Posted in Being Someone

A Moment’s Worth of Peace

IMG_20180705_130625_664If I was to scan my life, like we do when searching a keyword in our inbox and we find the relevant word highlighted in a few, scamper of emails or messages, just like that, if we had a choice to filter out the most serene moments of our lives, what would you find, in those scanty grains of sand?

Amidst the havoc of lectures that last well after darkness becomes still, and between the grading papers which lasts for over ten hours on weekends, between the running between (and during) gym and grocery, what do I recollect? What are my few grains of sand that cannot and will not pass through my fingers, till perhaps I breathe my last?

For anyone, I believe, those moments are not plentiful.

No. They are but a few…moments, and nothing more or but.

Then there is another question that can be posed. Are these moments indeed just peaceful, or do they cling to memory like debris to a stream that washes on the shores because they are our most happy moments? When we felt, perhaps, complete?

The wind rushes to my ears and I don’t see the servants around me, the maali (gardner) jabbing his spade into the earth to make it soft so it is easier for the roots to get the water, or the maid hurrying into the kitchen with fresh milk. I see, only the sky and my feet trying to touch it, in all their capacity. I am deaf to the world of reality around me while my own world is alive and throbbing with life. I push myself higher and higher on the swing. Where? Right here. In my thoughts. For a daydreamer, one doesn’t need to go very far to be away. Here is always there. And there one always finds everything one could possibly imagine of possessing.

Going home in a car that was a decade old already, with all the people you cared for. And we are talking. About what? We are deciding on a name. A name that matches with us sisters, that goes well with the rest of the family. A name, that best suits the red-cheeked cherub we just met in the maternity section of the hospital. And we discuss. One name comes up. No, that wouldn’t do. Something simpler, perhaps? A soft sound that is pleasing on the mouth too. Not anything too conspicuous. A few more entries are discussed while the girls in the back giggle. And finally, we are almost home, and we also have a name.

It’s chilly. I am wearing a red fleece jacket, that I still have in a cupboard somewhere, two decades later. I am running and I can’t stop laughing. It has been an exhilarating and a thrilling day, and guess what? It is still not over. I run past the log ride that splashes into the water, making the seated drenched and gleeful simultaneously. I run past the ride that has swings suspended from great height while it goes round and round at a great speed and at a great gradient. We have been on that already. But I am not alone. My sneakers make soft sounds on the grey pavement, these following and in league with five other pairs of squeaking shoes, all running, and laughing because we just got off a ride that had our hearts swinging from the pole, and we are running to another, that might as well have the organ reeling from our mouths.

It’s a big day. The students are nervous, the halls quiet, the teachers apprehensive, the staff wide-eyed. Something is about to happen, and I can’t breathe right. In frantic fervor, I keep going over again and again the past two years’ lectures. Yes, I did that. Yes, I made sure they got it. Ahan, went over that twice. Did they have enough practice? I am reminded of my sore wrist after the constant checking and grading. Yes, ofcourse, we did group work and individual assignments on that too. But what now? What if…? The results begin to get announced, and one after the other the tearful teens come over for a hug. Everyone I know, and those I don’t know congratulate me on my feat. I wish I could I say I fought back tears of pride, but no, my eyes were dry and my heart kept beating, ‘I can’t believe it.’

We are in the north. We just came back from a walk in the perfect woodlands of Scotland. And midway it starts raining. It is not the pelting rain of Asia, that creates puddles deep enough to swim in, no, these are soft rain drops that courtesy your skin and fall to earth and disappear. We are back at the cottage and I decide to take a dip in the tub outside. Eerie? Yes. Rain and a hot tub. But I sat through it, the kisses of rain cold against my warm body heated by the fluffy, colored bubbles in the tub. I sit there, awed with what I see and feel. I watch as the fog begins to settle on the mountain tops, and far off I see a shadow of a train chasing the clouds away.

The future is as certain for a believer as the past. What was, is, and what will be, is also, well, is. In my mind there is a moment, not yet come to being. How I see it, I fail to describe or make sense of it as you would expect me to. I am in the lounge with soft brown and pale hues of upholstery that surrounds me. An incandescent light emanates from the lamp on the glass top table I sit next to. The light filters on to the window and through it. It is dusk and getting dark. Everything is where it should, and so is everyone. All is well in the world, and I smile, for I knew I’d see this day. My heart fills with solace and I breathe a moment worth of peace, at last.

