That day, the traders were trying to wrap up by selling off their remaining wares at a cheaper cost. As it was evening and there were fewer chances of new customers coming in, the traders didn’t want to lose on the existing ones and would sell away their products to customers who were even bargaining with them. Firoz too had a hand cart in the market, just like his father used to. He sold bananas from the cart. Firoz too was in a hurry to leave that day, the reason being it was his daughter Zubeda’s birthday. Zubeda was to turn 15. Firoz’s wife had come down to his cart in the afternoon to hand over his lunch had informed him that she’ll be placing an order for cake at the bakery Prem Darwaja, which he should collect while returning home. Zubeda was his only child, very good at studies. When Zubeda was 5, Firoz’s mother would tell him that he should now have a son too, who’d support him in his old age. Firoz would tell his mother that how she had five sons but none of them could achieve anything. If you had just one son, you could have educated him well; I may not have been selling things on a hand cart. Because we were five, you didn’t have the resources to educate all of us. So Zubeda is my son, I’ll educate her as much as she wants and let her achieve greatness, rest all will be taken care of by Allah. Even though Firoz was less educated and earned lesser, he was different from the other men in his locality, which was a matter of pride for his wife.
Firoz used to live at Kalupur Limda chowk, about 10 minutes away from Kalupur fruit market. He was born and brought up in Dariyapur. Firoz was witness to the communal clashes that happened in 1985 and 1993. The communal violence in 1993 was too severe, when he had just begun to go to his father’s handcart to help him out. There was curfew everywhere in the city. Firoz’s parents fed the children with whatever they had for a few days, but now the money had got over. They couldn’t even ask their neighbours for help as they too were facing similar troubles. After 12 days when the curfew was relaxed for about two hours, Firoz’s father quickly rushed to the market and got some bananas to sell, albeit on credit. The next day too when the curfew was relaxed for three hours, Firoz’s father decided to go out and do some business in the nearby areas. Firoz wanted to come along his father but was stopped, saying the situation outside is bad and he shouldn’t venture out. Within an hour of the relaxation, some commotion happened near Dariyapur and the police announced on loudspeakers atop their vehicles that the curfew relaxation has been cancelled now.
Two groups near the Dariyapur area had clashed and had began stone pelting at each other. That is what led to a commotion of scared people running helter-skelter. Firoz wanted to go out and search for his father, but his mother stopped him from doing so. There’s already curfew around and Firoz is too young, how would he go and search for his father. His mother was getting worried. As his father had gone to the Dariyapur-Shahpur areas, the most riot prone area in the city. He had gone there because people were scared to venture out of their houses even though the curfew had been relaxed. Firoz’s mother decided to go out and look for his father. As she was about to leave wearing her slippers, Firoz too came in and said he would join her. She asked him to stay home as she is visiting the nearby police station. As she walked towards the Limda Chowk , a policeman standing there told her to go back as it is a curfew. She told him that her husband is out there in the market and hasn’t returned yet so she wished to go out and look for him. The policeman got angry and rebuked her, lifting his stick he shouted at her to go back. Tears welled up her eyes, got to her knees and began requesting with folded hands to let her go to the police station nearby where a few officials know them and they might help her trace him and bring back home safely. An old policeman, feeling sorry for her, let her go, but told her to return quickly or else their bosses would not spare them. She rushed to the police station, met a policeman she knew and requested him to trace her husband and bring him back safely. After three hours, the policeman returned, but with news that someone stabbed Frioz’s father with a knife and was at the VS hospital. But the policeman knew that Firoz’s father had died, he couldn’t tell them the truth after seeing the situation of the house.
Thus he lost his father to communal violence, but without holding on to the grief for too long, he too joined his father’s business of selling bananas on cart. That day, someone had parked a bicycle near his cart with a bag on its carrier. It was common for people to bring in their cycles to the market and park it at a place nearby. Firoz had just handed over three dozen bananas to one of his customers and was wrapping up to leave. He wanted go to the bakery and collect his daughter’s birthday cake. As he was about to leave, a blast ripped through the bag on the bicycle next to him. Firoz and the customer collapsed. The cart was blown into pieces. Everyone began running to escape in between the thick cloud of smoke. Zubeda and her mother were waiting for Firoz to come with the come, hardly unaware that he too had left forever like his father had.