Tag Archives: fiction

The Expressions and Their Stories: Part 1

One of the most interesting things to observe when one is walking aimlessly on streets and alleys is the expressions people offer. Take this photo for example. I took it about a month ago, it’s that small shop around the corner that sells candies, cigarettes, betel leaves and breath mints; they are very common in our city.
Now, I am no queen of emotional intelligence, but it appears to me that the shopkeeper IS smiling, but that is not a smile of amusement. He is smiling, but there is contempt in his smile.
What could bring such a smile on his face? Surely, it’s something the customer said.
It could be a remark on politics and corruption- they are two very popular topics in our country.
Or may be the customer just said something that he himself thought was funny, when, in fact, it was not. As most of the shops believe in “we can’t spell success without U” policy, the shopkeeper was just smiling to appear polite. What I thought was contempt was actually nothing but mere boredom.
This kind of shops usually have a very loyal customer base and the shopkeepers develop a close relationship with these customers. It may very well be that he buys half a dozen betel leaves everyday on his way home from his workplace for his old mother who lives with him. Maybe he doesn’t like the fact that his mother is dependent on these leaves, it takes a toll on her overall health, but he cannot make himself talk to his mother about it. His mother has led a very simple life, devoid of any kind of luxury. She has been a very devoted and loving  mother, his son loves her as well and wants her to be happy. But as his job doesn’t pay much, this is as close as she gets to being luxurious.
We might never know for sure why the shopkeeper was smiling like that. But there can be so many interpretations and every single interpretation opens up a new door to a new story.
Why do you think he was smiling? Tell me on the comments! Have a great time interpreting expressions and making up stories!

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Torn

I looked at my husband.
He was crying like a baby, the sides of his face in my hands, his four days old stubble grazing my palms.
At that moment, the line between romantic affection and motherly love wasn’t there anymore and my heart went out to him like he was my own kid.
I felt like I was dying of cancer, not by suicide, and that he was my four year old son.
It was as if he had been looking at the doctors coming at our house for days and although he hadn’t quite figured out what really was wrong yet, he knew in his heart that his mother was going away, somewhere very far.
All I could think of was how he would get very lonely soon.

The Manager

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He sat there all day, with his pen and paper, surrounded by the customers and the cash-memos. The manager of the famous road-side restaurant “Salam Kebab House”, Ahmad left for home each night smelling of burnt meat. He didn’t notice the smell anymore, but his wife, rokaiya, after all these years, still did. She was a petit woman, with the fury similar to the spices they used to make their famous “shik kebab”. People had tears in their eyes from the spices used in making their famous “shik kebab”.
He didn’t want this life for himself. He imagined himself to be a musician, creating music, with his muse, a woman he would call his wife, but would never be able to truly get through the veil of mystery that kind of covered her from everyday monotone.
But he got this life instead, the life of burnt meat. His father, Salam Uddid was as famous for his fury as he was for his kebabs. It is said that one time his pious father literally kicked out a customer from the restaurant because that customer was drunk. When he told his father about his dream of the life of music, people say that Salam Uddin was so mad that his veins were visible on his forehead. Music was strongly prohibited in their religion.
We don’t know what exactly happened next, but after that day Ahmad was never seen anywhere else other than his home and the table of the manager of this restaurant. He learned to conform himself to the rules of this life, married the girl his father chose for him and continued living this life even after it had been 6 years since his father died.
What people don’t say, because they don’t have the necessary knowledge, is that under the cash register, one can find what looks like a regular cheap notebook, that is filled with the lyrics of hundreds of beautiful songs…

To see his little face……I search

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I sit down. Under the shade of a big apartment building, I sit down. Thirst for a glass of water was starting to get to me, but I have been thirsty for years now, for my baby boy’s face, my eyes heat up from not seeing his face for three years. I have a photo of him, but all babies look alike, even if they didn’t, who would have cared enough to set my boy apart? I ask people showing them the picture, but they barely seem to care. I am after all a nobody. My wife tried to make me believe that the “fereshta” (angel of death) took him, but I knew that wasn’t possible. My baby is so strong he can fight lions bare handedly.
But my boy has gone somewhere secret now, somewhere even his father is not allowed to know. But what his baby boy failed to understand was he was the only light in his father’s life. Now that he cannot see him face to face, most of his time is spent shutting his eyes closed. That’s the only way I can watch my baby boy these days.