Time flies quickly but not too quickly for those who take some time out to reflect on their past, present and future.
It’s exactly one year since I left my country, my city, and my home; to begin a new life with new hopes, new responsibilities, and new pre-occupations.
When I came here I experienced an emotional indifference towards all my previous interests. Except for my family circle in Pakistan, I rarely thought about anyone or anything else. Even within my family, talking to my mother every alternate day used to be enough; it used to fill up my longing to retain my touch back home.
It’s not that I am an insensitive or changeable person, quickly forgetting old loves. Rather, I always had had the tendency to become completely and deeply immersed in any new strong experience. The same happenned when I began my first teaching job at a well-known business school in my city; when I had joined courses for basic training in primary Qur’anic sciences; and again, when I joined the public university in my city. I had become similarly immersed back when I had acquired my first internet connection, and then years later, when I set up my blog.
While I was learning to read the Qur’an in its own language, I had struck a strong personal and emotional relationship with matters spiritual. When my course was coming to an end, my class was asked to write about their intentions for the future. My clear thinking at that point was: It’s futile to think too specifically about the future, for one must wait for the Hand of God before He reveals His writing for our tomorrow. What shows from that elusive door, must be accepted and responded to. I expressed the same idea in one of my last biographical posts in lyrical form.
So when the new change of marriage arrived in my life I accepted it similarly, and I had to wait only a few months before Allah Ta’ala allowed me to immerse myself into married life by joining my husband in Michigan, USA.
I set out from my city after the sehri of 3rd Ramadaan, 14th of August, 2010, early morning, and after 22 hours of journey in which I was repeatedly served a broad pastry shaped as the Pakistani flag, I arrived here before the iftaar of 3rd Ramazaan, evening of 14th of August.
That the point of exchange between my two lives and homes was in the middle of the most prestigious Islamic month and the most prestigious Pakistani day, may have been a coincidence. But not for me.
To me it was a significant contrivance of fate designed to remind me forever of what enduring legacies I was to take into my new life. To me it was a reflection of the two welding forces of my lives no matter how different in other ways those two lives might turn out to be. To me it was a sign of what I was supposed to value, cherish and nurture through all of my life no matter where it led or ended. To me it was a warning that despite having to leave so many things behind, what were the two things in life I would be a fool to abandon. (The love of one’s family is obviously not included in things left behind, as it is molded into the very clay of any earnest person).
And indeed, despite clear indifference to old loves, as I have already written, there were two things that I craved for and missed with sadness since the beginning of my move-over: my way of practice of my faith back home and my exercise of sharing my concern over my country’s issues on an everyday basis with my fellows. Small things kept coming into my mind. I missed hearing the Azaan, doing proper sehri with my family, attending lectures and classes meant for reminders of lessons of faith, sharing with my fellows of spirituality concern, ideas, prayers, and occasionally pro-social activities regarding the myriad of issues facing my country. I even missed and yes, cried for the taste of my homeland’s food, whether cooked in my own home or in the kitchen of some known eatery in my city. Although I had as simualtaneously been cut-off from my professional and academic lives, it is a lesson that the only memories that invaded me were my intellectual and studious interactions with my students, which themselves had always had been clearly embellished by my two big loves.
May Allah always keep me on the path of these two loves.
There is more to the story of this memorable anniversary.
Generally, after coming, I remained mentally busy in shaping my new lifestyle as a housewife and exercising my skills in the clever arts of managing a kitchen, a house, and a husband. Soon, however, other fond memories of the past started creeping into the moments of discomforts in the new life. I must say that the make-up of my being is not social, rather it’s intellectual and experiential. Hence it was not ‘talking to old friends’ that I missed. Rather, mostly I missed interacting with my students and endeavoring to stimulate and activate them in new ways, I missed laying down leisurely on my back and just wasting my time reading about different lifes and worlds, or sitting up at the computer table and wasting hours in browsing now this now that, I missed indulging in my petty habits of attempting to translate and understand Nasir Kazmi’s poetry and of gathering and integrating material for my blog…
Slowly, after more time, my old loves began to resurface and to be incorporated into the structure of my daily life. It’s interesting that my oldest loves reasserted themselves first and foremost. In a few months, I started reading some of my unfinished books that I had brought from Pakistan. When the books I had brought were done, I searched up my to-read lists from my various internet accounts and, slow and steady, began to collect them, reading at least half of what I bought, shelving the rest for future perusal, exactly as I used to do back home. Then one day, many months later, I discovered that one of my essays inspired by Nasir Kazmi’s poetry had been published by Dawn newspaper, that I had had sent them a few months before leaving my country. This re-awoke in me my old passion for his poetry and I asked my mother to mail me one of my translation diaries that I had forgotten back home. I began to reattend to my Nasir Kazmi blogs, though only occasionally, given pre-occupation with social responsibilities on my in-laws across the border in Canada.
And so nearly a whole year passed.
Had I been thinking about my key blog, this, the Structure of Entropy, through all that time?
Structure of Entropy was the newest and a developing passion when I left my life in Pakistan for a transoceanic change. When I used to recall it in my new life, it seemed like something very distant, something of the past, something that once was but may not be again. I used to feel this way not because I was not sincerely attached to it back home. Rather, it was not that deeply ingrained and well-integrated into the rubrics of my personality, as I had not yet passed as much time with this interest as with my other passions. After most of my old loves reappeared and started being expressed however sparingly I begin to feel a re-inkling of my urge to blog. Yet, I was uninspired: I had nothing to blog about. I was not as yet re-engaging with my old online and offline sources that used to fuel my thought and to churn out inspirations. And I am never the one to do anything without having a definite feeling for it.
As I took up my interest in Nasir Kazmi and to write out my insights from his poetry, however, I realized that I had a draft in my hand which was worth sharing on this blog more than in my online Nasir Kazmi notebook. Even then I had anticipated myself returning only sparingly and incidentally to this blog.
The close of my first year finally drew near. I had intended, however, to share this anniversary post with my readers come 14th August, so that at least they could make some sense of what was happening (rather, not happening), and also I had wished to share my personally felt signifiance of the timing of my departure. Also, this time, I was bent on spending my Ramazaan the way I was accustomed to back home, rather than in the new, casual way my first ‘honeymoon’ Ramazaan of 2010 had been spent. As I reconnected with my spirituality, I suddenly found that the well of inspiration that had been dry for more than a year almost, was running again. And indeed, it had had been my urge to share my spiritually minded insights and observations that had finally propelled me to write systematically through my blog, in a way that my literary- and historical-research minded author father had never succeeded in doing.
I am not claiming that I will be as fluent in my posting once Ramazaan is gone, as I will InshaAllah manage through out the month (only two weeks remain). With another year, a new set of responsibilities await in the form of an expectant addition to the family (InshaAllah). However, my first year’s presumption, that the blog was a short-term indulgence abruptly cut-off by the force of circumstances has been proven wrong. As I had observed before in my life, old loves go to hibernate, but do not dry up to die, if they were indeed sources of seeding, erupting and flowering of new streaks of thought that themselves became integrated in the kaleidoscope of my personality.
So InshaAllah, the flow of expierences, intellectation, and sharing will continue in the future albeit with their own phases of hub and quiet.
Let’s see what I have to say on the second annual edition of the anniversary of my special anniversay….🙂
PS: Thanks for keeping up with my overly rambling post. And, Happy Independence Day…🙂