The following story about the Ramazan abu cried jinn is based on true events. Here is part four of this four-part series by Abu’s Jinns, exclusive on MangoBaaz. Read part one here, part 2 here, and part 3 here.
I knew many surahs by heart and I often found myself reciting them when I wanted Allah to give me something. That one time I wanted the purple-shaded racket from the sports store in H market – the kind none of my cousins had, I read all the surahs I knew and abu bought it. Of course, I had asked for it, and he could have gotten the cheaper ones, but Allah made it happen. Allah always did.
And so, this time I needed a thing bigger than anything I had ever asked for before – I needed abu to not end up in jail or the mental hospital under a psychiatric hold.
And so, I opened the Quran to recite as many surahs as I could. I did not stop till I felt my throat go dry and the words started spinning in front of my eyes due to them watering up.
‘Allah please,’ I said. ‘Please help aba.’
There was a part of me that thought about whether I was too naïve to understand what had gone down that day and if aba had really killed tayya Noraiz, but even if he had, it must have been an accident because I knew that aba was capable of losing at love, and life, but not losing a life. And what if – aba was being metaphorical with all that he had said for my literature teacher had told us that adults often did that – mean one thing and say another; tayya Noraiz could have been the jinn, and aba had to end his life to save his – the thoughts were muddled up and disturbing and amid that hot noon, I felt myself longing for a deep slumber in my parents’ laps. I passed out soon after.
I dreamt of a table at KFC, a place we often visited together as a family, a place where abu was immersed in only the chicken, and partially in what ama had to say, and it was one of those dreams that I never wanted to end.
I was woken up by Maliha to the news of abu having been found guilty of the murder of his brother.
I instantly panicked and said that I wanted to be taken to where he was being kept. ‘You silly goose,’ exclaimed Maliha. ‘It was only the first hearing and till now the judge has sufficient proof to charge him, but chacha has asked for more time. Ama says that the judge took pity on him because he even refused to get his own lawyer. Ama says that it is a great tactic to not end up having a sentence but getting time in the mental clinic instead.’
There was a sense of excitement in Maliha’s voice; she no longer feared me or what I could do after hearing ill things about my father. If I could, I would have pounced on her and hit her till she could no longer have been able to breathe, and I might not even have stopped if she would have begged me to, and then it dawned upon me if aba had done the same to his brother out of anger. I too, after choking Maliha to death would have blamed it on a jinn.
That day, the elders came to my room one by one, telling me to not be upset, because no matter what happened, I would have a family to fall back on. ‘But I am not falling,’ I said. ‘I am very much fine and I know aba will be too.’
I yearned to see aba, to peck his hands once again and ask him to tell me more about the jinns and what had led to this day. I wanted to go back in time to yesterday night to make sense of what he had said and if I could tell the court that I too had seen the jinn, and I would be right next to aba, wherever they would put him.
As the night got closer and everyone went to bed, I waited in the lounge for abu to return.
My anxiety grew and I started eating crisps but no matter how many packets of the red Slanty I ate, they tasted like cardboard and sadness.
The room was dark and initially only the buzzing of the mosquitoes could be heard, but when I started concentrating hard enough, my ears picked up a thousand whispers from around me.
I closed my eyes and my fists, and I saw our living room transform into something similar to the court that the elders had described, only that it was empty and there was no roof above it, so I could see a cloudy sky with my eyes shut.
Just then, my stomach started to make awful noises, and my head started to hurt like it did when I stayed up at night too long – as if to say that my body did not like what I was doing to it, but I kept at it – I do not know why. The whispers started to get clearer, and I almost heard a shriek, ‘What is this creature doing here,’ – now what I heard was an unknown language in the tone of a chalk being scratched on a bumpy black board– gibberish of some sort, but I knew instantly what it meant and before I could focus anymore, I was shaken back to my senses.
I opened my eyes to a rather upset abu jolting me from left to right. ‘What was the meaning of that?’ he gasped. ‘What – how, what were you doing?’ He seemed to be out of breath.
‘I-I was waiting for you,’ I answered, with my head and heart pounding rapidly. ‘Where did you come from?’
‘That is not important,’ he said. ‘What you did, I do not want you to do it again.’
‘Yes. Don’t do that,’ he instructed sternly. ‘Never again.’
‘I don’t understand,’ I said.
‘Farwa, I do not have the time,’ abu replied. ‘Please do as I say.’
I wanted to listen to him. I wanted to tell me to go to sleep and then I wanted to do just that, but something in me clicked, and I shook my head. ‘No,’ I said.
‘No,’ I repeated. ‘I will keep doing whatever I want till you tell me exactly what is going on.’
‘I am the abu here and I want you to go to your room this instant!’
I closed my eyes and started to focus again even though every part of my body hurt terribly and my legs felt as if they were holding the weight of multiple people. Deciding to be rebellious had given me a sudden rush of energy. Aba’s loaf-like hand grasped me from the collar and shook me violently. My eyes popped open, and I started to weep. Aba instantly let go.
