Success is the most sought after commodity in all ages. It is a part of everyone who walks through the path of life. People live and die for it. Most of the hands that are held up for prayers, most of the eyes that rise towards skies, most of the hearts that beat for a wish, most minds that tabolate neurons, and most of the physical practice in the arena of struggle, seek success. What is success? It varies from person to person. Success brings power and power, unveils the true colors of human nature. Some fail trying to climb the tower of success and some fail when they reach the top.
In the series of success, the most commonly renowned are wealth, glory and fame. Nothing beats success that draws fans. A fortune that crowds people is considered number 1 on the victory stand in the stadium of triumph. Thereon, some return to the ground and others begin to walk in the air. Few keep the equilibrium, many lose balance. Arrogance, opulence, vanity, tympany and self-conceit accompany them to the podium they stand on. The wise do not succumb to such temptations; instead, they choose the promenade of gratitude, humbleness, patience, moderation and composure.
Successful people are rightfully called stars in our society. I also respect these stars that twinkle around me. The one who doesn’t respect a successful person is hubris in my eyes. However admirers should refrain from loving stars who assume themselves as the sun. Those who no longer remain on the ground try to fly on the wings of conceit. Amour propre always reveals stature. Not all stars carry the digestion of public acclaim and those who do are the true heroes.
When a person rides the horse of pomposity that wears the saddle of egotism one must leave the welcome queue formed by fans and amble away waving a good will gesture to both the star and the fans.
“If we ever travel thousands of light years to a planet inhabited by intelligent life, let’s just make patterns in their crops and leave.”
-Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Popularity is a bird. Anything with wings will relocate anytime. Gratefulness is a scissor. If you want a bird of fame to stay in your yard forever, keep cutting its wings with the blade of gratitude. Fame is the dust that flies off the tyres of the cart of attention that you are riding on. It will settle soon after your departure. Not all roads are unpaved and all rides are not dusty. The rain of circumstances can fall anytime and your cart can get stuck in the mud made of the same dust that you were proud to stir up. The jubilant tumult can convert into dejected clamour anytime.
The successful work day and night. Weeks after weeks, untiringly working odd jobs at odd hours just to follow their passion. They crave for acceptance, then for admiration and later for popularity. Once they get to the spotlight and the camera flashes, they try to hide from the very audience they were hungry to create. Lines are formed behind the boundary ropes and glossy windows. They avoid signing autographs for the same enthusiasts they were praying to find. They hire armed guards as a deterrent to keep them at bay. Stars begin to give contaminated smiles and adulterated waves to the fans. Even then, followers ignore insults & misbehavior just to have a peek at their heroes.
Being a success story requires an effort from the heart and being a fan takes passion. When the successful tries to take his audience for granted, their passion begins to shrink. Mere misconduct or arrogant behaviour usually turns the stanchest of fans away. Immodesty is the first sign of upcoming downfall. The energy between a follower and the followed is built on the pillars of emotion. One missing brick can collapse the whole castle. The relations that are based upon ardour are kept close to the heart. The stars shine down regularly and there are always new ones emerging from the very fall of the setting ones. The falling star leaves marks of opportunity in its stardust for the newcomers. In the business of stardom; I mean, in the celestial world, shining and dimming is a matter of routine and order of the day. Weathers are supposed to change and suns rise to set.
Popularity based stars set at the hands of their fans. At the avenue of their arrogance and at the roundabout of their short stature and narrow sightedness.
Golf is a great game, a wonderful ritual, and an excellent way to lead an active life. It is played in a series of beautiful gardens, in an immaculate ambiance, in sophisticated attire and with marvelous gear. However, a golfer sporadically encounters uneven roughs and unexpected injuries.
Today after the round, I proceeded towards the shoe cleaning platform to blow away grass & dust off my shoes and ankles. I had been avoiding going there ever since COVID-19 broke out. I reluctantly got there anyway. I twisted my right foot while I was cleaning my left one with an air hose, lost balance on the cleaning platform, and fell there like a dry leaf. All of a sudden a 200 lb golfer was a sack of meat, flat on buttocks with feet towards the sky and palms on the ground. That was a swing I never intended and a body turn I wouldn’t encourage any golfer to take. Now I know what a golf ball feels when it falls on a pavement. Why it protestently bounces to hide at the most unexpected places. It wants to sooth its bruises before it falls back in the hands of golfers. I, on the other hand, could not bounce back.
