Amaanath (Short Story ) – H. Abedeen

Abedeen’s Birthday + Wedding Anniversary Special!

அமானுதம் – Translated by Jayanthi Sankar


Returning home after two years, when I entered the house ignoring Asma who passionate looked at me as if she would gobble me up and affectionately lifted my son who was roaming around naked. When his front tail came near my face I carrassed his willie with my face and smelt a slight waft of urine. When my lips brushed on the companionless yoo hoo of his, he cringed with a smile. “Careful dear. It’s an Amanaa tool,” my wife warned me. There was no appeal when Asma says something. The house got into the celebration mode.

That night, our Amanaas fitted into suitable places and went ecstatic. We ate each other to appease our hunger. Tired, my wife slept off. I went near the hammock in which my son slept peacefully. I saw him and his peeper. How beautiful he and his!

Certainly Amanaa. It has been created especially for someone and waiting to reach the owner. Hope God blesses the owner to be a woman and younger.

Amanaa! Why not ponder on that!? While thinking of that, a common man might think something and a writer might think something else, I thought. Let me write ignoring the friends teasing, “Nowadays you don’t talk much. You straight away write a story!” If I were to answer them, I would better instigate them to create a story, I went on to think. Writing is a pleasure. The pen that writes is a greater, please! Is it? No, a sorrow!

When we give someone something for safekeeping, we might call it ‘Amanaa’. When we extort something from someone, it could again be called the same. We have to return it. Palestine regions, Iraq regions are Amanaas respectively for Israel and America (I am just telling them both separately for some convenience). Some regions of India are supernatural for China. Some regions are supernatural even for India. Even the bombs of Pakistan are supernatural. In that way, all the loots in the colonial countries are supernatural for the British. The buddha’s statues are so for the Taliban hooligans, the destroyed majid for the ‘Monkey’ army and so on.

Hey, don’t talk politics. Poly tic(k)s? Okay. That department belongs to the revolutionaries. What is a revolution? Is it writing as a reaction to a political leader who laid on a railway track publishing only one sentence ‘The train was going on another track’ in a daily that is read by only three people? It is true but courage is to make Moththammaa run on the track even if the train faced a risk of toppling over.

Enough, let’s go to the track of ‘supernatural’. If a surgeon happens to leave a knife inside a patient by mistake, that’s also Amanaa but it would become the responsibility of the doctor to retrive it (to place it in another’s stomach?!)

In Arabic, Amanaa means security, trust. That word gave the real meaning. It is said that Prophet Muhammad gave meaning to that word. I am not a poet in Arabic. It would suffice to know that it is a word that equates to trust. Quran warns a lot about this trust in many places. You mean to ask so what? Then, you don’t have to read further and straight away go to heaven. That is an entertaining place with a plethora of gifts.

The cashier is called Ameen Sandhuk in Saudi Arabia. It means one who takes care of the cash box. One who takes care of the box and swindles the contents cannot be called that. Those few (underlined) say, ‘’Fi Aamanillah’ in a prosperous gesture when we bid goodbye and say ‘to me’ within. While saying “May Allah protect you” one needs to say it with care.

There is a special account called ‘Amaanaa account’. Some guy would have lent an Arabi money. Or you assume that way. Or, those good folks who don’t wish to borrow money from the bank would have said, “I shall take it back later.” Later when they come back to retrieve it they would ask for more amount. Amaanath’s Amaanath! The mistake of the mistakes, like our Valamburi John says.

Amaanaa became Amaanutham in our native place. Amaanaa escaped unlike some words used in totally different meaning. For example, okay no need. A half boiled egg is always ridiculing me saying that my stories contained too much of Islamic culture. So, let’s talk about Amaanaa.

Amaanaa things are important. Travelers are always too eager to return Amaanaa items before their own because the prophet has said about that. There are travelers who do good deeds (deeds?) even otherwise. Regardless of where he comes from, such a traveler from Penang or America the first thing he does it to pull out the Amaanaa articles from his luggage and give one by one to the respective persons. Only then he would feel very peaceful. Peace is for him. Not for his wife because it’s always the Amaanaa articles that are attractive. The smell of the suitcases is always unique even if it is Ice ‘Eau de Cologne’ No. 4711 or the one without any leakage. In fact, it is more attractive in smell than the husband. Fragrant Amaanaa articles even if carefully hidden deep below in the suitcase it’s easy to take it out. It is very simple. Just say, “The customs beggars took them off,” ad the story ends there.

Amaanaa articles come till the flight take off. They come saying, “Nothing just a small gown for my granddaughter,” and that’s enough to scare me. Later the same person would come pushing a trolley bag filled with Amaanaa items. Is it to give one each to many passengers boarding the flight? No. All of them are for me. All of those the items are to reach are my relatives. Last time I had to send a one gram gold earring with him. If I don’t agree to carry his items now, he might get angry.

Why didn’t I think ahead? Why did I give him? There is a devil in our native who pesters me to send things. What can I do? The seaweed comes from Madhurai to Saudi Arabia. The vendor puts it in a plastic packet and chops it ‘made in Malaysia’.Then its quality increases multifold. He went to hand over the item to the owner and gets to know such things.

