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Story time

Farhan’s seven mums

Have you heard the story of Farhan and his Dad, who lived in our neighbourhood? A chubby lad, who always munched on chips or cookies, and never shared them with anyone? A menace for weak kids, bird nests and helpless animals, the nasty and selfish boy used to spend most of his time outdoors, eager to enter into a new mischief. His mother — candid and hardworking — tried her best to change her son for the better, but he would never listen to her. No matter how tired she was, Farhan never helped her; moreover he used to always make an angry face, when she tried to assign him some chores to do around the house. Be it a request to bring something from the nearby market or water the flowers in the garden, by no means did he ever lend a helping hand; instead he would barricade himself with the piles of books and notes and ignore the appeal. On top of it, his own room was a complete mess most of the time, as under the pretext of being busy with his study, he never cleaned it up. One fine day Farhan asked his father: “Dad, have you seen biryani? Or chicken kebabs?” “No,” his father replied. “And do you know where my clean shirts are?” “No idea. Besides, it has been a long time since I saw Mum last time.” “Darling!” “Mum!” Father and son shouted, simultaneously turning their heads in the direction of the kitchen, but there came no reply. Surprised, they went to the kitchen, then the rooms of the house, followed by bathrooms and terrace. There were no signs of mother anywhere in the house. To be on the safe side, they checked the lawn as well — but with no success. The house was empty, though a bit dirty. Finally, a small note was found on the kitchen table under a pile of unwashed dishes, which read “I cannot take it anymore! Leaving forever! Mum.” “That’s it?” Dad was taken aback. “Nothing else?” “Wait, there is more: the date and month.” Father checked the date and saddened. “She left three days ago. How come we didn’t miss her?” “Because the chicken kebabs finished today,” Farhan said. “But, Dad, I can’t live without mother whatsoever. I need chicken kebabs.” “It’s impossible to catch her up now,” Dad sighed. “She has three days head start.” “In that case we need to get a new Mum for the house,” Farhan stated. “I want kebabs so much! And biryani. And a plateful of freshly-baked cookies as well.” Dad never denied anything to his only and beloved son. Besides, he himself was fond of homemade cookies too. So, after some rummaging around he brought home a new mum. Or a second mum, to be exact. She was cute and young. “Here are the pots and there are the pans,” Farhan and his dad explained in unison, ushering the newly-found Mum into the kitchen. “And that’s a four-burner stove. And the nearest shop is just six blocks away, right around the corner.”The new mother put on an apron and rolled her sleeves. In the beginning all went fine; however, in a week dad and son felt that something was wrong. There was no food, dirty dishes and junk were piled everywhere, and on the most visible place there hung a note: “This is not a life but a nightmare! Farewell forever!” Dad frowned, then put on their most beautiful shirt inside out — to make appear cleaner — and headed off for a new search. The third mother was middle-aged. She was not pretty, as the previous one, but still good enough. Having thoroughly inspected the house, she proceeded to the washroom. But as she opened the door, small lava of various shirts, pants, shorts and t-shirts almost knocked her down.“Is it your closet?” she asked suspiciously. “No,” Farhan said. “We stuffed our dirty clothes here, as there was no place left for them in the hall.” The third mum rolled her sleeves up and set to work. It took not much time for Dad to come across a new note. A note with very angry words, which he loudly read to Farhan. However, the notes from the fourth and fifth mums were not shown to him, as they contained the lexis which should not be uttered in the presence of children. The sixth mum was the most enduring, and stayed longer than the others. Or maybe, she was too old and had difficulty in walking. In fact, the father and son duo deliberately chose her, to nullify their chances of being abandoned again. And she never left them voluntarily. Actually she was taken away, on the “Emergency Aid” ambulance, and didn’t get even a minute to leave a note. The search for the next mum took almost a month, but at last Dad brought in Number seven mum. Looking at her biceps and square jaw, Farhan dithered, but hastily managed himself. “All right, all right. It’s even better that she is so, hmm, ugly — she will love us more. But look how tough she is,” he tried to convince himself. And indeed, the chunky mum held well for some time: she mopped the floors, did shopping, cooked, washed and ironed laundry. And she turned out to be an expert in finding missing socks. She strived really hard, but then a day came when she announced: “Enough! No more! My health is more precious to me! I am leaving!” Farhan and Dad attempted to seize her but she had a bit of strength left, so she broke away and escaped. “What a bad luck, sonny,” Dad complained. “All our mums run away.” Disheartened, they tried to live alone, but realised that it was not possible. “Dad, let’s go together to look for a new mum”, offered Farhan. “Ok, son. Let’s wait for the darkness. You and I have long been living without mother. It won’t be wise to come into sight in daylight.” “Why not?” “Have a look in the mirror.” They approached the mirror and there were they: two skinny, stubbly, dirty and shabby figures. “Is that us? Really?” Farhan was stunned. “Yes, sonny.” Here in our neighbourhood they whisper that since then the father and son were no longer able to lure in any mum. One can still spot them roaming the streets at nights in search, or hiding in a dark alley in wait. When they hear someone approaching, they peer hopefully: maybe some mother is coming? But no, it’s not mother. Mothers sleep at night and do not walk in dark alleys. It’s a policeman again, and both father and son hastily retreat in the bushes.