God has gone missing!

Amar Jalil

God has gone missing for couple of days. He is my friend. We never quarreled with each other over anything. All of a sudden, He has gone missing. For a moment, I thought the people who kidnap others might have kidnapped him as well. It is impossible to return from there. He will never be back. And if he does come back, he won’t be able to recognize me. He will not recognize anybody else as well. He will forget the masses and his name too.

It always happens so when somebody returns from the captivity of the kidnappers. Once upon a time, my friend Dhanni Bakhash was kidnapped. His friends and relative thought that he has been murdered. But suddenly he appeared on his fifth death anniversary quite perplexed and prayed for his own salvation and heavenly abode among others. But people recognized him and took him inside his house. He had wrongly mistaken his wife for mother in law and mother in law for his wife. He also wrongly mistook his father in law as Zia-ul-Haq as great martyr of Talban. These days, he is in the mental asylum at Giddu Psychiatry Hospital Hyderabad. He is entangled in the identification of different colours. He wrongly mistakes eggplant as radish and radish as eggplant. I was scared that kidnappers might have treated God like Dhanni Bakhash. Had God ever forgotten the difference between black and white, he would have killed the innocent instead of the fornicators (karo-kari). In my lurking fears, I thought God will settle with the kidnappers and returns to me. He cannot exist without me and I cannot live without Him. I am sure that one day, God will come back to me.

But my relatives, friends and foes opine that my God will never return. They think what I have mistaken for God, is actually the spirit of my late friend Gopal Das. Right from the childhood, Gopal Das was friend of mine who converted to Islam in old age. He was a coward that’s why he never took the risk of circumcision. They gave him new name Khuda Bakhash but he was called as Khuddo. He became a practical Muslim, said his prayers five times and was frequently seen in the mosque.

One day, mullah took him aside in a corner and told him that he cannot be a staunch Muslim without circumcision. Khuda Bakhash alias Khuddu trembled with fear. He was terrified. He thought to change his religion and become Gopal Das again. His friends warned him that by changing his religion back to Hinduism, he would be declared an apostate. You will be murdered. Now it was up to him either to save his life or his foreskin. Khuda Bakhash preferred his life. His friends put a turban over his head, put garlands of flowers around his neck and took him to the barber. By then, Khuda Bakhash was half dead with fear. He trembled like a lizard and his friends restrained him. Khuda Bakhash strived to free himself and meanwhile barber missed his target. The razor had cut his penis. On his way to hospital, he bled to death.

No doubt, I was shocked by his terrifying death. But it is absolutely incorrect that his spirit is in contact with me or I am in touch with his spirit. God is with me ever since I grew up. When I played with my toys, he was also playing with toys beside me. When I played tip-cat he also played tip-cat with me. He was always with me in school, college and in the university. He used to watch movies with me in the cinema houses. It happened long ago when emperor of Sindh used to sell cinema tickets and his prince Salim had not born then.

All I want to say that God is not just my whim. He does exist. I am not complete without him. I exist therefore he exists too. Had he not been existed, nothing would have existed. No stars, no moon, no sun, no earth, no mountains, no deserts, no oceans, no forests, no humans and no animals could exist without him. God has many virtues. He does not get angry and does not retaliate. He does not terrify people with eternal punishments. He does not lure people with rewards. He does not demand any sacrifice. He does not coerce someone to pray to him. There is a long list of his virtues but he does possess a few vices. He cannot eat anything; neither burger nor biryani. Don’t you think that he suffers dyspepsia by eating? There is no such problem with him.

Once he accompanied me to Lahore. I was eating lamb trotters at “Phajja Restaurant”. He was staring at me. I offered him a morsel and said,” you would not die with a morsel”. He said, “Only human beings eat”. I shrugged my shoulders, never mind I will eat the whole bowl. He said, “Remember whether you eat the ten stock pots of Phajja, you will never become prime minister of Pakistan”. 

Once, I befuddled him by asking a simple question. I asked him,” You have sent more than hundred thousand prophets on our earth but none of them was a woman”. Why did you do so? Instead of replying my question he looked from side to side with discomfort. I told him that I knew why he could not do so, because you know nothing about mother and motherhood. He looked at me and said, “You have been hanging out with me so long that now you have started thinking yourself as God”. I told him I am lucky that I am not a God. My mother gave birth to me therefore I fully comprehend the magnificence of a mother. You are unfortunate that no mother gave birth to you. Therefore, you know nothing about motherhood. Had you been aware of magnificence of motherhood, you would have sent score of women as your prophets. You have created this world for men only. You have created this world for villains and demons.

Thus spoke God, “If you wish I can turn you into a woman instantly”. I quickly begged him not to do such injustice to me. I have got four wives and four girlfriends. My marital life would be wrecked. It would become a lacuna in divine law. An amendment in the constitution of an Islamic republic would be indispensable. God is very unlucky that he has no mother. Nobody gave birth to him. God has another vice which is quite poignant and lamentable. He created partners and couples for his all creations; a lioness for a lion, a woman for man and a sow for a pig. But he kept himself single and issueless. He never created a female for himself. People are always doubtful about single people. If God comes on earth in the garb of a human, nobody would rent him an apartment. He has countless virtue but his one vice always provokes me. He suddenly asks me to make a wish, the whole world prays to him for something. You too pray for something. I tell him be a God and don’t try to become a Chief Minister. I don’t need any permit or contract from you. He is not irked by curt reply. He never gets angry at all. We the humans lack this godly virtue. Once we were sitting by the crocodiles of Manghopir. He said, “Balam make a wish”. It pissed me off and I thought to push him in front of crocodiles. They might eat him up. But before I could push him over the edge, I myself slipped among the crocodiles. The crocodiles did not move. It astonished me. I asked God why these giant crocodiles are so lazy. He replied that these are Sindhi crocodiles.

Once we were strolling around boat basin and he again wanted me to make a wish. I told him to get me Katrina Kaif. I have got a crush on her. He warned me not to be a fool. Why would you start a nuclear war for a woman? I asked him whether Katrina Kaif’s importance has outgrown the importance of Kashmir. I said, “I cannot jeopardize world peace for your wish”. There is strong possibility of third world war over it. I told him that now you have become quite cunning in my company. He remained silent and never asked me to make a wish again. I never liked his demand to make a wish. It always embarrassed me. Once I became so angry over this that I started yelling in the middle of a street in Sadar. Oh God! I am not a beggar. I would not beg you for anything. People gathered around me and none of them could see God, except me. An old Jogi put his hand on my shoulder and said you are not a beggar. Who says that you are a beggar? I pointed my finger towards God. He thinks I am a beggar. People were saddened to hear this and dispersed. Once I walked across the border in my fantasy and started to make wish for berries from an acacia tree. Then I heard God’s voice. You are asking berries from an acacia tree. Ask me what you need. Just make a wish. I told him to get lost there is nothing he can grant me in this world. Don’t be adamant about my wish. Let it be. He said, “Just make a wish and I will grant your wish”. I prayed him to think again about his offer. Thinking is purely a human attribute. I am the God. I do not think like them.

I told him all right, “Give me your total universe that you created and come live on earth in the garb of a human being”. There was a pin drop silence. Silence for centuries. I turned back and looked. God has gone missing.

Translated by Khalid Mahmood 


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