Friday, October 1, 2010

Everything is fair in Love and War?

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 15; the fifteenth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

Zaid walked on what had once been the railway tracks of the Al- Hadithah station. Now they were sodden planks of wood that were trodden upon only by vagabonds. It was a deserted station with no trains. Unchecked public transport was too risky for a place like Iraq. He climbed the ledge towards a crumbling building. This was one of the few structures that had been spared by raw American militant gun power. What was the use of snapping down a dead place anyway?

The militants were wrong. This was what formed the meeting place of the Ansar Political Party.

Numerous difficulties in life had made Zaid strong. But his strength had caved in when it came to saving his own mother. He had needed money to save her. This unfortunately was a land where you either had ancestral farms or worked for the Americans against your own people. There were no other jobs. It was a crime to dream, and foolishness to ever imagine a business would flourish. In his helplessness he had been hired by the political party of the district to run errands. But the pay wasn’t enough for his mother’s medication. He knew she was sinking and the best he could do was get her to the hospital with advanced facilities in Baghdad. In her last days, he had asked for a loan. That was a mistake.

The party leader had agreed to give him the money in return for a small favor. It was to keep a package in his custody until a man named Nayeef Asad collected it from him. One condition. No questions were to be asked. He knew deep down there was something forbidden about it. But this wasn’t quite the time to think or argue. At the time, he had no other choice. He agreed. The parcel was handed to Nayeef. He now had the money with him. But his mother did not live to see it. His only pillar of strength was gone.

He didn’t need the money any more. The reason for his struggle was over and there was nothing else to do but return it. He hated the sight of it. And there he was again. At the station building, to meet the party leader as he had done once before. He stood outside and overheard two men talking-

Oh give it time Ali. Once the bomb Nayeef plants burns down a militant tank with a few of their soldiers, the Americans will be like a pack of wolves. They will kill every living person in sight. We will show footage of civilians being killed to the media, and before you know it, an uprising will begin. The world will throw these American jerks out and offer power to the one that promises peace. US!” he jeered.

For the first time, Zaid cried. He had saved the tears at his mother’s funeral. But this time the guilt shook him like nothing ever before. People were going to die. And he was instrumental. He had to stop it.


Yashfeen waved back at her husband. She had been married for a year and they were expecting their first child anytime now. Being brought up in Jordan, she was initially terrified of a life that was war prone. But love had made the imminent threat seem small in contrast. She had pleaded a million times with Haamid, her husband, to move away to another country. However he had always waved it away by telling her the same thing. “How can one leave one’s own country? We are all in this world for a stipulated time and nobody will live a second longer or shorter. Besides, here we have our family, our land. What will I do in another country? Would you want to deprive our children of what rightfully belongs to them?” She couldn’t reason with that and had to settle for this life. She was happy, no doubt.......but there was an insecurity. A nagging feeling like everything was a dream and might snap away in a split second.

No, this wasn’t the time to think sad things. She had to be happy. For her child. For Haamid who loved her so dearly. As he left to meet his father, he kissed her forehead and said, ‘You are glowing, my dear!’ She blushed and waved him goodbye.


Zaid quietly walked out of the building, onto the abandoned platform as he tried to make sense of what he had just heard. He had to find Nayeef and stop him from planting the bomb. The pouring rain blinded him, but he walked on. He tried to recollect the conversation Nayeef had had with one of his men the other day…..of plans to leave for Haqlaniyah.

He begged the occupants of a car to take him to Haqlaniyah and they agreed. There still remained the problem of locating Nayeef.


As Yashfeen got on with her daily chores, she heard a loud explosion that sent the house in vibrations. The worst was going to happen. Something in her head and heart knew it. She ran downstairs in an attempt to reach her in-laws who lived next door and almost immediately caught a glimpse in the window, of militants breaking open their house and firing at the entire household. She ran towards the house for what may have been too late to save anything.

Three minutes is what it took……and there was silence again.


As they neared the city’s outer limits, Zaid noticed a military tank that had been blown up on the road……..and a little away, a house that was now partially up in flames. He ran towards the burning house and could hear the faint screams of a woman. And he rushed inside to salvage what he could. What he saw shook his very soul. Smoke and blood everywhere. The bodies of helpless women and innocent children stared at him. The sight made him want to throw up and his head ached uncontrollably. But the woman’s screams kept him moving.

That’s when he saw her. She wreathed in pain and anguish. Her eyes were filled with tears and the pain was excruciating. In that moment she wasn’t sure she wanted to live at all.

He lifted her out of the burning house and she let go of her consciousness. With no vehicle in sight, he walked on until they reached a hospital. It was already crowded with casualties from surrounding areas and there was no electricity.

Zaid pleaded with the staff to take the woman in and finally a doctor yielded. The whole day was a blur. He couldn’t find forgiveness in his own eyes. And he did what his mother had told was best. He prayed.

After eight hours, the doctor conveyed him tidings of a baby girl. He was taken to see the baby and the mother. As he sat at the edge of the stool and held the baby, an unbearable sense of guilt flooded him. Tears rolled down his cheeks. He had left this kid without a father and widowed a woman. He looked at the woman in deep sleep and an overwhelimg emotion tore him apart. 
He wanted to protect her. To bring back what was lost. To make everything ok for her. And he made a vow.

He didn’t know if he could ever ease her pain and fill her sad eyes with just a smile. He didn’t know if he could ever make her want to live again. He didn’t know if he could ever get her to forgive him, much less accept him. And most importantly, he didn’t know if he could ever get her to love again, much less love him.

And she opened her eyes. He didn’t even know what he was going to say. But try he must!

