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The sound of Silence

A short story by Hamdan Ali Khan, 1st Year MBBS

The old man sat on the beach, barefooted and alone. Silence reigned everywhere except the occasional thrashing of waves which disturbed the acoustic equilibrium. Night it was, the sky filled with a million lanterns, the birds dozing off quietly and the sea like an old pirate sang a silent shanty. Oh! He missed his youth, when he could swim to the Black Rock without drowning, when he could shout at the vast ocean, his resonant voice fading upon the edges of horizon. But all good things come to an end, the voice that once resonated; now a husky whisper. The man who was the fastest swimmer; now an ancient remainder of time and its echoes. The doctors said he had terminal cancer that he would die in a week. He didn’t fear death, he had no family, nothing to lose except maybe the sight when someone would break his 50 years old record. The silence of the calm sea nurtured in him a desire to swim to the Black Rock once again, one last time. He …

Baba Meri Awaz Suno Na | A Letter from an Army Daughter

- Ayesha Mushtaq

1st Year 

Dearest  Baba!

The Shawwal moon was sighted a few minutes back. As the news broke on television, neither I nor Mama could hold our tears back. So we leapt to each other and cried our hearts out.
The dawn of tomorrow would bring another Eid day, when you would be away from home. The last two Eids also went the same way. And now tomorrow will be a third one.

Eid is of course not Eid unless celebrated with you, Baba. Not only Eid, but even the ordinary days become unbearable, not just because you are not here, but also because you are sitting hundreds of kilometers away, in a no-man’s land, surrounded by the enemy, unaware of when he may attack.

There is not a single moment when I do not miss you, baba. I miss the sound of your jeep when you used to come home from office in the afternoon. I miss taking your briefcase from you and putting it away. I miss the phone calls in the evening, asking for you. I miss the sight of your ironed uniform, and your polished shoes. I miss going with you for golf or jogging in the evenings, and I miss your help with my homework. And oh, how I missed you when there was nobody but Mama to watch over me as I blew the candles off the cake on my last birthday.

And on days such as this, the feeling of loneliness gets multiplied manifold. I miss the last minute chaand raat shopping you always took us for, even if our Eid preparations were complete. I miss taking from you the crisp notes you always handed over as Eidi.

But you know Baba? You may not be here with us, but we do feel your presence amongst us in the anxiety within, when we tune into the news bulletin on TV every day. We feel your presence amongst us as our hearts skip a beat every time Waziristan is mentioned in the news. We feel your presence amongst us as a chill runs down our spines every time there is news of a bomb blast or terrorist attack. And we feel your presence amongst us in the tension that grips us every time the phone rings, not knowing what news it would bring.

The job that you are doing is only for the chosen few. To defend your motherland is the highest honour for a true patriot. And Baba, I know you will do full justice to your job. As to you, it is not just a job, or even a profession, but a whole lifestyle. No matter how much we miss you, how much we worry for you, we know that your presence is required more at the frontiers than at home. Being an army man, your duty to your homeland comes before your family. You have taken an oath to serve the country and we wish to see you fulfill that oath even if it demands that you lay your life in the line of duty.

I want to tell you Baba, that I take immense pride in being the daughter of army man. The feeling of pride that gushes in me every time somebody mentions me as an army daughter, is too precious to be put into words. And I shall always be proud of you Baba, whether you return home in your uniform or wrapped in white and green. Go and show those enemies of the motherland, Baba, that as long as its valiant sons are at the frontline, no force can undo us.
Here’s to hoping that we’ll spend the next Eid together.

Eid Mubarak Baba.
Eid Mubarak.

-          Your loving daughter. 

(To listen to the song Baba Meri Awaz Suno, click here )


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