My fellow golfers rushed to lift me back on my feet. In order to hide the embarrassment I tried to camouflage my pain in laughter and jokes. Deep down I knew my golfing days were over for some time, because I am an experienced ankle twister. This ritual began during my trip to London in 2016. Next time I twisted on stairs at home in 2018. I remember twisting again the same foot in Willowdale golf club Scarborough, Maine in 2019. It usually takes 2- 4 weeks to heal. Luckily, this time I dodged a fracture and should not take that long to recover. We only fall when we do not watch our steps. When we trudge carefree and plod without caution. When our mind walks elsewhere and eyes wander away.
“Birds fall and falling they are given wings.”
Sportsmen fall in games and get up to run again. Whether it be a game of life or a sport, all those who play will fall at some point. It is getting up from a fall that matters. No one became a hero without falls and comebacks. Tiger Woods is a great example. Imran khan is another. Politicians fall in one election and get up in the next. Business men get bruised and recover. The path to the corridors in the castle of success goes through the streets of struggle that no one passes without fallings and failings.
There are many types of falls. Some holy, a few unholy, and others neutral. Parents of humanity fell from the heavens. Blessings fall on the fortunate. Rain falls to nourish. Falling stars decorate the dark sky. Love falls on the heart and lucky falls in love. Smile falls on some lips. Tears fall on cheeks. Prayer falls on palms. Leaves fall from a tree. Fallen seeds grow into a jungle. The bee falls on a flower. The river falls in a sea. Supposedly, a falling apple revealed the law of gravity to Newton.
Shower falls on the tired and the ball falls in the hand of the catcher.
Lucifer fell from grace. Kings fall from thrones. Sky falls on the unfortunate. Pity falls on helpless. Tyrant falls on the weak. Drunken falls on his face and a cheater falls on his knees. Cries of despair fall on deaf ears and sighs of innocence fall in the lap of justice. Who can tell who will fall into what next. Is it destined or is it coincidence?
We may fall in life but we must attempt to stand again. Believe me, the journey from ‘fall’ to ‘rise’ is one that few of us make and those who do so stand taller.
I will rise and shine again on the golf course in a few days. Initially on a golf cart or maybe in the arms of the practice range.
On the lap of the dark night there might sleep a bright sun. Behind the bright day there might be a moon waiting. The evening might hide a crescent in twilight. There may be worlds within tiny twinkles in the sky. A branch may hold a flower inside. A kiss may carry a disease on the lips. A hug may eradicate all the pain. Our dearest one may have the potential to hurt us the most. A mistake may open a door and a failure may breed a victory. We may find treasure in a word. One smile may grant us heaven. A love story may be swimming in tears. One step may end the entire journey. A lie can wash the trust away. The truth could unveil a mountain of deceit. A look in the eye may cost a life. One simple touch may crown you a king. One sigh may take your throne. One sentence can finish a book. One verse may tell a tale. A moment can change the course of history and centuries can go to waste.
Nothing is as it seems. The calm of the universe conceals a roar of the rotating stars. The cosmos holds the emptiness close. The book of existence presents an anecdote of death. The fresh page carries the used alphabet. A new couple falls for ancient passion, love. The method is young but the message is olden. The traveler is different but the destination is the same. Most surprises are just embedded in unawareness. Students graduate yet ignorance prevails.
Knowing more is the human aim and expanding is nature’s choice. Life flourishes on earth but we find no sign of it elsewhere. Why does it only spring on a tiny member of the Milky Way? Is life here a characteristic of the creator? I am grateful to be a part of that life that denies the emptiness around me. I might be here to train for someplace else.
“Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything.
Maybe it is about un-becoming everything that isn’t really you, so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.”
We never know what awaits us and where. Which leap will lead to whom. Any space flight may meet a counterpart from other worlds. No one has seen paradise but most of us strongly believe it is somewhere up there in the skies. Those who don’t know a line of geography, claim to know how to get there. Those who cannot sell a single carrot in this world, are trading real estate in heaven. They exploit the believers. Their pursuit of worldly desires do not spare true emotions like belief and pure passion such as faith.
Everything is possible as long as you are alive. The dead can not do a thing and what is the difference between half dead and partially alive? An addicted person is half dead and a hopeless one is partially alive. It is the hope that seeds progress and heeds invention. Is the seed a tree or is the tree a seed? There may be harmony in a jungle and a town can be disarrayed.
Who can predict the future and who can change the past? Who can stop the age and who can alter the history? Who can bring back the dead and who can mold the mist? It goes on. Humans can dare to find out what lies where no matter what are the odds. They may brag about their progress, prosperity, performance and procurement but their fragility is obvious. Their knowledge is limited. Their sight is short. Their capacity is humble. Their life span is brief. Their resources are meager. Their reach is narrow. Their conduciveness is restricted. Their thoughts are impaired.
