The Peacemaker

The Peacemaker

A Story by Agyani
"

'Azan' is the prayer call for Muslims. A fictionalized version of a true event.

"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

               Mulayim opened his eyes after practising the azan. He continued sitting on the floor and rested his long, thin hands on his legs. The sun had just gone down and the sky was painted scarlet. The orange glow ambling in through the window behind him always seemed to breathe life into the green, cracked sun-baked walls of his small room.

He sprang on his bed and crawled towards the window, poking his head out to look for the old lady who lived two houses away. Her rust-haired, freckled face greeted him with a bare toothed smile from the balcony. She swayed her arms in the air as she spoke to him. Her words of praise for his voice echoed in all the differently coloured, closely packed, narrow houses either side of the 10-foot wide road. Mulayim had lost his hearing two years ago, but he knew what she was saying. She always gave him her blessing when she heard him practise the azan.

“I know you are deaf, but I’m having doubts about her hearing as well,” said Ruhana in sign language as she joined him. Mulayim turned towards her and blinked slowly before hitting her gently on the head. Ruhana didn’t have to do anything except stare at him with a grave expression and her piercing, hazel eyes. She was small even for a ten-year-old but had the ability to transform her shy, attractive face into a stone-hearted manslayer’s in the blink of an eye. Mulayim was also aware that her thin frame was deceptive; her punches really hurt.

“Don’t say that. She’s a nice lady,” he gestured.

“Maybe she’s too nice. She just wants to make you feel good about this silly habit of yours. Maybe she’s just taking part in this charade out of boredom. You’re lucky you can’t hear. It’s painful to hear you sing every day!”

Mulayim didn’t pay any attention to her and put on his prayer cap.

“Why do you even sing every day?”

“It helps me keep up the practice,” he said, wearing his sandals.

“Will Maulvi sahib really keep his word and let you recite it during prayer time?” asked Ruhana in her contemplative voice. She could only whisper because of the incredulity of what it meant. Mulayim simply smirked. He ruffled her hair and walked out of the room.

“Wait, is that supposed to be today? You can’t go out today! Mulayim!” yelled Ruhana. But her brother couldn’t hear her. He crossed the small courtyard and ran out of the house enthusiastically.

 Mulayim had impaired hearing since birth. His left ear hardly registered sound. But he had lost all hearing when a firecracker went off right next to him. At the time his friends and family were more concerned about the gunpowder that was sprayed on his face, but none of it had managed to enter his eyes. However, everyone’s relief was short lived.

Mulayim was twelve when it happened but he didn’t let his handicap hold him back. Being stripped off the ability to listen to music or his own melodious voice - something he had always treasured and thanked God for �" devastated him. But rather than lamenting over the fact, he doubled his efforts in learning to convey his words to anyone who came to their house. In the beginning, it was just a diversion from his agony, but he was surprised by how quickly he was able to learn lip-reading and communicate with others. He didn’t start learning sign language until his sister found him a book more than a year later. He knew learning it wouldn’t help him communicate with people who still often screamed into his ear so that he could hear them. The only reason he learned it was so he could continue educating Ruhana. It was her idea, and he was touched by it. 

While he began communicating in just a few months, it took him a long time to start using his voice. He only wanted to use it for one thing, and he felt it would require a huge amount of determination and desire. In the end, it was his plight and misery that forced him to give it a try. He sang as if he was possessed, and it was his father’s tear-stricken face that told him he hadn’t lost the voice he was blessed with.

Mulayim ran past the closing shops energetically. His ears were deaf to the distant noise of public protests, but his urge to shine blinded him to all the warning signs. The people in the street tried getting his attention. They called out to him, tried grabbing onto him, a couple of them ran after him, and one even threw a pan at him. But nothing worked. For one thing, he was still the fastest runner within the entire walled city area of Jaipur. But more than that, the people who wanted to stop him had something else as a priority, which was to seek shelter in their houses.

Vehicular traffic had become almost zero in the streets. Word of unrest in the area had spread quickly. Pedestrian traffic, though, was on the rise. There were those who wanted to wait it out in their house, and there were those who wanted to add their muscles and voices to the tussle between the locals and the police. And there was Mulayim, oblivious to how various brothers of his community had marched to the police station where a couple belonging to their religion was being held for violating traffic laws. The policeman who had caught the duo had allegedly assaulted the woman.

