Maano :Farooq Sarwar
A short story from Pashto literature
The old man was he with a big turban and long beard, the kitten was moaning and he was listening to the cries. Though the young cat was near but the place was unknown. He was busy in the search and was looking at all sides. At the same moment, he was also listening to the sounds of his footsteps in the large amount of snow.
It was the first time in the winter that the snow was falling from the clouds in the shape of ice-crystals, but heavily. Undoubtedly the fall has begun from the morning and lots of snow had fallen now. It seemed that the whole universe is covered in white color.
The young cat was continuously weeping. It seems that the little one has been separated from her mother, came in the deserted area and then lost her way.
The old man was also noticing the village during this search, which was lying about a mile or half mile, full of trees just resembling a baby’s white dollhouse. A mud room was laid near him, standing alone in the deserted place and it was his dwelling. A few gardens were equally standing near him. The branches of the trees were full of snow, but sometime we observe a bird in it.
Finally he approached the place beside the frozen stream and found the kitten in a pit lies near. The pit was not particularly deep, but a foot and half. The cat was really small and not able to come out. She was thoroughly struggling to climb up on the wet walls of the pit through her nails but the walls were dripping, therefore, she falls down.
The young cat was quite beautiful and its color was white. Suddenly a feeling of love created in old man’s heart; he moved forward and took out the baby from inside. Though both were strangers for each other, the old man worried that the kitten will enter her nails in his hands or bite him, but the young one was civilized, it seems that she was a pet, therefore her reaction was not adverse but she was trembling and feeling cold. In hasty manner, he covered the young cat in his long gray coat and kissed her. Masters of Kitty had put a precious red-colored necklace in her neck, which seems that the family loves her more
“My dear Maano, I know that the cold is teasing you, but my dear I would kill the stupid cold, take you to my room, there is a fireplace, it would warm my baby, I will give milk to her, and then she would not tremble and feel the cold.” The old man whispered and kissed her head.
Though his long police coat was very thick but it was not warming the Maano. Really the baby was feeling the harsh cold, she was trembling bitterly and her position was worsening.
Now he moved hastily towards his room, which was very warm due to fire place with red flames, on first instance he kept the baby near it, then filled a cup with milk from a big jar. The room was spacious enough. Its right corner was filled with dry woods and an iron bed was laid on the left corner near the large window.
An Armchair was laid separately here. Normally seen in the villas of Aristocrat’s in the big cities, it was the routine of the old man to sit on this chair and watches the trees and green mountains stand behind gardens. The Armchair, iron bed, the long coat and the other items were forwarded to him by his son.
After taking milk and get warming, a new life arrived in Maano. At this juncture, she proceeded from trembling legs and observing the strange room with feelings that at present where I am and really I am not in my real home.
Now Maano moved towards him very slowly. At this time the old man was sited on the armchair and he was gazing the Maano with keen interest. The young cat was really beautiful and lovely, but her eyes were very attractive. Now waves of love were arisen in the heart of the old man again. He took the baby cat in to his lap. The cat never reacted adversely that she lies in the lap of a stranger. She rubbed her back on the chest of the old man abruptly, and then quickly climbed up on his right shoulder. This action of Maano made him happy. Now in a real sense he indulged in her love and laughed aloud. Maano continued her expression of love and again rubbed her face on his face too. This other action created life in the dead soul of the old man. Really it was a memorable occasion of love for him because no body loved him for long. His heart had these kinds of feelings many years ago, when his only son was quite little, but now he was far away from him for long.
At this time, Maano jumped from his shoulders and started playing in the room. Some time she dropped the one thing and some time the other. He had not minded the naughtiness of the kitten, but he was enjoying it with the smiling face. He was laughing loudly on the each act of the baby as a mad man.
A picture was hanging on the wall. Suddenly Manoo jumped towards the picture to take advantage of it, but the old man rushed towards her very quickly.
“No Maano No, this picture is very precious to me, you know it is the picture of my only son, please don’t drop it, other wise it will be smashed, really both the frame and glass would be broken. You know Kitty it is my only wealth in the whole world. It is the only thing, which makes me happy and forces me to live.”
Now he picked the picture and again sited in the armchair.
Really It was a picture of his son, who was dressed in the clean uniform of a police official and he was in his forty or more, a modern lady was sited beside him with modern English dress ,her open red hairs were put down on her shoulders and no scarf was on her head . Three beautiful children were in the laps of their parents with handsome dresses. Now the old man kissed his son and grandsons madly but amazingly he was showing his hatred towards his daughter in law.
