I stand alone in the Colosseum of life. The mood I am in is immeasurable caressing the infinity of time and space. Transgressing into a multidimensional realm of the physical, emotional and spiritual orbit of my life is not a permanent state of my mind, but as I have chosen to dwell on this subject it seems that I am heaved into this momentary position. I will attempt to expound the ups, downs, bends and long unending stretches of roads disappearing into the horizon of time. Heartaches, moments of happiness and joy all are in a state of fusion with colors of nature and its blessings. The zero milestone is not a physical one but that which resides in my vaguest of memories, which rekindle now and then and therein lies the pleasures of the life of whatever its worth for me. The process of remembering is a blessing of nature. Imagine if this is taken away from us there will be an upheaval in our lives. Some faded ones and some etched deeply in my mind are the unforgettable ones. They are part of the convention of so many emotions. Memories are thus, in my opinion, a blessing it keeps you connected with something which does not exist, but only in another dimension. Some people can let go of them. For me which I have let go has not been because of anything but only because they do not exist anymore in any form to affect me or those around me. I am reminded of Mark Twain’s quote who says that sign of a poor memory is for those who have a clear conscience; I am still trying perceptively apply it on myself, not necessarily that I may expound on that thought right now. When you are immersed in a state of mind as I am now I wonder if one should lead his life with the signposts of life. Many times in my journey of 68 years, I do not remember being at a crossroad of making a decision, but now I can say without any declaration of guilt with the benefit of hindsight except two happenings which I feel I could have made a better value of time, though with a feeling of regret. I guess we all have them when from the perspective of the passage of these long years where age is the teacher. Having said that I have never ever considered myself inadequate to venture into passions which either was dormant or the mind was not ready to start that particular journey. Two days ago I received a call from a very senior retired officer of the Army who had a glittering career both when he was in the Army and after retirement. Someone had told me he is a good painter. I chose to ask him about his unknown talent. Being myself into the journey where I did not allow time to dictate me of my erudition of playing with knife and brushes, he took me by bewilderment when he told me that he started learning Calligraphy at the age of 70 years and published a book with exhibitions in Pakistan and abroad. He was generous to present me with a copy of his book “ALIF” Quest of The Devine. Looking back at our deprivations and dispossessions, in my opinion, is a very parlous state of mind which should never be allowed to persist. I never do that. I know for so many it must have been a trammel to capitulate into nothingness, where the will is set into hermitic existence. Everyone’s journey can never be as of mine, We all have latent ambitions, I did not let mine die with the circumstances surrounding me or how many miles I covered in my journey of life. Many people have affected my thinking, and in so many ways, they were simply few words which set me in a motion of my attitudes, views and how I let myself be guided by them. They were not extreme thought provoking but simply uncomplicated words and ideas. One needs to be receptive to happenings around us. Personally, the chart of my milestones and signposts have been simple and straightforward. I never take time to take a decision which has allowed me more positions of an advantage than otherwise. For me, the significance of milestones in my life have had minimal relevance and to be honest have not been a moot point whatsoever. I am a collector of few things. I regret missing so many things which could have been now my prized possessions, they are the lost milestones never to be seen or touched. In the exuberance of our youth, we tend to take things for granted, an extra weight to carry. well, past is past I have looked forward. The pieces are enough to remember not necessarily as they were, the vagueness is beautiful, this is how I think, not forgetting what Mark Twain said. I will not compromise on my conscience. I am neither a writer nor a literary person. I write what I feel at that point. Does not mean that I sway too much in my principles, simply I chose to follow the moment. It must bring out the best of me – some say you are innocent in your views, others would categorize me as a scrambler galloping on an unchartered moment of the moment itself. The MOMENT we all have. Enjoy it. Cherish it.
“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
Today once again, the stimulus to mark down something on something, anything at all, holds me with indestructible clasp, not that I cannot release my self from that engulfed aura. The hold is, however light, it is not a stranglehold. I must soon exempt myself from straggling thoughts before I meander to get out of this tender-hearted mind-body dualism before I write down anything. So this abstracted feeling below is the outcome.
