Waiting For the Return
NOSTALGIA BY ZGM
I was a dreamer, not in literal sense but one ‘who finds his way by moonlight and sees the dawn before others do it.’ Sitting by grandmother’s side, listening to one or the other anecdote of her life, I often weaved my own world- a world of dreams and fantasies. In our world, devoid of storybooks, comic strips and animated films when grandmothers and mothers were the only storytellers this could perhaps be true about other children also. They were also our chroniclers. Their quivers were full of tales, not only about fairies, djinnies, kings, queens, princes and princesses but also about the contemporary times.
During summers as temperatures started soaring most of the families in our neighborhood shifted to Kani, the airy top stories of the houses. The kani, for a couple of months turned into a living room, drawing room and bedroom for children and elders. Sitting by the side of my grandmother, I loved watching from the top floor of the house the azure skies and the sparkling snow capped mountains in the West. At dusk, as the sun turned golden and everything around seemed baptized in gold, I often asked my grandmother what was behind those beautiful majestic mountains. It was like scratching a fresh wound that made her sigh involuntarily and take a deep breath. She replied oh! Behind those mountains there is a country created single handedly by a man of ‘indomitable will’…..his name was Jinnah- that is Pakistan. On saying this, she would feel nostalgic and remember the tall and lean leader speaking to the surging crowds at the Muslim Park barely some hundred meters from our home. She started narrating whole story how she and her friends, had squatted for hours on the lawns of the Park… Remembering those days like Edgar Allen Poe’s, gallant knight Gaily bedlight, she sang song in search of Eldorado:
"Where can it be-
This land of Eldorado?"
"Over the Mountains
Of the Moon,
I could see pain in her eyes brimful with tears. She remembered many youth of our Mohalla including some friends of my father who had boarded buses at Magarmal or crossed over the mountains to the newborn country. That they believed was an Eldorado. Some classmates and friends of my father for their political beliefs had been coerced to leave their home, hearth, and some out of share fancy had crossed the mountains.
My grandmother remembered her grandson the most. He too had crossed over to the other side when I was just a toddler. I had not even faintest idea about my eldest cousin…but his shadows were looming so large at home, that in my make belief world I had weaved his images no less than a legendry knight who braved the darkest woods.
He was son of my grandmother’s eldest daughter. His parents had died long before my birth. He was also engaged in a relation. His in-laws were interested in getting their daughter married somewhere else but my grandmother believed he will return. She visited every friar in the locality, tied a knot at every shrine and beseeched Majzoobs. known for their spiritual attainments in our part of city.
I remember accompanying her to a Dervash. We boarded a boat at Naid Kadal. Somewhere before Dal Lake disembarked near a humble thatched-roof house. I have very vivid impressions fair complexioned Dervish with sunken but sparking eyes- he was perhaps named as Amma Saib. Squatting on the grass-mat, I watched him talking to people with all curiosity. My grandmother with tears trickling down her cheeks narrated him the whole story of her grandsons- what was called as Pakistan-Chaloun “running away to Pakistan”. He gave her an old piece of cloth, some taweez and asked her to place these along with a bunch of nettle leaves in his used clothes in the attic of the house. He assured my grandmother that he will feel nettle rashes wherever he will be, and feel restless to return to home…and will return home
On reaching home, I got fresh long stems of nettle and these were placed in old clothes of my cousin…then after months a letter came…this strengthened my grandmother’s faith in peer saib wait for return became more intense…..
Lastupdate on : Sat, 10 Mar 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 10 Mar 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 11 Mar 2012 00:00:00 IST
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