- 09 Feb - 15 Feb, 2019
- 01 Dec - 07 Dec, 2018
Grabbed my bag and shouted at me to leave it. I was traumatised and could not hold my bag. I slacked the grip and he pulled it to his lap. All my savings were in that bag. Seeing my future vaporised, my heart sank. In an instant, I decided to do something. Adrenaline kicked in me and all my senses got heightened. It was like hearing my heartbeat and I was breathing heavily with muscles tightened. The moment bike started moving, I picked up a stone and threw at them with utmost force and it eventually hit the rider. Already panicky, he lost his control over the bike and got in a collided with a truck head-on. With the screeching sound, the bike got flattened and both the robbers were smashed under the 18-wheeler and the truck fled away. I walked up to them and spot my handbag still clutched in the hands of a robber. I took my blood-stained and also the pistol. Then I took a last look at their crushed bodies and walked away, peacefully. The crowd was stunned. No one uttered a word. My heart was broken but my soul was intact. It was my day one in the city and already two persons were down. I do not even place them in my count of 99.
Land Cruiser of Seth Ramzan was approaching fast. Range of my remote control was much wider. It even reached up to the mall entrance but I still had not pressed the button. I was thinking of all my crimes and asked myself if I deserve redemption? Where would it end? I was getting lost in my thoughts at the rooftop of a building near which Seth Ramzan’s jeep was now stopped at the red signal. The signal was red for 72 seconds and I had ample time to make a decision. I looked up towards the cloudy sky for some clue to my question of redemption. Suddenly, the clouds scattered and full moon appeared. I had never seen such a bright moon especially on Karachi sky. I looked at it for a while and recalled the promise I made to Resham. I knew she would still be sitting on rooftop of her mud house looking at the moon. Just a thought of her made my heart ache. I could now see her face in the moon. She glittered and shined but her eyes were sad. The moon somehow connected our hearts. I had her mobile phone number. Someone from my village met me once and gave it to me. He told me that she sits all day at the canal bridge looking at the muddy track leading to the main road. He also told me that she asks everyone going to Karachi to look for you and to tell you that Resham is waiting for you. I had never called her or contacted anyone else from my past. I was on top of the hit list of many dons. Law enforcing agencies were also out there hounding for me. Anyone associated with me can turn out to be my weak link. The traffic signal displayed 28 seconds remaining. I was holding remote control in my left hand and held my mobile phone in my right with her number displayed in the quick dial list. I had to press the remote control button and blow up Seth Ramzan or press the dial button on my mobile phone and talk to Resham. I only had nine seconds to reach a decision.
Life in the big city was hectic. It was even harder than farming. I had sold all my agriculture land which I inherited and had come to Karachi in search of a better life for my future generations. To achieve this, first I had to begin a successful business and then start a family life. New place is always more challenging. I did not know anyone around. I could not trust anybody. I had no prior knowledge or experience of any business. All I had was some money and a will to fight. I was a good wrestler and had won many titles in the sports competitions held during annual festival at the shrine of Sufi Pir Sher Baksh in our district Ghotki. I had left that life behind. I had left Resham behind. I had promised her that I would come back in two to three years to take her with me. She had to wait and I was sure she would. She was my fiancé and we were engaged since childhood. She did not stop me from going to Karachi nor did she stop me from selling my share of land. She never stopped me from doing anything. She considered herself to be part of me. In our last meeting, she said, “Faqeer Mohammad, we may have two bodies but we have one soul. I will be with you wherever you go. I will remember you with every beat of my heart and with every bit of my thought. I will remember you with every breath I inhale and with every breath I exhale. You only have to do one thing, my love. At midnight on every full moon night, just glance at the moon for a while and think about me. I will be doing the same. I will do the same till you come and take me away. You should do the same as long as you love me.”
She had never expressed herself explicitly as she did that night.
I had always taken her for granted. I never realised she is a separate entity having emotions of her own. After coming to Karachi, I watched the full moon thinking about her for many months. For past many years though, I have stopped going out on moonlit nights. I have stopped watching the moon. It reminds me of her. It reminds me of all the promises I made to her. I have done so many bad things in my city life that I do not want even my shadow to fall on her pure love.