 

Posted in Poem

LiveI want to…

Live

I want to live
A little
A lot

I want to live
For I did not before
So I don’t know how
But I shall learn

I was good
Then I was good some more
Then good did me no good
So I turned away for more

Satiated not
Happy not
Lived not
What did I do?

Cross the lines
Shallow is the game
Become the rule
Rule above all

I had a dream
It was dreamt
There is nothing more
But darkness onset

She lived a lie
Lies she lived
No more will she
Lie lie

They spoke the truth
Truth they spoke
Nothing but
But she won’t have it no more

A hypocrite she was
Life a scam
She became the scam
When life wore hypocrisy

A girl she knew
The girl knew her
Alike they were
But no more no more

Mirror images
Parallel but alternate
The new game begins
Two faced she lives.

Posted in Poem

They have a lot to say

I find myself alone
 Most of the time
 It would have been sad
 But I like it, "oh, oh."
No people around
 There are still people around
 They have a lot to say
 The words they speak, do bound.
Alone, I find myself
 With a lot of me
 Me has a lot to say
 And yes I listen, "hey, hey!"
The unspoken
 Hit hard at heart
 Then wash off as water
 Me tells me, "There is no other way."
Change is a must
 And I must change
 Change is good
 So they say.
I would live a different life
 I would walk a different way
 But here I am
 I am always here.
There are bridges
The bridges are burnt
I stand at brinks
With no way to return.

Life is a motion
The motion never stops
We stop for an instant
The instant becomes our last.

I was once a woman
A woman I was
She left just for an instant
And gone she was.
Posted in Learn How to be Great

Chapter 10: When in Doubt Use an Ounce of Dignity

Dear Child,
Decisions in life are a consequence of living. Sometimes we make the right ones, and as a result we are proud of ourselves to make the decision we made. However, there are other times, when we tend to go left instead of going right, and then we have to pull up the courage to live with the choices we have made.
In an ideal world, man ought to be allowed to ‘grow’ decisions. Especially when aye or nay is not readily decided. However, time ticks quicker than it did before, and man in left to take a decision at the nick of time. And that is how events unfold around him, while he practically ‘stumbles’ through the course of his life.
Sometimes, the decision taken at a particular moment in time is always the best decision to be made, as someone once told me. However, one can not expect to make the best decision while keeping their fingers crossed. So I have, over some time learnt to use a thumb rule and so far this ingredient has not failed me. ‘When in doubt, use an ounce of dignity’.
‘Dignity’ like many things is hard to describe. Simply put, dignity is self-respect, self-esteem, or self-worth. Having too much dignity to the point of pride is, I beleive, not such an acceptable notion. However, when confused which highway to take in life, or whether to speak the truth or walk the fine line of falsehood, when in doubt to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’, or when imagining to taste vengeance, just remember, use an ounce of dignity, and you will never regret whatever decision you make. Love,
Mom

Posted in Dear Sally

The Relativity of ‘Choice’

Dear Sally,

As a child my grandfather always used to tell me how in life you have to choose a boat to sail on. He emphasized on the point that there should only be ‘one’ boat’ to choose. For, he explained that sailing on two boats would never take me to my destination. As a child, I heard him, it is only today that I understand what he was trying to say.

Life is a cross road one after the other. There are sign boards everywhere. Choices to be made all the time. Decisions to be decided every moment. If you look back at your life, you’ll notice that some of the choices you made long before, if made differently could have embarked you to an entirely different course, and hence destination.

The relativity of choice hangs in balance every moment of everyday in our lives. While the major choices determine where we end up, the small ones decide who we are. Sadly, some of the small choices many of us make, are made because we ‘can’ and not because we ‘should’ or ‘ought’.

We choose to lash out, speak negativity, raise a screeching voice, express how we have been offended only because we ‘can’. There is another side to the story though. There is also a choice of ‘not to’ spread malice. But seldom do we glance at that path and carry on with our guns and shovels because we ‘can’.

So to reform ourselves, lets make an oath to ourselves and say that from now onwards we would choose between what we ‘can’ and what we ought ‘let go, let live’ wisely. May we not make war by crucifying those who speak the truth and which unfortunately does not lay parallel to the world we have created for ourselves.

Posted in Dear Sally

The Abyss

Dear Sally,

You know how I tend to fall into an abyss from time to time. I’ve told you in our journal how dark it is, how foreboding. Frequenting an oblivion is not easy. It is not merry. You forget what you were doing, and after a while you start forgetting why you are doing it. A life where you stand on the ledge all the time, and you don’t know when you will get back to safety. It’s a dreary life. A life I wouldn’t wish on anyone, not even an enemy.

