Dinner was served at the table but no one had arrived as yet. “Where have they gone?” Mr. Mehmood asked his wife. He was waiting for his children for a long time. “Sarah would eat in her bed, she is working on her laptop; Ahmad has gone out with friends, Asad is too busy playing a game and Saleha does not like desi food” Mrs. Mehmood explained him details about their children.
“You could make something else for Saleha” Mr. Mehmood suggested in a low voice. “No, she ordered the pizza guy for food” Mrs. Mehmood informed.”And for others, sorry, I can’t do anything” she shrugged.
“Hm…” he nodded. “But at least Saleha could sit with us” Mr. Mehmood asked while coughing. He had a special affiliation with his youngest daughter”Why do you insist, Mehmood….just leave them alone” She opposed but seeing Mehmood’s waiting eyes, she decided to get up and call Saleha.
Mr. Mehmood was a 60 years old football maker from Sialkot. He was from a poor class family but with hard work, determination and diligence; he succeeded in providing a bright future to his family. His father was a shoe-maker and his mother a housewife. He saw extreme poverty while living in the slums of main Sialkot city.
They were ten siblings and he was the youngest. He could not study at all and started selling footballs for a local agent. But soon after some years, he was able to make his own football store and export footballs to countries like Australia, UK and USA.
All his four children: Sarah, Ahmad, Asad and Saleha were grown ups. Sarah was a lecturer, Ahmad was doing MBA, Asad was studying telecom engineering and Saleha was a literature student. Their father did everything to help them stand at their feet. Sarah was sent to Germany for higher studies, Ahmad and Asad were studying at the top class universities of the country and Saleha was provided with every thing she had ever asked or wished for.
Recently, Mr. Mehmood was diagnosed with an unknown liver disease which made him weak, disturbed and more sensitive. He wanted his family to spend more time with him but problem was all his children had been too busy in their lives. They could not take out time to sit with their father and ask him how he felt.
On the other hand, he wanted his boys to take rein of his business as soon as possible so that he could see them flourishing in his life. But Ahmad and Asad…both had no interest in his work, wishes or anything- and that is why they wanted to avoid their father most of the time.
One night, his condition worsened. Their family doctor lived in the next street but none of the children were ready to go out in the chilly December night to call him. “Sorry mama, I am chatting with my friends” Ahmad said. “Why does not Ahmad go?” Asad objected. While Sarah excused because of being in blanket and Saleha was not ready to go as being the youngest.
“Why don’t you call him?” Ahmad made a curve with his brows. “He is not attending” Mrs. Mehmood responded while fidgeting. “Try again” he said while chatting on the skype. “You try it please” Mrs. Mehmood pleaded. “Shhh…I’m on skype” He put a finger on his mouth.
“I go by myself” she announced in hopelessness and went outside bare feet.
“Sorry Mrs. Mehmood, he’s condition is worsening and no nearby hospital can treat his disease. Please arrange a car immediately to take him to Lahore (other city)” Doctor referred.
“Whom should I ask” she thought and went outside. They were well off and had three cars instead of one. But arranging a driver late at night was a big issue. She knocked two doors from the vicinity and one among them agreed to take her husband to the hospital.
It took them one and a half hour to reach the main hospital. She cut the entire journey while praying and asking God for forgiveness. But to no avail, as doctors from the emergency said sorry to her.
“Sorry, we need to operate him as soon as possible” the doctor revealed. “Try anything to save him, doctor” She pleaded. “No, I have no time” Mr. Mehmood murmured by taking his oxygen mask off.”Just call my children, I want to see them.” A certain kind of helplessness was apparent from his face.
It was three in morning when Mrs. Mehmood called Ahmad. “Mom, it’s too late” Asad answered and turn his cell off. She called Ahmad but his cell was busy. “Should I wake Sarah?” She thought while dialing. “Mom, it’s my college tomorrow. Why did you wake me?” Sarah answered irritably.
Hopeless and disappointed, Mrs. Mehmood came back in the ICU but did not say anything to her husband.
“When will they come?” Mr. Mehmood was eagerly waiting for his children. But his wife had no answer.
“Why don’t you call his children?” A nurse asked. “They are busy” She answered. “Call them again” but she ignored.
“Are they coming?” Mr. Mehmood asked while coughing badly for the fifteen time. “I need to distribute my property” He added.
“Alright Mehmood, I call them again” his wife decided to try one last time.
“Hello Ahmed, your dad wants to see all of you. He probably wants to distribute his property among you” She uttered.
“Right mom, I’ll be there” Ahmad replied in a humble voice.
Mrs. Mehmood did not have to wait more as her children were there within an hour but to no avail their father had passed away already!