Saying Goodbye

January 28, 2009
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Saying Goodbye

If you look at him, he is your average looking man. Hair ruffled, big, brown eyes full of distress, dark circles the result of many sleepless nights. Wrinkles on his face, because of all the worries and problems. A beard that has not been shaved for a month now, not because of choice but because he has no money to buy razors. His clothes are old but clean. Clad in a black, slightly ragged shalwar kameez, he stands on a footpath across Sunshine Hotel, his face, expressionless.

What you don't know is what is in his mind and what is inside those clothes. Clung to his body is a time bomb, ticking away as he stands there, looking at what he is about to blow up. He smells the fresh air for the last time, hears the birds chirping for the last time, touches the rough skin of a tree trunk for the last time. This is his goodbye to the world. In his mind, he thinks of his family. How rough times have forced him to sacrifice himself and thousands of other people for his family. They had promised that they would pay his family a million rupees if the attack was successfully carried out. He wanted a good future for his children, an eye operation for his old mother and a smile on his wife's face that he longed to see.

The day plays in his mind like a video tape. This morning, his mother had massaged his head, seeing him stressed out and tired. His wife had made his favorite dish. He felt like a prisoner about to be hanged having his last meal of choice. His sons were forcing him to play cricket with them and before he left the house to face his destiny, his only daughter asked him for a doll. How were they to know that he was never coming back, that the mother will never again be able to massage her son's head, that the wife would never be able to fight with her husband over money issues, that the children will never be able to feel the joy of winning an arm wrestling match against their father and that the daughter may get her doll but never her father.

He moves towards the hotel, one step at a time, not sure of what to do, but he goes on, saying goodbye to his family, his friends, his memories, his life and the world.





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