THE CALL FROM BEYOND
It is not for us to say what the shape of a soul is. It is not for us to wonder whether the shape and size of one`s nose, mouth, arms and legs have any influence upon one`s soul. It is only a fact that Masood, a boy of eighteen years of age, was born with terribly ugly face and body.
People avoided Masood. He was short, with eye-balls, long arms and bent leg. Some people felt sick at the sight of him, feeling sure that he was the seed and the root of evil. But Masood was much kinder that they thought. He had a pure and sincere heart. He saw no ugliness, no evil and nothing bad in any living thing. He was the only son of a man and a woman who loved him in a way that only music can describe; of a man and a woman who didn`t believe that the physical form of a man had any connection with the quality of his soul.
Masood had never seen his own image in a mirror. He did not recognize his own image in the water of the pools where he liked to watch the movements of the swimming fish. As a rainbow does not recognize its own beauty, Masood did not realize the effect of his ugliness.
Masood had no friends. He did not feel the need for friends. Small birds, young leaves and colorful flowers pleased him more. He did not understand why men were born and why they died.
But there was something that troubled Masood`s mind. He felt as if his heart was filled with a desire for something he did not know, a dream which was like a longing for the face of someone he had never seen, a longing that could not be satisfied.
He looked for the face in the waters of the still pools and the clean wells. He looked for the face in the wet ground between the rubber trees and the coconut trees. He watched the singing birds on the twigs and the swimming fish in the pools, trying to talk to them and searching in their sounds and movements for the face he longed for.
His father and mother knew this. They knew that their son was now no longer a small child. But they did not know what to do. They could only encourage him, saying. “Son, when you have found what you seek, you will have seen the face of God. Bring it to us when you have found it, for we also have a longing to see the face of God.”
Masood felt something warm in his bones when his parents told him this. For two years he left their hut before the first sun light appeared in the east and returned only when the night insects began to fly around. Yet he could not find what he was searching for.
But his parents realized that the boy would have to live alone once they were gone or when Masood felt the instinct that every living creature has, that is, to raise family of his own.
“Try to look for what you want, in the hearts of living people,” his father once told him.
Masood tried to do as he was told. No having been in the company of many people, he thought that every heart was like his. He smiled at everybody he met. He spoke, but received no answers except for loud rude words which he did not understand.
Then Masood fell in love. He saw the girl in the marked –place buying fish. Her hair was a soft bundle of black silk tied with light-blue ribbon behind her slender neck. She had small red lips and reddish-yellow cheeks that glowed like thin porcelain.
Masood followed her. With his bare feet he stepped into her footprints on the wet market ground. He stood behind her, listening to bargaining and buying. He smiled with pleasure on hearing her melodious voice.
Having bought what she wanted, the girl walked out of the market, with basket on her arm. She walked towards the main road. Masood followed her, smiling all the time. Little children walking with their mothers to market cried with fear when saw Masood smile. But he did not know what all this mean.
The girl crossed the main road and took a path that went through a coconut garden. Masood walked a little faster getting closer to her. But she did not feel his presence.
The girl shifted the basket from one arm to the other, she was beginning to feel tired.
Masood walked faster. He reach the girl and grabbed the basket from her.
“Ill carry the basket for you, “ he said. “Come, I can carry it for you.”
The girl screamed and covered her face. The basket fell into ground, spilling raw meat and vegetables
“Get away from me,” she shouted, very frightened at the sight of the ugly boy. “Get away from me!”
The boy bent down and started to gather up the meat and vegetables on the ground. The girl began to cry. Masood stood up. Three men who had been plucking coconuts ran out from behind the trees. They caught Masood and beat him. The boy fell to the ground covering his face with his hands. The man kicked his body and head until he fainted.
Nobody picked him up. He woke when the moon began to raise in the night sky.
He couldn`t stand. He began to crawl slowly on his stomach, until his father, searching for him with a torch in his hand, found him and carried him home.
After treating his as much as possible, his mother and father went to their own beds at about four in the morning. Masood also slept. But then he heard a knocking on the door. He felt an urgent need to get out of bed and open the door. He was sure that if he opened the door, he would see the face he had been searching for. He imagined the face of the girl he had seen in the market-place.
The knocking sounded again. Masood tried hard to get up, but he felt as though his body was no mere then dead flesh. He could not move. He tried to shout for help and fell out of bed and crawled to the door. He managed to lift himself to his knees and tried to reach the knob with his hand. The door swung open and a rush of cold wind blew into the room. But that was all. There was nobody there.
The parents found him in bed the next morning. They worried about their son`s condition, which looked worse. His father called a woman from the village who was said to have power to cure sick people. She came to the boy and did not more than his own mother had done for him.
That night, Masood again heard the knocks on door. Again he felt a terrible desire to see the face of the one who knocked. He hoped that he would see the face of the girl he loved. He moved his body and fell heavily to the floor.
The knocking was louder, more demanding ang urgent. He tried to raise his body, but he couldn`t.
“Don`t go away!” he shouted. “Wait till I open he door. Wait please wait!” But when he opened the door there was nobody there. He dropped to the ground again and cried.
The next morning, his parents found him lying on the floor near the door. They lifted and carried him to his bed. After placing their son on the bed, they felt as if there was someone standing at the door, the girl whom Masood had seen in the market-place.
After introducing herself and making sure that she had found the right address, the girl told the parents why she had come there. She told them that she had searched for Masoor`s home. She wanted for apologize to the boy for what she had done to him in the coconut field two days before, admitting that at first she did not know who Masood really was and had thought that the young man wanted to do her harm.
Mashood`s father and mother were surprised, but they were also happy at the girl`s willingness to come and tell them the story. Then all three knelt beside the bed, The girl reached out her hand and held Masood`s arm. It was very cold. She turned her head and started at Masood`s parents in surprise and the father and mother stared at each other and then wept. They now knew that the boy had gone, living his parents, the girl he loved and the cruel world for ever. But his lips curled in a smile of satisfaction, for he had at last seen the face of God……”