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

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The boy with the guitar

I had been there before 2yrs ago in search of Agape, thinking that if I was away from all that was known and familiar, she would show me her face of grace.
In what was just a glimpse, as I sat in my favorite café, the ordinary world around me turned extraordinary. As the music played in the café, the rain and people walking past by on the street, everything danced in tune and perfect harmony. I sat there alone, listening to the couple laughing beside me, the conversations of friends buzzing and I was whole. Without needing reason, it was simply there. For that moment, Agape soared in my soul showing me she was real.

2years later as I am walking out of my favorite café, now..
I saw a boy sitting beside it and he seemed to have a magnetism to him. I smiled and he smiled acknowledging me, and then because I had nothing to say to this stranger, I walked on and explored what the hours held.
While walking to the waterfall, I had to pass my favorite café and all of a sudden, the music that poured into the street took me back to that profound moment from 2yrs ago. Agape!
I stood still, thinking it was more magic music being played from my magic café , but I looked up to find that same boy with a magnetism, strumming his guitar.

This time I didn’t hesitate nor pause momentarily. As I sat down to listen, for the first time, I noticed that he was so beautiful, with clear eyes the blue of an ocean and wind-swept brown hair.
But it was easy to see that his beauty pierced deeper and his eyes held a million stories.
When he began to sing, I sat there speechless at the ways through which God speaks to us, for the words of his song held the things I needed to hear in that moment of time.
The things I couldn’t get myself to listen, being sung out to me.

When I played that song to my loved ones, his voice & words pierced them too and it sang to each one differently. To a friend, it was about the “time to let go” an obsessive love relationship. A loved one said, she needed to get her whole family to listen in, because for her, it meant the “time to let go” of the past and respect the closed doors.

Did that music know from 2yrs ago, that I would find his music in the same place?
I thank that boy with the blue eyes of the ocean.
I thank him for being a river of beauty that flows deep inside and bringing it forth, like the river that rises to be a wild cloud after its wild journeys and pours forth as sweet rain from his mouth. As his voice breathed into the air, it filled with a haunting beauty that drifting days did not erase from the womb of time.
It was both a place I didn’t know enough of, and one I was revisiting.

I think all those around him can see he is already a gleaming star, from the beautiful Goddess women to his friends. To me he is the boy that taught me so much, in such a short time :
All you need is music to feel Agape, and the world is yours.

by Shenaz Wahid

http://parkerainsworth.bandcamp.com/track/time-to-let-go
“Oh let go of what has been,
there’s nothing there for you my friend.”

To God

God,
Thank you for giving me birth in a world full of beauty and full of agony.
One that only you understand, why you made it so.

Thank you for Love, and for the pain of hatred that teaches me Love’s worth.
Thank you for the sweetness of solitude, for the joy of company and for the aching loneliness that allows me to treasure both.

Thank you for the butterflies, mountains, fishes, oceans and trees.
Thank you for the friends I lost, ones I found and for those who stay through it all.
Thank you for the love I lost. Thank you for the love I found.
Thank you for those who come from nowhere, light a fire in my soul and change me forever in ways I couldn’t have done without them.
Thank you for those who make my heart cry without tears.

Thank you for my Angels and thank you for keeping me safe from the devils in my own mind.
Thank you for the moments of magic that turned into despair, and for the moments of despair that turned into magic.

Thank you for music and dance and for the deliciousness of silence. Thank you for the silence even when its loud.
Thank you for the joyous laughter. Thank you for the bitter tears.
Thank you for the sun and the moon. Thank you for the dark sky.
Thank you for light and thank you for the darkness, that gives the stars and moon a place to show themself.

Thank you for the moments I know myself, for those where I feel lost, and have a chance to find and be found.
Thank you for remembering me and thank you for forgetting all that I too must forget.

Thank you for those who understand who I am, for those who misunderstand and for those who couldn’t care less.
Thank you for all that I understand, and all that is far beyond me
in beauteous mystery’s womb.

Thank you for wisdom and insight and for my mistakes and folly.
Thank you for the nights of peace, and thank you for the restless sleepless nights.
Thank you for the mountains triumph. Thank you for failures abyss.
Thank you for the blessings, and for all that my foolish heart deemed as a curse.

Thank you for all that’s deep and for all that’s shallow in me, that needs digging.
Thank you for a mind that wants to turn moments into a story,
sometimes beautiful, sometimes frightful.
Thank you for words, without which I couldn’t tell any story.

Oh Thank you Dear God for the Dreams in my soul, for putting them there and thank you for all that is good and bad
that I will have to encounter along my journey’s length.
Thank you for what I know, for what I don’t, for what I will and for what I won’t.

Oh Thank you for People, both happy and sad as they make me. The ones who amaze and inspire, and the ones who hurt and confuse.
Thank you for keeping me company even when I don’t ask you to, and for never forsaking me even when I have myself
Thank you for all that has gone past me by, for now and for all that will be.

Thank you for magic and mystery, for revealing and hiding.
For all the funny contradictions of Life, the ecstasy and agony
one without which I wouldn’t know the other.

Thank you above all for LOVE
Thank you being a God of Love.

Thank you for it ALL.
Yours,
Shenaz

by SHENAZ WAHID

Lyra’s voice

Often what Lyra thought was Love, was just an excuse for the word.
Love as time went by, she found was far more than the definitions she had given it in her unknowing youth.

It was more than the romance of candlelight.
Yes that too was an expression of love, but it was also his shadow that fell upon her, on the night she was unwell.
It was the days of laughter and journeying into the beauty of the mountains.
Yes it was walking down the streets with joy upon their lips,
but it was also the days of confusion, pain and solitude where he stood by her silently, as she searched her own soul.

It was the days of celebration, drunken in love with wine laced lips,
of song and dance and love-making.
but it was also the days doing things completely wrong,
to find his forgiving arms embrace her at night.

It was the days spent learning all the good they had to offer each other,
dreaming dreams and igniting a fire in the soul of the other,
simply because of the courage love gave them,
but it was also the days of having hope together, when dreams seemed far away.

It was looking into each other eyes, seeing only what they could see, feeling only what they could feel.
It was kisses and fingers running through each other’s skin and hair.
But it was also the nights when the dark weakness in their soul prevailed,
and even though it hurt to find it,
it was the nights when he held Lyra’s hand to say a prayer to the God,
that had blessed them with this Love.

It was the blissful days spent by the window with the setting sun upon their gleaming eyes, her head on his chest beside the moon drenched waves,
time spent tasting love’s sweetness,
but it was also the nights of agony when Love seemed so confusing.
And yet he was always near.

by SHENAZ WAHID