He was late already. Jumping out of his blanket, he was in the street. This was the third day consecutively, he didn’t wash his face before work. He didn’t have time to notice that. His eyes were red and puffy. The bags seemed to become a permanent feature of his face now. Crossed the main road, his bicycle got punctured. He’d had the glimpse that something was just not right. Roads seemed lonely. But he had lots of a big lot to do than figuring out what. He picked up the newspapers on his way. He’d always longed for the meaning of the writings in them -the gusto in them that drove people around him as flies. Lost in those glamorous photos he almost missed a truck. Then, all at once, the juju came to unveil. He stopped suddenly. All of the mighty buildings around were adored in green and white. Oh, how could he forget! A sudden cold swapped through his body. What was he going to do? Nobody was going to come for the newspapers. He was supposed to get food. And medicine. Another day? No money, no food for another day! He looked at the pile of newspapers in his hands. He decided to sell them from door to door. He had to have money. Crossed the railway track, he entered the colony.
It was a public holiday. Gate to gate, some answered. Most didn’t. Then, next housing society. The mighty Sun was slamming on his head. House to house- society to society. He was able to sell half of his stock. He caught his afternoon breath sitting on a footpath, under a tree. He was Happy. Bread, at least. He pulled out his garbage sac. Picking garbage wasn’t as good a living as it once had been, for Lahore was cleaner now. He was wandering on the streets. He saw happy kids with little flags and tattoos on their faces. Happy kids used to annoy him. They were all singing and dancing around.
“Hum zinda qoum hain
Pa-inda qoum hain
Hum sub ki hai pehchan Hum subka Pakistan, Pakistan, Pakistan!”
He turned his way home with the weird lyrics echoing in his mind, as the ironic Sun of ‘Independence day’ set behind him.