She told me not to buy the motorbike…

Published: April 1, 2013

Now it was just me, my bike and the wind blowing in my face. It felt amazing; I felt liberated, in control of my own life and most importantly, I felt alive!

Ammi was screaming and creating a fuss around the house.

Abbu sat in his corner, silent.

“He is just 21-years-old! No boy this young in my family has ever had a bike,” Ammi cried.

Abbu nodded, not taking his eyes off the newspaper.

“Are you listening to me? I said this boy is not going to get a bike. And that’s final,” Ammi was infuriated.

Abbu just smiled.

I knew the court had ruled in my favour. Abbu’s smile was the verdict: I was finally getting a bike.

It was the best feeling of my life; owning a bike, taking it to university instead of boarding those horrible buses every morning. I knew my life would change forever.

The next morning brought a new day for me. I jumped out of my bed and took a quick shower – eager to get onto my new bike. I waved a hurried “goodbye” to Ammi as she quickly whispered some prayers to me.

I think I heard dad mention a helmet but I was too excited to stop and listen at that point.

Now it was just me, my bike and the wind blowing in my face. It felt amazing. I felt liberated, in control of my own life and most importantly, I felt alive!

The sweaty stench inside a bus was replaced with the flowery scent of fresh air. Grasping the bike’s throttle, I whizzed through the streets.

Thoughts began racing through my mind. How was I going to flaunt my prized possession to my best friend Zain at university? Should I give Ayesha a lift to University so she doesn’t have to walk so much?


She’s so pretty.

Yes, maybe if I pick her up she will start liking me!

At least now with my bike right beside me those fat bullies won’t think I’m a “mummy-daddy” kid anymore!

And in that split-second, I closed my eyes, imagining everyone’s reaction. I could see Zain squealing with excitement but he wasn’t jumping up and down, he going round and round around me. It was making me dizzy. Very dizzy.

I couldn’t take it anymore! I opened my eyes.

Something very strange happened when I opened my eyes. I realised that I wasn’t on my bike anymore. I was back in my own house!

I tried to squeeze my eyes shut and open them again to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating, but I was still at home. I squinted my eyes to see a bit clearer and caught a glimpse of my beautiful Ammi’s face.

But Ammi is screaming and circling the house.

Abbu sits in his corner, silent.

It was as if I had just woken up again. It was just like my day had begun. Was I dreaming? What exactly happened, I do not remember.

All I know now is that I am lying in this box, wrapped up in white cloth. My face is uncovered and I hear people sniffing, some crying out loud. Some of them come near me to see my face. I can feel their breath.

Ammi is screaming out my name. Will someone tell her I won’t listen to her anymore? I can hear her, but I won’t respond.

Not now, not ever.

Will someone tell her to please stop yelling my name?

It hurts… I can’t feel the pain, but it hurts.

Finally, she calms downs and comes to me. She kisses my forehead and a teardrop falls on my face. I want to break into tears. I want to hold her, comfort her and wipe the tears off her face.

How could I make you cry, Ammi? I was your favourite child. How could I leave you?

I am so sorry I didn’t listen to you, Ammi. You knew. You knew a bike was not what I needed now. How could I not understand you?

I’m sorry I never understood you.

You would do all our chores and always wonder how we would cope if you passed away. But Ammi, I am the one who has left before you. And now, I am all alone. You still have Naila baji and Hassan to look after and do their chores.

But what will I do? How will I manage without you?

They are coming to take me away. Abbu, Chacha and my two Mamoos lift my box up from the four corners. They are taking me away. To where, I don’t know. I only know they will bury me in a grave – dark and haunting.

What will happen then, I don’t know. But I’m scared.

People always say that one day everyone has to die, but today? Right when I was having the best time of my life? Living my biggest dream?

I had not even written a will. Can I tell you now, what I want you to do with my things Ammi? Will you be able to know? You could always read my mind. Can you read it now?

I have left behind so many things.

What will you do with them Ammi? What will you do with my bike? You should sell it off right away. It took me away from you.

And don’t read my diary, please. I have awful things written in it. I was only trying to vent my anger at you and Abbu in my diary – you did not let me buy the PlayStation when I was 14-years-old.

Burn it please, don’t ever read it.

Keep my guitar for Hassan, so he can learn how to play it when he grows up. I’m not sure if he’ll sing as well as I did, but he can still have it.

Will you enjoy hearing him sing, just like you loved to hear me?

Will Abbu still think playing the guitar is a waste of time?

I wonder… will you always remember me Ammi? After years pass by, would you still remember who I was, how I looked and how I smelled?

Will you miss me?

