Onto The Dreamers Path

With their hands full,
they build elaborate locks and gilded cages,
to house the heart and soul.
While the dreamer,
builds a little key,
to escape,
onto the dreamer’s path.

by SHENAZ WAHID

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Every Dreamer has at some point had to build a key out of his own imagination, one that allows him to step out of the mould and step onto his path.

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A Trick By The Angels

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

17

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.

Why We Dance

We dance to play music with our bodies,
We dance to feel the freedom we know is rightfully ours.
We dance to surrender wounds to the strumming of guitar.
We dance to hear the song within ourselves.
We dance to give movement to the love we feel.
We dance because the earth is always singing.

by Shenaz Wahid

Meeting India

India, You will meet her, not in newspapers nor in a movie, not an idea or fantasy, not in her texts nor what the journalist, moviemaker nor prejudice says, not in fables or documentaries.
You will meet her on the open road, where magic, beauty and dust from the earth, whirl up to collide. You will meet her in conversation with her people.
You won’t find her solely in her famous crowded cities, nor in the disparity of poverty and wealth upon her land, nor in the strange blend of ignorance and knowledge.
You will meet her in the fiery strength that hides in the weakness. In an unknown face that walks in an unknown village in a staggering mountain, deep in the desert wind, by her verdant forest, gushing rivers and her endless ways.
You will meet her if you forget everything you’ve been told she is.
You will meet her when you embrace her with your heart

by Shenaz Wahid

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Faith in the Desert

It was of little use to have big dreams in a place with little means to achieve them. It was futile, but Razia’s grandfather had told her otherwise and she believed him.
He was after all a very special man.

The women here are intelligent, ambitious, yet there isn’t a place for them to pour their energy nor exuberance. They are eager to learn that universal language that history and time had chosen, that language that stopped them from being a part of the modern world; English. Their own language of course is rich, the use of which could paint unimaginable poetry and imagery from the soul, but it was only of use to their own. The world would listen only to the voice it understood.
If you were a traveler passing by this village deep inside the desert in Rajasthan, you would smile at their lovely faces and modest clothing splashed with color. The eyes of the women, hiding their vast dreams in the boundless desert of their heart. You may take a photo with your phone, that the children will delight themselves for hours with, should you let them play a few games. You may see them and yet not see them, for if you stop to ask, you will find people eager to dream greatly, to learn, to dance, searching for possibility. One thing you will find undoubtedly here, as you would find anywhere in this world; is the hearts of the young women eager to love.

Every girl had a story, of the boy she adored from the same village or the next one, yet here you didn’t speak of these things openly, you told the other girls, but not the boy and never your own parents. They would chose suitably for you.
Razia was no different and yet she was. She had fallen terribly in love with a young man from the next village. A story doomed from the start, one to be silenced and held only as a great yearning in the heart. He was soon engaged to a woman in his own village and that was that!
Razia’s grandfather was a great mystic and a saint, a title he never bestowed upon himself, but one given to him by the people who so adored him. He himself, was always engaged in communion with God, but when people spoke to him, they found in his words meaningful answers to their questions and so they came from all over the village.
He asked them to reach out to God themselves, but when he had something of value to share, he happily did so. His words were always simple,
“Don’t go searching outside yourself asking this person to that one, about who you are. Believe in the pure open space in the desert. Sit here quietly praying and you will have your answers.”
“You must never seek revenge, If you do so, there will be noise and that will be all. If you have been wronged, seek no revenge and one day God will deliver the truth and it’s echoes will be heard by all.” He had asked Razia to have faith in this pure space in the desert where his body now lay buried. The granddaughter of the great mystic said a prayer. She told God of the great love she had for this young man and
Quietly in the open desert she let him go…

A year passed when her father brought to her door a wedding proposal.
Razia rubbed her eyes in utter disbelief to see her love standing before her. Her father had never known. For a reason unknown, the engagement had been called off and Razia’s father who travelled to the next village thought the young man would be a perfect match for his daughter. Faith paved her path. In the traditional Indian wedding, a few tears are shed when the girl parts with her family. Razia couldn’t help not caring for such tradition and no-one smiled and laughed greater than her.

by SHENAZ WAHID
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Yoleen and Aaray

When I looked into her eyes, I saw that there in lived a thousand stories of love and war, heartbreak and hope, kindness and disillusionment all whirling around in the same ocean.
Since every young Israeli is bound to go to the army, she found herself posted at the border where she says she saw young Israelis return home from the land called India with ‘shining eyes’. Their eyes made her wonder what lay beyond and in a moment she made herself a promise that she would one day head in that direction.

When we first begin to speak in Manali, it was because Yoleen told the waiter to mash some garlic in warm water to soothe the sore throat and cold that I was complaining of.
A friendship formed slowly and yet deeply between Yoleen and I, as we walk through the pine forests speaking of our dreams. She is a teacher and this is her dream. For the longest time her parents who would rather have her work at the brilliant job she had, found it hard to accept, but Yoleen who loves children, unrelenting became one. And yet she had to come out here because she was journeying, searching for something and quite what she didn’t know yet…..

While she had learned the art of self-defense in the Army she still didn’t know how to defend her heart, wearing it on her brave sleeve. The last year had been heavy on her with her apartment getting burned down and heartbreak, that tricky thing that’s a part of life.

