11th May 2018
Dervish presents his compliments to Rabia.
Rabia’s letter kept Dervish in the midst of gloom for quite a while. Dervish recalled the early days of his life. Those days were dark and gloomy. Then a ray of hope peeped into his heart from somewhere. It brightened up every cell of his body. In those days, Dervish lived with his parents (Ayesha and Basit) along with his younger sister Amber in Peshawar, a traditional city of Pakistan. His family resided on a riverbank. Going for long walks and reflecting on life was the favourite hobby of Dervish. One evening, walking on the bank of the river, Dervish suddenly realized that life was a precious gift. It should not be wasted. He wished to live a purposeful life. Dervish thought to dream about his wish list. Then he saw four dreams.
Dervish’s first dream was to become a psychiatrist. A Messiah who could acquire an insight to resolve the intricate knots between human body, mind and subconscious, in order to help reduce agonies in people’s lives by restoring their physical and mental health. Dervish’s second dream was to become a poet and scholar who should be able to read all writers, poets and philosophers across the globe. Then he should add few drops into the ocean of knowledge and literature. Dervish did not wish to write one book but many books. He dreamt of many people looking for his books just like he visits libraries to look for his favourite writers.
Dervish’s third dream was to take a world tour to meet people of various races and cultures. He wished to become a well-travelled and experienced man who knew ‘ways of the world’.
Dervish’s fourth dream was to befriend men, women, writers, poets and artists of all over the world. He wished to pen down the stories of their passions, pleasures and agonies. Dervish had envisaged these dreams in the morning of his life. Now that he is entering the evening of his life, he views back only to recall Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s this couplet:
Faiz thi rah sar basar Manzil
Ham Jehan pohnchay kamyab aaey
O Faiz! The goal anxiously awaited us on the way
Wherever we ventured, the success met on the way
Dervish considers himself a fortunate person who in his youth saw his childhood dreams turning into reality. Now, with open eyes he is viewing a novel dream since many years. Many years back, Dervish named it: “Literary Love Letters”. The dream was writing a book that contains his and Rabia’s creative letters. In his mind Rabia’s character was fictitious. He had never thought that he would find a real Rabia, that too a writer who would join him to turn his creative dream into reality. Dervish is thankful to Rabia from the core of his heart for joining as he could not have accomplished this dream all by himself. Being a writer Dervish has been realizing since long that, ‘epistle- fiction’ as genre of literature could not find a place compared to the poetry, the short story and the novel. May be, because it requires two people preferably from opposite genders to accomplish this kind of creative work.
Dervish now thinks, it was relatively easy for him to be a male and migrate from the East to the West. For the sake of their dreams and wishes every artist has to sacrifice something. But if the cost of dreams and wishes is an Eastern woman, the price is more adorable. In this context Dervish recognizes Rabia’s struggle and expresses his gratitude to her. Dervish had scribed the story of his migration from the East to the West in the preface of his second collection of poetry; Azad Fizaein (free atmosphere) in following words:
“To test the force of my flight
I asked my surroundings, a freedom and height”
The courage to fly:
On awakening from a carefree slumber, a bird found that he sat in a nest made from the straws of outmoded-customs and weeds of decayed-values. It looked like an abode but in fact it was a captivity. He passed his days and nights on a tree grown by ghosts of the family taboos. The tree itself was part of an orchard cum prison. Like a dark cave, over there, the buds could not blossom, the morning breeze never blew, and the moon was not seen rising. The spring too was never seen smiling over there. The entire place was engulfed by the suffocation, darkness and the ambience of the autumn. As the bird gained more awareness it revealed to him that he is not allowed to see with his eyes, listen with his ears and think with his mind. He was neither supposed to sing nor allowed to fly with his wings.
Few old birds told him that the birds who became victims of hunters earlier did wish to break the shackles of their past but lack a clear vision of the future. They were fed up with the darkness but did not have enough courage to embrace the light. To acquire the right altitude of the flight, it was imperative to dive deeper into their souls first, it was beyond their capacity. The bird took long to prepare himself for the upcoming flight. Then a day came when he took off from his nest with full force. Fortunately, he left his native town far behind with a single cruise. When he passed over mountains, valleys, rivers and jungles, the bird viewed many cities beneath him. In every city he found two kinds of people; the wailing people the likes of his homet
It was hurtful for the bird to know that earlier on, few birds had attempted to fly off from the nest but failed as either their wings were cut, or they had collapsed to the hunters’ arrows. He also came to know that there were others who did not have the courage to fly off. They just died of banging their heads against the weeds of the nest. The bird was perplexed. He neither wanted to be a game of hunters nor wished to bang his head to die. He rather desired to fly off to the space where he could breathe the fresh air, smell the fragrance of flowers, listen to the music of a flowing stream, witness the moonlit and enjoy the spring season.
Few old birds told him that the birds who became victims of hunters earlier did wish to break the shackles of their past but lack a clear vision of the future. They were fed up with the darkness but did not have enough courage to embrace the light. To acquire the right altitude of the flight, it was imperative to dive deeper into their souls first, it was beyond their capacity. The bird took long to prepare himself for the upcoming flight. Then a day came when he took off from his nest with full force. Fortunately, he left his native town far behind with a single cruise. When he passed over mountains, valleys, rivers and jungles, the bird viewed many cities beneath him. In every city he found two kinds of people; the wailing people the likes of his hometown and rejoicing people who sang the songs of freedom.
The bird is happy that in his flight to higher destinations, the other birds are also joining him. Slowly the single flight would turn into a flock. It is his earnest desire to raise his altitude and while doing so, encourage those birds who prepare for it.
Right now, Dervish is sitting in his clinic. This is the room where he meets his “muse” who brings for him the literary gifts every day. Dervish calls this place; creative labor room. Rabia probably does not know that before becoming a psychologist in Canada, Dervish worked in the labor room of a female hospital in Peshawar. During the job, Dervish got an insight of the labor-pain. In those days he wrote many poems about the women. To let Rabia know Dervish’s connection with women’s creative and humanistic aspect, Dervish wishes to share a poem with Rabia:
The Tears of Blood:
The women fight the battle of survival all the time
They are perpetually playing blood-game all the time
Every month, when the calamity surpasses them
They find a lava flowing inside them
Life sends women every month an epistle
They find their fate scribed in that epistle
They are told, they should know their true worth
Bear children become mothers to have some worth
If women refuse they are told to part ways
Either they stay barren or shed tears of blood
They always rest in the ambience of tears
Women are pictures, stories of pain
Women are scriptures written with pain
In response to Rabia’s letter, Dervish wishes to write more, but he must see few patients. It’s time to get back to his job. Dervish requests a leave from Rabia with the hope to wait for her next letter. Dervish is curious to know what kind of creative dream Rabia had dreamed of and how she felt having learnt about Dervish’s dream.