Sometimes, I ask God if death is easier. That too is oblivion, is it not? But then I tell myself that in death you don’t walk the ledge. You are beyond it, here or there. Not suck in the betweens. Not knowing where beyond the ledge I’ll end up while I still hold on to here, death too seems tormenting. Ignorance, Sally, after all is not always a blessing.

I was reading somewhere that faith is a leap into darkness. Into the unknown. Faith is betting on something you know very little about. Choosing to have faith is like a gamble, but it is an all-win situation. Blaise Pascal said, ‘In choosing to believe in God, the risk is finite but the gain infinite.’ So, while I try to pass the fifteen minutes while my respiration arrests and I cough and choke to breath, I hold on to faith and tell myself “This too shall pass.”

“When I see the blind and wretched state of man, when I survey the whole universe in its dumbness and man left to himself with no light, as though lost in this corner of the universe , without knowing who put him there, what he has come to do, what will become of him when he dies, incapable of knowing anything, I am moved to terror, like a man transported in his sleep to some terrifying desert island, who wakes up quite lost with no means of escape. Then I marvel that so wretched a state does not drive people to despair.”
Blaise Pascal (1623-62)

Pascal’s Jottings on Human Condition

Posted in Dear Sally

Remember him? He was so kind…

Dear Sally,

I am sorry that I am shifting some of our conversations from our journal to the digital world, but I just thought that perhaps, the world might muse over some of the topics of our conversations.

I was thinking last night before I went to bed, that in life we have experiences of all sort. Usually, more bad and disappointing ones than the good. But when night falls, and all is said and done, we don’t remember much of anything. At the end of the journey, when we are done climbing to the top of the mountain, we don’t really remember how hard the climb was.

In life, at the end of whatever turn, we never remember who was rude to us or who tried their best to pull us down in the deep. Neither do we remember the scratches and bruises it left us with. The pain, with time ceases too.

What we do remember is, the people who were good to us. Who lent us their outstretched hand. We remember the people who offered us water when we were thirsty. Who told us we are brave enough to make the climb. Those are the ones we remember after a tough battle. And then we tell ourselves, “remember, he was so kind.”

Posted in Questions

Does Death Kill you or Taxes?


Image

Death and taxes are both inevitable. When you do the crime, you have to after all do the time! Life is in its adverbial sense a crime in itself. All the pleasure we take from it in partying, they way we misuse it with drugs, they way we flounder it with our endless lists of sins. We pay up for life by talking to Death. As for taxes, it’s a well versed epic for all the luxuries we have allowed ourselves to keep in this short life. Luxuries, which we might probably not even need.

But what I want to ask here is, does death kill us or is it worry that gets to us? People can easily go to warheads on this question. But I’d make it simple for you. Worry like Death is inevitable for anyone who wasn’t born with a golden spoon in their mouth. Everybody has a story to tell. Someone parents’ died when they were kids. Some of us had to work our way through college. And every single day is a battle these days, considering it’s getting difficult by the day to keep bringing food to the table. This, the food thing, is a catastrophic worry for the people of today.

There are other worries too. Fear of not passing your exams or losing your job to someone else or that you’re not having a baby or also the fear of not performing well in society. I could go on listing worries that trouble our people, but the fact remains, whatever the cause, everybody has a worry. A worry they can not shake out of. A worry that eats them up slowly from the insides. A worry that may perhaps one day claim their life.

So going back to base zero. Worry. It is something that one should be worried about. It’s almost like what they say about fear, that the only thing you should fear is fear itself. Worry is like that too. When you are constantly rambling in your head with all the negative, repetitive talk, take a pause. And think this: “What good is my worrying, if it doesn’t help me?” Start from here, and understand that worrying does not help you in even the most insignificant atom-of-a-manner. If it did, all the great thinkers would have spelt it out for you in ink and parchment. But the thing is, they didn’t.

As a teaser, I’ll give you something that does help. Thinking. Not worrying. There is a stark difference between the two, and you don’t have to be smart to know it.

One difference, however, I will point out to you. Worry will eventually kill you. Maybe not instantly, but slowly like a cancer it will spread through your body and claim your life. So, while you are at it, remember, think but don’t worry.

Fatima Abbas