Characters of the story:
Abraham – the main protagonist of the story
Zakir- father of Abraham
Zubina- mother of Abraham
Rehman- grandfather of Abraham
There was a boy named Abraham, he was 7 when a devastating attack hit him and his family. It was an attack by the Hindu community in Maharashtra against the Muslims. The ravages of the partition is still brisk in some or the other form. This can still be seen in today’s present world in small fragments. Getting back to the story. Abraham had a middle class family with 5 members, his father, mother, sister, grand father and he himself. His father owned a small daily needs shop in which mostly the Muslims and some of the Hindus came to purchase goods of daily requirements. One fine Sunday evening, Abraham found his father sitting near the window. He was involved in some deep thinking and Abraham thought that he’d not interrupt his father with his thoughts. Being a child of 7, curiosity surpassed his former decision and he went forward to ask his father about the thoughts which had occupied his brain for so long.
As soon as Abraham reached the window, he looked outside the window to find out some clue for his father’s thought. But for a child of 7 it was almost impossible to decode what he saw from the window. He asked his father in a childish manner, “Abba , what’s bothering you? Why are these people outside shouting?” Abraham’s father ,Zakir, was confused. He thought that whether he should tell the truth or he should let the child enjoy the world without any preconceived thoughts. But then, he thought that at least he should tell him in bits about the cyclone that was about to emerge from the Hindus. Zakir replied in a funny manner, “ Beta, kuch tadqeer mai likh gaye apne, ab use tadqeer bnana hai” which meant that, their elders,the people who went on for the partition of India and Pakistan have created a new scenario for them and now they need to learn to stay and accept that scenario. Abraham was left with an empty brain and he did not know what to say. He left smiling.
What actually was happening outside the window was, a grand procession by the Hindu community which demanded that their locality be made Muslim free. They were using anti Muslim slogans and were trying to scare the Muslims by telling that, if they don’t evacuate the place in few days then they will not stop themselves from burning and slashing all their possessions.
Zakir didn’t know what to do and how to react. He was scared from inside but at the same time he didn’t wanted to let the shadow of all this affect his children’s future.
He went straight away to his wife Zubina. Zubina was in her thirties and was 5 years younger than her husband. She was an emotional women and a dedicated housewife. Her day started with household chores and ended with the same. She spent her day looking after her children, her old father in law, Rehman. Rehman on the other hand was an old man of completely opposite young determination and enthusiasm. He was now in his eighties and knew that he’d not live more.
When Zakir went to consult her wife , he found his father lying on the bed nearby. Zakir did not feel uncomfortable at all and went forward with his thoughts. He told them that he fears their end and thinks that they should evacuate the place. Zubina on hearing this raised the question that, where would they go? They don’t have any other property other than that, not do they have enough money to buy a new property somewhere else. She got unconscious and was about to faint by imagining the deadly situation that could be created if they didn’t do as they were commanded to do. She was worried about her children, Abraham and Alia. Alia was a toddler and was completely unaware of what was going around her. Rehman being a mature man revived his memory back to the time when his father witnessed the devastating partition. He was a little boy that time but old enough to store all the things in his mind. At that time, the Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir were killed ruthlessly and their women were raped. The situation in the neighbouring states were not good either. The political leaders thought that things would change with time. It did change, but for both best and worst. Somewhere people were enjoying with harmony with the other religions and somewhere a scuffle was created between the people belonging from different religions. Abraham’s family was suffering from the latter.
Abraham was listening to all the conversation between his family members and was getting scared. He started getting nightmares. His bed used to be wet. He didn’t know this thing that he was developing a psychological fear. He was suffering from Antropophobia, a fear of meeting people and socializing.
To add more to his condition, something really bad happened with his family. The riots got stronger and some people were determined to destroy all the Muslim possessions, one of which was Abraham’s father’s shop. It was the only measure of livelihood for their family and they earned limited amount of money due to which they didn’t had enough of savings or a bank account. When Zakir came to know that some people with shovels and bulldozer were heading towards his shop, he ran towards it to stop the destruction. When he reached the site, he found himself helpless in front of 40 people. He pleaded but all in vain. Still he didn’t loose hope and stood strong in front of them. The people were burning with agony that they went forward to show some muscular force on him. Till then Zakir’s family reached there. They found Zakir standing helpless and started pleading for their life, their property. This didn’t stop the people and they started the bulldozer. The bulldozer hit the roof of the shop to destroy it and Zakir jumped in between.
A stone slab got removed from the roof and it hit Zakir. Zakir’s left leg got fractured. His family took him to the hospital knowing that they had lost their shop and now they didn’t want to loose him. The doctors told them that the infection had grown and the leg had to be amputated. Moreover due to some nerve injury, his right hand stopped working, it got paralysed.
Abraham’s family didn’t have enough of money to do the treatment. They accepted their fate, they even left the place.
They were migrating from one place to another without any fixed place. His grandfather was so old that he could not work anywhere.
His small sister was still a toddler and father was almost lifeless. His mother was in deep shock, she had to look after the whole family. She could not leave her daughter and her husband alone at home as, they couldn’t look after themselves. Then how were they living? From where did they get the money to eat?
It was the boy Abraham who was bringing some money home by working at a tea stall. He’s now 8 and still this isn’t a time for a child to work somewhere. How much did he get for that work? About 800-900 rupees per month. But is that sufficient for a family to sustain their need? Certainly not.
I met this boy at a tea stall and was shocked to see him working. I told him to sit with me for a while. He was scared of his owner but I gave the owner some more money and told him that I could complain about him employing an under age child for work. He got scared and he let me interview him. Although I wanted to lodge a complaint against it but, after hearing his story, I didn’t want to take away his only measure of getting some money. I was helpless.
That’s how someone’s action can destroy someone’s future.