Monday, February 27, 2006

"The tongue like a sharp knife... Kills without drawing blood" - Buddha

Tee left this comment on my previous post: "All the little things we do that affect others can be so debilitating. On the other hand - the little things we do can positively affect people's lives forever as well. Who knows if the smile you gave that stranger at Wal-Mart was the one nice gesture they received on the day they had nearly decided to commit suicide? You never know"

I thought of her comment today as Kashif and I confirmed our tickets to Rio! Amiji please don't frown as you read these words. I love you. Really. But 9 weeks trudging to class four hours a day or... Rio in the midst of the Atlantic rainforest sitting sea side pondering deep thoughts? Did I mention the mangoes? Well, the lady who booked our tickets was so nice. We had a great conversation (I'll forgive her for the scary Rio stories) and I hung up from talking to a complete stranger with a smile on my face. This postcard is from postsecret and I felt so eloquently pointed out that indeed it's true. Your smile, your kind gesture could indeed have effects you'll never realize but never the less powerful.

But what of the words spoken by those we trust in to use their weapon carefully. A friend once eloquently explained his difficulty getting close to others "when I decide to trust someone, to open up to someone, it's me putting my heart in my hands, cradling it carefully and placing it on the floor beside them. They can turn and step upon it, they can pick it up and cradle it. It's frightening to be this vulnerable" My heart has been crushed as many times as it's been cradled by another. Just as random people can hurt, those you know more can wound you more. Sometimes we hold on to such people because of blood, old times sake, but whatever the reason, if a person hurts more than they help. It's time to let it go.

And those we love, and love us in return, we must hold tight to us. For some reason it's the ones we love the most we treat the most unjustly. Somehow we persist in the belief that there will be a tomorrow to apologize or to give the hug. My mother told me that last night, her cousin in Pakistan passed away in her sleep. A healthy woman of middle age went to bed and never woke up. Ahmed an MC at my friend's wedding passed away two weeks ago in his early thirties and yesterday my dear friend's aunt finally lost the battle to liver cancer.... How many people didn't say sorry before the Tsunami, Katrina, the Earthquake took away the opportunity forever. How many people are living with regret for not having loved them while they were here. When it comes down to it, you can not say with certainty that tomorrow will be what you think. It's not worth it to hang up the phone in anger, to roll your eyes and walk away from the ones you love the most. Life is much too short. A few years ago a quote from the Autograph Man by Zadie Smith stopped me in my tracks. A man who no longer fought with his wife said "He had been surprised to discover that when you subtract the rows, what you are left with is love, a huge amount of it, leaking out of you." If you're honest with yourself you know what you're probably arguing over is not worth it, in the end you will reconcile, embrace the love and release the hate towards the ones you love the most because in the end love is all there really ever was. I think I finally understand.


Shabina said...

So much to say in response to this post! First, mabrook on Rio, I'm very excited for you and your man iA :)

Second, I love Zadie Smith's White Teeth. Have you read it?

Finally, you speak the truth, it's *far* easier to be mad at a person than to address the real issues head-on - b/c articulating what it is that hurt you so much makes you vulnerable and open to get hurt yet again.

Back in the day, one of my favorite quotes was from Mother Teresa - she said, "if you love till it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love." I'm not sure if I believe in that anymore, but it sure sounds beautiful, no?

Mia said...

Congrats on Rio! Don't stress the scary stories. Every place has its down side and that's what people will repeat the most. Also it sounds as if you've discovered another one of life's beautiful secrets now spread the word!

Aisha said...

Shabina, I LOVE WHITE TEETH. She has a new book out I just learned "on beauty" that I'll also check out soon, Autograph man is okay. Well written but eh. I saw White teeth on the plane, they made a miniseries of it... that book was great though! :) The mother teresa quote is nice... but yeah dont know what I think of it :) I think seeing two people like Ahmed and my mom's cousin die so unexpectedly made me realize that getting angry and being resentful to those we love is a luxury we only THINK we have. We need to take avantage of now because now is all we're certain of. And just as importantly, the people who are no good for us.. we need to let them go.. I dont know if you understand what I mean.. but you posted about something along this vein not too long ago..

Mia, thanks! :) You're right ppl usually retell the dramatic stuff. Insh'allah it'll be okay :)

Shabana said...

Oh boy, have fun in Rio!

And you know that the words you left for me when I was down were powerful as well.

At the same time, I learned, through being down, that a harsh or careless word here and there from other people - both near and far, both close to me and strangers - could cause more damage at key moments than they probably imagined.

Chai Anyone? said...

wow. thanks for that. said alot of what i've been thinking for a while now. ive quoted it in my blog. hope you dont mind.

Jane said...

I'm so jealous that you and Kashif will be off to Rio! I'm with Mia, every city has it's dark side--don't let that stop you.

I'm just beginning to see how short and unexpected life is. It is too short for grudges and petty arguments.

mystic-soul said...

Life is like a constant debit card. You are loosing 60 seconds each minute anyway. Make it worthwhile or keep loosing it.

Smile each morning at mirror and see the difference in yourself in just 3 months.

Baji said...

So true.

Aisha said...

Shabana you're right, when you're down harsh words are like salt on open wounds. If they come from the ones you love, they take longer to heal.

Chai anyone, ofcourse I dont mind, I'm honored :)

Jane, I'm happy :) Which is a sign that this was the right decision because I didnt feel this excited at all about the Europe program.

