A fire burned through the flesh, slow cooking it to perfection. The man overseeing the masterpiece had gentle eyes—they looked like they had seen the harsh complexities of life. A bead of sweat dripped occasionally down his temples as he turned the skewers that barbecued the kebabs. A whole lot of people were visiting his little shed to celebrate Eid. A shower of requests greeted him as he worked on the mutton kebabs. His customers fondly called him Chacha—an Hindi term for uncle. And as soon as they did that, his heart felt warmer than the coals that cooked the kebabs for his patrons.
Skull cap on the head and smiling from ear to ear, he presented his customers with the hot and spicy succulent skewers of mutton seekh that instantly melted in the mouth, deploying a variety of flavours. A little boy sat in a corner watching the show, as if it were a movie. Days passed and the boy returned every evening to watch the man work through the Iftar evenings. With his eyes fixated on the man with the gentle eyes, there was little that could be done to ignore him. So the man heaved a sigh and made his way to him, “What is wrong with you boy? Are you hungry? Why do you come here every evening?”
The boy looked at the man and smiled. He said, “No, not at all. I am not hungry. I was just… you are my brother.” The man let out a nervous laugh. “What? Have you lost your mind. I have no family. Get out of my way. Right now!” The boy held his hand and continued to talk, “We are half brothers. I have come all the way from Pakistan to tell you that you have family. That you are not alone. Our father has sent me to call for you. We have the great Jinnah’s blood in our veins. It’s eid. What better occasion for you to come back to your land and live a comfortable life?”
The man smiled at the boy and said, “The blood in my veins runs with the pride of hard work not a long-lost family name. I have my own family. We might not share a surname, but I’ve won their hearts, one morsel at a time.”