Also published on the Ziauddin University Atlas blog.
The urgency of his footsteps echoed the fear pounding in his heart. As he quickened his pace, he could feel himself losing this deadly race against time. Carrying his life in his arms, he could feel the weight of the universe dragging him down .
He broke into a run, towards the nearest taxi stand.
“Brother, will you take us to the nearest hospital?” he was breathless.
“Who is this?” A pair of curious eyes replied.
“My daughter. My only child.”
As the old driver helped him lower a thin bundle of flesh and blood onto the backseat of a tainted taxi, God received a silent prayer of thanks.
He eyed the speedometer of the taxi with a mixture of surprise and concern. The digits ‘100’ had never seemed so real. Sensing the direction of his passenger’s eyes, the aged driver warily answered the unquestioned, “I, too, have a daughter.”
His faith in humanity was rekindled.
Patting his daughter’s head, his worry escalated as he sensed her scorching forehead. His pride, his life, his happiness – his daughter. She is all I have, God; his thoughts were already a dirge.
The loud honking of the cars around him brought him back to the rude reality.
Looking at the lane of cars around him, his heart mercilessly skipped a beat.
“V.I.P. movement. The Prime Minister is going to London for his treatment,” the driver’s voice was thick with disgust, his eyes mirroring a fear and urgency as contagious as his indigent passenger’s.
Panic arising within him, he got out of the car.
He was shouting. He was screaming. He was begging for help, for mercy, for humanity ; all of which had evaporated with the sewage water that had adorned the road as unshapely puddles during the daytime.
“She will die! My daughter will die. Let the traffic flow! Please! I beg you!”
He was a wild man, running between the haphazardly parked cars. Sophisticated faces moisturized with wealth peaked at him from behind the windows of expensive cars. Pitiful glances riding on modest vehicles, mirroring his own despondency, greeted his heart-wrenching cries.
Running back to the four wheels that carried her, his spiritual self was fighting God.
The driver allowed his tears to flow freely.
A couple of miles from the deathplace of a poor man’s daughter, the Prime Minister of the country availed a business class ticket for a routine checkup with his doctor in London.
“When beggars die, there are no comets seen; the heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.” ―William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar.