Let me state this for the record that I have never met Imran Khan. The closest I have ever come to him is at a Jalsa where I was possibly in the last line. Yet, when I saw the news of his fall today it sent shivers down my spine. The feeling was considerably close to what I feel when I am worried for my loved ones.
Anything is one of a million paths.
Therefore you must always keep in mind that a path is only a path.
If you feel you should not follow it you must not stay with it under any conditions.
To have such clarity you must lead a disciplined life.
Only then will you know that any path is only a path and there is no affront to oneself or to others in dropping it,if that is what your heart tells you to do.
But your decision to keep on the path or to leave it must be free of fear or ambition.
I warn you.
Look at every path closely and deliberately.Try it as many times as you think necessary.
This question is one that only a very old man asks.
Does this path have a heart?All paths are the same,they lead nowhere.They are paths going through the bush or into the bush.
In my own life I could say I have traversed long long paths but I am not anywhere.Ask yourself,does this path have a heart?If it does the path is good,if it doesn’t it is of no use.
Both paths lead nowhere but one has a heart and the other doesn’t.
One makes for a joyful journey and as long as you follow it you are one with it.The other will make you curse your life.One makes you strong,the other weakens you.
Before you embark on any path ask the question,does this path have a heart?
If the answer is no,you will know it and then you must choose another path.
The trouble is that nobody asks the question.And when a man finally realizes that he has taken a path without a heart the path is ready to kill him.
At that point very few men can stop to deliberate and leave the path.A path without a heart is never enjoyable.You have to work hard even to take it.On the other hand,a path with heart is easy.It does not make you work at liking it.
I have told you that to choose a path you must be free from fear and ambition.
The desire to learn is not ambition.It is our lot as men to want to know.
The path without a heart will turn against men and destroy them.
It does not take much to die and to seek death is to seek nothing.
For me there is only traveling on the paths that have a heart.On any path that may have a heart.There I travel,and the only worthwhile challenge for me is to traverse its full length.
And there I travel looking,looking, breathlessly!
~ Carlos Castaneda ~
I don’t know where to begin.
I’ve been here before.
I don’t know what to say, but I have been feeling this urge rising up inside me ever since yesterday when I saw the world going crazy around me.
Long ago I had made this pact with myself that I would never write about faith. I know I am too immature and too ignorant to be able to hear the criticism when I portray my views. So I decided, I’m never going there.
I still don’t want to..but..i feel like I have to
I knew this man.
was is apparently great.
I never met him, but I didn’t have to, I still got to hear and read about all that he had done, centuries later, as if it was just yesterday. He was THAT great.
But don’t just take my word for it
But enough with the name.
Its what he did, that made him became who he was.
I went to a boarding school. It gave me an opportunity to meet, live and interact with boys from all over. Each with his own values and beliefs. It was not a pleasant time, initially. But whenever I would be confronted with a problem with a dorm mate or a class fellow,I always imagined how that man would have reacted. From the darkest moments of my life to my brightest, I have always strived to follow the path set down by that man. More often than not I have strayed from his path, because it was too hard. And each time I have come to marvel at this human being, and his strength of resolve. And there are literally thousands of such incidents to choose from.
When you are a kid, everything is pre-programmed inside your head. You don’t question, you follow them blindly and lash out at any and everyone who opposes those. And yet, on the face of it, we were all brothers of the same faith.
Yesterday I saw those boys again.
And yet, on the face of it,
we were STILL ARE all brothers of the same faith.
You know how an image gets stamped onto your memory?
Yesterday I saw a young fully grown man, gently leading an older lady, probably his mother across the road. His wife or sister followed them. It was a touching scene of familial love and kindness.
Except that they carried sticks and flags proclaiming be-headings for anyone who stood in their way. The young man was helping his mother make her way through the flaming tyres and vehicles so that they could reach the larger crowd that was gathered around the burning building that had once been the police check post. Luckily I was able to make my way out of there without any injury..
Any external injury..
I was one of the first ones to the mosque for the Juma prayers today. I needed some reassurance from the Imam, who was a sane, educated, ‘liberal’ i hoped.
He was liberal alright.
