Three years ago, at the time of launching my first blog on February 13, 2016 I had started with just an idea of where I wanted to go with this venture but had no inkling how long my “junoon” (madness/passion) would last. A friend had cautioned me to plan ahead, with enough material for at least 52 weeks if I was serious about blogging, because projects started on impulse usually prove difficult to sustain; one is apt to run out of ideas, words or both.
The Urdu “shaa.ira” (poetess) Sabeela Inam Siddiqui suggests that:
|“Mujhe le jaa.e jo manzil kii jaanib …||The one that takes me towards my destination …|
|… ab aise kaarvaa.n kii justujuu hai”||… now, such a caravan is sought|
It has been a very fulfilling journey for me. In addition to supportive friends and family, my blogs have brought me in contact with a new and diverse readership including random strangers who joined my weekly musings and now provide ideas, comments and criticism – all of which serve to encourage and keep me going. I thank all of you for your time and efforts that have collectively helped in bringing me to this occasion, exemplifying famed Urdu poet Majrooh Sultanpuri’s verse:
|“Mei.n akelaa hi chalaa thaa jaanib-e-manzil …||I had started alone towards my destination …|
|… magar log saath aate gaye aur karvaa.n bantaa gayaa”||… but, people continued to join me and a caravan evolved|
At the same time, this three-year long ramble has brought me to another realization. Each of us is stepping forth on a new journey of sorts, multiple times each day. From the seemingly trivial (visit to the local store, bank or a child’s daycare) to more meaningful trips (getting medication, surgery or settling the kids at daycare/high school/university) or the really important first step in a quest to getting committed in a relation, immigrating or taking/giving up employment etc. There are so many types of daily journeys we take in our life-odyssey. Equally, there are countless people both known and strangers who rally around to assist, if we are consciously and willingly prepared to acknowledge and accept them.
We hear euphemisms like “It is the Journey that matters, not the Destination”, “Life is a Journey, not a Destination” etc. Comparisons are made to sitting in a train and watching the unfolding vistas flashing past the glass panes of the carriage windows. Objects closest to the track whizz by fast, while fields, houses and farm animals in the distant go past slowly, replaced by approaching panoramas. So it is with life. This instance and the next few moments are long gone, while days and years appear to stretch ahead interminably until they too are behind us. The real measure is how do we capture these journeys in our mind and make them meaningful enough to retain and savor at will.
The process of posting a weekly blog over the past three years has caused me to pause and reflect on my life journey encompassing all the detours, missteps and milestones crossed over six-and-a-half decades. What might I share and how much could I divulge to those viewing this site? How to temper my writing so as to not cause offence? Do I just recount my thoughts and experiences or embellish my musings to pander to my readers? I have deliberated on the course I must adopt, choosing my words carefully to the best of my ability. That is what life is. Making considered decisions based on all available resources at the time. It is also about taking ownership of one’s actions.
It is with Grace that we can find our destination (or, destiny?) Rana Sahri composed this pensive “ghazal” (ode) that has been so mellifluously sung by the husband-wife team of Jagjit and Chitra Singh:
|“Manzil naa de charaag naa de honslaa to de …||Provide me not the destination nor a lamp, (but) sustain me with courage …|
|… tinke kaa hi sahi, tu magar aasaraa to de||… even if it be (like clutching at) a straw, grant me sanctuary|
|Mei.ne ye kab kahaa ke mere haq me ho jawaab …||When did I seek that your answer be in my favor …|
|… lekin khaamosh kyuun hey tu, koi faislaa to de||… but why the silence, please at least declare your judgment|
|Barson mei.n tere naam pe khaataa rahaa fareb …||For years, I have continued to be duped through the deceptive use of Your name …|
|… mere khudaa kahaan hai tu, apnaa pataa to de||… O my God where are you, show me some sign of your presence|
|Beshak mere naseeb pe rakh apnaa ikhtiyaar …||By all means, retain Your Will over my destiny …|
|… lekin mere naseeb main kyaa hai, bataa to de||… but, at the very least tell me what is to be my fate|
Thank you for being a supportive member of this evolving caravan. Above all, remember you are never alone by yourself. A Caravan continues to evolve around you, impelling you onwards to each of your chosen journey’s end. Bon voyage.