Editors' note: To those of you who have enquired, the author is a real man living in the Middle East who sent us these pieces because he is unable to share them with anyone where he lives. At first we tried to tidy up the English, but that seemed to knock much of the soul out of his work. So we made the editorial choice to present his work basically as he sent it; what you are seeing is the result of that choice. It is the way he sees the world from his point of view, unobstructed by editors. Perhaps think of it more as a different kind of article, more as folk art but in words. It is not meant to offend anyone or any religion. It always seemed, living among people from different nations, as if wrongnesses in English were often "righter" than rightnesses. The painter Paul Gauguin reportedly said: "If you see a tree as blue, then make it blue." We apologize to anyone who may not like these postings. "Those who understand, understand."
Few days back one evening am sitting outside from My House. Suddenly am listen the crying voices of my Mother. So am run inside and see My Father on the floor. His eyes are shut, he not listen or Talk. Am touch the Body of my Father but it are cold. On the insist of my Mother, am go on the House where a Man have Job as a Hospital Worker and talk to him Please call some doctor to check for my Father. So he call the Doctor and say that a person are here in Serious Condition near on my House and if you can come for check, our hearts will be thanks full for you.
Where are the address, Doctor ask.
Near on my House, the Man are tell him, where the House Line becomes end and Temporary Houses built with few persons living in them.
He pay me for checkup? Doctor ask.
How much he need? am ask him.
The Man ask to Doctor, Then he say to me, Doctors ask How much you pay?
Small amount, am tell him, not a lot.
He repete to Doctor, Little not a lot, not your full amount.
Then Doctor say something, then Man say something, then Doctor say something, then he off the call.
Are Doctor are coming or not? am ask him.
Doctor say you lives in That Place with Temporary Houses, and if Father are no more, he are not come, he telling.
What are happen now, am ask him.
I go with you for check, he say. Am not able for do more, have nothing in the hand for helping.
We reach the House and he check my Father. He hold the hand of my Father and then open his shut eyes.
The body are cold, he say. He are die before.
After this, he a way, and we are sit around the floor with the body of my father.
Am inform my Relative One by One. All lives here in the same city and all are say they have busy. When am call the last my Relative, my Uncle, and inform him on the death of my Father he say, Ohh Thanks God he is die. He is in difficult condition for so long. Now all his difficulty are gone. You may buried the body, but we are not come due to you not have place with us for sit. So what we are with do there? But after the died body are bury, all of you come on my House so that we use a few words on the death of your father and then you may Go because in life your Father make the nothing.
After this am off the Phone and My Mother say on me, You inform all our relative? They Are come?
Yes, am tell her, am inform every One, but am not sure who are come and not come.
All right, she say, but before are come, we must arrange the shrowd for dead body.
Am go on near by market and buying white Colour cloth For Shrowd, then go next door on Tailor and ask him stiching the Shrowd.
Who are die? He asking, looking up from stiching machine.
My father, am tell him.
Thanks God, he start on laughing. So, he say, Old man finally check out. We wait many years for listen this News ever since his Trouble begin. So the End Time now are come. How nice you are release from the tenshion on caring for your father.
Am just listen this.
Near a person sitting, he say to Tailor, Please hurry up, he need to Last Wash and this shrowd to wear the dead body before the Guests in home.
The Tailor laugh again and telling him, Hayy Man, what world you are Living? Who are ever come to him? They are living hands to mouth, can not even offer glass of Water some one, then how is any relatives come? They needs for brings own food from house.
That man look at me, I too look on his face, then he quickly start reading at the news paper.
Tailor say, When your father have Last prayer (Salat-e-Janaza) and where?
Time not set, am tell him. Grave are still not ready yet.
Better starts with dugging the Grave your Self, Tailor say. Who are come for help to This?
Stiching of Shrowd are ready now so am ask to Tailor the stiching Price.
On the happiness of this occasion, he say, am gives on you a Discount. Your Old Man Father Dies, that are why.
Am still just listen and say nothing.
After this, am receives the Shrowd and go on my Home, On the way there, am say on my Self that that may be some One from relatives and Street, may be Nabour, are reach out, but when am enter the Room there are no one, Just my Mother sitting alone with a dead body, my father.
When my Mother see me she say, No one are come, No Relative, No Nabour.
Do not worry, am tell her, We are do this alone, not need any one.
But how, my Mother ask, the Grave are dugg?
It all done this morning, am tell her.
But before dead body bury, it need the Last Wash, she say.
First, am say, am goes for checks on the Grave site, and then we gives a Last Wash.
Am goes on the grave site and picks out the dugging place, then meets with the men there doing the dugging.
Where you are lives, they to asking.
Where the House Line becomes end In Temporary Houses, am tell them.
Ohh yes, they say, the same man who suffering the last few years?
My father, am tells them.
He never give us anything, they say.
Then one of them ask, You know if two persons starts dugging the Grave then it take Time three, four Hours. Dugging not easy. What you give us instead of this?
Am not have answer for them.
You have equipment for dugging? They asking.
Have not, am tell them.
Look, they say, we nice, we help you on this. We provide you our dugging equipment but we not able on help you more than this.
Thanks you, am tell them.
The depth and width of grave depend on Soil Condition and Area Trend. In our Area, the Soil Condition have Depth of Bush and Width of Person. The Area are a Mountain so the Soil have many Stones and hard. So am prepares the grave to darking, and after this am goes back on the House and say on my mother that we now can fill the water to the Tub. Am giving the Last Wash on my father, and after that, am change the Cloth of Body and wear on it the Shrowd.
(Image source: freegreatpicture.com)
Now the Mulla must for offer to the last prayer (Salat-e-janaza). During this time, some Person come who check the body and confirm my father are no more.
Person say, What Time decide for offering last prayer?
Not fix till now, am tell him. You know some Mulla who are do this?
Yes, he say. There a lot of Mulla for that but No one come when persons not enough. You need More person for Salat-e-Janaza, and when Mulla know this, he then are come. Until the person are not gattered, it not even allow according to Islamic Condition to offer the Last Prayer (Salat-e-Janaza).
There are not the more person, am tell him.
Where is your relatives etc? he ask.
They are not have come, am tell him.
Oh, he say. Can calls few person.
So he call some friends and cousins and they take the body on the Grave site, and a few more person there also come for offering Last Prayer.
Any one here who know last prayer? one person ask.
Every one look on other one and say No.
Maybe can remember some, Person say. If you allow, am ready this. .
So he doing this duty and after that we pray for my father and takes the body to the Grave site place. By now, we are three: Person leading Last Prayer, Hospital Worker and me. We set my father softly on the Grave then cover on him with stones so the mudd not go over his Body and the Slope can bear the heavy mudd. Then we fills the grave with mudd until it make a Shape like a Grave site. After this, those persons gone. When my Mother reach to Grave site, we sit together beside my father for continuing hours, then when it dark, we goes back.
On next day Noon one of my Uncle call and say, You bury your Father body yet or not?
Yes, am say, we are bury.
So when you are come on my House, he say.
We are not come, am tell him, and now you not comes on our house. We not for needs you any more.
Thanks God, he say, you safe me from such Ugly Persons.
After this we living alone but the difference is One Person are missing. In all these sircumstance a lot of persons face covers remove, from Grave duggers, Hospital worker, Street peoples, every one. Some people likes to gives the pain. But when Tailor make fun on me for the death of my father, what he say are true.
Hakim Haider is based in the Middle East.