Tale Weaver #99: A Dickensian Christmas 22.12.16…December Travel Tale…A Dickensian La Mode


Spatra  was no more.His body a mass of flesh swollen and cold.Strange apparition, enshrouded, quite an unusual length scary sight. Spatra was in heaven.He was good,secret giver,helper friend and much much more. Why it had to be in December?

A month of miracles but dates set long ago have been declared controversial.Do we have nothing else to discuss than dates of births and deaths? again I wonder…but death is a reality and ‘ghosts and spirits?…well

It was in a December that I had the chance to spend some time at a cousins place.Breakfast of boiled eggs brown bread and hot tea became unforgettable and so did the treatment of the education commission…my hard earned masters degree could not be recognized because it had my husbands name on it ..alas ..again…the question…why did I have to be a ‘back to college mom? but why not ..I have the right to education haven’t I ?but studying with husbands name?  a crime…

External heat and cold had no influence on the commission.Names matter, not the students hard work.My spirit was alive for learning but my paper did not prove it..so let it be  my ghost in me…Commission ‘ Commission…Ah Uncle Scrooge…it beats you…I know that I know English..the commission does not care…I will haunt them in their paper dens…I will…I must…rain snow hail shrouded it… but wait..it did not snow in this city…neither heavy rain fell specially  his year the days passed as dry as dust..hmm..God is unhappy…no rains in December….’iced offices’more icy than Murree snow

But what is this?

I walked and walked and walked,my heart heavy as Spatra was no more to console…my thoughts astray, eyes contacting other sights..the eyes took control of the heart…but ‘question me not as to where have I been my eyes deeply painful at what they have seen…my city  unclean…How could I greet someone in this mess…silence sealed my senses…

I stepped on trash rough paper and ….stones.I bent down to peer at something familiar… they were real bones’…whose body bones were these..ruthless is everywhere,hatred,target killing Oh, I looked around again…baleful eyes…I saw stray cats dogs, cows and goats…they winked sadly or blinked …visions of the brutal butcher’s big cutter zoomed …..my purpose was – a bookstore…my company on the road became stranger…I dragged my feet  stepped off the footpath as it had ended…I found myself at an open space,dusty dry and sloping  unevenly making an unguarded entry to a dwelling..’katchi abadi’ it was known as and people called it so…’squatter settlements on urban public land’ to be exact..where poor people resided in tent like structures…or “Jhuggis” meaning poor neighborhood or slum . And the actual dwelling  called as “Jhonpra” meaning a Hut.

if school were good I would’ve stayed on the beat and felt peaceful…do kids from these ‘jhuggis go to school? ”question me not please for I have no answers…have no words for humans living as campers and fumbling empty tins, bags, bottles and cans, and live without food,water, pots and pans, what a life !

In sight came a small group of kids,  roaming happily in another empty space…unwashed faces, hair disheveled, fingers impatiently scratching away repeatedly in the thinnest of naturally growing strands, a home for the tiniest of insects found …but strangely happy smiling and giggling shaking shoulders…shaking away hunger,  hopeful ignorantly at play… stopping dead in their dancing stance and again come the questioning looks..’what are YOU doing here?

and I asked silently…..’what people are these are they refugees ? do they need passports and passes please, question me not …I want to be at ease, there is more than eye can see, the ears can hear, figures grow the world thickens.dirty more than a place of Charles Dickens..

‘question me not for what more I see, people hit shot killed a girls bleeding body, am I awake is this real I ask myself, why can’t I reach The Book on The Shelf?

Meanwhile the fog and darkness thickened so, that people ran about with flaring links,cutting the pitch dark environment,no bells rung, for in a place of few churches bells would ring only on special occasions.’No faint misty smoke of burning coal in small metallic ‘braziers’ coal is expensive..it makes the rich richer…Ah the hard work of laborers in the coal mines…

fog is getting denser…cold is getting colder than the ice pole…people stranded on airports bus stands, and amidst traffic …

I wonder if the nurses teachers and doctors got their pay checques? they were protesting …who is being paid on time? The new man in place of Sparta…Wazan … is like…like..reminds one of Uncle Scrooge.He thinks he owns all the cash…hides the keys…’go away,come tomorrow…’  but office time is not yet over’ ‘ it is for me’now go I said’

‘knock knock’ I said ‘go’ who is it”..’Your friend Sparta’..Open the window’..’Sparta but you you…er…no longer’….’Well I am here’ I want you to do something real special for me..I have seen your place in heaven..it is right at the edge you may fall into hell any time..unless you..so I have come to help and warn you’…

You are not real?…Humbug, humbug…..

Come I want to show you something…’

Frightened and shivering he crept towards the window..’humug’…the voice said again..Come’ the window crashed open and Soon Wazan found himself flying over the mansions, one his very own…soon they reached a fortress like structure..’Oh a jail..who is here?..’Take a look’… the look through the small window near the roof revealed a prisoners cell..there in chains stood Wazan’s son’…a Judge was speaking..’and this punishment for the rest of your life is for your fathers brutal disregard of the state law’..’you have to stay in this dark cell for the rest of your life,all your property has been sealed and money accounts frozen’…’\no \no wait don’t do that oh please…’They cannot hear you’\time is up’…

I …I ..will pay the checques tomorrow..\call \off the strike..\call the doctors nurses teachers staff where is everyone..it is so cold…Coal Coal’

wake up sir, its time for office…

Oh Oh I breathe..what day it is ? Pay Day Sir’..hurry hurry I must be on time today..

The servants at first puzzled,quickly turned around…..

The sun shone brightly…the fog had lifted and people were quickly forming lines outside the window….as the large signboard said’ Come \collect your pay’ \its pay day today’

\a dream or reality?  Yet to see….


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