Momo

1.10.18 Yellow Spectral Human

Rizzaq sat waiting under the building his father, the son of the son of Bahaadur Shaah Zafar, the last Mughal emperor, had commissioned. The tallest building in the world, from the top of which four years ago a hammer had been dropped and still had not made it to ground. The building was a straightforward structure; it rose from a solid squat base upward slowly tapering into the sky where it disappeared from sight into clouds, shooting for unseen galaxies and vistas beyond ordinary sight. It was called Al-Zubair, and it was bejeweled and strung with lights from bottom up, illuminating most of the state of Baseerah with its brilliance from dusk till dawn. The residents of Baseerah had discovered the discomfort all that dazzling light generated when it spilled into their homes while they were in bed, ready to sleep. Special curtains were manufactured, woven thicker than ordinary ones, dyed with stronger pigments; even so these blinds merely filtered and muted the brightness. Al-Zubair also housed panels, arrays and sheets of solar panels that soaked in sunlight and turned it into electricity, stored within batteries contained by the building. The electricity was shared with the inhabitants of the city, freely, and they enjoyed the benefits it provided more than the discomfort, so they became used to the glow through their windows, the flashing reflection on the coastal waters, without complaint.

Here Rizzaq sat and waited for the hammer. He prayed while he waited. He prayed to his Maker to bring it down soon, to hasten its delivery that he may be delivered from his waiting, that he may pick it up and return to Haldee Raam where he would claim his bride, the beauteous Zuljabeenah of the doe eyes and ruby red lips. He would walk around the building to see whether it had landed, praying the whole time. He would turn his gaze upward when the skies were clear and blue, praying that he’d catch a glimpse of it. The people of Baseerah knew Rizzaq’s story. Some would come by with food for him, some to talk, some with fresh clothes, some to see whether he was still there. With the passage of time he became part of the landscape around Al-Zubair, along with the doves. Tourists would include him in their pictures to show they had visited the tallest building in the world, where sat a holy man in prayer, reputed to speak the language of doves. By now Rizzaq’s hair had grown to his waist and matted together in clumps and it was through the generosity of strangers that his needs were cared for.

One day he was doing his rounds of the building when he saw an old man in white baggy pants and white baggy shirt, with silver hair on his head bending down to pick something up from the concrete ground by his sandaled feet. Rizzaq called out quickly, his heart beginning to beat thudthudthudthud thud.

“Babaji, what have you there? Is it a hammer?”

The old man turned around and looked at Rizzaq with blue-grey eyes, in a face grooved with curves and lines, skin sprinkled with brown spots that dipped into the creases. His silver eyebrows were bushy, and below a large bulbous red nose was a wispy mustache that covered his lips and joined a slender salt and pepper beard that drooped to his chest.

“A hammer? No, it is a piece of paper blown by the wind or thrown by a careless hand that I picked up,” he showed Rizzaq a crumpled scrap, “Have you lost a tool young man?”

Rizzaq shook his head, “No Babaji, I’m waiting for a hammer to fall from up there.” He pointed up with a finger.

The old mans’ gaze followed the finger as he said, “There’s nothing up there son, even the top of this building disappears where? Nowhere. How will a hammer fall from nowhere?”

“It will fall, it must! The hammer was dropped four years ago, after the building was complete, and eventually it will fall, all things do! Where else would it have gone?!”

The old man stroked his beard and shut his eyes for a moment then he spoke, “Come, let us sit together. I am called Uzair, I have come to visit my grandchildren here in Baseerah. They insisted I have a look at Al-Zubair, so here I am. Grand as it is I am more interested in this hammer you mentioned. Is it one of those magic hammers, once wielded by mighty gods, forged by dwarves deep inside the mountains of the Northmen? Please, tell me the story of this hammer that you are waiting for as we pass time.”

Rizzaq introduced himself and the two men sat cross legged facing one another.

“I must confess I know nothing about this hammer or where it came from. Is it a magic hammer? Surely it is, for what ordinary hammer drops for four years without even showing handle or head? Look up there, no sight of the thing! As to who dropped it, I don’t know that either. My father commissioned this building. It is the tallest in the entire world and to show how much space it spans in height, upon its completion he ordered a hammer be dropped from the top.

Two years ago on my travels through the world, I met Zuljabeenah, and knew right away she is the light of my life, the beat that strums in my heart, the softness of a petal bearing dew. When I asked her father permission to wed her, assuring him that she would have every comfort afforded, as I am the son the son of the son of Bahaadur Shaah Zafar, the last Mughal emperor, he scoffed. I told him about this building, how grand it is, and his final word on the matter was that he would gladly give us his blessings when the hammer dropped. You see my dilemma Uzairbaba? Two years I’ve been praying and waiting, but where is the hammer? How long must I wait?”

Uzair listened intently to Rizzaq’s tale without interruption.

“I ask the doves to fly high and they return cooing to me, noo hammer noo hammer noo, what to do?” Rizzaq finished.

“It is quite a situation you are in young sir,” Uzair spoke softly, nodding his head, “Were I in your place, that is it, just so, I would think about what could be done . . . after all it seems as though you have practiced patience with great perseverance, combined faithfully with prayer, perhaps action is what is called for?”

“Yes, but what kind of action!” Rizzaq shook his head, “I cannot think of anything!”

“There is one”, Uzair said slowly, his blue-grey eyes filmy, “A lady, The Lady of Flowers, she may have an answer to your question, hmm, yes, The Lady of Flowers, she will know. It has been a very long time since we’ve met, but she will remember me. Come with me and I will tell you the way to where she lives.”

“But, what if the hammer falls while I’m gone, then what? All will be lost!”

“Well,” said Uzzair, “That is a possibility, a risk I suppose, it’s up to you how you choose.”

Rizzaq was thoughtful. He gazed at the old man intently, absorbing his presence from head to toe, and then he finally said, “Alright, I will come with you.”

Uzair chuckled as he stood up, “Good good, let us go to my daughters’ house where you can bathe and prepare yourself for your journey.”

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