Yes! But their aims are high. Their determination is infinite. Their struggle is tireless. Their hard work is unmatched. Their nature is laborious. Their fears are under control. Their aspirations are unconfined. Their hopes are high. Their observations are keen. Their ambitions are tall and their optimism is skyrocketing.
Humans have always made errors, learned lessons from them, repeated their effort, and recovered fervently.
What destination is that they don’t want to reach? And what success is that they don’t want to achieve? On and on it goes.
Who am I? Why am I here? Where do I come from? What is my purpose? When will I return? Whom I am to meet? How do I define myself? My mind carries these questions along, unsolved and unanswered, wherever I go. I seek answers in the bracket of faith, in the bucket of secularism, in the alleys of literature, in the court of science, in the closet of tradition, in the herm of mysticism, in the castles of history and in the field of the wanderers. For believers among us, such questions are encircled by the strict rules of organized religions. They avoid entering into the net of these questions and scientists on the other hand emphasize on supposed theories. We all try to hold on to the answers we were raised to believe. I, however, have created a window through the wall of scientific and clerical scriptures. I try my best to translate the traditional tales in today’s meanings and mostly I see vague and vacant impressions of myth and mystery. So I study my surroundings. I compare myself with fellow life-holders of this planet. The more I examine, the more questions arise. At face value, I find a few shabby pieces of evidence here and there.
One thing that persuades me is that I am not a natural inhabitant of planet earth. I come from somewhere else. Initially I would argue that my own skin is not designed to protect me from the earthly environment. I need external support in order to survive the ever rotating weathers of this adobe although evolutionists suggest otherwise. Additionally, all non human inhabitants do not require artificial assistance to survive the climatic vigor. Furthermore, I am distinctly different with regards to my actions, thoughts, and surroundings. One can easily differentiate a human house and an animal dwelling. Humans make changes at the place they live in, even if it is a cave. They improve and rearrange the environment accordingly. The pollution around us is the strongest evidence and our inventions are the brightest proof.
The search for the answers of these questions have led us to our present palisade. We are exploring our bodies, our universe, our cosmos. We are creating clouds of science and arts. We are approaching distances where no one has gone before and no one has dared to reach out to us. Our inbuilt inquisition, our ability to comprehend, our understanding of universal language, mathematics and industrious resolve has led us to fly out in search. in pursuit of the index finger raised by our forefathers towards the skies, we are riding rockets, meditating at Himalayan tops, ringing bells, calling for prayers, and sticking to our microscopes to discover what they were pointing at. What is up there? We will keep trying to find out. I’m doing so in my humble way.
When obsession possesses a mind, wisdom rests. Once devotion dwells in a heart, hope ‘homes’ in it. When determination bakes in the brain, destiny changes. If aspiration becomes your mate, dreams start to come true. When bravery begins to lead, the destination starts walking towards the traveler. Aim is half of deed and the first step is half of the journey. Only those who take off, reach. Sitters would not watch what’s on the way. Cowards can not tell the taste of victory. Sinners don’t exhibit the aroma of the pious and the rich do not know the trouble of the poor.
Life is mortal but phoenix in a sense. It continues in steps through its reproductive properties. One breeds another on and on. Life is finite individually but infinite collectively. Soul is sole but it confounds the whole, the divinity.
Is life a journey? Is it a trip? Is it a voyage? Is it a pause or a destination? Most of us on the road of life are deaf, blind and mute. We are here just because we are not somewhere else. Travelers without a destination, passengers without direction. One way to go through life is to think, to question and to reason. The other way is to listen, to obey, and to believe. Questions however, remain.
Golfer, Author, Poet, Entrepreneur, Blogger, and Wanderer
I golf daily, starting my day at dawn and I am frequently done with nine holes of golf around six o’clock in the morning. There are other early birds out there who leave their tracks on the dew and sing along the morning chirpers. I call them mist miners. How can I invocate the consecration of early morning to the sleep lovers? Its graces are countless and it has enormous rewards.
This week I have skipped golf four times due to some indispensable reasons. This article is about the side effects of sleeping through the morning and skipping regular exercise especially endeared rituals like early morning golf.
