Tag: death

Finish that jigsaw puzzle.

Two children had an early morning today. They decided not to disturb their parents and played a game of jigsaw puzzles between the two of them.They couldn’t even complete the game, it was time for school. Grudgingly, they left the game half completed, on their dining table, and left for school. Their mother smiled at them from the door, reminded them to finish their lunch which she had prepared like everyday, so lovingly.
But then, they had an early night as well. Hours before night was to come. It is 5 pm. They are not back yet. The jigsaw puzzle remains unfinished. The only difference-they’re a little wet, and very salty.


Today has been tragic. A school of Peshawar, Pakistan was attacked by some ruthless, heartless, vile militants. A hundred children died. For nothing. A hundred stories like the one above. A hundred early nights. Way too early. Let this not be about a school, a city, a province, a country, or a religion. Let this be about those children. Let this also be about their teachers, about the people who died trying to save them. Let this be about bleeding hearts. Let this be about dead little humans, and about alive little humans. Let this be about this tragedy. Cry. Be remorseful. Depress yourself. Let everything be gloomy. Let the sun vanish, let the clouds go grey, let the dark prevail.
And then think of those children. Think of their rosy cheeks, bright smiles, colourful eyes, beautiful lives. Let that colour your life. Breathe it in. Breathe them in. For their souls are now all around you. Let that colour seep in, absorb it. Then make their deaths worthwhile. Finish that jigsaw puzzle.

Her favourite sound in the entire world

Maleeha grew up without a father. On a cheerful, sunny afternoon of her fourth year, her father had passed away silently, in his sleep. The doctors said it was a painless, natural death.
Maleeha was sleeping between her parents at that time, under the single, whirring fan of their bedroom, on a lazy Sunday. The echoing sound of Azaan for the Asar prayers roused her from sleep and she blinked to adjust to the sunlight filling the room. She tilted her head slightly and reached out to tap her father’s shoulder. Her father was a light sleeper and usually a gentle tap on the shoulder was all that was needed to wake him up. When he didn’t open his eyes and squint at her in that usual, funny way which always made Maleeha laugh, she hopped on top of him and kissed his cheek. Surely, that would rouse him! And then when that didn’t work either, she decided it was time to pull out the bigger guns. So after stealing a quick glance at her oblivious mother, Maleeha started jumping up and down on her father’s tummy. A few seconds of that woke her mother up, but her father remained asleep. Suddenly, a wild thought came into Maleeha’s mind and her eyes widened mid-jump. She stopped and leaned down. She put her head on her father’s chest, where just two days ago he had told her his heart was. At that time he had pulled Maleeha close, her head on his chest, so she could hear his heartbeat. She had told him that it was her favourite sound in the entire world and asked if he could please record it for her so she could listen to it on their new computer. And he had laughed heartily. Then he had told her she could just put her head to his chest when she wanted to hear it. But at this moment, when she put her head to his chest, she heard nothing.

After listening to silence intently for a few seconds, she asked her mother if hearts stopped beating when people slept. Her mother told her she was probably listening at the wrong place and called out to he husband that it was time for Asar and he needed to wake up. When he didn’t stir, she called out again and shook him. Still no response. That was when she became worried. She pulled Maleeha off of him and put her own head to his chest. No heartbeat. She checked his pulse where there was none. She called out to him again and again, in disbelief and panic, frantically. She shook his arms. Tried again in vain. After a few minutes of this, she just lay there beside him, holding a weeping four-year old Maleeha, trying to think. But what does one think and how, when their husband just dies all of a sudden, after a promise of taking them out in the evening after waking up?
Eventually, Maleeha asked her mother what they would do now. Her mother got up and called her brother, told him, and then lay back in bed with Maleeha snuggled close to her. The child showed more maturity than could be expected of a four-year old. Her father had died, and she was trying to be brave about it. But for several years after that, all she could think about was that she only got to hear her favourite sound in the entire world once. And that she could never hear it again.


Every time she sins

Every time she sins
Her heart roars in protest
Every time she sins
It dies a little
Every time she sins
It bleeds a little
Every time she sins
She muffles its voice
Every time she sins
She pushes it under
Every time she sins
Her heart cries
And every single time
She wipes its tears
And persists.


You only die once

I died an hour ago. It was crucial, but not because of what I was going through… No, I was hopeful of a good eternal life. It was very painful watching my only son sitting beside my deathbed, crying quietly and discreetly. It was excruciating feeling my mother’s sobs as she clutched me to her chest. It was pure agony watching my husband’s blank face. He was not crying, he was not showing grief, he was just staring at me. Silently, hauntingly, intently, as if willing me to stay. And when I took my last breath, he nodded at me.… Giving me permission to go, assuring me that he would take care of everything and everyone that I was leaving behind, promising me that he would be fine.

Now I was being covered in white from head to toe, after being given my final bath. A tear landed on my shoulder as my husband lifted up the white covers for one last look. He had promised me he would be brave. I had told him exactly how I wanted my funeral to be… “Hold a very small funeral, but make sure there are many at the final prayer… Don’t let anyone cry very loudly, and don’t wait more than 2 hours to bury me”. He had listened very quietly. I knew it was exceedingly painful for him, but he needed to hear this. He needed to be ready. He had to stay strong for the rest of the family. I had also asked him to make sure my assets are divided fairly.. I had always hated family feuds over assets and estate.

