LAHORE

After spending days in solitude, I finally decided to get out and took to Old Anarkali for giving some fresh air to my lungs.

Longing to have a bowl of falooda, I perched on one of the chairs placed for dinners and ordered a bowl.

After being served, I served my mouth with a falooda spoon but it disappointed my taste buds that were anticipating something very sweet, making me realised that I forgot to mix the sugar dumped in the bottom of the bowl.

While I was stirring the spoon, a shivering voice distracted my concentration and I had to widen my apertures towards the sound as it was dark there.

A woman was standing next to me with holding a sleeping child in her lap.

Without giving a second thought, I immediately said “Muaf Karo” (forgive me), the reply we usually offer to beggars. Surprisingly, she took my excuse immediately and walked away, rubbing her slippers against the tile floor. Making a screeching sound, she faded out into darkness.

Suddenly, a stream of queries crept into my mind ... What would be the fate of the baby sleeping in her lap? Will he/she ever be enrolled into a school or be forced to adopt the profession of his/her mother? What kind of a role society would have for him/her? Would there an identity crisis for the infant?  And why our politicians who can spend billions in so-called development programmes but fail to see the miseries of the slum dogs whose numbers are threateningly rising.

And where are the uncountable local and international NGOs whose officials roam around in luxury vehicles but can not see ‘the untouchables’ from their tinted glasses.

And why our mainstream media - a champion of people’s rights which has enough time for broadcasting theatrical talk shows and countless breaking news - has no space for the stories of the underdogs.

Unable to resist these questions, my realist mind responded the way I did to the woman - forgive me - and I turned my head to melting falooda like a pigeon who closes its eyes when sees the cat and the cat becomes invisible!