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The Bike


Ehsan Elahi Ehsan

"Baba, where is your cycle’ My grand daughter Noor asked me. It was 7.00 in the morning. We had just come out of the room and taken a few steps in the courtyard. When I did not answer her she repeated ‘Baba where is your cycle’. I was picking up Ali as well. He was also with me this night. He heard Noor’s question and said " Baba jaana hai". This was a code phrase by which he meant that he had to sit with me on the bike. When I did not answer Noor the second time, she was agitated, and angrily said "Baba I am asking where is the cycle’. This time I could not evade her question because I knew she would begin crying. "Noor, our cycle is lost". I answered "What is this "lost". I was in a difficulty to explain. She was waiting my answer. "It had been stolen by some body’. I said. Baba what are you saying, what is this "stolen" I was again put to test. Ali was repeatedly saying "Baba jaana hai’

Noor and Ali are my grand daughter and grand son. Noor is four years and Ali is two and a half years. Bot are very much involved with me and they prefer to remain with me most of the time. I tried to divert Noor’s attention. " Let us hurry up. Your Papa and Mama are waiting. They have prepared for you very nice apple juice. You walk ahead of me and Ali and I will be following you" "But where is the cycle", she asked again. She was asking for the cycle because I always seated them before me on it. I had got two seats fixed for each and they enjoyed the ride very much. Actually I have two houses. One is a smaller one and it is in the heart of my village Tatral, my native village, and the other is outside. The second house is a bigger one. I pass the night in this house. My wife, a son and a daughter live here. Noor’s papa and mama that is my son and daughter-in-law live in the smaller house. One hour in the morning before going to Academy and two hours in the evening after coming back from the Academy, I visit them and play with Noor and Ali. Noor and Ali sometimes accompany me and pass the night with me. Noor agreed to walk and Ali I was already picking to my side. There is a 10 minutes walking distance between the two houses. I kept them busy in different talks and reached our home. My daughter-in-law Uzma Sadaf had already prepared the breakfast and after a stay of one hour there, I started for the Academy.

All the day in the academy I remained disturbed. My bike kept sticking to my memory. I did not know that I was so much attached to. Its whole figure revolved before my eyes. Its handle, the left side of it stained with blackish colour, how did it happen I don’t know. Its right hand plastic filling where I made grip was half broken. Its rims a bit dusty and it spokes rusty. And the two little seats that I had fitted for Noor and Ali, Noor’s of blue colour and Ali’s of green colour. Its chain cover half removed. Its chain greasy and oily and its rattle which used to become musical some times. Most of all the chats which Noor, Ali and I enjoyed on the way. And Ali’s mischief with Noor. His tapping on her back and her asking me to forbid Ali. Till evening I was much tired. I came to my home where I used to stay at night. The loss of the cycle on the 25th of August on the local election day. My leaving of the cycle on the gate of the election camp house and forgetting it altogether till the next morning. I tried to search it but in vain.

After supper I went to bed with all these memories and was soon asleep. I felt that Noor and Ali were sleeping with me. All of a sudden they awoke up. Noor was repeating the same question "Baba where is the cycle and Ali was saying, "Baba jaana hai" I was pained to see their wistful eyes. I could not bear it. I started weeping. I could not control my grief for the loss of my bike. Suddently I made a cry and with this my eyes opened. There was no Noor, no Ali with me.. I was all alone. I jumped out of my bed and walked out of the room. I wanted to embrace them and console them. I was missing them too. I had taken a dozen steps when suddenly I stopped. Is it, was it, a dream or a reality?. The sparrows were twittering on the trees and I could feel a living life all around. O, my God, this was all a dream, a long dream. I immediately unlocked the room beside my sleeping room to see the cycle. Thanks God my bike was standing there!

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