He is a Muslim…!


He is a Muslim…!

“He is a Muslim…!” The words still echoed in his mind as he got down the flight of stairs. The officer on the phone had apologized several times when he had come to know who Anand was. But it was too late. Anand had lost his faith and respect in the city and community in particular. Despite being aware of the communal disharmony, this was the first time Anand had experienced first hand discrimination in 4 years. Anand, an architect and an urban planner, was a Senior Planner in the Government. It was his job to know the city well, and be aware of  its needs, the people, their troubles and expectations.

Arti, Anand’s sister, was following her brother’s footsteps, had come to the city on  an architectural tour. The city, known for its Mughal and modern architecture was a must visit for budding architects. Arti and her friends had taken up  the case study  of the local Architecture and Planning Institute . This was a structure  famous for its campus design and environment. Anand had been more than happy to have company for a few days and had welcomed them to stay in his house. Maybe it was a mistake, thought Anand now,  as he hailed the driver to get the car and drive him home.

 Asif,  just out of his teenage years was being consoled by Arti and her friends. He felt angry and helpless. He had got used topeople staring at him, when he uttered his name. But this had been an insult and it had made everyone feel miserable. Yes Arti’s friend was Muslim, but did that really matter? He was a human being, no different. Anand hoped, all was well as he told the driver to drive faster.

The Police officers had already left when Anand arrived. He had inquired with the security guard and had come to know that one of their neighbors had made the complaint. The officers had said that they couldn’t reveal the identity of the complainant. Anand had argued and reasoned with them for an hour on the phone and had finally convinced them that Asif was not a terrorist, but just a student and his sister’s friend. Even Asif’s university ID was not enough to convince them. They were only convinced when they came to know Anand was a Government official. After that Asif’s identity did not matter.

This was the same city where a common man had once preached about peace, communal harmony, non-violence and led the people towards freedom from slavery. All had been lost, his words, ideals had been packed, re-packaged and sold. There was no room for implementing his ideas now.

Arti left the next day, as planned with her friends. Anand again apologized for the trouble Asif had to endure. Asif in reply, hugged Anand warmly and said, “An apology from you is uncalled for, I know I hugged a friend just now”

Related articles

The birth, life and death of a relation…

Jack took a deep breath and dived into the warm clear water. He felt the water gush through his ears and nose as he hit the surface. The instructor was watching near the edge, keeping an eye on the newbies. Jack was not new to swimming, but it was normal procedure at the pool to make sure that those that signed up know swimming well enough. Summer was at it’s end and so were the vacations after which the pool would be emptier, with less kids slashing around.

Single, ambitious, careless are not the only words to describe Jack. He was a hopeless romantic, a passionate artist and a concierge of everything old, rare and beautiful. His love for nature transcended in his art and photographs. Yet he was human and hence allowed to err. Those being his interests, his work was much different and absolutely bland. He waited, bidding his time, to give up work and give full attention to his interests.

Women, however, would see the end of him, thought Jack as he continued sinking slowly through the clear water. Who could know what they were thinking? Jack had his hands full, as one woman left the other arrived, almost always with an agenda. Jack let them in, almost always with open arms. But he had nothing to offer them. What they wanted, put his freedom and love for nature, art, science and knowledge at risk. He felt he could romance a book if he could but then human company still beckoned him to fall in relationships, one after another.

Each one had not ended well, with very few starting as a casual friendship and ending in confusions and allegations. Most of them just faded away without a trace. Some left a scar and all taught Jack to guard himself against the whims and fancies of women. Jack always calm, now was breathing slow yet steadily. His head light now with lack of oxygen, ears ringing with pressure of the 26 meters of water above. Jack had not surfaced for 10 minutes.

The instructor grew alarmed and looked in all corners of the pool to check. He dived to check inside the pool, shouting his name. At that moment Jack had awakened from his daze and started swimming for the edge on the other side. Sputtering and spitting out water, Jack emerged on the other side, much to the bewilderment of the instructor. Another relationship had died.

A letter Undelivered….

He wiped a tear that was about to roll down his wrinkled cheek. Ryan was browsing through the contents of an old box that had been found buried in the corner of the attic. Phillip the youngest of his grandson had found it, when he was looking for his pet white mouse that had escaped earlier in the morning. Ryan had been transported to his young high schools days through that box.

