ENDLESS JOURNEY

I have wondered about this old mind of mine. What if I should lose it? Where would my physical body be? While I think it is possible that that could happen, I cringe at the thought of me wandering around aimlessly. I have so much more to write. I still have so many memories in this aging mind of mine.

In my mind I hear the music of the subcontinent, of the drums and tabla, of veena and sitar, and of the notes from an old flute, hand made, and I see the vast stretches of guava trees and the ripening pomegranates, and swings made of thick ropes and a flat piece of wood, hanging from the sturdy branches of the mango trees in the back yard.

I want to write about my home where I grew up, where there were always guests to feed and meals prepared three times a day. Home was where there was always a crowd, day and night, and hordes of relatives. The doors to the front veranda were never closed. The windows always open so the breeze would flow through the home.

The first time I took my daughter to India, there were about fifty people at the airport, not to see me, but to see my daughter. There were even more people when we reached home. Mother had made garlands of jasmines for me, and a palanquin of roses for my child, so she can step into it before she crossed the threshold. Every person there wanted to touch her cheeks, and hold her close. But she slept like a rose bud in my arms, exhausted from the long flight and the heat. They wanted to see this child that was born in America. She was taken from my arms and placed in the flowered palanquin and rocked back and forth by people.

How could I tell these people to stop talking, or ask them to shut up, so my princess could sleep without getting disturbed? Many had traveled twenty to thirty miles in an ox cart, just so they could see my child and me. I had never worn a sleeveless blouse in India, but after coming to the States, I had become somewhat bold, and started wearing blouses without sleeves, and sometimes would also wear slacks. The day I reached home, I had worn a sleeveless blouse because it was so hot. Mother kept bringing the end of my sari over across my shoulders, so I would not look indecent. I wonder what she would have thought if she knew that I wore shorts and went out to exercise at a studio.

My daughter and I were the talk of the town, not just by relatives and friends, but also the shopkeepers in the market, and the people at any given restaurant. We were enigmas to these simple folk, where time had just stopped and they all thought that I would remember Urdu and Farsi and talk to them in those languages. Every time I would talk to my child in English, the women would cover their mouths with their hands and say, ‘Why do you talk in a farangi language to your child?’

There is so much more to write and talk about. Visions of roads stretch before me like Sahara, and I see roadside musicians walking with their flutes, the notes wailing from the reeds~ or an oxen cart loaded with people going to the market on Thursday, some of them eating food off of a plantain leaf, food which they had brought from their homes. Their brown fingers matching mine, their eyes lined with kohl like my eyes, and all of them seemingly asking me to join them, the rhythm of their laughter and their songs entering my soul cleansing me of the western façade that had swept over me and built such a steel fort of aloofness around me.

I hear music from that place I call home all the time. I need to write so much more, but thoughts take wings and all I see are people with love in their eyes, smiles that would blind you with their brilliance and the hospitality that made you cry even decades later. I would so hate it if I were to lose my mind. Where would I store all these thoughts, and whom would I share them with?

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© ZSA_MD

About Zakiah

I write poetry and some fiction, have a book that was published in 2012. . . Stray Thoughts/Winged Words. I have four grandchildren, ages 16 and half to almost 16 months. I love the ocean, and grew up along the Indian Ocean in South India. I am a retired physician. Don't know much else to say. Thanks for reading. That has been my profile for so many years. My daughter Saadia a great poet and story teller, has two sons; the oldest grandson is now 21 years old, doing architectural engineering at Missouri S&T in Rolla MO. His younger brother is almost 16 and taking driving lessons seriously and is in High School. The other two grandsons, children of my son Sayeed, are 9 and 5. I have recently published another book titled Gulistan, A home of Flowers. It has stories and memories of my childhood and of a distant land which I still consider as my HOME., even though I have lived here in the US for more than fifty years. Hope to see you on my blog.
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22 Responses to ENDLESS JOURNEY

  1. jstnotherday says:

    ” the hospitality that made you cry even decades later…”

    Your whole post brought tears to my eyes… so beautiful.

    I worry too, about the same thing… what if my mind slips away and my children have never asked the questions they should know the answers to. What if by the time they ask I no longer have the answers to give.
    This is why I write, but then I wonder, will anyone ever read what I have written… will they ever have the time, or take the time? … and if they do read, will they have questions, and will I be able to give the answers…

    Love and blessings to you, dear Zakia.

