The Crime Confessor (Part 1)

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Written by: Rais Muhammad Umar

Muskan and Mujtaba were angrily throwing things here and there. Their mother who was preparing breakfast in the kitchen came out and looked at them. "What are you doing? Why are you messing up the room? Why are you turning everything upside down?" "Mama, I am trying to find my English note book," replied Muskan. "And I am trying to find my calculator," Mujtaba said. "Both of you never put things in their proper places. How many times have I told you to put things away neatly? You never pay attention, do you?" Their mother scolded them. Their father did not like their habit either. He also scolded them and said angrily, "Why are you turning everything upside down in our bedroom? Go to your room. What will your things be doing here? They aren’t here. They must be somewhere else.
The house is so big, there is the library, you have separate rooms too. There so many cupboards and shelves, even then you can't keep your things safely. You always misplace them. Other people have around ten children but they don't create any problems. There is peace in their home. I have only three children but they trouble me no end."
Ashraf sahib was a very strict man. He scolded his children badly. The children ran to their mother in the kitchen.
"Did you find your things? Why do you get upset and make us upset too? Why do you disturb us in this way?" their mother said angrily. The children fell silent and started staring at their mother and it seemed as if they would begin to cry any minute. Seeing her children's plight, her heart softened. Ashraf Sahib called out to his wife from inside the room, "Begum, prepare the breakfast quickly. Don't listen to them, they will disturb you and you will be late in preparing breakfast. Due to late breakfast, I shall be late for office."
Their mother quickly prepared breakfast. She spread the dining cloth on the floor and called all the family member for breakfast. While having breakfast, Mujtaba said, "Yesterday, my classmate Hamid requested me to lend him my calculator for short a while because he wanted to solve sums in the class but I refused. He might have stolen it from my school bag." "And chhoti (their little sister) might have taken my note book," Muskan said. Their mother gestured to them to keep quiet. Their father said, "You are yourselves careless. You do not remember where you put your things and blame others. Begum please tell them that blaming others for little things is not a good habit." Their mother was also fed up of her children's habit.
No sooner had they finished breakfast when they heard a noise outside in the street. Muskan and Mujtaba exclaimed, "Khala Iqbal-e-jurm (Crime Confessor) has come." Hearing this, both mother and father frowned at them. Once again they fell silent. Their father soon left for his office and mother became busy in household chores. Muskan and Mujtaba again began their search operation. "You will wake up chhoti. Now off you go to school or you will be late," Aafia scolded them. Muskan studied in Class V while Mujtaba studied in Class VI.
As their mother went into their room to tidy it up she suddenly saw Muskan's note book under her pillow. She called Muskan and said, "Muskan, what is this?" "Oh mama! I am very sorry. I myself put it under the pillow last night. I was too tired to write any more and I was feeling extremely sleepy so I put it under the pillow and thought that I would take it in the morning. But in the morning I forgot where I had put it." "And you were blaming poor chhoti a few minutes ago." "I am really very sorry, mama," Muskan said feeling ashamed. "And my prince, your calculator must be somewhere in the house too. You have just forgotten where you kept it. You always accuse others immediately when something disappears." "Oh yes mama! Now, I remember that last night, after solving the sums, I put it in the drawer of father's table." "How careless you are! Your father has told you so many times not to put your things in our room but you never listen." Meanwhile, the noise came from the street again. "Khala Iqbal-e-jurm, Khala Iqbal-e-jurm," children were chanting outside. Mujtaba said, "Mother, the mad Auntie Crime Confessor has come." His, mother stared at him. Then he said, "Mama, I mean Khala Parveen has come. Mama, how long has she been like this? Has no one ever taken her to a doctor? She always says, ‘Iqbal come back. I shall never accuse anyone ever again. Why was Iqbal punished for my crime? I confess my crime.’ The street children call her Khala Iqbal-e-jurm whenever they see her. Why do they do so?" Their mother sighed deeply and said, "Just now you are getting late for school. I shall tell you Parveen's story at night." As they were fond of stories, as all children are, they were pleased to hear this and went to school happily.
(to be continued).