Dream, Pray, Love

The cart slowed down on its own, enough for her to see the flags clearly. The flags were black, white, red in color, some with stripes or crowns, others with Arabic or Persian on it. And amongst th…

Source: Dream, Pray, Love

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Dream, Pray, Love

“The land is in pain and so is the sky above our dear homeland.

The comfort it seeks is in the discomfort it once lent

To the peace preachers, and the money-makers who meant

No harm yet smote the senses and lightened the scent

Of mutiny, fights, clashes among each crowd and clan…”

The knock on the door paused her poetic stream, “without consent, my friend!”, she smiled amusingly at her wordplay. She did love the punning she could weave within her thoughts. That was her mother asking her the 11th time to leave the room and have a morsel of food. It was one in the afternoon. She sure was late for the day.

She had yet another dream that morning, or to put it factually, the same dream had recurred for the fifth time, making her stay aloof for some time in her cozy little room. It sure was a disturbing vision and she had tried all her might to forget it after every occurrence. She could still trace each detail of it:

“It was midnight, quiet and dead silent except for the sound of an old cart moving briskly on the bumpy muddy road. She was on the cart and it was driven by a silhouette of a strong man. She couldn’t focus on the rider as the path seemed going nowhere and she had started feeling chills inside out. In less than five minutes they reached an old city covered in stench of blood. She now could see human bodies lying everywhere. She couldn’t make out the faces as the cart was moving too fast. She looked up from that disheartening scene which got gloomier with what caught her eye after. There were flags on that murky road. Different ones, everywhere. The cart slowed down on its own, enough for her to see the flags clearly. The flags were black, white, red in color, some with stripes or crowns, others with Arabic or Persian on it. And amongst those flags, torn and shredded, green and white, was the flag of her homeland. Her Pakistan.” She would wake up as soon she would see that last flag, panting heavily with teary eyes.

Who to tell, who would take that seriously as she knew humans around her or in general were growing fast in apathy and indifference. It was already alarming as none of them seemed to care the damage they were all in their own ways bringing to this planet, to their countries, to their families, to each other. She was not any philosopher nor a psychic nor any religious scholar but some of all. She just stood out in the crowd, even if she never wanted to. She was a joker who could see through delusion when all seemed enjoying the hum drums of mundanity. She knew this dream meant something graver which could not and should not have been taken lightly.

She was now eating her favorite porridge while skimming through daily and weekly news on her smart phone. “Qandeel Baloch murdered by her own brother”, “Eidhi passed away”, “Turkey almost had a Marshall law”, “Brexit”, “Amjad Sabri”, “800 stray dogs were gathered and poisoned by the Sindh Government as a health hazard intervention”, “An angry mob stripped, tortured and killed a person accused of petty theft, threw him in a sewage filled pond in a street”, “Pakistan ranked 6th most dangerous country for Christians”. She switched off her cell phone and rushed outside for fresh air. “This world will meet the worst of its ends if this goes on.” “My country, my homeland may be amongst the first ones to meet a painful demise by the hands of its own people.” She did not want to think so negative but she could see it happening so vividly.

“Wala Tahino, wala tahzanu – Don’t lose hope nor be sad – Quran 3: 139”, her pavement wall had this wall hanging. It was like an omen. “Yes, there has to be a solution to all this chaos, confusion, hatred, intolerance, gadget gluttony and identity/gender crisis, religious/cultural drifts. Something that each one of us is missing out on. How can there not be peace when there is so much chaos? How can any element survive without its binary opposition? There sure has to be a cure. I must think. At least I must if none can. And then what if my dream is interconnected”. All these thoughts filled her again with zest and life. Her eyes would always brighten and shine whenever her mind sorted and figured out a solution.

She started jotting her ideas down to deduce association for each thought and how all that could be interpreted as a solution. After an hour of continuous but random read, focused thinking on each random read, she connected the dots to only see a solution which had always been right before her. “The cure to all this chaos and absence of peace is nothing else but Love”. Bringing her favorite theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking in mind, “The best cure for human aggression is increased empathy that brings all of us together in a peaceful, loving state.”[1]

“He did mean the same, all that we have been fighting for and over had one simple answer, love for humans, love for humanity beyond differences. How difficult could this be?” She was enthralled that a cure did exist. That her beloved green flag of her cherished homeland could be saved with one simple solution that Edhi believed in too. That each one of us mattered the same and our lives were significant enough to cost the disruption or existence of this very planet. That each one of us shared an underlying unity, reflection of the sublime. That diversity was just a genetic, social, political make-up, there to add colors, to bring life. That dreams could come true with thoughts of love and faith, followed by actions of collective good. That there was hope and she could share this hope with all on the 69th birthday of Pakistan, the homeland of peace-lovers and future peace-makers. She had to before it was too late.

