A Wayward Prayer

I went for Taraweeh today. Not properly; I read my farz at home and had no intention of going to the Masjid. My head was pounding, I thought I would sleep. However, I ended up in the Masjid.

The rows were full when I went. The taraweeh had started sometime ago. I intended to read eight. So I stood at the very back, in a row all by myself. I recognised the surah as one of those which we had to understand as part of our syllabus in school. So in spite of the fact that our old Imaam Sahib mumbled away like a fighter jet, I was able to understand a few words. And that was enough for context.

Two rakahs later, the Imaam said salam, and with it the multitude of women ahead of me began shifting. Until now, the women had been standing as wide as possible, trying to not get anyone between them. It was hot. The fans were limited. I don’t blame them.

It was nice being in the back all by myself. Less distractions, too. For example; when we went into rukooh I was concentrating on the tasbeeh, if someone had been with me I would’ve definitely been thinking of their feet. I don’t know why… I just would’ve.

With the shifting, some women got up to leave. They passed by me. One of them stopped, folding her janamaz, and told me to stand with the other women. I was about to say there was no space, however, I saw the woman ahead of me had shifted just enough to let me stand. The woman who was standing repeated what she had said.

“I was late so–” I was cut off.

“Namaz hi nahi hoti. Mein keh rhi hon namaz hi nahi hoti!” (Your prayers have not been said/prayed/offered idk this is a crude translation.)

I don’t know why this bugged me. But anyways. The woman left, and I did too. The surah had ended, I would probably not have understood the rest anyways.

As I walked home, the road was empty except for the cars. I reflected on my strange behaviour. Yes, I knew the entire time I was acting strange. But I realised that I had got what I wanted.

I wasn’t there for the eight taraweehs after all. Two did me more good as eight had done in past years. I was there because of my firm belief in positive energy–positive divine energy. The place was a Masjid. A place where God’s men came to pray. Maybe not all, but some came for God. I did too. I wanted to be near God. Physically. And even though I am aware that we are nearest to God in sujood, I wanted to go to a place which had been dedicated to His name and His alone. Where everyone faced in the same direction, prayed to the same God. I needed that energy. I needed that feeling. That God was there. That there was a solution. That I was a believer.

And then there was the word of God. I just wanted to hear some of it. I never intended to stand there until my concentration weaned off and I was forcing myself to just stand. I just wanted to hear some of it. And it made me feel better than I had in some time.

With every sajda, my head felt lighter. If I had stayed for two more, perhaps it would’ve been cured completely. Perhaps the heaviness of my head would have been lifted to bestow clarity of mind. It was Ramadhan. The air was somehow cleaner, it would’ve helped me. But I didn’t stay. Why? Perhaps because I just wanted to hear the word of God. And when that Auntie approached me, somehow at the back of my head I was thinking about what these people were thinking of me. That I didn’t even know the fundamentals of praying in congregation! But that wasn’t the only reason. I didn’t know the arabic to the Surah after that one.

All in all, I am still confused. Still not clear. Still unsure. But I feel better, more at peace. He put a smile on my face, one of contentment. I know that whatever will be, will be for the better. I know that there will be a solution to everything. And why did I do this? I’m not sure. But anyways. Better get back to praying the rest of my nafl.

I realise this isn’t spiritually uplifting (as I thought it would be). But I just wanted this to be out there. And I wanted you to pray for me, too. This is quite a long post. Perhaps I should sign of here.

Remember me in your prayers.

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Tales of a Sunset

As we were leaving Islamabad, it was almost maghrib. I had been dreading the long journey ahead. Tedious hours of just sitting in a car! Drivers everywhere, travelling, travelers, stressed about their destinations. The road between Islamabad and the M-2 was still under construction. For a split second, my gaze wandered to the sky. The split second turned into aeons. It was a watercolour painting. A perfectly blended painting; yellow gradually fading to pale yellow, pale yellow turning to a forget-me-not blue. Red streaks across where the clouds were closest to the sun, reflecting fury and rage. Grey streaks above the red, where the clouds were impermeable to the ferocity of the sun. A tiny silver crescent just beginning to peek out shyly.

