Abu’s Jinns returns to narrate the tale of jinns running a business inside a carpet owner’s shop. Read on to find out how Adnan Sahab deals with this.
When I say jinns, what comes to your mind, beti? Horrible monsters who look at you while you sleep? Beings made of fire, who can get you anything in the blink of an eye? Creatures who possess your body and make you do rotten things? Well, jinns are all of this and so much more. You see, beti, like us humans, jinns are of many kinds.
You’ve seen humans brutally rob people off of their lives and you’ve seen humans give new lives to people. Aisay hi, jinnoun ki duniya main hota hai. Bus farq yeh hai kay aam insaan unhe dekh nahin sakta jab k wou sab dekh sakte hain. Aaj aik bohut muze ki kahani sunata houn.
Jameel uncle k under aik officer kaam karta tha, Muhammad Ali kay naam say. Jab uskay abu ki wafat huwi tou us nay apne abu – Muzamil sahab – ki dukaan sambhal li. The shop, situated near Shadman, was quite a large shop crowded with carpets, rugs, and mats of all kinds. 2009 main wou Dubai chala gaya tou business bhi saath hi lay gaya.
Khair, when your ami and I built our house in Valencia, we purchased our bedroom and living room carpets from Muzamil & Sons Carpet Company. We got to know them this way as well. In 2007, Jameel uncle called me. He was in Canada, doing a civil course, and wanted me to visit Ali at his shop.
“Everything seems fine. Ali was always bad at accounts. But, he says that there’s something wrong with the shop and if Adnan is free, he should stop by, Jameel said, over the phone. “If I was there, I’d see to it myself.”
Beta, sab ko pata hai k Jameel nay bhooth ka naam sunte hi carpets main chup jana tha, likun uski khushi kay liye I didn’t taunt him. Khair, aik adh mahine baad when I had to get your khala’s wedding cards printed, Shadman chakar lag gaya. I visited Ali’s carpet shop on my way back. Chai shae pee, new prints dekhe and when Ali was done dealing with the customers tou hum kisi khaane ki dukaan ja kar beth gae.
‘Adnan sahab, bus ajeeb sa hi muajra hai. Kya btaoun.’
‘Bolo yaar,’ I replied, licking the teriyaki sauce from my sandwich off my fingers, ‘humare liye kuch ajeeb nahin.’ Khair, phir Ali nay kahani shuru ki.
‘Darasal kuch mahinay hou gae hain meray kaaleenoun ko gayub hote huwe. I count the machine ones and the hand knitted ones separately,’ he continued, ‘I have even started taking pictures. I lock the doors properly. Aik dost say jadeed kisam k security alarms bhi lay kar aaya houn. Kaafi waqt tak kuch pata nahin chala mujhe, sahab. Aik bache ko raat ko dukaan per bethana shuru kiya per wou bhaag gaya. Phir socha kay yeh chor aisay baaz nahin aye ga. Cameras laga leta houn. Wou lagae aur wahan say aik aur pareshaani toot pari. I saw that the carpets were dragging themselves out of my shop. And darwaza khule begair aik aik kar k jate gae!’
Two things could have happened. Aik yeh k Ali kisi heavy nashay main tha k us nay us din Aladdin ki movie ko yaad karte huwe kaaleenoun ko apne ap chalte huwe dekha. Yah yeh k uski dukaan main jinn they.
Obviously, the flying carpet only exists for Aladdin and Jasmine. Anyway, I consoled him and told him I’d handle it. For the first day, I watched a time-lapse of the security footage and saw the carpets going missing one after another. Us waqt hi pata chal gaya k kisi jinn ka kaam hai. Agle din khud dukaan per beth gaya.
It was 3 a.m, when I started feeling not one, but a lot of presences. What I saw left me rather startled. Aik jinni ayi jis nay burka paina huwa tha. Usne mujhe dekh kar zyaada gour nahin kiya. Aur aa kar wou aik kursi lay kay counter kay peechay beth gae. Aisay hi doosri taraf aik aur jinni aa kar beth gae. Donoun parday main theen aur unki aankhein surkh thein. Dukaan main thori garmi hona shuru huwi. Aik aik kar k, bare jinn, chote jinn, boorhe jinn, sab atay gae. Wou donoun jinnian unhe carpet khol k delhatein aur kuch adh ghunte main aik carpet chala jata.
