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Some pieces of paper

This short story by Munir Momin has been translated from Balochi by Hoorain Mahrang.

 

No one could tell this corpse belonged to an insane man. I had not seen such a beautiful corpse in my life. I fancied that Dalarm had led his whole life for the purpose that his dead body looked so ravishing. Otherwise, it was even hard for him to live without Rozi, let alone die.

The body of Dalarm was lying at his uncle’s compound and people were coming and going to have a last glimpse. His hair, beard and mustache were as dirty, disarrayed and tangled as they were in his life.

I tried to place my finger at the additional quality that made his body so beautiful, but in vain. I felt as if beauty had been showered upon him like water. In all other ways, he was the same as he was during his life, but he was only more beautiful, much more beautiful. I got out of the yard. I could not convince my heart that such a beauty should be buried.

  • If God tells you to ask for something, what will you want?
  • I… I’ll wish for ten such fingers that must work all day, but nobody must see them.
  • Ten more fingers? What will you do with so many fingers?
  • I will weave a nest with those fingers.
  • A nest?
  • Yes, a nest where my dreams will live on, talk, fight… and sing.

It was the first piece of paper that I picked up and read. But it did not suffice my thirst. It was so brief.

Come, let me tell you about the real matter. It might help unravel the story. Right now, there is a tin box lying in front of me containing some papers, or to be more precise, some pieces of paper.

Dalarm had wanted to write a story for Rozi, but before he did so, Rozi was wedded and sent to another village. And Dalarm began to lose his sanity, slowly and gradually. It all happened so silently that nobody felt the need to ponder over the reason of his madness. In the end, people only realized that Dalarm had gone mad. Just like that.

Dalarm was my neighbour. One day, I saw him coming out of his house in the state of insanity with a box under his arm. He came straight towards me. He gave me the box and said, “Take this. It’s yours.” I asked what was in the box. Instead of responding, he opened the box and showed me its contents. There were only two or three pens and some pieces of paper inside the box. After confirming that there was nothing else in the box apart from some torn papers, I took it home.

Some time later, I sat down to see what those papers were about. Most of the papers were only ticked here and there. Nothing was written on them except for some lines and marks which were indiscernible. Some papers were all blank. Just a few had some writing on them. The writing was clear and readable.

By reading those papers, one could get the idea that Dalarm had tried to pen down the inner atmosphere of a story about himself and a girl named Rozi. At some places, he had written his conversations with Rozi in the dialogue form, but without mentioning names before the respective dialogue. He had just put a dot at the beginning of each dialogue. After reading them, it was not difficult to tell between his and Rozi’s dialogues.

Apart from this, there was no date or page number mentioned on these papers. So it was not possible to tell the order of their writing. I too do not try to arrange them in a particular order. I keep them in whatever order they are, because I’ve come to realize after reading them several times that Dalarm wanted to express the atmosphere of his love story rather than the story itself. Therefore, it is quite logical to keep these papers liberated as it might flare up the soul of the story’s melody.

Now that I have come from having a last glimpse of his body, I feel the urge to finish this work.

1

I don’t know how to measure time in writing, especially when it comes to measuring silence. I have tried to write this paper in a way that it covers one hour. Rozi was here yesterday exactly for one hour.

  • Today I see you infuriated with me.

She turns her face away and says nothing.

Time flows between us like water. We can see each other, but we are not close to each other. I am afraid that Rozi’s silence is taking her away from me.

  • Rozi, if you can hear me then know that your silence is adding to the height of this wall of water. The more you strengthen this wall, the farther you become from me.

She smiles slightly and then puts her finger on her lips to hush me silent.

I failed in the effort to hear the footfall of the flowing time. And then…

  • Just remain like this. God has heard me today. I always prayed that you sit beside me silently and quiescently, looking and hearing me. Nor must you talk neither billow. Wow. Wow.

My rhetorics had ended, and now it was Rozi’s turn. She stared me slightly and turned her face aside allowing the time to flow between us. Time. Time awaited her permission. It moved. Between us. Slowly. Like water. After an hour, Rozi rose from her place, looked at me with a faint smile and then walked away, flowing like waves between me and time.

2

There was no one here before I met you. Just an indifferent world. Apathetic towards me. Like a movie, concerned only with its own happenings. Then you came and completed my loneliness. And I became more mulish and indifferent. This had just begun to happen and you went away.

One would go before the world with torn cloths, but with an incomplete and fragmented loneliness one can neither appear before God nor can face himself. Without you, the world is bustling and indifferent like before. But I… I cannot find myself.

3

She is too good to be explained in my stories. I ponder invariably but cannot figure out how much I love her. I just know she loves me immeasurably. Actually, several seas flow inside her. Whenever I go near her one or the other sea would drown me and I go farther from myself. I cannot see my heart. If someone would ask me now, I don’t know if I love her or not and if I do then how much. But since last few days I feel so restive when I realize that I cannot do anything for her. I am so helpless that I cannot even write a story for her. And Rozi. The sea of her eyes, lips, speech and gait keep flowing in the same manner. I cannot appear before them. I felt bad one day and said:

  • Do you want to take a place in my story?

She laughed and said:

  • Where should I submit a request then?
  • You don’t need to submit a request. Just don’t billow so that I seize you by hand and make you sit somewhere.

She laughed again.

  • If this sea was in my control, I would have erected a tent on an empty field and would have become liberated from you and myself, but it is not to be. You can just see this sea, but it is circulating in my blood and shall I say something? You should take care, my man, because this sea is getting wider and stronger. I am okay with it, but it must not swamp you… hahaha.

4

It was a Monday. We two were sitting. Both of us were speechless. Then she spoke.

  • I want to go for a long journey to find you. I want to set out and go too far.

I became surprised.

  • You are sitting beside me and yet where do you want to travel to find me? Where am I?
  • Yes, right. You are here but today the language of your silence has changed. Your dejection is not calling me today.
  • Solitude is a sea. It changes its depth and width according to every other person. Solitude is playing music as if waves break upon someone. Villages and towns are stagnant around me. They are going and running, but concealed from me because the music of solitude has overwhelmed me.
  • The world has abraded so much that it can be studded in a ring.
  • Whose finger will get this ring?
  • Leave this ugly world and the stained ring. But, you know, I become very uneasy when your fingers entangle my dreams. When the dreams entangle, the tongue intertwine. And look! My tongue is not unraveling. Did you understand? That your fingers…

These were the all pieces of papers in this box that had something written on them and I kept these papers without any arrangement. If there is any tale, season or a beam in these writings it has been manifested. But I want to produce the writing on one of these papers one more time. Then my job will be done.

There was no one here before I met you. Just an indifferent world. Apathetic towards me. Like a movie, concerned only with its own happenings. Then you came and completed my loneliness. And I became more mulish and indifferent. This had just begun to happen and you went away.

One would go before the world with torn cloths, but with an incomplete and fragmented loneliness one can neither appear before God nor can face himself. Without you, the world is bustling and indifferent like before. But I… I cannot find myself.

About Hooran Mahrang

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