Monday, April 4, 2016

A SUDDEN SEPARATION

A Sudden Separation
Author: Rizwan Ahmed Memon

It was March 25th, 2016. After a long time, Rashid approached his chair and table, where he used to write. For the past few months he hadn’t been able to touch the notebook on his writing table, owing to his involvement with the classes he used to teach. That day, he was particularly sad because his close friend, Waqar, had passed away just the day before. His beloved friend had drowned in the Indus River in his village, Akil. He was 23 and single. Waqar was swimming with his classmates, when one of them got into a whirlpool. Waqar managed to get him out of the whirlpool, but he got himself within it. He sacrificed his life for the friend.


Rashid took his notebook, and cleaned the dust on it with his hand. He grabbed a pen, held it in his mouth with his teeth and hand, and began to stare at the Neem tree outside the window. The leaves were inevitably being shed from it. He thought that these leaves didn’t know which of them would fall next. Like those leaves, we humans also have no idea as to who will perish next. Rashid opened the notebook and commenced writing.

“I had read novels and stories about separation before, but I had never felt it so deeply until I lost my friend. I feel there is a void that can never be filled. It is a lifelong sorrow that tends to persist. Every sorrow has its share of intensity. While this intensity does fade with the passage of time, it is never obliterated completely. Even after decades, whenever we happen to remember any moment spent with our past friends, we take a deep sigh without any intention. There is always the grief of separation from our loved ones that pricks our hearts.

It is painful to write about the friends and loved ones that we have lost. However, one way through which we can provide succor to our saddened hearts is by recalling the moments that we had spent together. No doubt, we all have to go back to our Creator, but the sudden separation of our loved ones really shakes the earth under our feet. I too lost my friend recently, a friend I had spent a lifetime with – a long period of time.

It was 2006 when Waqar met me for the first time. I was in grade 9, whereas he was in grade 8. He came to my class accompanied by his friend, Muhammad Bukhsh. “I have heard that you are good at English,” he said to me. I never knew that he would end up being my student as well as a very good friend with whom I would spend half of my life!

When I reached grade 10, I had started teaching English. Waqar came to learn English at my institute. I found him to be a very obedient, helpful, and intelligent student, who would always score high on the tests due to being regular and punctual. He had become my pet student. After about eight months, the course had come to an end, and new students arrived. Occasionally, Waqar used to come and see me. On one of my birthdays, he brought me a gift early in the morning. “This is a very old and torn book, but whatever it might be, if it is given as a gift, it has its own special value,” he said while offering me the book.”

Rashid went on writing and writing. As if he would write for centuries. It was as if all his pens would cease to write and yet, his memories would not end. Some of his final lines he wrote were: “Physically you are not with me, but you will always remain with me spiritually – in my heart and mind. No matter how long I write about you or talk about you, your virtue can’t be defined in words. Your premature death has not only made me lonely, but it has made me, in fact, a poor man.” Rashid had a history with his friend. Whenever he went out, his mind would remind him about the times that they sat and walked in the streets of their village. He couldn’t believe that his friend was no more. Whenever he entered his writing room, he thought of how his friend sat there and read his stories, helped him with his college work, and how he joked. Whenever Rashid did anything, the memories of his friend would start occupying his mind.

When our loved ones depart from this world, they take away nothing with them. They leave everything behind. Let’s pray that the soul of Rashid’s friend may rest in peace and that Rashid’s dejected heart may get the strength and patience to survive the sudden separation from his friend.
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