A New Dawn
Two tiny sparrows fight over a piece of grain. A line of ants move briskly, meaning business. A grey pan; broken, forsaken. In Pongu Hospital, Rubina watches through the window. As scraps of sunlight fall on her face, it brings back a memory.
After three days, when such a light came through a tunnel, she thought it a divine one. Had the angel of Death, Jibrail arrived? Why did he bring other angels? But they looked like humans in uniforms. They were shouting:
She heard all but comprehended nothing. How could she? She was in a semi-conscious state when they rescued her from the collapsed Rana Plaza factory. She thought the army personnel of the rescue team were angels.
It brings a smile to her face now. That surprises her. Is she laughing?
“How are you today?” Nurse Bela asks giving her medicine, “Have you had a good sleep?”
She thinks of her nightmares:
They were in the factory, working. A terrible, crushing sound. Something hit her on the head. Everything went blank. When she came to, it was a different scene. She was alone with dead colleagues, wounded friends, fear, agony.
Every night it is the same nightmare. Every night she wakes up, screaming. She feels still trapped there. It takes a while to realize where she is.
Ma scolds her, “So ungrateful! You should thank God.”
“Should I? Exactly why should I be thankful?”
She makes a mental chart like those advertisements which feature a woman's figure before and after using a product:
|A garment worker||Unemployed|
|Wage earner - but not enough||Crippled
, earning zero
“Crying again?” Ma sits beside her and wipes her tears. “Have some patience! God doesn't like ungrateful creatures.”
Rubina looks at her mother and smiles. Ma smiles too. Though both of them know it's fake. They pretend to be pleased. They have nothing in this life; they can't risk annoying God, thereby losing a chance at the next world – that which holds the illusion of Paradise.
“This is your destiny. We can't change it. Think of the others. They are dead. You are alive.”
“What do I do with this life?”
“If you talk like this, I won't come again. Have you ever thought if anything happened to you…” Ma stops abruptly and cries.
Rubina feels sorry. They make peace.
“Once I get the wheelchair, I'll buy you a sewing machine. You are so good at it. We'll fight together like we did before, back when your father died, when your brothers left.” Ma says with considerable enthusiasm. “Let's start afresh! Can't we?”
“Yes…we can try.”
Rubina smiles. Ma smiles too. This time they feel real.
Rubina looks outside. The morning light glitters with hope. Aren't all creatures – humans to tiny insects – struggling for a better life? Why can't she? For her mother's sake, she needs to try. A new beginning, a new dawn has to emerge.