Lame Life

Hamza Hassan Sheikh

    She was standing in the middle of the main highway with a vaccine box and a registration book. She was wearing a robe to cover her body as well as a veil on her face. She belonged to a backward area where the job for woman was not less than a sin. She was peeping into every van for babies who needed vaccine. She would never come out for this job if she had an elder brother and her father would not be a patient. She was the eldest in the family so it was her responsibility to run the home. The mother was uneducated and was unable to work out. She was vaccinating the babies after opening their mouths. The two drops for each baby was the security of his life and to safeguard them from many diseases.

    The cars were running on the road and the posters advertising the polio vaccination were waving with the breeze while in the middle of the highway, she was running towards every car. She was happy to save the life of these flowers as like a gardener. The time was passing and still she was fresh and tireless.

    She was a teacher in a primary school in a nearby village. The salary was so much that the whole family was able to fill their bellies with great difficulty. In addition, the medicine of the father was also a big problem for them. More than half of her salary was expensed on the medicines of her father. On the suggestion of one of her colleague, she too joined this polio vaccination scheme to earn some more to meet her expenses. She was told to be paid 250 rupees as the daily wage. She was glad that this pure and worthy work would make her able to gain some pennies, which she needed for her younger brothers and sisters. She was thinking to buy new warm garments for her brother and new shoes for her sister because the winter season was ahead. Last year when she had gained the money after serving for election duty, she had bought a shawl for the mother and a suit for her father. The salary was already decided before receiving. She was thinking about her home as well was vaccinating the cute and sweet babies. This road seemed her much luxurious and the worthy vans made it more attractive. Her eyes dazzled to see the glittering vans in the sunlight. She was inspired to see the luxurious life around her while her life was confined in a small dark home whose roofs were dribbling in the rainy season and the walls were outdated. Until evening, she remained busy in her job. After a tiresome day, she got back to home, an untidy and distressed home where all wistful eyes were only fixed on her, the only support of a big family.

    She took dinner and felt asleep because of a long tiresome day. The life was silent in the home and all were gathered in an old single room because it was the only room of the home, which was having a bulb. All of them used to sit in that room for dining and study while for sleeping many of them moved to the other room. The other whole home was drowned in the darkness. The poor walls were not the sign of safety but just for the sake, that no one might peep into the home. The father was lying on the deathbed and was just swallowing the medicines while the mother was coughing and sneezing because of no proper covering in the winter season. She saw towards her parents and took a long breath. The life was hand to mouth while the problems were unsolvable. She slept up planning for the coming up morning. She was hoping that their days too would be changed soon and she too would pass a comfortable life. She had thought if she happened to save some money then she would repair her home. Thinking about the better future, the drowsiness made her to sleep.

    In the nearby villages, the rumors against polio vaccination were revolving from many days. Mullah Hazart was the Mullah of the local mosque. He was the man who never liked the medical facility in his village and never wanted to see others in soothing life. He never liked the vaccinators because in his views it was not less than a sin. Once, his teacher had told him that this vaccine was made for this reason that in future these babies should not be able to bear the babies. This belief had made him to hate the people who were doing for the better health of the society. Within few days, he had created a group of people who was in his favour to stop the vaccination and it was unnecessary for the babies. The people now started to raise the voice and the fire extinguished all around within days. The minds of the people were changing as quickly as the blank paper is dyed with an ink. The hatred created in the hearts of the people even against the people who were working on daily wages and voluntarily. The ignorance was ruling again and the oppressors were the decision makers of others life and fortune. The ignorant of reality were giving the fiat and a number of stupid had started to follow these fiats. The life was again smiling in this strange corner of the world where ignorant were the decision makers where the murderers were awarded while the killed ones were punished.

    She got up early the next morning and was ready to leave for her duty after taking a cup of tea. She reached at the main highway after receiving her medical kit from the health centre. Again, the luxurious life surrounded her from all around. The cute and sweet babies were giggling with their toys on the back seats of their glittering vans while the parents passed a smile to her after their baby was vaccinated. This smile encouraged her and her tiredness faded away. All day long, she gained nothing except few words of thanks and the cute smile of babies. The drops of vaccine made secure the life of babies. She was working as well as the luxuries around him took her thoughts in different dimensions. She decided to buy a big stuffed teddy bear for her brother in the next salary. Her heart wished that her brothers and sisters too played with these kinds of toys. Every car crushed away her wishes and desires. All day long, her fingers dropped the drops of vaccine in the mouths of babies. She was comparing the lives around her with the lives confined in a dark cell. The noon was over and now the day was proceeding towards the evening. Today was her third day of the duty and still two days to go. She counted her wage, which was 1250 Rupees. She remembered the needs that were much essential for her to fulfill now. The list was long but the money was short. With each coming van, she stood up so that if there was any baby in the car then she could vaccinate him. She was thinking about her needs that a car seemed coming towards her. She stood up as usual to see any baby but the devil of fate was in the van. There were three men in the van. She stepped back having no baby in the van but still the van stopped. Still she was looking that a man got out and removed his sheet. His body was full of weapons and the aim of his gun was her figure. She was unable to understand anything that he opened fire. She fell down injured. The vaccine scattered here and there and mixed up with her blood. She was taken to the hospital but her blood was flowing like a shower. She reached hospital but before the treatment, her soul left for heavens. The stretcher was colourful with her blood and blood was dribbling from it. Her body was shifted to the hospital while the stretcher was put aside. The vagabond and hungry cats surrounded the stretcher that was dyed with her blood. The cats were licking her blood sitting on the stretcher while a lame cat which was unable to ride on the stretcher, began to lich her blood standing under it. The cat opened its mouth for her rinsing drops of blood in such a way, as those too were the vaccination for its lame life.


Hamza Hassan Sheikh -
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