Contradictory Thoughts

We had lasagne today. Coincidently, the T.V. was on during dinner. And while I indulged my taste buds in such luxurious tastes, the news came on.

Images of malnourished children. Images of children dying. Around 100,000 cases of cholera in 2017. Millions in need of humanitarian aid. Millions homeless, struggling to survive. Traumatised children. The men and the women… all those people, just… dying? Dying? Left out there to die, while we… what are we doing?

Do you know how much suffering it takes to die of disease? Do you know how starved you have to be to die of hunger? Do you know how much it takes? It is an extreme. Extreme circumstances. Circumstances that leave a person dead.

Dead.

Millions dead. Dying. Millions. Come to think of it, there’s so many individuals in a million. And then that too as a plurality. If that isn’t horrifying, I don’t know what is.

And there I was, in the middle of it all, taking an extra piece. I felt horrible. It’s such a disgraceful fact — the fact that we can just continue like nothing happened. I did that. I had another piece… and another potato. I saw those images and I should’ve felt so horrible that my appetite should’ve finished.

And I look at myself. Here I am, sometimes praying, sometimes ranting, sometimes arguing with other people about how nothing’s been done. And here I am, turning a blind eye to it all?

So is it me? Am I the fault? Am I the reason multiplied by thousands of individuals who have the capability to live normally that the world is disintegrating? Am I the cause of someone’s misery? But when I look at it… what can I do? At an individual level. If I say this to anyone in real life, they’re likely to give me a fifteen minute lecture (at the very minimum) about how it’s pessimistic people like me who are responsible for the plight of man. About how individuals come together to become a force. And that force brings change.

Pretty words. That is what they are to me: pretty words, which have no consequences in real life. Right now, I have nothing to my name. Wholly dependent for my every need. But let us think of people who are not: surely they can do the “something” required to save humanity?

But no. They have responsibilities. They have duties. They have reasons. Every person is in one way or the other, bound by his own troubles. So who does the ‘something’ that will revolutionise the world?

And what is that “something”? I don’t know. That is my conclusion. As inhumane and desensitised that sounds, that is how I can conclude.

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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.