My first children’s book series coming soon to Amazon.
Look forward to fun and happy stories of Adam, Aeldra, and friends.
The hurried steps that echoed on the walls travelled through the narrow streets. Ever so often, the loud noise of a rushing motorcycle would interrupt the otherwise rhythmic sounds of the summer’s night. She was however, undeterred on her juliet balcony, eyes drawn to heaven bound, returning the smile of the crescent moon, and marvelled at the stars winking down to her.
Her thoughts were interrupted by the loud commotion that erupted across the street. A small crowd gathered as the neighborhood bully, as usual fed his pride by beating up his new victim. The slender figure, pinned down, receiving blow after blow, cried for mercy. His failed attempt to block the attacks was evident from the stain of blood being painted on his shirt. To the contrary, everyone else was having a field day watching a live fight.
She could not take it anymore. She screamed, “Hey you! Get off of him!”
And that was when her mother dashed to the balcony and asked her, “What’s going on? Why are you shouting?”
“That bully is beating up that kid. And everyone is gathered for entertainment,” she replied. “We have to stop…” before she could finish her mother interrupted.
“No! It doesn’t concern us. And young lady, you shouldn’t be shouting.”
“I’m not shouting. I’m trying to help that poor kid,” she blurted out in anger.
“That’s enough!” her mother snapped and walked away.
She swallowed her retort and kept staring at her mother’s receding back. Tears glistening from her angry eyes.
Is it wrong for a girl to raise her voice no matter what is going on in front of her, for she might be portrayed as being less ‘lady-like’ and hurt the delusional dogma?
Is it wrong to stop the brutality inflicted on the helpless because it does not concern you?
Often times we are being hushed for various reasons. And most of the times for speaking the truth. If this is wrong, then what is right?
“My dear boy, you only have to…”, whispered the Master.
And the boy listened. Listened intently. Breathing in the aroma of the brewing plan. Savouring each and every word. The boy was like a connoisseur. Swishing every word around his mind with proper care. Tasting the hidden subtleness, picking up the precise ones, and weaving the web of deceit. He was the chosen expert, hand picked by the Master.
Perfect! Now he was ready to cast his net. To charm and play with the frail hearts. He scattered the carefully fabricated words. As anticipated, the crowd roared up with fury. Blindly gobbling up and connecting the dots. Equipped to spread the fire of hatred. And he smiled foreseeing his advancement.
Covertly behind the curtain, the Master was in jubilation. A victorious smirk on his dark face.
Are you a victim of partial evidence? Have you ever dared to question the mirage in front of you? Has your mind been decimated by tyranny?
It is time for you to wake up!
Trying to hide from the seeping cold, her hands buried itself deeper into the pockets of her coat. Among the disarrayed crowd, she was waiting impatiently for the bus. Like everyone else she was anxious to flee from the crispy cold and find refuge in the warmth of her home.
Her thoughts were shattered by the approaching ruckus. Several heads turned. A rebellious group of teenagers approached. Their sure steps occupied the pavement. Grown up too fast, dressed to look like anything but decent, and surely up to no good. A reflection of annoyance attacked them from all sides.
The boys stopped just an arm’s length from what appeared to be an invisible object on the side of the pavement, but not anymore. One of the boys, as if almost out of character, spoke up very kindly.
“Excuse me sir, this is for you.”
Startled, the balled up layer of rag sat up. The boy carefully handed the old man a box of food and left.
From what she saw, it was the first time anybody noticed the homeless man, who was silently enduring the piercing cold.
On her way home, thoughts started to jostle back and forth. In conflict with her. Cursing her. Have we become so judgmental that we jump at the mere appearance of someone? Are we so occupied with our own greed that we do not even notice the helpless right in front of us?
Questions echoed, refusing to yield, battling for an answer. The swarming facade of good surrounding her was almost smothering.
Think about it.
Adrenaline dashing through her system, she can feel her heart pounding in her chest. Reaching this particular corner of the street was always like wading in quicksand. She can feel her bravado evaporate into thin air. Suddenly her path was crossed by none other than the gang of thugs who roam around that place.
“What’s the hurry girl?”
“Why do you play this innocent game of hard to get?”
“Common, I know girls like you…”
The life of an orphan was never easy. The day she married into a well off extended family was a dream come true. Unfortunately the dream was short lived. It was difficult to get away from the preying eyes of her husband’s uncle. His words were like the sting from a scorpion.
“You behave as if you don’t know what you are doing.”
“With your prim and proper ways, you think you are so pious?”
“Oh I know very well, girls like you…”
Attending university was the road to achieve another milestone. She met a boy at the orientation. Their friendship bloomed and they became best buddies. To her, he was a gem of a friend. One day she was having lunch at the cafeteria when she overheard a bunch of girls talking rather loudly.
“She thinks she can fool us by hashtagging their friendship.”
“I know her type. They take delight in flirting with every cute boy in range.”