As he liberally spewed more hate and vile from the same pulpit from where centuries earlier the man he was symbolically representing had professed love and kindness for all, I was left hurt and dejected.
Had I been more the man I wished I was, I would have gotten up and walked out of the mosque, refusing to being led in prayer by such a hateful man. I would have interrupted his hate-sermon and asked him how could he mislead people by reading out of context verses from the Quran. How could he misinterpret the meaning of the word ISLAM?
But I am not that man.
I sat there and listened. I kept my head down and hoped nobody would notice the only one wearing a jean and T-shirt. A T-shirt that, suddenly, in a moment of panic, I realized, had ‘Air Force One‘ written on it, a gift from my brother in law. I imagined a scenario where these bearded zealots would grab me and identify me as a traitor, an infidel, because of what was written on my clothing.
But then, if only our religious leaders were so well read. We would never have reached this situation in the first place. As I managed to come home, once again without any injuries, I felt hollow inside.
I don’t know where to begin.
I don’t know what to say…I came upon this Facebook status update posted by one of my friends and it resonated so deeply with me because it said all that I had been feeling. It reminded me once again of the man who I grew up wanting to be.
I know a man who lost his parents but refused to be called an orphan, or to use that as an excuse to not make something of his life. He was man enough to love a strong, independent woman years older than him; married her, respected her, worked for her and made her stronger, opened his heart to her, shared his fears with her, cleaned after himself, sewed his clothes, and was faithful to her till her last breath. He was respectful to every single woman he came across. He was good looking, courageous and fearless. He never judged anyone on their pasts, socio-economic background, or looks, and was moderate, open-minded and tolerant, as well as absolutely honest. His personality was infused with calmness. His neighbor was Jewish and his cousin-in-law was a Christian priest. He was beaten and exiled when he was helpless. Was merciful when he became stronger, forgiving the masses who had reviled and tortured him. Intelligent, wise and a hard worker, built a nation out of rivaling tribes in the last 20 years of his life. He loved his daughters and grandchildren, and he had nothing but love and respect for humanity. His last will was of equality, piety and good action. This man is the Prophet Mohammad, a man worth looking up to – peace be upon him. More than any film anyone across the world can make, it is you and I, the followers of Muhammad [PBUH], who represent him and reflect his life and teachings. Let us remember that!
I wish I knew what to do. I wish that man were here now, he would have made everything ok. How can hate and violence solve anything? How does that make us superior? or are we so vain as to think that without our help our religion will not be able to survive? This is not the first time that this has happened. Nor will it be the last. What we can do is to nurture and protect our religion within us, with our actions. That’s what he would have liked.
I choose to love you in silence
for in my silence I find no rejection.
And (Mu’minoon are such that) when they hear foul speech, they turn away and say: ‘To us our deeds, and to you yours; peace be to you: we seek not the (ways of the) ignorant.” (Quran, 28/55)
And just like that it was over.
A second ago, it seemed, I had gotten up to go to the fridge…
Before I could sit back in my chair with my ‘specially chilled for the occasion’ coke and freshly opened pack of Kurkure- I was trying the spicy flavor on my sister’s recommendation- the moment was gone.
Like the thousands left half suspended in mid air, their banners and placards suddenly seeming like expired prophesies, I was too stunned to feel anything, my spicy Kurkure-or should it be Kurkura-sizzling away absentmindedly in my mouth.
Even the grainy poor picture quality of my old TV set could not soften the blow for me. The image was unmistakable. With the customary determined no nonsense gait, Afridi was walking.
Back to the pavilion.
Runs: o, Balls : 2
Premature celebration, meet reality, get used to the smell too, it’ll grow on you.
Perhaps stunned is not the right word. I mean it’s not like I did’nt see it coming. As I grudgingly gave the remote up to my mother and stared blankly at some latest tear jerker soap on HumTV while munching on some tasteless snack-oh yeah, !@#$$^& Kurkure – and took huge gulps from my cold and clammy Coke, I wondered if the problem ran deeper than just cricket.
Maybe we were equally to blame.
I call it the ‘Jinn Theory’.
I can still recall the exact day and the surrounding. Infact, it has become somewhat of a continuous running joke with one of my oldest friends, Qasim Tariq.
