Irony of fate
“Who is it again this time”?
Mzee Hatibu wept. For the third time his grand daughter was pregnant again. “Who on earth would think of doing this injustice to my grand child”-he continued weeping.
Zuhura was orphaned even before she was born. Her father died leaving her 7 months pregnant mother. Her mother died during the child birth. Mzee Hatibu with his blind wife brought her up.
Zuhura was a child by age but she never knew childhood. “Wet your hands to wet your mouth” was the rule of life since her tender age. When other children were running around and playing, she was collecting dry twigs for firewood. She used to walk 2/3 kilometers on bare foot to fetch water. Her soles were stony hard and shining smooth from the long walks. The nerve endings on her soles were long dead-no pain, no heat, no feeling. She could walk with ease even on the roughest surface.
School was a foreign word to her. When her age mates were going to school, she was baby sitting other children, earning a living. She was 8 years old but the bread earner of their family. She never complained. She had her small world. She rather felt very proud to take care of the two oldies.
Society misunderstood her misfortune and simplicity. Luck abused her. Fate despised her. Her body was growing but her brain froze at the age of 7. When she was 12, she turned into a toy of the maniacs. When she was 14, her body gave birth to another unfortunate living being who survived barely a week. From then onwards, Zuhura became popular and noticeable by the public; there was hardly anyone in their township who did not know Zuhura, the crazy.
She always carried a dirty piece of cloth, rolled and tied up. To her, it remained as her ever-loving new born baby. She never allowed to be parted from it.
The bread earner had fractured her mind. Mzee Hatibu was forced by fate to come out and beg in the streets. He had to live for the sake of his blind wife. He could never imagine what would be her fate if he would die before she did. All their children died in their young ages. The only relative they had was Zuhura. He had high hopes on Zuhura, that too gone already. His prayer to God was for him to be able to help his wife up to her last moments.
When the crowd of children asked her to show her baby, she smiled and hid from them. She had forgotten all about her loving grand parents. She did not remember she had a house, which she shared with them. She spent most of the time in the streets. Sometimes she would be gone for days. Even if she happened to come back, it was like passers by. She was never violent to anyone. She never begged, but the good Samaritans used to throw their left over food stuffs to her.
One day Mzee Hatibu was called in the hospital and the nurses told him that his grand child nearly died due to excessive bleeding from an abortion. He did not know whether to be happy that she was saved by the doctors and nurses or to be sad that she would still continue with the torments of ill fate.
Even death was considered a blessing at that point.
Mzee Hatibu had not seen Zuhura for months. He could not go around looking for her and nobody had told him about her being spotted somewhere. Silently he thanked God for relieving her from the torments if at all she was dead. He offered his sincere gratitude.
One late evening when Mzee Hatibu was trying to help his wife cooking, he heard some commotion outside. He heard his name being mentioned. He came out to find out what was happening around. There were a lot of policemen in uniforms with a bunch of children following them, some of them shouting and laughing loudly- Zuhura the crazy, Zuhura the crazy.
He saw her at last being escorted by the police; she had a round bulging tummy. The police told him that Zuhura was under detention for few days because when the president’s convoy was passing, she refused to move away from the road. The convoy police picked her up and deposited her in the nearest police station. One of the constables at the station knew Zuhura. With her pregnant situation, looking to give birth soon, the police had released her unconditionally but came to warn Mzee Hatibu not to allow her to loiter in the street.
Mzee Hatibu had many questions to ask the policemen but did not open his mouth. “Who would have understood the irony of my fate anyway”- he consoled himself. He cursed the insane men who made Zuhura pregnant, men with evil minds who loiter unnoticed.
He prayed begging God to bring an end to his family’s misfortune- the final destination of human being but…………..LIFE GOES ON.
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