“Oh yeah! I know girls like her…”
I am not implying every corner of the world is reserved by forceful thugs. Neither am I saying all the extended families are full of venomous scorpions ready to sting. Nor are universities crowded with snobbish girls who doubt the friendship between both sexes. I am simply saying that there are people who stigmatize and label girls as, “girls like you”. Being independent, carefree, dressing in a particular way, being friendly towards the opposite sex, must never be listed under a certain category. People with this kind of prejudice need to wake up.
Since home is the first school, parents have a huge responsibility to mould their children to be respectful instead of being preconceiving and discriminating. A girl must never be viewed as an object to whom you can dump all your unwanted filth.
Let it never be the case that one day, we doubt the upbringing of our children to the extend to which we blame ourselves, and be held accountable for enabling the stigma of “people like them”.
How do you conduct yourself when you feel like an abandoned house? Once precious laughter rang from every corner, now I am devoid of it. Since the glow of my world left, no light shines through the windows. The walls have become dull and yellowish. Bats and spiders have become the new tenants. They mock my sorrowful tunes, which have become hollow and lifeless without your silly grumpy complains. With a sliver of hope, I keep the door wide open, hoping that one day your roaming feet will find its way home. Everyday I disperse small pebbles of love for you to pick in case you are lost.
I fear the maze that has been built. It looks attractive with the green uniform hedges. I know, your innocent eyes will not detect the poisonous weeds burrowed inside. But I need you to see. Examine closely. Through the cracks of the stone path. Even the beautiful dandelion is a weed.
If only you knew, how hard I try to mow the lawn. Tend the flower beds. However difficult it may seem, to cut down the tangled dense thicket, I still do it. I do not mind the prickly thorns, as long as I can shield you.
And when I become overwhelmed, I paint my sadness on the canvas of wind. So it can evaporate to the gloomy clouds of my heart before anyone can have a glimpse. It will eventually pour down as tears of rain. I will lower my gaze with slumped shoulders, to wait. To wait for a long time. Waiting for the storm within me to subside.
They say time heals everything. When the arrow of ridicule pierce you over and over again with a never ending vengeance, then what do you do? What do you do when someone discovers your Achilles’ heel?
Yet with an unknown future, I never once regret for standing on your doorstep. To see your sweet smile. To be a part of your small world. To make a promise. I cannot always be present. But I will forever love you with all my heart. One day you will understand. From my unshed tears, I never showed you. From my ache, I never let you feel. From my prayers, that you never heard, and God being the only witness. From the special place in my heart, always vacant just for you. Because I believe I have an equal right over you.
Darling child, maybe someday you will understand the aching of a father.
It was a time when a girl, or anyone else for that matter, could be alone at home and still feel safe, without locking up all the doors. Her father left to work handing her some money, for the dress which she wanted to buy. Her thoughts were interrupted by the greetings of a woman. There, standing by the door was someone quite familiar in the neighborhood. A single mother who had shouldered the burden of raising five little children. A well known maid among the well off. The woman started to tell her story, how she became sick and could not earn her usual wage, and that her children were under fed. Desperation made the woman to pour her heart out to a girl who was barely fourteen. The girl stopped the woman from continuing. The only reason being not to hurt a mother’s pride. That instant, she knew the money in her hand was a necessity for the woman in front of her. The woman thanked the girl with tear filled eyes which said…well done stranger.
It was another time, with little less of the present hustle and bustle. Walking was the norm back then, and riding a bicycle was considered a luxury. As usual, this man was going home on his bicycle, with all the goods he had bought for his beloved family. He had a satisfied smile on his face, indicating that he was providing a comfortable life for his family. Before he knew what had happened, he was flat on the ground. Goods scattered everywhere. The bags he was carrying torn badly. The culprit was nowhere to be seen. Then came a gentle tap on his shoulder. An old woman was offering him some plastic bags to gather his belongings. There were others on the road, but she was the only one kneeling to help. He thanked her. His appreciative nod said…well done stranger.
Now comes a much recent time, on a weekend filled with all kinds of noises at the crowded Villingili Ferry Terminal. Mothers were trying to soothe their young ones. Fathers looking very important as they tried to teach their sons a bit about life. Couples chatting away happily. The long awaited ferry slowly lodged at the jetty. The on-board passengers started to disembark hastily. As the chaos slowly dissipated, a shaggy and heavily wrinkled man emerged at the ferry exit. He made an attempt to get off. He could not. He seemed too weak to make it on his own. He extended an arm, silently shouting out for assistance, but none came. Even the terminal guard gave a blind eye. Out of the blue, a stranger came for his aid. The stranger took hold of his arm and helped him to the platform. At that moment, the old man patted on his shoulder which said it all…well done stranger.
In this world, people pass by our lives so swiftly that sometimes we do not notice them- strangers. We, ourselves, are strangers amongst us. Let us all take a moment to understand, that we can become the stranger who did well.
It is a jungle out there, so I have been told. And unfortunately no one is born with a guideline in their hands. We crawl, try to stand up, balance our way forward and in the process we stumble and fall. I am pretty much sure that a lot of us have the strength to stand up but I wonder how many of us have the courage to move forward.
