Leap of Faith


This is the tale of a trip down memory lane which makes me nostalgic and proud and less lost sometimes…

Completely calm, I stood straight, with my toes as close to the edge as possible and surveyed the lake below. It twinkled blue and calm back at me in the evening sun. I will do the counting myself, I told the instructor. Just keep your legs as straight as possible, he replied. I crossed my arms in an ‘X’, counted in my head and jumped.

Easy peasy, right?

Looking back, I wonder how and where I got the courage to go through with it…

The view from the edge/top

The view from the edge/top

I jumped off a 60+ foot cliff into the lake below. While:

  1. Having a fear of heights (I don’t like vertigo)
  2. Along with a major phobia of large water bodies (what if there is a shark in there?!)
  3. Also, having practically no training in swimming.
  4. And, only wearing a measly life jacket.

Not kidding.

Oh, and twenty minutes ago, one of the members of our group apparently jumped wrong, injured her back and was paralyzed for quite a few months afterwards.

Gulp.

(Of course, we only got to know about this part much later. At that time, we only knew that she couldn’t move.)

I remember sitting there on the cliff, my girls around me, waiting for our turn, thinking out loud, singing a bit. E asked me: Are we doing this?

I remember I was calm and humming the Strings’ classic Sur Kiye Yeh Pahaar (it was just too appropriate) as I answered.

I have come all the way here to do this. That we have just been up a huge mountain and then down a cave – which was incidentally full of bat shit…! So, yes! We are going to do this!

And that’s exactly what I did.

It was only when I was in the water that I panicked, feeling the weight of all those ten seconds (maybe less) that it took to come to the surface. Spluttering and gasping, and with the aid of our great group guides, I hauled myself up to the safety of the boat, opened my eyes and only then realized how BIG the cliff really was.

Yikes! Did I just jump off a 60+ foot cliff into a lake and managed not to drown?!

And that's the view from the boat

And that’s the view from the boat

I sat there, wet and shivering. Watching as my friends’ and other group members took their turns. And all I could think of was the jump and the plunge and the exhilaration I felt after doing something that was generally very scary.

These days, I sometimes remember that moment: how I was so sure that nothing would go wrong. I was afraid, yes, but not enough to stop me… Where did this courage come from? Do I still have that in me?

Whether or not I do, since that trip a couple of years ago, I know that I have a great example in front of me that, (especially when a self pep talk seems necessary) illustrates the following message:

  1. Let go of your fear.
  2. Jump off the cliff.
  3. Take a leap of faith.
  4. You’ll only know if it is worth it once you do it.

Just gotta know which cliff to dive off!

Slippers


The other day I observed my grandmother pushing her slippers to a side using her walking stick. This brought up a memory, a faint image, from a time long gone, of my grandfather doing the same.

That’s when I realized I hadn’t thought about him in a while. Which saddened me more.

Out of sight, out of mind, huh? Except, he’s not really gone. He’s all around us in his absence. He’s all around me in his absence.

With some of the things going on in my life, I really wish that he had been here. Maybe he would have been sure.

In fact, I’m sure he would have been sure.

I remember how he used to ask me to pass him something and then say “I have really long hands.”

It was always funny when he said it.

Sunday Special: Shadow


Like always, the past is in the room with you. Like a shadow. You can’t not notice it.

It sits next to you, legs crossed, looking sharp. Clever. Shadowy. Dazzling. A tinkle of soft laughter here; a grin pasted there. Feet shuffled, legs re-crossed, hair tossed.

The only other noise is the halted, hesitant conversation. More than some silent seconds tick by.

Then you pick up an old joke, out of the blue, and you collectively mold it into something new. It gains more meaning, more worth. The laughter is new, genuine; the pleasure deep, true.

The past realizes its hold is slightly loose. That it is one trick short. Maybe it’s the laughter, maybe it’s the bright aura of the room; maybe it’s the light at the other end of the tunnel. But you can see through the past now. And you see that you can put it behind you.

Like always, the past will be in the room with you. But only like a shadow.

My Year In Review


It’s that time again.

The time for review and reflection. The time to look back, at all the good and the bad, and “resolve” to do better…

For me, only in retrospect though, 2012 was a good year; better than 2011 in many ways.

I am still naive in many regards. I still let my hot head rule my words. I still wear my heart on my sleeve. I still worry too much and over-think everything.

Despite everything, I feel I have grown. Both up and out of my shell. A bit.

2012 was the year in which I managed to perform a very essential duty due a Muslim. I rarely blog about religion – thoughts, beliefs, opinions, practices, etc – but it was both a time with family and with God that I cherish. This was one experience that I won’t ever forget in my entire life, and I pray to God that there isn’t a point in my remaining life that this happens. Though it wasn’t easy, if I could go back, I would do it all over again.

The year also marked important career decisions. I once again tasted the thrill – and hardships! – of job search and the application & interview process. Now, I’ve finally settled down at (my current) work, quitting one internship and an earlier job in the course of the last twelve months. Having gotten the hang of operations, there are many moments where I really enjoy my “hidden” power and influence. Overall, I am just really thankful that all these opportunities did come my way.

