“If you are thirsty, there is only one thing to do, to drink water, this path is that water.”, said the man stubbornly.
“Surely you are right. If one is thirsty, one must drink water, but this water can be drunk in so many ways. Water can be sipped from a crystal jar, from an earthen mug, from a waterfall, a stream, a river. It can be transformed from the ocean, melted from ice and it can flow from the tap.
It matters not how we reach this water, in our own way.
She arrives just in time to save me from a ferocious wild dog on my lone trek and seeing I am shaken, she offers me tea.
I accept and she leads me through a low labyrinth of trees, working their way to her house. She steps in and commands her husband seated quietly in a corner,
“Go Make her some tea!”
He looks reluctant and his reluctance arrives in heap fulls of sugar in my syrupy black tea.
I realise the only word we have in common is “chai” (tea) and we don’t speak the same language.
She asks about my life or I think this is what she asks me and I tell her for ten or fifteen long minutes.
She nods patiently, endearingly and at the end of it laughs uproariously and says she hasn’t understood a word.
I catch one word “thumbi” and say yes I have a brother. I point to the image of Mother Mary in her room and say that I love her too.
She understands this and squeezes my hand affectionately.
Then she gives me fruits from her garden for my walk ahead and a flower for my hair.
She has only one request in return, that I take a picture of her horse before I leave,
her most prized possession.
The Rain walked upto me, marching with her wet, cold feet and asked if I want to know her secret.
“Yes”, I cried in surprise and lent my ear to her watery breath and eager moistened lips.
The wind leaned in for he was just as curious as I.
She said, ‘Listen, Rain and tears work the same way.
One clears the heaviness of the sky and the other clears the heaviness of the heart. Every once in a while, they must clear.
The sky isn’t ashamed of its yearly storm, its unrestrained lightening, thundering wails and I, pour and pour. You are also children of the Earth,
And have no reason to be ashamed for when your eyes fill with tears of sadness and pain, from the storms of your heart.
The rain walks the earth and perfumed wildflowers grow, waterfalls flow.
The sky cries and you quench your thirst.
Your heart too grows wildflowers of every colour and resplendent waterfalls flow from the cracks, if you allow tears to empty the sky of your heart.
There is no shame, only beauty.”
And then the Rain walked away and left me and the wind, with her secret and a curtsey to her friend, the rainbow.
A nice likeable fellow, with clothes made of light.
We are sitting around a table.
A man is convinced he has found the philosophy which is the elixir to life.
He may be right, for the idea he speaks of is a beautiful one, but then he insists it isn’t just an idea, it is the idea.
The only one.
There is only one right philosophy and he knows it.
A palpable tension begins to travel around the table. A few people shift uncomfortably in their seats.
He asks, “What do you do when you are thirsty?”
Someone answers, “You drink water.”
“Yes there is only one thing to do when you are thirsty. This philosophy is that water,” he says.
I want to join the uneasy silence, but I can’t help but disrupt it with a thought that is burning within me, “Yes, when you are thirsty, you must drink water, but water can be drunk in many ways, from a waterfall, a river, a crystal jar, an earthen pot, a glass cup, water harvested from the rain, water transformed from the sea, water from melted snow, water from a tap, a stream and a well. It seems there are many ways to drink the same water and quench one’s thirst. Aren’t there?”
What would the clouds be,
without the winds that move their heart?
The waves without the moon,
a frozen sky,
The sun without the naked earth,
he kisses with lips of light?
What would man be,
He is the kind of beautiful that soothes the soul.
He isn’t the perfect angular beauty, that evokes curious wonder.
The light clings to his eyes, calls them home.
Kindness and stories await their birth on the curl of his lips.
He has seen defeat, but his spirit stands undefeated.
He has been disappointed by love and life, and still has the courage to believe in them.
He is the kind of beautiful,
that even time doesn’t dare to tarnish.
When the crowds leave,
you to yourself.
And the music has dimmed,
it’s celebratory sounds.
Does your silence weep,
or does it smile?
by Shenaz Wahid
While nature and prayer, carry a deliciously sweet silence, the silence I speak of in this poem, is the one we meet at the day’s end, the one that is revealing.
My silence has both smiled and wept, when life has willed.
Heartbreak too was a blessing in disguise,
As beautiful as one,
I couldn’t have imagined for myself.
A trick by the angels,
Impelling me to find worlds,
I would not have otherwise known.
by Shenaz Wahid
I wrote these words at twenty-two when I exprerienced my first hearbreak.
There was beauty in that loss retrospectively because it cracked me open deeper to myself and my dreams.
May we find the beauty in our every wound.
May our wounds shine, in time.