Category: Letters

To THE cousin

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You know who you are,

You know how much  I value you. You know how much your support means to me. You know. And guess what? We’re the same age again, for the next eight days. Hugs?

Remember the childhood years? That game of touch-me-not at Barray abbu’s old house, the kidnapping plays at Taya’s house, the monkey bar on his terrace and our antics of climbing it, the cousins who pretended to throw us off the railings there? Do you remember playing hide and seek with the elder cousins? Do you remember all the nicknames I gave you? I’m really sorry for the offensive one, although you did get me scolded for it :p Oh, and do you remember the mummy in my room’s store? 😀 It’s still there. Come visit someday, it has missed you. All those night stays, the pleadings for night stays, the ijtemaai duaaen for my father forgetting to pick me up from your place on his way home from office… and those two times that he actually did forget!! 😮 Oh and remember the times you and your younger sister stayed at my place, and you’d both be sad for the first few hours because…. well, you know why. It was infuriating. Oh well. I loved you then and I love you now. You two were the sole reason I begged to be transferred to campus IV of our school. We fantasized we’d play in the basement in recess time, but school brought with it quite different times.

And then we grew up. There was competition for five rupee coins, there were new friendships and petty disputes over them. I apologize for those, I admit I was incredibly shallow and inconsiderate. And it hurt you. I’m sorry. In that period, there was confusion and lots of changes swimming about everywhere. It changed us as well. And for sometime, our relationship was in the background. But it was revived, no? The bathroom meetings on the ground floor? And… ahem, remember that singular exchange? 😀 Oh and remember the time I got a new haircut and I was so excited to show you, I opened my hair and arranged it in that specific way, outside the bathroom, and Miss Zarqa came along!! 😮 We were scolded. And the spelling bee!!! I can never forget that. I remember how I explained the phonetic symbols to you and Fizza. And how we memorized the spellings for typhoid and haemorrhage, and how much we loved pronouncing hullabaloo and bootee. And all the free periods we got to practice, just the three of us sitting outside to study spellings. I still blame myself for getting that spelling wrong in the regional rounds. I over-complicated it. I remember my reaction when we got our matric results, and I was envious. I admit that. I didn’t even congratulate you, and it brings tears to my eyes. But I did hug you and congratulated you at school early morning the next day. The damage was done and I was extremely in the wrong. Forgive me if you can? For all those times?

And then school ended, college distanced us. Your anxiety in those two years, and my depression; we bonded differently. Different colleges and different subjects after having studied the same subjects together, for six years, our desks almost always near, for there wasn’t much space in the classroom either :p I missed you.
Remember that one crazy night at my place when our fathers went out of city? We watched a movie, and then theorized every lunatic idea that came to mind, lying beside my bed on the carpet in the dark for so long, we ruined Einstein, and made a joke out of philosophy where everything was nothing and nothing was everything and bananas and feet and darkness and Lord knows what. Conclusion? Birmingham Asylum. Electricity went off, my mother came to talk to us, and we sobered up.

Sobering times followed as university came along. Same institutions again, we began to meet almost everyday, and found the solace of silence in each other. We found colliding and conflicting passions, favourite spots and baffling philosophies. As different and as similar as we continue to become, you still are the best cousin, and my rock. We have something different, don’t we? That kind of comfort, I can never find with anyone except you. Too sappy? But i’m being honest. See, I even wrote you a love letter 😉

We’ve changed drastically, and we keep talking of changes. All the changes aside, you need to hear what’s coming. You are a fantastic person. Your thoughts, your words, your strokes, your expression of everything and your extraordinary ability to feel (reminded me of the theater society, and need for “empathy” :p). Whatever life may have brought, you’re still that amazing person. You might not see it, but everyone else does. Have faith in yourself, as I do in you. Love thyself, as I love thee.

We believe in the process, remember? 🙂

Yours,    
Moniba.

Go now, please.

But that is not how things are. That is not how life is. That is not how people are. And that is not how you should be.

Listen to me. Listen now. Stop whining and lend me your ear – the right one. Now listen, once and for all – though I shall not hesitate repeating it for you all life long, whenever you might need to hear it – and I know you will. As will I. Nasiyaan, yes? So listen here.

Childhood is good. Golden, for most. And they later lament growing up. But dear God, if we were not to grow up, what would we do of our childhoods? We absolutely had to grow up so that our childhoods might be of some use.
For some, it is not good. It turns them blue forever. The strong ones turn the blue into a brighter shade. The weak ones let it dim, further dim, into grey. Even weaker ones ink it black.