Amongst angry drivers and big machines drilling away noisily, there was a calm. Amongst the chaos that is found on these roads on a Sunday night (as people return after the weekend), there was a sort of serenity spread out on the world. For a moment, I forgot my stress. Everything that had made me so tense this weekend, and that everyone had told me to let go of, I now realised was worthless. I “lived in the moment”, as my sister had been telling me to. Traveling never brought out the best in me, but today nature itself brought me relief. My face relaxed. Although there was no one I had to convey my joy to, although all this was just a feeling in the very depths of my heart, a tiny smile took over. Since winter departed two days ago, and spring had not yet entirely come, the trees were still dried up, leafless, lifeless. Perfect against the backdrop of the sky, a postcard.

We were now on the motorway. The red streaks were fading away as the blue slowly took over. Here, trees lined both sides of the road. The trees had leaves. Green fields spread out for miles on every side. It like was one of those expensive paintings one would expect to see in a huge victorian mansion. It was getting dark. The sky was always the hero. Trees silhouetted against a sky so intricate. Sometimes a hill came, sometimes a huge rock outlined against the sky, all seeking attention, all failing against a sky so beautiful.

Every second looking out of a moving car changed the scenery. Every second the sky and the fields and the silhouetted trees made a new masterpiece. Every second it showed the craftsmanship of the One behind it.

It was Him. Allah. He was the Artist. He was the Art.

The shy crescent now shone quite boldly. The red disappeared entirely, the wrath of the sun wrapped up by the gentle blue of the night. In the distance I could now see lights; villages and small towns located at intervals. Eventually the light blue turned to a rich, royal blue which had no place for yellows and oranges. Only the silver of the moon or the distant stars could conquer a sky so overpowering.

It was strange to think of this sky. The same sky shone over refugees, over starving, diseased children, over mourning mothers, over depressed and oppressed people. The same sky shone over crime, hate, injustice and intolerance. And yet, it was this same sky that painted a picture for me, for my peace, stretching for miles and miles across. It was this same sky that inspired poetry.

And I rested my head against the window; once again worries returning to my tired head, dreading all that was to come, the night clouding my thinking and wrapping around my head.

Slumber

It was the only day of the week where she knew she could sleep with the gas heater on. Not because this was a weekly suicidal ritual that she religiously performed, but because she knew there would be someone to turn it off.

Tonight, she was tired. With lights turned off and the blaring noise of the television in the next room, she was aware that she only had a few hours to sleep. Come, sleep, come. Come before the night has faded and trials afresh await my doom. Come.

It came, but in slow, unsure steps. Like the carbon monoxide that slowly filled up the room as she awaited her half death. Perhaps it was not sleep, but this gas, which slowly suffocated her to slumber as she thought of the exact time required by the gas to fill up this room and deprive her of air. How odd.

The slumber now surrounded her like the stars that never shone in her sky anymore. She was losing herself, and she was aware. A conscious unconsciousness. Collateral beauty. Her eyes gently closed as the warm orange rays lit up the room to a comfortable resting place. A comfortable last resting place, as they would’ve said later.

Who was to know if this was a half death, or slumber in eternity?

Life update.

It’s a battle keeping up with these word prompts. A battle with time. And my mind.

I have so much to study. And I want to read more, too. And I have to think about what I’m going to do with my life. Also, I’ve set unrealistic goals for the weekend (again) which shall go unfulfilled (again) and that shall leave me annoyed. It’s not my fault I only get one day off.

The mind has been whispering. Doubts, fears.

The mind is uneasy. Everyday is another battle. To keep that balance between thinking and not think.

I want to exercise. Mind, soul and body. I want to get up earlier and be productive. But that is not possible.

I want a change of routine. I want this endless road to bend. I want something that would excite me, something that would inspire. My words have been kind to me. Never do they leave the mind. I have been neglecting them, I know. They have been starting to get quite difficult of late. They, too, want a change of expression. Rebellious, ungrateful. They never even realise how much I do for them. However, I in turn must not be ungrateful. They are a blessing, they could be taken away any time. I must cherish them.

I can’t wait for the fog. Glorious, vague vapours encompassing everything and anything, without discrimination.

It is another battle to see the same people every day, to disagree on the same things, to put up with the same ignorance and backwardness and still be nice. Apart from family, and that too only the most direct relations, how much sooner one tires of human company than of anything else. Cats, independent, detached creatures, infinitely cleverer than us (Though only metaphorically).

It is also a battle to be good. Evil tempts you. No matter how much one tries to purify one’s heart, it will always remain contaminated. No matter how much you try, you have been too infected. It is a battle to be kind. Especially those who don’t deserve it. But God knows you’re a monster inside, and if you start classifying and judging people, He could call you out on it.

It’s a battle to be.

How sweet would it be to not be?