Believing in plebeians of mostly workplace and those with whom I heedlessly and naively without paying attention to their iniquitousness ideas and maneuvers trust them. As my habit of bestowing trust allows me to startling divulgence of characters; some arraying themselves with utmost love and affection indescribable and at the other extreme end some merely by their words and guiles. Without them recognizing their overindulgence of being overconfident in their wit and stupidity they uncover themselves of their duplicity and breach of faith towards me. Within this rigmarole, I see clearly emergence of a class of Judas. My such behaviour of opening both arms of accepting good and bad in my fold of workplace especially of people, rather than holding good with one hand and keeping the bad away with other has helped me in making up of my personality. I am always thinking without an iota of lack of conviction, that my attribute of positivity takes me into arms of my creator and he takes care of my frailty for which people misjudge me as I have noticed mostly that I have been scrutinized by this personality trait. Some have strongly recommended me to shun this attitude of largess and altruism. I tell them I would not, as it is an intrinsic part of who and what I am. Some agree and some dissolve into laughter of thinking me as a person who can be deluded. I sometimes enjoy being noted like this and without me actually doing anything see them falling in their own stratagem. When I see this as one complete package of good and bad I begin to see the positivity of my thoughts. I now believe that once one travels into aging his risks are at their minimal of what might happen, what will and can happen. Some may disagree with this thought and some may not. It has to do with insecurities of their life or at least this is how they think. We all have dreams, disappointments, and unachieved goals what life has thrown at us. There are people in our lives who like to laugh with you when you laugh and cry when you do. Latter is though uncommon. The opening of the heart to someone is in my opinion extremely difficult but I have done it more than once. The greatest feeling and joy I have ever felt is when people trust and believe in you. Maya Angelou once said, “I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves and tell me, ‘I love you’. Uncovering such people is an art for which I add to what Maya said. Open your arms to them. Sooner than later you will uncover them. We are living in a forest of people. Forest where there are so many trees. As a painter the sight I most adore is a canopy of a forest, a jungle. So many shades of green that it is so difficult to identify each shade, so are the people. There are shades not all can be put on canvas exactly as you see them with your eyes. That is why I notice great painters have not bothered to follow each color. They classify their own for themselves. I do same in both cases. I return to my home it is everywhere and nowhere. It is within me. Once I am there I’m at home, I know what has to be done, within the human possibilities.
About half a year ago I started writing something which I decided I will title “Chameleon People” which I could not complete it having meandered out of my thought chain. People must have different views, I cannot change my surroundings. I have come too far in life. I cannot be a Chameleon.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead; I lift my eyes and all is born again.
Once again I am in a mood to write. Once again I must clear my clouded thoughts. There is too much to write and say. Reading an article sent to me by a friend Trekking : Eye in the Sky, a story of a Czech photographer Petr Jan Juracka who traveled to Pakistan to break the world record in altitude photography. I wonder what drives a person to do what he does. At a point of time in his life, he jumps into the world of records. Why records are so important. The purpose is still not clear to me. Having said that I pay tribute to such people who bring with technology the wonder of nature in our living rooms. But I begin to think not what I must do more but to do once again what I have done before. Doing things again brings altogether a new dimension of what I have seen and done. The images which have been chiseled in my mind needs to be seen now with a pristine and unmarked eye. I think when you are moving to achieve an entirely different end with a renewed impetus to a purpose and passing through same footsteps the footprints though same but the whole abstraction of the purpose is redefined. I need not chose now what I must do. The finer details are not important but finding your limits of what can be done now against what was done 39 years ago is very interesting thought. It does bring back the intensity and the vigor but I want to challenge not what I did then but how I should do it now. Exploring nature was not one of my priorities then as I thought I was doing. Time has and will always define and redefine your clarity of purpose of what and how it has to be done. Inside me, I find myself as I am standing on a ledge. I am preparing myself to move ahead. I know I will not fall. I am absolutely sure. I must have a clearer vision of not what I will see but how I should see. It was a bright sunny afternoon way back in 1984 as I trudged along the Biafo Glacier on its left edge, the NE side to be more precise. Having crossed over the ever changing surface of the glacier with the members of Polish Latok 3 expedition who were straddled all along the glacier unperturbed but still moving with that unexpected thought in their minds as to how they would tackle the mountain they had never seen before. The only point of reference they had was an old slightly tattered corner of a picture which had turned yellow. None spoke English except one. So there was not much of excitement which could be exchanged. The weather was all they seemed to be concerned about. Rightly so as they always looked to those dark clouds rolling up and down the glacier but never completely lifting from the mountains. There were few patches of blue sky enough to allow the sunlight splash along the edges of the glacier. I reached the other side and was greeted with few patches of green grass. Was tired and decided to lay down. The still of the mountains except for occasional slides up on the slopes disturbing the supreme hush and tranquility. I removed my bag pack, moved it under my head and lay down. That