[1] See more at: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/442105/scitech/science/humanity-s-future-depends-on-empathy-says-stephen-hawking#sthash.KMgBfztk.dpuf

 

 

 

Her Unchaste Reflection

Quiet and distant, a piano playing a forlorn tune was all she could hear in that cold haunting night; standing still before the wall-sized mirror in her small murky dorm room, numb in feet, pale in cheeks, dreary eyes were screaming the lingering thoughts freezing her brain and rusting her aching bones. “It hurts like hell.” She winced as she touched her abdomen under her grey sweat shirt. Slightly, lifting the shirt up, she peeked at those rosy cold sores appearing to be bite marks. ‘Animals, hunh? What’s an animal but a state of mind that can dawn on anyone anywhere’, she kept looking at the reflection of the brutality on her lean stomach. ‘More like shape-shifters or werewolves on the verge of snapping and losing traces of overrated humanity, they bite you, calling you slut and spitting on the floor.’ She sighed a dead desolate sigh. She was not in any brothel whining over the cruelty of her daily customers. She despised even the thought of that. ‘It hurts like hell. It hurts everywhere.’

She was more like a mature woman with a bigger bust than usual 25 year old girls around, a deeper mind that thought with logic, and a generous heart that forgave all. She had recently moved to the downtown from suburbs, all alone, with a few belongings and a lot of self-esteem. After spending all her savings in a month and trying luck at every reasonable job opening, she had settled for working at a pet store. She worked all day, 9 hours, cleaning and keeping the pets, while the other staff dealt with the customers. ‘I wanted to be a lecturer’, she once told her colleague there, who found her nothing but deranged, blabbering nonsensically.

It’d been 3 years living in that dorm room and working at the pet store with no chances of luck turning any sooner. And just like that, she had started accepting the reality and focusing on other important things in life, like, Happiness and Love. Having big dark brown eyes, freakishly tall legs and long brown hair, she was easy to be liked and admired by many around. However, she could never seem to overcome her one flaw. She was innately, irrevocably naïve. She thought she could read faces and had a sixth sense, but all she knew was what she saw. And she just saw peace, love, care and hope, people taking care of each other, with no ulterior motives whatsoever. How foolish, how simple she was. She’d loved thrice and loved mad. She survived all and yet she perished.

It was that very night when piano played a forsaken tune that she realized she had died inside. She could still see all those scenes flashing before her off sequence. She begging for life. He jolting her knee while she dragging herself away from him. She wasn’t raped in body, she was raped in heart, mind and soul in the worst possible way by her third lover. She had fled from the open door when he turned to grab the empty vodka bottle to kill her. She was crying hysterically while running her wits off on that deserted road, gasping for air, struggling her brain from passing out.

Her feet bled, her check sweats were torn from places. Her grey sweat shirt was drenched in sweat and blood oozing from her head. It was subzero and cold was sliding through her, but she did not have anything on except her usual. She kept running for life until she entered her dorm room in a huge building next to the abandoned old church. She had locked the door behind her, shaking disruptively, her insides seemed twisted and had moved inches from their places seemingly. She fell on the ice-cold floor battling for breath, and in next second, she passed out and stayed so for next two hours.

A loud knock on the door startled her back into senses. She got up next instant and fell in her feet again, she cried again and called out for her mother. The only soul who loved her back. ‘I shouldn’t have left her. I shouldn’t have left my mom. I lost the only love I had, her love. Her unconditional love.’ She sobbed heavily and kept wailing while covering her stinging self in her thin blanket. She stayed like that for another two hours, sleep-talking and crying and sighing.

During that unhinged state of sleep and awake, she heard all of them, everyone she ever loved, friends, family, and lovers, all were repeating the same words. ‘YOU ARE UNCHASTE. YOU ARE A WHORE.’ She could now see their faces, full of hatred, leaving her tearful with every word: ‘YOU ARE UNCHASTE. YOU ARE A WHORE!’ ‘NO!’ She woke up sniveling in pain. ‘I AM NOT A WHORE. NO. PLEASE. NO’. She was so hurt, she could feel her bones cracking under her flesh.