We were in our third year at Cadet College Hasanabdal, discussing our pursuit of the Inter Wing Championship for the year with our Fifth year senior.
For anyone who has ever studied in an all-boys boarding school, you know you’ve made it when you win honours for your team, your House. Ofcourse academics and other co-curricular activities such as debates and cleanliness and blah blah also count towards the Championship, but it was an unofficial code; to be a man, you HAD to shine in the field. Be it Football, basketball, cricket, hockey, swimming, athletics, anything! When you put on your House’s sports colors, you were at war.
Entry mates, friends and class benchmates were forgotten. Anyone from the rival house was another competitor, not to be shown any mercy. Losing to the other House meant not being able to show your face for weeks, hiding in the dorm, planning revenge, pouring over defensive weaknesses during Prep timings.
There would be no after dinner pakora plate and coke party at the cafeteria until after we had avenged our losses. It was not a right of passage. It was THE right of passage.
I remember crying throughout Prep after losing a crucial cricket match to our nemesis Jinnah Wing, and all my entry mates and even the House master coming and trying to console me.
And this in a place where crying was a sign of weakness, cowardice. Where boys would keep on playing on swollen ankles, keep running on bleeding, chaffing legs; keep batting with a fractured jaw. If you lost even then, it was acceptable, because you had shown heart. You could cry too, because it showed that you cared.
Against this backdrop of intense competition and no-holds-barred rivalry we entered our third year.
Again…and again…and again.
And each time we would come back from the field after another failed attempt to win a trophy for our House, we would look at our Fifth year seniors for some words of inspiration, to lift us up, to console us. It was one such day, soon after the Athletics competition when our team had sputtered out in the heats of most of the races. I can still remember the day, when my senior stated matter of factly that his class fellow, our 400 meter runner who had finished last in his heat, was the best runner in the college.
Qasim and I looked at each other, wondering if we had missed the joke.
‘B—but he finished last’, I stammered, still hoping against hope that he would expose my stupidity and show me that we had in fact won on some level that I was too immature to see.
My senior grinned and clucked his tongue at me, ‘But did you see how he ran the first 300 meters of the race? Bilkul Jinn bhaga thaa woh’ (He ran like a bolt of lightning.)
Ever since that day, Qasim and I tease each other whenever we flop horribly at some endeavor, that ‘yaar shurroo ke 300 meter tau mein Jinn bhaga thaa, buss end me paper kafi mushkil nikla aur mein fail hogaya’. (Loosely translated it means that I knew all the answers in the exam, I just did’nt write them down, and so I failed.)
As I watched Afridi walking off, i wondered if the blame lay with ourselves, as individuals, as people. Self preservation and silver lining is one thing, but we seem to have made an art of it.
How can we get up if we never acknowledge that we’ve fallen down?
How can we begin a winning streak if we’re still looking for positives in our losing streak?
Sometimes you need to look deep into the abyss to find your heart to get back up again. Because until we do, we’ll just be celebrating irrelevant stuff like triple centuries of sixes and fastest strike rates, while others take home the real trophy.
Its time to give the Jinn a good name.
I am pretty sure that the guy who delivers my morning paper is a super hero.
I know what you’re thinking, why me? right? I don’t know, maybe I am a very crucial part in some mind bogging and deeply complex, world altering mission.
Or maybe I just happen to live right in the middle of his early morning jog path, I don’t know and I don’t really care. We have a great thing going here, which is why I have been keeping this thing from the rest of the world because I’ll be damned if I’m going to blow his or her( I’m keeping my options open) cover.
But anyway, I don’t think its spidey, my mom was over for the weekend and she swept all the cobwebs that I had been allowing to colonize in my room. So after this bloodbath of spidey’s cousins and step brothers, I was expecting him to vandalize my newspaper with some gooey web thingy, but nothing happened. …
So that rules out Parker…
But first things first, the raison d’etre for this whole line of reasoning in the first place is that each morning I find the morning paper lying well inside my room. With the door locked, and a thin sliver of space underneath and a pretty thick carpet right infront, I still don’t get it, how the paper flies inside.
