Nature’s Child. fiction by Anjum Wasim Dar

Anjum Wasir Dar

Nature’s Child

Tied to the armchair with a broad brown leather belt, his fists clenched, muttering, gasping unintelligibly under his breath, angry at something or somebody, an unhappy frown shadowing his brow, hair cropped short, feet bare and sharply white.
She recalled the child’s first image. Everyone called him Tari, he was always around the house, trying to walk along the wall, holding on to it for support. or sitting tied to the chair.

She never saw him run.

Maybe he could not. He never went to school either. She realized this, months, and years later. Then she heard someone say, “mentally retarded child, needs treatment. Small doses of the drug, Phenobarbitone.”

It was a disturbing evening when he fell flat on his face and hit the side of the bed. Sharp cut in the forehead let out a gush of dark red blood. She was terrified, she started crying at seeing him bleed. She felt his pain. Why did she feel so?

Why did she like him so much? Who was he for her? He would smile at her when she went near him, suddenly grip her arm so hard that sometimes she would shout “Let go! Please.” He would laugh and laugh. The laughter would turn into fits which made him roll on the floor. No one could stop him.

The laughter turned into tears and then moans of pain. Then she knew he could not stop himself. He would never be able to stop this laughter by himself.

She saw her father’s concerned face as he paced in the room; then heard him say “He cannot control this, it will require treatment.” She saw her father fill up a small syringe. He was a doctor. He inserted the needle into the shaking arm, the laughter mixed with cries continued. Trembling she went closer , bent over him as he lay there, his eyes closed , his face wet; she felt afraid and then knew.

“Oh brother dear”

He was only six years old. He would be fine when the laughter subsided. She played with her sister when he would be tied in his chair. He liked music. Father would put on the records on the player. Tari would scream for more.

Memories of painful cries strike sharply as she turned the pages of childhood. Mother was always working, cooking washing looking after guests and holding Tari. He was not a normal child. She never heard her mother complain about him but often saw her swollen eyes and sad countenance.

“Who will look after Tari?” That was always the question.

Tari did not know who he was.

He could not change his clothes or eat by himself but they knew when he was hungry for he would scream and cry. He wanted to be part of life itself, hold onto something.

One day she could not find one of her books. After a long search finally she saw it in Tari’s hands. He had twisted and crushed it. It could not be read. She cried, “Mama see what Tari has done to my book.” Mama was helpless. The child could not be punished.

It was hot that afternoon. As she stepped off the tonga. Coming home from school, she sensed an unusual silence. The family stood in the porch, heads bent, faces concerned.
Her heart missed a beat and then beat faster, the heavy schoolbag bag felt heavier on the shoulder. Tari! She ran to his room; the chair was empty, the brown leather belt hung loose.

 “We can’t find him. It’s been three hours now,” she heard a voice behind her. She sat down on the steps outside and stared emptily in the air. Evening turned into night, night into the next day. Three days went by. They lost Tari. Why was he in this world which he never knew nor understood?

For her, he was a bond of love, of unconscious relationship, of mystic entity, a truth, a state, a form, an image yet a shadow; she wanted to help him but never knew how.
Mother was a pillar of patience having him as a child. She could not speak of his pain and fears, wants and needs, hurts and happiness. They could tie him to a chair but could not untie his being, his self, his mind.

Tari came into their lives with laughter with hope with a divine presence; he must be in heaven. His soul was alive but his spirit, enchained.

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Anjum Wasim Dar, migrant Pakistani of Kashmiri origin. Masters in English Literature & American Studies. Master’s in history, Punjab University. Scholarship holder for distinction in English Language at Graduate level. Post Graduate Diploma in TEFL and Certificate of Proficiency in English, Cambridge University UK.
International Poet of Merit, Bronze Medal Award Winner, ISP USA-2000, Short Story Writer, Author of Novel for Young Adults, The Adventures of the Multicolored Lead People.

Former Head of English Department at Pakistan Air Force AIR University Bilquis College of Education for Women, Islamabad.

Digital Artist with Focus on Ekphrastic Poetry. 
Poetry Blog:
Short Story Blog:

Three Poems published in A Bouquet of Triple Colors. Anthology of Bangladeshi Pakistani and Indian Poets 2022.

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Published by darcie friesen hossack

Darcie Friesen Hossack is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers. Her short story collection, Mennonites Don’t Dance, was a runner-up for the Danuta Gleed Award, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading Evergreen Award for Adult Fiction. Citing irreverence, the book was banned by the LaCrete Public Library in Northern Alberta. Having mentored with Giller finalists Sandra Birdsell (The Russlander) and Gail Anderson Dargatz (Spawning Grounds, The Cure for Death by Lightening), Darcie's first novel, Stillwater, will be released in the spring of 2023. Darcie is also a four time judge of the Whistler Independent Book Awards, and a career food writer. She lives in Northern Alberta, Canada, with her husband, international award-winning chef, Dean Hossack.

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