HE SAW the mob coming quickly and rapidly. He knew it would perhaps attack his house. Or his neighbours. He watched it, as motion like it came in a swarm, slowly. No words, no expression, but he could sense anger. It came in well defined movements. Step by step, it intruded into the locality. It did not look left or right. It was a mob, a furious but silent mob. He looked towards his neighbour’s house. He wanted to warn them. But there was no movement there, not a sound.
Were they dead or alive? Suddenly he rushed to his room. He was sweating profusely. Little Arif playing in the garden? He called out, there was no answer. How could he have forgotten Arif when he saw the mob?
He felt like killing himself. He was hiding under the bed. But still there was no noise, no shouting, no breaking down things. The heart beats pounded. Had they passed his house? Had they decided to spare him and his house?
Silence. Maybe it was not a mob, maybe it was just a procession, a protest march. He cursed himself.
Where, where was Arif? Shops downed shutters. Children came back from school. A Minister’s car, hooting, whistled passed. There was no mob; ahead he thought he saw a fire. Arif’s father was in a camp housing hundreds. It was dirty, but they told him to stay here, till normalcy was restored. What normalcy he thought.
Normalcy they said. Normalcy. Everything will be alright. What the hell, he thought. Where is my house? What has happened to it? Arif was playing in front of the camp. Arif who was seven years old. Arif who did not know the meaning of a mob. Oh Arif grow up. Then you will know what a mob means, what it does, how it functions. At night, Arif by his side, he slept. He was dreaming of his house.
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