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
“What would have become of Herules do you think,
if there had been no lion, hydra, stag or boar
and no savage criminals to rid the world of?
What would he have done in the absence of such challenges?
Obviously he would have just rolled over in bed and gone back to sleep.
So by snoring his life away in luxury and comfort,
he would have never developed into the mighty Hercules.
And even if he had, what good would it have done him?
What would have been the use of those arms, that physique and that noble soul…
without crisis or conditions to stir him into action?’
– EPICTETUS, Discourses 1
We are sitting around a table.
A man is convinced he has found the philosophy which is the elixir to life.
He may be right, for the idea he speaks of is a beautiful one, but then he insists it isn’t just an idea, it is the idea.
The only one.
There is only one right philosophy and he knows it.
A palpable tension begins to travel around the table. A few people shift uncomfortably in their seats.
He asks, “What do you do when you are thirsty?”
Someone answers, “You drink water.”
“Yes there is only one thing to do when you are thirsty. This philosophy is that water,” he says.
I want to join the uneasy silence, but I can’t help but disrupt it with a thought that is burning within me, “Yes, when you are thirsty, you must drink water, but water can be drunk in many ways, from a waterfall, a river, a crystal jar, an earthen pot, a glass cup, water harvested from the rain, water transformed from the sea, water from melted snow, water from a tap, a stream and a well. It seems there are many ways to drink the same water and quench one’s thirst. Aren’t there?”
Read the whole story at : The Huffington Post
“Warriors of light always have a certain gleam in their eyes.
They are of this world, they are part of the lives of others, and they set out on their journey with no saddlebags and no sandals. They are often cowardly. They do not always make the right decisions.
They suffer over the most trivial things, they have mean thoughts, and sometimes believe that they are incapable of growing. They frequently deem themselves unworthy of any blessing or miracle. They are not always quite sure what they are doing here. They spend many sleepless nights, believing that their lives have no meaning.
That is why they are warriors of light. Because they make mistakes. Because they ask themselves questions. Because they are looking for a reason – and are sure to find it.”
― Paulo Coelho
photo – by John Brauer
I love the whole book, but I especially love this quote, for it presents being human as imperfect, often plagued by doubt and still worthy of miracles.
He is the kind of beautiful that soothes the soul.
He isn’t the perfect angular beauty, that evokes curious wonder.
The light clings to his eyes, calls them home.
Kindness and stories await their birth on the curl of his lips.
He has seen defeat, but his spirit stands undefeated.
He has been disappointed by love and life, and still has the courage to believe in them.
He is the kind of beautiful,
that even time doesn’t dare to tarnish.
by Shenaz Wahid
Z and I are walking around the Annapurna mountain ranges, when he gets his first glimpse of Machapuchare. He points out like a child would an elephant, “Look the fishtail, Machapuchare.” It’s beautiful I think, but he is besotted by its allure, always waiting for the clear skies to reveal to him, his favorite mountain.
He doesn’t know why he loves Machapuchare, he just does, like a love that needs no reasoning. Our local guide Mr.Indra tells us, “No one has ever been able to reach the peak of Machapuchare. Sometimes the first leg set onto it gets broken. Often those who went, never returned. Or those who did, were injured and unable to reach its summit. Planes and helicopters don’t fly over it, because of its powerful magnetic force. And now the Nepalese government has banned all trekkers from climbing its mystery mountain.”
However Mr. Indra, did have a morbid love for dark stories concerning death, so I looked up what Wikipedia had to say, just incase he was indulging himself. “Machapuchare has never been climbed to its summit. The only attempt was in 1957 by a British team led by Jimmy Roberts. Climbers Wilfrid Noyce and A. D. M. Cox climbed to within 50 m of the summit via the north ridge, but did not complete the ascent; they had promised not to set foot on the actual summit. Since then, the mountain has been declared sacred to Lord Shiva, and it is now forbidden to climbers.” It is not always the tallest mountains that are the mightiest (with all respect to Everest).
Something that Machapuchare holds within itself, is its own little secret that remains a mystery and allows none to tread upon it. Bare without footsteps in the company of the sky, we respect the mystery of its virgin peak. Sometimes instead of questioning how or why, you have to just revere mystery. We let the mystery be mysterious to itself, often like it is to be human. Science, Art and Philosophy; all explain their own idea of why we’re here and what we’re doing. Darwin would say Life is but the process of natural selection and Evolution. Ask the great Persian poet Rumi, and he would say life’s purpose is to Love. Many don’t even look further than the roles assigned to them by society that follow a prescribed order. Each has his own explanation, the poet and the scientist, the musician and the philosopher, but life itself goes on to be a mystery like Machapuchare.
by SHENAZ WAHID
photography ZAHID BARI