Qalandar, Earth Needed A Superhero. © Copyright 2019 by Fraz Ahmed. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
Disclaimer : –
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
As the first rays of sunlight peeked over the horizon, a soft voice sang through the air. Birds nested and huddled for warmth during the cold night awoke to the singing. Perched on branches, they joined along with the sweet tune— the sound of azan played for the world to hear.
The large wooden doors of the mosque opened. Men adorned in black caps filed into the courtyard that had become a snow-filled wonderland. Ice trickled down from tall chir pines. And the winds whipped and whistled through the crowd. But even the chilling frost was no deterrent for those who wished to walk alongside the towering forests of Kashmir.
Breaking free from the crowd, a man with sleek black hair and a well-groomed beard, Ali, traveled along the road breathing warm air into his gloves. He was wellequipped for the cold— thick blue jeans, a fitted cotton polo, and an insulated coat protected his body from the elements. His calming brown eyes looked through the trees and watched wild hares hop into snowdrifts. The nature of Pakistan was something he loved dearly.
But calm days such as these hadn’t been the norm. Though tensions with India had long seemed dormant, Ali remained worried for his family. His mind returned to the headlines he had read; the ever-growing crime in the cities was something he couldn’t ignore. Ali shook his head, “With such a beautiful world, why are there those who seek to destroy it?”
His home, Kashmir, had always been a bone of contention between Pakistan and India. Both countries wanted to claim the land as their own. And since 1947, both fought four wars in hopes of taking Kashmir for themselves. Even with UN intervention, the border came to be known as the Line of Control— the point in which no one could truly believe they were safe.
It was only a short drive to the mountains from his home. And while those trails and forests were filled with the beauty of nature, war left them ridden with wire fences and mines. One needed to proceed with caution.
As he was lost in his thoughts, Ali noticed a figure moving by the edge of the road. He jogged ahead and what he found was an innocent life left to suffer. Capable of only the faintest whimper, the baby deer looked at the man. Kneeling down beside the young animal, Ali placed his hand on a bright red gash. Whatever truck had hit the deer was long gone, but Ali knew it was only a short walk back to his home.
Scooping the deer up into his arms, he jogged along a picket-fence that led to a large barn with thick panels of stained wood. Upon swinging open the doors, Ali was greeted by a large chestnut stallion with a mane that flowed like silk. The horse whinnied aloud as Ali brought the baby deer to a clean stall. And after laying the wounded animal onto a fleece blanket, he brushed his fingers against the horse’s coat.
“It’s okay, Tiger. You have a new friend,” he said to the horse before feeding him a fresh carrot from the barrels.
The horse nudged against Ali’s hand, graciously accepting the treat. But Ali’s focus was on the deer whose breathing had become shallow. Sifting through crates of feed and supplies, he found a first-aid kit and took it to the young animal.
With wounds so deep, he feared what more pain the deer may feel if he attempted to suture the gash. In the kit, he found a syringe with a sedative. Ali pet the deer to calm him as he administered the injection.
“When you wake up, you’ll feel better than ever,” he whispered.
His eyes locked onto the deer. At that moment, he sensed calmness in the animal’s gaze. Without understanding any of each other’s words, the two were able to know how each other felt. Flickering his eyes shut, the deer rested.
Moments like these were the very reason Ali had built his barn. It was a home for his beloved horse, but also a place to care for the animals of the forest. Sparrows nestled at the barn floor as Ali spread seed for the local bird to eat. He welcomed all in need to his home.
After bandaging the deer’s wound, Ali gave one last pat to his horse. Among animals was somewhere he felt comfortable. But as he looked out of the barn to a ranch-style house with an open garage, he knew that there were others whom he wished to care for as well.
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