For a very long time now I’ve wanted to come to Chennai… I’ve been starved of my own people. Of my family. Yes Alhumdulillah I have mom and dad and ammi and abbu with me. I speak to my sis fairly often and Nig visits us often enough – or maybe not often enough. But apart from these people I have no one in the city. No one I am close to. No one i really really love. I am not very close to any of my cousins because of the age gap but at least they are someone! Maybe if i got to spend more time with them they’ll realize I am grown up now and yet like every single one of them am childish. Maybe i’ll grow close? And even if they don’t treat me like an adult I just want to be around my people. People to whom I belong no matter what. People who pray for me because they love me even though they don’t really know me as such. It’s genetic. Their love. And I’ve been craving that love. The unconditional love. Just because I am theirs.
I’ve missed Chennai so much that just finding Arun’s ice cream in Hyderabad made me feel blessed. It made me feel for a moment that I was IN Chennai. I’ve wanted to come to Chennai so bad for such a long time that it was like a constant stomach ache… or tooth ache. But not like this. Not for my maamujaan’s funeral. I mean he can just have come to Chennai for vacation and ordered us here right? Why did he have to come only to bid us all farewell? It’s Allah’s will of course and I know he will be very angry with me for even thinking this – but I tried maamujaan. I tried very hard to not think this. I have complete faith in Allah and his plans. I know everyone will be alright. I know everything will be fine. But when I see that kid of yours… that 7 year old girl who by turns knows and doesn’t know what happened. Who tells me what happened then immediately changes the topic – the girl who lay beside me smiling randomly for no reason just to convince herself that everything is perfect, that you, her father will be back tomorrow or maybe day after tomorrow from your visit to her daadi – that you will bring her gifts from the Jannah… I can’t help myself maamujaan… I just can’t stop that question from arising in my mind. You are of course alive in her and you always will be but she needs you to be physically there – to hug her. She is so scared. So so so scared. She is my only younger sister – she is 14 years younger and I can’t imagine being in her position… I can’t imagine being able to bear the pain that she is undergoing or will be undergoing. And I want to do something for her. I want to protect her. But how do I do it? I can’t bring you back… I… can’t do anything to ease the harshness of reality. And i really wish I could. I was never this helpless. It wasn’t so long ago that you underwent the pain of losing a parent… you know how it feels. Tell me how do i help her cope? Does the feeling of loss ever go away? I don’t think it’ll ever go away for me – losing you is like losing a parent. You are one of the very few people in whose company i felt very secure. Like nothing will go wrong. You know the first memory I have of you is juice-e-mosambi? Do you remember that? I really hope you enjoyed those times maamujaan because i never gave you anything else…. Do you remember the time you gave me the only Barbie i ever owned? It wore a yellow saari and was really very pretty. That was the doll I kept the longest. Maamujaan… do you remember coming to pick us up at the station every summer? Do you remember lalbagh in Bangalore last year? I remember… I remember massaging your head and I remember the way you always had a prickly stubble. I remember you helping papa organize baaji’s wedding (Do you even know how huge a support you were to him then?) I remember you pulsing with life and the way I saw you today just twisted my heart into complex knots and it pains… and it will pain forever because you will never hug me again. You will never hold my hand in your warm hands and you will never tell me to take care of my mum… you will never put your hand on my head and make me feel like i am your very own child. And I will miss you. And I never will be able to bid you adieu.
