Halar Soomro
Author ········· H.Soomro
Medium ········· Podcast
Published ······ October 2022
Language ······· English

Fareeda’s Home

Mumbai, India 26.10.1991

This curry reminds me of how my mom used to make it. Golden glistening lentils cooked in a broth of onion gravy and garlic and with a little sprinkle of fresh fennel seeds picked from our backyard. I remember I used to lay in her lap admiring her beautiful smile while her henna glossed fingers brushed through my hair…. I used to always fall asleep, the naps were tranquil. My 8 year old self was heedless of the fact that it was the last time I was ever going to get to see that smile again. The afternoon of the 14th of August 1947, was just another day for me except that it wasn’t. I woke up to loud thumps on our door. I was scared. I hid behind her. Appa had not returned from the mosque yet but this didn’t sound like him. The thumps were blood-curdling. She hid me in the attic and asked me to stay put until she returned. I did as she asked. She hugged me and said that everything was going to be alright. A minute later, I heard her scream…. It was spine-tingling, my heart sank and then an eerie silence followed. I was shaking as I went downstairs and there she was, I screeched, “Amma” but her blood soaked body didn’t say a word. I ran out to the streets to call for help only to find nothing more than more bodies drenched in the red. The same mahogany red with distant howls and scorching flames in the back…. In a matter of minutes, I witnessed my world shatter into pieces right before my eyes. I wish I had fallen asleep forever that day and let the perfume of the fresh fennel seeds and Amma’s smile be my last memory of her