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.
by Shenaz Wahid
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.
by Shenaz Wahid
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