Note- Although the story is fictitious, the incidents related are true as what took place at the Battle of Al- Hadithah, Iraq, in 2005 where over 400 civilians lost their lives purely due to instigation of American troops by internal political parties for their selfish motives. It's a shame!
 Life is a gift....If only people knew how to value it!

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.



The Solitary Writer said...

hey sad but well written ....wonderful plot and u have have dont justice to the image ...good check mine if u feel

Amity said...

Another poignant story this is!

I like your ending line: 'Life is a gift....If only people knew how to value it!'

Though fiction, there is an element of reality. Thanks for bringing this story. May we learn a lesson from it!

All the best for BAT15! Good morning!


RiikaInfinityy said...

An important lesson learned and noted :) Wonderfully written and good luck for BAT15^^~
Have fun :D~~~

Lost in thoughts said...

good story...well crafted.

Someone is Special said...

Wonderfully written.. poignant story..

With lots of love wishing you a good luck for BAT..

--Someone Is Special--

MuddassirShah said...

Touching !!
Like Amity says,
even i like the way you end it
" Life is a gift....If only people knew how to value it!"
Brevity has so much to it.
Good luck with the contest :)

Vikas Khair said...

Very Well written, mixture of Fact and Fiction really worked well. And also there's that last line :-)

" Life is a gift....If only people knew how to value it!"

All the best for BAT

Vikas Khair - Station of my Dreams and Love

Shruti said...

Loved the ending! All the best!

Viyoma said...

Well said, the message was subtle yet clear!

MAVERICK said...

Hmmm, what needs to be complimented are your story telling skills and extra credits for sharing some crude , cruel yet truthful facts.
Undoubtedly last line sums it all that life is a gift only if people know how to value it, but some need to have that special one to make them value it.
Kudos to your effort and thoughts and all the best for BAT

Sadiya Merchant said...

@solitary writer- oh ranbir ji aavo maare des again! n yeah thnx man! will look up urs n let u in on the feedback

@amity, muddassir and vikas- ironic u all liked d exact same thing! really sweet. thnx a ton!

@riikainfinityy- dats a tough spello!! had to scroll up thrice to make sure i got it rite! n am glad u liked it.

@ lost in thoughts, someone is special and shruti- merci! will look up ur posts too.

@ viyoma- :-)

@ maverick- dats grt interpretation and mus giv u full credit fr giving my story the thought n time. appreciate it!

Anu said...

Sad ending :(
But a lovely story, and kudos to your writing skills! ATB!!

Jayanta Deka said...

touchy one.. lovely emotions twinged together. all d best

T F Carthick said...

A touching tale. Best of luck for the Blog-a-ton.

Cherry Blossom said...

A fiction full of facts, well organised and presented, with an eye-catching conclusion. Well done. All the best.

Brijender Singh said...

Beautifully expressed.
I had followed the Battle of Haditha on the media and was disappointed to see the manner in which dished out purely as propaganda in a film by the same name.
And am thus doubly glad that it has finally got the treatment it justly deserves in you post-sincerely hope you get a lot of traffic for this poignant piece of writing. ATB

Makk said...

Nice Attempt!

Zainab Urooj said...

Good Story Sadiya.. My neighbour was from Iraq and she had told me many stories of losing loved ones. You really reminded me of her.

Rocksa said...

Hello Sadiya!

I'm so glad to have meandered in through Blog-a-ton. I'm enthralled once in a while by the quality of writing of some bloggers that I bump into and I must admit that today is one such day!

Thank you for sharing this piece of fiction where the appalling facts have been incorporated in a neat manner that makes it an interesting read.

There is so much more than that meets the eye and this story proves just that. We often read/hear the news and feel sad for those who have lost lives but never for a moment ponder the cause behind such occurrences. Sad indeed.

Can't agree more with you on this part - 'Life is a gift....If only people knew how to value it!'

ATB with BAT! Cheers! :)

Raksha Raman - Alston Station - A Life Relived

Lolland said...

nice post... refreshing that you made it a realistic story instead of an action adventure movie...

The Solitary Writer said...

thnks oye..... for ur great words... :) loving it :)

Sadiya Merchant said...

@ vaish, jayanta and The fool- thnx for the feedback n m sorry abt it being sad! i love happy endings too.....but then sometimes, although its depressing, u need to acknowledge people's existence.....i mean how many people really stand up for dem?

@ cherry blossom- thnx!

@ brijender- brijender singh being doubly glad makes me like a million times over-the-top-happy-happy-in-a-trance-kinda-glad! love ur writin btw :-)

@ Makk- :-)

@ zainab- feel gud dat i could do that....and it's difficult to even imagine her sense of loss....Inshallah i hope there is justice!

@ raksha- *blush blush* and yes the circumstances never come to the fore....sometimes its no one's fault, no one's intention and yet everyone loses something.

@ lolland- hehe i wud say thanx but i dont really have any kind of taste fr action adventure stuff so dat wud b the whole truth....cours works for me now that u liked it! ;)

@ the solitary writer- koi nai ji....anytime!

MuddassirShah said...

oh Ms peppy wid a punch.
New post up, a poem this time.
Need your Critic's review

Sidra Sayeed said...

Sadiya, there are numerous stories of families lost and displaced through many a man-made catastrophes.

The story had a clean line; upon which it held its ground. I think the way you've banked upon the irony of it all, his mother's departure and the baby girl's arrival was very touching.

Brijender Singh said...

Your all too laconic comment on my post left me,to be very honest, a little skeptical as to whether you had even liked it or whether you were merely being polite!
Just read your comment in the voting section-and it would be an understatement to say that it has left me over the moon!
Thank you so very much for your patronage-and really hope to see much more of you around !