Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…
Ash. It fascinates me. I believe in the principle many religions have in common…
From this Earth we were risen, to this earth we shall return. Form this dust we were sculpted, to this dust we shall return. Everything will, at its end, turn into dust and ash.
Everything will eventually burn itself out.
Even the Sun may, in a cataclysmic event that changes the course of the universe, burn itself and turn into nothing but a suspended cloud of glittering ash, hovering in the vast nothingness we call space.
Everything is volatile. Fate is volatile. One broken thread, one action, one word can change the past present and future of one or many people. Everything is flammable. And its burning is inevitable.
With the course of time it fizzles out, leaving behind nothing but an acrid smell and a pile of ashes.
Everything turns into ashes.
Ashes. Are they not fascinating? A thing that was once alive, reduced to nothing but tiny particles. All the essence of its life, its virility, destined to be nothing but a grey mound. Is this why it is said that the phoenix rises from its ashes?
I believe it does. To me a phoenix is not a mythical creature, instead it is a metaphor that goes well with my life and I believe, every person’s, life.
Segments of our life start as sparks and gradually turn into small flames. We nurture and feed those flames until a bright, brilliant fire is lit. We bask in its heat. But, as is the course of nature, the brilliance of the flame slowly begins to dwindle. A wind blows. The flames flicker. Raindrops fall. The flames are about to die out. What can you do to stop it? Can you stop the wind that blows? Can you shelter the flames from the torrential rain? Do you add fuel to the fire? One day you will run out of fuel as well. One day the fire will burn out. And you will be left cold and bereft, staring into a pile of ashes and watching the glowing embers as they slowly fade into darkness.
For me, many fires have been extinguished over time. Some had water thrown on them, some became covered with sand over time. Some were stomped out in a fit of rage. And some just burned and burned without being watched over, and died with time.
I have never been able to add much fuel to my fires. After nurturing the flames for a while, I grow tired and bored.
I have lost many opportunities in the past year. Some I gave up myself and now regret, some were taken away from me
I have started many fires in the past year. Some remain lit, some have fizzled. All have been forgotten.
I have started many friendships in the past year. All have deteriorated.
I am, in this vast world full of dust and ashes, a lost soul. An alien that is seldom understood. Whose expectations can never be met.
A lonely existence is deadly. When you keep secrets to yourself because you have no one to share them with, when you yearn to laugh and wander about with friends, but can’t, when you have dreams that cannot be achieved due to circumstance or lack of motivation, when you have goals you cannot accomplish without support, you burn on the inside.
It becomes too much and you turn into fire.
And we all know what happens to fire; it turns into ash.
But from the ash, rises a phoenix. Beautiful, majestic. With wings that span the length of a room, with talons that can cut through the hardest of steels, rises a phoenix. Calm and wise, it spreads it’s wings and soars into the air. Alone, watching, listening, thinking, it observes the people it once called friends from its otherworldly view. It pays them no heed but turns it’s head to the Sun and determines to rise as high as that flaming ball on its own.
A new era has began. I am a phoenix, rising from the ashes of the last three month’s betrayals, broken trusts, lies and hopelessness. From the utter lack of motivation and passion. From the letdown of having no recognition of my talents whatsoever. From the insecurities that have been ingrained into me since childhood.
I have not lived on this Earth for almost two decades only to hide in the shadows and flutter about like blown ashes.
I must rise like a phoenix to blind those who doubt me with my brilliance and my light. A phoenix, a solitary creature, that does not require the fake support of masked hypocrites who only want me to turn into ashes.
For me, That day has not come yet. When it does, all will be earth to earth, dust to dust and ashes to ashes…
Thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. – The Bible, Genesis 3:19
From the earth We created you, and into it We will return you, and from it We will extract you another time. – The Quran, Taha 20:55
From my other blog, published on 08/02/2013
9 years, 11 months, 5 days and counting. That is the time since I’ve been enrolled in the same private school for my education. Since my education is at an end, and I will be leaving my school for good in March, I am already feeling extremely nostalgic. I want to leave this overly-disciplined life and start a new one, a more relaxed one, but the truth is, that a part of me doesn’t want to leave these memories behind. And the most important constituent of this life, is my beloved school. It is pretty unknown, but prestigious, a school for brats really. I have so many memories here. My best and my worst. My friends and my enemies. Fights and parties. That one teacher you love and that one who’s your arch-enemy. The food-fights, the glitter-fights, the catfights. The boys and the crushes. The sports and the games. Running from the vice-principal, and finding good hiding places. Spending half the period in the washroom to escape a boring class. Texting under desks, the list goes on and on.
But the part that effected me the most, would be my daily commute from my home to my school. It is only about 5 km, walking distance really, but the area which I have to pass through, isn’t safe, so I go in my school van. It’s a place from which most of my city’s criminals originate. But it’s the shortest route from one posh colony to another. I have passed through that area, on a bumpy broken road, twice daily for uncountable days of my life. And I have observed so many people there over the years and realised that those people are people too.
I’m not some crazy stalker, but I do like to observe people a lot! And on my route, there are some people that I see almost daily. They don’t know it, but I have pieced together their lives by analysing their expressions, routines and moods over the years.
There is a kid who I’ve seen grow up. He used to sneak “pakoras” from the vendor when he was young. And then he starting renting CD’s from the tiny video store. He would put them under his shirt to hide them, before going to his home, which was in a small flat above the stores. When he became a teenager, he would stand on the road with another bunch of guys, and smoke cigarettes.
Then there is a green-garbed old man, maybe a “peer”, a person supposedly in touch with spirits. He has dirty gray hair and a long beard. He wears the long beads favoured by such men around his neck. Every morning after the morning prayers, he throws pieces of meat, sometimes on top of a building’s roof, sometimes on the road. And dozens of “cheel” birds (birds of prey, might be a specie of hawks, eagles or ‘black kites’, no one really knows) fly over to eat them. Sometimes the birds have to compete with the many stray dogs around. It’s a very interesting view to watch, until a “cheel” smacks on the side of your van. Yes, it has happened…
There are so many people I see, although nobody sees me. There are so many strangers who I know so well. I know their habits and their routines, sometimes even their names. And sometimes, if they aren’t where they are every day, I even get worried and wonder if something has happened to them.
My friends and my teachers, I will always be in contact with them, but these strangers are the ones I will miss the most. These people might be criminals, but nobody becomes a criminal unless they are absolutely made to succumb to crime to fulfil their needs. What I have seen is hope amidst extreme poverty. The old man who takes his grand-children to school, the little boy who takes groceries to his mother every morning before school, wearing his uniform, the boys and girls who don’t go to school themselves but look at our van with envious eyes.
These are the people who will be totally out of my life once I leave school, but I will always remember the lessons they involuntarily taught me. They taught me perseverance, patience, love, courage and most importantly, they taught me that rumours and appearances are not always right.