He ran across the teeming bazaar. His blood-shot eyes looked deep into the colourful crowd of buyers and sellers and into the shops and the tents that had been put up. It was of no use.
He sat down on the dusty pavement under the narrow shade of a shop. The sun was at its zenith and was beating down fiercely with its hot rays. He noticed a few wayfarers looking at him with a strange expression on their faces. He tried to figure out what made them do so. Was it his dishevelled hair, tattered clothes and dirty face? Or the streaks of desperation that were visible on his face? The very next moment a voice from within told him that it was futile to think over this.
A crowd was always moving up and down the road with a great bustle. He noticed their expression-less faces. They looked so numb and serious. Their bowed eyebrows, their straight lips and the creases on their foreheads were in direct contrast with the gay and colourful clothes that they were wearing. For a moment he enjoyed his own awful condition. For a moment only.
Suddenly, a loud cry arose in the bazaar that sounded familiar to him. Soon it prevailed over the cacophony and spread throughout the clear white sky. He noticed that shops were being shut, transactions were postponed and the crowd was becoming thinner. As the cry subsided, he noticed that most of the people were moving towards the white cottage at the far end. For the first time he noticed the large dome and the high minaret there.
The bazaar was now desolated. Only the puffing of the hot wind and blowing of dust could be heard. He collected a few pebbles that were lying near him and threw them away as far as he could, as if they were his misery. The pebbles got lost into the heat of the afternoon but his misery did not. Tears filled his eyes. A few drops even passed down his cheek. Was this happening to him in reality? Couldn’t all this be just a terrifying dream? The warm sensation of tears on his lips answered these questions for him. Finally he broke into a loud and pathetic wailing.
He realised that he was breaking down and so tried to suppress his wails into sobs. Hadn’t everything been going great? His sobs again turned into heart-aching cries. How he wished those lovely days came back! Those days when life was in his control. How he wished to see that charming face! The face which was the only reason why he considered his life to be beautiful. Suddenly, he became numb and sank into a pool of memories.
He could clearly see how they had met for the first time and how their friendship had developed with each passing day. His life had started becoming cheerful the day she had joined in. After the death of his parents this was the first time he had realised that he had happiness within him. It just needed to be brought out. She understood his emotions really well and he enjoyed her company like heaven. Besides, she was the most beautiful person he had ever seen. Her blue eyes, her rosy lips, her flowing hair and the little mole just beneath her lips always enchanted him to numbness. He had migrated to the city hoping to make a fortune and then settle down with his true friend. Yeah, he had told her that he would marry her on return. And how she was happy at the prospect of this all! But alas! He had come back only to find that fate is the only currency that makes noise. Though he had played his part perfectly well, still his dream was still a dream. He had come back home rich and had gone straight to her house,where she lived with her grandmother. But the only thing he met there was this information that her grandmother had died a year ago. No one was able to tell him where his beloved was. He inquired her neighbours profusely about her whereabouts but it was of no use. Finally, despair took over him and he started to frisk every nook and corner of the place. But, everywhere he met failure. And every time he met failure he thought how cruel Allah was. How could He be so cruel?
A strong gust of wind made him think over his thought. He suddenly realised that there was still a way out- Du’a.
He picked himself up and marched towards the mosque. People had already offered their afternoon prayer. They were now engrossed in beseeching the help of the Almighty with their hands folded. He silently performed the ablution and went ahead to bow before the Lord of the Worlds and seek a way out of this misery. But suddenly, the congregation stood up and people arranged themselves in rows. Soon they were praying together. He could see a cot covered with a piece of cloth in front of the congregation. It was a funeral prayer. Someone had being freed of this mournful life. He aligned himself with the last row and joined in the prayer, hoping that Allah may provide him succour. As he bowed and prostrated with the congregation, he prayed with all his heart to bless the dead and also to help him out of this puzzle. Soon the prayer ended with a loud cry for peace. People started to walk towards the dead-body which was covered with shroud from head to toe.
Having offered his prayers, as he was about to leave the mosque the funeral procession started to move towards the burial-ground. He looked casually as numerous people shouldered the dead body. He walked a few steps with the procession and then took a left turn towards the bazaar.
Suddenly, a violent gust of wind started to blow. The sky got confounded with hazy clouds. The wind started blowing dust all over the place. It danced around viciously pulling down a few hoardings at the bazaar.
In this windy atmosphere the shroud covering the dead body, suddenly rose in the air and started fluttering in the wind. The wind blew it high in the air untill it was out of reach into the lap of the endless sky. The face that was exposed had blue eyes, rosy lips and a mole just beneath those lips.