The following story about the Ramazan abu cried jinn is based on true events. Here is part two of this four-part series by Abu’s Jinns, exclusive on MangoBaaz. Read part one here.
There was no denying that tayya abu was dead. No matter how many times dadi swung his hand and placed her wrinkled fingers between his, begging for Allah to return him, she could not accept that her eldest had gone. From what it seemed, he had hung himself.
I had no longing for him, but seeing his daughter sob and tayyi jaan unconscious, I too shed a tear or two. Our house was sad – the walls had just been repainted, but somehow the fungus from the damp rainwater had crept inside and as I sat reading the tasbih for the departed, I couldn’t help but notice the line of brown and green hovering above our heads.
Tayya’s name was Noraiz, and when he was alive, he had owned a huge control shed from which the rent came which is why he had hardly spent time catering to customers at his jewelry shop branch in Gulberg. I had a few fond memories of him; one of him throwing me in the air as a child, and the second, of him, siding with me when his daughter pushed me off the merry-go-round in third grade.
Also, it was due to him that I had studied in Convent, because I had not passed the test and his safarish had gotten me in – for which I always did despise him, not the safarish part, but being in that good-for-nothing school part, which even his daughter had left.
Dada, who was rather quiet, was not concerned about what had led to tayya Noraiz doing what he did.
But he could not understand why his son had chosen to die – dada could not comprehend it. He hid his face in his room, refusing to see his son for the last time – pretending that he was deeply hurt, but we all knew that it was because he did not want to hear people whispering about tayya having killed himself.
And I did not blame dada for I heard the whispers with my own gunegaar kaan, that tayya was lingering between life and death, and that he was dying again and again, for he had taken his own life and Allah did not forgive such people. Maliha, a cousin of mine who I only saw at weddings and funerals, said that tayya was still among us, for those who committed suicide never left the spot. I ran and checked the dusty stairs, but I did not see him.
‘Oho Farwa,’ Maliha frowned. ‘Tayya is transparent. You know, like a ghost. He’s still hanging there.’
Till the evening, dada was locked in his room, and we saw a glimpse of him every time someone opened the door to check up on him, or when dado went to the washroom, which she did every few minutes. Dada sat on the tilted stool, his eyes fixed on the blank television screen, looking at his reflection or the reflection of those who passed from behind him.
‘The dead appear in mirrors which is why in many cultures even the spoons are covered,’ exclaimed Maliha, ‘Dada is sitting there, waiting for tayya to give an explanation.’
We rolled our eyes at Maliha and continued to comment on what had led to the unforeseen event. Maliha was known to make up things. We all knew that she had lied about her mamoo owning the Cocomo factory last year so no one took her seriously.
Kamran bhai stated that chachy was on the verge of getting a divorce, and choti Laiba said that it was the finances but none of us could really agree on anything that had driven tayya Noraiz mad, until, well – we saw dada abu rushing from his room outside; his face paler than usual, and his fingers rotating the doorknob vigorously to open it.
Soon, the entire family accompanied by a couple of guests was outside, behind a rather frantic dada jaan. ‘Dada must have seen tayya on the screen,’ Maliha repeated. ‘I told you. He saw his dead son.’
But dada had only seen the police from the window, and the last thing he had wanted was to become the talk of the town with their arrival at his doorstep.
The police were led inside by massi, who had her sleeves rolled till her elbows and had her oily, unwashed hair tightly held up with the help of a hundred bobby pins – as if she had been preparing for this day for the longest time.
The short policeman who stood in front, pointed towards her, and then the dead body inside. ‘We were waiting for the postmortem reports,’ he said. ‘Sorry to barge in like this, Sahib, but the reports suggest that this was not a suicide attempt, rather a murder.’
‘There must be a mistake,’ dadi stammered. ‘a – a murder?’
