Posted in Mysticism, Women

The Walk to Heaven

The ride home was dreary. It was dark. Was I feeling the dark? Or was it dark? I was not sure. I stared into the stars that were nothing. The drugs make me see lights. I liked lights. They twinkled. Like a jewel in a ring. Like the light in the eyes of a forgotten smile. They twinkled like the tears on a withering cheek.

I came back. To the car. To the ride. We were going home. From the clinic.

I did not see the point. What is the point? What is the point of it all? I promised myself, didn’t I? I said, if the voice in my head starts talking, I will walk. I don’t like it when the voice in the head talks. You see. There are two voices. The good voice and the bad voice. Good. Bad. Good. Evil. Evil.

That is what it was. The voice was evil. It had its own mind. Its own voice. Its own face. It was alive. In me. And it talked. Talked back. Told me things that I did not want to know. That were there but I did not want to see.

There was hardly any vehicle on the road. Or maybe, I did not see much. The lights were bright. A bit too bright. The driver kept driving as if that was all they ever knew. As if that was all that mattered. As if putting as many miles between themselves and the clinic would refute the proceedings of the past three hours. It never happened. Like it had not so many times before.

The old vehicle trudged on. The inhabitants were quiet. One dwelling on the miles covered. One smiling at the pretty lights. One very confused. It was dark but they kept going. They knew home was near. It had to be near. They needed it to be true. They needed that bit of comfort. So they travelled in silence, towards home, away from madness.

She was home. It was over. The relief should come any time now. If the taste of gun powder in your mouth can not help you bring relief, then only home should be that relief. She was home. It was dark. The lights still twinkled. She smiled.

She got herself out of the vehicle waiting for the relief to flood in any moment. She waited. She halted. Her breath came out in rasps. Where is the comfort? Why don’t I feel it? I am home. Home. Lights.

She turned. She had to walk. Walk to a place that would bring her comfort. It was home. The lights blinded her. Had the stars fallen to welcome her on her journey? Or did the angels fly down from heaven to encourage her to find her peace? Peace. Heaven. Lights.

She walked. The dead of the night did not scare her. She was safe. Unaware of where she was headed, but aware somehow nonetheless, she walked in the dark while the lights smiled at her. Down the hill, then up the other hill. Across the rough patch of mud and up the gravel steps, into a marble enclosure.


An old chandelier with cobs hung from the ceiling. Tiny lights twinkled in a mesh of green on the walls. There was more to smell than there was to see. Incense. Cheap but strong incense. So strong that you could swallow it. But she had little care for that. She was home. This was her home.

She gazed at the stately marble enveloping the tomb of the man who slept peacefully below. She saw him. She knew him. She was home.

She put her head on the dusty, red carpet littered with straw and closed her eyes. The last thing she saw was the green twinkle that filled her eye.

Posted in Being Someone, Women

Waiting for godo

I was brought up in a circle. A sphere of customization and conditioning that taught me to stay within the limits of the circle. The circle was a line etched around me. There I sat and waited my turn. My turn lasted a lifetime. So I sat there, because I was told to. I stayed within the circle and never crossed the marked line. I was told to wait. To wait for godo. So there I waited for godo. To come and help me walk the distance from one circle to another. The other circle was also marked out especially for me. There too I was expected to live a lifetime. A lifetime of waiting, till another godo came along to repeat the migration that happened centuries ago.

But this time, the new godo did not turn up. I despaired. I became desperate. The anger and the hatred boiled within me. I waited for over a century for godo but he did not come. The anger changed into something weird. Something I did not think would befall me. Misery. In misery I wept, in misery I moaned. The agony crippled me. I could no longer move.

Shrubs, roots and bushes became to grow around me. They thought I was like them. That I could not move. I belonged in the dirt within a circle etched out for me. Like the plants. I was made to fit in it. I still waited. Godo never came. Agony and misery made way for something new, glistening. The unspoken words of horror and anguish started to well up in my eyes. I was so tired of waiting, that I could no longer move a muscle to wipe what ran down my cheeks. My wait seemed to be useless now, for godo was not showing up.

I let the tears fall and let them become a well around me. It swirled like waves of the ocean, making complete rounds around me like I was some sort of a sink unplugged. The tears swished and swooshed. But I did not stop. I cried on for another century, because a tiny part of me still said that godo might come.

Then there came a time, when instead of the torrents of tears, locks of white hair took their place. Age had changed me. The water had run dry. Godo did not still come. My hiccups of sobs were replaced by a sharp breath of courage. The ground beneath me became my only anchor. The sky above became my guide. I wringed myself out of the roots and the shrubs that had found a place around me, prisoning me, strangling me. I broke free. Stood up.

