trolled across the largest graveyard of my village, which doubles up as a playground for children where tombstones serve as the substitute for cricket stumps. Children were playing, jumping, chasing and running across the newly sprouted yellow tulips among the graves.
From the scenic festivity, I narrowed my glance upon two kids who were teasing and tickling each other and rolling with loud laughter on the freshly grown minute blades of green grass. I immediately recognised one among them was Khawar Taj.
Who is Khawar Taj?
Khawar has got a Shia mom and a Sunni dad whose love cut across the sectarian lines before they decided to enter into the marriage consecrated with the same token of love.
Ask Khawar is he a Sunni and he will recite Durood in a typical Sunni way, swinging from one side to another. Khawar Taj, are you Shia? And he will beat his chest and recite Noha in a distinct Shiite style.
Khawar’s bones are straining under the identities which he never acknowledges or even understands. Innocence is the only identity that suits him, and love the only potion that children of his age guzzle.
I remember the violence of the days when Khawar’s parents got married. One day a violent brawl broke out between Khawar’s father and his maternal uncle-to-be. In that orgy of violence, the two fighters ended up bleeding and tearing each other’s clothes.
While the horrible memories of those scraps and shreds in me were stirring up, a shrill call woke me up: Arshad Bhaijana, save me! I went to the spot where Khawar had overpowered another kid by heavy tickling who was now calling me for help.
The moment I freed him from Khawar’s grip, I identified him as Suhail — Khawar’s maternal cousin brother. He was groaning with an uncontrollable fit of laughter while beating away dust and grass from his Pheran.
I was again reminded of that orgy of violence of their fathers who are stuck on that unfriendly note for the last 9 years while their children play together freely and happily.