A Nawabshah Noon
“First class mangoes and apricots!”
His energetic voice boomed with enthusiasm as a refreshing distraction in the
midst of a Tuesday afternoon. Clad in dusty rags, his tea stained milk teeth
smile couldn’t overshadow the sparkle in his lively eyes, occasionally veiled
by his matted hair. Like the majority of Sindhi children, Jamshaid probably
began this summer day awakened by the natural alarm of birds chirping in the
pleasant coolness at dawn. He enjoys assisting his busy father sell seasonal
fruits in the crowded, antique streets of Nawabshah- a setting straight out of
the Arabian Nights. The stall was temporarily assembled with tall wooden planks
on a dusty pavement under one of several shady trees.
Jamshaid joyfully sprinkled water from a large, orange bucket of melting ice,
cooling neatly stacked succulent apricots, miniature green grapes, juicy plums
and of course the famous fragrant yellow Sindhri mangoes which attracts thirsty
laborers to flock to Jamshaid's stall like a mecca.
He then fanned his lean arms frantically in the air to chase away fruit flies,
his only concern for the day, not worried about global affairs that
monotonously weigh adult minds. He continued singing classical Hindi songs
older than his parents, replacing the lyrics to suit his whimsical mood.
Occasionally he gazed across the street to count swift horses drawing carriages
of students eagerly returning home from school. He winked at exhausted donkeys
and brightly decorated camels passing by with loaded backs of miscellaneous
paraphernalia, chaperoned by men wearing turbans and Shalwar kameez, the
traditional Pakistani garment of tunics with loose trousers.
Four tribal women walked past Jamshaid, their heads covered with colorful
embroidered shawls and their hands adorned with heavy jewelry and intricate
“Good Morning Baaji!”
Suddenly exclaimed Jamshaid noticing my sneakers. I felt a sense of belonging
as he addressed me as his “elder sister”.