Childhood is gone. It had to go. It came to go, as all mankind. We come to go. But between coming and going, there is a lot to be learnt and taught, a lot to do, a lot to let happen. So learn. And teach. And let life happen. Then learn more. And teach more. Learn by evolving, teach by being. Do something. The world will not accommodate you by itself. You have to make your own space. Criticize all thoughts, yes. But do it for a purpose, take something from it. Don’t do it for the sake of criticism, don’t do it for the sake of uniqueness, don’t do it for the sake of rebellion. Do it to actually do something.

And please, do something. You cannot let things be. It is in your power to bring a change. Do something as small as voting, or as big as introducing a reformed educational system. Don’t just badmouth the politicians, or politics itself. Do something about it. We write, we think, and we read. But what do we do? Study, if you’re doing that, but think, and plan on what you’ll do when you’re able to. And take my word for it, you can always do something. You’re small, but you make the universe. It is people like you who do great things, things that impact the world.

You cry about people wronging you. And you cry about people being ignorant of your affections, ignorant of the world, ignorant of people. You cry about people coming and going. Rise above that. Hold your heart. Look to those who are with you, and there are always some who are with you. And when no one is, He is. People are people. For others, you are people. It is okay. Rise above that. Life is about so much more.

You cry about messed up circumstances. Take my word for it, circumstances are so much worse in our heads than they really are. So don’t think too much. You’ll only tangle the wool more. Settle on something which gives you peace, and hold on to it. Faith gives you peace. Hold on to it. Circumstances don’t shape what happens to you, how you deal with them does. So deal. All will happen as you want it to, if you can hold on long enough.

And you. Stop crying. Pull on a strong countenance. Move forward. Flashbacks are flashbacks, don’t let them deprive you of the present. Sad thoughts are your own thoughts. Don’t let them dampen your spirits. Don’t indulge them. Do not.

Take that chair, pull it out, set your head down on it and think hard. Only five minutes. And then leave the seat with a plan. They tell you planned lives are boring. Don’t believe them. You can plan blank spots too.

This is how it is. But don’t believe me. Go now.

On the beginning of a new phase of life

       Yes,
       It shall test you, it shall challenge you.
It shall tire and frustrate you.
       It shall stretch you, it shall wring you.
It shall dismay and disturb you.

       But remember darling,
       It shall reward you, help you grow.
It shall afford you your dreams.
       It shall indeed taste sweet in the end.
It shall bring you to me and me to you.

       And sweetheart,
       If it tests you, you have the strength.
You have the wit, the fire in you.
       If it stretches you, you always have a home.
You have me, and in me, all the space.

       My love,
       Take me- I am your bed and blanket.
I am your storm and rain, your breeze.
       The spark to your fire, the water to put it out.
I am your home- come live in me.

      ~Moniba.

Notes to People of the Past

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Respected ____________,
You were right, I did it for attention. But it offended me deeply when you said it, when in fact I should have realized you were giving me an easy way out. Almost six years later I realize this and find closure. I’m sorry for the way I reacted. I am indebted to you.
~Moniba.

Dear ___________,
I think of that day every day. It has been almost nine years I think. I’m burdened with guilt. The fact that I can never apologize sickens me. You were my best friend at that time. I should have known better. I hope you’re happy wherever you are now.
~Moniba.

______________,
I forgive you. I know why you did what you did. I understand, although I obviously don’t approve. I forgive you. I hope you’re doing as well as you seem to be doing. I hope you understand my reaction as well.
~Moniba.

Dear ___________,
I don’t know you anymore. I just remember your name, your face, the time we spent together, and the monkey-bar incident. I hope you think of me too.
~Moniba.

___________, ___________, and ____________,
I was a child. You shouldn’t have done what you did. Every day I think of it and try to justify your actions, and I often succeed although I know it was wrong. I can’t say I forgive you. I don’t know if there’s anything to forgive. I don’t know what that constitutes. Just know, it affected me deeply. I would’ve been an entirely different person had it not been for you.

~Moniba.

Very dear _____________,
All of us miss you. I wish I could’ve thanked you when you were still here. I have fond memories with you. I still haven’t thrown away your gifts. I don’t know if I ever will. You’re missed, but you don’ need to worry. We’re all okay here. I hope you’re in peace.

~Moniba.