Sunday, 20 January 2013

The ultimate act of faith

There is something in deciphering a word verification issue, before hitting the comment button, that makes me feel remarkably dyslexic. Not that I'm complaining. I know in all cases it's quite necessary to keep out the vile spamming vermin. I'll tell you a secret though: 9 out of 10 times, the words and numbers I end up punching into the little box are guesses - pure speculation on my part - especially the numbers. And I end up hi-five-ing myself like an idiot when I get it right; which I'm glad to report is quite often.

Anyways, I've spent a significant amount of time in these past few months, sitting outside my back door, gazing up at the evening sky. This is something I've done throughout my years on earth, at no particular time of the year, for no particular reason other than I'm inexplicably and mystically drawn to it. 

In fact, sitting and gazing at the sky and the horizon (during the day as well as the evening) is something I've done for as long as I can remember: in pre-school... during breaks in primary school... during grade 6 math class... during afternoon madressa classes... in high school from the 3rd floor science lab... at University when I was bunking class and sitting on the rooftop... during the weekends... on holidays or whenever I go overseas... you name it. This is kinda my thing

The weird part is that I don't know why. There is this mysterious sense of yearning on each occasion. But it's not like I'm daydreaming, I'm completely lucid every time. Sometimes I wonder: what is it that I'm looking for? What exactly am I searching or waiting for, that I'm hoping to find on this majestic celestial plane?

Your guess is as good as mine. I'm completely clueless. 

A couple of weeks ago, I was reminded that this very thing - sky/star gazing - was something that my late maternal grandfather used to do quite often too. Having passed on when I was only 5 years old, I never really got to know him. And this fact, coupled with my sentiment, did nothing but plunge my mind into a deep well of contemplation - as well as unearth a plethora of questions.

How much of who we are, are just off-shoots from previous generations... people who have lived in those long forgotten eras; whose lives and lifestyles seem more myth than history; some of whom are lucky if they are even remembered by name? 

Here we are, thinking we're so wonderfully unique and individualistic - are we really, or are we just the sum of those long forgotten strangers' DNA; with inherited habits, traits and characteristics which will in all likelihood let us walk in the same shoes, sharing similar thoughts, ideas and opinions? 

What becomes of us, years from now when our grandchildren and great-grandchildren move on and walk their roads, and we cease to exist in any memory of the world whatsoever?

It makes me a wee bit sad. And reminds me, constantly, of how small and insignificant I am. 

And then just when I think that I may be one grape short of a fruit salad, or that I'm imagining it all - I get the call on Skype. And in mid conversation with his parents, I watch my little cousin Noah (all of 14 months old), crawl up his couch and with great stealth, ingenuity and fearlessness (only afforded to those who cannot comprehend the meaning of danger), he manages to lift himself up onto their window sill, and just sits there, staring out of their 5th floor window, at the horizon. According to his parents, it's something he loves to do regularly. 

And in that instant, I know exactly how he feels and how he probably will feel 10 or 20 years from now. I can even imagine his future thoughts. It's like watching history repeat itself, quite literally.

I've been thinking about my grandfather a lot in recent weeks... of what I know, and everything I don't know. And one of the few things I remember, is that he used to love this song:

"Cucurucucu Paloma Hable Con Ella" ~ by Caetano Veloso

The funny thing about life is that even though we have no idea where we'll be tomorrow, or in what condition, we continue to move forward - which is the ultimate act of faith.

24 comments:

  1. i do that too, gazing at the sky day and night! its the same feeling i get when i look at the never-ending ocean.
    i always wondered too...about a person/ persons like me, and after hearing of some secrets of past, i think i know why i act and think a certain way. i have my maternal great grand mother and paternal grandmother to go back to. we can't run really :)
    great post.

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    1. Jaya - It's great to know I'm not the only person. Makes me feel slightly less crazy :)

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  2. I think looking at the sky comforts a lot of people because it's something that always has been/will be there. And you're not insignificant - you're a continuation of your ancestors' spirits.

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    1. Roving Retorter - I guess what intrigues me most is precisely that: that it's been around since the dawn of time and that we've all had a look at the same sky at some point in time.

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  3. Beautiful and touching, this post. I think we might be a little bit of both -- offshoots of previous generations AND our own "wonderful" (heh) selves. It's really fascinating, isn't it? Also, love that you've stared at the horizon/sky since you were so little, and that Noah takes after you, too. :-)))

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    1. Yeah PretzelT, it's amazing how we carry these traits through generations. I feel sorry for whoever inherits my traits *oy!*

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  4. I equate it to touching the face of God.

    There is no such thing as an imperfect sky.

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    1. That is true LL, the sky in every condition is always perfect :)

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  5. Is really difficult know what God think about or wait of us. sometimes I think He only wants we be good and happy and He loves us.
    I think a lot too sometimes, to much I know, and with these twins I have teen twins:) always are worry by something especially with Esperanza that thinks she KNOWS ALL LOL and is angry with me when I try to care sigh!
    anhyway I think you have a big potencial and are a lovely and smart person, God will help you always.
    I love Caetano Veloso:))

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    1. Thank you for your kind words Gloria :) Esperanza only needs time to see her Mama's wisdom :)

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  6. Azra,

    That was a lovely piece. Thanks for turning me on to it. Likewise this post. In fact, I think I'll write you a letter.

    Dean
    Http://leftcoastguy.com

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  7. Azra,

    That was a lovely piece. Thanks for turning me on to it. Likewise this post. In fact, I think I'll write you a letter.

    Dean
    Http://leftcoastguy.com

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    1. Thanks Dean! Yes, write that letter, I'll respond :)

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  8. Un post lleno de sentimientos y amor lo he leído varias veces,abrazos hugs,hugs.

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  9. Gracias Rosita. Un abrazo muy fuerte :)

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  10. I enjoyed reading this piece loudly. Very well-written, Azra. I love it especially because I feel just how you feel to your little cousin Noah. Good to know I'm not alone at staring blankly, sometimes thinking about the past/future, at the horizon or at the sky. At evenings, whenever I'm outside our gate, I always look up the sky for a while and look at the moon or the stars (esp the Orion's belt). It's something I do since I can remember and it's part of me to look up whenever I'm from being in cover for a while. And just like you, I'm clueless. :)

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  11. Debie - I'm glad you enjoyed reading this. And it's nice to know that there are many more people that do/feel the same as I do :)

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  12. That was lovely Azra. I too love gazing at the sky, there's something about it. Maybe we're all aliens and subconsciously looking for a way home!

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    1. Perhaps we are Juliette :) I'd like to live on your planet though.

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  13. First of all, you're not insignificant. That said, I love looking at the sky, too. I guess it's because I know there's so much more than just this planet we're all stuck on.

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    1. Take us to your blue leader Randy. Maybe Earth is over-rated and there are other much prettier planets to live on :)

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  14. That is really too cute that that's the characteristic that gets passed on. With my family, its been the tendency to collect random junk or impatience. I wouldn't say stargazing /daydreaming is so bad at all

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    1. Haha Rooth, maybe I'm related to you guys, I tend to be very impatient too.

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  15. Your blog is such a haven, the way you write.

    It can get so hard sometimes, not knowing what is going to happen, especially in times of despair, when you absolutely NEED to know what's going to happen, so you can at least prepare yourself for it, or stress less... but getting up in the morning and trudging on is sometimes all we can do despite ourselves.

    I hope all is well love. Sending you huge, huge hugs.

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