Brotherhood - Rafi and Haroon

Rafi and Haroon were blood brothers. They had sworn it to be so, three years ago in the very spot they stood now, balancing on their donkeys, shoving one another to see who would fall first.

Haroon hadn't been here since the year before, and exactly a year before that. Him and Rafi had created a tradition to take a pilgrimage to the place where Haroon's father had passed away.

It had been a beautiful sunny day, and kaka Jawed, Rafi's father had invited everyone to go fishing by the river for the day. For Haroon, it was a big deal. He would work tirelessly alongside his father everyday in the field, and a day by the river sounded like paradise. It wasn't often that kaka Jawed would invite the workers to a mehmani (invitation) by the river, but he had been in a good mood that day.

All had been wonderful until Kaka Jawed had tripped and fallen into the river. Without hesitation, Haroon's father had dived in after him in a rescue attempt. Rafi's father had survived but Haroon became an orphan. His father had drowned in the roaring river.

Kaka Jawed had assured the boys that Haroon would be raised like his own son, and Rafi had cut his hand open, offering it to Haroon to shake with his own cut hand to seal their brotherhood with their blood. After all, it would be real if they didn't shake with blood.

It had been three years ago but Haroon still hated that damn river. He didn't mind their annual pilgrimage though. It was the right thing to do for his father. For him. That's why he would let Rafi drag him to this place every year. Haroon knew that Rafi felt guilty that his father had been the one to survive. This was his way of apologizing.

He wouldn't let Rafi win at the donkey game though, he kept shoving back and laughing as he tried to stay aboard his donkey.
Finally, the donkeys, feeling disgruntled from being stepped on, began to walk on and the boys held on to eachothers arms, shreiking and laughing, trying not to fall.

Haroon suddenly felt it. Ironically, he felt happy today, by the river where he had become an orphan. The place where Rafi became his brother.



Story and illustration by @rasmorawaj ©

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