True Stories: The Rise and Fall Of Aylesbury Asians (1991/1992) Part 2

Before I begin this second, extended memoir of the Aylesbury Asians saga, I must give an apology. All that is written here is but fragments from my flawed memory and perception, so I ask those whom I have missed out to forgive me, and to those who disagree with my version of things, you are more than entitled to pull me up. May Allah give us the wisdom to say what is beneficial and leave out the nonsense! Ameen! My intention in sharing these stories is to shine a light on the past, with the hope that it brings cheer and nostalgia, which enriches our present moments and futures. I would also like to thank all the people I have mentioned in these accounts for making our collective lives richer, funnier and greater, both then and now. Alhamdulillah, in Aylesbury, us Paks have grown up together, inhaled the same air, walked the same streets and chilled in the same parks. Long may it continue! Ameen!

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The Two Strange Men Of Kashgar

One day, two men were arrested at the Id Gah mosque in Kashgar and sent away for cultural citizenship education. Onlookers, rather stunned, watched as the men were ushered into the police van, while the accompanying officers scanned around for potential trouble. No one stirred as the officers jumped in the back of the van, next to the men, who were also seated silently. The authorities were expecting a massive uproar from the locals, especially as intelligence had uncovered that these two men were revered as holy men or healers, who lived on the streets and could heal supernaturally. But there was no resistance; no struggles. The locals seemed pacified and the two men just sat there calmly. Just as the van pulled away, a local grocer woman called out: “see you again, insha Allah.”

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Simorgh At Islamabad Arrivals

In Islamabad arrivals, a great hullabaloo arose, like a volcano erupting. Hundreds of tired and disgruntled travellers crowded the luggage belts, struggling to catch sight of their possessions, like a flock of herons, frantically searching the water for fish. Faces scowled; babies wailed; ladies sat back, fanning themselves with their scarves. It had been two hours; their luggage had failed to arrive and, to make matters worse, the luggage of the next arrivals was beginning to appear instead.

“What the hell is this!” yelled a large, moustachioed fellow, in a rich, white salwar qameez. The officials, in blue uniforms, continued to play dumb, expressing platitudes: “we have some technical difficulties… One of the computers has malfunctioned, but it will be fixed, and your luggage will be here soon.”

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The Flood (Parental Advisory- Adult Themes)

Becalmed, the wide rubber raft floated aimlessly on the choppy waters, far from any sort of assistance. Huddled and shivering, refugees and migrants from a plethora of regions rubbed their hands and bodies. Mothers swaddled their children around their own meagre coats, while the irascible captain yelled and cursed at the steaming motor at the back. Holding his walkie-talkie close to his heart like a keepsake, he barked at his accomplices back in their base, demanding to know why his rescue boat had not arrived. Crackling voices responded, urging him to stay calm and wait.

“Hey, Mr Syria!” Yelled a young man, with deep dark skin like a killer whale and piercing eyes; the whiteness shone like the moon in the night. “We have some time. And we hear you can tell some stories….”

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