I am writing after so long that the feel of my laptop’s keys seem unfamiliar to my fingertips. I am making a lot of typos, pressing ‘t’ instead of ‘y’ and writing ‘og’ instead of ‘of’. The layout of the laptop which was ingrained into my muscle memory now feels cold and foreign to my touch.

My head is stuffed with questions and answers; answers which ignite more questions and the cycle continues to spin around and around and around until my mind feels it has been through the spin cycle of a cranky old washing machine.

The month of December 2014 was a nightmare; for me, for my family, for my friends and for my countrymen. Illness, blood, violence, loss; both loss of life and material, followed me like a perverted shadow. I went through a phase of extreme procrastination and depression. Even music, my saviour, lost its charm; King Crimson started to make me physically sick. I have already talked about my phases on my blog and those who are my loyal readers will know.

Oh, my loyal readers! Half the reason I did not start writing again was due to my shame of facing those I had forgotten about. How I had made friendships and left those sweet people hanging, never even reading or contemplating on their own words of woe. For that, I am very sorry.

Every time I return to the world of writing after an unannounced hiatus, I promise my readers I’ll continue writing regularly now. But this time, I will not make another hollow promise. I may not return to the world of WordPress for another two months, for a year, or forever; I do not know.

As the year drew to a close, the nightmare began with the martyrdom of more than 141 students and teachers whose only fault was to attend one of the most prestigious schools in the country. The sentiments of each and every Pakistani were hard to understand. We all felt guilty, angry, depressed and helpless.

It continued when all educational institutions in my country were closed down due to the looming threat of similar attacks. My own university which was founded by our Army’s welfare organization, Fauji Foundation, had received such threats. The last time I was on university premises was on Friday, the 19th of December. We have not been allowed to even step foot inside the college building since then. While us students stay at home and “enjoy”, my university is being renovated into a fortress for our protection.

I have had all the time in the world to contemplate on what was happening around me, and my thoughts dragged me down into a black hole.

While all this was going on, I fell ill and during the course of three days I had had my share of 13 intravenous and 6 muscular injections which my father administered twice a day. For more than four days I did not eat a single bite or took a single sip of water. I spent New Year’s Eve staring at the ceiling of my mother’s room which had been turned into a temporary hospital room. And at the end, it turned out all the medication was just a precaution and a result of misdiagnosis. I had only suffered a severe case of vertigo which had unsettled my stomach, while I was treated for complete intestinal obstruction!

While I was ill, my chronically ill paternal aunt’s condition also worsened. Her kidneys were failing and she was rushed to several hospitals during the course of 5 hours by my brother and cousins. My siblings and my father simultaneously took care of two severely ill loved ones, and I shall never forget their dedication.

As I recovered, my father’s health dropped. At the age of almost 7 decades he has no chronic illness except a deficiency of B-12 and the tendency to stress over things, resulting in higher blood pressure. It was my fault that he had high BP during the course of my illness and days after that. He says he is better now, but the doctor will determine that tomorrow.

I caught up with numerous semester final projects which were due in 3 days.  I slept at 3 AM and woke at 9 AM to try my best to save my 3.8/4 grade point average.

On the 10th of January, I turned 20. Two decades of my life closed among chaos.  But it was not complete chaos. As with every dark cloud, the silver lining had begun to emerge a few days before my birthday. One of my sisters got the job she always wanted while the other had a substantial pay raise which had her dancing at regular intervals during the day. They are also upgrading their car. My father’s business is booming. My aunt, after finally agreeing to dialysis, is now successfully on the road to recovery. She visited on my birthday and brought balloons and gave me cash. She looked groomed and healthy and was even talking about getting a new haircut.

My personal silver lining happens to be the existential crisis I am going through. It may seem like a conundrum to some, and yes it is terribly tiring to think so much, but introspection is something that was required. Ignorance is bliss until you get yanked out of it by a series of unfortunate events. Nonchalance never works out in the long run. Writing, what I had been calling ‘passion’ for lack of a better one, might not be after all. ‘Art’ which I had pushed away indifferently may as well be. But that too, does not make my eyes shine anymore so I am looking for something that does.

I am looking for my ‘calling’, a purpose of existing. For a dream, an aim, which will turn my humdrum existence into what we call life. I finally understand that to live and to exist are two very different things, and I am tired of simply existing like a leaf blowing in the wind.

To life; I hope it comes to me soon.


Everybody Dies

Today’s Daily Prompt caught my eye due to many reasons. One, it revolves around life and death, a subject I am very interested in. Second, immortality, a subject controversial to those who believe.

But the third and most important reason was that I have no answer to the question asked.

I have just always know that people die. That no one is immortal. That all life begins one day, and comes to an end another.

When I was two or three, I came to know that everyone has two sets of grandparents. I only had one. I wondered why, and eventually found the answers.

My paternal grandmother, the Dadi, a matriarchal figure who has a lot of say in Pakistani households, unfortunately never lived long enough to see her own children grow up, let alone her grandchildren.

During the 1950s, in the cold mountains of scenic Quetta, my grandmother contacted pneumonia. Penicillin could have saved her life, but alas it was not readily available in Pakistan during those times. She passed away, and left behind 4 children. My father, the eldest, was around 8 years old and my uncle, the youngest, was fragile at 10 months.

My father not only raised his brothers and sisters, but raised himself and became the successful man he is now.

My paternal grandfather lived just long enough to play with four of his grandchildren. Only I was unlucky enough to not be blessed by him. A healthy, athletic man; he died due to a sudden brain hemorrhage sometime in the 1980s.

My maternal grandmother passed away due to prolonged illness when I was six or seven years old.

The most time I spent was with my maternal grandfather, my Nana, who lived to around 90 years. I saw, with my own eyes, the life leave his body. In fact, a few minutes before he passed away, I sat in an empty room upstairs, cried and prayed to Allah to make his life easier and let him peacefully pass into the Hereafter. I sat on the stairs facing his room and watched while he breathed his last. I was 11 or 12 at that time.

I sometimes think that my subconscious embraces death as a part of life due to my early experience with it. And by early I mean mother’s womb early. My mother had a difficult pregnancy and the doctor decided to perform an abortion. The surgery took place. I miraculously survived. According to the doctor, my twin died; since, unknowingly, there wasn’t one, but two babies that were supposed to come into this world.

Death has never scared me. Death has never been new for me. There was never a time when I believed that we are immortal. It was not a concept I knew much of until I started to read fantasy books.

I knew from the beginning that all living things die at one time or another.

I guess I was a realist from the start!

Related Posts:

(Almost) Lost Shoe | Traversing Lines

I lived as a child | I Pen my Musings

Life | My Simple Life

Finite Creatures | River of Life Flows

Hollow Graves | Thought Process of a Rare Neuj