August, 2010

Pastel

Pastel

Often we take on roads we never trekked before and are afraid to move forward… because we are expected to walk on the familiar.

Often, we do things with one intention… but the fruit of our labour is something unexpected… often pleasant.

A drink to wash fears away ends up in a conversation, the beginning of something fabulous.

Or a long forgotten prayer finally answered when you least expect it.

When something is taken away, something is given back. Whether or not we acknowledge it.

My days have been very grey with splashes of rainbows at train stops… but now… I can see some colours seep through the canvas… as faint and pastel as they are… they’re enough to put a smile on my face.

I can finally look in the mirror and agree with my reflection, despite the disagreement over many factors.

We’re both happy.

Why Ramadan is Still Special, Despite Everything

Why Ramadan is Still Special, Despite Everything

For those who know me I have been going through some rough mental patches when it comes to faith, but I am not one who likes to openly discuss these issues, even though I may voice a concern or two sporadically. This is because (A) for me religion/faith/etc is a pact between heart, mind, soul, and God, and talking about the contents of the pact with other people does not make sense, and (B) because such discussions always end up in a tribal warfare with two opposing camps I would rather not be a member of. They’re issues that are my own and I have to deal with them on my own. No one has the right to influence me, or anyone else, on how they should think of and feel God or religion or whatever they choose to believe in.

If it’s not from within, then I would rather live without.

I don’t need to give a PR press release on what Ramadan is about. Local newspapers online and off are <sarcasm> doing well  with their “Ramadan special Iftars”, other exclusive tents, and depicting the stories of expatriate converts as well as threatening people who eat in public with a jail sentence.</sarcasm>

Ramadan, to me, is a generally happy month, regardless of whether or not I am leading a happy life. I am visibly more quiet, calm, tranquil, and even more passive than normal. It’s not because I am upset. I simply enjoy the “spirit” if you can so call it.

serenity-kinan-jarjous-photography

Ramadan, to me, is when problems become trivial. I am saddened when Ramadan passes not only because of obvious religious reasons, but because nothing seems much of a big deal in Ramadan. I haven’t been presented yet with a life changing crisis in any Ramadan, but usual problems that piss me off and have me drive for hours around Dubai just to mentally escape realities I cannot deal with, all seem insignificant.

As long as no issues occur 20 minutes before Iftar that is, LOL :) but that is why I subscribed to food delivery during the month to ensure that noms will always be present regardless of plans.

I enjoy the call of prayers, whether or not I attend them. I am especially attached to the mosque on campus, whose Imam has a most exquisite voice that speaks to me. Ever since I graduated I still go to the mosque on campus in the last few days of Ramadan. Sadly this year, the semester has been pushed to commence after Eid, so I will not be able to enjoy Taraweeh or Qiyam prayers there. For those who want to know more about Taraweeh, you can reach Mich’s fantastic post on her reflections during the month here.

For those not in the know, Qiyam (officially called Tahajjud) is a prayer similar to Taraweeh that takes place in the last third of the night (1-3 AM depending on the mosque and sunrise). Qiyam can be done on any day, regardless of whether or not it is Ramadan. During the month, though, they’re performed in the last ten days of Ramadan in mosques. The religious significance of the prayer is the belief that God grants whatever you ask for if you’re staying up to pray at these odd hours. The Hadith is:

يتنزل ربنا تبارك وتعالى كل ليلة إلى السماء الدنيا حين يبقى ثلث الليل الآخر فيقول : من يدعوني فأستجيب له، من يسألني فأعطيه من يستغفرني فأغفر له

Last year I took a recording of Qiyam from the campus mosque and I often listen to it when I want to zone out, especially this particular segment here.

Wishing everyone to find peace in this month.

Rattlesnake

Rattlesnake

Why am I the victim of my love?
I had envisioned you a beautiful white dove.
Crimson blood drenched in your feathers of snow
While you fed off my pain. Why, I did not know.
Moons ago you looked my eyes and said
“An army of emotions to me you have led”.
What did you mean then? Were they lies from the start?
You threw me off-guard; I had not seen this poison dart.
But alas, I took it in, trying to forget the past.
I thought you were the one; our love would forever last.
But to the darkness of your pit I fell, the past is now a fake;
You are my reality now, my predator; my rattlesnake.
I am the white dove, bathed in the poison blood of fate
As I loved you in your fangs. I, whom you so desperately hate.
Restless Notes pt 3

Restless Notes pt 3

A continuation of parts one and two.

That was the point where my thoughts began to collide, when the hot flames of passion clashed with the frozen reality. I did not want to experience what I had no power over; I wanted to be bathed with the tenderness of an illusion, even if it were temporary.

What has become of me? What madness of a miracle would bind the two of us together? It was just an illusion, a dream..

Who judges whether or not a person loves another more, or vice versa? Who defines love? It had always been asked but never answered.

The battle waged between heart and mind. I had gone through incomprehensible pain as I lived through what my heart has decided. I had enjoyed the ecstasy of emotions that followed. But at what price?

Why does sadness follow our hours of happiness? Why is it that when we are happy, we love the little moments of passed sadness and irony? Is it because we want to regret and dwell endlessly on thoughts that should have been forgotten?

