There are several days that seem never ending; moments or phases that don’t seem to pass. A single person waiting to find his/her soulmate. A mother waiting to concieve a child. A man waiting for his promotion after years of perseverance and hard work. An ill person waiting to be free of his disease. A bed ridden man in his old age with no hope. There is always something or sometime in your life that seems like infinity while it lasts. Amongst us are those that ache with pain right now. Those whose hearts have been shattered. Those who are in grief after losing a loved one. Those that feel lonely and those that have been wronged. In those times no consolation helps and nothing can change their reality. The pain keeps coming back in episodes of pulses like a heart attack. The more you run away from it the more it chases you. I know because I have felt it. I know because I have seen it. I have seen grief closely and I have experienced loss and hopelessness.
I know you want to hear that this is not forever and you want to know there is a bright side to this rainy night. Well there is ! Sometimes knowing “nothing lasts forever -not even pain” doesn’t help. But hearing someone else say it somehow reinforces it. I want to tell you there is hope. I want to tell you that miracles do happen. I want to tell you that even if your situation doesnt change god will mend your heart such that you will find solace in what is. I want you to know that for every tear that falls from your eye god will compensate you in abundance. Even if it seems impossible it’s not. The road is long and weary but it shall end. The path is painful and you are tired but you can pull it off if you keep going. Just a little bit longer and just with a little bit more faith. You can ask a zillion times “why me?” but that’s not going to help and that does not matter. The reality of life is that you’re not the only one afflicted with pain. There are zillions like you out there who you are unable to see or reach who suffer just like you do or they suffer in ways you cannot see. Stop looking at others. Just look at yourself and remember that you are strong. You are strong because you are reading this and that is proof enough that you are fighting whatever it is that makes life tuff for you right now. Someone once told me “miracles happen to those who believe” and it did not mean much to me until I waited long enough to see mine. Step out of your life and see the larger picture. This world is temporary and so is this life. Just keep going, no matter how slow but keep going and with time you will see how things transform in your favor. This life is nothing but a journey and you are a traveler. Your pain will transform you and your journey will make you stronger. Shake hands with your sorrow and accept it as a friend. Don’t fight what god has sent your way and slowly in that acceptance you will find solace. When you find solace in that moment of surrendering , you will be free. As Jallaludin Rumi once said :
I said “What about my eyes”
God said “Keep them on the road ”
I said “What about my passion”
God said “Keep it burning”
I said “What about my heart?”
God said “Tell me what you hold inside it”
I said “Pain and Sorrow”
God said “Stay with it. The wound is the place where light enters you”
So beautiful are the words above for they depict how sometimes pain and sorrow is what enhances our wisdom, gives us wings to fly and makes us who we need to become. Your wounds open the passage for the light of wisdom to enter you. It opens the doors of compassion within your heart. It humbles you and brings you back to where you belong. Hence don’t detest it and don’t give up. Keep going no matter how slow. The journey seems long but it is to make better out of you. Do not stop. Just do not stop.
As Eid comes to an end and we spent some beautiful moments with family and friends I sat staring at my pictures and eid clothes and starting jotting down my thoughts. I’m no Mirza ghalib but sometimes there’s this poetic side to me that comes alive. You can say aamad howi bus aachanak. Feel free to say your “boooo’s’ -and throw tomatoes at me. Thought I’d share it
Wow Eid is here and it seems Ramadan just started a few days back. I hope you made the most of this beautiful month that passed so quick. Now that the shaytaan is out and partying I hope you have some plans to knock him out with all the ibaadah strength you have attained from this month. Yes go ahead and throw some chappals and chapairs at him tomorrow , just make sure you don’t throw your husbands eid chappals 🙂 Im sure you want a happy eid and not one with a sulky husband sitting without chappals staring at you with that look on his face.
Ok so make sure you follow the points below tomorrow and have a fabulous eid.
Wake up with a smile. Wish your partner Eid mubarik as soon as you wake up. Its ok if he looks like wearwolf after all the sleepless nights of ibaadah and office work and didnt get enough time to shave. He is still the same man you married. Get wify points by being nice to wearwolf.
Bathe well and put on your new shiny and fabulous eid clothes. If you have kids please attend to them first and than focus on yourself. I’m sure you dont want baby food and spit on your new clothes even before you’ve stepped out of the home.
