By Satya Pal Anand
(Originally written in Urdu)
When I stop, the path raises itself a bit
Looks at me and says:
“Why did you stop? To get rid of me?
You know, you can’t escape me
Your feet and I are bound together in a chain”
And I say: “I walk ahead because
Far ahead my destination is beckoning.”
The path laughs, a little derisively:
“I’ve been walking with you all the time.”
“You’re but a path,” I say.
“You are stationery. How can you walk?”
The path stops in the midst of its laughter:
“All right, friend. Tell me how long have you been walking?
Ten years? Twenty years?
Fifty years? Or even more?”
I say, “I don’t know.”
It continues its harangue
“All right, man! Did you ever stop anywhere?
And if you did stop
Didn’t you feel it was the end of the road . . .
You don’t have to go any farther?”
And I say, “Well, yes, sometimes I did feel like that—
But it was true? Wasn’t it?”
“No, it wasn’t,” says the path,
“I never stopped anywhere
You see, when you stopped to take a little rest
I kept walking on and then looked back
And urged you on.
I never got tired.
I am still as fresh as I was at the moment
I started walking with you!”
Dejectedly I say, “Well, I am tired now.”
The path clasps my feet
And starts crying like a baby
“No, don’t lose courage, my mate,” It says
“Keep on walking. Look, I am with you.
Both of us will walk step-by-step together!”
The path and I are still walking!