Friday, January 29, 2010

Lifeless Lives... (read the story with patience)

She was desperately waiting for someone to knock on her door. Though she was reading the Quran, she was waiting for her husband Muddasir to come home. Nausheed’s husband Muddasir worked as a waiter in one of the famous hotels in the city, where only elite and high profiled people visited. She couldn’t remember the name of the hotel as she was very bad at remembering English names. Muddasir had promised that he would return home early and then they would go to the nearby cinema hall to catch a movie.

Chirag had turned eight and his father took time from his busy schedule to celebrate his birthday at their favourite restaurant. Unfortunately, his mother couldn’t accompany them to her son’s birthday party as she was not well and she didn’t want her son to spoil his enthusiasm so she requested her husband Ashok to take him to his favourite restaurant where he loved eating Chinese food.
Rajeev came to India after 3 years. He was studying in New Zealand, but had returned to India so that he could be a part of his parent’s 25th anniversary. He was staying at one of the best hostels in the city hoping that he would visit his parent’s house the next morning.

All these inter connected lives were woven together by destiny to stay under the same roof, oblivious of the catastrophe that was going to take place. Rajeev was enjoying his solitude to the fullest; he was engrossed in reading a book by Sheldon. Chirag missed his mother but that didn’t stop him from having fun on his birthday. His father was like a friend to him and they were discussing about Chirag’s ambition of becoming a pilot. Muddasir came and served the food for the birthday boy. After serving him, he would be on his way to home. After finishing the dinner, Chirag’s father ordered Muddasir to bring a birthday cake from his son. Rajeev forgot that the world around him existed; he was completely drowned in the literary world. Ashok was noticing Chirag, looking at his face, expressing so many emotions together. The laughter, the excitement, the tiredness. All these expressions could be read by his father like an open book.

Nausheed was reading the Quran, hallucinating that someone was knocking on the door. While reading, she looked towards the main door but after one knock she couldn’t hear further. She was waiting anxiously for Muddasir as of he had gone to war.
Chirag’s mother was getting bored and she started entertaining herself by watching a comedy show on TV.

His father sang loudly “Happy Birthday to you…Happy birthday dear Chirag”. When Chirag was about to cut the cake he noticed the people around him giving a warm smile, as if the whole world knew that Chirag had turned eight. Muddasir was also standing nearby watching him cut the cake. The cake was cut, and then suddenly they heard the noise of a big explosion outside. For a minute Chirag thought maybe someone was bursting crackers for his birthday, but as soon as they all could give a thought to what really happened the monsters appeared in the restaurant.

Rajeev was stunned by the noise of the explosion, he went towards his window but saw nothing. He turned on the TV and saw the headline Terrorist attack on Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai. For a minute he didn’t know how to react, slowly his heart started pounding, beating so furiously that he couldn’t control it. He sat down on the bed like a lifeless figure, like his soul was already taken and there was nothing left. But Rajeev was brave, and more than being brave he feared how his parents would react to this news, but thank god they didn’t know he was staying in Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai.

Nausheed heared the continuous knock on the door of her house, this time it wasn’t hallucination but someone outside the door waiting for her. She adjusted her hair and went to open the door like a little girl waiting for Santa Claus, but it was no Santa Claus, it was her neighbourhood friend Mumtaz, looking dead scared, in front of her. From the look of Mumtaz, Nausheed figured out something terrible had happened. Mumtaz didn’t say anything, grabbed Nausheed’s hand and took her to her house. She heard the Hindi news channel saying the terrorist had entered the hotel and they were killing whoever was coming in front of them. Nausheed soon learnt from Mumtaz that Muddasir worked in Taj Mahal Hotel and then after hearing the news, she was searching for support. She threw herself against the wall as if there was nothing more left for her now; she was like a lifeless statue.

Chirag’s mother was turning to other channels bored of watching the same programmes when she came across a big headline on a news channel “TERRORIST ATTACK, HOTEL TAJ MAHAL, MUMBAI”. She was stunned and expressionless; she wore a shawl and went outside. She saw her mother-in-law sleeping peacefully. She went to her room, locked the door and called her sister. Her voice was weak, she was broken and above all she forgot she had a fever.
Muddasir, Ashok and Chirag were at the far end of the restaurant and the terrorists were bit far from them busy firing old women, children and men like a child shoots the balloon in the shooting game. Muddasir told Ashok and Chirag to quickly hide under the table. He then went ahead to save one pregnant lady who was sitting like someone has removed the earth from under her feet, Muddasir went there to protect her to say that her life was in danger and she could be saved but it was too late for that lady to react to the incident. The monsters shot Muddasir and the lady, and hence put a full stop to their life. Chirag and his father watched Muddasir’s body being filled with bullets, and the terrorists were now moving towards the father and son to crush them like ants.
Rajeev switched off his cell phone and was hiding like a deer from a tiger not willing to give up his life in this way. He was sweating like never before.

After 62 hours of the unexpected catastrophe that left an indelible scar on the minds of the people in India, it was found that Chirag and his father were saved. Rajeev was killed and he died thinking how his parents will react to the worst anniversary gift. Nausheed stood there outside the hotel waiting for the policeman to declare his husband was alive or not. After seeing his husband and son alive, Chirag’s mother broke down into the arms of her husband. Chirag was now born as an eight year old man after having a close encounter with death. The hero was dead, but Ashok could never forget that a waiter saved his life but for Nausheed her life was already taken, she was frozen like an expressionless doll. She forgot her life after 26 November 2008. Rajeev’s parents kept trying on his number but the phone was switched off. They were informed later that their son had died an unexpected death. They were planning to get Rajeev married, but now the plan was changed. They were preparing for his funeral.
This is just a fictional story based on the terrorist attack of 26/11.I hope the reader will be able to empathize with the people who suffered and lost lived on 26/11.For them, every single day is 26/11.

1 comment:

Rinka said...

Very nice thoughtful post!!