Believe me, I’ve tried it myself, much to the, first surprise, then suspicion and finally confirmation, of my nosey neighbor who would keep walk up to me bending over infront of my door and trying to ‘throw’ stuff inside. I used to get away with the ‘ I placed my keys under the carpet and can’t find em there’ story the first few times, but I’m pretty sure I’ve used up that excuse to death, since now whenever we run into each other in the hall, he speaks to me really loud and insists on us taking a pic and writing his name, in bold with ‘your neighbor’ written in comas. I suspect he has seen ‘Memento‘ one time too many.
But I choose to let these things not break me down, your secret identity is safe with me, superhero-newspaper man.
So anyway, my morning ritual is to walk to the closet, get out the clothes for the day while looking at the headline on the front page as it lies at my feet, and then go take a shower. The downside is that, on more than one occasion I have ended up wearing yesterdays crumpled and wrinkly shirt to work again. But I like to think this gives me a rugged, partying, man’s man look instead of being all neat and prim.
The upside to this ritual is that the shower time allows what I have just read to swim around inside my head a bit. Today’s headline read ‘Pak-US ties will be tested in the future: Clinton’ and the accompanying picture showed our FM shaking hands with the Afghan FM while a beaming Clinton chaperoned in the background.
Now, as I stepped under the faucet for my daily 7 minute shower (10 minutes during the winters) I could’nt help but about the headline. Now I’m not a very ‘current’ current affairs guy, and I’ll be honest, Kamran Khan irritates the crap outta me.
But still, I listen to stuff my mechanic talks about while I wait for my car to get serviced. I sometimes have nothing better to do than read the month old newspaper that has been recycled into a doggy bag as I eat my samosa.
Soooo..yeaahhh…I know stuff.
And today’s news made me feel like this guy who just cannot get rid of his ex girlfriend. He knows she is great and all, and he looked good going to places with her, but lately, he has realized that is too high maintenance and needy and he is just a country simpleton. They don’t match.
But the problem is that the girlfriend does not think its not working. No matter how many tries the guy makes to sabotage the relationship, just to get out of it, she just won’t buy it.
Susan to our George Costanza.
And so on, the guy has tried EVERYTHING. From trying to please her, which backfired with the his family-the locals-disowning him and breaking stuff. To trying to break up with her, by having lunch with the her nemesis and the girl from his own background. But nothing seems to have worked.
She will huff and puff, and pout and threaten to cut off his allowance. And the guy is at the point where he is even reconciled to that eventuality. But somehow or the other, it always ends with him grudgingly posing for another picture with some of her wannabe friends while she beams and shows off her ‘project’.
As I got ready to leave for office, I thought for a way out for this poor guy. For some reason, I kept thinking of Chandler and how he has no option but to fly to Yemen just to avoid Janice.
I’ll have to find a way to notify Superhero newspaper guy my new address, until then, Im sticking with it.
That would’ve been so cool if I had been woken up by that text would’nt it?
But your mom, sadly lacks a bit in the sense of humor department, as you will, I am sure soon find out when you pee all over the carpet or her clothes and she does’nt find it as funny as you did. Ok on second though the humor might even be lost on you, but trust me, it WOULD”VE been cool, cuz you see there was this famous bollywood movie, Munna Bhai..and..hmmm siiighhhh…never mind yaar, just trust me on this one.
But anyway, back to the story, so yeah, that was’t what the text read that woke me up at 9 in the morning-late, I know yaar, but as you grow up you will realize that all your hatred for early morning rising and going for work was justified, it DOES suck- but the message was pretty much the same, malik saab, a.k.a the latest addition, thats you by the way, was on the way!!
So while the rest of the womenfolk, that is meme, saadia,your hira aapi and your dadi hovered around mano and did the things that women do-whatever it is maan, i still don’t know- I spent a restless day at the office, just waiting for some news, and your parents will tell you i HATE office, so yesterday was even more awful.
I felt like the minutes literally dragged by on this hot, sweltering day, by the way, great choice of month maan,i mean cmoon!! If you HAD to choose the summers you could’ve picked late July or August, then you and I would’ve been Leo buddies…and meme…and Baati..and Hajira….and Ayesha…ok fiiiiine!!! so there are a LOTTA Leo’s already in the family??? So? you can’t ever have too much of a good thing can you?
