He was a small kid with sparkling eyes.
“His name is Burhan” Lali had said when introducing him to all of us. It was the wedding of Javed mamu and all of us were so young. We didn’t know what is grief and pain. We were loved and protected. Lali is the younger sister of my mother and this is her family nickname. Everyone calls her that because she is so loved.
At 3 sehgal street, shamnagar chobourji was the house of my grand mother. We called her nani ammi. Mamu Javed as the eldest son was the guest of honor with his olive green Opal car which he had brought with him from England. Burhan must have been 3 years old at that time. He could speak a few sentences and we could understand his cute gestures and ‘can I play with you’ requests. There were groups of cousins and every one wanted Burhan on their side. He was so adorable. The marriage ceremony went on for some weeks. It was fun for us kids. Going to shoppings and waiting for ladies to fix the rates of ornate dresses which smelled great and had glittering threadwork of silver and gold on them. I still remember Burhan and I used to caress a pink silky dress and it was so soft to touch. I touched Burhan’s cheeks and told her mom that he is like silk, so soft and so loveable. She had laughed heartily at this comment and hugged both of us. Then Javed uncle gave me a large Bugs Bunny. We could mold and remold it anyway we want. Burhan wanted to play with the bunny but I was too possessive. He used to first talk about it and his little hand would hold its arm; but the moment he got more than half of it I used to wince and run away holding it firmly. Then seeing tears in his eyes I would stop in my steps and hand over the bunny to him which he would hesitantly accept and a sudden angel like smile would adore his face with tears undried in his soulfull eyes.
There was a large tree at one end of the compound under which most of the things happened in relation to the marriage ceremonies. Young girls sang and we sleepily and happily observed their melodies penetrate deep into the nights and the stars above us appeared to shine brighter than ever.
Nights were bright when Lali and her family boarded the plane to England where she lived in Cardiff with her husband and two sons. Younger, Adnan Tufail was doing studies in medicine and a few years ago she sent us the photograph of two brothers in graduation gowns. Burhan excelled in English literature and was appointed a researcher in Kings college, London. I lost contact with them and got busy in my own life.
On a sad evening two years ago uncle Javed was talking to me on the internet when he suddenly asked me, “Of course you know Burhan has died.” I got sick and wanted to throw out. “NO! you must be kidding” was my meek reply but within my heart I knew it was true and that night I cried alone. For a distant cousin whose eyes I will never forget and whose smile will always brighten my days. At such a young age, Burhan’s loss has been felt everywhere. I called my aunt and she was broke. I didnt have the heart to ask her what happened. Later Javed uncle told me that it was sudden heart attack and I was wondering do poetic hearts break like that.