An old tattered letter lay in his hands, it’s edges torn and a little moist from his tears. The letter had been written in a haste and left incomplete. Ryan went back to his room with the letter still clutched in his quivering hand. Picking up his phone and dialed her number. Engaged- good he thought to himself, it meant the number was still in use. He tried again after some time.This time it rang, and was answered by a calm sweet voice. Sherry, was pleasantly surprised to get Ryan’s call after so many years. A time was quickly fixed with coffee, cookies and old stories of innocence and youth on the agenda.

A letter undelivered....

He wiped a tear that was about to roll down his wrinkled cheek. Ryan was browsing through the contents of an old box that had been found buried in the corner of the attic….

Sherry Mathews and Ryan Paul had been classmates in high school before becoming pen pals for a brief period. Sherry the bolder one had initiated it with a single lined note and Ryan had followed. Long phone conversations, long letters had made innocent friendship to bloom. The letters were hand delivered. A faithful few friends knew of the special bond between them. Ryan always spoke of his so called “love” in his letters and feared  this bond would breach the false castle of love he had built. High school romances were this, castles built in the air, thought Ryan now. Ryan ended it abruptly, the barrage of emotions that had flown on paper. Her 3 paged emotions against his half paged immaturity. Sherry had been visibly hurt and upset. Fearing her letters would be discovered, she handed over all the letters to Ryan who out of the same fear, one day burned all of them. The smoke from them, now burned his eyes.

Ryan happily married, with 2 grand children, Sherry, happily married with 1 grand daughter, sipped coffee and laughed about the times they had, the letters and memories they had lost and walked back to their separate lives with Sherry clutching a moist piece of paper in her hand…


Also read…https://fromthewhiterabbit.wordpress.com/2012/07/22/a-letter-undelivered-verse/

A common tale of separation…

Ryan sat wrapped in his thoughts as his boss discussed about office politics in the back seat of his car. Ryan had missed his bus, of all the days,  today, when there was a transporters strike. An hour after waiting for a lift, finally it was his boss who had stopped the car. Ryan was relieved, thinking he could make it into the city in time, which indeed he did. Ryan got down on the highway and took a taxi from the cross roads to his apartment. As he got down near the apartment, he realised that he had forgotten to buy veggies to cook for the night.Tired and bored, Ryan decided against cooking for the evening and instead went down to a restaurant nearby for dinner. He ordered for french fries, a large bugger and a soda.

As the waiter brought his order, Ryan noticed her, a beautiful girl, sitting right in the corner, just two tables in front of him. She was the same girl he had passed on his way in.  Ryan forgot the horrible taste of the burger almost immediately. A strange urge to walk up to her table and tell her how beautiful he thought she was took over him. Just then her friends, two girls and a guy, appeared out of nowhere. Ryan cursed under his breath, through his half eaten burger. His meal was almost over, while theirs was just getting started. Ryan couldn’t take his eye’s off her angelic face. They had made eye-contact several times in the past 15 mins, however the girl became more conscious after her friends had arrived. Ryan ordered for another tasteless burger with the hope of making eye contact with the girl again. He admired her jaw line and well placed cheek bones. She had a perfectly photogenic face. Ryan, a photographer, couldn’t help but imagine, what a beautiful face the girl had for portraiture. He would do anything to photograph this girl. Just as he was lost in his thoughts, the waiter brought his bill. Ryan paid the bill and got up to leave. As he crossed the door, he glanced at her one last time and there, their eyes met! For a moment, a thought of stopping at her table, and telling her what he felt, flashed through his head, but he had not stopped.

Instead of heading home, Ryan found himself waiting outside the restaurant. He had to see her face once, he thought. Once he had to let her know that he was still there waiting. He felt he was out of his mind, having never done this before. As he waited outside he noticed that, now she had her back to him. He silently cursed his luck and sat down on the curb, thinking was it desperation, plain infatuation or just love at first sight that had hit him here. As he pondered on this, he saw her walk out on the road, but alas he had not seen her come out! He had not seen her face, as she crossed the road with her friends with her back to him. She would have turned to see him if she had noticed him sit on the curb, but she didn’t. She continued to walk away from him. Ryan got up and started walking briskly towards them. As they walked under the street lights only their shadows appeared to move. Ryan kept walking briskly, stopped, briefly glanced over his shoulder, then started walking towards his home again.

What if Ryan had stopped at the table to tell her how he felt? What if Ryan had followed her home, just so that he can “accidentally” bump into her again?