After a hectic day at work, the sight of kids playing ‘Lagori’ or seven stones games as it is called, brought a rejuvenating smile to my face. For once, my heart was impounded to be a part of this fun. But my body was beyond exhausted to withstand my mind’s desire.
I quickly helped myself with a cup of ginger and cardamom tea and allowed my tired body to rest on the swing chair in the balcony, my favourite corner in this small and cozy apartment.
Coming back to an empty home and loneliness, many times brings myriad memories from the past, for the parched soul awaiting to be soothed.
“Abba! Can I ask you something? Why do you keep watering this pile of stones in our backyard? They are not plants that would grow if you water them. Right? Is there anything special about them? Did you win them in any Lagori tournament?”, a naive and negligent nine years old I, asked my father.
“Lagori tournament? Ha-Ha! No-No!”, Abba laughed.
“Rehan! these are not just stones. These are my dreams waiting to be realized and stacked as my achievements. Do you see these scattered stones?” Abba explained as he indicated towards a small bowl that contained beautiful grey and white stones of various shapes and sizes.
“They’re!”, Abba continued, “my desires or bucket-list as people popularly refer to it as. Like, I always wished to own a home one day. So, the day when I’d bought this piece of land, I laid this first stone as the foundation of this encouraging structure. The second stone was placed when your elder sister, Rashi, was born. I always wanted to be a father to a daughter. This third one gained its place when we’d bought our first car and the fourth one, when you were born and our family got completed.”
“And yes! you’re right. These are not plants that would grow if I water them. But you know, I water these stones to fuel my spark and keep my belief ignited that one day I will achieve all that I’ve ever wished for and that dreams do come true.” I was mesmerized by Abba’s theory.
“So are you going to place more stones?”, the idea completely fascinated me.
“Of course! This structure will grow taller when I will accomplish my dream of visiting Europe, experience paragliding, see you kids grow and settle in life, and for once when I visit our ancestral home in Pakistan; before I bid adieu to this world.”
Alas! Abba’s enrapturing structure couldn’t grow much taller during his lifetime. Even after his mortal being has left the world, I’ve still kept his dreams alive in the form of this absorbing cairn.
My visa appointment in the embassy of Pakistan is due next week. And soon, another stone from the treasure will add to this amazing structure. Until then, I’ll water the hopes and keep them alive until dreams turn into memories.
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