A love forsaken.. A bond neglected


These days, there are many things that you don’t get to see often.  People writing letters. Children playing outdoors.  Someone going out of their way to help another. Children looking after their parents.

Now the last bit I think, is becoming harder to spot, each passing moment of our selfish, valueless lives. When you actually do see something out of the ordinary, it tends to leave an ever lasting impression. There they were, entering a restaurant; A frail, petite, very old lady, walking slowly with the help of, (who I assumed was) her 50-something son. The entire sight was refreshing yet intriguing. Like distorted reflections of life beneath the ocean, as you peer through ripples of water tirelessly circling away. Her wrinkled face, drooping exterior, and bewilderment at her surroundings betrayed her age, which I suppose must have been above eighty. The two spoke another language, but their language of love was enough for me to understand.

He asked her what she wanted to eat. She gave a confused reply. He left and returned with the menu card. That did not help either. This time he spent a good five minutes or so, explaining her options by speaking closely in her right ear. Her expression changed from confused to downright frustrated. The son listened and helped her out with the patience of a mountain. After much discussion, he finally left to place the order. In the meanwhile, she surveyed her surroundings like a child in an unfamiliar place; excited yet fearful. As our eyes met, I smiled and said hi. She passed a scrunched, sweet, satisfied smile back at me. I felt tears well up. I wanted to tell her how lucky she was.

Parents expect a lot of from their children. That’s how it was, is, and always will be. I am a mother myself and I’ll be darned if I don’t end up doing the same! Despite knowing that the love a parent gives can never be reciprocated in the same manner by the child. Essentially, selfless love is the parents’ forte! No son, no daughter can ever repay their parents’ blood and sweat.  But that surely does not give us, the children, a one-way ticket to ‘That’s no longer my problem’ land. That does not mean we can turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to our parents whenever we deem suitable. That certainly does not mean we can’t pluck out a few hours from our so-called busy schedules, for them, and them alone.

Maybe its time to collect all those years of lost time and wrap them up with sheepish little bows of gratitude, just for our parents. That precious heart-to-heart over tea, or that one-on-one shopping spree; that moment of silence shared together, or that casual walk in the park; they just want their babies near by. Sadly, even that is too much to ask for these days.  In countries like Pakistan, countless children like myself, have moved continents away from their parents, in hopes of securing better futures, or whatever that really means. Some are lucky enough to have their parents move too. But many are left to question their own beliefs, values, and priorities when they encounter such taxing situations. In most cases, I see parents at the loosing end. They send off their children, emotions tainted with bitter sweet sorrow, topped with a vicious lump stuck down their throats. And if they decide to move too, then they do so willingly but with an even bigger lump. How easy is it to give up a life you have lived forever? Yet how easy is it to live away from beings you call your life?

So many questions. Hardly any convincing answers.

Like always, I choose to ignore the the so-called facts. I choose to hide my head in the sand and pray. I refuse to accept how ‘normal’ this is in the eyes of many. I refuse to grow up. I dream of days of reunion. I hope for a time when I can bring smiles to their faces again through the little things; because honestly, nothing big can be expected from a selfish child. I yearn for a time when my parents will make everything better again, as they did whenever I shed a tear and cried out their names.

It isn’t enough, but its as true as it can be. I love you mama and baba.



Short Story – A hoping, hopping Robin

Daily Prompt: Moment of kindness

Describe a moment of kindness, between you and someone else — loved one or complete stranger.

I watched in awe as she flew by with perfection. Wind soaring beneath her wings, carrying her forward like an invisible hand showing the way. To her, my mother, that freedom was bliss. To me, it was an impossible feat. I was the odd one out. My siblings were older and normal. I was not, by most standards. While they flew to their feather’s desire, plucking straw for their nests or snatching worms for their stomachs, I just sat and fantasized on my favorite drooping branch. I felt as if the decaying offshoot was a reflection of myself; wilting yet stubbornly alive. Sitting there somehow made me feel powerful enough to dream. I dreamed of happily singing along my brothers and sisters. I dreamed of flying early in the morning to catch some fresh breakfast. I also dreamed of  dying and of shedding both my wings; the healthy and the abnormally short one.

We lived on the oldest oak tree in the park. People scurried about like ants. Jubilant music flowed from ice cream trucks. Excited dogs ran besides their owners and the dreadful cats. Lots and lots of cats. I spent a large part of my day trying not to fall off the branch and into some odd cat’s sneering, smelly mouth. The thought of its whiskers pinching my flesh was particularly disturbing. Though some days I contemplated jumping on purpose. Fortunately those moments ended as soon as I saw my delicious lunch wiggling in my mother’s beak. I loved to eat. My sister often told me I would end up a fat Robin. Fat, sick, ugly, useless…. was an endless list I secretly loved adding words to.

Mother’s stash of hope was as inexhaustible as the number of worms creeping up; at the right place, right time. When I first discovered I had a ‘bad’ wing by birth, she gave me hope. When I was ridiculed by others in the family, she assured me things would change. She was right, but not quite the way I had hoped she would be.

One day, as I was waiting on my favorite branch, the rays of sunlight seemed dimmer than usual, like the weakening pulse of a heart, limping towards silence. I saw neighboring birds fly on by in a hurry. I felt sick. Something was wrong. She was late. I would’ve been starving, if it were any other day. But it was not. I dozed on and off, sitting alone on that branch, shivering like a crumpled leaf in the wind. That night, I dreamed of her gloriously descending from the sky, engulfing me in her warm, cozy wings. I dreamed of our flight together.

Night turned into day. My fellow birds cheerfully chirped across the park.  I felt hopeful of her arrival. Hope soon turned into despair, then sheer desperation. I peered down from the tree. Everything was dead slow. I saw no cats and no people. I thought about jumping down. I couldn’t fly but I could always hop. A hoping hopping Robin. I would’ve smiled at such clever word play if it were any other day. But it was not.  I jumped on the lower branch and onto the next one; one hop after the other and I was finally on the ground. In one feathery piece of dread.

Time passed in slow motion. I heard life ahead. Children and their parents were happily walking along the pebbly walkway. I remember sitting with mother and watching life pass us by. I remember her telling me about how kind some of these humans were. I remember listening to children’s laughter and thinking to myself, “That sure is a kind laughter”!

I suddenly snapped out of my dreams and saw a pretty little girl with dark brown curls you could get lost in. She held a scruffy doll clinging closely to her chest. She sent a wave of warmth to my heart. She stopped midway and noticed something. I followed her gaze to a flowery bush a few steps ahead. I jumped on further.  She gasped with dismay at the same time as I almost fainted with horror. There lying stone cold on her back was my mother. Her beak wide open as if the last word on her mouth was hope. The girl hurriedly ran ahead and picked her up. I could see a tear rolling down the girl’s cheek. She caressed my mother with her soft hand. She even kissed her on the feathers. She did everything I would have done. I hopped on near. She grabbed a little stick and made her way onto a small dirt patch next to the bush. She dug a hole and gently placed my mother in it. She covered it carefully and placed a pebble on top. She stood there watching the tiny grave when her father called: “Hope! Come here sweetheart. It’s time to go home!”. She brushed away her tears and ran to join her father.

From then on, I knew one thing. That moment of kindness was enough for me to survive. My mother had given me hope and the will to live all these years. And now this gentle soul was to do the same. I hopped on behind her, as fast as I could.

Fast, hoping, hopping Robin.