Let’s forget about those who thrust with us the Amaanaa items when we go to and fro the native place. Do you think the articles given to the neighbours for safekeeping would be returned safely? There was a raid in our town in the house of Seeyaali Rauthar, a wealthy person. They had given the diamonds from Bangkok to their neighbour Hajiyar’s house. They could not possibly keep them all in the bank locker. Aren’t wealth supposed to be displayed? After the raid was over, and the government burglars left their house when they went and asked for the neighbours, they were only given beatings. There was a mediation. All that they got back were a few Ajmeer stones. “I swear in the name Allah, they gave only these.” Those who twist the morals to their whims and fancies would only declare that way.

I am reminded of an Iranian. During the holy month of Ramalan, during the day when a local Arabian tribal girl went about showing her middle finger, he bogglingly stared at her. It was the result of the ‘Harish’. When asked, “How dare you stare? Aren’t you afraid they will pull out your eyes?” the sinner of a guy said, “That’s different. This is different,” similar to the bunch of so-called writers who claim that life is different and writing is different.

A robber ‘YYY’ went to the house to rob. When it was time for the prayer he put aside his big sack of loot and started sincerely praying. The house owner had asked ‘YYY’ several times boldly. Although ready to give up their lives if you trust them these ‘YYY’s are superstitious because of their illiteracy. We need to be careful. Folks from the country ‘XXX’ had two guns with them. One is for their wives who tear off their masks. The second one is for those ‘yyy’ whom they love more than their wives.

One should not disturb someone who is praying. Whenever the house owner tried to hesitantly touch ‘YYY’, he shook him off and continued his prayer. It’s important to concentrate in prayer. Oh God, please forgive these house owners who disturb the prayer!

‘YYY’ said, “You were scolding me while I was praying. Don’t you know that I cant listen to anything when in prayer?”

“Fool! I cant understand you.”

“Prayer is my right. Burglary is my profession,” he said proudly jutting forward his chest.

Are all ‘YYY’ like that? The guy who created my company’s accounts software is a ‘YYY’. Rare. That’s all. The cheated sons of rich dads did not know the burglars or robbers who say, “That’s different. This is different.” He is working at Hajiyar’s house. He is actually educated and very religious. He knows to say,’Allah doth command you to render back your trusts to those to whom they are due.’ And also knew to say,’Love all, trust a few’ in Shakespearean Tamil.

To understand more about Amanaa I asked an elderly who talks a lot of spirituality. He said something like 3:75, 4:58, 23:8, 33:72 and stopped. I thought that must be the essence of my questor perhaps the holy message itself. ‘Alim CD’ will do it in seconds. Why is he like this? Maybe the wisdom given to him is Amanaa! That’s why he would not waste it and choose to give it safely back to someone deserving person. Only then he would be able to happily meet his teacher of wisdom in the other world. It’s a pity his teacher does not know about it.

It’s indeed a wonder how all the diamonds given for safe keep turning coals that very moment. It’s a big thing that the number could be said and therefore I counted them. Hundred! Only paises. Just for that, he started singing loudly. Singing Qawwali without any lyrics suited him.

There were another hundred rupees for that. He told about the Amanaa words. If someone says something to another person and requests him not to tell anyone then it is called so, he said. Does that mean we follow the same when one decides to rob or rape and tells another? There is an exception for that. one has to rush and inform the person concerned and safeguard the human values. That’s from an essay from Quran if I remember right.

If we browse the net patiently it might help. Why ask him? I was not satisfied. Moreover, I had no money to give.

I went to the beach and sat along with his younger sister and children. My wife did not come. With all the stress washed off, I thought even the sea and breeze of Kattur were Amanaa. How can a Kattur guy think? Stop.

My eight-year-old nephew Aashish took some money from my sister and went to buy some steamed beans for all and came back with it. Kids these days are very smart. He took my share in his hand to open and give the packet with reverence.

When I passed a cursory glance at the paper cone packet, I was surprised. Has ‘Thinamanam’ changed the direction? There was a Hathees to explain the Amaana. Glory be to the one that praised the prophet!

In the times of victory, the prophet asks the key to enter Ka’bah Usman Bin Talha has it? Kabha’s security guard (Sadhana) was not a Muslim then. Hesitantly Usman hands over the key. After he enters and comes out, he locks the Ka’bah and without forgetting gives the key to Usman saying, “This key will be with you and your descendants till this world exists.” This is the birth of the holy concept and words of the Amanaa. After observing the generosity, magnanimity, politeness and the care he had in the Amanaa item, Usman surrenders to the holy Islam. The key of Ka’bah stays with his descendants to date.

Music critic cum writer Manidasan had written something special. He never thanked the Almighty. Isn’t everything Amanaa? Dargah musician is right when he says, “Isn’t he fond of Surutti Raaga?

Hathees is suitable. But more than what I perceived, my elder sister who had without crying said “Isn’t our own life itself an Amanaa item, in the times of the death of her first husband had understood far better, I thought.

The story ends there.

The 18Ct gold plated pen with which this was written needs to be given to the professor tomorrow. It’s an Amanaa article. Perhaps more for his title ‘The compromises in the ancient poetry’.


Thanks : Jayanthi Sankar