Read more by Ema here or follow her on Twitter @EmaAnis


Ema Anis

The social media editor for the web desk at The Express Tribune. She tweets as @EmaAnis (

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

  • Anas Shafqat

    A heart-wrenching read. :(Recommend

  • Tauseef Razi Mallick

    Great piece. I was thinking yesterday about options on how can we revive that guitar. And obviously the writing is nice, you must write more often.Recommend

  • Working Woman

    I could deduce nothing from thisRecommend

  • Oscar

    Sent shivers down my spine. Recommend

  • Amer

    The last thing his parents should do is keep the guitar for Hassan…but then who cares!! Recommend

  • Sarah

    i don’t know such things make me uncomfortable….i mean at one end we show how mother is sending prayers the son’s way and next we know he is no more….

    please write something which can make have our faith strengthened. all i ever come across on our tv or even in our writings is lack or total loss of faith…”I waved a hurried “goodbye” to Ammi as she quickly whispered some prayers to me.”…shows that mother’s intuitions were right but her prayers were not. If intuitions are so damn right then prayers should ve been equally effective…

    please write something which strengthen my faith somehow! equally effective…Recommend

  • Fahad Naveed

    I could deduce nothing frm this. What was the purpose of this story.Recommend

  • Tanveer Khadim

    A very sad heart touching story.
    I love these beautiful lines, especially the last one:

    They are coming to take me away. Abbu, Chacha and my two Mamoos lift my box up from the four corners. They are taking me away. To where, I don’t know. I only know they will bury me in a grave – dark and haunting.

    I wonder… will you always remember me Ammi? After years pass by, would you still remember who I was, how I looked and how I smelled?Recommend

  • Did I just read one of those random “Bacho, Ammi ka kehna mano” stories? We should all love our mothers, but I was hoping we had left this kind of simplistic, over-the-top dramatization behind. ET literally publishes anything and everything. Recommend

  • @Working Woman: That’s exactly right. I couldn’t get what the point was either. Motorbikes are bad? Wear a helmet? don’t see thrills? obey your mother? don’t show off for girls? Each and every lesson is more trite and worn out than the last. Recommend

  • Waqas Ahmed Siddiqui

    Your intention seems to be good but this is so very corny!
    If only you had opted to make it realistic and to present a solid argument instead of concocting a half baked drama, I feel you would have been able to present your case in a better way.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Where’s the vanilla ice cream I asked for last time………….no one listens to me.Recommend

  • Dr.Biya

    i didn’t deduce if the boy died because of disobeying his mother, his attitude of being obstinate or his father fulfilled all his wishes neglecting his wife ?? Recommend

  • Sundus

    Author Sahiba, some families can only afford a bike. Cars are for rich people. Recommend

  • Hardliner

    Still a better story than Malala……………. :-DRecommend

  • Historian 1

    The message is clear….for your parents sake and for god sake and for your own sake WEAR A HELMET while bike riding.Recommend

  • Hammad Suriya

    Incredible… Very well written!Recommend

  • Life is beautiful

    For two reasons, I read it with a heavy heart…

    I had an accident on motorbike 14 years back for no fault of my own – always wore a helmet. Remained hospitalized for 6 months, but it changed my life! I live a normal life, but there are many things I can’t do due to limited movements of my arm. It even affected my career in the military. There are many simple things in life that I can’t do; I can’t swim with my kids, I can’t play cricket with my son, I can’t throw my little daughter in the air and then catch her!

    Then I also know how it feels to watch a mother bury her beloved son! My elder brother passed away a couple of years back and it hurts badly to imagine what my mother must have gone through when it was time to lift him for Janaza. It must have hurt real bad!

    But this is life! Bad times are there to make us value the smiles and laughter we have around us! My life is beautiful as I am able to enjoy a very happy life with my small family. Small imperfections don’t take the joy away!

    But yes, bikers should be very cautious on their two wheelers. May Allah keep us all in His best protection.Recommend

  • Historian 1

    @ Life is Beautiful: Sir, don’t you think that you are still alive because you were wearing a helmet?Recommend

  • Life is beautiful

    @Historian 1:
    Yes, you are right. Things could have been worse if I wasn’t wearing a helmet. Helmet or no helmet, bikers need to be careful cos even one fall may change everything. I used to ride a bike and fell a number of times, but every time I thought ‘real bad’ things can’t happen to me. But see, I was so wrong. Bad things can happen to anybody and everybody. We all need to be a bit cautious about ourselves and people around us, and we must value life the way it deserves to be valued. :-)Recommend

  • Bisma

    Life is so unpredictable! Recommend

  • Shut Up

    didnt like your style of writing!!!!Recommend

  • hamxa

    you mentioned “being mommy daddy boy” it does not depends upon the money you have. I think the person who can protect himself and family , can fight , can bear different problems in life is the real man. I shall consider such a person that “he is not a mommy daddy boy” . You are having writting skills. Recommend

  • Ali Baba

    Live the reality not faith. They just make you strong & comfortable for the time being if you believe.Recommend

  • idontknow

    ey Man, I’m 17 just about to get a Bike now. This scares me! >.<Recommend

  • Somebody

    It’s just the reality. All of us have to face it so why not think about it. That’s how our faith can be strengthened: by keeping in mind that life is short and too unpredictable. Recommend

  • sadaf

    what is the lesson in this story????Recommend

  • Dante

    Moral of the story: Wear helmet. Didn’t need to be put THIS dramatically.Recommend

  • Stranger

    Wah !! I miss my own ma who left us 8 years back. wonder where she is now.Recommend