Mystic. Wow, that's a great way to look at it. Time is going whether you waste it or spend it wisely.. up to you. I'd say most of us live our lives half asleep though...

Baji :)

Southern Masala said...

Congrats on your decision to go to Brazil. That is exciting.

It is weird that you posted this when you did because my mom just called me yesterday to tell me that the mother of a childhood friend committed suicide. It was a very weird feeling. I mean when its someone that you haven't seen in years, but you have all these nice memories. She always seemed like a very calm and happy woman, one of those super soccer moms who always had it together. But you never know what is under the surface and how drastically you may affect someone who has these secret feelings lurking below the surface.

Inna lil-lahi wa inna ilay hi raji'oon

Bongi-Amma said...

Blimey you posts nearly always make me cry. Just 2 months back my cousin and my aunty who had flown from england to pakistan to do wedding shopping for my cousin died in their sleep (May Allah Subhanallah u tallah grant them jannah) the same day they landed...CO poisoning. It was so messed up, i remember her telling me she'd see me when she got back,that i had better come to her wedding even tho i had exams 4 days after the wedding and also just the weekend before telling me of her plans to do a nursing degree after she got married. She was only 18. Now im probably going off on one here, but i needed to get that out. Life is way too short, and i agree wholeheartedly with your post.

The Individualist said...

Ah! You hit the jackpot when you said that people who we love hurt us more than people we don't. It's quite ironical, isn't it? That we expect the other kind to hurt us more while this kind that we expect to be saving us from any hurt, actually go ahead and sometimes, even try to wipe out our existence. The very reason being our grant to them. Our grant to them when we put outselves in a stage where we are at their disposal. Once a person gets trampled upon a few times, thats when a deep sense of distrust over everybody develops. A sense of aloofness creeps in. And love doesn't arrive easily when you don't have trust to back it.
Nice post. Interesting thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Sweet buddha quote!

Maleeha said...

my mom has asked me to come over this weekend and help her sort out some issues. your post is going to help me a lot in listening to her and giving her advice. thanks.

Tee said...

While some wisdom escapes my grasp this is one thing I have always fully embraced and understood. If I talk to a family member on the phone the phone call is always ended with, "Love you. Bye."

My Dad went to visit his parents many years ago. At the airport my Grandfather and my Dad looked at each other awkwardly before my Dad boarded the plane. They ended up shaking hands to say goodbye. That was the last time my Dad saw his Father and he has always regretted not hugging him.

I hope your post encourages others to show their love to friends and family openly every day.

As for Rio - \:D/ <- That's me dancing for you. LOL. Email me your address so I can send you the phrase book :)

mezba said...

Congratulations on the Rio thing. I thought previously you said only one of you is going?

My father and one of his friends had a dispute over something and did not speak to each other properly for many months. After my father married my mom, she convinced him to talk to this guy and solve their differences, after all they had been friends. They had even forgotten what the original dispute was about. My father did so, and he and that person were again on very good terms. Shortly after that my father's friend died. To this day Dad says if he had not made up with this person, he would have had a regret for life, whenever telling me this story.

Isn't there a hadith that a Muslim should not extend a dispute with another Muslim for more than 3 days? Very practical, that.

Aisha said...

Southern Masala, oh my gosh. Wow. I'm so sorry to hear that. Yes, you never know what someone is feeling underneath that smile. So many of us wear masks over our true feelings every day.

Bongi- 18 years old? I'm confused because you said "they died", did the mother die as well? What a nightmare. I dont even knwo what to say. When you hear of young folks it really hits you that your youth is no guaruntee of anything... I'm so sorry to hear about that..

Individualist, welcome and thanks for your perspective on the post, it's true, the ones who know us well know what buttons to push too... the ultimate betrayal.

Maleeha, I'm glad that this post may have helped in some way :)

Tee, wow. That is so sad b/w your dad and grandfather... I try to internalize such instances to make sure that I never make that mistake. At least someone can learn from the regrets of others. And yes, I will email you :)

Mezba, yeah Kashif couldnt come to Austria but he could come to Brazil which is one of the reasons I decided to go to Brazil He's only coming for one week though. I have heard that Hadith, I thought it was between spouses, but maybe it extends further. It would make sense to. Your story of your father and his friend is making me think though on some situations in my own personal life..

Bongi-Amma said...

Sorry, they both died, my cousin was 18, and my aunty was young enough as well.

Aisha said...

Bongi Amma I dont even know what to say I'm so sorry to hear that. That must have been very difficult to lose both, particularly during what should have been a happy and joyous time...

ASH said...

Life is a struggle, you push a boulder up hill and expend a lot of energy doing it. The boulder represents your dreams and aspirations, and the exertion is the problems you have in this life. sometimes the boulder slips and rolls back to the bottom or half-way down. Those are the hard moments, when you have to decide when and how you are going to start pushing the boulder again.

Without the boulder the climb is less difficult, but the ease of getting there cheapens the experience. You end up at the top but see none of the view.

It is all about the Taqwa. :)

Hasan the Not-So-Great said...

I know for a fact that little compliments go a long way. and so does saying, "I love you" to someone.

it brightens thier day as well as yours.

Suroor said...

Ah, a beautiful lesson taught through reminding of pain. Thank you, darling!

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