Mulayim was exhilarated to see so many people in the streets. The congregation in the mosque would be greater, and everyone would have come because they heard him reciting the azan. Mulayim’s chest was already swelling with pride. When he turned away from the police station road towards the mosque, he was surprised to find it nearly deserted. But it struck him as an opportunity rather than something suspicious, ominous. The Maulvi was not in his usual spot either, which did seem strange to him. But Mulayim wanted to impress him more than anyone, to repay his faith in him. He counted the seconds on his watch and headed over to the microphone.

Even though he was deaf, he felt all hint of sound fading away. Even though he couldn’t hear anything, he placed his fingers on his ears. He wanted to do everything right, down to the posture. He did a quick rehearsal; concentrating to pick up the signs of inflections in his voice, noticing the knitting and rising of his eyebrows when he escalated to higher notes, feeling for the sag in his throat when he descended towards baritone. The tightening and loosening of his abdomen matched with the lilt. Finally, he cleared his throat - as a precaution - before turning on the microphone.

The first sounds of the azan only provided a soft background score for the violent mob outside the police station. It was only a murmur, but audible nonetheless. One of the pelters threw a flaming bottle at a police van, setting it ablaze. But the roaring inferno was muted by the rising sound of a humble strain. The raging crowd was overwhelmed. All they could do was pant. Even the policemen dropped their guard and surrendered themselves to it. All batons, stones, and sticks fell to the ground in a single, mild clatter.

There was an ambition to prove himself that drove Mulayim, but it was pure, innocent. It gripped everyone, coming at them in waves. There was no ebb, only flow. But the waves did not submerge them. Rather, they uplifted them. The ringing echoes raised everyone up high; high above unbridled rage, high above closed minds, high above resentment, high above intolerance. None of them recognized the voice. It didn’t seem like a boy’s, but neither was it a man’s. It was transcendent.

Some people recognized the voice, though. One of them was a rust-haired, freckle-faced lady, who did more than just smile and praise this time. She screamed her thanks to God, and it reverberated through the dense, tense streets. The faint echo was bolstered by the erstwhile ferocious mob. The policemen could do nothing but wait the situation out and see how things unfolded.

Ruhana was in tears. The voice was different from what she heard every day. It was different yet familiar, as if a long supressed, happy memory was unlocked, her body swept over by the paroxysm of joy that flooded within. When she imagined her brother stepping down the stairs of the mosque with a timid smile, her crying only became more vigorous.

Boys cannot wait to become men. Then they try and make the leap towards becoming great men. But on that day, Mulayim became something more. He became the man he was supposed to be. As his name suggested, he was The Peacemaker.  

© 2019 Agyani


Author's Note

Agyani
Feel free to say everything that comes to your mind. If you feel anything can be changed/improved in the structure, I'm all ears!

My Review

Would you like to review this Story?
Login | Register




Featured Review

• He slowly blinked his eyes, his long eyelashes caressing his white cheeks.

Clearly, the narrator is explaining what's happening in the scene, because Mulayim can't see his own eyelashes, and he would never "slowly" blink, because that's called closing and then opening your eyes, not a blink.

But the primary problem I see is that you’re thinking cinematically, visualizing the scene and reporting what a viewer would see. But that takes time to read—lots of time. And in reality, does a reader care that someone they can’t see leapt onto the bed and crawled across it before looking out of the window, or simply stood and went to the window? No. Had he walked to it, or danced to it, the same person, in a room the reader CANNOT see, looked out of the same window. But on the page, in order to do something that takes only four seconds to do in life, the reader must read for seven seconds (I measured and compared the times). So your story runs dramatically slower on the page than in film or life.

Here’s the deal: You cannot tell a story on the page in the way you would in person for several reasons.

First, it slows the action too much to be an acceptable approach to a reader.

But of more importance, telling the story to an audience is a performance art. The audience must be able to hear the emotion in your voice. On the page it’s a monotone. They must hear your changes in intensity, cadence, and more. That’s impossible on the page.

They also must be able to see your gestures, your expressions, and your body language. In the page? They sit in the dark, unable to see you—informed, but not entertained.

In short: you’re using the techniques of another medium, one that makes use of sound and vision, in a medium that reproduces neither. It’s something the majority of hopeful writers do because in our schooling no one tells us that we learn writing skills that our future employers prize, not the specialized knowledge and skills of the professional fiction-writer. Those, we must acquire for ourselves.

