Home Literature A Ray of Hope in the Dark (A True Story)

A Ray of Hope in the Dark (A True Story)

A Ray of Hope in the Dark (A True Story)
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‘A Ray of Hope in the Dark’ is a short story of an adventure-loving farmer of Sindh who became a hero for the villagers for saving the lives of people

By Dr. Mushtaq Soomro

Hameer was an adventure-loving farmer living in a small village in Sindh, the southern part of British India (Now a province of Pakistan). He was famous in the area because when a small three-year-old boy accidentally plunged into a well, he immediately jumped in and after some struggle, pulled him out and saved his life.

He was a good swimmer too. This story is about an incident, which happened a decade later.

The era was about 80 years ago, Sindh then called Sind, southern part of the Indus Valley in British India, where Hameer was living in a small village with just his wife and son, two bulls for ploughing his farmland and two goats.

He was very keen to build his body and used to play Malh, a local genre of wrestling.

One day he planned to carry out a full-day trip to a town that was a 40-minute train journey away and he had to walk four and a half miles in addition. Two and a half miles of that, he had to cover on foot through a dense forest.

Due to difficult travel to nearby towns, many people of the village had never visited that town, let alone the cities of Hyderabad and Karachi.

Therefore, when Hameer announced in the evening at a gathering of villagers in the otaq (a place used as a communal area) it was exciting for everybody.

The main purpose of his trip was to get his axes and sickles sharpened and to purchase a new iron plough for himself. When his brother, cousins and friends heard about his plan, each one gave him small or bigger assignments, mainly from the ironsmith’s shop like sharpening their gadgets.

After completing his assignments in the town, Hameer arrived at the railway station for his journey home. It was nearly sunset but the train was 40 minutes late.

After fixing a signal issue, the evening train finally arrived and left the station. After 45 minutes, he arrived at his station 4 miles away from his village. It was all wet, as a strong shower of rain had just passed.

It was very hot in the day as it was summertime, but now, after a heavy shower, it became cooler and pleasant. The forest was dense and dark but due to full moon, it was relatively easy to locate the paths to his village.

Now clouds were scattered although drizzling occasionally the full moon was helping him find his way to his village. He suddenly heard a voice “AAHHHH”…coming from far away, about 3 quarters of a mile. Initially, he ignored the voice but after a few minutes, the same “AAHHHH” projected into the dark and quiet forest.

Now Hameer was thinking that somebody was sick or injured and calling for help, but then again, anybody that was sick must be at home or hospital, not in the middle of the forest.

The third time the same sound made Hameer stand still and try to figure out where it was coming from. He decided to go west, where the sound was coming from. He walked briskly in that direction, the same sound was clearly audible but this time a bit feeble, as if whoever was making was being exhausted.

In the next 10 minutes, he reached the source of the sound, surprised to see that a young boy, about 16 years of age, was lying on the ground and crying as if in severe pain. Some beast was pulling the boy.

Hameer came to know that it was the opening of a small pit. The beast, which was a fierce and hungry wolf, was trying to pull him inside its pit, by the collar of his shirt and partly his neck.

The wolf was applying its full force but the boy’s body was not fitting in the opening of the pit because of the angle that it was at.

In addition, after every pull, it was more and more injurious to the poor boy.

wp8862198Hameer took out his flashlight and made sure that it was the wolf’s den, then he took out his weapons and screamed “leave the boy …” with his full volume of cry but the beast was not ready to leave him.

Therefore, he took out his newly sharpened sickle and with one brief and precise swing, cut the jaw of the wolf so that its grip on the boy’s neck loosened and he came free. Hameer listened to the painful screams of the wolf from its den.

The boy appeared to be unconscious. Hameer pulled him to a safe place and gave some mouth-to-mouth breathing and chest compressions as a kind of cardiopulmonary resuscitation as per his basics of common sense. Moreover, in 15 minutes, boy was conscious again, although very exhausted.

In the thick forest, suddenly the sound of talking and walking of dozens of people was heard. They were approaching closer and closer. They were friends and relatives of the boy who were carrying out the task of finding him.

After that, Hameer was not only a distinguished man of his village but proved a hero of the whole surrounding area.

Also read: Connection with three millennium BC – A Short Story


Dr Mushtaque Soomro Dr. Mushtaq Soomro, hailing from Sindh, Pakistan, is a UK-based medical doctor and freelance writer of Sindhi, Urdu and English languages. His works were published in various dailies including Hilal e Pakistan, Jang, Dawn, Daily Times, The Frontier Post, Kawish and Ibrat. His short story was published in Ibrat magazine. This is his first short story in English. He can be accessed at e-mail: mushtaqsoomro@gmail.com


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