Beti, at night, there was a whole business being operated in that shop by jinns.
Us waqt tou meri tabiyat itni bigar gae kay mujhe jana para. The next day, I refrained from telling Ali anything. Awein ghabra jata. I wanted to solve the issue and that I ultimately did, but it did cost me an eyebrow.
At first, my thoughts ran wild, and I opened and spread out all of the two hundred and forty carpets in the shop. I wanted to find out whether there was an entity attached to an old carpet or not. Bachpan main aik movie dekhi thi jahan portrait say nikal kar aik aurat zinda hou jati thi, aur Sshhh Koi Hai main Vikraal Gubraal dealt with a photo which wept at 12 am with khooni aansu. I mean, don’t laugh, beti, at heart I too am young, and such concepts that these dramas used, they’re inspired by true stories, though I’m pretty sure it’s not possible for the portrait story to be true.
Khair, maine socha k shaed carpet per koyi tasweer na hou likun aisa kuch nahin tha. The carpets were perfectly safe. The night before, I had seen the jinni show a specific rug to many jinns, and I decided to give that very rug to a shopkeeper nearby and paid Ali for it . Two days later, the shopkeeper returned the rug saying that ‘Bhai, bura mat maniye ga likun meri biwi ko yeh pasand nahin aya ghar main.’
I didn’t ask for the whole story, because I had just wanted to see the paranormal react and that they did. They hadn’t let the man keep the rug. However, I wouldn’t advise you to ever have such tricks up your sleeve. Kisi ki jaan ja sakti hai.
Khair, a week after, I decided to stay the night again. This time, I brought a loudspeaker with a cassette of Allah’s names and some surahs. After the jinnis and their customers were in, I played the cassette. Most of the jinns instantly vanished into thin air. The jinnis, howsoever, turned their heads and glared at me with their crimson red eyes.
Within a split second, both flew across and landed on my shoulders. The pain I felt after that was unbearable. I felt needles piercing through my skin and felt as if my face had been dipped in boiling water. I was losing consciousness, but as my eyes closed, I saw them shriek and turn into lizards. The talawat kept playing until morning and when Ali found me, I had a burnt eyebrow, but otherwise, I was well.
I told him that none of his maal will be stolen if he plugs in the speaker, charges it all night and leaves the shop with Allah’s names on repeat. Ali didn’t even turn off the speaker in the mornings, and after that, nothing unusual happened in that shop.
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It was a fine morning. Fine, as in Farhan had left for work and I had the bed all to myself. I had my body wrapped in the afghan quilt, perhaps like one of those colorful sushi rolls I had gobbled up in Phuket. and I was in-between that state of sleep and wakefulness where the aftertaste of kashmiri chai still seduced my lips. My futile thoughts were disrupted by the door knob turning and massi rukhsana stepping into my room. Her lilac dupatta had parted ways with her hanging milk packs and had been carefully placed on the top of her head. In one hand she held a phool jaroo and in the other, a cardboard box, suffocated in duct tape. 'Baji, tuwade liye parcel aya hai.' the Korean noodles that I had ordered weren't due till next week and it wasn't my birthday either. I said salam, unwrapped myself from the snug position and sat down on the faded, nylon carpet. In silence, I stared at the box. The top said, Miss Ayesha Muzafffar. People usually tend to miss the double ff's but this man, or woman, had gone the extra mile to write three. I started to open it neatly, bit by bit but then it gave me a paper cut, so I punished it by ripping it apart to pieces. It snuggled in itself, my first fan mail. A fan mail from Ganish village, Hunza. Out came a box of apricot cake and a couple of letters. One titled, 'I read your stories to ami in bed.' another titled, 'The greatest story teller'. I do not know who sent it. 'from love, a friend who lives on Silk road', it said. So friend, if you're reading this, the edible delight was scrumptious, it was devoured by my father-in-law in a matter of minutes, the letters made me twinkle for a week, but how in God's name did you know my address? To celebrate such affection, I'm giving away five laminated copies of the original Abu's Jinns. Whoever lives in Lahore and happens to message me first, please get them picked up from the address (DHA) I provide. It's alright if you do not come with apricot cake.
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Cover image via Exxodus Pictures