Hakim Aka: The Weeping Book
Translated by Assad Sharifi from Pashto
Villager: Hello Hakim Aka! How are you?
Hakim Aka: You scared me again! Why do you always follow me? What’s the matter with
you? Don’t you have anything else to do? “Hakim Aka! Hakim Aka! Hakim Aka!”
What do you want from me?
Villager: I don’t mean to scare you. I really want to see you. Listening to you keeps me calm and focussed. What were you doing?
Hakim Aka: I was doing nothing at all! I run away from the noises of the village and villagers. But, the villager found me here too. There is nowhere for me to breath in peace.
Villager: What were you reading? I saw you reading something. But, when you noticed me, you hid it under your shawl. Have you received a letter? I am sure you have received a letter from your beloved. You always secretly walk through the fields and sit all by yourself. What’s going on Hakim Aka? I am your friend. In fact, I am your only friend. Tell me your secret. Maybe I will be able to help you.
Hakim Aka: Dear Lord, please save me from this dark devil. Every day, he has nothing else to do; except to follow me around. Are you a detective by any chance? Oh God, please grant me patience. I am not in love! Not in Love! Not in Love! Please leave me alone! How many times must I beg you to stay away from me?
Villager: What were you reading?
Hakim Aka: I was reading nothing. I was simply tending to a heartbroken and tearful book.
Villager: Ufff! Hakim Aka! I like you a lot. Your words are simple yet sweet. Sometimes your pen weeps. Other times your book cries. I cannot hear any sound that comes from your book. Nor, I see any tears dripping from its pages. What style of crying is this?
Hakim Aka: God has created you with ears that cannot hear and eyes that cannot see. That’s why you cannot hear a book’s cries, and see its tears. Hearing a book’s cries requires inner eyes and ears, which you have not.
Villager: Hakim Aka, please do not joke with me. I am neither deaf nor blind. It’s your book that doesn’t cry. But, tell me, why was your book crying and what was it saying?
Hakim Aka: The book is extremely upset. Its pages are like yellow-autumn leaves, in the of process quivering and falling. The nightingales have either migrated or have forgotten love. Nowadays, instead of books, people are in love with metals and plastics. Mobile phones have become idols, and our ignorant villagers worship them. Everyone you see, announces, “Facebook says this” and “Facebook says that”. No one says, “this book says this, and that book say that” anymore. The number of book lovers have drastically dropped. Book readers are now few and far between. The sacred culture of book reading is now faced with absolute extinction. Our villagers are only interested in images. Everyday over two billion images are uploaded to the internet. The rate of true literacy is in decline. Our villagers have forgotten how to read and write. Even the literacy level of news writers has decreased to its lowest levels. Now, tell me, why shouldn’t the book cry?
Villager: Ahhh! Hakim Aka! May God reward you with goodness. What a beautiful truth you showed me. Truly, like a silk worm, I am always lost in the virtual world of social media. Thus, I have totally forgotten the existence of the book. Please, tell your book to cry no more. I will also tell my friends to read and write instead of browsing Facebook or watching TV shows.
Goodbye for now!
Hakim Aka: Hakim (wise man) is a name, while Aka (uncle) is a title.