One day, during my travels, i heard from a stranger about the story of the village of Oblivia that was situated far away on the horizons. It was famous because of The Cries of The Mosque because no one knew where the cries were coming from. Once again, in search of the invisible i packed my bags and set out on the journey.
After six days of travel through the desert, I reached out a platue with colossal homes and mosques where people wore fancy dresses and went to their mosques on time. It was a proud nation of many religious leaders who lead the system with extreme justice and transparency.
I asked a few passers by and finally reached the holy place which always remained empty. It was a small Earthly Mosque with no decorations on the walls or anywhere whatsoever. The door was made up of wood which as i entered cracked like it was going to break. As i stepped into the prayer room, i saw a sixty-year-old man offering his prayers so i joined him.
Dear old man
“My name is ALiF and i came from…” no sooner did i started the conversation that he began to cry and cried with an intensity that i could bear no more. “Dear old man, who are you and why do you cry?” He didn’t look at me and kept crying his heart out. Watching his condition, my eyes became humid so i decided to let be and came out of the mosque.
As i got out, people were looking at me with amazement asking me that why was i calling out the Azad in a mosque where no one offered prayers anymore. And i said that i didn’t and explained the story to them. They didn’t believe me and said that they have never seen anyone inside the mosque for centuries.
So i took a young man by hands and led him inside. To my astonishment, there was nobody there and all this time we were standing at the gates. Where did he go? I thought. The people took me for a lunatic and left. I stood there still spellbound from the event but i managed to shake it off and went to the market to eat some food.
The Second Azan
I had offered the Zohar prayer in the company of an old man whose identity was mysterious. He wore a white turban and abaya with a black cape that spread down till his knees. And his face was nothing but endearment and mercy that flowed down flawlessly from his beard.
For a middle eastern tavern, this place looked like an emir’s mansion and although money was never a problem for me, i felt sorry for those people who earned handsomely and would still think twice before coming here. Perhaps that’s why i was the only outsider because everyone seemed rich here.
The food was served in front of me when suddenly a gossip began wandering through the entire hotel grasping everyone in captivity. I stopped a serviceman and asked him about it, his mouth trembled with the words adhan alththani… the second azan! I got up and ran towards the mosque.
A Bad Omen
Two things had happened as the villagers kept blabbering about it gathered around the mosque but no one dared enter it. One: No one ever heard azan from that mosque until me. Two: It was too early for Asar’s Azan. That’s when the mosque reverberated with Azan again. It was the most melodious announcement for prayers that i had ever heard.
On the contrary, people seemed horrified by the voice and said the mosque seemed to be overtaken by Satan himself. Someone pointed at me, “it is all this man’s doing, he is an outsider!” Which i apparently was evident by my dressing. And so they started calling names on me with rudeness.
“ALiF…” The voice came from the mosque. Ignoring them i went in to find the same saint-faced man standing there but this time he had a black beard and seemed younger. He saw me and begin to crying. It stung my heart and now i realized that the cries of the mosque were his voice and there was a certain mystery behind it that i was to solve.
Why Do You Cry?
I asked him why does he cry? He fell on his knees crying even louder and wrapped his arms around my legs and kept crying. I raised him by the shoulders and lead him inside the prayers room, which only capacitated for 25-30 men. I asked him to pray to his God and he started praying.
When he was done, he seemed much relieved. He looked at me and smiled. I got up and kissed his hands and he took off his turban and gave it to me and then as he closed his eyes he disappeared into the thin air. I couldn’t remember him ever blinking his eyes and he had vanished with the only blink he blinked together with me.
My muscles had grown sore. For the three days and four nights he had continuously prayed and i couldn’t remember if i had fallen asleep amidst. I got out of the mosque to discover the entire village had disappeared and when i looked back the mosque was also gone and I was standing there alone in the platue… with a horse.
Who Really Blinked
Through all the prayers, the saint only had well wishes and forgiveness to ask for the villagers. In the turmoil of bewildering events, it was no surprise that he knew names of all the villagers by heart as he called out for their mercy. The only question that bothered me now was… who really blinked?
