Monthly Archives: May 2012
Thoughts and experiences, ideas and ideals, secrets and pains, valued and treasured. We are all moving in our respective lives, some with definite aims and some aimlessly, some following proper directions and some just wandering around. Family, friends, love, hatred, likes, dislikes, pleasures, hardships, our life is full of variety; colors, shades, sounds, music, beauty, ugliness, too much. Reality! Fantasy! Nothing has a clear definition, only some particles of dust on the surface; struggles, efforts, dependence, expectations, selfishness, selflessness, just confusions and ambiguity. Some of us endeavor to sort this mess out and some of us do not want to smudge our hands from mud.
Solitude is a state one often believes he desires or achieves, but the reality is a little different, a human heart is never fond of seclusion, it wants company. And, it is this company that has all the impact on one’s life, all the things that matter, matter because we have someone to share them with, someone is being a cause of their happening and someone is being influenced by them. We have people around us and they all play their respective roles, small or large and this is what makes our life what it is; happy, sad, pleasant, or terrible. It is them who make us aspire for bigger dreams or lie desolate in despair. But what we always forget in this quest for the keys is that they are plain humans, just like us, if they can ruin our lives we can build, if they can generate disturbances we can pacify, if they can create the filth around us we can clean up, if they have power we are also strong because we are all created the same. If we are depending on others, others are also depending on us. We fail because we let others take over; take over our thoughts, our ambitions, our lives. We succeed when we take over our lives ourselves and plan for ourselves, DO for ourselves.
Thoughts like the scattered pieces of a jigsaw puzzle are scattered in my mind. Glimpses of past, dreams of future and shades of present and pinches of reality keep grappling to each other and presenting to me a confused picture, a fuzzy image that makes me very uncertain of what I want from life. I am blessed with a beautiful life better than a majority of people living on this planet; I never had to struggle for my food, or other basic necessities. I got loving parents who wanted to bring the best and the choicest blessings for me, a sincere brother, a husband who has always proved himself to be the best man I have ever seen or met and last but not the least sweet and fun loving in-laws. I have a normal life, it’s an answered prayer. I used to cry and pray to Allah for a life that is nothing more than normal. I don’t want magnified pleasures or extravagant luxuries; I want a simple beautiful life.
Allah has always provided me with everything, with an ease I had not even imagined. Studying what I always wanted, getting married to my dream man, living in places I had always desired, a dream job experience, Hajj, visiting various countries and so many other blessings, it’s like I have narrated my story to Allah and He enacted the play likewise. All these blessings, when were desires, seemed like impossible unattainable dreams. Still I aspire for bounties that seem unattainable to me, I doubt their happening, in my weak moments and think that why do I deserve to have each and everything I want, I am not even worthy of a few. By the time my dreams were coming true I had started building a strong faith in Allah and that He grants whatever you wish for with a true heart and belief that He is the Omnipotent, possessing all powers to grant you His blessings which are indeed special.
Have you ever done pedicure sitting on the shotgun seat of a moving car? Or did you ever thread your eyebrows taking advantage of the visor vanity mirror, got your clothes ironed from a presser of a far flung town coming between highways while moving towards your destination? Or, you would have bleached your face in the scorching sunlight on a lonely road combating desert storms, or changed your clothes in a forsaken petrol station mosque; Have you? Yes, quite a unique experience yet a feeling common to almost all of us; traveling ecstasy, the excitement attached to long awaited holidays and heart breaking end results invoking us to take some steps or at least realise our responsibility. We had planned to spend our Eid holidays with our friends in Kuwait. I had fulfilled all the prerequisites of getting ready ‘like a lady’ in the moving car to save time. Travelling freaks, expecting to experience another country, perhaps keen to get another souvenir for our decoration rack or another stamp in our passports, not considering the hectic road trip to Madina, packed in the last days of Ramadan, sleep-deprived zombies, me and my husband, were heading forward in an attempt to not waste a single moment of holidays by staying at home, oblivious of what was going to come our way.
During seven hours of drive from Riyadh, conducting a full-fledge traveling beauty parlor session, I had a bemused witness driving in desert by my side, my husband. We reached the KSA-Kuwait border. People living in KSA are authorized to get “on arrival” visit visas whenever they travel to the bordering Gulf countries, as me and my husband attained when last year we travelled to UAE and Bahrain. The place was not a very impressive sight; an old building desperately waiting for new paint, busy check posts where clock seemed to stop ticking, a horde of buses parked and their passengers standing in never ending queues to get their visas stamped, eager to enter the country still alien to us. At the last hurdle, weather suddenly seemed to be very pleasant where the clouds of hope started gathering upon our heads. But that one and a half hour proved to be the most fruitless wait of our lives, when we were refused the visit visa in the end. As we received a big ‘NO NO’, visas were given away like peanuts to other people. My husband was stunned and wanted a valid reason for the refusal. An engineer! Holding an official passport! Deputed in KSA! Having Saudi residential visa! and still getting no visit visa for only 4 days, the answer was simple and of course heart breaking, the person encircled the reason on the computer printout, ‘Pakistani’.
Agonized, ‘a Muslim country stopping another Muslim national and resident to enter’, there was a long silence in our car on our long drive back home and then we both uttered our remorse. This incident reminded me of another incident, landing on the Stockholm Airport, Sweden, both of us were late in reaching the counter, the man at the counter was speaking to us like we were some criminals caught red handed, ‘where were you?’, also checked if we had enough money to sponsor our tour in Sweden in an interview that longed for about 20 minutes. All our happiness of arrival on the Schengen ground for the first time had evaporated. Were we some other nationality, had he not been nice and comforting seeing our puzzled, lost faces? Landing at the London Gatwick Airport, not even late this time, and waiting in quite a long queue we reached the counter, what use?, we were asked to step aside and undergo an interview on ‘terrorism’, ‘extremism’ and ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ for about 45 minutes, only for that single reason, ‘Pakistani’.
Both of us, once proud Pakistanis grew up listening to the stories of ‘Pakistan, the fort of Islam’, are shattered from the thoughts of being Pakistani in the international arena after facing the reality of how we are perceived worldwide. Carrying inferiority complex, shame, which we assume doesn’t even belong to us, honest in our dealings, sincere in our faiths, dedicated in our work, capable, hardworking; confused and perplexed, we ask from ourselves, ‘why do we deserve this?’.
But then another series of questions strike my mind; Are we not selfish as a nation, contented in our cozy homes not bothered by the sleepless nights of many in our society. Do we not want to snatch the rights of our brothers, or kill our sisters, have we not lost faith in our religion, are we not worshipping graves, and mere men, are we not killing innocent people in the streets, have we not forgotten our history, lost our ideology, disregarded our culture, our traditions, are we not responsible for our sorry state in the world? Who is responsible for this? Our leaders! Have we not chosen them? ‘Why do we NOT deserve this?’
After this coarse sailing into the stream of questions, the estuary leads me to a stone carved with an unadorned question, “Will we ever realize our responsibility?”
With an apology to the artists .. cz i actually don’t draw it just happened that before leaving for our new posting we had a few free days to stay in the army mess and i had nothing to do .. I plunged into drawing