Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Call to return

"Watch your steps",  Papa said, while leading the way towards the grave. I made my way past the bushes, firmly holding the hands of my sister. It was a small walk from the road where Papa had parked the car, yet it seemed like eternity walking through the narrow lanes. It was not busy for a Sunday evening, I thought, Yeah well, but who visits graveyards on weekend?

"This way", papa said as I looked ahead and saw him standing at one of the graves in the corner of the narrow lane. I led my sister towards the grave, releasing her hand only when she had found a place to stand near the grave. One long gaze at the headstone evoked a deep emotional buzz inside me. There he was, my Dadajaan. A loyal husband, a hardworking Banker and a loving father. While we offered our prayers, a little kid, probably the son of the caretaker, busied himself washing the headstone with water. As his small hands rubbed the headstone, I remembered how Dadajan would take a bath early in the morning, sit me in his lap and make me have parathas with cream. Gone.

Everything ends. People go. Life stops. Somebody just comes once in a blue moon, removes pebbles and stones away from the grave, gets it cleaned, places flowers and leave.

How many of us have ever thought of death that way, we all accept that we have to leave and we will die, but I haven't seen many people actually talking about it the other way. Lying amidst the bushes, dark, quiet and suffocating...

 "If you all are done, Ama's is on the other side", Papa said while we quickly kissed the headstone and followed him. I should have bought a tissue paper, I thought to myself. Its not that I have never being to the graveyard before, its just that with age, I have become more emotional towards relationships and people.

Dadda- my grandmother rested in a more open and spacious section of the graveyard. I remembered her fondness for jasmine and roses, as I placed the petals on her grave.

I prayed and prayed, kept on praying, remembering the days when they were alive.  No matter how many differences you have, blood relations have a natural magnetic attraction that can evoke your emotions anywhere, anytime.You may chose to live with your parents or away from them but you cannot break the bond.

Someday, someone will come to visit my grave too. Place flowers and remember me. That person will go back to the world and I will rest there, alone.

If only we all knew that alone we came, alone we will go. Leaving behind everything that is dear to us, pictures with friends, unread books on the shelf, harsh words, unread text messages, clothes, jobs, cars, everything.

What is it that will go with us? I don't know.

I like the way all of us like to say, " I have a very strong connection with my Lord", "I don't practice religion but I am very close to my creator, in a spiritual way". Yet, not many of us are so easy about the idea of death. We don't talk about it, neither do we think about it much.

Looking at all the graves with beautiful names and statements written on the headstone, I felt like some of these people might have been tycoons, beautiful social ladies, men with money, some with style. Pity, their final resting place does not authenticate their lifelong struggle or personality. 

Sometimes, you get stuck with reality in odd places, this was one of the moment, where life stood still and my brain stopped working, it was my heart that responded, "Call unto Him, and He shall respond".

I did call, I did contact. In the serenity, I could hear my heart pounding, and thousand tears followed my heart's direction, downwards.

"Bow down, prostrate, right now". I heard my heart telling me continuously.

 "If it's You, I have to return to, its better that You be my friend, If it's You, who will be there, who is there right now, watching, listening, hearing, then don't leave me alone, when everyone else does, be patient with me, hold my hand, guide me, forgive me, love me, befriend me. For its You who created me, so don't turn away from me". 

The call for Magrib prayers broke the stance, as we silently walked towards the car. 
Another call, Another chance.

-- Yusra Farah Hussain