Dark Clouds

Dark clouds have turned day into dullness. A magnificent wind blows, entering this window and exiting that window. It is so dark I cannot read, yet I have not switched on any lights yet. The darkness corresponds to my mood. For days now, weeks, the weather had been the same: either oppressive heat with unbearable humidity, or continuous rainfall still with humidity. Why should I call a continuous rainfall “still”? It was so. Everything was still. Days rolled into weeks, weeks into months, and yet all was still. Utter monotony. I sat on the floor, amidst cotton amd nail polish. Looking out, seeing the hours while away, away to be lost in monotony. People ask: are you well? Yes, I am well. Well enough. I have everything I could need and more: monotony. An unchanging routine with no chance of excitement. No prospect for difference for another year or so. People are dying around the globe, death visits the neighbors and here I am. Perhaps the most ungrateful of them all? Perhaps just human? Books find me a way to escape: sometimes the past, sometimes in lands so far from my eye and yet, as soon as we come back, the sameness returns, the circumstances are still, our ways uninterrupted. We have done so much and yet nothing. Looking out I see a freshness in the green of the leaves but I know as I leave the house in accordance with my routine, I shall come back to find even that stale with dust. Sometimes the rain intensifies, sometimes it calms down, sometimes it even stops. I know I have a lot to do and not enough time, yet I know if these words are not penned down they too will be lost in the vast expanses of my thoughts. Just like yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that. When I prioritise something above words, I am punished by their loss. Yet writing deprives me of words too. This is sometimes pleasant: no words to think of, a clear mind, a consciousness. However, sometimes it has the reverse effect: I am overburdened with words and they keep forming until I have no alternative except to put my mind at rest: sleep. But all this does not relieve me of the current monotony. Seeing the time, however, I realise that I have nothing new to offer to anyone. I am NOT depressed, or upset. These feelings have now turned into cliches and irritate me to an extent that is unbearable. Perhaps you wouldn’t understand, but try living your entire life with the female species of this society… particularly the Homo sapiens. Felis felidae would make a nicer alternative for this society but that has other problems and anyways, I have yet to write about that another day. Anyways, as I was saying, I am not upset or anything, I am just tired of the same sameness that engulfs my world, even though the Earth is in chaos.

Until next time, stay hydrated.

Rab Rakhan. 

(P.S. If you happen to be a female of the species mentioned, please do not be offended, I was referring to the females found in my society that I face. Just like when I do my post on the females of Felis felidae, I shall be referring to those of my society too. I should add that this post reflects my mood for this passage of time, and that almost none of my posts reflect my “permanent” moods or stances on anything, if such a thing exists. Also if there is someone genuinely depressed or upset, you have my sympathies. I was referring to all those people who have turned this into cliches. May Allah bless us all with His bounties. Remember me in your prayers.)

Faith 

The elders of the masjid sat down in a circle, and the old man they had chosen as their sarbarah (leader) sat at the head. The Masjid committee looked rather worried. It was jummah, Friday. On Friday they held a meeting, and opened the two charity boxes. The old man was old, but rather handsome, graceful in his white hair, a brown safari suit. Though his years had been rough, they had been unable to wither him completely. He beckoned one of the men of the Masjid to begin. 

The man started. “Our funds have finished. The renovations in the Masjid simply have to stop. We can’t afford it.”

The old man said:”The funds have finished? But how much money do you need? I’m sure we can cover the cost when we open the charity boxes.”

Usually, when they opened the boxes, they got fifty to sixty thousand rupees.

“Sahab, we need at least two lakhs and seventy five thousand rupees!”

“Let’s not stop the renovations yet. Look here everybody, don’t lose faith! Have tawwakul in the Al-Mighty’s ways. All we have to do is try. Leave the rest to Him. It is His job to do things. Let’s open the charity boxes for now. He will surley do something about this.”

All though not everybody was completely sure, they felt comforted at the old man’s speech. The boys were made to open and count the money. Out of one of the boxes, came out a taped and sealed package. They put it aside, and continued counting. There were sixty thousand rupees, as expected.

“What is that package over there?” Asked the old man.

“We don’t know sahab. We want you to open it.”

“Oh, hurry up. Let’s just get this over with.”

“No, no, we want you to open it. Who knows what’s inside.”

So the old man took the package and ripped the tape. It had several layers to it, but eventually, he got to the paper itself. As he ripped it apart, his eyes widened with surprise. Inside were new, fresh thousand-rupee notes. The committee was surprised.

“See, I told you. It is His job. All we need to do is have faith. Tawwakul. And look what he does!”

The boy were made to count the money. 

“How much is it?”    ” Sahab, it is two lakh rupees!”

The boys were then questioned. Had they seen anyone put the package there? No, but one of the boys had seen a person put a taped and sealed envelope. Did the package have any names or addresses or phone numbers? No. Then how did the package get in the box? Nobody knew.

It is strange, the works of God. The imaam thanked the anonymous gentleman who had done such a noble deed in his khutbah.

So I guess miracles do still happen. We just don’t believe anymore. Perhaps I should mention that the old man is, infact, my grandfather, MashAllah.

