Soliloquy of an on-looker

Published: August 2, 2013

I could now clearly hear screams - the horrific kind of screams that you can expect a person to produce just before his soul exits his body. PHOTO: REUTERS

The haze slowly cleared out and I regained consciousness. As I became aware of my existence, I gradually began to recall what had brought me here in the first place. My mind felt like an old desktop computer that had just been switched on – slow, dusty and rusty. 

Words. Sounds. Noise.

I began to recall a noise of some sort – indistinct, messy, and confusing. It sounded like several FM radio stations merged into one, with none of them being tuned on to the right frequency.

Ouch, my ears hurt.

Whatever the source of the sounds was, I concluded that it was from a scene of a chaos, a scene of destruction, turmoil perhaps, some sort of an accident? I wasn’t sure. The noise was like an excruciatingly long piece of hopelessly tangled thread. With my visual memory yet to become functional, my only chance of figuring out how I had reached here was by slowly sorting out these sounds.

As I began my quest, I noticed a bearded man enter my view. He seemed to be wearing a white coat. He lifted his hand that grasped a slim torch. I saw his hand cross my line of vision in one direction, and after a pause of a few seconds, I saw it cross back again, with the man eventually moving out of my sight.

Strange. Who was that man? And why was he here?

This was another mystery I had to solve, but it was something that I could take care of later.

My mind went back to that deafening noise. I could now clearly hear screams – the horrific kind of screams that you can expect a person to produce just before his soul exits his body.

There had been a constant echo throughout this period that I had failed to comprehend. It now seemed to sound like the kind of sound you hear after an explosion, a loud terrifying sound – the kind of sound that puts your senses in jeopardy.

The echo had now vanished, and I had found the ability to play the loud sound again and again in my head, at my will. I was sure now that I had been through some sort of a calamity. The scream had also become distinct, and with the explosive sound, I could slowly begin to fashion a scene that I had last been a part of before ending up wherever I was right now.

As my attention drifted from the past to the present, the bearded gentleman reappeared and repeated his motion. This was followed by the entry of another man of a similar age who used his own light source to perform the same action as had been performed by the former.

Worryingly, my line of vision seemed to have been set in one direction, and I failed to catch a broader view of my peripheral vision despite repeated attempts. I did not remember myself to be this way before. Frankly speaking, I hardly remembered anything at all.

But this inability felt more odd than usual. Anxiety slowly began to creep into my existence, as I turned back to the story that my mind had come across. I was now confident of the fact that the sound of the explosion had followed the scream.

Stealthily, an image began to form in my mental dimension. The image was anything but pleasant, and as it started getting tuned, the indicators of destruction became more apparent. I could not fully appreciate what I saw, but whatever it was, it did not look good.

It was almost as if the sights were complimenting the cycle of the sounds, starting with an indistinguishable mess, and slowly going on to unravel it, revealing its true nature.

I realised that while it was important to understand the past, the importance of the present was even more. And while the past was shedding some light on its true nature, the present appeared to be a puzzle with no solution.

I began to panic.

My gaze was set at the ceiling, not allowing me to budge even a little. The images in my mind had become clear enough to show me that I possessed hands, and feet, and every other part of the body. But lessons of the past contradicted with the tale of the present. The present made me unaware of all such tools, with my sight being my only window to the outside world, a sight that was fixed at one point.

Trapped. Caged. Chained. Compressed. Numbed. Disconnected.

I failed to find a suitable word to describe myself.

Life had just redefined itself for me without any prior notice or warning.

Dr Ali Rafiq

Dr Ali Rafiq

Doctor, debater, freelance writer and blogger. Graduate of Dow Medical College and winner of various national and international debating and writing competitions. He tweets @dralirafiq twitter.com/dralirafiq

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • bleh

    I don’t get itRecommend

  • Zahra

    Heart wrenching.Recommend

  • Dp

    @ Author

    I enjoyed all your articles…esp. the old ones like ‘we suck’ etc.
    You should write more often . Nice work. Gut wrenching.Recommend

  • Parvez

    I don’t know if I quite got it but it was supposed to depress me ………… you did good.
    Recommend

  • Kanwal

    @ bleh
    He is writing from the perspective of a person who is just “maimed” in a bomb blast. This person has regained conciousness and may be dying. But he has just enough enrgy to realise what Iis happening around him, to him and others. Sigh. We pakistanis know the recieving end of a bomb blast when ws see one. Recommend

  • gp65

    Sorry. Don’t get it.Recommend

  • csmann

    Nice writing;very POEsque.Recommend

  • http://nazarbaaz.blogspot.com Kashif Ajmal Malik

    Nice but our people do not talk about philosophies, they need entertainment yar. you should focus on book honestly. Just compare the comments on your post and some controversial filthy stupid one. check!Recommend

  • Ali Rafiq (author)

    @Dp, Parvez and csmann

    Thank you so much. Means a lot to me =)

    @bleh and gp65

    Please refer to Kanwal’s fairly accurate explanation.Recommend

  • Ali Rafiq (author)

    @Kashif Ajmal Malik:

    Lol which book? Its okay if such topics do not generate a flood of comments. My purpose of writing blogs is to express myself =) If people comment on it its a welcome bonus!Recommend

  • Uzair Ahmed

    what a wonderful piece!

    My mind went back to that deafening noise. I could now clearly hear screams – the horrific kind of screams that you can expect a person to produce just before his soul exits his body

    I realised that while it was important to understand the past, the importance of the present was even more. And while the past was shedding some light on its true nature, the present appeared to be a puzzle with no solution.

    took me to Dan Brown, explaining the phenomenon of Re-birth of Langdon after Total Fluid Ventilation in The Lost Symbol!

    Keep up the good work bro!:)Recommend

  • http://therealmesh3.blogspot.com/ A Writer

    What!!?? I didnt get it.. all over the article you were trying to recognise the voices..I kept on scrolling down and reading to find out something interesting and different but in the end there was nothing..yes bomb blasts are a major issue in a society in which we live but that does not mean everyone starts writing about it and that also same topic that is ‘what a blast victim witnessed’! I am amazed that the tribune people accepted this piece of work..what a waste of 5 minutes seriously..and one tip for your future writing..’trapped, caged and chained’ are all synonyms or you can say they all have same theme or same meaning..you don’t need to increase your article’s length by filling lines with thousands of synonyms of the same word! readers are not attracted to article by its length..they want to see what the matter inside the article as in is it different from other articles? or does it have the same old stories of a disastrous married life for e.g or a blast victim for instance..people want to read something different and productive..maybe next time you should write an article about how should one behave or what should one do if there is a blast around..we want to make our people aware and useful and not just emotional.Recommend

  • Ali Rafiq (author)

    @A Writer:

    Thank you for your feedback. This blog was written under the heading of “Poetic License”.Recommend