For a very long time now, I’ve thought about people entering and leaving my life in terms of…well imagery? I’m not sure it can be called that… When a person enters my life they become a part of my own personal world. They become a part of my self, my soul, my heart. Whether they become a part that helps my world grow or a part that diseases and causes me ache is irrelevant… because somehow it hurts every time anyone leaves. The good ones and the bad ones. The ones I love with all my heart and the ones I’ve no respect for. Maybe because initially I only try to look at the good side of a person and fall a little in love. Maybe when they pull out their tiny little feet from the depth of my stupid heart, they tear a little piece of it and take it with them… leaving a void. A void that I constantly fill with philosophy. I don’t know whether what I’ve said makes any sense to any of you but basically I mean, when a person leaves my world, they take a little bit of me with them. A little bit of my love, my faith, my dreams… my…self. And they leave a little bit of themselves with me. Problem is, there seems to be a spring of love and faith and dreams somewhere within… because it always overflows no matter how badly I fall on my face… no matter how many times I fall on my face. So anyway… getting back to my philosophy I’ve found the best drug for all that rubbish – Allah alone knows where in jannah I’ll fit in and therefore he sends all these people to attach themselves to me so that when they pull away, they’ll leave me a little different from the way I was… maybe the shape I am in (metaphorically) doesn’t fit into that place where I’m meant to be. Maybe I need to be chipped to shine and become precious enough to deserve a place there where I wish to be. So, I’ve no fear now. Because darkness is soothing when you’re enveloped in faith and harsh realities a blessing.
Most of the people who know me (even those who’re really close, with the odd exception of course) have never known me to be nervous. I don’t really hide it… It’s just that it very rarely shows up. One of the signs of nervousness is when I start babbling to any person I could get my hands on first. I of course prefer friends but anyone would do if it is very hard for my friends to endure my nonstop nonsense. Sometimes of course I get very deep and start thinking about the meaning of life and struggle and all that. If I can’t speak to anyone and am at my leisure I use the time to write. And then I thank God that there was no one available to talk to me. If you’ve known me closely I am sure you will be thinking “Oh so this is why she is posting today… she’s nervous”. If you’re new then I’ll just let you know that the ones close to me are on the right track. I’m a teeeeeny bit nervous about an exam today. It’s mostly a joke because I’ve not studied for it (+ haven’t slept despite my intentions to) and I’ve no idea where I have to go for the exam or how to get there. I know what the place is called… but I’ve no conception of it’s whereabouts. Anyway so to avoid thinking about it and getting chilly fingers and toes (I HATE being cold. I would prefer to wait till I die to become cold ) I began thinking about everything. I started with Allah… and ended up thinking about how I came to fall in love with my Creator. So today I’m going to tell you how… I hope I can make it as interesting as it is though I can never tell you why I love Allah as much as I do. Nor how much. When I was a child, we lived in this old fashioned house with a tiled roof, and a courtyard which had a hauz (open water tank) in the middle. There was a time when it was full of water and fishes but it was later filled with mud and I remember my uncle planting a lot of trees in it. We (me and my sister) used to spend the days we didn’t have to go to school playing with dolls and our play kitchen in the bedroom but more often than that we would pull out all the clothes from mumma’s almirah and pretend the shelves were train berths. It was our favorite game. In the evenings we would spend our time running around from one person to the other, running across the courtyard and listening to stories told by our grandmom. I was very young and I really don’t remember much of these stories which is odd because I remember the stories mom used to tell us while feeding us dinner. I remember how we use to sit in the courtyard under the moon and mom used to tell us the cosmic tales of how the moon gossiped with the other planets and moons. I remember the fairy tale time but that is sort of relevant but irrelevant for this post (I know…I’m full of contradictions). I’ve never as far as I remember mentioned my papa on here… I’m finally going to do it now. My father was a lecturer and his work timings were 10-3 and our school started from 9 so we left at 8…He always awoke about the time we were leaving for school. In the evenings he ran a coaching institute and often came back wayyy past our bedtime. This meant we hardly ever got to spend time with him then. When I was about 6 years old, I was totally enchanted by the idea of christmas presents. I mean who doesn’t love presents? Who doesn’t love the idea of hanging stockings