during my walk in the park this morning…
What happened today was different. I’ve been going for walks to F-9 Park or Fatima Jinnah Park for many years. You can say its’ my favorite haunt. As I drove into the car park, I had to be careful as three young boys were getting in my way. They were around fifteen years of age, carrying school bags and smoking. As one of them passed near my car, “You look like such a wonderful young man,” I softened what I was about to say with a smile, “your young lungs must be having a tough time with this smoking!” As I parked, I went over and met the other boys too. Umar, Ali and Noman all aged 15 in class 9th.
“Are you bunking your classes today?”
“No, we are having exams. Our paper got finished, so we so we came here.” Said, one of them.
It was obvious they had nothing better to do, so when they asked me where I was going, I asked them if they would accompany me with my walk. They happily agreed.
I’ve taught young boys of their ages for several years. I told them. I’ve always loved young children, teenagers and kids. So, they too used to love being in my office, when I was a principal in Connoisseur Grammar School, or in ICAS, or a Coordinator in Roots. They would confide in me, and share their problems or little issues. So, anyhow, we started walking.
As we neared the lake (or pond as you may call it,) we heard the cries of a woman. At first we thought it was an illusion. Till we all looked at each other realizing we all had heard it the second time too. As we got closer, it was apparent; a lady was screaming and crying. She was wearing a black burqa, with dopputta head covering, on her head also. She was sitting with a lightly bearded man in shalwar-kameez. She was crying loudly. I moved towards the couple, and asked the man “Is anything wrong?” He moved his head indicating ‘no’. I looked at her. She had mellowed down. Tears glistening on her cheeks, I looked into her eyes, asking “Are you all right?” She said, “Yes, I’m ok now, but a man in blue shalwar- kameez was trying to attack me, over there.” She pointed towards the other side. It was all an open area, visible to all.
“It is okay, I’m near-by, if you need me let me know.” That is all I could say, as I started walking away towards my ‘lake’, about fifty feet away. The boys followed me.
“Pagal lagti hai.” (“She seems to be mad.”) Mumbled one boy. “You don’t know, how tough women’s lives are. May Allah protect them.” I murmured.
One boy spoke my thoughts. “It doesn’t seem as if she was attacked. It seems she is upset with the man sitting next to her.”
I looked around. There was no one, just us. Far off we could see an odd person.
As we went and stood near the edge of the water, I asked them if I could take their pics. I told them I’ll put it up on Facebook, so I suggested a view of them from the back. They also told me never to come here alone again.
They were right.
The hot sunshine, having no one anywhere seemed weird.
Then the boy facing them told me, “She is hitting with her shoe!” Then he got up and started walking away. After about fifteen minutes, a motorbike came with two men on it, and another man also came towards her. Were they the security guys in plain clothes? They spoke to her, we couldn’t hear anything they were saying. A few minutes later that same person also came along. They all were talking calmly, the girl too was better, as we left them and started moving back to the car park. I said goodbye to the boys who were riding a motorbike. They said, we come daily to school from a place after Chattar. Almost daily, after school they visit different places. They advised me to go for walks to the Jasmine garden as it has more people in it and is better cared for. I was touched by their concern. We said our good byes and parted.
I found a security guard near the roadside of the car park, and told him the situation. He said he would send some people to check on them.
My lesson was learnt. Not to come here in odd hours, and only to come when there are lots of people around.
My reader, may you be protected always. Bad things can happen anywhere, any time. That was the first time I’d ever asked anyone to accompany me like that. These young boys made me feel better this time. Next time I’ll be more careful.
Take great care.