Her. Part one.

Do you know how she learned patience? She escaped. It was easier that way and it worked too. Do you want to know where she went or who she ran to? Far from the life around her with gadgets, daily humdrum and never ending self-imposed and socially assigned responsibilities. She ran into the arms of the one who was not going to judge her for anything that could or did cause her all those ailments. Do you know what she suffered from? Acute and heart wrenching self-doubt. It was chronic or appeared so. What caused it, you asked? The answer is ironically amusing but read it anyway. Her constant yet failed attempts on finding what was wrong with her, what was causing her presence and absence zero effects on anyone and everyone around her. What could be that missing link in this not so convoluted story of hers, who knew or who bothered to argue. She caught self-doubt when she learned to comprehend attitudes and slightest shifts in behaviors in her closed ones. She was diagnosed with self-pity when she found herself the odd one out, a left-out and usually alone most of the times when the rest had numerous options for childhood playmates. Didn’t she have siblings to cover her up? Come on, she had 5 of them, each one better than the other, scoring medals and winning trophies while cashing affections every now and then. So what? How does that answer the previous question? She did have siblings and when so many, she shouldn’t have felt what she did in the first place. Wrong. You are jumping the gun here, my beloved reader.

She never scored well in any test, nor was liked by her teachers. Her peers eyed her for her grave voice and long hair at that young age. They never liked her for being left alone anyway. Irony. So her siblings were comparatively better off since beginning. You know what she used to do then for attention? She developed a sense of humor; a silly, slapstick, goofy one. People started noticing her for her lame jokes. She did make them giggle often. So she checked one point.

  • Act silly. They laugh. They accept you.

So all should have been going fine since then, we presume. Alas! No one ever asked her how she felt when they laughed at her jokes. She was basically an introvert and a private person and these situations of projecting herself as a comic relief for others for moments of self-worth and affection were painful. You may be familiar with that feeling of a pulled muscle or a twisted nerve in your leg. The pain was not different and imagine that happening with frequency every other day. Was it worth it, she once asked herself. Then she looked around her and saw people smiling. She thought in affirmation while her heart nodded in negation nervously. Days and months went by, she kept damaging her insides with all those painful pangs and then she fell in love and the news says, it was an unrequited one.

Did she survive it? Wait till you read more.

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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