We miss out on many things when we wake up late. Spending a couple of hours early in the morning while condensation embraces the sleepy grass and clean air roams around the field like a morning alarm. The air quality app showing the index at healthy levels. When stars are too tired to shine anymore and the sun is still yawning. When birds begin to sing and mosquitoes are ready to retire. When day is about to break the shackles of a dark night. When roads begin to receive the impatient traffic and street lights wear out of beams. When light appears and darkness decides to move on. Morning joggers are tying their laces and sweep tractors are returning home. When divinity lowers arms to shower graces and blessings begin to bestow upon the awake. Anyone who is up and running at this time is doing nothing less than worship. It is a time when buds bloom and leaves grow. In moments like these fates change, destiny is rewritten, prayers are accepted and eyeglasses rime. One can rise before the sun to set late.
“The best way to make your dream come true is to wake up.”
– Paul Valery
Sleeping during mornings has its own prizes. Beds soar to the heights of heavens and blankets provide angelic hugs. Pillows become the lap of fairies and the sleeper transcends into a state of nirvana. Morning sleep is homily absorbing and heavenly zenic. The xenia of early morning snores surpasses any addiction and surmounts all kinds of intoxicating spirits to the extent that some people make it a mission to avoid waking up early at all costs. It takes a tank of will to get anyone up from this sort of paradise. Some have the determination mightier than cranes and stronger than all chains. Such is the resolve of an early riser that rouses him up from the bliss of his cozy quilt.
Johnny on the spot mostly beats the second sleeper in the game of life. Early rising and sleeping late are poles apart. Golfer’s mornings and sleeper’s dreams are antonyms. Staying awake is staying alive. Sleeping more is living less.
The invention of electricity and the internet have reduced the might of night and force of darkness. Most people, especially youth, like to stay up late. Nights of the present age have delights of their own. Many of the cities like London, New York, Cairo and Mumbai are known as cities that never sleep. Availability of all night trains, television, movies, night clubs, flood light matches, round the clock restaurant delivery and 24/7 fast food drive through, contributed tons to nightlife. Thus very few have time to celebrate the glory of dawn and the grace of early mornings. Even though many people wake up early, however most of them have miles to go to their jobs. They do get a glimpse of the awesome views of a fresh morning from the windows of the homes, trains, buses and cars. As a matter of fact that they do not stop to appreciate the prestige of the morning rather they join the stressful race to reach their offices on time. Unwise are those who have the luxury to enjoy such hours but still manage not to.
We are among the few lucky ones who can afford quality time in the arms of an early morning breeze. A round of golf at that time multiplies the elegance. I am so grateful and obliged to avail that extravagance. Morning time is adorably mesmerizing and breathtaking that once we develop a taste for it we would crave for more. The fragrance, the gleam, and the radiance of the day break is unexplainably unique. Morning hour is an aorta in the tunnel of time. It is distinctly soulful and vividly incarnative.
What is more overriding, love, lover or the loved? Love is a common aspiration cherished by the most but tolerated by few. Some of us are lovers and a few are loved. The strongest argument of love is patience and the best witness of patience is a smile. Love seeks sincerity, lover looks for rendezvous and the loved prides attention.
Not all ages and lands allowed love to roam free like today’s free world. In the era of clanism and male chauvinistic societies, love used to be a forbidden fruit. Females were covered and separated. It was indecent to look at the opposite sex and gender segregation was commonly observed. Education was scarce and certain professions were adopted by selected clans. Potters made pots and weavers produced cloth generation after generation. Instead of children going to school, they were taught ancestral crafts by parents and clans. There was no individualism at all; people lived by communal principles instead of any constitution. Communal rights were preferred over individual rights. Most clans lived under the supervision of their elderly leaders often chosen by the virtue of age. Only those leaders dealt with the governments on behalf of the clan. Youth accepted the authority of the elders and obeying parents was deeply venerated. It was almost the law of the land. People in general were very emotional and members of the clan were passionately bonded together. One man’s sorrow was the sadness of all. Inter clan marriages were unacceptable. Life partners were designated by elderly of the clan or the parents. In the name of the wedding of two individuals, two houses came together as family. From times immemorial others chose brides and grooms for the young ones. The husband and wife lived in the same house but not in the same room. Poor or rich, each house had two different quarters, one for ladies and the other for men.