moment was a moment of truth for me. I have never been able to cast away those images which since then have been etched in my mind. Hundreds of thoughts flew past and I remember none except the clear patch of blue sky. One can never describe the color of the blue. Something pure I think cannot be said or written in words. Today I once again have started to think like that. I am there yet I am not. I must, therefore, do something about it. I must change the way I am going there. I do not want it to be – The Eye in The Sky. I want to be the eye towards the sky. I must see once again hundreds of Ibex freely roaming up high up on the dark craggy features of the Karakoram range. It made me though sad when I saw some carcass of dead Ibex. I wondered when a man would respect nature and let these beautiful animals roam free. Or maybe they were. It may have been a snow leopard which had made the kill. There then does come a thought that nature must keep its balance. We need not be the one to disturb it. The mountains we intended to march to were numbered 1, 2 and 3. Though these numbers are designed to set in motion so many activities and happenings in our lives yet we cannot see the exact number if there are no points of reference. They have no value or meaning in the wilderness. The elements must allow you to determine how you must judge these numbers. They define your future course of action, they must choose you without you knowing about it. I am once again beginning to determine my own numbers. The numbers I must fix. The time month the weather the season and the people I want to be in my adventure of discovery of another kind. I have yet to define the purpose. It is not as if I do not see that but it must link itself with TIME. You now see this is how it happens. Whenever I think of TIME I am clearer in what I need to do. I must now jump ahead of TIME and state that the skies will always be blue, the clouds will come and go. The rains and snow will fall. The glacier will melt silently. I must witness all that all over again. I must now plan for next year. When the fruit trees of village Askole blossom again. Must spend a night or two there and listen all over again the never-ending folk tales of the mountains where I once was an interpreter to an old very old story teller.
My Dearest Moody Ali and Bilal
For quite sometime now I wanted to write to all of you a single letter. I do not know why I am feeling today I must do that. I have no reason doing this but sometimes your heart tells you things which your head fails to reason.
I have lived a life time in the Army. God has given me everything. His timings have been perfect and I have no complaints absolutely. I am here in Monrovia for at least additional one and half year from my original one year tour. Did I know this will come– NO I could not even dream of this . Allah’s timings in my case have always been perfect. I guess you and Ali had to study abroad and Bilal Inshallah you do not worry you will also Insha Allah go to a very good institution. You all must continue to crystallise your goals and objectives. You all must have goals in life and strive to achieve them. there is nothing in Life that you cannot accomplish if you have sincerity of purpose. Moody and Ali you have reached an age where you should see things absolutely clearly. It is an age which should bring Calm and a wiser direction in life. Its time for you all to seriously set goals. I have provided you all options which you have accepted. If these have been accepted by you than this can only be a good option if it leads to more options and moves you forward. Your direction must provide you with inspirations and energy otherwise all will go waste. Your purpose in life should have a gift for humanity. That is what I will see you all to aspire. getting jobs cannot be a goal, but only a stepping stone.remember you all are in a strange and exciting times of your lives. I have provided you choices and in abundance you should grab them. I would love all of you to fight and earn your way through. My assets will not last forever. I even do not know if they will last to see me and your mother through. It has been a struggle and I would like you all to note that. Struggles do not necessarily show itself by what you wear and eat. What you do not have. It is a life and principles you want to achieve and set for yourself. I need you all to sit and ponder what ALLAH has provided you thus far make the best out of it.
I was talking to my colleague and asking him to tell me how to write my CV. I have never written one in my life. There will be a time soon when I will shedding my uniform and that is Inshaallah 16 March 08. If I am alive than Inshallah this is a day I look forward to. I have not wondered, AS YET, what will be my life like after that. I am not still in that state of mind yet.
I am now beginning to know what were my shortcomings in bringing you all up. Now that you have grown and growing still I thought I should have taught you to value TIME. Set strong principles in your life and stick to them at all times. I have been all the time telling you to study. That is your job and mine was to have and develop passions in your life and forge you to achieve them. I have found children in Pakistan are extremely myopic in setting their goals. One thing Which is now my desire is you should share your struggle and what all goes with it with your own self. Here whenever I have told people that I got cars for you they were completely surprised and flabbergasted. I think they have done it. I have seen girls and men here who are working to get their loans paid. You should all be in a frame like that, which then brings you an urge and “ZID” to do much more than you think you can.
I am sure that I will be indulging in more such letters as and when I feel I must write. You are three brothers and you must have great friendship with each other. Share you happy and sad moments. Write Journals which should not be a narration of days events but how you see things in life. How you see things not to be. and I can go on and on.
I end now without reason.
I love you all and hope that I will see a response of what you feel sooner or later. I hope i will know sooner than later what are your ambitions. How you see your life ahead. do not hold back feel free to write anything which you can and have in mind. Feel free and in the end I will only say OPEN YOUR MIND and see how things develop.
Your most loving father AGHA