The Wagon

Khalida Asghar, translated from Urdu by Muhammad Umar Memon

Read time: a minute

The author was in a rush to get back home one day when on the bridge to cross Ravi river the when he saw three men looking over the sun setting into the water and the sky turning red. The author became curious. He wanted to know what the men were looking for. After pointing out the red sky, the author became conscious of the red sky which the people around started noticing slowly.

They gave various reasons to the sky turning red. Some called it the result of atomic explosion. The author sees them time and again on the same bridge. He starts feeling other sensations well before the other people do, for example the stench in the air that drives him crazy but others do not smell it. The author is traumatised by these sensations. He tries to make sense of them but fails.

He meets the same three men again and prods them but they slowly vanish with a stench containing wagon ridden by two oxen.

I googled this story after I finished reading it and realised this story falls into a category called weirdism.

Weirdism is a genre of literature where strange think happen that cannot be explained by logic or reasoning. The instrument of literature is used by many authors but this is the first story that I have read that falls into strict genre as this.

Many may mistake ‘Alice in Wonderland’ or even ‘Midnight’s Children’ as weirdism but they are categorised as magical realism and not weirdism. Weirdism is magical realism without magic in it, is what I have understood.

This story belongs to the collection called ‘The Greatest Urdu Stories Ever Told’ complied and translated by Muhammad Umar Memon.

I would love to get more recommendations on the genre. Actually, join me in exploring a story each day.

Go ahead, grab yourself a copy of The Greatest Urdu Stories Ever Told and tell us what you think about the book! If you are a Kindle person, ensure to select the Kindle edition of the book.

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Veena Choudhary

An avid reader and history fanatic.

Mumbai, MH