Like the three little pigs, when we go out into the world, quite often we come across the big bad wolf or rather wolves. We have to face people who will cunningly whisper, “I will bluff and bluff and bluff you away…”.
We as human beings usually forget The Golden Rule: treat others the way you would like to be treated. If only we try to remember… the world would be a happier place. We can bring up thousands and thousands of excuses to prove ourselves, yet it does not make the wrong right.
One such “wrong” is greed. When our world starts to shake, we try to take action as soon as possible. We close our eyes to the surrounding and blindly proceed crushing everything in our way. Never giving a thought that on our way we have harmed a floundering soul just to get what we want. We would have been able to reach where we want and claimed what is there. But throughout our journey we must have carried the unbearable baggage known as guilt. And your baggage is there to stay. So, dear people it is more important to obey the golden rule than to carry the excess baggage throughout your entire life.
As for the floundering souls, in reply to the big bad wolf, just say “not by the hair of my chinny chin chin” and protect your beautiful souls, protect the goodness in you, stand with dignity and protect humanity even if it is very minute.
Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) enlightened us on the importance of mothers. I can never doubt that nor do I disbelieve it. But I never had the privilege of knowing the motherly love. My parents became separated when I was very little. My siblings and I were brought up by my father with the help given by my grandmother. As an adult, I am now much closer to my father’s side of the family. And we are a proud pack.
I never heard my father ever mentioning how tired he gets when trying to do his best for us. We were a handful and each of us were different in nature. I still remember the genuine things that he had done for us. And I now know for a fact how hard it must have been.
He cooked meals. Good meals filled with love. I never went to school hungry. Sometimes he took time away from office just to cook before I went to school. Those days held happy memories. I still remember the first time I saw him cook. I was amazed and pleased. And I remember realizing that he’d never let us miss anything or anyone.
He came for my parents’ meetings. He was among the few fathers who came for their daughters. Parents’ meetings were full of mothers. Rarely did fathers come and mine was one of them. Not only his presence made a difference but he made an effort to know how I was doing in school. I used to look at the other children’s mothers. And then I’ll look up at my father, proudly holding his hands, knowing perfectly that I will never trade my father for anyone else.
He taught me to forgive. I share my stories with him. How some people can be so inconsiderate. The disappointments that I had to face. How some friends can let you down. About the bullies who tries on and on to make your life miserable. And I can only expect one advice in return. “It is not easy to forget but always try to forgive…”. This is not just hollow words from him. I have witnessed very closely how generous he is at forgiving others.
He gave me lessons on money. He told me about the hard times. How he started working at a very young age. How careful he was in spending it. About our house. What an accomplishment it had been to build our home without been indebted to anyone. He always said that one cannot value money unless he has earned it with his time and sweat.
He told me happiness comes within. That it was a blessing which I have to choose. To give myself the authority to find contentment. To look for the little things that I have and let go of the rest. To pray and ask. To have faith in my prayers. If it doesn’t happen then something much better was right around the corner.
He made me believe in myself. As I tread through the unknown, he always gave me hope. Sometimes I make him disappointed. And there are times that I’ve made him proud too. He has and is always there for me. Beaming in my happiness. Crying for my sorrows. Hearing me out and praying for my safety. Making me wait, when I’m confused, for the new sunshine of another day.
Let your fathers know how special they are. A little gesture will be enough. Show the appreciative smile to let them know that you are thankful for everything that they have done.
P.S. I sincerely want to dedicate this post to a young father who is fighting a constant battle everyday of his life for his daughter.
Grandmothers are fascinating storytellers and so was mine. One of the stories goes about a man whose name was “Veboohuththu”. And mind you, this one is a true story that took place in the golden days when people were naturally beautiful, when cosmetics were out of the picture, when friends were able to spot one another without the mascara heavily blurring your eyesight and when people did not mistook you to a goldfish by seeing the brightness of your lips. In short, this was about a time when beauties were beauties.
Now back to our hero. This particular young man was a very colourful character. People revel being around him, as they know something amusing was bound to bounce out of nowhere. Let me elaborate a bit about his interest in beautiful women. One day a man was passing by one of the houses. Now in this house lives a very beautiful girl. The man saw Veboohuththu standing at the entrance, his sarong stuck in the doorway. He was pleading. Saying out loud the girl’s name. Asking repeatedly for her to let go of his sarong, that he was late for home, that he’ll come back tomorrow night. The passer by who witnessed all this was amazed, he was green with envy. Must have broken his heart, for he now stood in the shoes of the fainthearted.
Now lets magnify the scene once again through the eyes of reality. The girl was nowhere near the entrance. She wasn’t even aware that someone was at her door having a ball. The thing is, now and then Veboohuththu likes to have a visit to the beauties, stand at their doorway, stuck his sarong and play with the mind of onlookers.
One thing is for sure. Even today we come across people like this. Instead of the sarong, they wear jeans. And most significantly they notice that nowadays everyone is beautiful, the more the merrier. And with all the modern facilities available who needs to stand in the doorway.
Preferably please do read this to the end with a light heart because I can assure you that no male species were hurt during the writing of this post and I’m humbly trying to survive in a man’s world.