But anyway, you could’ve done much worse, atleast you’re a Gemini, thats a pretty neat thing. Abba is also a gemini, I know, technically he is your nana, and you don’t quite get how everyone calls him abba, even meme..yeah our family is wierd that way, welcome to the gang!
But yeaah, so when i realised you were going to be a Gemini and all, i read up on your horoscope just to get a few tips on how to bond better with you (oh yeah, heads up, I’m going to be your FAV mamoo, no second options there). So, here’s what we’re looking at:
Your birthstone is pearl-Thank God you’re not a girl, cuz im NOT getting you any pearl necklaces man! And you’re flower is rose…hmmm odd choice but i guess they do smell nice, and thats all im sayin..hmm what else…ok here:
“If You Were Born Today, June 20:
As gentle and likeable as you are, there is a resolute part of you that is unmistakable. This combination of heart and courage almost guarantees success. You are also have a strong belief in yourself. Love and relationships are very important to you, and you will go to great lengths for a person you love. Famous people born today: Nicole Kidman, Lionel Richie, Chet Atkins, John Goodman, Errol Flynn.”
Hmmm not bad maan, Nicole ? You should get some of those old classics-im figuring DVD‘s will still be around by the time you’re old enough to appreciate Nicole Kidman- hmm sounds all good, I think we’re going to hit it off pretty nice.
Hehe ok this one cracked me up, listen to what this says about your year..
“2012 is a Number Four year for you. Ruled by Uranus. This is a year of work and development. It’s “nose to the grindstone” time. It’s a time to deal with practical matters, and it’s not a time to be lazy or especially gregarious. Sometimes, it can be a year that feels hard, monotonous and routine, and/or lonely. Advice – get yourself organized, work to build your resources, keep busy.”
Hahahha…this year is going to be ruled by Uranus…(get it?) *siiiighhhhh* never mind..but that much was pretty straight forward, obviously its going to be ruled by uranus since you’ll be pooping most of the time, besides sleeping that is…That also takes care of monotony and routine…poop,sleep,feed,repeat..on endless loop..and thats not such a bad lifetstyle too if you ask me.
So, lets bring you up to date, with whatever else has been happening around on the day when you finally decided to grace us with your presence.
The PM FINALLY decided to leave the office after months and months of crap talk that i seriously don’t pay much attention to, but just for posterity this guy, the ex-PM Yousaf Raza Gillani was once held in jail and your nana ji, my father and the universal abba actually handled his case, a fact that the former even mentions in his memoir.
So abba was pretty much hooked on the whole escapade..and so was meme…so thats that.
Hmmm and what else? The Euro’s are going on, didnt get much time to watch most of the matches but the smart money is on Spain winning their third consecutive major trophy. And Wimbledon starts from Monday..(just making sure you get a headstart on having the same interest in sports as I do).
On a sad note, you missed meeting your Sherry mamoo by a couple of months, you would’ve liked him…
Anyyway, i got held up by babys sitting duties, looking after your cousins fateh sher and hajira-asfand and baati were back at the farmhouse playing Xbox ALL day…i really hope you are more outdoorsy like me- which is why i was’nt there when you finally arrived.
And then there was all this confusion about when to go where to go, you know how it is with women and giving directions and making up their minds? Well, you’ll find out soon enough. By the time i got to the hospital, you were already fast asleep and i could only sneak a couple of peeks before Hira bossed me away from her ‘new buddy’.
You looked happy and content and a LOT like your father. And from what I heard about the ‘ghutti’ incident where you seemed to LOVE the honey, I have a feeling that you have inherited his love for all things culinary and gastronomical, which is great, cuz i LOVE food too.
