Son taps my shoulder: “Hamari bhi kahaani sunain!” (Listen to our story too!)
Excited by the willingness of this smiling young boy to share their story, I proceeded to listen to the father narrate.
“I used to be a successful man. I lived in a bungalow and had my own cars. In 2010, the floods destroyed a lot of my property and land. I worked hard to reconstruct my home and just as that was ready, the floods hit again in 2012, taking away everything I had rebuilt. We visited our home, that now had standing water, feeling for anything we could possibly recover amidst the water; a fridge, a cupboard, or a table, only to find that they had been completely destroyed or stolen.
The loss and grief were too much for my wife to handle, and she lost her life to a heart attack, leaving just me, my son, and my daughter in this world. My brother told me since my daughter was alone at home, I should get her married to his son. She was only thirteen, so I hesitated, but in the end, he convinced me to do so.
It was then that the elders advised me to go to Karachi. I did not like Karachi as there was too much rush. I then rented a small place in Hab Chowki, away from Karachi. I work as a mazdoor (Labourer) and do some driver-y. My son goes to the madrassa and is a Quran Pak Hafiz in progress. He also scored very well in his 4th-grade class.
I recently developed pain here *points to the area between his ribs and belly* so decided to get some tests done. They told me I have peelia and might have both (Hepatitis B and C.) For the past two weeks, I have been running around the various hospitals in Karachi, trying to get my tests done. I need to get my x-ray and I don’t have any money. They have now sent me here. I am looking to get a constant job so I can provide for my son and marry a widow since that is a Sunnat.
I am so glad you are here to listen to our story. In other places, they never listen and dismissively give us what we need or send us elsewhere”