By bathing I mean a head to toe bath. Please save your “dry shampoo” for some other day. Thank you
Kindly remember to wish your Neighbour’s and send them some sheer ( sheer korma – i hope im spelling it right) too. Caring and Love extends to eid as well and was not only meant for ramadan
As soon as Mr. Husband comes back from eid namaz attack him and demand your eidee. It’s your right and tell him “rozay kubool nahi hongay” if he refuses
If you have kids please dont expect to look like Mahira Khan on eid. Accept motherhood and be ready to look like a ”maasi dressed in Maria.B attire’.
Try to pray namaz if you get time from eating. I know you need to make up for that one month you didnt eat during day time but please remember you are not underweight nor suffer from malnutrition. You dont really need to make up for anything.
Last but not the least give alot of gifts, eidee to all those younger one’s around you and make them feel Eid is special. Please note that you cannot consider yourself young anymore so please accept age with grace. Those grey hair you dyed yesterday at the parlor are clear signs you are not young. That ‘Studio Fix Mac foundation’ cannot hide those wrinkles on your face Aunty Jee. You are an “Aunty” and praying not to become one on laylatul qadr nights wont change much. You will remain an aunty. This is not some magic spell.
I wish you a very happy Eid and hope that it brings alot of joy laughter and happiness to your home. If you have any leftover food the first day feel free to send it to my home. I can host a party the next day with the same. Sorry I am too lazy to cook after all those Iftaar get together’s I hosted. I am a great cook otherwise. Adios signing off.
I’m sitting on a train and I’m waiting to reach my destination. The train stops and she walks inside in front of me. A lady well dressed in a black suit probably heading out to a meeting or to her office. She has her hair pinned up in a bun so neatly. Her shirt is so perfectly ironed and creaseless. She checks her watch every now and than as she fumbles to fix a strand of hair that keeps falling to her face when the train jolts through a turn. She must be getting late. I cannot help but notice a white line on her finger revealing the absence of a ring that probably left an untanned shade across her finger. She must’ve been married than. Why isn’t she wearing her ring? I see her look outside. She seems lost in thoughts as she gazes out of the window. She keeps fixing her hair. She can leave it as is but she won’t. Maybe she feels she needs to. Maybe the absence of a ring indicates a lost love , a relationship. Maybe she’s thinking about it right now. God knows whats hidden behind what I see. A strong, smart, clean and well dressed lady is what I see. With perfect matching pearl earrings to a well kept french manicure she seems perfect on the outside. But maybe just maybe she is not the same on the inside. Maybe she fixes her hair each time just as she tried to fix her relationship so many times before it ended. She kept trying and didnt want to give up. Just maybe she keeps a perfect strong exterior to hide the tarnished and broken person she is inside. She notices me staring so I Immediately move my gaze down towards my own feet. My nails aren’t cut or filed. The skin on my feet is flaky and dry and I try to move my feet inwards below the seat so nobody can notice. I feel embarrassed to notice the difference between myself and her. How well kept and lady like she is and how shabby and unorganised I seem. My attention draws to myself as I notice how my shirt isn’t ironed well. I squeeze in my seat as I realize how I had rushed out early in the morning amidst a chaos failing to even give a glance to myself and check on how I look. My thoughts are intervened by the ringing of a phone. Her cellphone rings beside her. She answers it and I notice tears dwell on her eyelids waiting to roll down with a blink as she says “I tried I really did please believe me”. With that her eyes close and the stream of pain held in her eyes rolls down her cheeks like a waterfall. She looks the other side towards the window in agony trying to hide herself from me. We are the only two people on this train. I try to avoid her eyes acting like I did not see or hear anything. In a few minutes the vibration of my cell phone catches my eye. “I love you dear” is what I read. I know its my husband. He usually sends me love messages throughout the day to remind me I am loved. My life falls nothing short of perfect even though I might not look perfect. She looks perfect from where I see but she is quite the opposite of what may seem.
This is life. What seems obvious is sometimes not and what seems in shambles just might be perfect within. You need an eye to see that which lies within anyone otherwise if you fail to notice you will only judge someone based on what the eye merely sees. Open your vision. Open your inner eye.
The train comes to a stop with a jolt. My destination has come. I stand up and she looks straight into my eyes and smiles. By this time she has managed to wipe every tear and dabbed some foundation to remove any sign of sadness. She gives me a broad smile pretending to be who she is not maybe. I smile back and softly whisper ” Don’t worry, this too shall pass. You’re still on your journey and the destination is still way ahead” She looks confused as I walk past her off the train to where I need to go. Two strangers, two lives on a journey of life. Wait till your destination comes. Wait till you are wise. Time shall pass, wounds shall heal. Look beyond what the obvious is. Just try to feel. Just try harder to feel.