In this regard, there are also lots of new people who have come my way. Some really nice ones. And some old ones have secured an even more permanent position in my (scarred) heart. Their presence through the best and lowest of times, their patience through my blubbering, and their ability to give me perspective is highly appreciated.

A shout-out to finally acquiring a smart phone (though still not smart enough to use it, it turns out) and applications like Whatsapp & Viber.

There was only a normal amount of reading and a minimal amount of writing, except here on the blog. Maybe 2013 would be the lucky year?

I did find some new favorite bands and musicians though: Mumford & Sons, Florence & the Machine and Of Monsters & Men. And it is just a coincidence that all of these have words starting with ‘M’. Promise!

At the same time, 2012 was also the year when I had my first major accident, after having a driving career of seven years. Mostly, my own fault. It was scary and I learned how fear makes a person scream. Yet, I was once again very ‘lucky’ since I wasn’t hurt and only the car was damaged. And that I didn’t have any passengers. Phew!

2012, in retrospect, in one word: lucky.

Cheers to that and hoping that this one would be a good one as well!

Me Too!


I was there, too!

The first meeting. That really interesting conversation. A quick bite before class. Chilling at the end of the long day. The late-night walks. The inappropriate jokes. Cramming in the library. The non-study sessions. Pouring out your heart. Explaining all the things in your head, without giving too much away, and knowing we still got it. Complete randomness. The panic attacks. The gossip sessions. The staring into space. The heated arguments. Changing the world, one discussion at a time. And more…

Or maybe there’s a perfectly good reason why I’m the only one who remembers this: a case of falsememoriginitis.

Better go take my meds now.

Gems


Some days, a face is all the catharsis you need.

You barely feature in their life. You might not have seen each other in a really long time. Or been in touch properly. Or talked lately.

But none of that matters. It doesn’t matter that you meet for a couple of hours after a really long time. It doesn’t matter that you are in a group situation. It doesn’t matter what you do when you get together. It doesn’t matter what you talk about.

The fact that they are willing to see your face, spend some time with you, hold a conversation with you, not look or sound repulsed, laugh at your stupid jokes…

Well, it just proves that they are absolute gems, and without even being aware of the fact, they help you. And they make up for all the people who – to put it politely – don’t or for whom you just don’t seem to exist (anymore, suddenly).

A thousand friggin’ times over.

“So give me hope in the darkness that I will see the light.”

~Ghosts That We Knew by Mumford & Sons

And you just know that it is going to be alright. It won’t be easy but it would be alright.

Sunday Special: Flashback


Or: How Listening To Your Boss Helps.

Memory works in mysterious ways. It is interesting how you can be talking about a certain thing but all of a sudden, forget an essential, very relevant detail; and can’t for the life of you recall it, no matter how hard you try. At other times, even without making any effort, you remember something out of the blue and it is just what you needed at the moment.

It is barely cold here yet, but it’s cold enough to make me not want to shower in the mornings, before work. Hence, I prefer to shower before bed and get cozy under the covers. But, last week, when I took my idea out for a drive, it didn’t work out the way I had imagined it would. (No, the shower part went okay. I’ve had that down since a long time.)

I wore my best, thick socks immediately and tucked myself under the blanket, fully, but I couldn’t stop shivering. Actual I-could-hear-my-teeth-chattering kind of shivering, which made my jaw hurt in the morning.

I naturally curled up into a ball and hugged myself as close as possible  I even entertained the idea of getting up and donning a sweater, but the mere thought of getting up caused me to shiver more. I couldn’t think what to do so I just shivered some more, trying to will myself to sleep, regardless.

And then it came to me.

In my head was the voice of a person I hadn’t met, seen or talked to in a long time, telling me of a little piece of advice her mother gave her a long time ago: that lying straight, as opposed to curling up, is likely to help you get warm in bed quicker.

Oh, mercy! And I remembered that this had totally worked last winter. So I wasted no further time and got to it.

It’s funny how memory works.

This (awesome) lady is a former boss. One of the first in the past year, which is one of the main reasons I’m not likely to forget her. One of the first, ever, actually. Her life-related nuggets of wisdom, like above, ensure that I’ll always remember her.

Listen to your boss, folks. You never know when what might come in handy!

[A shout-out to the lady and prayers for her mother].

Cherishing Memories


Those hours that you were just considering cherishing forever?

Yeah, those are gone and here you are writing a blog post to cherish them already. All that laughter and conversation. All that gladness. That warm and fuzzy feeling of comfort. Of satisfaction.

Just memories.

Who knows when’s going to be the next time you can all sit together? If, in fact, you can, at all?

Such is the sadness of life. Even in the gladness. The cold feeling of this-will-be-over-soon amidst the warmth. The satisfaction is just an illusion. A mirage that only provides virtual, temporary comfort.

And the memories? Pretty soon, those are going to fade away too.

Take care of all your memories. For you cannot relive them.

(Bob Dylan)