Mushtaque B Barq

Embellished Coffin

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From the terrace, Nisheta was gazing at the two boys who were trying to stitch up a ragged blanket. Asgar, the elder one was keenly plugging up the blanket and Angat, the younger one was threading the needle on demand, besides reeling the threads on the tin box. Occasionally, they would inspect the blanket and mark it and frequently they would pass a pleasing smile to complement each other for the kind of partnership they were building to set an example for the generations to come.

Nisheta came a bit closer, bent over the fencing like a spy to take note of the boys.  Asgar was much absorbed in sewing up the worn out blanket, unconscious of everything more or less than Angat who seemed getting pleasure from reeling the threads after putting together different threads irrespective of colour, texture and depth like a messenger from the ether to bind them all on that tin box. His hands were moving in a clockwise direction and when the tin would slip off his hands, anticlockwise he would go, making the tin box look like a messed- up life of elders.

Nisheta, a mother of two daughters had never been the bystander of such activities at home. At most her daughters would adorn their dolls and position them in a row according to their range and contour. They had never tried darning their torn dresses; their dolls to Nisheta were only dead human frames with glass eyes and corkscrew hair. Their faces had the same monotonous look; nothing had changed save their dresses which had lost sheen and shine like the people down in the street.

“If they know how to stitch, they can modify their dresses and break their tedious looks,” Nisheta murmured.

As Asgar took hold of two ends of the blanket, Angat did the rest. The cloth had almost all the punctures repaired unevenly. The seams were looking horrifying like the situation down in the street after restrictions were imposed; the folds seemed mysterious like the riots last night when all of a sudden hooligans disturbed the peace of the city, wrecked the malls, looted the shops and above all three persons and a dog was scalded to death for being the creatures of different god.

“Once perforated how tactless the blanket looks after restoration!”  Nisheta judged.

It had all the colours, all types of stitches, all brands of fine threads. A line of wool, yarn of silk, a good measure of coarse fiber and undreamed of branded fur pieces to impede the wind. The two boys had darned the tattered blanket of the city up in their terrace that down the street was viciously violated by villains of humanity, leaving behind the huge debris of hatred, the filth of which like moldy reek had sneaked through the fissures of dissonance into every drawing room where news bulletins were adding oil to the fuel.

As the blanket was ready, the two brothers stretched it on the floor. The size seemed relevant which was evident from the smiles on their sunken cheeks. Asgar circumspectly folded the blanket and Angat tied a scarf around its belly to make it easy for him to carry it down the street. Nisheta in the heart of hearts was scolding her daughters for not taking being active and innovative. Asgar looked around and before he could spot Nisheta in the terrace facing them, she lowered a bit to put herself out of his sight.

Nisheta looked like a bundle of crooked muscles, devoid of consideration and care for her daughters who to her were lazy.

“How important is stitching, how necessary is to fix the threads and how significant is handling the needle that despite being so thin joins the cloth after being tortured by a pair of scissors. These scissors only know how to cut the cloth but a needle knows its job,” she thought.

Next day the newspapers had covered an interesting story: A lucky dog found an embellished coffin, two men none.

Nisheta dropped her head in shame, but her daughters awkwardly gazed at the scarf wrapping around the poor animal. At night when the scene popped up in the news channels, Nisheta not only found her wardrobe compromised but few needles and a roll of thread missing.


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