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The Path and I

(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.
Aren’t I?
 Both of us will walk step-by-step together!”
 The path and I are still walking!

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