Dec 26, 2012 by     2 Comments    Posted under: Fiction

By Ilsa Rashid

Once upon a time I was sitting on a tree; a Neem tree if I remember correctly. It was one of those Sunday mornings when I’d wake up early and treat myself to a lavish breakfast. But it was also one of those days when all I wanted to do is sit in bed. So there I sat, lost in my thoughts, wondering if Islamabad had changed since the day I left it; if they had uncovered any drains, littered their lawns or removed those nasty nets from over their windows. I shuddered at the thought of the days when I had flown toilet to toilet, looking for a toilet-seat lid up, and had been forced to sleep in a bathroom smelling of roses. Oh, how I had rushed to the nearest puddle of water and soaked myself in the Holy Bath and purified myself of the sickly stench of rose petals.

The mellow ripple of a sewer below, and the heart-warming scent of its contents brought me back to reality, to Karachi; the city of dreams, opportunities and freedom. It was on that very morning, while sitting in bed, that I decided that this was the place that I could finally call home.

On the tree across mine, lived Dr. Buzzkins, a thorax specialist. You’d blush if you saw him too. Everyone in the colony agreed that he was the most handsome creature around; even the moths couldn’t help but circle him. Every morning he would hang in his balcony and sing out aloud, and sometimes, I would join him. I could hear him singing that morning too. But as I sat upon the tree, it wasn’t Buzzy or Isloo on my mind. It was the celebration in the honour of my new home: Karachi, Land of the Impure.

While I waited for dusk, I amused myself with The Daily Buzz.

“Child dies of dengue fever, death toll reaches a massive 56 in the past week.”

“Bomb blast kills 172 in Nazimabad, Karachi”

“Mayor Ahmed Akmal urges for a strong program against terrorists and mosquitoes”

Bored with the headlines, as usual, I fell asleep with the paper over my face only to wake up ten minutes before dinner-time. I tossed the newspaper behind, washed and perfumed for dinner and flew by Buzzy’s, humming his favourite tune, ‘rolling in the drain’.

It wasn’t long until I spotted him; 70 kilograms of pink, breathing flesh, devouring a Bunkabab on a bench over a puddle of water. I rolled my sleeves up, tightened the hanky around my neck; it was going to get messy. I flew right under his nose, into his shirt, and gulped a whole mouthful. The poor, but delicious child danced, and jerked, and slapped, and yelled, and scratched and finally, cried out something about chicken and pox. I, full to the thorax, crawled to a window-sill half-way home and fell asleep.

Hours passed before the window I was resting upon slid open and I fell back a dozen stories onto a marble floor, and lost consciousness for hours. Or days. I do not remember.

I woke up on a warm, white bed in a room with white walls. A white face lay an inch away from me. I remembered that face; it was pinker and stained with bunkabab last time I had seen it.

I saw, moving towards me, a man wearing a white coat and a grim look with a woman by his side. From above their heads, flew in Dr. Buzzkins, not too happy either. The man in the white coat grabbed the woman’s hand, and Dr. Buzzkins grabbed mine.

“Brace yourself ladies. It’s dengue,” the experts chorused.

The Author

To promote the importance of literature in day to day life, to encourage the study of literature and to collaborate with societies abroad and within Pakistan who share the same views. To appreciate the mere existence of the literary word, to preserve its essence and to invite young individuals to a world that only literature can open up.

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2 Comments + Add Comment

  • oozing pessimism and overflowing negativity!! cynical approach make a dark nation!

  • I appreciate your concern. However, id like to point out that when I speak of Karachi as ‘land of the impure’ or talk about the headlines, it’s all to create humor through irony. Sometimes, it’s important to highlight the negatives to bring them to the surface.

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