Dear Laiba Fatima…

I can’t believe it. I cannot believe that you are actually gone. I remember the day Arub told me about that brain haemorrhage. But the surgery was successful and you should have woken up. They were waiting, you know. All of us were.

I remember when I heard you had fainted during that test at the academy. The doctors said it was a brain haemorrhage and they even operated successfully, but then, dear, why didn’t you wake up?

It’s true we didn’t know each other that well. We didn’t even talk much. But you were there, a face eched in my memory, a comrade from my school. And when I read that message a few hours ago, I was so shocked. Laiba? Laiba Fatima?

Oh Laiba. As I sat there shaking with disbelief, my body trembling uncontrollably, why is it that all I could think of was that smile you gave me when I said salam? You were probably the same age as me, but still you looked so small… as if you were only thirteen or fourteen.

I remember that straight ponytail with those curly hair. That gentle, delicate voice as you discussed the exam afterwards. Oh Laiba, are you really gone?

Sometimes I feel as if I will remember this time as the time when I had no time for anything else. Not even time to mourn Laiba’s death. I sat there, trying hard to control my trembling hands enough to practice those physics numericals. Guiltily, i knew i had to study for this test the next day but somehow I felt so guilty that the World was still moving. The tears dropped from my eyes as my heart tore itself into a million pieces. Laiba, Laiba, Laiba Fatima…

And what made me even more guilty was the fact that I stayed at those numericals. I thought of how you must have done the very same ones before me, you always did like to keep ahead. You were the one who had all the brains. The one with the good grades in everything. 

I wonder, Laiba, if I feel this way, then how is Zerish, and Zobia, and all of them? And to think nothing of your mother, that woman whom I have never met, nor heard anything of, but all the same, how must she be? Losing her seventeen year old daughter?

Laiba I don’t even know you well enough to know what your ambitions were, to know what you were trying to be in life. But now, does that even matter anymore? Does anything even matter anymore? The one truth of life is death. And that’s where you are now.

Laiba I wonder what you must be feeling right this moment. I hope its happy thoughts. I hope you don’t have to face any of the hardships after death. Ya Allah! I pray with the sincerest of all prayers that you give Laiba a place in your heavens. I pray that you forgive her her minor sins. She had a good character. Allah! Give us sabr and patience to bear this, especially her family and loved ones. Allah! We are in no position to question your decree, so we pray. Allah! Please accept this. Who else can we go to in such situations? Who else has the power to grant? Allah! Rest her soul in peace. Ameen. 

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!

ITS 14TH AUGUST! HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!

A few days ago, i wandered into the back garden, and my thoughts wandered back to 1947. I wondered about the events that took place, acts of such ruthless treachery that even now the older generation shivered at the mere thought. I scooped up some soil in my hand, and thought, was this once covered by the blood of a Muslim?

Did these trees, which I meet regularly, witness acts of unspeakable evil?

My imagination took me to the past, and terrifying events unfolded before my eyes.

I wondered about my great-grandmother, who had only ever recounted the story of her migration to us once. I remembered that day as we all sat in a circle, as her eyes flickered in pain, her face creased with the fear she had suppressed for so long but which had now taken hold of her once again. More than once she stopped, reliving the past, refusing to tell us some of the Sikh attacks she had endured. Her eyes welled us as she recounted the images of infants being torn into two pieces in front of her eyes. She told us that in the refugee camps other women urged her to suffocate her two-month-old child, the child that grew up to be my Grandfather. She was knew that in the event of the Sikh getting hold of her child, it would not survive. And she had another two year old as well. She smiled as she recalled a particular woman who helped her to carry her children barefoot, to Pakistan. On reaching Pakistan they found a place to live – a house of a Sikh who was about to marry of his daughter. The Sikh had fled, but the entire house was filled with her Jahez. To this day the two beds in her room are from that house.

I then remembered another particular morning, when i had been visiting my maternal grandparents. I had my breakfast with my Grandfather and  my sister while every one else slept. My Grandfather began telling us his story. As my sister hastened to write everything down, I simply listened as he remembered that the river Bias, which was near his village, had turned red, like the colour of the blood of the innocents it held. He remembered that his mother, a bold woman who could go from Burj to Ludhiana alone on horse back, was such an excellent swimmer that she could cross the river Bias. He remembered as his elder two brothers carried him, then only a seven year old, and his younger brother on their shoulders. He had been told not to look down, but of course this was inevitable, and he saw dead bodies cover the earth as far as the eye could see. He recalled that he would scream in fear, and that no words could soothe him. He remembered the lorry which took them to a Muhajir Camp, a Refugee Camp. The journey was horrible. With practically nothing to eat, and because of disease and injuries, the over-crowded lorry soon had to face a number of deaths. But with the danger of the Sikh, they had no time to stop and bury the dead. They simply stopped, hid the body among some bushes, and continued. And when they did reach their beloved homeland, to them it was nothing less than heaven, despite their extreme poverty.

To me, this is what Pakistan is.These are the sacrifices our ancestors made. My Great Grandfather had one sister, and she actually lost her sanity after these traumatic experiences. Pakistan was made with the blood of our ancestors. Lets not waste it away…

That’s why this day means so much to us.

DIL DIL PAKISTAN!