The sun was pouring heat in abundance though it was only 9:00 AM. He could see the tall reddish minarets of Sunehri Mosque from where he was standing. He walked passed the General hospital, crossed the road and jumped on to the pavement next to the stacked shops of fabrics, footwear and bags. The businesses were opening up and the hustle and bustle, typical of that area had already been started.
He was getting breathless again. After a short walk he started sweating profusely. He entered the pharmacy; the relatively cool atmosphere of the shop soothed his nerves.
“I feel my heart is drowning in the whirlpool. I have difficulty breathing. My mind seems to be severing from the surroundings.” He told him.
“Are you married?”
That question hit him. He felt his pupils piercing through his. He wanted to say physicality brings intricacies or may be it’s the other way round. But he settled for the straight one. Without batting his eyes he replied, “No”.
The man picked up a small bottle of German homeopathic medicine. The array of medicines, in small, well packed bottles was lined up neatly in the shelves.
“Four drops in water, four times a day before meals.” He directed.
He got the bottle and left. He turned right; kept on walking on the pavement that lead towards the main Saddar road. He was engulfed by the same feeling again. The wave of heat would arise from his toes and travel through his spine to the back of his brain. He would lose his balance now and then. I have to keep walking I won’t faint then, he reiterated himself. He looked around, on the main road to his left; the over-decorated public buses would zoom past, wailing the pressure horns. It was all so familiar. Nothing has been changed in the twenty-five years. Or perhaps he was hesitant to realize that things have been certainly changed to worse. He was a kid, would walk on the same pavements holding his father’s baby finger, trying to match up with his pace.
“Father… my shade, my tree…” He recalled. He yearned for the shade… a hot sun was drilling through his skull. He took a deep breath inhaling the polluted air.
The sight of a green and white Pakistani flag in the hands of a young school girl caught his attention. He remembered every year on 14th of August he would decorate his house with small paper flags. The lime green painted walls with green and white flags would be a sight to watch. He would even decorate the hedges; it was actually his heart that was adorned with the fervor of patriotism.
That was way back… it is 2008. He felt dizziness. I have to keep moving.
After a short while he started running, bumping into people, swaying like a reed. His vision got blurred and he fell down, inundating in the depths unknown. He tried to keep his eyes open but mind was losing rationality. He saw a group of people encircling him; their heads looked like big black dots. His grip tightened on the bottle of medicine and his teeth grinding persistently.
The people were urging each other to take him to hospital, someone asked to bring some water first. A few men knelt down and lifted him. His body was heavy like a rock, his senses were about to suspend… but before he completely lost awareness, he felt probing fingers of someone in the side pocket of his shirt. He wanted to speak but his tongue was frozen.
We are one nation. They are our own people, we have the same skin color, we speak the same language, and we share the same sky above our heads within the boundaries of this city and country. It is all about green, about patriotism; about integrity and respect…
His mind was whirling in the rhetoric while the swift, expert fingers had already got what they were looking for.