A Hundred Beads / Dee

“he came softly to the recesses of my memory lips resting on his shoulder reminder of a longing
never satiating
never completing
oscillating between the past and the future of that which could not
be “

love… the word is repeated again and again like the daanas on the tasbeeh; a frenzy of faith. There are a 100 beads on the Muslim rosary; tasbeeh.

Different counts for different needs.

That evening I went to my nano and asked her to tell me a count I could use for myself ; a special prayer. “na, dee, you are potent. don’t restrict to a count. Beta, zid se maangti ho, jalal sirf us ko zaib daita hai”. She pointed upwards and went back to her own reading of the tasbeeh.

Help is rarely there when you are seeking it and never there when you ask for it.

I went out of the house and saw the clouds gathering in a bunch of halves, then merging to make their dance a ritualistic spreading across the lengths of the sky. Grumbling, groaning, growing louder, they seemed to
speak a language I knew. That energy which wants to be dispersed and absorbed by others. A sigh trailed behind me and a moan twirls around me for I was a lament like the elements. Energy misplaced, displaced and misunderstood. Walking along the jhumka bail and the bougainvillea I was enveloped by the heavy sedating scent that followed me and entered my being. The clouds rumbled inside and made room for the new scents. Monsoons are the season of abundance in giving and taking , and I wonder to this day why some of us are chosen to be like the elements , swaying and spilling their energy to everything they touch, everyone they touch. The Medusa touch. Everything turns to gold and you become dust in the process. Losing and giving ; a circular ritual of existence. Zid is an urdu word for asking till you receive, the bargain is of loss even then.

I walked along the heavily scented bougainvillea and the jhumka bail ; neither could contain my nameless, empty residue. Love ruins you once you start spinning in its angular arms, resting yourself in faith which it does not have and you long for it. You long for it to stay, and to hold you but it asks for that from you. What you have are empty hands like the beginning. Who can you blame but the Monsoon rain for hiding the tyranny of the storm. The sky roar and the rain pours a silent hush to the very source it comes from.

Many decades later, the moon shone on me and I was walking along a path when I got tangled in the same scent.. a bougainvillea wrung around a jhumka bail ; I was taken aback by the memories that came from that one inhale, smashing my bones against years ; reducing me to the same aching empty knot. Zid …. the elements had always just stayed so close to me. The ritual was simple. I would want and I would receive but what was received was not an entirety… the essence was not given but the wish was. I fought with Allah at every juncture asking Him the whys and He returned me empty handed with a smile. The way to read a tasbeeh I discovered was to not read it. It was the breathing and the living within the folds of a forgotten day, a half eaten dinner, a restless child, a simmering of ones elements and a final submission to my lot. I opened my fists and let go of the tasbeeh beads listening to their rhythmic falling on the floor and dispersing into corners I could not get into.

People leave because that’s what they are meant to do. People love and leave because that’s the ritualistic nature of love and longing. You walk with memories at the end of a life lived with intensity and authenticity. But you walk alone. Musa was alone in the belly of the whale. Muhammad was alone in the cave of Hira. Jesus was alone when he screamed “I am ready,Lord.” Shiva will be alone in the completion of creation and destruction. Hecate is excluded from meeting Macbeth and the pain is inevitable.

I walk along the bail touching the thorns delicately. We are gods in so many ways especially in our aloneness. Put your fingers near your jugular vein and tell me how alone it is tonight.

Nano passed away in the cupping of my hands and smiled

before she did, fearing I’d never learn my lessons well and walk the path of gods who love in order to lose. Ishq , Mashooq is an equation of loss only. When the fighting stops you will know the ecstasy of losing my dear reader.

how many hours without you
what do you look forward to in the morning.
in the day
Stealing kisses on your moist skin”

which you won’t which we can’t which I won’t which I can’t (tasbeeh)

There are a 100 beads on the Muslim rosary; tasbeeh.

Different counts for different needs.

Dee is from Lahore, Pakistan. Loves dark nights and old trees.

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