There was pandemonium on the platform after the shot rang out, years of training made me instinctively run for the doors.
“Are you running away fauji-soldier? ” A shaved,middle aged mustached man asked me almost sneeringly. People like this got to me, they were always there to put you down, trip you,think the worst of you. But this time I wasn’t going to keep quiet.
“No,infact I am going to give chase to the perpetrator.” I said as I pushed past him and jumped and rolled off the moving train,crouching and coming to my knees in one fluid motion. I scanned the packed station,some looked panicked,some angry. People already had surrounded the casualty and I knew he would be seen to. I needed to find the source. My eye kept moving till I spotted the chai wala,almost too calmly, pouring tea.
Ya Hayyu . Yaa Qayyuum bi rahmatika astaghees, I silently chanted in my heart as I slowly edged towards him. This was what RasulAllah SAW would read,whenever he (saw) faced any problem. The chai wala casually looked up and our gazes locked across the mill of people.
“it’s so early Ammi”
“We rather pray fajr namaaz early because we’re going out to the plantations.”
“Okay okay…just five more minutes.”
We rode out to the plantation before the soft buttery sun rose and the workers were already bent over the saffron fields. They all welcomed me with so much of warmth,especially those who remembered me coming when I was a toddler with Abbu. I spotted a familiar face. A lady who was always kind to me, with an extra sweet,toy she knitted or an extra smile.
“Hanafa aunty! How are you?” I ran to her excitedly. “You have a baby! Can I carry her?” I chattered away,not noticing her hesitancy. “How old is she? What’s her name?”
Ammi came behind me. “It’s okay. She can carry her.” My mother soothingly told her,thinking she was hesitant because Ammi wouldnt allow me to touch a workers child. Hanafa slowly unstrapped the sleepy little four year old. And handed her to me,she had the cutest smile and chubby little hands which reached out to pull my dupatta. I looked up puzzled, noticing the deathly silence. Looking from Mum to Hanafa and wondering why were both their faces coloured up in different shades suddenly as their eyes were locked in a war of a thousand silent words.
And then I looked at the little girl and noticed what Ammi had noticed instantly.
The little girl was a spitting image of me.
It has been narrated by Hadhrat Anas (RA) that whenever Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam was confronted with a problem, he would recite:
Ya Hayyu Ya Qayyum,bi rahmatika astaghees
TRANSLATION: “O Ever Living and Self Sustaining, I plead to you for your mercy.”