Saima was passing by a posh coffee joint when the clouds above broke into a fine rain. She froze in her steps and was about to faint on the spot. Her sister Mariam promptly wrapped her arms around Saima and guided her back to the car.

As the car gathered speed, Mariam observed ruefully the vacant eyes of Saima. She knew that her sister was stuck in time; Saima was reliving that day from almost 4 years back in the past…

__________________________________________________________________

Saima was back at home after dropping Farhad off to his school. She walked into her child’s bedroom intending to clean up the random mess left behind by him. As Saima was putting away the things neatly back in place, she found an open diary under a pile of clothes. It was turned upside down and had been hastily hidden.

Saima picked up the diary and turned it over. For a second she was hesitant to intrude into the privacy of her son. Then numerous wild fears stirred up her mommy instincts and she began to read. If there was something horrible happening in Farhad’s life, she needed to know it right away.

“One day Ammi and Abbu will approve of my new friends. Planning to send greetings cards to all of them. But so far I have been able to complete 8 cards only and I need 47. I wonder…”

“My entry into his room must have caused Farhad to abruptly halt his words,” Saima thought as she put away the diary.

Soon she found a neat stack of 8 well-crafted Christmas cards within the book-shelf. The cards were addressed to an organization that looked after orphaned Christian children.

Saima smiled to herself and she went into the kitchen to make some coffee. As she stirred sugar into the rich creamy coffee, she planned to make some cards herself and help her son to reach his target. Christmas was 9 days away, she calculated. It seemed to be a feasible target. Snigdha Basu might help as well. 

Soon she was blissfully poring over art paper, glitter and glue. When she was done there were 10 dainty cards ready, each displaying a warm message of love and hope.

Saima happily stood up and went towards the open window. A light rain had started. As she sipped the last bit of her coffee, she remembered making Eid Mubarak cards back in her childhood. But it was her 9 year old son who taught her to transcend the boundaries of religion.

Her phone rang, breaking her out of the reverie.

“Hello?” said Saima, the positive trail of thoughts still lingering on her mind.

The voice of a complete stranger spoke through the phone. He urged her to rush to Farhad’s school as soon as possible. Terrorists had attacked the children; Farhad was one of the first ones to die in the tragedy. 

As Saima’s numb body slowly huddled up on the floor, the innocent aroma of coffee and rain got tainted in pain forever.

*****

Tanima Das

Written by Tanima Das

Tanima writes primarily because she loves to write. She usually finds it really hard to talk about herself.