    • Zakiah says:

      Thank you so much for your sweet comment, and your words are very comforting. I had written this on Xanga in 2013 or so, and was finally able to retrieve my archives. I saw this post and decided to post it here.
      Love and blessing to you too.

  2. mrswrangler says:

    Yes writing memories down are important. I have wrote a lot of memories of my dad down. That way when my kids ask why they do not have a grandpa they can hear about the great man who left this earth to early.

  3. FromtheChurchoftheToastedCoconutDoughnut says:

    You have rich memories, Zakiah. I enjoyed reading this.

    • Zakiah says:

      Memories that seem rich to someone, could sometimes be the saddest part of the life for the writer, I think. I am glad you like what I wrote Leah. Thank you.

  4. Keep writing about those beautiful memories. I worry my own forgetfulness is a sign of something more serious to come. But keep writing and take us with you on your journeys to the past. We’ll float along on your beautiful words.

    • Zakiah says:

      No, you are too young to indulge in that kind of worry.
      Thanks for the poetic appreciation of my words Mattie. Hope you are all healed up now. Take care. love and hugs.

  5. j.e.glaze says:

    what a wonderful life you have lived! you describe it all so well, that I can see and hear and smell it all. India is such a vibrant, living place – as you intimated, I feel that America – with all it’s wonderful advances – has lost culture and love and the joy of living and sharing together, at least to some extent. I’m glad you share your memories with us.

    I’m glad you stopped by and said hello at my page!

    j.

  6. This was a joy to read! Your memories are rich and vibrant!
    I think you are already doing some good things…writing down your stories and memories…sharing them with your kids and grandkids, etc…and some day they can share them back with you, if need be.
    Have your grand Princes visited India yet?
    If not, I hope they get to visit there some day with you! 🙂
    I think we all worry about our minds/memories as we age.
    You exercise your mind, in many ways, so hopefully it will stay with you to the end. Both of my parents had amazing memories and sharp minds when they died.
    HUGS!!! 🙂

    • Zakiah says:

      No, my grand princes have not been to India. My oldest, Noah, would love to go, if his parents allow him, and I think he will during college or after college. Right now he is too busy with graduation and tennis. Just heard the news that he and his doubles partner (#1 seed) won the Championship in the Western Big 6 Invitational. I am so happy about that. I am glad his parents were there to watch him get that honor.
      The other three are too small yet to remember anything if they went there. So only time will tell if they will go.
      Thank you for this wonderful comment. Carolyn. So glad that your parents were blessed with vivid memories and sharp minds.

  7. What a lovely post. I love that everyone wanted to welcome your daughter in such a wonderful way. Would that every child in the world could be welcomed and loved this way.
    I love that your share your memories and life with us. One way to keep the legacy and make sure memories are shared.
    I think we all worry about loosing our minds at times. But..I have learned as Abba says..there is enough worry for today so I try not to worry about tomorrow. With my mil (Mom) she has dementia and Parkinson’s and now the stroke so I know she is fearful. That is why we try to bring those memories back for her.
    Hugs to you.

    • Zakiah says:

      I am not worried about losing my mind, at least not yet. I have to write about that though, because I see so much of it around me.
      Thank you for the beautiful words Elizabeth.
      I am sorry you and husband are going through a rough patch with your MIL. God Willing, this too shall pass with ease.
      Love and hugs.

  8. This post is a delight. We reads what was the best in the beautiful Indian civilization. You keep those golden memories in your heart. I think it’s time to write a book with a story modeled on your in this dreamland.
    Love ❤
    Michel

    • Zakiah says:

      Thank you dear Michel. The mind and spirit is willing, but the flesh is getting lazy about writing the life story. I am trying though.

  9. Lyne's View says:

    Love your stories! I have lost a bit of my mind among my fast paced timing of late, so I understand, and say…write it down and let it float here in forever connections that we don’t even know where they’ll end. It will touch hearts as this did right now for me. (pats heart, and points to you)

    • Zakiah says:

      I am trying to do just that Lyne. A little here, a little there. Thoughts like cascades rumble and tumble and sometimes I am overwhelmed with them. separating the seeds from the chaff becomes painful at times! 😉
      Sending air kisses to you dear friend.

  10. r_hsw says:

    this is simply beautiful. you entranced me as you transported me back in time, to a culture and world that are foreign to me. your attachment to the past seems to have rooted deep within you, allowing vivid scenes playing in my head. thank you for sharing, zakiah.

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