In a world where stories of how much effort, persistence, and hard work people have to put into getting into a job, I consider myself rather a lucky one. I do not remember applying to multiple places, nor anxiously waiting for the replies, or attending the interview with my heart pounding.
I would say, "blessed, I was; blessed, I am."
Also, I see hundreds of young people sharing the hardships that they endured during their education. Long years of stress and strain. Just like the job, I feel I was a lucky one there. I got into courses which I liked, without much difficulty.
I would say, "blessed, I was; blessed, I am."
Then people ask me, "how did you prepare?" And every time I tell them, "I don't know, I really don't."
Either I did not prepare. Or, probably, I was preparing all my life. And rarely I forgot to enjoy the preparation. Whether I got a job, or a degree, I am sure I would have felt all right.
I just wanted to remind you all, enjoy the preparation. Often, all you may get to enjoy for sure is the preparation.
After many years of training, the wise Master took the young disciple to the road outside the monastery, and asked, "my dear child, can you see the road ahead of you?" The young fellow replied calmly, "yes, my beloved Master."
The Master asked him to close his eyes and asked again, "now? Can you see the road ahead of you?" The young fellow replied, no hesitation in his voice, "yes, my beloved Master."
As if amused, the Master asked, "how so?" Without missing a beat, the young fellow replied, "for the path ahead is the path I create. There is no path. Or everything is a path. Or the path is there for the one who starts walking. In a way, to walk is to create the path. Hence, one doesn't see the path in his eyes, but in his heart. And he who sees the path in his heart, the light comes from the soul."
The Master smiled and told, "my dear child, you may go now. Your education has started."
I may not be seeing many of you, but I know you walk by my side.
With lots of love to all the fellow-walkers of my life ❤️ Dr. Noufal Hameed
Well, I will start with a cautionary note- what I am going to say, it is going to hurt, so I will take it as mine. It is me talking about my own self.
Since the lockdown started and the "stay home, stay safe" messages were shouted out loud, I have been pretty disturbed. Well, as I have mentioned earlier, I had a home and enough resources to sit out a couple of months with ease. I was happy to be a part of the "stay home" campaign. Being someone who loves books, laptop, and the deep inside of my own room, lockdown or not, it was much better than I imagined.
But then, I started seeing images of people- hundreds of men, women, children, old, and ill- on the roads. Taking their long walks back home. In my whole life, I have never been hopeful and hopeless at the same time as I was seeing those images. But, this is not about hope. This is about something much sinister. Seeing those pictures of people stranded on roads, it made me extremely uncomfortable. I was sure that I know that feeling. But no matter how much I pondered about it, I could not place it somewhere. I could not recall where I have had this feeling before.
I love rains. But I hate that dampness after the rain. If you have lived in a house like that of mine- where there is a lot of vegetation and mud around the house- you would know this feeling. And with this dampness came those bugs, reptiles, insects, and a multitude of disgusting, and frightening animals. Seeing them crawling out of their holes, running wild all over the place, and the constant fear of one getting onto my body, the feeling was beyond my words.
Those days, I would secretly wish for the warm summer days, where there are light and comfort. Where I can stand comfortably inside my room and sip my cup of coffee. When those disgusting creatures disappeared. Of course, I knew that those creatures are still inside the several holes and crevices of the wall. Equally aware that I was about the several useful things that these bugs do for our earth. But they were not in front of me. It was so easy to assume they did not exist. How comfortable a life it was then. I could not imagine why on earth I would think of such lowly creatures and spoil the relaxed ease of a good, privileged life!
Then I realized why the sight of those people on roads, their plight, their burden made me uncomfortable. Because they were right in front of my eyes. I was happy as long as they stuck to their places and kept doing what they do. As long as I was not seeing them. Especially not in such huge numbers.
It was so easy to pretend that life is good. And seeing them made me feel not so good. And I didn't like that feeling. I realized how low we see them—human beings. Worthy of respect, dignity, care, and love, as anyone else; stranded on the wide-open roads, falling dead, mowed down by trucks and trains.
The sad part is, I still pretend.
Note: I don't believe, even a bit, of what I have written above.