It was an age like that when two crazy ones fell in love. This is a story that transpired in a delta of five famous rivers called Punjab. This unique piece of high-yielding land is the greatest gift of nature that is known as the food basket of the world. It is a mire soil where houses are made from mud and pottery from clay. Punjab is heavenly, fertile and naturally irrigated. It begins with the high mountains from the north and ends as a plain in the south. It was once the epicenter of the Indus valley civilization. It is a home of monsoon and the playing field of all four seasons: spring, autumn, winter, and summer. Nothing refuses to grow here. The flower of love is no exception. Despite strict taboos and curtailed norms, in the presence of curtains, covers, shawls, and burqas; love found its path to reach in the petals of a lover’s heart. Eyes played a vital role and became the beacon of beauty and affection. Pupils became the language of the heart and dreams provided the virtual rendezvous. Lovers sang the song of love in the guise of the folklores.
On the banks of river Chenab, there was a village namely Khewa adjacent to a town called Gujrat. There sat a palace, Rampyari Mehal. Underneath the palace was a great market for earthenware pots. Khewa was known for its unique clay and wonder potters. Pots were exported as far as merchants could take them safely.
In this tale a merchant boy descended from the snow tops of Uzbekistan. He was whiter than the avalanche and stronger than the peaks of Khazaret Sultan. He spoke a nonnative language and wore colorful woolen robes. His eyes were blue and radiated angelic currents. His name was Izzat Baig, a Turk name that means respect worthy. She on the other hand, was a fairy like daughter of a famous potter, more beautiful than the dreams of a poet.
She was tall, slim, and shaped like a cypress tree. Her hair touched her knees and her lips resembled a rose. She smiled through jasmine white gnashes and unfurl aromatic charm. Her artistic fingers needed no rings and her geometric curves dimmed stars. She was cuter than beauty and fresher than himalayan breeze. Their differences were immense, they spoke different languages but love knows no boundaries. It has a certain dialect that transmits through eyes. My pen lacks words to describe her anymore.
She translated her beauty in the art she drew on the neck of those carafes. The potter’s wife abruptly called her ‘Sohni’ the moment she saw her as an infant. Sohni, in Punjabi means very beautiful and she grew up to be so. He came to sell wool but traded his heart instead. He would return daily to buy those clay pots from her father. She would crave for his eyes inside the shop glossing her dreams into the art on the chest of the receptacles she made. He would find an excuse to return to her shop to evade his caravan fellows. Looking at each other fulfilled them both and they did not want to look elsewhere. The girls of Kiev are known as ‘Fairies of Kiev in Punjabi culture’ (“Koh Kaaf Ki Paryaan”). Izzat Baig, a noble of that vicinity could not survive the aura of Sohni’s charm. This itself is the proof of her magnificence.
This was the final trade for the merchant and she wanted to paint no more pots. Fragrance can’t be seen but one cannot hide it. No one can veil love and nothing can camouflage it. Love is revealed before it is concealed. Her father saw the spark before it could inflame his reputation in his clan. Imagine a father in a closed door society like that who’s daughter fell in love with a stranger from distant mountains. The dissimilarities between the couple of lovers were more exhaustive than the journey of the outlander merchant. Her father’s intolerance to her affection was heavier than currents of the Chenab. Soon Izzat spent all his money living in a foreign land and ended up broke. He took a job of water buffalo herder nearby. That’s why people called him ‘Mahiwal’ (buffalo herder).
Punjabi parents know only one cure to the infectious disease of love. That is to marry the lover to someone else. So did Sohni’s father. He forcefully married her to his neighbor’s son. Again a family marriage blessed by the elders of the clan. Izzat was prohibited from entering Khawa. He moved across the river and built himself a hut on the southern bank of Chenab. This marriage was not truly acceptable to Sohni; her heart was already with her lover. She was already craving to follow her heart. Her husband was a trader of earthenware pottery so he was traveling most of the time. She used to sit nights after nights on the north side of the river bank conceiving poems of separation awaiting Mahiwal, while he was singing songs for a darling across the river. She was growing impatient by the hour, cursing herself for not having learned swimming. One night she had an idea to cross the river. She knew as a potter that a baked pitcher can keep her afloat on water. The clay water receptacle became her regular mode of nocturnal floats across the river.
Night riders can not hide from the eyes of self proclaimed patrollers. Sohni’s sister in law became aware of her love adventures and decided to put an end to it before the rest of the clan found out. She saw her hiding a earthenware receptacle under bushes near her window. She was aghested by her unsolicited meeting with the lover across the river. One night she replaced the baked pot with an unbaked one with the intent to drown her in the violent currents of the mad Chenab. The container was a kind of life jacket for the swimming lover.
