Parvez was holding his mother’s hand. He was standing looking at his grandfather’s body lying beside six feet deep unskinned earth in the burial ground. He could see his grandfather’s body lying wreathed and covered with green shroud with golden embroidery of Arabic scriptures. He could not read all of them. He could just figure out some of the alphabets. He is only five years old. He attended the primary school last year but the school was closed down soon after due to political turmoil reigning over his country’s future. His grandfather started teaching him how to read in his home.
The old man was ailing heart patient. They could not afford to take the old man to town for better treatment. There the old man was lying on last bed, cleaned from head to toe and smelt of camphor. It was the old man’s last wish to be buried in his native place far from where he lived for last forty years with his family. They travelled by the dusty road on foot to respect his last wish.
Parvez was thinking about the last couple of days he spent with his grandfather. His private tuition sessions with his grandfather were much fun. His grandfather did not only teach him how to read but shared loads of anecdotes from his era that Parvez listened mesmerized. He remembered how he helped his grandfather to get out of bed by fetching the walking stick. Sometimes his grandfather would extend his palm to him. Parvez pulled his fingers one by one to hear the popping sound of the cracking joints. They would laugh at unison with each and every sound.
His mother would bring food to the table where he and his grandfather would eat together before everyone else in the house starts having lunch or dinner. After lunch, both of them would take an afternoon nap listening to the news broadcasting on the radio that his grandfather inherited from his great grandfather.
When the school was closed, he could not meet much of his friends over there. He sometimes played with young boys in his colony. His movements to outside the house were restricted. His grandfather could only let him to go out after listening to news on radio. Many a days, he forbade Parvez to go out and Parvez obeyed. It was one of such days when he went to the field to play football with neighbourhood boys. All of a sudden, his elder brother came into the field and asked him to go back to home. When he went back home, he heard all the females crying loud. He entered to his grandfather’s room following his elder brother. The old man was lying on the bed. Everyone else surrounding him looked crestfallen.
His mother was standing on one corner and he went straight to her. He hid his eyes in his mother’s palm and sobbed holding his mother tightly.
After a long period of mourning, finally the men started preparing for rituals when he kept on looking at his grandfather’s pale face. He did not know what happened much after this as he went asleep on his mother’s lap. When he woke up, his mother asked him to get ready for funeral. They walked a long way to the burial ground. Throughout this journey, he did not leave his mother for a while.
There he was standing just two feet away from his grandfather. When the men accompanied his grandfather to the grave, he could not hold his tears and pulled his mother’s hand. His mother knelt down to face him and wiped out tears with her handkerchief. He hugged her.
All of a sudden they heard the noise of aeroplanes hovering over the place. They looked at the sky and could see two of them coming towards them. This visual was not very scarce these days. They are used to this type of visuals. What unusual was that these two fighter jets kept on hovering over their head for a while.
They were about to start the funeral prayer. The continuous noise broke the tranquillity of the moment. Parvez could not understand much but his elder brother started cursing them to spoil their final rights. Everyone got tensed and started whispering into each other’s’ ear.
Suddenly Parvez could see something falling from the aeroplane and coming towards them. Everyone started shouting and running in vain. Parvez kept on looking at the falling thing. His mother did not move. She knew what was about to happen and there was no way to get out of it. She held Parvez’s face close to her chest. Pervez lost the sight of the falling thing.
It was only matter of three seconds. Remember, it was a burial ground.