Published Us Magazine, The News. March 11, 2011.
Literally all the people in the neighbourhood took Zaidy and Haidy as father and son. For one: they had an uncanny similitude with each other in conduct and demeanour. Second: they both had the same trapezoidal brow, essentially sporting an amazingly small, edged nose. Another reason was that they both lived in the same callous, oriental house at the back of the street. Plus, their names rhymed perfectly, as if synchronized intentionally. The most conventional fact leading to this famed hypothesis, however, was that they actually were father and son!
Zaidy was notorious in the vicinity for his temper tantrums, and the neighbours were well cognizant with the fact that he wasn’t at all interested in winning any awards for morality. When Haidy was born to him, he was unanimously deemed to be as undignified as his Pop. But the commencement of his adolescence proved the people wrong; he even transcended his father when it came to ghastly manners. The dark cloud had a vague silver lining also: Haidy did establish himself as a more sensible being than his father, albeit by only a few degrees.
As Haidy climbed the steps of the ladder towards adulthood, he became exceedingly cynical of his father’s attitude, as he was smug, complacent, close-fisted, discouraging and what not. Haidy occasionally compared him to Adolf Hitler, but the fame of this person turned the juxtaposition lame. Haidy widely doubted if his father was even heard of outside the immediate neighbourhood. But despite his reservations, Haidy never complained to his father; he wasn’t given the leeway to. The last time (and interestingly the first one too) when Haidy had mustered the guts to question his father had injected in his brain enough sagacity not to repeat the mistake. The seven-year old Haidy had been clutched by the hair and banged against a concrete wall, in the same way Dobby does to himself in the Chamber of Secrets. The intimate relations who were aware of this incident described it as the cause for Haidy’s current manners – the lack of them, actually.
Right from his childhood, Haidy was accustomed to being pampered vigilantly, like a cat kept in a cage, except that cats are not kept in cages. But as he blew off the twenty candles, Zaidy gave him all the autonomy. Haidy actually felt like a pigeon whose feathers are cut freshly and then is forced to fly off instantaneously. As he was in a state of utter confusion, Haidy turned to a psychotherapist. The kind woman, who had almost nothing to recommend her womanliness, except for a squeak, emaciated voice, that reminded Haidy of a mouse he had once caught in a mouse-trap, thought Haidy’s tribulation to be some sort of a prank. In her state of consternation, she bellowed upon Haidy to “fly away” from her office. The poor thing!
On his 22nd birthday, Haidy was gifted a car by his father, not to mention that it was a used, worn out and scrapped FX that showed more symptoms of being a cart than a car, even when his father could afford the best. Criticism aside, even this was appreciated, considering it came from Zaidy’s side. The next day, Haidy set off to a drive and when he returned, his father came out to analyze the car: practically scrutinizing every inch of it for traces of scratches and mud, abusing his son at each that he found. Haidy thought, of course, that this was ridiculous. As if you teach a kid to walk and then expect him to fly. Haidy rapidly shrugged this feeling off. Flying reminded him of pigeons and feeling like one again was the last thing he wanted on Earth. Haidy wanted to scream to his father that the car has run on the roads of Rawalpindi, why is he is acting as though it had been devouring the sleek highway of Arizona? But Haidy knew better. In such unwonted moments, when his father was struck by a malignant bolt of patriotism, he actually saw no difference between New York and Karachi, or so he pretended. That night, before retiring for sleep, Haidy vowed not to use that car again.
When the time neared for Haidy to tie the knot, his father took him to almost every eligible household that was accessible. The practice took a little more than a year. However, his father’s extra-ordinary interest in the girls’ features sure perplexed Haidy many a time and he had to reassess as to whose wedding bells were actually in motion. Soon, both the father and son assented to a choice. The girl was obese, no doubt, but was wholesome. Although Zaidy had at first commented ruthlessly that she looked like a Swiss ball jiggling in a gym, the riches that her family flaunted made him welcome her to his household warmly.
A year later, the girl bore Haidy a baby boy. And the people again thought they were father and son.