Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Lovely Aroma

Ah! Conducted through the fabric of the Universe as such, Hanief tried to define, was like someone taking his hands and gently guiding him from room to room, but at an incredible rate of speed. Or was rate over time the correct way to measure this kind of absorption, this welcoming to become part of everything that is space-time? Instant!

Hanief only wished to return for a moment, to be enveloped in the arms of that lovely aroma. And without warning, he was radiating everywhere above the growing face of Earth, enlightened, embraced, and embracing all that was, is, and will come.

Mirrors of light. Hanief could not distinguish what continents expanded before him. He remembered India’s shape on a map, but the earth and seas below him could only be described as one entity, bathed in light, and a conscious of self that grew inside this lovely crystal of yellow and green and brown and blue-mirrored faces. He was humbled to witness this beauty; knew he was more than a witness. Hanief was the colors. He was a component of Earth, and his presence, perhaps temporarily, stamped in a time-frame; and he felt blessed to be aware of this. So blessed!

He could not remember the political borders that divided his world into hundreds of broken pieces. He could not remember who he was to hate, and who carried the purer blood. But, Oh! That must be Kashmir, whose valleys curve like eyelashes from the watchful Himalayans. As he was led by the gentlest of hands, Hanief weaved in and out of the mountains like they were made of air. He tasted the salts of the exposed and weathered stone and warped through the thick of metals and rock. As if by dragging fingertips, he felt the forests timber rough and dry, bathed in leaves soft and damp. As he tumbled over the foothills, a cold wind greeted him from the rounded summit. And like a melody, Hanief simply harmonized with the vortex and sang with the mountains in the native tongue of Kashmiri. And jade!

The jade that carpeted his home meant nothing to him before. But, Hanief now proudly asked: What country could proclaim such treasure? The bundles of jade Hanief would gather if he were released from his guide’s hand…!

But what of that sheen ahead? What of those millions of twinkles? And the chilled, sweet water that he could taste kilometers away? Ah! Hanief knew this magical stream, this fountain of silver for Princes! for the fog, nearly dispersed, revealed to him his love. Dal Lake so glorious as she undressed before him.

Her floating gardens, her lilies and roses; she is the Heavens for those who breathe her depths and the soft pillow for those who rule the Heavens. The Rad were memories of a conscious Earth; thoughts pink and green synapse. Hanief stirred in those thoughts as he dipped below her surface; remembered precious memories of swimming and bathing his beloved Dal Lake. And when he emerged on the shore of Char Chinar, as his invisible guide spread them further over the surface, Hanief admired this crown of Srinagar for its gifts, looked back at the crown jewel to contemplate its solitude until…

He felt exhaustion come over him. Yes; he concluded as he now found himself spread between the dozens of shikara that bobbed up and down; as he was pulled through their shallow hulls and thin-walled shanties. Yes, he felt the consumption of energy that burden consumes...the heat of work and worry and exertion. He felt it radiate from a fisherman’s body, a man bent old and frail over the water. Hanief shared the worry as the man pulled at his tangled line.

He wished to help the man with his line, yet his guide pulled him on. Will the man not catch his nourishment? The worry was so great! Of course, Hanief then reasoned: Dal Lake will feed her men.
Vyath ran the length before him and the random nests of garganey and brahminy. Yet, his guide took him from the river and into the markets of his Srinagar. Breads, meats, vegetables, and rice – he could taste each savory fragrance, every honeyed sweetness. Though many faces, no face was familiar; yet all chatter was strangely discernable. 

Hanief could read the minds of hundreds, and all at once like a porous library. Why does his guide not stop? Why can’t this flow of thoughts be parsed and considered? Hanief would like to answer this child’s question addressed to her aggravated mother. He would like to soothe the Maths instructor’s worry. He would like to re-count the money laid in the hand of this young blind man. 

Yet, his guide pulled him around corners, inside walls with no windows. No, Hanief answered; the sweets shop does carry baqerkhani; but it is long past breakfast, my dear. His guide pulled him across busy streets, through people and even through stray dogs. No worries, good teacher; you share the language of God to mortals who will comprehend all when they become the Heavens. The guide took him up mutton-greased chimneys and through doors brick-stopped or bolted. Yes, dear man. Hanief answered. The Farsan shopkeeper laid ten extra Rupees and wished you a blessing.

As he spread over the city, Hanief could see familiar suburbs. His hope grew the closer he came to his beloved neighborhood, but a shock of pain jolted him and seemingly knocked him out of the sky. At the government building below, he had remembered the bullet that killed him. Before he could recall the pain and sadness of that terrible day, he found himself stilled and facing the gate to his mother’s house.

The guide no longer pulled him, but more like carried him through the door. From room to room, Hanief gathered the evidence of a home unchanged in years. On the shelf by his desk there remained his books on Physics, Maths, and Software Technology. In the family room, the family pictures, dusted and organized in a single row across the window table, never lost their eternal smiles. In his room was his bed, sheets carefully spread yet no longer slept. His blessed Koran --the covering bent and cracked, the pages loose from many readings-- was resting peacefully on his pillow.

Hanief then realized the white light of day from his window had turned to an orange dusk. How long had he been standing there, taking in his room? Unlike the conscious of the Universe, time within this frame of space passed incrementally. Hanief had forgotten how it dwindled, how it dictated his actions and all the actions of Man.

 Laughter from the floor below begged for his attention. He was carried down the stairs and towards the brightly lit kitchen. There, he remembered, his mother spent hours of her day. There, he remembered, is where his mother made their meals for family, housekeepers, and friends. And there she was, his angel, his mother sitting at the end of the table. What a beautiful woman! A giving, a selfless woman. She was as lovely as she had always been, though her hair mostly gray, and her eyes sinking lower, and her head held up by duty, and her thoughts – a sad menagerie. She stroked with a finger the base of the cup before her…its steam now only a wisp. She thought of sad things as her grandchildren played with their food and chastised and laughed across the table.

Ah! Is that Kehwa, Mother? The Kehwa you always brewed for me and, if you ever had time to rest, for you, too? That lovely tea which could refresh the spirit, console the worried, and broker for peace around the dinner table? Drink your tea, dear Mother; please drink the tea for me!

He moved to greet her. Did she know Hanief was there? For she lifted her eyes to him. Could she feel his presence or sense his love as her son moved to embrace her? Did she know, like all mothers know, her son’s love is undying? Could she hear his laughter in her ear –for she smiled– when he recalled their funny stories? Did she greet his kisses on her softened cheek, for she turned to him as if to receive them? Did she feel secure as his hands wrapped around hers, for she pulled her warm Kehwa closer to her chest?

Yes. Hanief knew! He could read her thoughts entirely.

You must no longer be sad, He nearly scolded, for a home should never be sad. Welcome the air, welcome your friends…welcome your lost loved ones once again! Dear Mother, please listen, for I know so many truths: amazing worlds are yet to come in the universe of consciousness! Yet, glorious is life on Earth for there we hear the laughter of children, we see the smiles of mothers, we taste the breads of the hearth, and we smell the mint of the cardamom!

Hanief smiled as his mother sipped the precious tea. The guide then took his hand.

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