Ever simply sat and stared at a chair that your father often sits on, and absorbed its emptiness. He might just be away. But the incomplete feeling of seeing his cap, handkerchief and specs by the chair, the sofa cloth slightly ruffled like someone’s just gotten up from there creates a sense of fear in my heart.
The fear of him being gone.
Of the seat being deserted forever… And of me never being able to seek his advice for every single thing the way I do now. I stare at it so hard expecting him to suddenly appear, but to no avail. I’d wish to know what he thought of some of my decisions and what path should I choose to fulfil mine and his dreams. I’d wish to simply ask him if he was happy with me as his child, and if at least once if he was proud of me… To let him know that the feeling of being on my own, without his guidance, aches. And it is honestly hard.
At other times, I watch my grandmother closely; how she struggles to get up from her chair just to throw some water through the window. She takes her walking stick and lives a life so helplessly living every day for the sake of ‘life’…She wished to knit me a garland for my hair and tries to recollect the way her mother did it for her. She doesn’t give up on trying it every day so that one day it will come out that way. She wasn’t well last year so she hadn’t kept account of her bills. Grandfather wants to keep her busy now so he asked her to make accounts from last year until now. The bills have faded. Even I can’t see the numbers with my bare eyes. She uses her magnifying glasses over her glasses and slowly traces them down one by one.
Grandfather loves talking. He is quiet well known in the city for being a noble, generous man with good manners. Everyone loves him. But he wants to live a retired life now…
Wait. This piece isn’t about being grateful to people before they’re gone. It’s about me; when I am gone. And when my name will be forgotten beneath the sands.
‘‘I want to taste all the new flavors in food, variety is good. I want to build a masjid for community service. I have a plot near the bus stop and there is no place to pray there so I want to build one. I’ll try out the new cake shops and restaurants in town. They’ve invited me for their opening thankfully! I love literature. So I want to read a lot of English and Tamil books so I built myself a library. Because if I’m at home, I won’t have time for myself. People will keep coming to take me for some or the other work. I’ll go to my guest house in the morning and stay there till the night, just reading. I’d love to take my wife with me but she’s not willing since she’ll be bored. So I ordered a few books. One of them was, perhaps ironically, titled ‘Who will cry when you die?’
I can’t see the world except through this frame. And it suddenly looks bigger to me. Bigger with huge opportunities and tremendous responsibilities; But no one’s paying heed.
I am unwell and I feel dizzy sometimes. They say it’s not an issue but I know they’re hiding my cancer from me.
Times slipping by and I want to do all the things I wished to do.
I look around at how man is so complacent with time. There’s so much that could be done but no one’s paying attention. I feel as though I just realized my purpose in this life. N I’m trying my best to fulfil it. I feel helpless at things I cannot do anymore. I cannot even walk without a stick. Yet, it doesn’t paralyze me from doing what I can, and that has no limit.
I’m 86. N I’m going to die. N today I wish, I discovered my purpose earlier so my life was more eventful. What are you waiting for?’’
It doesn’t matter if you’re not 86 yet. I’m not. But life doesn’t have a definite number. What are we doing with the here and now? What have we done today that has brought a better tomorrow, a better family or simply a small change around us, in this messed up world? What or whom are we waiting for?
It is high time that we stop simply ‘living’ our lives simply following the daily routine like dead zombies or robots and instead investing in our hereafter by actually being alive.
“Son of Adam! You are nothing but a number of days, whenever each day passes then a part of you has gone.”
– Imam Hasan alBasri (رحمه الله)
Life’s slipping by; And the urge to make something of it, something worthwhile…only keeps increasing. So much to do, and so little time.
Certainly by time, man is in loss…. [Surah Al Asr]