They were like regular kids. Noor was in the early phase of her teenage and Jaan was still some years away from this phase. So quite natural, it was not possible that their big beautiful house could have been saved from the screams and fights of the young brigade. Nazia and Ahmad spent their day in their colleges juggling the college kids and once they return home there always was the task of convincing either Noor or Ahmad to forget the latest fight or the one which just ended. After every hour or two there was the possibility of next one. Poor Noor sometimes tried to spare her little brother and ignore him, but Jaan never left any stone unturned to instigate her sister and get beaten, obviously.
Ahmad never shouted at his kids; Nazia had to be strict with kids sometimes.
“One day, I will leave this world, then at least you would learn to live together and behave “
Kids hated this emotional torture. The moment Nazia would prepare to say “One day…..” and kids would crawl to their respective rooms.
Ahmad was perfect father for his kids, but only thing he would regret all his life that he would not be able to play football with his Jaan, whose eyes were always hoping for a champion’s shot from his father.
Ahmad met with an accident, the year Jaan was born. Accident made one of his legs lifeless. But he never stepped back from his commitments which he made to his wife and his children. In fact he always put extra efforts to keep his beautiful family happy and fulfilled.
Everything in the family was usual and moving smoothly except few disturbances from the kids. But the world outside their house was changing terribly. Some geographical divisions which were created by the late leaders of the nation, those divisions proved to be more worthy than lives of human beings living on the same land. A war had started over the right authority of the land, didn’t matter whether anybody would remain alive to enjoy the prosperity of the land or not!
Tall and handsome Ahmad was the guardian of a very beautiful family, but changing atmosphere would make him tense sometimes. “Shall I be able to protect my family when they will enter our land ….” These visions were getting horrible day by day; the more he listened to the causalities in the nearby village, the more he entered the darker part of his vision.
People who could arrange money were leaving the place and those who could not, either resolved to protect themselves or die.
Ahmad and Nazia also arranged the money to escape the state and move to some safer zone. Children were asked to stay at home and lock their doors until Ahmad and Nazia didn’t return from college. They went to collect some official papers which could help them to fetch new jobs in new place.
Keeping the doors closed kids kept waiting for their parents, but that familiar knock on the door was never heard again.
In a matter of seconds, those innocent kids of Ahmad and Nazia turned orphans. Their parents were said to be died in bombing attack near College. Few items which were recovered from the spot were identified with Noor and in absence of any immediate relatives who could take the charge of kids, those kids became the part of thousands of kids living in the refugee camps along the coastal line. Time flew with its speed………………It is said “Time heals everything”. But some wounds do irreparable damages and even leave deep scars to remind the horrible phase.
Now Noor is used to shifting her so-called home regularly, from the last one and half years. But Jaan has no liking towards this sudden shifting. His mind always travels to those memories from his Haveli where he was the most pampered child of his large family. But now in this large terrain, he has nothing to cherish, neither his Haveli nor that large family. Only thing he could retain after that fateful afternoon is, Noor. And he doesn’t want to let her go out of his sight. So, the 10-year-old Jaan has matured very soon. He has buried all those dreams and tantrums of a 10-year-old kid somewhere in the same Haveli where the remains of his family are buried. Somewhere in his head he has grown to an elder brother who has pledged to protect his sister at any cost.
The 15-year-old Noor and her 10-year-old brother troll around with other kids. Water is a big issue in this area because every time they have to wash their hands they have to go to the nearest hand pump. Devoid of children’s fundamental demands in their childhood, these kids only know to search for their food for at least two times a day and to keep themselves safe. In the barren land, hopes of Noor are still alive that she deserves a much better life and capable of providing the same to her brother. She is learning photography through a volunteer driven organization and she is extremely good at it. Photographs clicked by Noor have also been published at an online website through the guidelines and support provided by the volunteers. Against all the odds, she is hopeful for their future.
And one day against the promise which the brother and sister made to each other, Noor can’t protect herself and fell into the hands of some monsters. She cried like anything, she knows that her kiddo brother would fail to save her but other than Jaan she could not recall anything else in her consciousness.
Jaan has been looking for her sister for an hour. Tears have rolled out of his eyes. Cursing and praying to Lord, suddenly he heard her voice. Jaan is a kid but grown up and responsible kid. He has understood that his little body isn’t enough to protect her sister, so immediately he called upon his neighbors to their mercy. Noor has been rescued but with some injuries. Brother and sister thanked their saviors and silently moved from there.
Black clouds have covered the sky and children are dancing with joy that they will dance in the expected rainfall. It is a big change from their usual boredom.
Along the lake Noor and Jaan are sitting with dried tears upon their cheeks. Perhaps both are travelling in their own world of imaginations. Imaginations which have crossed all the boundaries of God’s restrictions and reaches to Ahmad and Nazia. Ever since Nazia and Ahmad have left the world, travelling in the world of imaginations where the presence of their father and mother is unrestricted, is their favorite escape route to pamper their little hearts and gain the courage to live again.
Jaan comes out of his dreams when droplets of rain fell through his eyes, upon his checks. But Noor was still lost.
After a long hour of silence, Jaan spoke.
“Didi, why this has happened? What had we done? What Maa and Baba had done? “
I don’t know…why?
You have all the answers in this world. Tell me!!!
What shall I tell you? Please go away.
Didi, please tell me something that soothes my heart. I can’t survive with this pain.
(Noor can’t withstand with this sentence.)
“You know Jaan, when you were a little kid, you never paid any attention to me. Never! You used to fight with me like a warrior. Infact, we both were least tolerant of each other. Sometimes Maa turned so furious while handling idiots like us. Probably, this is the reason we are left alone to learn to love each other and take care of each other. Maa and Baba needed rest so they have been taken away by god and granted all the happiness and blessings. Anyway, what do you feel? Its better that they have been taken away by lord, if they could have survived they would die every breathe, watching us in this condition. “
“Hmm…Didi you are right, it’s better that they are not here to watch us running for food. And Baba could not have even run for food, and what would have happened to Maa! They didn’t deserve this forever suffering. This is written for us, but I only pray to God that you remain with me, forever. Now I have learnt to love you and respect you.”
“Please do not separate us, I am not a bad boy”. Jaan is sobbing in front of Noor with his folded hands and closed eyes. She takes her brother in her arms and promises to remain by his side, forever.
I don’t know how longer such brother and sister who promised to be with each other survive in the barren land. But nobody deserves this day when a sister has to justify the death of their parents to her younger brother to protect him and keep his trust alive in God.
This piece of writing just came out of my own imagination, recollecting the reflections of events around the world. I always pray and hope that reflections should never appear again because it is very painful to document. I always wish that this should never be the truth of anyone’s life, but I don’t know how many brothers and sisters are experiencing this horrible phase all over the globe. Because we are living in a world where the value of human breath is much cheaper in comparison to land which is meant to be lived upon.