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An unusually murky Sunday morning in Karachi, A mystical fog had engulfed the entire city the likes of which was rarely seen by Karachites. Ahmed sat on rusty robust metal chair at the local dhabba quietly sipping his tea and enjoying the unusual weather, Iqbal Bano’s Dashtai Tanhae running in the background on a vintage radio set. Slowly he brought the cup to his face and took a sip, feeling its warmth radiating from the cup on his skin, savoring every moment. He had to learn to enjoy the good times in life for there weren’t many, A cold breeze swept by him, instinctively closing his eyes and his mind slowly drifted away into a dream.

A sunny Monday, Ahmed sat alone in solitude on a bench at the corner of his school’s football ground. As a toddler he was very shy and because of this nature of his; he had constructed an invisible barrier between himself and the rest of the world which no one would dare try to cross and it was just the way Ahmed liked it. Some did try to trespass into his personal space; these bullies would torment poor Ahmed and would enjoy it. He saw his classmates play but he was too shy to join them which further isolated him. Will I ever be normal? He thought as the others raced by him. Suddenly he saw someone emerging from the distance, Ahmed starts moving nervously as the figure came nearer and nearer to the force field which separated him from the rest of the world and then suddenly breached the threshold and sat beside him. The sound of silence now took ahold of the atmosphere and Ahmed moved farther away but then she spoke ‘Hii! The name’s Nirvana’.

Sahab kuch aur laiaaun? Ahmed snapped back to reality, annoyed by the interruption he motioned at the waiter apathetically to leave him be. He now stared blankly again into the mesmerizing fog and silently observed the majestic effect fog lights of all the traffic created while sipping his tea. It had been 4 years since he had last met Nirvana. Life happened! He thought was the reason, all the hustle and bustle had made him loose contact with his very first friend and perhaps the most closest. It was her who had rescued Ahmed from the depths of Isolation and transformed and an introverted shy little kid into the man he was today. Ahmed sat there reminiscing about the good times he had spent with her; she was the complete opposite of Ahmed. Together they were like Ying and Yang in complete harmony, the dynamic duo. It was Nirvana’s personality and unique unorthodox ways which inspired him to change himself, it was her who taught Ahmed to fend for himself and not to fret in times of great woe, and it was her who made Ahmed break free from the bars of isolation. For 10 years they’re friendship grew into an unbreakable bond which was slowly weathering away since the past 4 years he was in university. As he was staring into the captivating fog he again lost focus and his mind left his body to venture into the past again.

A Tuesday afternoon, Ahmed’s last day at college, his batch’s farewell. Still somewhat of a reserved teenager now nearing his 18th birthday he was to some extent content with his social life. He was now comparatively less of an outcast as compared to his early years at school.As he was sipping his drink from while leaning against the wall Ahmed saw Nirvana emerge from the Hall’s door, he was left awe-struck. What emerged from the doors was not the rebellious unorthodox Nirvana he always saw but a daughter of Aphrodite. Ahmed was now feeling something deep inside him, something which he had never before felt with such vigor. He approached her in his usual manner and began conversing with her but something deep down felt different. Was the bond between the two more than just friendship?

A truck honked its horn and Ahmed’s mind crashed back into his body bringing him back to that cold Sunday morning. Now getting impatient he started worrying whether Nirvana would show up or not. He noticed that Dasht-e-tanhai was still playing, the radio’s broke he mused as he sipped his tea. 4 years were more than enough for Ahmed to come to grips with the fact that he was in love, in love with none other than his Nirvana. They were to meet today, he was going to confess at a Dhabba, Ahmed would’ve picked a classier place but Nirvana insisted on meeting here. It was this very nature of the girl which made Ahmed fall for her.

Now as Ahmed sipped the last of his tea he noticed an unusual glow in the fog. Before he could understand what it was, the glow became moreintense and a shockwave passed through him followed byuncomfortable warmth which threw Ahmed from the chair and on the coarse cemented floor. He was knocked out in an instant

Dasht-e-tanhaaimein, aijaan-e-jahaan, larzaanhain….

Ahmed slowly gained conscious, his vision still blurry as he moved his eyes about to scan the drab interior of the Dhabba. His mind was still numb from the fall, he tried to gather the strength to stand but could not do battle with gravity, he felt weak. What the hell just happened? He thought, as he dragged himself out. The fog outside was now giving off a reddish hue and then it hit him, the Dhabba got bombed! He found out, as his eyes pierced through the haunting mist and see the debris all around him red with flesh and bone.Somehow the radio set had survived the blast and Iqbal Bano’s voice was echoing ever so loudly now in the sound of silence. Ahmed limped forward trying to navigate through the bodies scattered around him when he stumbled on something and fell. What Ahmed saw now was a scene he never could’ve fathomed: In his feet lay a dead lifeless body, in his feet laid his dear beloved Nirvana, he felt as if he had been punched in the chest by a two tonne fist. He dragged himself towards her still in denial, tears start pouring down his eyes as he tried to bring the lifeless corpse back to life but his attempts were in vain. His Nirvana was gone, Ying had lost his Yang. Ahmed looked up at the crimson sky and let out an intense scream at the top of his aching voice as he fell again into a deep abyss of isolation and depression, the very same which Nirvana had helped him climb out of.

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