My biggest worry before death was my son. He was everything a mother would dream of. But he had refused to talk to me about my death. He didn’t want to accept it. And right now… I could see him in his room, sitting in a corner, all guards down… He looked devastated. Face tear-stained, knuckles white, jaws clenched, hair messed up. My dear boy… Just two days ago he had brought me a journal and a pencil. “Ma, write in this about your days. You’ll laugh about your worries when all this is over and you’re well again”, he said, hope exuding from his words. My heart ached for his innocence and inevitable despair. He had tough years ahead of him, but I know he would be okay. He would go on to become a good man. He would make me proud.

Then I saw my mother again. She hadn’t left my side since an hour before my death. She was strong, but she hadn’t stopped crying since then. The room was cold and she was shivering but she refused to move. She had been by my side every step before I died, and she was beside me now. But she couldn’t accompany me any further… She had told me a week earlier that she couldn’t believe that her youngest was dying before all, before herself! She had given me strength to bear with life and looking at her now, I felt as if I had drained her of all of it. She looked frail, defeated, and so vulnerable.

The door opened and my husband came in, followed by my dear son. He told mother gravely, that it was time for the funeral prayers and then the burial. She looked at him desperately, and then at me longingly. Then she said a prayer for me as she always did when I would go out, and gestured for him to take me away.

There were no tears then, just prayers. A while later, I was being lowered into my grave. I felt dirt fall on my coffin. And then I remembered; I was dead. You only die once. And so, I returned to God, as was inevitable and foretold.

~By Moniba Mehboob.


Goodbyes are not forever: A Gift for you

I’ve decided to take a break from blogging. I think I’ll start again in December maybe. But i’m not sure. So I wanted to leave you all with something amazing. Something powerful, beautiful, productive and worth your time. so here goes:


I’d love to hear what you think of it.

I saw her. She was there.


I was there.

I saw her.

She was smiling.

And talking to people.

And laughing at jokes.

Nodding her head at  whatever they said.

Shaking it at every lamentable event.

Fussing with her scarf every minute, just as she always did.

I was there.

I saw her.

She was walking around.

Meeting people.

Hugging and kissing those she loved.

Playing with the children.

Giving them sweets, as she always did.

I was there.

I saw her.

She was alive.

And then I saw her.

She was still there.

She was dead.


“Don’t cry, mommy…”

She was here just a minute ago. And now she’s gone.

I called out for my little girl. But got no response. She had a habit of hiding from me, whenever I left her alone even for a little while. I never understood that. I looked under the sofas, but I knew she wouldn’t hide anywhere that obvious. She was clever that way. I checked in the kitchen cabinets, but there was no sign of her there either. I looked out of the window, but couldn’t see her in the garden. She wouldn’t go there anyway, the wet grass bothered her. I didn’t look for her outside, because I was sure she wouldn’t go out. She never did feel comfortable out on the streets. She was never the adventurous type. Then I looked for her in her own bedroom, but she wasn’t there. I checked her favourite hiding spot in the wash basket, but she wasn’t there either. Now I was starting to get worried.

She’d usually giggle from her hiding spot, just for the fun of it. But today, I could hear no giggles. I’d looked in every room, and every one of her past hiding spots. She was only six. Where else could she hide?… I called her name again, and again. And then rechecked all the rooms. Seriously worried now, I ran to my room to call my brother. And just when I stepped in… I saw her, getting up from the very tiny space behind my bedside table. She was rubbing her eyes, and not looking at me. I called her name, she still wouldn’t look at me. She never avoided or ignored me. Circumstances hadn’t allowed her to. But she seemed lost at that moment. As if she was looking for something, but had just realized that she would never find it. My little girl looked so lost… I knelt in front of her, and forced her to look at me. She just stared back. It was a very mature look for a six year old. I asked her what was wrong, only to be met with silence once again.

I looked at her carefully for a long while… And then hugged her tight. I wanted to comfort her, to take away whatever was troubling her. She wouldn’t tell me what it was, she had gone mute. But I saw it. When I hugged her, I saw her hiding spot behind her. Behind the table, lay a picture frame. Her father. The little girl had hidden behind the table, and that photo had fallen on her. The photo of her deceased father. Tears rushed to my eyes. I hugged her tighter, this time more for my benefit than hers… I pulled back and looked at her again. The troubled look was no more there. She actually smiled at me, “Don’t cry mommy, I’ve cried your share too…”

Perfect sense

This was written recently by a friend… It makes perfect sense to me, because I know the meaning behind it. But to someone who doesn’t know the background to this poem, what does it say?

My feet tied down,
My heart slowly slowing…

I am miserably dying,
But I can’t stop trying.

My life suddenly gone,
All my goodness torn.

More hatred born.
I’m left lovelorn.

I am left behind,
And all the love gone.

I am dying,
But I can’t stop trying.