Bicycle : A short story

Riyaz would switch between ringing the bicycle bell, shouting 'hato, hato' and losing himself in a thoughtless void.

Every Friday Abbu would take Riyaz to masjid on his bicycle. Riyaz once told Raju that the masjid is so big that all the worlds toys couldn't fill it up. Raju and Riyaz would then share their lunch boxes.

Abbu's namaz would never be completed without buying ice cream for Riyaz way back home. 'olange, olange... Riyaz would shout. Abbu would patiently wait till Riyaz would finish licking his ice cream. Then both would ride their way back to home. Riyaz would firmly grasp the bicycle handle with his right hand, while his left hand would be busy guarding his topi against the wind. For some reason Abbu would always keep his topi in his payjama pockets while crossing the market yard.

It had become a ritual for Riyaz to smile every time Abbu would say 'aadab' or 'namaste'. Today Abbu stopped at Azeem chaccha's pan shop. Riyaz was busy wondering what he would play with his siblings when back home. When Abbu came back, Riyaz asked him if he could see the whole world. Abbu smiled and replied back saying that he could see the whole world when he would be young. Riyaz wouldn't budge. Abbu couldn't see Riyaz sad, he said ' aaj hi chalenge beta, aaj hi chalenge'. Innocent Riyaz was happy again.

Abbu rode his bicycle to the cemetery outside the village. Both then visited Ammi's grave. Abbu asked Riyaz to offer the flowers they had bought. Riyaz and Abbu then sat under the tree nearby. Riyaz got asleep on Abbu's lap. Abbu caressed Riyaz's forehead while tears rolled down his cheeks. Abbu slowly picked up Riyaz in his arms, taking care not to wake him up. He then cushioned front basket specially made for Riyaz with his 'gamcha'. He then took the handle by his hand and carried the bicycle all the way to the home.