Mahiwal, completely absorbed by the love of his fairy, was destitute and aloof from worldly affairs. That night he didn’t have anything to offer his beloved so he took a piece of his thighs and cooked it for her. Turk hospitality does not make you a proper host without some sort of meat. He waited anxiously limping on that side of the river. She sailed on the receptacle her sister in law hid unaware of the incapacity of the pitcher on water. It began to dissolve quickly in the fast running currents of the river. She cried for help and Mahiwal jumped with his wounded leg. He swam towards her to save her; she was already drowning and he bled too much; both died hand in hand, disappearing in the south bound river never to return to the shore of life. Finally they were in each other’s arms embraced by the angel of death.
Sohni’s father Tullah who was trying to hide her love from his clan, failed to put a lid on it. Today it is one of the most sung love stories in Punjab. Sohni’s dialogue with an unbaked pitcher has become idiomatic in an amazing manner. Although their story goes through love end to dead end but it never comes to “The End.”
This story is a clandestine honor killing that surfaced later to become an eternal folktale of two innocent and beautiful lovers. As this story continues to shine in our beautiful land of five rivers, so does honor killing one way or the other.
Most of the novels, movies, tv dramas, and other modes of communication and entertainment strongly advocate love and portray lovers as heroes. When someone close to us, especially females, shows any signs of affection towards anyone, we try to ‘nip the evil in the bud.’ Our secular and religious laws do permit love marriage. It is the social and peer pressure that leads us to adopt methods of strictness and oppression towards lovers in our family. We’ve got to change either civil laws or the social norms to take one approach. Either we can completely ban love from our society socially and legally or we can allow it socially as our laws do. Hanging in the middle is the main cause for forced marriages or in some cases honor killings.
Law of the land, law of the community and law of the heart should coincide and combine in order to promote harmony and peace in a house, clan, guild, community, city, and society.
The morning today is hot and humid. Air is thick and heavy. Weather in the nineties Fahrenheit and pollution in a city of more than fifteen million further contaminates the environment representing the trailer of hell that provides a taste of perdition. On a break of dawn like that I am headed towards the golf course, sentenced to scorch in pursuit of inebriety of the sport. Intoxication of all sorts is harmful to human health but golf on the contrary is a great physical and cerebral activity. Of course it is an addiction yet an adorable one. The craving of friendship is hilarious and the affection of the supernatural makes one act beyond comprehension and contention. It carries something that only ancestors’ wisdom can narrate.
Today, I strive to explore a worldly view of a great story of submission and sacrifice. I do not intend to offend anyone; it is only a humble attempt to learn something from this unique parable. My upbringing teaches me a holy aspect of these biblical happenings. My quest on the other hand instigates me to look deep inside the lines in order to go beyond grandma’s version. Such a sacred description is full of attraction and demands attention. Why nations after nations have faith in this unbelievable fable and the holiest of holy narrates it proudly? Most sacred scriptures further emphasize it with zeal and respect.
A sixteen years old boy denounced by his father and community due to his radical belief that challenged theirs, faced the wrath of a ruthless ruler of the land who declared him as his archenemy. What saved Abraham from Nimrod’s pit of fire? Instead of fear, he fell in the fire holding firmly to his belief, in a state of gratefulness and walked out of it without a bead of sweat upon his skin. He held his head high while his enemies stared at him with eyes widened. My lesson from this is that the saviour is mightier than the oppressor. Belief at times can prove to be stronger than reason.
He had to migrate from the lands of his ancestors and adopt a life of nomads.The test of Abraham’s commitment didn’t end there. It further led him to put a dagger on the throat of his dearest son. Abraham never hesitated; he held the knife on his son’s throat piercing it with full force. His son neither showed any reluctance in his obedience to God nor displayed a sign of deterrence.
The ultimate belief of the father and son is revered to this date. The ram came later. It is not the fire and the knife that matters, it’s the discussion with the angel and later with his son that amazes me.
Abraham said: “My dear son, I have seen a vision from God in which you are to be offered in sacrifice by me. Now tell me what is your view?” His son replied: “Oh my father, do as you are commanded, you will find me, God willing, one of the loyal!”
He was shackled, his hand and feet tied with a chain and fitted in a giant catapult in front of a furnace. An angel approached him and asked him what he wished? He replied,
“I want my God to be happy with me.”
He did not ask for help and rescue. He had accepted it as God’s will. Both events have set the greatest example of obedience and consent throughout history.
Abraheem is the father of many monotheistic religions. There are a bunch of differences among Judaism, Christianity and Islam but their Abraheem is the same except the spellings. The story of Abraham or Ibrahim is a story of complete submission. I will spell him ‘Abraheem’ to take an individual and temporal ground.
