I am Rizwan. I am a dead soul; I escaped my own body which died last night and now I am roaming in this unfaithful air. I used to sell fruits just at the back of the main markets; I had been quite popular there for my fresh and juicy fruits. I can see the souls of my wife and one of my three daughters with me. They both are crying over my shoulders and saying with great sorrow, “I wish I had not been there!” I don’t answer them; I just keep thinking of the last night’s incident.
After the dinner, I went for a walk over the streets and had a small drink with my two of my brothers just a few meters away from where I died with my wife and my dear little daughter. We all stay in shacks with each family having his own. Our shack was just beside the big side wall of a showroom. It was wee hours in the night when we went to sleep, around 2 am. I tried to drive off to sleep after such a toiling day, with my wife and Khushboo, my third daughter. As I closed my eyes, I heard a creaking voice behind my head as if something hard was going to fall off. I got my head up to hear clearly, then suddenly, something hard very hard fell all over my body. I felt it crush over my body really very hard.
In just a fraction of a second, I felt I couldn’t breathe. My wife and my daughter struggled to get out but in vain. Then after sometime, some people came over help us come out from beneath the heap of bricks. It was all blood that I could see. I saw my wife and my daughter fell unconscious and tumble over the ground until somebody carried them to an auto rickshaw and drive to the hospital. I cried in pain, it pained unbearably over my head. And then I fell over the grass. My wife and daughter died on their way to the hospital. But I reached there, breathing.
On my way, I heard my brother, “Every thing is going to be all right, keep breathing. Okay? Okay?”
I couldn’t muster up the strength to answer to his worry. After sometime I saw the nurses give me an injection and then it was all blind. The doctors tried until 4 in the morning but said it was too late and that they couldn’t save me. I died, without knowing it. My eyes were closed, my body intact and heart bloodless. I didn’t smile or cried, I just kept sleeping.
It is 4:30 now. All three of us, float over the death place, our own little home. I can see debris all over the place, scattered unevenly, my scooter crushed and the books buried. My family is crying, uncontrollably. My elder brother is consoling them; his eyes are red and have few tears welling up. I can see the police investigating. When a policeman asks Shamsher, my neighbor, for what happened the night before.
He says,” We all were sleeping when suddenly we heard a thud. After hearing some shrieks, we rushed outside and were shocked to see that the wall had collapsed and the family was buried under it”
No quick reaction disaster team came to help us when we got buried under the debris. Now hours have passed and no big police official has come over to investigate the part. SDM Shakshi Gulati reaches the spot at 9.29 am. She stays there for just three and a half minutes and leaves after talking to the SHO about the situation. All the hustle-bustle is cleared by now. My family is still crying. Poor quality of the material and seepage is being blamed for the wall collapse.
The owner, Sunil Chaddha, of the showroom says,”The wall is seven years old. Rain may have weakened it over a period of time. We had asked these people to move out from this place several times, but they did not pay heed.”
I regret he asked to but I had no choice; where would we have gone then. I wonder how selfish and pitiless this creature is. God had been so unkind to us. I mean, see, what have we done? We just left our village and came here for a better living and unfortunately, paid no to heed to the wall’s poor quality just because we had no other place to live in. some of my friends who live in the adjacent shanties are smiling and pitying on my fate. One of them thinks,” Thank god, we are alright.”
The next day the newspapers enter the house grandly with a heading ‘Three of family buried alive in sleep’ but no one seems to feel sorry for our unkind death, rather loathes the pitiful pictures which flash the front page. Some do but to little extent. And then the newspapers are buried under the other layers of papers and the whole incident is forgotten as if it didn’t happen at all. The expense of our treatment is being paid by the government as a burden and a little money is thrown over the faces of my family as a compensation of my death.
And then the evening comes with its sighs and mummers and our bodies are taken to the cremation ground. I can see my body being carried over the shoulders of my brothers; it is expressionless and glum and then comes the corpse of my wife and my daughter. In a minute or two, one of my brothers, Subhash, comes over my body which is put upon the woods and covered with a white blanket. He is given a mashaal. In few seconds or so my corpse starts burning, heavily.
Just at the same time my body too starts burning and little by little I feel the extreme pain of being burnt alive and I start moving upwards with the air. In a minute or two I mix up with the clouds, my breath gets choked and then I am gone. Then I am being forgotten and bade farewell. The other corpses are also burnt after few minutes. Now I am in heaven. I can see God sitting next to me, smiling at my sight. I ask him to rain over the earth. He agrees and commands the clouds to gather over the cremation ground and release themselves. In just a fraction of a second, it starts raining. My family looks up and I appear before them as the clouds and they greet me with a remorseful smile. I smile back and say,”I will come back again.”