Why would I find my sadness in my cause of happiness? A piano had brought happiness… why would fate orchestrate it so that it becomes a melancholy note? I thought without resolution. I did not want to admit to a destiny that could be moulded. I refused to let the blasphemy that is fate decide on my behalf.

But it was nonchalant to my desires. If I had decided to change my fate, then my fate was to change it. There was no escape from this paradox.

That wretched chair at the balcony, the sky. My eyes wandered across her apartment, scanning shadows through windows. I had to see her, even if I were to stay up till the dawn. I had always thought that I had made the wrong choices by giving up.

But is it not through these wrong choices, that a person becomes right? How many wrongs have I done! What makes a man other than his mistakes, and his admittance and commitment to make them right? What would a man accomplish in life if it were not for these mistakes?

The hours passed, and I slept with these thoughts a pillow for my head, the sky my blanket, the silence my guardian angel.

Dreams, again. She was playing the piano and did not look at me, and seemed indifferent to my presence. I was unable to move or speak. I felt as though I were a ghost observing her fingers dance across the piano keys. She never turned her head, but her physical proximity troubled me. My dream denied me any freedom and will. It would not allow my heart to love her and be close to her; to feel her face, to look her in the eyes, to breathe her breath.

I found myself in a room lit by the moon, my love on her bed, breathing softly as she slept. What could she have been dreaming, then? What could she have been thinking as she surrendered to sleep? Had she thought of me, had she thought of what I had felt? Were her heart and mind duelling as well?

She lay bathed in the dim moonlight, rendering her a magnificent creature in the night.

Why do we watch our loved one sleep? What makes sleep a weakness in a lover’s heart? Do we find peace in sleep? Is an escape from the pain we harvest in our waking hours? Or is it the tender tranquillity that is exhaled from a sleeping body?

She slowly faded away into the darkness, and I remained alone for what was left of the night.

Restless Notes pt 2

Restless Notes pt 2

Continuation from the first part.

I stared at the paper with pity. I pitied myself for being so fragile and weak. I wished I were like the others. Life would have had a different flavor and  the wind would have carried a different scent.

But at that moment,my soul was in that letter. I grew weary, lifeless in beauty like a gargoyle amidst the lilac sea. But God would not create a weak and fragile beast for no purpose. I had a purpose; I had become to believe that I am a cloud that hovers above humankind, away from the troubles of life, always seeing the earth as a crafted piece of heaven. And when I felt that someone had been suffering below, I pour down my rain so that there would be new life, a new hope, a reason to move on.

But clouds deal with the thunder and the lightning.

I held the letter not knowing what to make of it. I tore a small piece of the paper; do not deprive me of your melody­ – I folded it as neatly as the little piece would allow, and tied it to a small pebble with a piece of cloth, and threw it to her balcony. The paper landed by the leg of the piano. I felt content, satisfied; she would muse me with her reaction the next day.

That night, fate had made its atrocious decision, a rite which it performs on every man’s soul. The rite of planting the seeds of compassion and affection, doomed seeds they are. Mine have been planted before, the weed felt no remorse.

The threads of destiny drew me to the balcony in an attempt with delicate vehemence to weave my soul into another. I sat at the balcony and looked down at the piano such painful melancholy. The letter still lay by the piano. She had not read it. Or had she ignored it? Could it be that she had not seen it? Such thoughts bound themselves to my mind. I could not escape them, they grew inside, multiplied, and I felt that death was more honourable at that hour. I regressed to my bed.

I witnessed a dream, my with the absence of a companion and no piano to awake me. Life was as it was. The street below spoke of its tales from the early morning and beckoned me to be part of its life. I strolled the streets, visited the shops, and wandered without aim but without fear. My sense of security returned, but an element was missing. My dream ended abruptly.

As I arose from the bed, notes of a piano sang in my ears. She had read the letter, understood its contents, and kept an un-pledged promise. I overflowed with energy, I ran towards the balcony, and looked upon her side.

There she sat, playing the piano. The letter was not where it was once; it sat upon the piano. Her notes forced a new blood through my heart, one that I have so longed for. I did not want to miss one note, and I cursed myself to have been asleep while she played.

The pigeons and the birds danced to her melody as they soared in the cotton morning sky. The road below had no more stories to tell. The people all seemed happy, their voices muted in the air. The frightening details of life have disappeared. I was blind to all the greyness of the city, I was falling in love.

Her notes ceased. The birds drifted away into a warm draft, leaving both of us, two balconies apart, separated by silent air. She did not make the slightest movement. She appeared frozen as if her mind was suddenly possessed by a strong thought. The chatter of the people below was inaudible to me. My ears heard nothing but my heart pounding through the silent sound of thoughts.

She reached for the letter, and opened it with slight reluctance. What could she have been thinking at that moment? I watched, mesmerized, inspecting every possible movement she made that manifested the slightest emotion.

She neatly folded the paper, and placed it on a table that was to the right of the piano. A small lamp, another piece of paper and a pen lay on the table as well. She returned to the piano, seated herself, stood up and she returned to her chambers.

1 of 2
12