Abraheem, the son of a sculptor who didn’t like his father’s work much and submitted to the unseen and unknown. He further accepted to burn in fire at the age of sixteen and was ready to sacrifice his son when he was a hundred year old. According to Islamic belief Ibrahim’s test continued, he received a command to take his wife and infant child to a desolate place in the middle of the Arabian desert and leave them there only in the care of God. There was nothing except sand and stone there. Later on a house of God called Kaba was built at this place. Today millions go there to perform pilgrimage. All upcoming prophets came from Abraheem’s bloodline. What a primordial role he plays in human development and what a reward for his faith and sacrifice. Billions believe in the teachings of his children and remember him in a tone of great gratitude in their prayers. The story of Abraheem flickers at the earthly mind that trusts reason, doubt and rebellion. It proclaims the importance of faith, belief and obedience. Let the brain explore and allow your heart to choose.
There is no flag to flap, no wind chime to tinkle, and no light house to point out the shore. It arrives unannounced; roars in silence, radiates in the eyes, and resides in a heartbeat. It springs smiles and it adores laughter. From writing songs to forming melodies, from speaking through flowers to glittering in the iris, it is a path camouflaged as a destination. It descends hilariously and leaves us in melancholia. It approaches in cheers and drains in tears. It flies without wings and walks inaudibly. Cherished by all yet satisfies none, produces pain that nourishes cries. It is a mute that is the talk of the town. A smile that needs no lips, a song that hearts sing, a fragrance beyond aroma, and a function without movement. It acts alone and affects all. It is a dance without steps. It is music without sound. It is smoke without a fire. It is a forest without trees. It is a current without an ocean. It is a star that is not in the sky. It is peace and a storm as well. To me, it is a hurricane of emotions. It demands devotion and requires sacrifice.
It shines and it is fine. It is love. We all adore it. That’s what we all seek. For love, saints choose celibacy and kings left thrones. Emperors built monuments like Taj Mahal and amorists happily accepted demise. The most glorious form of love in parenting. What a pretty process to protect and progress the pearl string of life.
Nucleus family unit consists of love. The love of divinity has produced the greatest stories of sacrifice, self restraint, and more.
History has seen volumes of humanity’s love stories. The picture below inspires me to find a celestial love story.
Our universe continually witnesses a love affair of two stars: the sun and the earth. This love story is millennials old yet remains fresher than ever. The sun keeps the earth close through the gravity of unshakable love. She (earth) on the other hand doesn’t want to leave her swirling worship. Such consistency and regularity on both their parts has never seen a single jolt in their relationship. This is a love that illuminates the darkest corners of our solar system and spreads warmth all around. He(sun) sheds a gracious light and she(earth) spreads a delightful scent to facilitate life. They both are absorbed deeply in each other’s ave. There are other hopefuls of the sun’s attention out there like Mars and Mercury but their chances are dimmer and slim. The sun attends them but not with the same affection. They either burn in jealousy or shiver in cold desperation. The sun endears the adorable earth in a milder environment of his fondness. When a part of her moves away from his sight he asks the moon to take care of her. The Moon also tries to seek her attention in secret. It changes many shapes from crescent to a round to no avail. However, she doesn’t bother taking her eyes off the glorious sun. He is handsome and powerful. He is mighty and bright. He is grand and glorious. She is pretty and pure. She is filled with life and beauty. She is faithful and a fairy herself. Their awe stands unmatched and nothing is missing in their relationship. Love knows no boundaries. After all what is love but gravity.
Trees are tall, mountains are steep, roads are curvy, temperature is 11°c, altitude is 8630.00 ft, rain is recurrent, clouds assemble here and people are friendly. It is the one and only Changla Gali. It is the summer mansion of a very dear friend of mine Mr. Shahid Mahmood. Although it is a ritual for me to make an annual journey here, just like a bee visits a flower. I was going to skip it this year due to the pandemic. However, his considerate call moved me to make my way up the mountains. The respect of friendship proved stronger than the perils of the pandemic and I was once again acting like a backpacker cordially attending his call.
Both of us respect this great heritage house very much, so would you. Once you see it. This is a historic property built in the early sixties, conceived by a British bride of a local lord. Mr. Shahid has maintained its originality to its every brick. Its geography is as unique as its facade. It is a qualification in itself to spend some time here.
Weather rotates here like a bicycle chain. It routinely changes gears. The diversity of weather up here plays a continuous game of musical chairs among the sun, rain, lightning, cold, and warmth. The clouds come to conceal the tall trees but they grow even taller. I haven’t seen cedar trees towering so high anywhere else. This is a forest village, home to many members of the pine family; kil and redwood are a few to mention. Lightning also tries to ablaze these tall dwellers of mountains but their sheer number makes their survival inevitable. Nothing can disturb the serenity of this paradise.
