Under the shadow of gun



By Syed Aqeel

[W]hen the air carries smokes of gunpowder filled with the rattling of gun fire, eyes sometimes seek the coolness of beauty and the depths of human emotions. The burden of carrying the weapon of death sometimes is interrupted by the ecstasy of loneliness. That in return seeks refuge in the eyes of some beautiful face. While escaping from the pursuit, Gul Mohammad* in his teens with his non-stop breathlessness enters Laila’s* house to seek refuge from the heavy boots of pursuants, encounters a dashing focus of two beautiful eyes focused on him and his associates.



When should man with a vengeance of destruction and self-annihilation seek an unbridled emotional and sentimental love which Mohammad was offered in Laila’s deep eyes which were already focused on his escapades. He at once realized that after burning alive a young female to death, now lays under the feet of another female soul, laying his weapon down along with his heart and soul. This was a revolution in Mohammad’s life of death and destruction. He gave away everything in return for a smile with a positive reciprocity culminating in the beautiful knot of marriage.


Nevertheless, the tenderness of love could not conquer and subdue the harsh reality of non-compatibility. The joys of marriage and the union was replaced by tears and confrontations resulting into the pain and agony of separation with a beautiful rose born to the young beauty Laila, could not heal the wounds of separation. He joined the official band of gunmen with a sole objective of seeking revenge but could not.



By the passage of short span of time, he could not even seek his revenge before the emotions and sentiments he discovered in the two beautiful eyes of Laila. Love was replaced with hatred which nurtured Laila’s heart and soul. The realities of practical day to day life dawned on both of them that two extremes could not make life in a single cup of sweetness of love and life.



[pullquote]“O darkening nights of despair,

 Thee, one hopes of relief.

 Who can hold thy drops,

 On the lonely paths of death”[/pullquote]Laila in her single room with a rose beautiful daughter recollects with her loneliness the shadow of emotions and sentiments of love for Mohammad, which she once felt for him in the line of fire. This is now the period of repentance for her and her enduring attempts to forget her past and adjoin the present realities which she faces even by the abandonment of her own kith and kin’s. Her dearest and nearest blood relations  only count her mistakes adding miseries to her already miserable life, typical of the behavioral nature of our society, critically pinpointing only don’ts and do’s without having any remedial words of hope and promise. 


Laila asks her soul and mind that why this happened which brought destruction to her life and peace. Laila believed in the simplicity of her pure emotions of human nature as a female, having a very rich family background of her own but lacking in the intellectual aspect of human nature which brought her on such a disastrous impasse.



Muhammad on the other hand having a rough family background could not but had the personality capabilities to imbibe such depths of love and purity. Situation has thrown them poles apart and Mohammad with his extremeness of behavior remains as such and hence violent, remaining aloof from Laila’s concerns.



Often, I raise my hands towards the heavens and pray for Laila’s peace and prosperity and pray for her strength to overcome a total destruction she faces right now.



What of Gul Muhammad? He can go and find some other refuge as his tough past has rendered him heartless and emotionless with a little interest left in his own girl child, who asks her mother often the reason of her plight.  



This is a short gist of holding a river in a cup which is still burning my heart and soul after finding the destruction of decayed old situation in our beautiful vale which got destroyed by the over-whelmence of extremism and ruthlessness all-sided with violence and bloodbath in the armed uprising of the 90s.  



I therefore conclude with Laila’s words which she often utters in a state of helplessness:


“O darkening nights of despair,


Thee, one hopes of relief.


Who can hold thy drops,


On the lonely paths of death”.

*Names have been changed.


















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