‘P-please rou mat,’ he said. ‘I did not mean to hurt you.’
The crying got louder and louder, and no matter how much I tried to keep my voice down, my hiccups made their way through. I was sobbing for it all; my past, my present and my father-less future. And then abu did something he hadn’t done in years, he pulled me towards him and hugged me, as I snorted a mixture of mucus and saliva onto his kameez.
‘Hush meri jaan,’ he said, running his fingers through my hair, ‘I will tell you everything.’ And then he did or at least tried to.
When I had calmed down with the help of sipping leftover scanjween that aba made with instant powder from the kitchen that I was sure had expired, he sat down in front of me and wiped away the remaining tears. He was quiet for a while and then he begun.
‘I told you that your real dado became the woman who gave justice to the jinns. Not just the jinns, but other entities of the realm too. The Quran talks about multiple lands and makhlooq and that is all I know about it. She wasn’t born with the ability to do that, but her piousness and had earned it for her. It may sound terrible, to be surrounded by creatures of the night, but she was blessed in many ways that we cannot imagine. The clot that came in her brain, was because she focused too much, and fire and clay, my daughter, do not go well with each other.’
‘When the other graves in the graveyard drown under the rainwater, her remains on top because the good jinns regularly visit her. Like me, she would often disappear from within the house and Noraiz bhai and I did not know what to do so we eventually learned this game of concentration where we would catch glimpses of her in the house – for she was hidden to the eye otherwise. This is exactly what happened with you, but you are young and not ready, and I pray that you will never be.’
‘Multiple dimensions exist alongside the same time, and, and, and you witnessed – well somewhat witnessed another one, not meant for you in which I was for the first time not leading the court but being presented in it. You see, after ama died, Noraiz bhai started to help the jinns and sometimes when he did not know better, he involved me too. We were too young to understand when it happened, perhaps in the early days of college, and when we did understand, it was too late, we were elected, and did not have the knowledge to be.’
I had wanted abu to tell me what had happened that day between tayya and him as he had promised, but he sprung another one of his jinn stories at me again, leaving me to think about meaningless things and lose him and my sanity.
Thinking that he had said enough to make me want to go, I placed the unpleasant drink down and asked to be excused, ‘I think I want to sleep,’ I said. ‘I am too tired.’
‘But my story is incomplete,’ he replied, and then before I could sigh or argue, he continued where he had left off.
‘We were never set out to follow our mother’s footsteps and look where it got us. Noriaz bhai made a terrible decision that led to the hanging of an accused, innocent jinn, and soon it was revealed that he had done it because he was swaying too much away from his job in the worldly matters to make the correct decision, and that had led to the mistake.’
‘I, of course, had seconded him on it without playing my part. I believe that he was tired, and he saw it coming – his death, and I do not know about my fate but what you saw and not heard, was my fate being decided in their court – the court that really matters. What disrupted your focus at the hearing was someone having smelled you standing in the middle, trying to make a connection. Of course, I asked to be accused and came back. You cannot do such things. You need to stay away and focus on your life. What will happen to me will happen. I know that I am throwing a lot at you, but I believe that you know what to do with this information.’
When abu paused, I hugged him again, this time from the back so that I would not smudge my own sweat and drippings present from before on his kameez onto my changed shirt. I then said shabakhair, and went to my room as fast as my legs could take me – which was not that fast at all. I was tired, but not too tired to have stayed a bit longer, but I chose to leave because what abu had said made little sense. I loved him, of course, and I meant no disrespect, but what had happened prior to him coming, had emotionally and mentally exhausted me.
Abu smiled as he saw me leave, and said nothing.
It was hard for me to fall asleep that night despite the constant feeling of weakness, and I thought many times of going downstairs and asking abu if this one nigh I could sleep with him, but then the thought of hearing his stories dawned upon me, and I instantly fell asleep.
The next morning, as I so vividly remember, I walked down to a room full of grieving people – I thought that it was one of those bad dreams, but then I saw Maliha looking at me without uttering a word – something that had never happened and the colors around me grew vivid, the faces become more familiar, and I was forced to think that abu had left for jail or the mental hospital.
During this, someone sat me down and forced my head on their shoulder – I obeyed, not knowing which it was; the jail or the hospital.
‘He’s gone,’ Maliha finally spoke. ‘He hung himself in the living room. Right where you’re sitting. From the ceiling fan.’ I looked up at her and smiled.
‘What a horrible joke,’ I thought, and then I looked at the ceiling, where on the fan, sat a blue-colored woman, her face long – like a patli roti gone wrong, almost falling – an ugly nose she had, and a piece of abu’s kameez in her hand, and she looked down at me with gloomy eyes and began to weep.
‘Tomorrow they jinn court will know what to do with me. I will either be a free man or pay for what I have done.’ Abu’s words from last night rang in my ears.
Cover image via @alishba_waheed/Instagram