And that’s my point. You have the desire, the perseverance, and, the story. But to that you must add the fiction-writing tricks of the trade. How can you structure a scene if you’re not aware of how a scene on the page differs from one on stage or screen?

After all, if we are to please readers who have read professionally written and prepared fiction for their entire lives, doesn’t it make sense that we need to know what those writers know?

So keep writing, of course. But while you do, dig into the tricks of writing professional-level fiction. They’re not obvious. So devour a few good books on fiction writing technique, and practice them till they feel as intuitive as the nonfiction skills you already own. As I so often suggest, you might dig into the articles on writing fiction in my blog. They’re written with the hopeful writer in mind, and may give you a feel for the issues you need to delve into.

Then, knowing how to give wings to your words, who knows how far you’ll fly?

Jay Greenstein
https://jaygreenstein.wordpress.com/category/the-craft-of-writing/

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Agyani

3 Years Ago

Hey Jay
Thank you for the review. Even though I haven't always agreed with you 100%, I have l.. read more



Reviews

I liked this story, I'm a singer too the idea of transcendence in voice is a goal for me in my writing and my singing so it touched my heart. I am not a story writer so i'm not much help in suggestions in that department. I would say that i liked your choice of descriptives particularly in describing his struggle to find the proper intonations and inflections without hearing them. This is very similar to the process i have experienced in situations where i do not have a monitor source during a performance so this rang true for me in your context.

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Agyani

2 Years Ago

Thanks for the review, Bad Bunny. I'm so happy to know that it resonated with you in such a manner! .. read more
Agyani,
Your story had the proper build up to reach a crest and a natural flow to finish the story. Your main character was given solid description to be a interesting believable person. Your side characters supported him well. Your description of the mob scene was well written, it gave action and color to your story. There was a positive moral to end your story. I enjoyed your writing, you are a fine story teller.
Peace and Blessings,
Richie b.

Posted 2 Years Ago


Agyani

2 Years Ago

I'm glad you like the story, Richie. Always nice to hear from you, more so when you have such nice t.. read more
richieb

2 Years Ago

MY Pleasure!
Really nice interesting read, with a good feel to it. And wonderful characters. All round good story. Thanks for sharing.

Posted 2 Years Ago


Agyani

2 Years Ago

I'm glad to know that you liked it, Dawn. Thanks for your review. :)
Dawn

2 Years Ago

my pleasure.
This story is awesome sir! I loved the way it ended. And the language was kinda easy to go through. I enjoy it!
Don't have much to say but I mean more I said. So just make it out... The story is good. 😊
Good Luck!

Posted 3 Years Ago


Agyani

3 Years Ago

Thanks for your kind words, Aurora. :)
And please don't call me sir!
Aurora

3 Years Ago

You're welcome! 😊
great story,i enjoyed it,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Posted 3 Years Ago


Agyani

3 Years Ago

I'm glad you did, wordman. :)
 wordman

3 Years Ago

you`re welcome
I read the review by JayG, but I have to say that my opinion is a bit different.

Your description was just right for me. I needed a slower moving narrative, because I have little or no familiarity with Islam, Jaipur, or mob violence. Your level of language, word choice, and the generosity of voice used in the narration were kind and helpful, and did not leave me behind.

I look forward to reading your next tale. :):)

V

Posted 3 Years Ago


Agyani

3 Years Ago

Thank you for the review. When you say the language and choice of words didn't leave you behind I'm .. read more
Verse

3 Years Ago

Oh, no. I meant that they took into account a newcomer to the subject matter. The pace was slow-mo.. read more
This was a lovely story. Him being deaf really draws you into him. It did for me because I can sort of relate. (I'm deaf and one ear and am slowly losing in the other) I think sign language is a fantastic language! And I love how you used his voice to reach others. I found it nicely ironic that even though he cannot hear it, he has a voice of an angel. I really do like this :)

Posted 3 Years Ago


Agyani

3 Years Ago

Hi Sarah
I'm really sorry to learn of your handicap. It must be really painful for you to los.. read more
Saree Marcel

3 Years Ago

Eh. It is what it is. I appreciate your concern but it's totally fine to be honest. Yeah I love Gree.. read more
A beautiful and heart-touching tale

Posted 3 Years Ago


Agyani

3 Years Ago

I'm glad you liked it, Esther. :)
Esther

3 Years Ago

You're welcome.
• He slowly blinked his eyes, his long eyelashes caressing his white cheeks.