*****

I journey on and so does she and when I meet her again for dinner in McLeod Ganj, there is a man sitting beside her called Aaray, whom she happens to meet by chance. Aaray was here in search of a lost dream. A lost love, an Englishwoman called Dilayla whom he met in the very hotel where he is now staying. He has her number and her facebook but he wants to use none of these to contact her,
leaving it all to fate, but fate was working by the one who created fate.

Aaray does not meet Dilayla….  but he does meet Yoleen living right opposite him as his next door neighbour at the very same hotel. A conversation that starts over sharing a light turns into exploring the mountains together, unravelling the many sights that the magnificent mountains hold.

Aaray is a history teacher most fascinating to talk to with his deep insights on everything imaginable.
I ask them about the strife in Israel and Yoleen is replete with stories.
“When I was a child, they would announce for us to go into the ‘safe room’ in the house and put on the mask, when they knew the missiles were about to be fired. And we would go in there really scared, put on our masks and wait. Our parents who were so used to it, would step outside to watch and point to the missiles flying overhead and say, “No not here, it’s heading across to the other side”.
She says all this in such a humorous way, that ironically we all laugh.

Aaray is losing his eye-sight and this is impossible to tell. I only notice this when I stick my hand out to say goodbye one night after dinner and he does not reciprocate. I start waving my hand about in front of his face, until someone kindly points this out to me. He has been an athlete growing up, running on the football fields since he was a child.
“Yoleen I’m a mess.”, says Aaray who is not coping so well with the fading eyesight.
“All I see is a beautiful man with so much love to give the world.”, comes her reply.

The last time I see Yoleen is with a pink setting sun, a Simon and Garfunkel song to which she is singing along and a cup of cinnamon tea. Tears run down her cheek as she tells me Aaray is leaving back to Israel.
After two weeks it is time for Aaray to head back home and for Yoleen to continue her journey. She says she must journey on because she came here for her.

******

A month after she leaves back to Israel, she writes to me saying,
“Aaray lives an hour away. I just came home after a cup of coffee”,
six months later, “So we’re moving in together” and just a little later, “travelling with Aaray.”
And now 2years later her last message to me goes something like this,
“We’re getting married in the Mountains. You have to come.”

I think of the distances that all of us travel for love and God’s brilliant hand in our lives. If it wasn’t for one cigarette that needed to be lit, they wouldn’t have come together.
The hotel, the cigarette and they themselves needed to be in the space of time.
Even before she met Aaray, she says, “I know this one thing; the Yoleen that came to India is not the same Yoleen that goes back out.”
She tells me that when I finish writing my book, she will read it to him.

by SHENAZ WAHID

Fire

Fire is the star’s dreaming and the sun’s breathing, 
the earth to life.
Fire is the volcanoes seething,
as it spews forth its molten hate.
Fire is fury ravaging,
entire forests with its desire for revenge.
Fire is the warm blood of hope coursing,
in the river beneath our skin.
Fire is passion dancing,
between the lovers naked bodies.
Fire is what the walls of hell are made of.
Fire is the light of candles glowing,
in an altar full of blessed prayers.
Fire is the spark shining,
in the eyes of that one.
Fire is that protector,
in the dark night full of beasts out in the wild.
Fire is at once sacred and feared.
Fire warms the bread and sears the desert.
Within you sits a fire burning,
and what you choose to do with it,
is entirely upto you.

by SHENAZ WAHID

Hardwork

Hardwork has a stereotype.
An “office or a place” you go to and put in “x” hours and finish “x” amount of work.
I’ve often heard it being said, either with pride or respect “He/she is such a hardworker”, but I’ve begun to wonder What does that word really mean?

For Beckham hardwork is hours of tossing and playing with the ball. For Mozart, its endless hours on the piano creating new tunes. For a dancer its endless hours of training her body in movement. For a singer, its endless hours listening to music, practicing with their voice and messing with the guitar. For a painter, its staring for hours at things and then playing with colors to capture it on a blank canvas. To the photographer, it’s the endless clicks on his camera. To the designer, it’s playing with lines and bending them to create new form.
To the gardener, its hours of meddling with the soil.
To the journalist, its being out in the world, capturing what’s happening in words and pictures. They ALL “work hard”.
And for many its travelling endlessly to unearth new treasures, meeting people and being inspired to create something new; an idea, a piece of Art or a new way of working even!

I think its high-time we redefined that word, not as something that tires us, making us weary and exhausted, not without reason or passion.
And be saluted, why? Neither should it be revered aimleslly. Someone could put in endless hours at a job that means nothing to them, just because they feel important only by “staying busy”. Even if being busy has no greater purpose.
I don’t think the same rules apply if you’re a filmaker or a gymnast.
Hardwork isn’t only an office. It’s giving all that you are to what you love, to your purpose and reason for being here on earth, to your dreams. It’s time to respect that word when it’s endless hours of passion in motion, whether its in the office or the playground that is, this beautiful delicious world.

I’m all for the discipline, dedication and enthusiasm that any task requires, neither am I against the office.But it’s time we expanded our limiting definition of that word.
Rumi says “Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.”
I’m saying lets respect every heart’s unique desire.
It’s time we respected everyone’s definition of hardwork. Heck its time we respected everyone’s own unique definition of everything!

by SHENAZ WAHID