Pretty Pretty Flower

Ibrahim Waheed “Kalaavehi”

The sparks flew away from the grinding wheel like a pretty pretty flower. Lines of fire, yellow with orange, blue and green, danced away from a core of near-blinding white where the metal met the stone.

Being no scientist, Janab was not interested in a spectrographic analysis of the metal he was sharpening. All he wanted was a good knife worthy of his good name. According to local saying, a knife is rendered beautiful by how sharp it is! And Janab certainly wanted a beautiful knife by those standards. The knife, after all, was for a very dear friend.

The heat of the workshop formed beads of sweat of Janab’s forehead. Soon they coalesced into heavier drops which coursed down his cheeks and into his lush beard. There they formed themselves into pearls which played a losing game with gravity to drip down onto the floor and be gone forever. A hot tropical sun tried to cook the cement stones outside beyond their scope of endurance. But the sun lost as well.

“Hurry, my friend. I am sure they will soon call for me. “Janab’s friend Ahsan adjusted his head-cloth and coaxed his friend to finish the knife. The grinding must now stop. And the knife must still be honed to perfection on the whetting stone. When called upon to do so, it must be able to cut through meat as easy as it went through warm butter. “Please hurry! I have a feeling time is running out.”

Thus encouraged, the knife soon found itself being expertly rubbed against the whetting stone. As the thin sharp edge of the blade soon became sharper than anything produced by the house of Gillette, Janab looked with pride at his creation and said to his friend, “Ahsan! Use this instrument wisely for I am making it for a very special purpose on this very special day of joy.”

A patter of feet and a boy came running into the workshop. His white shirt which hung almost to his knees clung to his back. He was sweating in the heat of noon as well. He had a serious look on his face as he panted, “Uncle Ahsan, Uncle Ahsan! They want you now at the house. They said you must come now.”

Taking the now very sharp knife in his right hand, Ahsan ran out of the workshop. In his hurry he forgot to pay Janab who did not overly mind. After all, sharpening a special knife for a special friend and brother for a special occasion was not something Janab had the opportunity to do every day.

Ahsan ran like the wind. “Keep up, dear nephew. Let us attend to our responsibility!”

Soon they were inside their private compound where a small hastily-erected shelter contained Ahsan’s third wife and her newborn first child. As they entered, an old woman with wrinkles on her face and skin burned brown by years of exposure to island heat came out of the shelter. She was Dhaleyka the much-respected island midwife.

“My son Ahsan! You have been blessed with a beautiful, healthy daughter, just like that foreign doctor prophesized. May I now do what is my duty and right?”

As Ahsan nodded and handed over the newly sharpened knife to her, Dhaleyka walked back into the shelter to carry out her dutiful work.

And soon, Ahsan heard his fifth daughter crying for the first time in her life. It certainly would not be the last time she would cry in life, he thought.

She would also always be his much loved daughter. Another pretty pretty flower.

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  • Amir  On April 10, 2010 at 10:54 am

    This is a beautiful piece of writing.

  • Mysterystar  On April 13, 2010 at 12:00 am

    I think the knife was sharpen to cut baby’s umbilical cord. Reminds me of my childhood mid-wives do it with razor that should be heated.

    • ldive  On April 13, 2010 at 10:47 am

      I was not thinking of umbilical cords or tetanus. Please do think again….

  • Mysterystar  On April 13, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    First it did reminds me of Dhon Hiyala and Ali fulhu.

  • Zeina  On May 1, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    i am sure this is about female mutilation

  • shifa  On August 2, 2010 at 12:18 am

    my my …… ideas of great people come from nowhere …… fantabulous

    • ldive  On September 6, 2010 at 3:10 am

      They come from reality…. and I am certainly not that great as to pull them out of the thin air!

  • rizwana  On September 26, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    v nice

    • ldive  On September 26, 2010 at 3:27 pm

      Thank you, Riz!

    • ldive  On September 27, 2010 at 11:12 pm


  • curious_mind  On October 5, 2010 at 10:29 am

    Nicely done.. =)

  • salvine  On October 9, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    At first I thought it would be a romantic story but I like the way it lead us to find out who the Pretty Pretty Flower is.

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