‘Nonsense!’ dada cut in. ‘The reports cannot lie. I knew that my son could not have done this to himself. Us Rajputs don’t kill ants, how can we kill ourselves?’ The voice dada uttered was much loud than his little petite body could afford to take out, and as he spoke, his legs trembled.
‘Go on, tell us who has killed our son. I will kill him with my own bare hands!’
‘Your son..,’ replied the police.
‘Yes, yes, tell me who murdered my son!’ We could sense that dada was glad that the guests had not left. At that moment, the only thing that mattered to him was his dignity, which lay in the very fact that Noraiz tayya had been murdered.
‘I have told you,’ the police cut in. ‘Your son.’
‘Your son killed your son,’ he said. ‘We have enough proof to believe that he did.’
‘W-we don’t understand,’ dada answered, his voice returning to its normal pace.
The policemen moved forward and the leading officer who was talking to dada jaan took a long breath.
‘Your massi here came to us yesterday stating that he had heard Shoaib sahab, the younger brother of Noraiz saying that he would kill him,’ he said. ‘Of course, we did not believe her but then the reports showed otherwise. We would have called you over instead since we are aware of your family’s nobility but given the society’s current circumstances and the murders happening, we have no choice but to interrogate and investigate.’
What the police said echoed in my ears. Dada almost fell down, and a couple of family members grasped him from behind and helped him sit on the marble floor.
‘My Shoaib cannot do that..’ his voice trailed off.
‘Of course,’ the others replied. ‘It is a misunderstanding that will clear itself. Please calm down. We will take it from here.’ But dada abu refused to move. Both the police and dada asked abu jaan to come – the police to ask him questions, and dada to tell him to stay quiet till his lawyer and other important men arrived at the scene.
Till then, I was only witnessing the drama, with the aftertaste of the funeral’s palao in my mouth, but then it dawned upon me that the police were here for abu, the man who loved his brother more than any of us could, claiming him to be the prime suspect.
But deep down, I knew that abu was too wise for any of this. He would listen to the police, keep at peace, weep a little for his brother had left, but that would be it. And that rotten massi, whose mother had served us for years would be humiliated and kicked out of the house. I was replaying the scenario in my mind over and over again, all whilst mumbling bud duaein under my breath for the massi, when abu arrived.
Abu seemed like he had slept a good deal and appeared to be much more intact than yesterday.
‘Shoaib,’ dada said. ‘Tell the police about how you found Noraiz’s body at iftar time.’
Abu looked at dada abu and then at the police.
‘Do not be afraid,’ said dada abu. ‘Waheed uncle is on his way and soon the police will apologize for all the disturbance they have caused in this grieving house.’
Abu did not look scared. In fact, he looked like he had nothing to worry about. He opened his mouth to say something but no words came out.
‘Speak,’ dada instructed. ‘Did you find Noriaz hanging?’
‘N-no,’ abu replied – his voice stuttering. ‘He did not hang himself.’
‘What are you saying! Are you even in your right mind?’
‘Yes, aba jaan. I am well rested. Noraiz did not hang himself.’
Dada turned towards the policemen. ‘My son is suffering the loss of his brother, he is not in his right mind. What he means to say is that Noraiz was killed, like you said. Nothing more,’ dada cut in.
The policeman pulled his belt upwards and a smirk appeared on his face. ‘Let us ask him,’ he said.
‘I will not advise that,’ dada interrupted. ‘He is not obliged to answer you. My lawyer will take it from there.’
‘Were you there when Noraiz was being killed?’ the police asked. No one had ever disrespected dada like that, but of course, we could not expect the head of the society to listen to the head of our house.
‘You don’t have to answer him,’ dada said.
Abu looked at the men and then at the dead body. ‘I was there when my brother was being killed,’ he said. ‘I loved him. I did not kill him. And I will never forgive myself that I could not do anything to help him.’
‘So you’re saying that you saw the killer?’
‘Yes. It was the jinn,’ abu replied. ‘The jinn killed my Noraiz.’
To be continued.
Cover image via @alishba_waheed/Instagram