I don’t know if I found time to ever tell you how thankful I am for having you in my life. You work persistently to provide for us and to give us a better future and yet when you come home late in the night we make a face and look the other side in anger. Your hard work must seem futile in those moments but remember we do realize you are doing all this to make a better tomorrow for all of us. We overlook somehow that all your hard work is not just for ‘you’ but for ‘us’. I am sorry for not realizing it more often and thanking you for all that you do for us.
The day I married you I knew you were my soulmate, but I never knew you would be the father of my child as you are today. When you hold our children in your arms I smile knowing nobody can give them the love and protection that you do. Can I tell you that I sometimes feel jealous when I see you chasing them the minute you enter home. I stand in the background eyeing you and admiring how you have aged from a boy I once fell in love with to this handsome man in these past years. Your beard has grown thicker, the grey in your hair is far denser. Yet the smile on your face still melts my heart as it did the first time I saw you. You are a wonderful father and I am proud to be with you. My children could never have had anyone better than you to give them a name. You are our ‘hero’ and we look upto you no matter how much we may seem to complain. So here’s wishing you a ‘happy fathers day’ my love! Thanks for being the best father ever !
If you have forgotten let me remind you how beautiful life was for you. In regret of what could have been do not forget what was worth remebering. As you stare at your wrinkled hands today remind yourself how they were once young and pretty. Do you remember waking up to the sounds of chirping birds and the fragnance of wet mud sneaking into our home. The pitter patter of raindrops on the roof reminded me of tiny bird feet dancing in the rain. You would wake up fresh in an instant with no effort at all as your young body would be zesting with the energy of youth. Do you remember looking into the mirror and seeing a fresh glowing skin radiant as the morning sky. I’m sure you never realised that would not remain forever. If only you’d have admired yourself a little longer. If only you had realized than that you were beautiful.
Childhood giggles, playing Ludo with friends, dancing in the rain like no one’s watching; do you remember secretly admiring him in school ? How naive were those dreams. How innocent were those ambitions and how deeply you were convinced life would turn out as you aspired. Bunking college , singing songs in the canteen and etching names on the wooden desks ( T+M ) at school , life sped through like a racing car in a flash. Why did good moments pass by so quick? Do you remember sitting at your home cross legged on the floor with your friends and chatting and laughing for hours on silly jokes. Not a care in the world we lived college life like it would last forever.
Listening to songs in the rain, long drives with a cup of chai , moving relentlessly through the passage of time do you remember etching dreams on the windows of time. Waiting for Mr. Right, making silly mistakes and than sitting heartbroken at the window staring up at the sky. Do you remembee how heartbreaks felt forever. Do you remember wiping those tears not knowing life has so much more to bring. In those beautiful tearful sweet sorrowful moments were hidden bittersweet memories of unrequitted love. Now that you look back doesnt it seem beautiful. Even the desolate moments of youth seem meaningful now.
Marriage vows, butterflies in the stomach , those heavenly honeymoon monents of love. Those promises, those letters, those eternal moments of staring into each others eyes. Does that dry withered rose pressed between your favourite book bring back memories of a beautiful love bound in the threads of marrige. Do you remember your first home. How you painted the walls of your memories with vibrant colors. The cry of your first born when she was born. The nights you cradled her in your arms smelling the fragnace of new born skin pressed against your cheeks. Do you remember the tears of joy it brought to your eyes. A home filled with laughter, chasing your toddler as he ran away with a pen to scribble on the walls. An innocent full mouthed smile stretched across one cheek to the other with two small rabbit teeth peeking from inside. Do you remember your little boy’s smile as he giggled when you tickled him.
Sleepless nights with milk bottles and baby cries. Arguing with your husband for always being late from work. Feeling useless and aimless as a “be at home mom”. Do you rememeber there was beauty even in those moments. Your kids cried but they ached for you, they yelled cause they didnt want to part from you. He would come home late cause he wanted to work hard and give you a better life. You had love all around you do you remember. There was never silence in your home. It was painted with the love of a mother nurturing her kids. Dont you remember how those tiny hands would hold yours so tight at night. “I want to sleep with you forever mama” she would say. How blessed you were to have children who were healthy and fine.
Now when life has passed so fast and things seem tuff just remember that life was always beautiful but when it passed before your eyes you never noticed. If it feels you are tired and your soul is tarnished just remember life was beautiful and you were lucky to experience its beauty and joy in the prime of your youth in things few people cherish. You were blessed with moments which lie so perfectly on the frames of your past etching a beautiful life for you to remember. Cherish them and remember life was good to you and always will be. These hands might be wrinkled today, these eyes might be weary and old but your heart is still the same and within that still lies “hope” “love” and “faith” It was a journey to remember and it was beautiful and that is all that matters my dear.
