A thief’s grief.

It was pouring that evening. Ahamed loved the rains. He would never fail to be mesmerized by the pitter-patter of the rain drops and hence, it was not surprising that he did not heed to the call of a few busy customers standing outside his grocery shop.

Some say that customers should be the top priority. However, for him, taking the time to reflect on and enjoy nature was far more important. He made himself a nice tea and continued to enjoy the evening.

It was getting late and he did not want to miss the Kebab his wife was making for dinner that day. He had hit his daily earning goal. So a quick sort of to-dos list based on priority landed the Kebab on top. The boy next doors helped him carry the heavy trays and tables inside. He knew he was not in his salad days anymore and did not do any heroics. At least, his body was not, even though his spirit and mind were.

Thanking the boy and giving him his daily wage, Ahamed walked home with his Umbrella. Even before he opened the door, the aroma of the kebab started watering his mouth. That was not all. The surprise that awaited him was much greater when he was greeted by his grandchildren. Could one ask anything more than the lovely rain, loveliest grandchildren and a delicious Kebab along with them? Nope. Ahamed was as content as a person could be.

They finished dinner. Ahamed’s eldest son described about his business ideas and how he was planning to move back close to home once his idea took off. His children made a mess out of the dining table fighting with each other over a piece of kebab because it remotely resembled a gun. One bite out of it would have solved the problem, but no. They had to pull the trigger.

Everyone retired to their rooms and Ahamed had his own little space. He liked his room. It was one of the smallest ones in his home, but was perfect for him. Everything was at a hand’s reach. The small rectangular room had windows on one side, his cot just beside it, the hangar on the opposite wall and a table in the corner.

He hung his shirt on the hangar and changed into his dothi. Answered Nature’s call, applied a little musk to the bed sheet and pillows as was his daily custom. He sat down on his bed, content with the day and yearning for a good sleep. However, the pitter-patter of the rain could still be heard outside. Ahamed wanted to listen to it, to sleep listening to that lullaby. He opened the windows, turned the light off and put his head to rest on the pillow, breathing in the cold air, soothing his mind and body.

Little did he realize the day was not over yet.

After a while since Ahamed slipped off into deep slumber, the beings of the night were set into motion. The moon tried as best as she could to take a peek at the world through the thick clouds, but it was just not her day. There was complete and utter darkness. So dark that it could chill the bones of a mortal who would be awake at that hour. Well, all mortals’ except one’s.

His steps were nimble and the dark added to the swiftness of his motion. Nothing could be heard or seen except for the occasional rustling of leaves, dripping of water and hooting of the owl. He was a master of his trade.

Unsuspecting, Ahamed slept soundly. Not realizing open windows were for creatures of the dark what sun light was for plants, he dreamed on.

A bamboo pole slowly found its way into Ahamed’s room through the grill of the room’s windows. So slow and yet so steady that even a fly wouldn’t have been able to detect that motion. The pole slowly moved in, not even scratching in the faintest at either sides of the narrow window grill. It crossed Ahamed’s bed, steadily continuing forward above him.

Masterfully and skillfully, the pole reached Ahamed’s shirt on the hangar. Maintaining the heavy pole so steady was too much effort and his muscles were acting at its peak. But it was worth it. It was art and sheer talent. Bravery.

Slowly the pole hooked onto Ahamed’s shirt, slowly lifting it off the hangar. Utmost care was needed now for the weight just became unbalanced. The shirt hanging on the pole made it so that it had to be lifted way above the cot before bringing it closer to the window. He was determined to do it.

However, what he did not realize was that Ahamed had been living in this home for the past 25 years and he knew every nook and corner of it. Even the draft that would run through the room was familiar to him because barely anything would change its place. As such, when the shirt was taken off the hangar, Ahamed awoke.

He did not get up. He slightly opened his eyes and beheld his shirt nicely floating by. It amused him. He admired the skill with which the pole was being held steadily. He did not move.

The pole slowly continued to move back towards the window. Almost 20 minutes had passed with that pole in the air. He was clenching his teeth, but his tiredness was overcome thinking about the gratification of achieving this feat. He knew he was getting better day by day.

The shirt was right over Ahamed now and he kept looking at it, admiring its consistent movement. Slowly, it went over, inch by inch. With utmost discipline, the shirt gracefully reached the window. He could not believe he had done it. He was euphoric. He gave all the strength to one arm holding the pole, bit his lips, and slowly moved his other hand to fetch the shirt.

Ahamed got up, took the shirt from the pole, hung it back on the hangar, and went back to sleep.

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