He had been feeling giddy that day. Weather was cruel for poor and entertaining for rich. Elite headed to hill stations and pauper lit up the silver of wood they had. He had saved a little amount that, if nothing bad transpired, could handle his family expenses. Aisha advised him to rest that day. Thinking of the little money he had saved for rainy days, he agreed. His son and little doll gazed at him wrapped up in a worn duvet like a child in quilt. He was shivering with his teeth clenched. His bones ached and mind was about to burst. Aisha turned the TV on to distract him from the pain.
‘Love, War and Panache always leave their traces’ said his teacher Mubashir on TV. He was doing a program on history. ‘And this treasure is the trace of all three’ He smiled and continued. ‘Love because it was his son’s treasure, dug in the time of battle with other clan and we all know about the panache Rufani family held’
Rufani family had been an inspiration for Zulfiqar. He liked to visit museums to see their attires as a child. Before the battle, it was a royal family. All of them just diminished after the war. The one other army found was Mubat Rufani who dug the treasure and soaked the whole area with water. He was beheaded by the new king. People say, he smiled in his last moments.
Zulfiqar started recovering at the sight of his teacher. But in heart, he was happy because Mubashir knew about the treasure. Zulfiqar was more than fine after three gay days. Elite returned to their houses and pauper started to work again. You could see the long drill ever in the factory. Hundreds of people with stones on their shoulders kept marching. It took him seven hours to get to the counter to know that they were paying less. Stones weren’t a problem that day. He took whatever he got and left for Sounfilia to meet Mubashir.
Once again he was at a place that reminded him of his palace. Before him were dishes and desserts that he never thought of since last few years. He devoured and took a big chunk in his empty stone bag for his children and Aisha. Children would become happy, he said to himself. Following a squeak, Mubashir appeared behind the pivoted door.
‘Here’s my adroit student’ chanted Mubashir before his servants. He was always like that grotesque yet cunning.
‘Not so adroit any more’ said Zulfiqar. An impish smile he passed as a greeting.
Mubashir plopped over his sofa like a cat a jumps to floor.
‘Old now’ He said, stroking his knees. ‘Well, well, well, here we have you’
‘You look young. Younger than me’
‘Aaaah. I always looked younger than you. See, I don’t have wrinkles.’ He took the glass of wine in his hand. ‘But the knees, they are crucial’
‘I am here to ask something’ said Zulfiqar.
‘I know. You were always like that. You never came to see me after the college.’ They were more like friends even in Zulfiqar’s college days. They lived in the same neighborhood. But the only time they would meet, it would be the college time.
‘I want to know about the treasure’ said Zulfiqar.
‘You still wear the bracelet I gifted’ said Mubashir. Looking at Zulfiqar’s wrist. ‘Come’ he said and left the room.
Clouds hovered all that day. Some bellowing and other raining relentlessly. That day, only few came to the college. Zulfiqar had always been interested in history specifically when it came to Rufani. He asked about this mythical family that was never mentioned in any book yet was sung in the ballads and chattered in bandstands. Mubashir told him about the family, the attires, the armors and the mails that they and their soldiers wore before the battle. Mubat Ruffani had worn a black silk cloak and gold plates that shined in the sun. Its glare blinded a number of enemies, said Mubashir.
Zulfiqar had asked a lot of money from Mubashir and in return he would give him half of his treasure. If he fails, the money would belong to his family then. A fair deal, he said in his mind. Zulfiqar stayed awake that night. The first thing in morning he did, was to handover the money, enough for years to come, to Aisha. Kissed her and children. Embraced them all at once. For a moment, he felt feeble and wanted to cry but the armor before his sight made him stop.
‘I shall be back in three months’ he said to his family, unaware of what he was going to do.
He took the worn out golden armor and left for the quick sand.