As the evening sun was drowning into the vastness of time, a small group of locals settled around Khasim. It was story time! Khasim seemed to concentrate at something near by. The group relaxed meanwhile anticipating the treat of words that would begin at any time. A small boy whispered to his friend 'now Khasim dada will tell us the story of the train robbery' and his friend immediately snapped back 'no, he is going to tell us the tale about the naughty monkeys in the guava orchard'. The argument came under the notice of a few elders who began a deep contemplation mentally about what Khasim's world of words had in store for them for the cool night.
Khasim lifted his eyes and looked at his audience and gave a mischievous smile. He began weaving words ' Today I am going to tell you about a mystery that I have failed to solve all these years. In spite of racking my brains several times I have failed to reach any conclusion regarding this incident.' He let out a deep sigh of defeat. The crowd was almost astonished at Khasim's despair. They had never seen him fail, he was an undefeated king to them. And this story became a vivid memory in the minds of everyone present that day.
'In those zamana, kameera (camera) was something very special. It was each person's ambition to get his or her tasveer (photo) taken atleast once before one's death. When we finished college, that is about half a century behind the present time; all of us were eager to have our photo taken wearing the black coat with the degree in hand. We had seen our seniors do it and now it was our turn. "It would be the best day of my life" my friend Rahim had been repeating day and night. But it turned out to be an unfortunate day for all of us.' A moment of silence. Khasim seemed to have become nostalgic. His eyes were fixed at the tube light.
'This light you see, a flash of light from the camera - harmless isn't it! But it was the cost of someone's life. All of us wore our coats and posed for the camera. Those days the camera was not as handy as it is now. the photographer would hide in a blanket to take a photo and a flash of light would appear as a signal that it's over. the apparatus was huge. It was our first time in front of camera. We smiled widely with all our teeth exposed. And then a flash of light followed. It almost scared me at first. A scream followed and we saw Rahim screaching with fear. He had held a current something. It was a shock and he died before any medical treatment could be given.'
The audience were silent. Eagerly waiting for the next few words. No one moved from their place.
'after several weeks of this tragedy, the photographer came running to us with the photo. None of us were eager to see it. It remainded us of the dreadful day. But he begged us to look at it as something was special. and we agreed to have a look. The reaction was one of astonishment and dread. Rahim was not to be seen in the photo. His outline remained at the place where he stood. None of the other people were found missing.'
Khasim rose in a dignified manner and walked towards his hut. The rest were lost into the mystery of death.