It was a cold November night, the twenty-fifth of Ramadan al Mubarak. Her whole family got ready to attend their usual taraweeh prayers and for the extra prayers of the last ash’rah’s third odd night. Her mother and little sister accompanied her to the prayer place and soon after the first batch of rakats were offered, she jumped up and started playing with the kids of her age. She ran here and there like a multi-colored butterfly, catching sights of many parents who didn’t know how to dress their little girls. Her newly stitched green qamees paired with a comfy susi shalwar and matching khussays grabbed attention of every person present there. She didn’t care and kept giggling and running all over the place. Her mother would ask her to sit down, but she’d get up and start playing again. After quite some time, she came back to her mother panting and drenched in perspiration. She was hungry after all those tiring games. She asked her mother if she had brought food with them. Her mother took out a lunch-box out of their bag and said, “Yeah, here’s your favorite daal chawal and fish, mixed up. Sit properly.” Soon after this, her mother was feeding her with rice balls. Everything was going fine. She hadn’t eaten much when she suddenly felt something stuck in her throat. “Something’s in my throat, Ammi.” she told her mom about it. “Oh that’s nothing, here, drink some water and it will be fine.” her mother replied and handed her a glass of water. She drank a little and said, “No, it’s still there.” Her mother borrowed a piece of bread from a woman sitting beside her. “Try a piece of bread, beta. It’ll be okay”, her mother said while trying to clear her daughter’s esophagus. “Aaaah! It’s something sharp! It’s hurting me! Take it out of me, Ammi.” Her mother got tensed and said, “Oh God. It’s a fish bone. What will I do now?”. “I feel like vomiting, I feel like its coming out.” she said in a frantic voice. Her mother took her to a nearby basin. Nothing but blood ran down the drain. She saw blood and started crying like a goat. Her mother did everything in her control to console her crying daughter. Some of the women present there also got worried. Many of them tried to do things to get that irritating frickin fish bone out of the girl’s throat but everything went in vain. Her mother picked her up and ran down the stairs to call her dad. He wasn’t there. Her mother sat on the stairs with the unmoving, lifeless body of her daughter, crying and begging for help. She saw her mother’s face wet with tears and soon she closed her eyes. Darkness fell in front of her vision and on her poor soul.

A few drops of water made her open her eyes again. She hadn’t entirely came back to her senses when a doctor did some trick and she vomited. After washing her face, she drank some water and soon that fish bone came out of her mouth. It was half an inch long but sharp at two of its edges. Her mother hugged and kissed her as if she had given birth to her daughter for the second time. That day, today, she is known as “The Machchi Bachchi”.

 

A funny ending to a serious story, eh? Yeah, that kid was me. I am the fish girl. My mother tells me that I seemed dead for like five minutes. Whenever I think about this particular event in my life that happened some ten years ago, I wonder what it would have been like had I died ten years ago?  I must have been one pure soul in heaven, a sin-less ten year old. Hah. Jokes aside, I seriously think what my funeral must have looked like. There were people at that time, they must have offered my funeral prayer right there. I must have had this chance of being called someone who died on an odd night.  I wonder what was there in those moments between my second life and death? Probably that part is blank in my memory. I wonder what if I hadn’t stayed? What if I hadn’t came back? Most of the people who know me now wouldn’t even have an idea that I existed. I wonder if someone would actually miss me if I had died long ago. I wonder if they would miss me if I die the coming minute. I wonder if they care. I wonder what would be a world without me. I wonder.

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