She was now before the wall-sized mirror in her room, staring at her appalling reflection with stone lifeless eyes. ‘I loved and I loved and I lost you, my chaste self.’ ‘I lost you to the love that never loved you. I lost you to the world that never cared for you. I loved and I loved and I lost you. And it hurts like hell.’ She looked at her reflection one last time and smiled before giving in to death. And she died before dawn.

The Quest Without – Part 1

‘Kun Faya Kun…Allah hu…’ she could hear loud but distant a Sufi yarn spun deliriously round and round. ‘There is something strong around this veranda that I can’t amusingly overlook,’ she breathed nervously, pacing through those meek corridors. She had lived in that murky cottage for over a year and was now on the verge of giving in to the cravings of change and her impulse. She wanted to go back to the city, as her search for the divine seemed going nowhere and ending in vain.

She, who would never concur living in isolation and that too in a town far away from her home and family, had one fine day decided to take a leap of faith and leave. She had survived harsh conditions, considering the absence of modern day conveniences of life, praying, eating simple food, and loving the divine soul. She had staunch faith He existed. She still needed to see it for her own self as seeing is believing some said. However, as the quest almost met a dead-end, she gathered her few belongings that night and waited for her neighbor who had generously agreed to pick her up and drop her off at the train station.

She was waiting in the veranda, walking about peevishly. While taking her fourth turn towards the end of the corridor, she froze in her feet, breathing heavily, with sweating palms and forehead, uttering squeaks of horror and pain. She was unable to take her eyes off of what she saw. ‘Was it really there or simply my hallucination’, she couldn’t deduce. Before her stood a true-to-life shrine with its crown touching the skyline, surrounded by dervishes swooned in passion, waking up and swirling in the ecstasy of losing self to the auburn flames of divine love.

 

To a Crumbling Memory,

He could hear someone playing violin in the deepest corridors of his mind, loosening his muscles, calming the nerves and swamping the empty spaces in his heart. “And she’s gone.” He struggled sighing.

He was in the utmost state of peace and quiet, knocking the door of his neighbor slash best friend. He wanted to be with someone who could comprehend the loss he had gone through and how he still managed to keep his poise. How he had sent a loving farewell email to his ex-wife, apologizing and forgiving, letting her go, before he decided to meet his pal.

And how he would always miss his beautiful figment of imagination, love of his life, the girl who triggered all that he had lost after the divorce. How in the quietest of corners of his heart and mind, he was afraid to lose his senses in an attempt to trust that he was so desolately marooned again. She was gone.

He was on the roof of the apartments he lived in, with his best friend. Not saying anything, they kept sitting on the edge of the roof, shoulder to shoulder, breathing quietly, and feeling each other’s unsaid pains. The loss was grave, and the pain was unnerving. They had to let go…

No…He had to let her go with a promise of reuniting in the midst of the town where she had vowed to wait for her. But he had to find her and he would, he just had to see when.

“Imagine living while starving yourself, not eating a morsel, yet asked to live and work and be in the humdrum theater that life is.” He murmured.

“I didn’t want her, I didn’t need her. I was her. How would I be myself now?” He looked at his best friend with hollow eyes.

“Her voice kept me alive. Her laughter is everywhere. Her senseless jokes and nonsense excuses and…and…she’s gone, half the world away.” He choked on the last sentence, and she hugged her best friend, sighing at the fatal pranks life played. “Only if she could numb his grief…”

She was a betrayer. 

And then she quietly placed all the unwanted pieces of her self in a box full of her cherished possessions. Before she was done packing the unattended showcases of her carefree self, she looked at that one self of hers, long and close; she smiled so silently that even her brain couldn’t help confusing it with a sad sigh. She held it, caressed her happy crease-less face, so beautiful, so young, so full of hope. She could see her own aging face in the shining eyes of the youthful countenance she held in her wrinkly hands. It was one of her most treasured selves. She couldn’t keep her for long, despite promising him that she would never be bothered about her past and she was happy and that what he wanted she had wanted the same. Who knew she was deceiving, she had always been so. With this thought, she ribbon-packed all her wishes and hopes and hid the box deep down the ruins of her past.

With Love,