The cries of the mosque were gone and with it all the signs of Oblivia as if it didn’t exist in the reality. I was wondering if anyone would question the disappearance a village which did not leave any ruins. It turned out to be true. A caravan of tradesmen I later joined had no knowledge of any village of such name.
Once a famous trade center spread out into the platue as far as eyes could see had been brushed off from the map of the world and from people’s memories simultaneously. On my way back i had several dreams about the town which didn’t make any sense now because it never existed. Every time i blinked, it was his face flash through it.
The Stranger was the Destination
After twelve hundred years i finally had an intuition that i was going to meet the only stranger who had lived as long as me. I took the bus to Minnesota, where the video of cop shooting a black guy was still trending on the YouTube. The time now changed fast into the next cycle of evolution. Live videos and what not.
Yet, my stranger friend had a way of his own. When the bus stopped, i got down and a kid came to me and gave me a stylus smartphone and ran away. The screen lock was password protected and when i was unlocking it i was hoping to find the coordinates to some desert. Instead, i found a single Audiobook on the home screen titled: The cries of the mosque.
I opened it: “Dear ALiF, the answer to your question is: I Don’t know. You will find rest of the details in the ebook. Sorry, i can’t see you. Too busy writing these days and though I have sent you to the USA but that’s not where I live anymore. I know we haven’t seen each other in a long time, but I can’t help it because it’s funny. Hurry, copy the ebook because you have only 50 seconds before the phone will self-destruct. And don’t worry, no one will blame you.”
Perks of Being Imaginary
I hate technology, thought to myself because i now had to work with two hands to transfer the file in time. The file was finally copied and i threw the phone on the footpath and it exploded. “Damn! Yo-peepol, look ya’ll that’s another Note 7 blowin’ off! Caught that bitch right on time! I can’t believe my …” The black guy kept talking about it. I left.
My name is ALiF and there were rare times i had felt disappointed in my life. Once it was when i found out that the ‘i’ part of my name stood for ‘imaginary’ and the second when i realized i was in fact only traveling through the imaginations. Today is even a bitter day because i was reminded just that.
The cries of the mosque was just another chapter in my story out of many others that i found in the ebook sent to me by the stranger. It took me a year before i could read the whole thing. What about all the blank pages of my history? Today, i understand why humans have a sense of humor. Thankfully, i got the share too. And i got over it because like everything there are perks of being imaginary as well.
The Mystery of The Saint
The cries of the mosque still reverberated in my head and it makes me nostalgic because it was long ago. But when i dream, i can still see the saint blinking at me. I don’t complain of being imaginary because i also love adventures and mysteries. After another millennium, i had woken up in a millennial and he gave me a few answer to my questions that i needed to know.
It wasn’t about blinking. That question was just my own distraction. What i had realized that i don’t have the right questions and i found them in the ebook. I never asked myself once that why did the saint cry? How did i even help? Why the entire town disappeared with him? How was i able to live for so long?
The answers came and although it was now just a dream because Oblivia never existed i still find the meanings relate to today. Like the Oblivia in Katy Perry’s song Chained to the rhythm. There was a striking similarity. The Oblivia i visited needed saving from a curse: The mystery of the saint and why did he cry?
Another Cry Somewhere Else
That was exactly the curse. And i had broken it simply because no one had asked the saint why did he cry? When i asked him that question, he got the answer just then as the stranger said in the note. The answer was ‘I don’t know.’ The saint didn’t know why he cried and the only man he had met didn’t know the answer, he was convinced that no one knew.
And that’s why i was again on the travel in the imagination. Another cry somewhere else was calling me to solve its mystery. The ebook had only the stories of the past and only the clues to the future. I now only relied on my heart that wasn’t mine but i felt it beat sometimes.
Like Oblivia, Minnesota has become a ghost town, with weird thing happenings all around the country. People think the president is to be blamed but he is just a dummy. There’s always a deeper reason behind a nation’s change of history. This time i will try my best not to let it disappear. So i hear the stranger say that this town was famous because of the cries of the church that came from nowhere.