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Junk Food… A short story

Junk Food… A short story
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Waseem Makai 

“They stitch the packets very tight, don’t they…? I mean do they sell gold or something?”  Kabir complained while opening the packet of tomato chips.
“Well I think you should carry a scissor in your pocket….Hunh…. Give that to me”. I opened it for him and took a slice from it for my service too.
“Always tomato…I guess it has been five years now you are stuck with this flavor, since we were in 10th standard. I have heard variety is the spice of life”. I was in the mood of another debate that night.
“Yeah it is, but there is something called favourite in this world. But how would you know, you don’t find anything interesting. That’s why you end up nowhere”.
I knew he loves to hit on me every time he gets a chance, but the worst part being he was right about that. I was always confused about my career and aim in life. And being my closest chum, he had every right and responsibility to care for me. Even though I could manage to escape from his harsh but reality based observations about me, but I knew he wouldn’t stop. He had honoured me with a pseudonym “Missile”, but the misguided one, obviously. Now in a rescue attempt to change the topic, I put on a suggestion:
“You must try this one; it’s called American Style cream and onion. It sounds very tasty even by its ingredients: onion powder, parsley powder, pepper powder, cheese powder, wheat fibre and starch. Doesn’t it allure you?” 
“No! It allures only those who love America. And I don’t like to hear that name even”.
He was blatant with expressions of abhorrence in his face. But still I liked to look at his face while talking, the reason being he is very handsome. He has a very broad jaw line and a broad forehead, which immensely pleases every human eye.
“Calm down brother…we are not going to America. But I want to know why do you hate America this much?”
Indeed I was least interested to know why he hates America; I just didn’t want him to talk about my career issues. And by the way who likes America either?
“Why do I hate America? Now what sort of question is this….?
“They are murderers…..All murderers”. He alleged the most peaceful folk in this world, at least they claim so.
Let me tell you whatever topic we used to discuss, it was just to hold ourselves together for some time. What they say “Shot the breeze”. There would never be a sign of seriousness in it. And I think it best exemplifies one’s friendship that he doesn’t feel bored talking with you for hours, even on such silly topics like junk food. You wouldn’t believe a debate one day lasted for four hours or so. And the point of moot was if all the nations in the world are in debt, where did all the money go? That night it too lasted for one hour or so and would have continued even further, if loudspeakers wouldn’t have started calling people towards God, it was prayer time now. I decided to drop Kabir at his home as it was just a few steps away from the mosque and then to go for prayers.
“You see! Our junk food debate was anchored by God himself. Now he has put an end to this by calling us to him”. I revealed while entering the alley of his house.
“Ha-ha…. Whom does he declare the winner then?” He enquired.
“I’ll ask him in the prayers. But I am sure it must be you, you are his humble disciple after all. And on this note, here comes your sweet home. See you mother is waiting on the doorsteps for you”. I said as we reached his home.
But he didn’t reply anything, don’t know why. I repeated the same line again but there was absolute silence from his side. I tapped his shoulder, while my eyes still on his mother waiting for him at the doorsteps. He still didn’t say anything. I then looked at his face; a drop of his tears was lurking at his nose and one at his chin. What had happened? I myself didn’t know. And as I was about to ask him about the matter, something struck my mind.
“O God! I am sorry. I am really sorry. It just completely went out of my mind. I am really sorry”.
For the moment it felt I had committed the most heinous crime on the face of this earth. And yes, it is the most heinous one if you ask your closest friend to see his mother when you know he is unable of doing that. The junk food debate had somehow wiped out this from my mind that I am holding the hand of a friend who was smart, intelligent, caring, handsome but blind. Even when I am narrating this incidence to you right now, I still can’t comprehend how come that much important thing slipped out of my mind. Indeed there had not been a single day when I haven’t thought of that ferocious and unfortunate day when during a protest rally in Baramulla town, CRPF ruthlessly targeted the protesters with pellet guns. And among those was my twenty year old friend Amir Kabir, who lost his eyesight for ever as he received around 20 to 30 pellets shots in his eyes. That night too it was very well in my consideration while we had that junk debate but just as we reached his home, my jolliness overtook my cautiousness. I committed a mistake, the thought of which laments me even now.
I swear by God I wanted to give him my own eyes at that moment, if not forever but even for some time so that he can see the face of his mother at least for once; the most beautiful face for anyone in this world. I also didn’t tell him about his brother that he had put on beard now because I knew it will trigger his curiosity to see him again. Never in my life had I felt so weak and helpless before. I wanted to be something different. And I don’t care how it will sound but its true; I wanted to be God. But I knew I can’t do anything except submitting to the reality that how cruel and ferocious one can be? How a little power can turn rulers into barbarians that they will permit the use of such lethal weapons which ought to have been designed for controlling wild animals, against their own people? And how anyone entitled for safeguarding people’s interest can snatch the eyes of a twenty year old boy, who haven’t seen the beauty of this world yet? And maybe would never be able to do so!
Persuading myself with enough courage and repentance, I hold his hand once again and guided him to his bedroom. His mother kissed him on forehead and washed his face in order to clean the marks of his tears. And after we had laid him on bed, I made my way directly to the mosque. But I had to come back from the main entrance for some reason. To give him his half finished packet of Tomato chips, his favorite junk food.

Author can be mailed at  waseemmakai@gmail.com.

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