The age of his son was just one year, when unluckily his wife died. He raised his son in bitter,difficult and hard situations. He was a farmer by profession in the fields of village’s elder the Big Khan, who always ridiculed and insulted him that why he was educating his son. According to Khan, the son of a farmer should be a farmer. But he educated his son in village’s school. The boy was clever and hard worker. He joined the police after passing the special examination of C.S.S and very soon reached the highest post. The old creature was a dreaming man that he will be prosperous now and the exhausted days of his life would be vanished. Nonetheless, unluckily his dreams were unfulfilled because his son thoroughly remained faraway from him in different cities because the nature of his job. It was the day of happiness, when he listened that his son arrived in his own city, he moved without delay towards his son’s beautiful bungalow in the cant area. During this period he remained puzzled that why his son did not inform him about his arrival but on first instance he became depressed in the house of his son because surprisingly his son did not introduce him with his three children that the old man is their grand father but called him as an old man from his village came there for blessings.
He spent the night in the dirty room of the cook despite of the rest house of the bungalow. The whole night he had not slept because the rats were playing, running and making the noise. Ironically his grandchildren did not visit their grandpa again. The cook served his dinner morosely and then brought the breakfast at early morning.
At this time, his son also attended him, who was in his clean and beautiful uniform and was playing with his black stick, which was making him magnificent.
“Dear Baba, please listen to me, do not come again here, my wife is very narrow-minded and intolerant. She is the doctor and is the modern and liberal woman of the city. She does not like the interference of others in her private life and households, but do not bother about her, I am your real son, I will care you. Each and every month my staff will come towards you and they will give the every necessity of life and a huge amount of money too.
The behavior of his son was so insulting and hopeless. The entire situation was unexpected and miserable. His sensitive heart was not admitting the fact. The whole time he remained surprised that what he is listening from his only and dear son and is it reality or nightmare. He raised his son with the conviction that he will spend a life of rest and his days of difficulties would be vanished. Ironically everything was adverse, unanticipated and unacceptable.
O Lord, what is this, how insensitive and thoughtless is my own son, my own blood, I never thought it. He shocked and thought.
Suddenly the cook hinted him to leave. Really it was the time, he became emotional. He was near to weeping and indented to break his head on the wall because all the misshapen was seeing his own son. Really it was a tragedy for him that he was dragging from the house of his own son, but he left the charming world of his son with brave heart for whom he watched a lot of dreams. Unluckily all those dreams were broken now.
It was the day when he had not visited his son again. The colored picture with fascinating frame was sent by his son. His son was helping him throughout and his special police jeep and staff were visiting him each week. Though he had thousand of rupees and each and every facility of the life but in a real sense he was a poor man. Really he was the miserable man who was facing the loneliness and dullness of life.
Now the games of Maano and specially her love with him were increased, which made him emotional. Now his every action was abrupt and beyond of his control. He putted his head on the frame of the picture and started weeping with disheartened manners. The tears were a lot and his cries were aloud. It was good that no one was watching him. Otherwise the person also weeps with him.
Now he thought that the mother of the kitty and specially the family which fostering the pet will be concerned about her. I will take the Maano and then left her in the streets of the village. She will find her home very soon, because she is clever and would recognize her house immediately. If she failed her mother will come up to her, there fore he cleaned his tears. His eyes were red and he did not know the fact about their changed color.
He loved the Manoo, put and covered her in his long police coat. Now he left his room and moved to wards the village. Amazingly both loved each other extremely on their way.
“My lovely kitty, beautiful baby and white child, where were you, why you had not seen me before, why we missed each other, though it was our first and memorable meeting but it was good.” The old man was grumbling and involved with her in the depths of his heart.
He left the Maano in the first street of the village. There were silence everywhere, the cold was in full swing and the smokes were coming from the chimneys of the houses. At that time, a distance was making between them. He was still gazing the young cat, making the hints of kissing towards her. Now the far away baby cat also sited in the snow and watched the old man in a surprising way, who was separating from her now. How much he loved her in a single day from others, she thought. Really, it was amazing to her.
Next day, early in the morning the gardeners of the surroundings were surprised because the door of the old man was still closed. It was his routine on each early morning to come out from his room and cherished the gardeners and farmers and then invites them for good tea with gossips and laughter. They still waited, but the door remained closed and was not opened.
Now they lost their patience and go towards the room, firstly called him loudly but after no response they broke the door.
When they entered the room, they surprised because the old man was sited in the armchair. His breath and heart were silent, he was dead, a broken frame with colored picture was lying under his shoes, now in pieces and parts, it means that he broke it. Amazingly a baby cat was sited in his lap, with her white color and beautiful eyes and gazing them with surprise.