Chapter 7 — The Good Word
There is always a word that ends it. One word that brings to an end everything that the mind can imagine and believe. If that word is used, a new beginning comes into existence. The old disintegrates giving place to the new.
What was that word, this was troubling Ali Mohammad. What could he say to Aazeen that she would stop this pointless chase. She was nowhere inside him now. She had left permanently that day from his mind too, when she had walked out on him, despite all his pleadings.
And yet, there she was standing with General Jazlaan, occasionally looking back at him, holding back a smile. She would understand soon that it was over. She had to focus on her work and duty only now. Saqib wanted answers to some questions and he would have them. Saqib might look like the lighter part in the heavier life of Ali Brothers, but he was the glue keeping them all together.
“It’s time to go back to the ‘Thought Room’,” called out Saqib. Everyone looked towards him again as they stood seated in the garden taking in the sun and sipping juice.
Ali Hussain stood up first, followed by Ali Hasan and Ali Mohammad. General Jazlaan remained seated, even as Aazeen got up and looked down at the General questioningly. He looked at her for a few seconds and got up himself.
Saqib flipped some switches on the panel and raised his questions one by one.
Q: Why did you Ali Hasan laugh so much when you entered the room for the first time after coming back?
Ali Hasan: I wasn’t sure I would be coming back to ‘Hedusha’ at all. But I couldn’t stop myself when I heard that Ali Abbas was coming back. I was so surprised to actually be here that I just laughed and laughed.
Q: Why did you Ali Mohammad break your promise to yourself not to shake hands with Ali Hasan? Why were you Ali Hasan surprised when Ali Mohammad shook hands?
Ali Mohammad: If Ali Abbas is coming back, then I thought I can accept Ali Hasan also back into ‘Hedusha’. So I shook hands.
Ali Hasan: I never thought that Ali Mohammad would accept me easily into ‘Hedusha’. So I was surprised.
“I think all this question and answer is not needed now. We can all go now.” Saying this Saqib switched off all the panels and signaled everyone to leave the room. Everyone looked surprised and looked at him. As everyone started to leave, he went to Ali Mohammad and put a hand on his shoulder. Ali Mohammad stopped, while rest left the room.
“Everything all right?” Mohammad sounded concerned.
Saqib smiled and moved his head left and right communicating ‘No’. “For some reason, I am not comfortable asking these questions to all of you. Only the General should be there in this room, with the pain point connected securely to his head,” said Saqib.
“But I thought you wanted some answers from all of us. We have always trusted you to do the right thing. If you feel that you don’t want to ask questions, its fine with us Ali Brothers. But if you are not comfortable about something, then I would definitely like that you share it with me,” said Ali Mohammad.
“It’s the General. There is something about him that is bothering me. I can see that he does not want to be questioned. I also understand that you have some reason to allow the General to step into ‘Hedusha’. But, something is not right. I cannot shake off this feeling,” said Saqib. He went to the Pain Point Box on the wall and pushed two buttons. The two white wires coming out from the box started glowing fluorescent blue. He switched off the buttons. The wires stopped glowing.
Ali Mohammad looked at Saqib and thought to himself that by the time Ali Abbas comes, Saqib has to be sure about his feelings. He cannot remain doubtful. There was just no way Saqib could function to his best capacity if doubt was clouding his brain.
“Say now!,” said Ali Mohammad in a loud voice.
“No, I can’t say it. I just can’t say it. Not now,” said Saqib.
“The time has come. You have to say it, so that our helpers can get ready. They have been waiting for our command ever since news of Ali Abbas has reached them. Say now,” said Mohammad.
Saqib looked at him. He went to a table in front of Mohammad. A full sheet of paper and a pen were on the table. He wrote something on it and then held the sheet up to show to Mohammad. ‘ORANGE GUY KNOWS’ was written in capital letters.
Ali Mohammad looked in alarm at the sheet of paper.