But we’ve gotta burn that off too, I’m going to teach you tennis and football, don’t get fooled by what your dad tells you and believe that cricket is the only sport in the world. I mean ok its fun to watch and all, but wait till you get the ‘polo bug’…
Thats something else maan…( I know i keep calling you maan, its a guy thing, you’ll get it later, plus mano and fawad are waiting for your dada ji to come back from Brazil to finalize your name, although i hear the frontrunner right now is Rafay, although Hira seems to like Ibrahim..so for now, we’ll stick to maan or dude-even that went out with the teenage mutant ninja turtles- or something or the other)
Anyyway, I see that I have started to ramble, thats another thing you’ll have to excuse us grown ups for, we have sooo much to tell you that we don’t know when to stop. But inshallah , we have time to make so many more amazing memories..
So…here’s looking at you kid..
Good evening people,
I see you’ve brought your own note pads and sheets of papers, which many of you are now using as makeshift fans..
So, without wasting anymore of you’re time, lets get down to this wonderful secret that i want to share with you.
How to remain glowing and happy and make the heat simply bounce off of you..
Are you ready for it???
Its ALL in the mind!!!
beaautiful!!! Is’nt it??
NO? But what about all those sayings of mind over matter, and size of fight in the dog and the tough getting going?
Those sayings don’t work in the real life, you say? I absolutely agree..Then why do i love these bumper sticker quotations so much?
FINALLY the right question…Thank you the profusely sweating man in the back who might as well be topless right now for all the good your drenched kurta is doing you. This is’nt a wet tee shirt contest, and even if it were, i don’t think you’d qualify buddy, just sayin..
I HATE bumper stickers.
They are so glib and content in their fancy little world, where they think they know everything.
I bet the person coming up with these trite, cliched sayings pukes rainbows and craps daises..
*siiiighhhhh* ok, ok, my bad..its not me, its the heat….and the fact that Pakistan decided to de-invent electricity. You invent stuff and we de-invent it..
In your face technology!
Thats right, its a word.
Hmmm..well it should be, ‘cuz we’ve got the real deal here babyyy!!! 16-20hours a day (if you’re lucky) ,7 days a week!
We’re just waiting for the patent, cuz apparently some group of people calling themselves the neanderthals or cave-men or whatever are also competing for the same honor.
Its all just a great conspiracy against our country once again…hmmmpphh!
Anyyyway, i digress..this post is not about our rapid descent or ascent (depending upon how much of your brain is still functioning after being deep fried in the comfort of your own home..ohh yeaah, i forgot..we now don’t just limit ourselves to steaks being ‘well done’..humans are fair game too..so bon appetite!)
Whats that you say? UPS?? heheh my simple friend, apparently you still have not looked up the meaning of the equipment you just installed before you went running off to the market to install that latest fancy schmancy machinery you thought could solve all your ‘home cooking’ problems..*see what i did there?*
Its called a UPS…apparently according to Pikipedia documents, (yeah we don’t set much store by anything thats does not have a paan stain or the smell of makhni chicken karahi, so we basically went ahead and made our own information base) when the genius who built this machinery tried it in Paki conditions, which is like level 10 without any cheat codes, the machine ACTUALLY got up, walked to the closet, took out a semi automatic and blew its brain out…true story.
And hence, after a pg-13 rating by our ever present moral and ethics patrol- which has over they years churned out such fine pieces of ethical brilliance as Maya ‘the date police’ Khan, and Mubashir ‘I want a Villa too’ Luqman- the full scientific name of the invention was shortened to UPS.
So for all my technologically challenged friends out there, I thought i would break it down for you, so here it is:
According to empirical data research and market analysis, this definition applies to all standard state of the art UPS’s right now, subject to some exceptions that are purely coincidential and accidental and your own fault for choosing one that does not follow the stereotype *whoa! headrush, use of too many big words in one sentence!I need a moment*
So, UPS stands for
P-piece of (for the normal 2-3 rooms smaller version, if you want a bigger version, the P is replaced by an L- load of)
S-Shit (however, for the more ‘sophisticated’ *read:burgers* the S is replaced by C-crap..conversely for the more down to earth and organic, it can be replaced by whatever you’re feeling at that exact moment, see how cathartic and stress relieving it is on so many levels?)
….HEYYYY!!!!!!!!!! No need to get abusive! I didnt invent the machine, im just a teacher..
What? Where are the 10 steps?