Clouds covered the moon. It was dark again. I looked down at the traffic signal which had turned yellow. I closed my eyes and pressed the button. I knew I had become a dragon, and I was just waiting for my slayer. It was my only redemption.
There was a huge blast at the traffic signal. Jeep of Seth Ramzan was blown into pieces and from the look of it, there was hardly any chance of survival. The blast had the nearby cars also damaged but there always is some collateral damage in explosions. But the good things was that I had accomplished my mission successfully. I took a last glance at the mayhem while wiping off the remote control in case my finger prints are there before tossing it into a pile of bricks.
Grabbing my backpack and all the necessary stuff, I strutted down the stairs. There was no one from law enforcing agencies nor any emergency vehicle arrived at the scene yet. Some people had gathered there and were still figuring out as to what had happened. I crossed the road and hired a cab asking the driver to get to the airport.
Sharea Faisal looked deserted at that time of the night. I reached airport at 2 am, just right in time. My destination was Johannesburg, South Africa. There were still three hours in my 12-hour flight. I did not need to carry any baggage as I had a furnished apartment in Johannesburg and a beach hut in Durban.
Local Time: 2 p.m.
From the airport, I headed straigh to Mayfair West through Queen’s road where I had a car rental shop. Ghulam Rasool, manager and caretaker of my business and properties in South Africa, was not surprised upon my arrival as he was well aware of my shuttling between the cities. He got up and gave me a hug. He was my childhood friend and I had literally kidnapped him from my village. As I sat down, he made coffee for me and said, “FM, I knew you would come today. Karachi has shut down. Seth Ramzan owned half of the underworld. You should not have taken this contract. Karachi is now a no-go area for you.” He was the only person who called me FM. He loved me like a brother and was always worried about me. I did not say a word and continued sipping my coffee as if it was the most important thing in the whole world.
Seth Ramzan was my biggest hit. I could have easily said ‘No’ to kill him but I was getting too casual when it came to selecting my targets. I was probably nearing my end. I just smiled at him and asked, “How are things going here?” He patted on my hand and replied, “You need not to worry about here. Just go to Durban and relax there for a while. You should not be seen here as well.” He then got up and handing me over his car keys, said, “Go to my apartment and have some rest. First thing you should do in the morning is to drive straight to Durban and FM, do not come back till you get a clearance from me.”
I took keys from him, saluted him with my left hand as I always did in our village school and said, “Ok boss.”
Ghulam Rasool lived next door in the village. A common wall between our homes did not prove much of a barrier for us. We studied in our only village school till 8th grade and then went to the neighbouring village for high school education. Me, Resham and Ghulam Rasool studied together, played together and even ate together. We were welcome in either of our houses at any time of the day. Resham also lived in the same street, just few houses from ours. We were a non-separable trio till grade 8. Resham was not allowed to go to High School but we still played together in the evening. It was then that I fell in love with Resham. We were already engaged as both our fathers were close friends. It was mutually decided that we would be married as soon as I pass my matriculation examination. However, I insisted on studying further and took admission in a college in Ghotki. I wanted to graduate before getting married. Our parents objected to that but Resham was my biggest support. She always supported my every decision. She even backed me when I completed my graduation and wanted to try my luck in Karachi. By now I had lived in a small city and seen Karachi couple of times. I knew the village life had no future. The city of lights was my true calling. By then, my father had passed away and I took my share of land from my brothers.
Resham supported me to establish my life in Karachi and I promised her that I would come back in two to three years. Ghulam Rasool was my only friend who opposed my decision. He knew me perhaps more than myself.
My life in Karachi started with a blood stained bag in my one hand and a pistol in the other. Someone in the crowd had identified my lust for money and followed me to a lonely street. Hearing his footsteps, I turned back. He was a man with curly hair, the one saw me throwing stone at robbers. I immediately took out pistol from my pocket though I did not even know how to hold it right. The man, sensing my reaction, quickly raised his hands, “Don’t shoot. I am here to help you.”
to be continued...