19. Bound By Circumstances

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Narrated Al-Numan bin Bashir (may Allaah be pleased with him): Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “The believers having mercy, love and kindness among themselves are like one body, so that if any part of the body is not well, then the whole body shares sleeplessness and fever with it.”

–Saheeh Bukhari & Saheeh Muslim

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Rida kicked a flat stone out of her path, huffing for the tenth time as she took in the sight in front of her. Her lips parted. Her jaw grew tight. Her head was thrown back in desperation, seeking help from the One above the heavens, before she brought her hand to her neck.

Her Scooty had gotten a flat tyre in the middle of nowhere, causing her to get stranded with no way to get back to her apartment. Had it been any other normal day, her flat tyre wouldn’t have bothered her; but the Chief Minister of the State lay critical in one of the most renowned hospitals in the city, and it had led to panic among the masses.

It was a very precarious situation. So people from all over the city were rushing to get back home with the intent on securing themselves and locking their houses—in case riots were going to break out and in case the lady in question was going to pass away.

This was precisely why Rida found herself all alone in the vast stretch of road that ran for miles together. There was not a single person in sight. All the shops were closed. Rida wasn’t able to find anything or anyone who would help her with her flat tyre. It was a forty-minute ride back home; and, if she were to drag her Scooty all along the way, it would take her forever to reach her place.

Rida chided herself for having travelled all the way to pay the taxes. She could have very well opted to stay back home comfortably and done all the necessary things online, but she had been a fool. Fearing the thoughts that accompanied her if she stayed idle, she had acted on impulse and set out for paying the tax. As if that was not enough, she had even taken a longer route. She had thought it would keep her loneliness at bay. Rida bit her lip in contemplation now. She was paying the price for her foolishness. Having run over a broken liquor bottle some drunkard had thrown in the highway, she was paying for the actions spurned without thoughts.

Settling atop her Scooty, Rida fervently hoped for someone to come along the road and give her a lift or, at least, help her with her vehicle.  A dog leisurely walked past her. She observed a flock of migratory birds overhead, flying in their formation. Rubbing her face, she leant forward, rested her weight on her toes, and prayed. It wasn’t long when two cars came down the road, igniting a spark of hope in her. She stood up and waved out to them.

Just as quickly as the hope sparked, the flame died down when the cars rode past her and shot out of sight.

Rida frowned. She planted her hands on her hips. The weather was chilly, and it was getting increasingly uncomfortable for her. She didn’t know if she could get help or even get back home before it became dangerous.

Ten minutes more were spent in idle wait. No one came along. A groan escaped her. Rida pressed the heel of her palms in her eyes. She had the option of ringing someone up to come pick her up; but she knew she didn’t want to impose on anyone—not intentionally, at least. Her friends would be busy with their families. She didn’t want to interrupt their plans or holidays. Moreover, no one knew that she had come so far all on her own. She didn’t intend on letting them get even so much as a hint as to what was going on in her head.

A few more minutes had passed when she heard the sound of a vehicle. Looking up, she saw a Toyota and sprang to action. Her feet took her to the side of the road. Her hands waved out frantically in hopes that the car would slow down; but when even this car shot past her, Rida grew frustrated. She blew air out of her mouth, seized the handle of her vehicle, and started tugging it forward, deciding on walking all the way. It was better to walk home than sit here and hope for people to grow a heart.

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