Lay on bare ground, stretched under the clear night sky, Badar gazed at stars contemplating about life. Recently, inadvertent circumstances had sprung up in Badar’s life, snatching his dad away from him to the hands of god. The feeling of the cold, wet and dark grave- which he climbed down into- brought chills every time he thought about it. At that moment, he had felt that it was his responsibility; responsibility an eldest son is supposed to bear. No wonder, he constantly clung onto the casket, whilst it was being brought down to its destination, the grave. It was these very hands of Badar that had been held by his father, assisting him to walk. Today, these hands clung onto the casket religiously. What had really happened? Badar was too young to scrutinize the situation that had surfaced in his life. Denial- an important defence mechanism- had set in, blinding Badar of the actual circumstances. That denial had completely started to strip apart, and the agony experienced by Badar has started to surface. What was life, why was his dad taken away so quickly, was he really not going to be able to see his father the entire life and when would his death call him were some of the questions that hovered in Badar’s young, plastic mind. This was detrimental, considering the anguish and void, which had inhabited his mind.
One of the stars shined particularly brightly that night. Often tales of dead people becoming stars after death were recited in Pakistani villages. Those dead people took solace by looking at their relatives down on Earth from those distant lands. This was one of the reasons why Badar decided to invite himself into this deserted barren land to scrutinize these stars. A certain aura was radiating from these stars, and the pin drop silence set him into a trance. The atmosphere had completely engulfed in.
A heavy thudding grew; thudding that was accentuated by substituting silence. Usually, this time of the night bestowed an undisturbed peace upon Badar; therefore the unexpected circumstances brought a pang of anxiety in Badar, travelling down the length of his body. A tall, hooded figure emerged, with black robes extending below his knees.
Caught by surprise, Badar muttered, “What are you doing here? Please leave me alone”
“This is not the first time; I have witnessed someone over here. At this time of the night on this particular land, only a very few sort of people find themselves here, but nevertheless, one trait common to all of those people is the sense of incompleteness within their lives. This is not your first night here. In fact, it has been more than two months; you visit this place at this time of the night, when stars glitter with an exuberant glow. No one, I have seen has visited this place with such religiosity, and therefore, I may have something in store for you.” With this being said, he motioned Badar to follow him.
Was he hallucinating? What was he seeing? Was this man real? The trauma associated was a bit too grave. The surroundings blurred, and everything moved like the waves of an ocean. In a matter of a few seconds, everything went berserk, and from there on, the moments just died and failed to take any notice.
An unfamiliar atmosphere greeted Badar. A severe migraine dawned out of nowhere. Thoughts swirled in Badar’s mind. Where was he? What was going on? It took a few seconds for the memories to jump back to him, and he realized that there was this sadness within him. All he wanted to do was to run away from that spot, yet he had no idea where he lay. Where was he going to run to? The probability of being safe outside equated to the probability of being confronted with a calamity. Holding onto his faith, he decided to cling on to where he was.
“It has been a while since you blacked out. You may feel extremely hungry and fatigued. Here you go”, said the unfamiliar voice, handing over a plate.
Afraid to question and holding on to his faith, Badar held the plate and began to nibble on the bread. He continued to be seated in silence after he was done with eating. Easiness spread across his body. This man did not seem like the kind to harm anyone, but still a resentment to speak to him remained there.
“Son, your wariness is justifiable, and I do not intend on making the situation any more awkward for you, but regardless, I have been left with no option but to speak due to the immediacy of the situation. Please pardon my intrusion.
Over the past few months, you lay there, contemplating. With every single day, you changed from a healthy individual into a frail and pale individual. The life around you and within you had no impact on you; instead the life without you was the life you are after. This cannot be justice to the life within you and around you and cannot be justice to the life without you, for that life is non-existent.
Drunkenness can instil different states in different individuals. Some people become merrier, whereas some people become rash. It is not the drink that is at fault, but the people who drink are at fault. Concomitantly, different events can potentially have two sorts of effects on people, who seek a safe haven in blaming god and why did he do this to them. After all, you and I are not the only ones in this world with issues. There are people, who have lost everything, but have flown to the skies, whereas other people are still bound to the ground by chains, disabling them from flying. The only reason for this is that the problem lies within us. Why do different individuals perceive situations differently, even though what all of us crave for is peace of mind. And mind you, this peace of mind should not be confused with the transient bursts of euphoria, but the peace of mind in the long run. Certain events can make us stronger or weaker, but that really is dependent on us. Some people understand this, but some people don’t understand this. Hence, an unexpected circumstance can make you travel down to more adverse, unexpected circumstances, or an unexpected circumstance can make you travel to a more benevolent situation. This very moment, the choice is yours to make a mark or not.”
With this being said, the old man retreated into another room and got back with a cup, saying, “Here you go. Whenever you feel upset, pour any liquid and drink from this cup, remembering what I said.”
Badar held onto the cup and wandered out into the approaching dawn.