Wild daisies own these valleys and the hearts of local and tourist girls. If you ever visit this valley, don’t forget to wear a daisy crown on your head. Local kids are experts in making these headbands. Fuscia the dancing doll, hydrangeas, Pensy, petunia, and carnation are human contributions to the ambiance.
Monkeys are the naughty dwellers of these mountains. These monkeys are usually present near the roads to welcome tourists. If you are generous with them, they will eat from your hand. Bananas are their favorite and corn bud is acceptable. In dark and snowy nights one can also spot tigers looking for food nearby.
This mountain top has a bird’s eye view in all directions as if it is playing the role of nature’s watchdog. Rawal Lake and Pindi Point Murree are an eyeshot from here. We can also see the icy peaks of heaven on earth, Kashmir, on a clear sunny day without the help of binoculars.
I am writing these lines sitting in the BBQ Island of this manor. Sun dodged the procession of clouds that appeared in full might, I guess only to be mentioned in this article. In bright sunlight, I spotted a couple of butterflies flipping and kissing over the nicely placed flower pots. I tried to capture them on video. Let’s see if you can place them. The roads that bring you here are curlier than Goldilocks’ hair. Twisting and turning like belly dancers, these paths keep you at the edge, anxiously awaiting what’s around the curve.
My outdoor speaker is a regular companion during my travels and today it is airing Dire Straight in the background. I can hear him singing ‘Brothers in arms.’ I wonder how we can find time to wage wars on a heavenly planet like this. In my view, one lifetime is not long enough to completely appreciate the abode we are blessed with. The tranquility of places like this gives us a message of preservation and procurement of peace.
Doves, Lotus, white roses, Bogan Bail, clouds, fresh breeze, singing birds, Taylormade M6 and the beautiful Islamabad Club Golf Course, what a privileged beginning of a Monday morning.
In the vast valley of Margalla hills I take off on back nine at this twenty seven hole golf course. The dog leg hole number ten is a driving test. The golfer ought to hit straight, ensuring command as well as control on distance and direction or fly it over the jungle. I chose to hit straight in the middle of the elbow. There begins the whirlpool of back nine at this golf course. The ball from my second shot lands in the feet of a bogan bail loaded with red petals. I assumed it to be a welcome bouquet by Islamabad club golf course. There was room for an easy chip and putt. Those who know me are well aware of my obsession with sand. How could I bypass a nicely combed bunker?
The eleventh hole is slightly straight yet trees around it embrace this fairway tightly. I couldn’t understand why my ball was turning left despite a grand tee shot. As I approached the ball on the left edge of the fairway, I saw a congregation of fully blossomed lotuses. In great resemblance to Rumi’s swirling dervishes they were ready to receive me with open sepals.
What a reception by the course today. Next par three, hole number twelve is a junction of creek, jungle and bunker. This is a small, narrow, and naughty fairway. I was precise with the club and desired drop destination to no avail. The rough at Islamabad club is a jungle and here it is never easy to put a bridle on a hidden “jungli” inside me. I sometimes feel the horns emerging from my forehead in situations like this. I know one day the beast within me will go into this forest in hot pursuit of a golf ball, never to return again. Hole thirteen is also a dogleg. I had to concentrate on the game after my prior adventures in the jungle in order to refurbish myself back to civilization. A singing dove was trying to mesmerize me further into toxication. The next hole is small and consists of a hundred and twenty yards only, I scored a beastly birdie. Islamabad club likes to brag about its narrow bridges and hollow walkways. Hanging branches over the simly bridge and umbrella-like shrubs at the passage at the 15th hole made an attempt to grant a motherly shawl.
Hole Number fifteen is nothing but a wide waste of width. It is wider than the wind and fat like a beer belly. Only a real pheasant can hit over the boundaries here.
The image of a far away skyscraper in the lap of Margalla hills reminds me that I am very much in the middle of a civilization. I think to myself, either the designer of this club must have been a dog lover given the repetitive dog leg fairways or whether it was the topography of the Potohar plateau that inspired his design. Walking on hole number seventeen seems like a journey longer than life. Distant mirages of Margalla hills argue the endlessness of this fairway. Its vast width however is a carpet of hope that ensures that there is a flag post ahead. Once I frog to the final fairway, the fairytale forwards into the fright of the forthcoming working day.