Why this was just an orientation, we’ve got 22 more hours to sweat, whats the hurry? Rome was’nt built in a day..*hehe see what I did there? You gotta love THAT!! That was very spot on!!Cmon!*
Heyyy!! You bite your tongue young man! We use those words only for the democratically elected.
Awwcmon now people! this was a good first class, admit it!
How about a show of hands for those who enjoyed it?
I meant the WHOLE hand, not one finger….*siiighhhh* im ahead of my times…
Something so soothing and yet poignant about this poem that I came across, thought I’d share it with you guys…
In a desert, once, on a hunt did I find,
With a radiant smile, a flower so fair;
Sadly, I approached and sighed, “Ah! Of my kind
Are you too – a hapless flower from a beloved’s hair.
Frail fingers wouldn’t take you to a soft face so close,
Nor would you be kissed by lips delicate and rose.”
With a silent smile the flower replied, “Don’t lose heart!
This desert I wouldn’t give up for the gardens of Iran,
A solitary I am here while legions are there,
Amidst this cursed soil I stand apart.
In this gray desert, a flamboyant flame of divine light am I,
Beauty’s silent song, a miracle from the sky.
In your garden, there are thousands of flowers like me –
A nameless droplet in a nameless sea.
You too, in your desert, don’t feel forlorn,
To behold you at last shall come a sore.
‘Pity the beautiful,
the dolls, and the dishes,
the babes with daddies
granting their wishes.’
‘Pity the beautiful’ by Dana Gioia
Who doesn’t love the weekend?
It’s the only thing that keeps us going through the monotony that is the long tedious hours sitting in a cubicle, following the rat race that life has become for most of us. But we know why we do it.
For the little ones. Our pride and joy.
From the moment those little fingers wrapped around your hand, you made a promise to yourself to go through all kinds of personal hell to make sure that they never have to walk in the sun. And if that means sacrificing your Sunday morning for a day in the park, that doesn’t seem to be too demanding.
If you managed to get out of bed on Sunday the 6th of May and made your way to Gravity Hill in F-9 park, you would not have been wrong in mistaking the scene before you for a typical family picnic. The picture fit the description perfectly. There were all the little children, dressed in their Sunday best, playing games, listening to songs, reading, doing all the stuff a normal family would do. And yet, something did not add up despite large trays of smiley faced home-baked cupcakes and goodies from the fellows, delicious picnic food from our generous friends Thali and all the outdoor games.
For one, the grownups looking after the kids, monitoring them, playing along were too young to be their parents. But if you took a closer look at the little ones, you would have noticed a maturity beyond their years. You would have felt the calluses on those hardened baby hands. You would have seen the steely resolve in those tiny souls even in a game of relay race or Frisbee. And yet, there was no meaness or jealousy that is present even in children when it comes to sharing their precious toys. And that alone, should have made it clear..for these were no ordinary children.
These were street children. We also call them ‘under-privileged’ sometimes.
Their whole life has been one big struggle against fate and the world from the moment they were born. For most, childhood ended the moment they opened their eyes to a world without doting parents or all the luxuries that money could buy. Most of these young kids had to learn a trade to earn a livelihood for their families while they should still be playing.
But instead of toys they were handed rags and clothes to clean, merchandise to sell and trash to pick to earn for their family.
However, for one day, they were children again.
This picnic was the culmination of a long and fruitful relationship that the grown ups have had with these less fortunate kids. Inspite of all the hardships these young souls have had to face so early on in their lives, they have taught important lessons in life to even their seniors.
As the sun set on Gravity Hill that Sunday evening, I saw the children transform right before my eyes. Without a word or being told to, they silently helped their elders and each other, clean up the place and pack up the picnic stuff.
There were no groans or complaints or pleadings for five more minutes or one more round of games. They knew that life did not afford them such luxuries. Life was all about these little moments of bliss. And they had learned to savor them, with no regrets.
Instead, they welcomed each moment with a smile and a spring in their step, for after having seen life from rock bottom they knew that their dreams and aspirations were the only wings they would ever have to lift them up.As I waved goodbye to the kids, I wondered if we were teaching the kids about life or was it the other way around.
More fun yellow pictures: http://blog.lettucebeekids.org/gallery/twice-on-gravity-hill/