A Joke

It was a normal evening. Old friends caught up. They laughed, made fun of each other, did all kinds of silly stuff like always, and said goodbyes, promising to meet again soon. The night went peacefully. Then morning arrived and brought with it the news that one of them has broken the promise. He felt like leaving for the next station all alone and never even thought about informing the others. He probably thought the others would see the humour. It was another prank after all. Only they lost their sense of humour somehow. It was not a prank. It was reality. It was death. He played the funniest joke of them all, yet nobody laughed.

They thought it was a joke too. They refused to believe the news. They did not care for the evidence. How could such a thing be true? People do not leave just like that. Even as they stood before the morgue; even as they pushed back tears to see that pale face clearly; even as they went with him on his last ride home, they could not believe the world could change so much so quickly.

Yet, it was true. The world had changed – for better or worse. Despite trying as hard as they could, discerning the part that was better from all that was overwhelmingly worse seemed impossible.

Oh, how overwhelming was the worse! Was breathing always so difficult? Eating was never this painful. Moreover, since when did they become so fearful? They were fearful of laughing – even smiling. They were scared of talking. They were even fearful of crying. They were fearful of their own vulnerability.

Hope felt dangerous. Ambition seemed worthless. Love stopped holding any meaning whatsoever. Relationships became chains. Family started to feel like a burden. Faith shook on its foundations.

These young men searched for that feeble ray of light that would show them the purpose of life. Try as they might though, it remained elusive. The black hole of death had sucked it into inexistence. All that remained was darkness.

They realised pain was now a companion; a friend they needed to embrace. Embrace, they did. Hurt became healing. Despair replaced hope. Indifference trod down aspirations. Emotions became symbols exchanged over texts, but never felt in real life. Blocking out became second nature. Suddenly, it seemed easy. This was all they had to do until they too left for their respective journeys.

But the world was not ready for that. Society frowned upon them. They were outcasts. Grief was not supposed to be felt for so long – that too for “just a friend.” Moving on was mainstream. Bury the dead – they said. Bury the past. Burn down the memories. Pull back the tears. Be men, or at least pretend.

Therefore, they started pretending. They put on masks with smiles painted on them. They pretended to laugh at the joke life had played on them. They became skilled actors. They faked emotions. Pretending to love, pretending to become angry, pretending to be men; pretence came subconsciously. Society accepted them again. People invited them for gatherings. Life became normal again.

However, nothing was normal. Nothing would ever be normal, ever again. As they met on another normal evening, they laughed, made fun of each other, did all kinds of silly stuff like always, but never “promised” to meet again. Promise was the joke that made life and death laugh. They understood it. As they parted, they thought that one dead old man (Ahmad Faraz) told the truth when he said:

“Hua hai tujhse bicchadne ke baad ye maaloom
Ki tu nahi tha tere saath ek duniya thi”

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41 thoughts on “A Joke

  1. Yet again a nice write,though a sad one, but sadness is reality too, we cannot always joke . outpouring of emotions made me feel the pain of the loss , life never remains the same, it keeps on changing so dont expect it to be same, we never know what Allah holds for us tmrw, He has given you strength to overcome the grief ,we can only pray for the dead and living that Allah keep them safe from evil of duniya and the tests of Akhirah. Aameen

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post. Getting deep and sad posts today on my news feed:(And its Eid. Just goes to show that life has its ups and downs. We tend to suppress the downs by pretense just like you said.The feelings still remain though.I hope you feel better. Eid Mubarak to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It is therapeutic. Writing something down is like talking to your best friend. You don’t want advice, you only need someone to listen.
        And Haha 😀 yes, that’s the poo lover..uh or hater… I’ll shut up now.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. True that.
        Hahaha you should put that in your bio

        Arz hai,
        Is 22 saal ke zindagi main bohat kuch dekha
        Ishq bhi dekha aashiqi bhi dekha
        Gunaah bhi dekha gunaahgaar ko bhi dekha
        Lekin 22 saal main kabhi aesa kuch nahi dekha

        Is 22 saal ke zindagi main bohat kuch suna
        Gaane bhi suney abbu ammi ki pyaar bhari daant bhi suni
        Wafaadari ke qisse bhi sune bewafai ke bhi sune
        Lekin 22 saal main kabhi aesa kuch nahi suna

        Is 22 saal ki zindagi main bohat kuch seekha
        Jaanwar se na darna seekha (except dogs :P)
        Dukh sehna bhi seekha
        Logon se expectations na rakhna seekha
        Log kabhi bhi badal sakte hain ye bhi seekha
        Lekin 22 saal main kabhi aesa kuch na seekha

        Tum kya jaano Aaliyah,
        Tumhe abhi bohat kuch dekhna bhi hai, sunna bhi hai aur seekhna bhi hai (picture abhi baaki hai mere dost)
        Ershad ne pyaar ke nazm main poo ko first preference diya
        Kabhi 22 saal main aesa kuch dekha ya suna bhi tha?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Awww I thought you would be replying to my poetry by poeting 😦
        But you didn’t. So I shall on your behalf lol.

        Irshad hai (pun intended)
        60 saal ki zindagi hai 22 saal ki nahi
        Chemical engineering ki degree hai pyaar karne ki nahi
        Office main baith ke sarhte hain doosron ke comments parhte hain
        Blog main hum crap ke baare main likhte hain
        Lekin chaahe jitna mazzak uraaye
        Dil ke hum achche hain

        Liked by 1 person

      4. That is good poet-ing :D. You should open another blog where you only talk like this. And for you now.

        Ershad miya Ershad farmate hain
        Dosti na karo
        Pyar na chedo
        Ranjishon pe ranjishe daalo
        Kuch bhi zulm karo
        Par yaar potty karke darwaza toh band karo

        I running now. Jutey parne wale hain.

        But seriously thanks. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Thanks 🙂 I don’t think I am that great of a poet or a “shaayera” to open another blog but thank you .That meant heaps

        Finally!!It would be sad if Ershad miya didn’t ershad back so thanks. And before I start ershading back I shall stop spamming your comment section. Apologies for making a sad thought provoking post into a poetry contesr.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! Great post! Totally not haha funny XD
    The description was just ahmazing!

    I read the title A Joke and then the first line had the word normal…I got to know this story was going to be sad…not funny!
    Sometimes in life we all just play pretend.
    “What if all those masks were dark and hollow?” I’ve asked myself.

    My sister asked me to share some joke with her but I read to her this whole post instead.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I’m really honoured. Describing reality is easier than inventing goofiness. As for the answer to your question, I don’t think they’ll allow you. You’ll be castigated. Banished. That’s society for you, I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: On a Serious Note | Musings of an Indian Aussie Hijabi

  5. So I’ve read fiction. And I’ve read death. I’ve also read broken promises and pretense. I’ve never read all of it written together so well! This is brilliantly penned. It’s effortless.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. When you mentioned reality as a category, you meant your life’s reality?
        If so, I am so sorry. My comment should have been sympathetic towards you rather than just in appreciation of your talent.

        Liked by 1 person

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