Father

April 18, 2006 at 8:18 pm 1 comment

"Think about it carefully, Rahimay!." His friend said, putting a bulky hand around Rehmat Ali's shoulder as if to reiterate his presence.

"This is your life's savings that you are talking about. Don't forget that it took 28 years of working as a Clerk to accumulate this sum of money, and you are thinking of giving it to your son who does not give a damn about you ?" Rehmat Ali's only friend Shakoor, added.

"He says that he need the money to pay off some business debts", Rehmat Ali defended his point-of-view.

"Oye khotaya! whom are you trying to bluff, me or yourself ? " Shakoor continued angrily, "we both know that he has millions hidden away. He is not any less richer than that money-lender pig Abu-Bhai."

"But what can I do Shakoor, I cannot just say No to him, He is my son afterall." Rehmat Ali gave it away with a sense of helpessness.

"You have always given him whatever he wanted. Despite your circumstances, you provided him with every possible luxury of life. So why doesn't he let you live peacefully now, and why can't you say No to him for just once ? You know Rahimay that once he has your money, he wouldn't even look at you, let alone treat you as a family member." Shakoor said.

"I am very well aware of that my friend, but nevertheless I feel it is my responsibility as a Father to take care of my son." Rehmat Ali rebounded.

"Have you ever thought that you have a responsibility to yourself, to your life and to your health as well ? You have not only been a good Father to your son but a good mother as well, Rahimay!. But now is the time that you try to keep yourself happy. We know we old chaps don't have a lot of days to spend, but whatever we have left should be spent atleast like normal human beings. I am not asking you to live like a king but for once in your life Rahimay, just for once, please live up for yourself. You have always saved so that you would not have to beg anyone when you are old. So that you will be self sufficient even when you cannot walk or talk, but if you give all this to your son, you will be back to zero again. Think Rehmat Ali, think! Nobody will give anything to an old geaser like you. Nobody gives a damn about you. Its just you and your solitude talking to each other until death parts you even from that luxury." Shakoor tried to transfer some of his worldly wisdom to his old friend.

"But what do you suggest I do ? If i say No to him, he would treat me like trash in the very house which was mine once." He asked.

"Listen to me carefully Rehmat Ali! You will have to make a tough decision at this point. You cannot live with a crook son like yours and his witch of a wife for a very long time. Its about time that you pack your bags from that hell so you are saved from the daily doses of harshness and cruelty. " Shakoor explained.

"I am listening!" Rehmat Ali reluctantly gave an ear to his friend's lecture.

"I have a really good plan! You know my elder brother just passed away leaving a small house in Multan. It has been empty since that day as I cannot leave this established house to go and live there. Why don't you go to Multan and settle down in that house. You don't have to worry about anything there. No work! No tention! Your savings are good enough to last for the rest of your life; and I will keep visiting every now and then. I also have some of my relatives there so you would not have any problem settling down there. Plus, Multan is the city of great Sufis, you might be able to get your act together in time and do a good deed or two , just before you depart from this world!" Shakoor grinned, trying to amuse himself with his own joke.

"You know Shakoor that its not easy for me to leave my family like this. Moreover, don't you think they would try to stop me if they come to know of this." Rehmat Ali maintained the seriousness of his tone.

"Firstly, they are not your family. Since the day your wife died, everybody in your so-called family has treated you like a human doormat. They don't love you Rahimay! They are just waiting to grab the last of your pennies so they can throw you out of their house. And about them stopping you, you will have to sneak out at night without letting anyone know. Let's do this! I will borrow Bashir's taxi for tonight and will wait for you at the corner of your street at midnight. You can just sneak out when everyone's asleep and I will drop you at the station so you can catch the early morning train to Multan. Its just 11 am right now so you have enough time to go to the bank and withdraw every penny you have. What do you think? " Shakoor unraveled his brilliant plan.

"Its not so easy Yaar! Eloping in the darkness of night like a criminal". Rehmat Ali said, making his state of confusion more obvious than ever.

"I don't care if its easy or hard now. I have seen you suffered enough Rehmat Ali and its about time you do something to change all this. I will wait for you tonight and thats final!" Shakoor started to leave.

"But Shakoor…" Rehmat Ali tried to say something.

"No Rehmat Ali! I will not hear a thing from you now. If not for yourself, do this for me. We have been like brothers and I cannot see you suffer like this. Do it for my sake!

I have to leave now, but you think about it. I will be waiting for you tonight!." Rehmat Ali could hear the footsteps getting farther.

Rehmat Ali sat there motionless for a long time. Nothing seemed to be working out, nobody seem to be understanding what he wanted. Or maybe he did not know himself what he wanted. Shakoor's plan was sudden and Rehmat Ali was not a kind of person to leave everything in the quietness of the night. He let out a sigh! He did not even have a way to show his exasperation. He got up and started walking towards the large oak tree. Since last few days, his favourite sight was to watch the birds on that tree. He was a witness of how the bird gathered twigs and leaves to save the newborns from the harshness of the weather. He once did the same thing for his family. Alas! that the bird had been luckier in keeping the family together. He stood by the oak tree to watch the little creatures. Today it was the flying lesson day. He saw the bird pushing the younger ones from the edge of the nest. At first it seemed like the young ones weren't ready yet but after a few moments they started flapping their wings and surprisingly they started flying. He was touched by the moment. What he thought to be the cruelty of the bird was infact the best way to let the young ones learn. Suddenly he realized something. Some decisions are really tough to be made but they are neccassary in order to set things right.

He started walking away from the oak tree with a lighter-heart, as if he had made a decision. He left the bank with a smile on his face.

He put all his belongings in a canvas bag and left the house once everyone was asleep. Shakoor was waiting for him as promised and they drove to the station just in time to catch the train.

"Don't worry Rahimay! You have made a good decision. After all these are your savings and you have a right to spend them on yourself. I will visit you on the 5th of next month." Shakoor gave him a warm hug.

"I will wait for you Shakoor." Rehmat Ali thanked him with all his heart.

"Now go Rahimay! the train is leaving." Shakoor waved till the train was out of sight.

"I think you dropped this baba jee." A young kid handed him a piece of paper.

"oh! Thankyou son. It must have slipped out of my pocket while I was taking out the ticket." He said, looking at the piece of paper for a long time.

 It was a receipt that read "Authorized transfer of all cash balance from Acc.# 2028: Rehmat Ali Son of Akbar Ali to Acc.# 3067: Sikandar Ali Son of Rehmat Ali.

 He was glad the kid could not see the tears in his eyes.

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USD is screwing me.. and i say to myself…

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Lore  |  May 10, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    Lulu – Are you like me with stationery? Cos I’m addicted to journals etc, and then when I get them I don’t want to write on the pages cos th#2e&8y17;re so fresh and lovely…

    Reply

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