Writing prompt: https://zoyakubra.wordpress.com/2017/09/23/october-writing-challenge/

P.S. Do you think my blog has become a little too dull and dark lately? Do you even enjoy? I’d love to know!

A Wish.

In a land of absolute normalcy, and nothing out of the ordinary, there was a girl. A girl who was completely normal, ordinary. There she was, in class that day, the 20th of October. The professor droned on and on, but her fragile mind was on other unnecessary and unimportant things. The girl was nostalgic. With her heart split across three continents, this wasn’t an infrequent condition. There were smells she longed to inhale and voices she wanted to hear. There was a certain temperature of the air she wished was there.

She thought of waffles and shortbread. She thought of flavoured yogurt and freshly made finger fish. With beans. And sweet corn. And flavoured water.

She thought of a house that would be warm and comforting against biting cold winds. She thought of the maternal presence in that house. She thought of the last time she had hugged her. The way her short plump figure had completely encompassed her entire being in a split second. Perhaps she had not realised what she was to the girl. If she had, she would’ve held on longer. She thought of all those times she had woken up from unpleasant dreams to find a familiar, comforting snore gently rock her back to sleep. She thought of all the times she had been fussed on upon, the many summer holidays spent in ignorant bliss. The way her grandmother had tried to make the most of the every meeting, to somehow cover the distance of an entire continent.

She thought of a tiny bundle of joy, blessed with the most beautiful smile, barely a year old. She thought of her niece, the way she giggled when she was thrown in the air. The way her smile melted the hardest heart, the way she spread love and joy indiscriminately with just her presence.

There came to her mind an old, fragile-looking man too, with endless grace and dignity. A man who was a living miracle (literally). A man who was the most splendid example of resilience, hardwork, determination, and above all, will power. A man loved and respected by so many, but she considered herself so lucky to be loved by him. A man she looked up to, her grandfather. Countless times that old wrinkled face had smiled upon her, as if her insignificant being was actually the source of his pride. A brown face, sometimes appearing in her memory sitting in an intense Punjabi sun, other times laying on a pillow, sleeping in front of the fire, cozy against the frost outside that so many Punjabis yearned for but never experienced. Most of the times, though, he was either dressed in a three-piece suit, or a crisp shalwar kameez, actively pacing about, never a dull moment. The best storyteller.

There were other memories on this continent, some personal, others not as much. Her wandering mind, however, moved to another continent, one she had never been to, but which contained a piece of her heart. A family, more beloved to her than belgian chocolate, if chocolate was a scale. A family she hoped to see again, soon. But the prospects looked dim.

Finally, the third continent. The continent she currently found her physical being on. A land containing almost all her memories, some sweet, some sour. A land where she was thankful to still have some of the people she loved and cherished. Her paternal grandfather, a man with unwavering faith in Allah. The most patient man she had seen in her life. Born to be great. And that was what he had achieved. Though not as expressive as herself, he had loved them in his own way and shown it. She knew him by the words: bravery, wisdom, chivalry, gentlemanliness, discipline, tolerance and trust. A man of endless dignity and grace, a man she looked up to. A man was respected greatly and deeply by everyone. A man who taught how to respect, simply by showing it. A man who led by example.

She was still nostalgic. She wanted to have everyone and everything within her grasp. She wished it was so. But at the same time she knew she could not be ungrateful for all that God had already blessed her with. So, she said a quiet, heartfelt prayer and thanked Him for all the blessings she already had.

The bell rung. She was forced back to Earth.


This prompt came along at the right time.

Vacant Stares

The river, it flows

Reflecting images in its course

It gushes forth, every second

A new image

Images never seen by humanity

Images the river hides

Images. The rocks’ secrets.

Of everything that took place

But wasn’t ever seen by eyes

The eyes that

When witnessed miracles

Nature’s greatest

Blinked.

And turned away

Often looked down

At artificial screens

In the presence of Grandeur.

So nature, in revenge,

Feeling insulted

At something the Creator

of the moon created

Being rejected,

Took away their sights

So that they never saw

And all that remained

Were vacant stares


I know I’m not doing these prompts everyday, and BELIEVE ME I had some pretty cool ideas too, but I just didn’t have the time! Also, I love how they make me think! It’s so fun. If you haven’t tried this already, why don’t you check it out here? Also, I’m doing two different prompts at the same time. So you can check out the other one in the previous post.

Check this one out here:

https://puttingmyfeetinthedirt.com/2017/10/01/october-writing-prompts/