I remember watching my mother covered in a white dupatta praying for us. I have vague visions of her telling us how Allah descends from the heavens to see who is glorifying him in these nights. I remember from a very young age that these last ten nights of ramadan seemed magical to me. It meant you could ask for anything and you could have it. When I was 6 years old I heard from someone that on this particular night called “layla tul qadr” the whole world prostrates to Allah including buildings, trees, cars and objects. Everything in this universe living or not bows down to glorify the creator of this universe. Hence every year in these last nights I would sit beside the window looking outside hoping to catch a glimpse of this marvel that would take place on this magical night. I would sit by my window and stare at the dark starry night close my eyes and pray to Allah with all my heart that he let’s me witness this marvel. My prayers would only comprise of being allowed to witness this event How innocent we are as children, how pure our hearts are and how we hold our beliefs so strong. We do not know what we are asking for nor do we know what we really need.
As I grew up A few years later I was told that whatever you ask Allah of in these nights comes true without a doubt. Hence with a maturer vision of life than before I let go of the belief that I could ever witness a building prostrate and started focusing on asking of Allah what I needed most. The next few years every last ten nights of ramadan witnessed me asking Allah to bring my mother back. With all my might my prayers would wet the prayer mat as a 11 year old begging Allah to bring my mother back from the dead. Once again little did I know that what I was asking for was something that wasnt viable yet I silently prayed with a deep conviction that it would come true.
A few years later I matured out of that belief too only to realise people dont really come back after they die and stopped asking for it. I realised how innocent and naive I was asking for something which could never happen. I than started asking Allah to give me things I felt would complete me. I started asking and begging Allah to make my dreams come true for I wanted peace and I wanted perpetual hapiness. I asked Allah for friends and a partner and a home for I wanted contentment and I felt all of these would suffice in fulfilling my soul. As I grew I realised happiness was not in people and not in things or situations for even after Allah granted me with all those things I sought I still felt incomplete. I realised happiness was within me and that contentment meant being content with myself.
Today after so many years I finally know what to ask Allah for. I ask him for contentment. I ask him for forgivness. I ask him for courage and heart to find happiness in what he decrees for me. It took me 35 years to realise I was asking for the wrong things all these years of my life. Ramadan would come and go and every year I would ask for something which was either not viablr or something that I never really needed. Yet my lord was so merciful that he kept blessing me in hidden ways to reward me for the time I spent in prayers. I saw miracles in my life ; not cars prostrating in sajood but I witnessed miracles of belief. I witnessed so many miracles as he kept blessing me one after the other with things I never even asked for. He protected me, sent angels in forms of humans at every stage of my life making my life easier. The one point in my life I was in the deepest despair he miraculously brought surah dhuha in front of me as a promise that he never left me nor will forsake me. Truly there are miracles for those who believe in these ten nights.
Today I know that I am not capable of knowing what I need nor do I have the wisdom to know what is good for me. Hence I ask Allah to give me what he wants for me. I place his will for me above mine and I bow in prostration asking his forgiveness. I do not wish to see the world prostrate, I only wish to see myself prostrate in humility before my creator. I do not wish for Allah to bring my mother back from the dead instead I pray he unites me with her in heaven. I do not ask for the love of humans to complete me in this world instead I ask my Lord to fill my heart with his love and obedience. I do not asj for wordly possessions and instead ask to make me content with whatever he has blessed me with. I pray he lets me witness more of these miraculous nights so I can feel him so close to me.
It has taken me so many years to realise that we ask for wrong things and that we wonder why Allah doesn’t listen to us. These ten nights no doubt are an opportunity to ask to your lord for anything. Than why not ask for what we really need. Ask for his love, ask for forgiveness, ask for humility, ask for whatever he wills for us because only Allah knows whats best for us. Now when I stare out of my window in these ten nights I am not six years old anymore but my heart still holds the same belief in my lord. I know he is watching me and I know he loves me more than anyone and I know that one of these nights he will descend from heaven watch me pray and grant me all that I have ever desired if not here , in the hereafter. Make the most of these ten nights and ask for what you will. He is merciful and slowly he will put it in your hearts what you really need to ask for. These nights are truly a miracle and they hold signs for those who believe. May Allah grant us all the wisdom to see them.