Chapter 4- Sakib
Gray clouds were lingering over the sky, with small specks of sunlight peeping through. The air around Sakib smelt rancid as if someone had burnt people alive on the very land he loved. The gray clouds above began to downpour, it seemed as if heaven was filled with remorse over the loss of such innocence from this world. Never had it ever crossed Sakib’s mind that he would be leading his daughter’s funeral procession. He always imagined that a day would come when Sakeena would be drenched in the redness of henna not in the crimson of her own blood. He would lead his daughter who would adorn the traditional red bridal dress ready to meet the love of her life. Never had the thought crossed Sakib’s mind that the day would come when not red, but white would be this bride’s dress sending her off to meet her maker. No pain is worse; no suffering is more severe than one faced by a parent when burying their child.
If only I knew this would happen I would have never sent her off. I would have sheltered her; protected her. She was so good and so kind, how could another human being have done such an atrocious act? She was God sent and now I have to give her back. I could have stopped her from going to work that day. If only I had dropped her off to work; If only I was with her. If only...
Situations spiraled in Sakib’s head putting pieces together of what could have been done to save his daughter. There were many “ifs” and ”buts" that were screaming in his head. His sweet Sakeena, the chirping bird whose laughter he came home to after a long day’s work in the fields.
“Sakib saab" a raspy voice interrupted Sakib’s thoughts. It sounded brutish, laced with the scent of cheap tobacco and a bit something that one shouldn’t have so early in the morning. Sakib turned to see a plump man standing with a baton cradled under his arm chewing what seemed like tobacco. He was wearing khaki pants and a black button down shirt with the name ‘Faheem’ written in bold white letters. He was chewing away, obnoxious sounds of squish, squish spraying from his mouth.
“Yes”, Sakib replied wondering what was going on and why this man was standing in his field staring at him with his beady black eyes while his voluminous mustache danced on his upper lip from the ongoing assault to the tobacco in his mouth.
Faheem spat out the tobacco and cleared his throat, making a slight cough sound. “Sakib saab, I am head constable Ashraf Faheem from Kharian Police Station. A boy from your village called the station to report a death. I have come to check on the orders of my station head officer saab”. Sakib just stared at the man in front of him unable to comprehend the words spraying from the plump man’s mouth. It took all his will and strength to raise his hand towards the opening of the corn field to indicate where he needs to go. Ashraf Faheem’s eyes ran across Sakib’s lift arms and followed their direction. He walked into the corn field that was dense until an opening was found. Unbeknownst to Constable Faheem were eyes staring at him has he made his way to the clearing. Faheem was left with eyes wide open as he saw in front of him a young woman dressed up as a bride. She was hanging from something that looked like a cross, but for some reason it was upside down. Her hands tied; no nailed, over head with eyes still wide open staring down. Faheem crossed over closer to take a better look, but there was a horrendous stench that lit his nostrils on fire. He swayed back, unable to bear the stench any longer he covered his nose and began breathing through is mouth. Faheem could no longer take the site of the crime scene, it was too much for him.
I didn’t sign up for this! This is just too much to bear. Who could do such a thing. So many questions were be-gurgling through Faheem’s head. He quickened his pace to get out of the corn field, practically running to get out and breath in some fresh air. As he made is way out he say Sakib still standing in the position he left him, his right arm pointing towards the field with his head down. Faheem couldn’t take the site of him. Usually, he would have told a victim to hush-hush as these police and court proceedings were just too much paper work for the station moharars. But this was beyond his imagination that anyone would defile another human being in such way. With a heavy heart and deep sigh, Constable Faheem took out a silver tin from his pocket, it was his stash of Senator cigarettes that he kept for special days of happiness or sadness. Today, was a deep sadness that penetrated his inner humanity, it was a feeling he never felt in 30 years of service. He lit up his cigarette and inhaled a deep puff, with his cigarette in his left hand he took out his flip phone from his right. The station was on speed dial and it immediately connected, “hmm, chotay, tell SHO saab that he is needed immediately and call the rescue department to send an ambulance, I’ll SMS you the address”. Faheem turned to Sakib, he quickly puffed at his cigarette before approaching him.
“Sakib saab, listen to me very carefully. You need to file a first-information report, a FIR immediately. Please do not delay it in any way. Please”. Sakib stared at him blankly, all he heard was FIR and he collapsed right at the feet of the constable. The air around Sakib became too heavy to breath, the blue sky was making him dizzy and then everything around him went dark