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Dervishes’ Inn…7th dream


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13th May 2018

Rabia presents her greetings to Dervish!

Its midnight here, like any other summer night, short and crisp. Rabia has no idea since when she has been thinking to dwell at a place where the night should span for at least twelve hours. As the night darkens, Rabia feels getting more freedom in its lap. But as its moves towards the next day, Rabia starts to feel quivers in the invisible’s vices of her captivity. Over here the summers are long bearing short nights. No sooner you start feeling night’s ambience, it has already left without saying goodbye like an infidel lover.

On Dervish’s reference of a river, Rabia recalled her childhood days. In those days she was a toddler. Her family resided near the famous Lahore- Canal that passes through the middle of the city. After supper, her Baba would take her for a stroll on the Canal Bank Road. He would narrate to her the stories of old Lahore, its history and the architecture. Rabia once wrote about those good old times in one of her literary columns:

My Baba was the first person to introduce me to Lahore. He told me that the Mall Road (now) was called Cool Road in past days. Tangas (horse carriages) used to ply on this road elegantly. The Canal Bank Road used to breathe in dewed nights and provided a haven for passers in the summer afternoons. Holding the finger of my baba, I walked along the Canal for hours. In those times the roads were not infested with maddened traffic calling for their widening through cutting lush green trees. The green belt too was quite wider in those days. Road leading to India had scarce traffic plying on its narrow chest even after crossing the famous Ferozepur Road. We used to walk up to Shah Jamal. Baba used to tell me the history of FC College, Jamia Ashrafia and PCSIR Building coming on our way. It all seems dancing in my memory lanes. The Canal is still flowing on the same course. But it has now been confined by concrete shoulders. Like its past, it doesn’t flow freely singing and emitting music with falling rain droplets. Now, the natural façade has been altered by artificiality. The old ambience stayed till few decades back. Off late, The Mall Road and Bank Canal Road both owned a romance due to tall silent trees on their shoulders, they look whispering to the nature. Lahorites called it, the River Tames and Punjabi poets attached Punjabi songs to the romance of the Canal that is like:

(Sanu nehar walay pull tay bula kay

Te khawarray maai kithay reh gya…)

Over the Canal Bridge we had to meet

But I can’t find my lover for the treat!”

Despite the maddened traffic plying all the time over the Canal Bank Road the morning walkers still find a solaced sight of the Canal in the dim light of the early hours. When the Sun sends its first rays on Canal’s clayed-water, you find paper boats floating in the middle of the water. They are carrying fresh flower petals. Someone sitting on the brink upstream might be handing those flower-filled paper boats to the flowing water. The sunrays falling on them the floating flowers present an awesome scene over the surface of the water.

Few lands into the right hands, the others await near the bank to be picked up by a wandering lover and there are few of them who not finding an admirer choose to disappear under the water. A jungle silence prevailed once around the area where the Canal intersects Muslim Town- Garden Town Road. There was a quietness even during broad day light. But now the crowded roads have taken away the serenity and romance. The roads tremble with the fear of maddened cars plying over their chest. The Canal Bank Road has been widened by removing lush green trees yet seem to be short of accommodating the ever-swelling population and its commuting needs.”

The Daily Jinnah – 14 October 2015

In those times the Canal and the city of Lahore were not like as they are now. Now the so-called pace of progress has turned the humans, fora and fauna into materialistic beings. Today’s generation likes to eat Chinese, American, Russian and Italian junk food but hate home-made-ghee, naturally grown vegetables and fresh fruits. This age of materialism has made life difficult. It seems easy to die. Rabia wishes to dwell at a place where she doesn’t have to drink mineral water. The tap water should be as good as the mineral water.

Dervish wrote of his long-awaited dreams coming true. He also talked about his last dream, the dream of having creative letter writing with a female counter part- Rabia. Rabia too had a similar dream. She had dreamt to exchange creatively written letters with an intelligent and open-minded man. Rabia thought, such discourse was only possible between man and a woman, as new life can only take birth through the union of male and female. But unfortunately, Rabia lives in society where open-minded men are hard to find. You only find males (This is her own speculation). They consider woman a female’s body. The men in Rabia’s world are so desperate for women that if it was possible they would have taken with them their favorite women into their graves.

Rabia belongs to a society where she had remained intellectually covered with a colorful attire of hypocrisy. She cannot have an intellectual discourse with men lest she is trapped to become a victim of their lust. The woman of Rabia’s society is very aware that she should not talk wisdom. Here the intellectual discourses are taken as mental vulgarity and literary exchanges are considered as lechery by women. What is the status of a vulgar woman in this world, is very well known to Dervish as well as Rabia. The friendship of historical characters; Hassan Basri and Rabia Basri always haunted Rabia. She wondered whether it was possible for an intellectual man and woman of today to have a spiritual connection and literary friendship.

Rabia felt happy to read Dervish’s dreams. She felt even happier to know that Dervish’s all dreams turned into reality. Dervish talked of his first flight. Rabia too had thought of such a flight but could not do that. She felt that at the verge of flight she was either turned into iron, water, a cloud or just the air. In that state she forgot to fly. Rabia surrendered to the nature. At last like mother of Prophet Moses she handed herself to the river of fate. When Rabia talks of these facts of her life she is not presenting her grievances. The nature has bestowed upon her the blessings without taking a flight. Such bounties are not available to many girls of her age. When Rabia ponders upon the blessings she intensely recalls the lives of Prophet Yousef and Rabia Basri.

Rabia has learnt through her experience that the time tests the intensity of your love in one form or the other. If you succeed in the test, the sight of your love-path is crystal clear. Rabia has a firm belief that the attributes of your ideal person invisibly infuse into you. While requesting a leave, Rabia quizzes Dervish whether her belief is true.

O Dervish! The early dawn star is about to appear. Rabia wishes to sleep. There might be a dream waiting for Rabia. It is possible that she dreams of something that might turn into reality like that of Dervish’s dreams.

Fee Amaan Allah (Stay in God’s safe hands)

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