and waking up to find them full of treats? For the love of sweet God who doesn’t like the idea of Santa??? So in my childlike, artless way I asked my parents why doesn’t Santa leave us any presents. Mumma smiled at me and told me it was because we’re not Christian. So I asked how does Santa know that… In reply I was told that he just does. So I gave this great gutsy sigh and said “I wish we were Christian”. My dearest papa looked at me in surprise and said “why ever would you say that?” And I said “Because their festival is so fun”. Then papa gently lifted me into his lap and said “but they only have a couple of festivals. We have more than we can count on our fingers” I think it was from then on that papa started telling us stories. Stories that were actually history. The history of the birth of Jesus, the miracles, about St. Mariam, about the Prophets and their eventful lives… And my father is the best storyteller I know. The way he narrates it makes is so much more interesting! So today, as on many occasions before now I am filled with gratitude to Allah for my father and his talent of narration. For had it not been for my father I would have been blind to the beauty of being non-materialistic and living simple (not that I don’t love owning lots of fabulous thing… just that I know it doesn’t matter), of understanding Islam (whatever little of it that I do understand), of being aware of the love Allah has for me (which so many of us are sadly unaware of because they take everything for granted), the beauty and intricacy of nature – the environmental nature and the human nature… the beauty of submitting my soul to Allah and the beauty of the gratitude I feel for my creator. Had it not been for my father’s stories, I would have remained ignorant like so many others because it was him that cultivated my interest in history. And as one of my friends said “If you don’t know how to came to be where you are then how can you possible conceive how to get were you want to be”. Had it not been for those stories I would never have taken the pain to get acquainted with so much that makes me…well myself! To open my eyes and see what there is to see. Very possibly I would have been even more arrogant (I hope you appreciate it now 😉 ) than I seem to be and would have had no love for my Creator. And I really can’t imagine myself without that. Lots of love and prayers! 🙂
Sometimes, things are so simple and so beautiful and yet we fail to see them. We’re too busy gazing at the complicated knots that are the product of our blind moments. The knots that seem impossible to undo. We think it’s impossible and yet we’re obsessed with it all the while ignoring the things we can do… Somehow we forget about short term achievements while planning the achievement of the long term goals. How is it that we very inconveniently forget that there is no ‘elevator’ in life. We have to take the staircase and climb one step at a time… Like Don Corleone says “Great men are not born great, they grow great . . .”
I’ve been absent so long, I wouldn’t be surprised if no one reads this. Yet I write. I write because I am alive. When my semester (I can say my sentence in the jail) ended, and I looked upon my freedom I thought ‘Wow I’ve so many days! However am I going to spend them? I will be so bored!’. During my exams my mind was whirring, planning things I’d do when I was free. More than a quarter of my holiday is past and trust me when I say I’ve slept it away. I’ve not done a single thing apart from sleeping and eating and spending the rest of my time facebooking and reading novels. I’d planned to
1. meet up with all my friends (which I achieved to some extent),
2. clean up the mess that is my wardrobe and book stand (Which I didn’t even start),
3. make sure I got plenty of exercise (which I did like once a week. I know. Lousy. But I just didn’t feel like it because I couldn’t wake up early so it’d still be cool for anyone to desire any sort of activity) – but going for the walk today made me realize just how out of practice I am.
Oh the walk did a miracle for me. By the way, obviously I haven’t slept the night. 😛 I didn’t sleep many nights before this one but I just couldn’t bring myself to move my butt out and about. I am so glad I did today and so annoyed that I didn’t before. My ears, my nose and my eyes came alive after a long time of being subjected to the sights and smells of my own room. My skin came alive because of the cool morning breeze. I saw birds, new houses being constructed – construction workers cooking their breakfast over firewood stoves, I saw the pond on the edge of our colony filled with greenish water, flowers and what not! I smelt the surprisingly sweet smell of the amazingly bitter but wonderfully beneficial neem flowers (which was unexpected because most trees bloomed and bore fruits a long time back), the strange but nice smell of sheep (I never told anyone before but I like the smell of sheep and cows. I’ve never told anyone before because everyone I know holds their nose when they come across sheep/cows) and most of all the fresh morning air smell. The wonderful bird song is just so miraculous! I of course snapped some pictures…