I felt the hard ground beneath my bare feet. Godo had not come for eons till now, because godo was not going to come. He had never intended to. He never existed. It was an old woman’s tale. I looked over my head at the blue sky and for the first time in life, I smiled. I picked up my right foot and stepped outside the circle they had made for me. I was no longer going to wait for godo to help me. I was not going to wait more. I smiled yet again, beaming with my knowledge. I was the one I had been waiting for. I was godo.

Posted in Women

Dollhouse effect

In my final year of Master English I read a drama called ‘The Doll House’ by Henrik Ibsen. It was about a perfectly normal house wife who leaves her husband and kids to discover her true self.

At the still growing age of 21, I could not understand why an apparently ‘happy’ women would leave her abode and blood to instead look for happiness in herself. I took the paper and aced it, but I never ‘got’ what the drama was about, until now.

Five years later, when most of my friends made it to their ultimate dream of marriage and two kids, a husband and home, I realize that not a single one of them was ‘happy’. From morning till dusk they give, and the next day they give some more. Until, they have lost so many pieces of themselves, honoring the indefinable word ‘compromise’- that in the end there is nothing much left to give.

You know these women, they are around you; they are your sisters, mother, cousins, and probably even your wife. These bulging eyed, pale skinned, gapping mouthed creatures are formidable. A dying essence, which embraces its death smiling mistaking it for a decorated yellow thaal of mayon gifts.

Now, when I listen to the endless complains of my friends, I wonder if they know they do not live a life of their own. Some part belongs to the saas-susaar and husband, the other to children, a bit to parents, and whatever’s left to the remaining vultures that are not difficult to find.

In an attempt to fulfill social obligations and to make sure that their daughter’s do not bring them a bad name, from birth girls are taught to ‘endure’, bite their tongues if they have to but never ever ‘complain’ to a husband who is her ‘majazihe khuda’.

What  Ibsen  was trying to tell us in his celebrated drama in the late nineteenth century was that although women have duties to their families, they also have duties to themselves. This can be done by not necessarily leaving hearth. To know who you are, and to have a place for yourself in your own home and not treated as a plaything is the jist of the play.

The idea the Norwegian playwright put before his audience at the time was a growing concern for a deep thinker, a trend foreteller. It should not therefore come as a surprise that just a few decades later women in eastern countries started to have themselves recognized as a living entity and not a doll for play.

The young generation of present time in our part of the world is experiencing the dollhouse effect. Young ladies marry believing that ‘finally’ their life will be meaningful, better, enviable; they will be Princess Aurora and their groom Prince Philip who would come to kiss them awake to a life so beautiful that it will be castles and fairies.

I have known friends’ describe the unblinking reality of marriage as ‘falling from sky and hitting the ground- hard’. Their lives before marriage are determined by such remarks from family as, ‘you can complete your studies when your married’, ‘I’m sure you can do all your traveling with your husband’, ‘go out with your friends when your husband permits you’, ‘you can have a career once you’re settled’.

The weird thing is that for a woman in Pakistan her parent’s home is not her home but her husband’s house is. In some rural families daughters are told when betrothed that they will never be accepted if they ever return (as in case of divorce or separation) except in their coffin.

So, in our times and much before that women had no identity. Their essence existed in relation to a father, brother, or husband. For that reason, our women do not know who they are just by themselves. They are not an entity neither a reality. They are just vessels that deliver for those around them. They are not meant to live a life of their own. Their essence is that of an earthen pot without a bottom, used to channel water to irrigate the earth.

These are dolls, meant to be pretty. They are given dollhouses to look after and with these they play for the rest of their life. This is the only reality they are taught the only reality that they are expected to live, the only reality they are brought up to. Those that dare to step out of the puddles of norm, are shunned from society- these are the outlaws that attempted to think differently.

However, the youth of nowadays realizes that they are dolls in their dollhouses much earlier than their mother’s realized it. The reality hits home soon after the wedding lights stop glittering in dreamy eyes and it hits hard.  They learn that they were taught wrong. This home too is not their home. It is their husband’s and here the word of law is as announced by the mother-in-law or the man of the house.

The dolls do not get to live their dreams. They never get to complete their degrees, or have a life of their own, they can not travel alone, nor can they work because someone with more authority but who is not necessarily wiser said so.

The question that really needs answering is that whether a mass of talking walking meat that takes up some space of this universe does in fact have an essence of its own when the whole world claims owning it but the only one who does not have a right to it is herself? What I get from Ibsen’s play is that you are but a porcelain ‘doll’, not even a human till you have owned yourself.

To own is to know, to know is to ‘live’.