Love, pride and fear

“I believed in love. I put all my faith in it and I’ve been completely disappointed, hurt and humiliated. I can’t possibly put myself through it again. I’d be foolish to risk my heart, sanity and everything that I am all over again.”, uttered Kris

“I should be practical now. Focus on my dreams, build my career, after all it’s more reliable than another unpredictable human being. I can be wealthy, travel, spend time with friends, have fun, make something of myself and surely enough I will have someone to share life with.” he says, his eyes betraying the words his lips just uttered. He wants to share life with someone, but he’s tired of love’s heart-shattering complexities.

And then Kris shared his story. “It’s been three years she’s been on my mind, but I just can’t tell her. I was at work when someone had baked this amazingly delicious cake. I took a bite and asked every one who made it. They all pointed at her. When I saw her for the first time, I stopped in my tracks. I’ve seen a lot of women but this was different. What I feel just being in her presence……. She’s kind, radiant and like no other.”
” What?? Three years and you haven’t told her, why?? you have to tell her.”, I say unable to contain my expressive self.
“No, do you not remember how it ended with my last girlfriend? What if she doesn’t feel the same way? What if she says no? I don’t want to hear it. What if she has someone one else? I really can’t put myself through the pain or rejection again. Then again not everyone gets what they want.”
“No,you get what you ask for and what you believe you’ll get, if you risk everything to get it, and that includes your heart.”, I say.

I sound so confident, so full of faith but I’d be lying to him and myself if I said I hadn’t experienced the same stone-cold fear, deep aching hurt and terrifying confusion after my first heartbreak. I was 21, my heart ripped open that I turned over to God who with time and his majestic love, made it whole again. He taught me that only those who had the power to touch our soul, had the power to break it open in such a way, that only then could we ever peer into it and slowly over time discover it’s power, magic and love. Only then would we listen to its dreams, truths and what it yearns for. Only retrospectively can I understand that it was a blessing I had deemed as a curse.

Consider this my dear friend, God does with the human heart what he did with the world’s most magnificent mountain ranges, The Himalayas; the earth lay low, resting blissfully in the sun and for no particular reason, He decided to disrupt the peaceful lands with a mighty earthquake. The earth would have let out a long terrified cry, confused as it trembled, but from it was born the world’s mightiest mountains that towered into the sky. Only such utter disruption could allow the earth’s mighty heart to reach into the clouds. I know you’re afraid my friend. Believe me in one way or another we all are. I sure as hell am for my own heart, but there’s an awesome invisible hand leading us through the mystery, that we must trust.
You have but one life (one that you know of anyway) and you must express the love it feels, no matter the outcome. If you believe, you will one day triumph.
Tell her Kris, tell her!!

by Shenaz Wahid
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The Italian baba

“Have you ever been in love?”, I ask the Italian baba living on the hilltop we had walked to, after debating for a while with myself if it’s the right question to ask the holy man.
“Yes, many times”, comes an easy reply with a smile.
“Have you ever loved one woman more than the others?”, I ask again
“Yes, I lived with her for 7years before I came here.”, he says, as he hands me the biography written on him by the Italian writer Falco Terzani titled, “A Piedi Nudi sulla Terra” or “Naked footsteps in the earth.” as if to say, you’ll find all the details in here curious young lady.

Mia my new German friend suddenly asks, “Is jealousy in love, just a product of the ego and the mind?”
“For sure.”, he replies falling back into the silence, never speaking more than he is asked nor supplying us with any great wisdom on life.
“Do you ask him that question because you have experienced jealousy in love?”, I ask Mia.
The Italian baba is now poised between a smile and a laugh as we women confront each other.
“Yes”, says Mia.
“I have too.”, I say.
Lini nods as if to agree while Mia says, “I suppose we all have at sometime.”

It’s the beauty of sharing emotions, not just the beautiful ones full of light, but also the dark ones we’re asked to hide. When you share them honestly, you realize that everyone feels just the same as you do.

The Italian baba doesn’t come across as an enlightened man far beyond human reach, but very unafraid to show his emotion and so all the more interesting. Interesting enough for BBC to film a documentary on him and his biography due to be translated in English soon. Although he is a recluse, people sought him out over the mountain, to know his story, which brought me to the question, “So then what are you doing here on this hilltop, in the forest?”
If he had loved, what was he doing here alone for over 58 years in India?
“I came here in the last hippie caravan from the states. We were the last hippies standing. I felt drawn here. It felt right to stay.”, he says simply as if I should have all already known this, before I came here.
“Do you miss Italy?”, I ask.
“I was just there a month back.”, he says smiling and gets up to recite effortlessly fluent Sanskrit chants for his evening puja, after having passed around and shared a strong joint of marijuana with his Shiv-bhakts.

I came back home to read contradicting statements on him such as, “He’s an amazing being and so very special.”to “He’s a fake.”,
Whatsoever be the truth, I admired that he answered my question with perfect honesty. He just was, sitting there, his lips poised between a smile, intriguing us. It was we, who were curious enough to have sought him out deep into the woods.

As the sun drowned over the hills in Hampi, we walked back before it got too dark and the conversation deepened with the girls, just by sharing one little doubt, one little question. And just like that, I understood love if only for a glimpse deeper.
I was able shed a layer of fear right there, simply by sharing what I feel.

by SHENAZWAHID

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A painting of The man.

44 01-19-2010
Igniting a light.

Meeting fear in the dark lake

Dusk was soon handing herself to the dark and the three of us are standing on the rocks by the lake.
The lake which has a signboard outside saying, “Beware of crocodiles.”
The villagers say it is a hoax, so that the tourists will swim in a nearby beach whose shops can profit.
We ourselves had swum in the lake, the previous day in the sun’s company.

But right now is completely different.
The rocks casting dark shadows in the darkness that deepened every second, brought alive all our fears.
The crocodiles, whether or not they were hiding beneath those deep black waters, were alive in our imagination, lurking somewhere far beneath, waiting.
It is all so beautiful as long as we are standing outside, looking at the sweeping landscape begin to dream in the night, but we had come here to jump in.

Wasi heroically says something about swimming to a far off rock and back, but quickly changes his mind.
“So I’m going to have a smoke over it.”, says Tanzim as he sits down on a rock to light his cigarette.
We are all staring at the water when Wasi says, “Look there, the eyes staring out.”
“What? Where?”, we ask. It was his attempt to get us to completely change our minds. A cup floating in the water appears as the crocodiles snout and by now there is no way I’m jumping in either. There is not a soul far in sight but for the three of us and the crocodiles in our mind.

In one crazy moment, I ask my guardian Angel to protect me. Wasi runs and dives into the water first and I follow him. Pitch black bottomless darkness within.
We swim out in a matter of seconds.
Me and Tanzim jump in the second time, and the manner in which we jump back out, both throwing ourselves at Wasi, arms and legs beating the water madly, to get us out, is beyond hilarious.

We laugh hard as we ride into the stars and the rice fields, our bodies and hearts soaked in the lake’s sweetness, feeling more alive than ever.
Even if just for a few moments, we had dove into our fears to find they were silly voices in the head, that die the moment we embrace them. As I turn back to look, while the bike drifts through the road back home, fireflies ignite the path.

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