Have you ever wondered how the first day of this year felt just as if you had stepped into it yesterday; and before you even know it, you’re almost halfway through those 12 months? It’s something that I’m sure strikes most of us so often but, like every other pensive thought we brush it off and indulge in matters of “utmost importance”. For instance, catching up with the next season of “Friends” for the umpteenth time, or instant messaging gibberish with the same old friends who we left an hour back in school, thinking that we have meaningful relationships and are not alone when in fact, we are just curled up in the corners of our rooms. To surmise, we are mesmerized with the idea of subconsciously and purposelessly waiting for death as it drags antithesis to the second hand of the clock. Such a life, right? I’m certainly a victim of all that I’ve mentioned and I can’t claim to not see this trend instilling itself in others. Some beautiful souls of the present generation have resisted this leviathan of a gadget life that is drowning us into the ocean of waste and have emerged above us all. Their minds are not clogged with superficial trinkets and they’re OUT there (pun intended) making a difference. I don’t think it’s too late for us (especially, me) to do that too. We as a generation are far too selfish. But I really wish to absolve myself from this burden.
I, albeit being the eldest of my siblings, am youngest in the family. Having been adopted by my grandmother ever since I was 2 months old, I was brought up by my grandparents and my aunt. As elder as my grandparents were then, they’ve only grown more frail with the passing days. But Allahumma Barek Alayh, they’re still far more active and productive than I could ever imagine to be. Partially, because they don’t know how to use cellphones and laptops and can manage with conventional means and still manage to do better than us. However, with each passing day, with all their close relatives and friends leaving them by treading their journey towards the Afterlife in their graves, my grandparents too are suffering from loneliness. The most painful bit is when they themselves are aware that Malik-ul-Maut is going to knock on their doors very soon. Sure, it’s easy to say they’ve lived a good life, but isn’t it that they’ve a heart too? With their children managing their families and their grandchildren (including myself) submerged in the virtual social life, who do they talk to? It occurred to me when I was weeping while watching the epic “Brookes was here” scene from the Shawsank Redemption on repeat and I realized that we have our ignored “Brookes” in multiples within the vicinity of our place. Overwhelmed by all the emotions I experienced as poor Brookes committed suicide, I decided to sit with my grandfather during my study break to simply talk to him. Little did I know that I would be fazed with him spilling a treasure of stories, ideas and knowledge that I never bothered to acquire. I couldn’t talk to him for more than an hour as I had my dreadful semester exams right around the corner, but what made me penitent was when he thanked me for talking to him and how he couldn’t share it with people as they wouldn’t understand. I felt utterly ashamed of myself for being such an ignorant grand daughter. Nevertheless, just like the kind of people I had mentioned earlier, I let that rueful moment wear off as I drugged myself with the elaborate course of medical school until day before yesterday.
It was around 3 o’ clock in the afternoon when I heard my grandfather’s voice muffling through the walls of his room. Curious as I was, I placed my ear on his bedroom door to peek into what he was intimately saying. And what I heard utterly took ma aback! Within the the darkened room, he was giving a powerful speech on history, politics and partition times. His words were impregnated with a fervor ever so idiosyncratic of him. I immediately hopped in his room to see he was doing it all alone. It again saddened me while exciting me simultaneously and I heard him out. It was only after that I realized that as he’ll turn 88 tomorrow, Inshaa’Allah, the best gift I could ever him and myself would be to spend at least an hour of a day with him. Away from the meaninglessness of the social media and dangling friendship. Just for a start. Inshaa’Allah. I’ve some activities planned with him and I hope to execute them so that maybe, JUST maybe, I try to make up for all the times I ignored the happening world residing within his chest and maybe rise above the abysmal version that I presently hold of myself. Hopefully, throughout the process, the next half of 2015, as it gushes past by us, is marginally turbid with some meaningful memories that even if I try, can’t be let gone. Ps: A little figment of his mind if you wish to read. His poetry about his village.