Clearly, the narrator is explaining what's happening in the scene, because Mulayim can't see his own eyelashes, and he would never "slowly" blink, because that's called closing and then opening your eyes, not a blink.

But the primary problem I see is that you’re thinking cinematically, visualizing the scene and reporting what a viewer would see. But that takes time to read—lots of time. And in reality, does a reader care that someone they can’t see leapt onto the bed and crawled across it before looking out of the window, or simply stood and went to the window? No. Had he walked to it, or danced to it, the same person, in a room the reader CANNOT see, looked out of the same window. But on the page, in order to do something that takes only four seconds to do in life, the reader must read for seven seconds (I measured and compared the times). So your story runs dramatically slower on the page than in film or life.

Here’s the deal: You cannot tell a story on the page in the way you would in person for several reasons.

First, it slows the action too much to be an acceptable approach to a reader.

But of more importance, telling the story to an audience is a performance art. The audience must be able to hear the emotion in your voice. On the page it’s a monotone. They must hear your changes in intensity, cadence, and more. That’s impossible on the page.

They also must be able to see your gestures, your expressions, and your body language. In the page? They sit in the dark, unable to see you—informed, but not entertained.

In short: you’re using the techniques of another medium, one that makes use of sound and vision, in a medium that reproduces neither. It’s something the majority of hopeful writers do because in our schooling no one tells us that we learn writing skills that our future employers prize, not the specialized knowledge and skills of the professional fiction-writer. Those, we must acquire for ourselves.

And that’s my point. You have the desire, the perseverance, and, the story. But to that you must add the fiction-writing tricks of the trade. How can you structure a scene if you’re not aware of how a scene on the page differs from one on stage or screen?

After all, if we are to please readers who have read professionally written and prepared fiction for their entire lives, doesn’t it make sense that we need to know what those writers know?

So keep writing, of course. But while you do, dig into the tricks of writing professional-level fiction. They’re not obvious. So devour a few good books on fiction writing technique, and practice them till they feel as intuitive as the nonfiction skills you already own. As I so often suggest, you might dig into the articles on writing fiction in my blog. They’re written with the hopeful writer in mind, and may give you a feel for the issues you need to delve into.

Then, knowing how to give wings to your words, who knows how far you’ll fly?

Jay Greenstein
https://jaygreenstein.wordpress.com/category/the-craft-of-writing/

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Agyani

3 Years Ago

Hey Jay
Thank you for the review. Even though I haven't always agreed with you 100%, I have l.. read more
Incredibly beautiful. Your characters are wonderful, I instantly felt a connection with them and was impelled to read on. It was cleverly constructed; you have a way with words my friend. The world unfolded as the story went on. I tend to set the scene before I go anywhere else, it's like a play set up - you would see the scene form before the characters introduction. However, with you, your characters arrive and then world is built around them creating a sensation of progression, revealing more and more as it goes on, keeping you anticipating the next revelation; a truly remarkable ability, effortlessly constructed.

It's marvelous to be able to access this, a whole world away, from my computer screen. You have a really natural, special talent with telling stories - where do you pluck them from? Have you influences? It's honestly an honor to be absorbed in the imagination of a true story-teller. I wouldn't even know what to suggest as a form of constructive criticism other than you will know yourself when to alter and if it need be - I personally wouldn't change a thing, I would appreciate any variations or amends if you deemed them fit. I think as long as an author is expressing themselves that in itself is a really very special thing.

Do know that I felt more than I can express right now. Looking forward to my next read! :D



Posted 3 Years Ago


Agyani

3 Years Ago

Hey Alexandra
I'm so glad that you liked this story and it affected you in such fashion. What.. read more

First Page first
Previous Page prev
1
Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

729 Views
13 Reviews
Rating
Added on October 9, 2018
Last Updated on April 17, 2019
Tags: peace, joy, faith, singing, disability, religion, riot, unrest, transcendence

Author

Agyani
Agyani

India



About
A novelist by heart, but a freelance ghostwriter by necessity. It's only pen and paper (or my keyboard) that help me 'show' who I am and not just 'be' who I am. I am a storyteller and try to m.. more..

Writing
SlapJack SlapJack

A Story by Agyani



Related Writing

People who liked this story also liked..


She.. She..

A Poem by Saumya