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,
by Shenaz Wahid
We are walking down the trail in a little village deep in the mountains of Nepal. The old lady sitting on her porch smiles at the couple.
An argument starts brewing between us over something hopelessly trivial; over tea and a muffin I think.
And somewhere down the few minutes, it becomes about something completely different, like the rain droplet that just met the roaring sea.
I turn around in the other direction, raging and walking furiously toward the woods.
The old ladies smile has turned into laughter. Perhaps she has lived and known all that we are doing.
I walk for long with only the sounds of the woods for company, without even a glance behind. When I stop, he is right behind me. My face wet with tears, he knows I am in no mood to talk. The only thing he says is “I can hear a stream far below, let’s go sit beside it.”
“I can’t hear any stream.”, I say coldly looking in the direction where there is no pathway, but only a steep downhill descent into nothing.
I know him well for his adventure and wanting to tread paths where there are none, but at that moment I didn’t care.
He knows my stubbornness well too and gives me his hand silently with a smile, somehow guiding me and making a path where there is none, telling me where to put my feet.
Soon enough, we arrive at the stream.
We sit down silently listening to the water, staring at the stones that are a part of the streams journey, hoping that the stream will quieten and wash away the noise we had raised just a little while ago.
Out of nowhere he calls out to me aloud, “Shenaaaaaaaaz”
I ask sharply with the same irritated tone “WHAT?”
Everything happened in seconds that waited just long enough, for us to understand. I looked in front of me and I could not believe my eyes. It was a scene befitting a movie. It was a wild bull with the unmistakable look of death in its eyes, charging toward us. Its eyes burning with fury on its giant body, shaking the ground as it neared.
My first reaction was disbelief and shock. I stood up and spontaneously cried aloud suras from the Quran I had been taught, as a child. Z was surprised as he had never seen me do that and momentarily looked at me and then the bull, before we started to run. We began running up the pathway we had so carefully climbed down, stopping for nothing.
We sprinted as fast as our legs would take us and paused to breathe, only when we reached the stone pathway of the village.
We look behind us and there he was, the wild bull now treading slowly. We walked over toward the old lady and sat on her porch. Her laughter had not left her, and now we were laughing hard too. We had escaped with our lives, and we were both sure that had we waited even a moment longer, the wild bull would have taken one of us on its mighty horns.
I still can’t fully comprehend the situation. Was the wild bull territorial and angry that we had ventured, toward his stream? Or was he just a pale ugly reflection of the face of our own anger, showing us how unneeded it was in a magical place, laden with blossoming rhododendron trees, the mountains and creatures of the forest, full of things we had never seen until we arrived there. Full of things we had walked so far to see.
Perhaps the bull was trying to show us the fragility of our lives and the futility of our anger. Everything ended in laughter.
I dreamed of the bull that night, and awoke being grateful to see the light of a new day.
by SHENAZ WAHID