the corners of the sheet around her and looked at his companion for approval. The companion gave a quick nod.

“Shall we go then?” The companion asked.

The Elder kept staring at her, the one they were leaving behind.

“She is in good hands,” said the companion.

“I know, I’ve delivered four of her kind here before. But every time I fear, their fate,” said the Elder with a sigh.

“Why should you fear for them? The man has always been a good father, hasn’t he?” Asked the companion.

“Undoubtedly he has. But circumstances change; and so does man. They are unpredictable, these human beings. They mourn what should be celebrated and run after mediocre things. So every time I deliver a girl, I wait and watch their reaction. Its my way of keeping, let’s say… a check on the human race or rather, a check on humanity,” said the Elder.

The companion gave a sad smile and waited along with the Elder.

“Here he comes,” said the Elder, more to himself than his companion. He held his breath as the man took the girl in his arms. He had aged since the last time he saw him.

The man looked at her and said to his wife, “They all look the same to me. Pink, with black hair.”

The Elder sighed with relief and said to his companion,”Time to go good friend. We have more baby girls to deliver. The boys, I’ll do alone.”

The companion looked at him with confusion and asked, “But wasn’t that a weird thing to say? They all look the same to me. Pink, with black hair!

“Weirder than, Take this thing out of my sight and birth a son next time or you’ll be dead, eh?” Replied the Elder with a chuckle. He soared up, towards the heaven with a light heart. They weren’t given one, but still he felt that he had one, sometimes.

A couple of years later, the Elder and his companion were on duty, together. They had left a house where the father had refused to accept the girl as his own. The companion was desolate. The Elder, seeing his state said,”Come I’ll show you something.” He took him to the house where they had earlier delivered the fifth daughter.

The companion saw the man sitting with his legs outstretched, surrounded by his daughters. All of them were engaged in some work while the fifth one was climbing up his shoulders. She climbed down his chest and slid down the man’s legs, gurgling with laughter. The man sat smiling at her and stretched his legs a little more, joining them once more for her next ride.

The companion smiled at the Elder and said, “Really, they are all the same for him, aren’t they? “

The Elder smiled and nodded. He had a vision then.

He saw that man next to Mohammad in a garden of Eden. To the vision he said, “Amen.”

©2014. Habiba Danyal

 

For: