When There Was Mom And…

Alia slept that night like any other night. Nothing out of the ordinary. A peaceful sleep on a weekday? Stress of the university and yet, a peaceful sleep? That, itself, was extraordinary.

Comfy in the bed, with multiple alarms set, she had her self covered with a blanket. But these alarms were just a formality. Her mom was gonna come wake her up anyway for the morning prayer so despite all those wailing alarms she knew she could steal a few moment more’s sleep.

Her mom would get up, switch on the light of the corridor which connected Alia’s, Alia’s sisters’, and Alia’s parents’ room to the living room, and then get everybody up for the morning prayer.

And then before even any alarm went off, her mom was there waking her up. She didn’t say anything probably due to the multiple Quranic verses she recites after the morning prayers. She slowly removed the blanket from Alia’s face and indicated to her that it was time to wake up.

Alia who always wreaked havoc at being woken early morning when even the sun has not risen, woke up at the first try. So, her mom turned and exited the room and into the dark corridor towards the living room. She must have forgotten to switch on the light. Being an obedient little girl today, Alia got up from her bed and followed her out.

Her mom had already disappeared into the living room but Alia stopped at her door to switch on the corridor light because she was afraid of the dark. As she extended her hand towards the light switch, from her right she heard an alarm go off in her mother’s room and she heard her mom groan at her sleep being ruined.

Alia stopped dead.

Without looking toward the living room she squeaked, ‘Mooom!’

Her mom was so shocked that she forgot she was groaning.


Mom: You are up already? Are you feeling ok?

Alia: Did you just wake up?

Mom: Obviously.

Alia: Why did you not switch on the light?

Mom: I just woke up, Alia.

Alia slithered into her mom’s room and for one whole hour, took refuge on the couch.

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A Night of Surprises Indeed

It was a summer night. And you know how nights are windy, especially summer nights in not so developed areas because of fewer buildings? Well, it wasn’t. The air was still. So it was neither hot nor cold. Just dark. I had been working late at the office and being the scaredy cat I am, I asked my dad to pick me up. So I was sitting in the back of the car for some reason which is odd because I always sit in the passenger seat with my Dad.
Anyway, as we made our way from the office, my Dad took a short cut from an unpaved road which had no streetlights and no houses on either side for, I am guessing, miles. The car was new so at every bump my Dad would mutter angrily or make some kind of comment. He likes talking, my Dad. Naturally, the speed was slow
Suddenly we noticed three silhouettes. A woman with headscarf holding a 3-year-old kid in her arm and a 5-year-old kid by her side signaling for us to stop. My Dad being ever too altruistic stopped right next to her.

The woman: G mein Nadeem Hussain ki bewaa hoon. (I am Nadeem Hussain’s widow)

I don’t like such situations. Especially when I have my iPhone with me. I muttered to my Dad to please not stay long. he ignored me but something in his style, it changed. I could sense it.

The woman: hamein haspatal jana hai, ek emergency hogai hai. Lift de dain. (We have to go to the hospital, there has been an emergency, give us a ride)

I kept urging him quietly to not do that.

My Dad: g zurur bus zara gari pakki road pe le loon phir… (Yes sure. Just let me get onto the tarred road, then…)

And then he started driving at the same speed that he had been driving but this time completely silently. The silhouettes followed us at a short distance.
And then the road ended. The tarred road began. The moment our car got on the road and before I could say anything, my dad slammed his foot on the accelerator and we were off.
I turned to look at the failed hitchhikers and I saw them following us.
We made a turn. They were still following us. They weren’t even getting tired.

I turned to my dad: why did you do that? You never do that. You always help people out. She even introduced herself.

Dad: They have been following us for five minutes, why are they not getting tired? She even has a kid in her arm.

I turned and for sure they were still following us and I could even feel their speed increasing. Now I could feel anxiety kicking in.

Dad: And did you even look at her feet?
They were wrong. Just wrong.

Driving at the fastest speed possible for five minutes we started relaxing.

And then, from the window, I saw a kid’s hand on the edge…

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