The Broken Yellow Bangle

Muhsina K. Ismail


Today, she talked more than usual. Her green eye balls were eager to absorb everything from her surroundings.

“We are going somewhere today. My mom has given me permission to wear the yellow bangles that we had bought from the Mele bazaar last week.”

“Is it? That’s great news. You can be away from the noisy cannons.”

“When we came back from the market, Gulpari didi’s family had already left the place. I remembered clearly. It was from that day that the sound of gunshots began and Ma and Pa became busy. They don’t even have time to mend my kite’s thread.”

“Oh no. I can do that for you.”

“Ma doesn’t even listen to me. She listens to Farhan when he cries. Sometimes, I wish I could cry like Farhan. Pa is so irritated these days. He doesn’t talk to me any more even though he is not going to work. He has asked me not to go near people with cameras. We are Pashtun descendants. We are not allowed to be photographed. Ma has even stopped giving me lentil dal curry. I have to eat nan dipped in water. I don’t like it.”

She looked at the blue spotty kites soaring in the sky, trying to assess the direction of wind.

“I am worried about Hamumu, my cat. Will I be able to carry him with me? I don’t think so. I will have to carry the cloth bags packed with stuff. There are already at least five of them in the veranda.”

“Where is Farhan?”

“In our room. He is allergic to the dust. He can’t play outside.”

“What’s your name?”

“My name? What’s this? A camera?”

She ran back to her house. I don’t know what will happen to her, to the family. Her thread-less kite soared into the sky and disappeared. My eyes followed it until it became a tiny spot in the sky.

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