Niaz Zaman’s story is a beautiful take on the fragile nature of human relationships and the need for love to exist.
There was not much to do in the one-bedroom apartment, but still the two of us — seven years old and five years old — found the bed in the dining room a good place to hide. Often, getting bored hiding in that cramped place, I would fall asleep. I am sure my brother did as well. That late afternoon, as usual, my brother and I were under the bed when someone knocked on the door. I peeped out from under the bed. He was a stranger. Had never seen him before. Few men came to Nani Amma’s flat. Apart from the dudhwala who came early in the morning and we had never seen him, only heard Nani Amma’s berating him for the amount of water he added to the milk, there were no male visitors.
The man who entered was shorter than Daddy but darker. Wearing an ill-fitted suit. It was Ammi’s slight “Oh” and Nani Amma’s “Mohammad Ali? You?” that startled me and made me look again.