During our holidays in Scotland, while driving we pulled over on seeing a beautiful view.
As we stood and explored we saw a hill and many hikers climbing on it. My family got all excited to climb to the top. Very reluctantly I joined them too, only to assist my children and be there for them. Deep inside I knew I had a phobia of heights.
On reaching to the top and having a look down made me change my mind. Sometimes the very fear is the only blockage for liberation and self-belief. The panoramic ecstatic view of nature was breathtaking with its random yet strikingly infused images of water, hills, grasslands and flowers.. a perfect painting!
While sitting here, I introspected how I assumed I had fear of heights. I had a quick glance at my school life. I remember climbing a mountain far away from from from my school with teachers and classmates. It was getting more and more hard to climb up with frequent laughter, talking about our teachers on the way. Our only aim was to reach to the top, volunteer to go to the famous shrine and pray for holy guidance of our supposedly harsh teachers. So they mend their ways and have so attractive inclinations in their life that they forget all about chasing us academically. We prayed for few to get married, some to move abroad while others to have a lot of annoying children.
Sitting on the top of this mountain gave a faded miniature view of our school, of the tower, the swimming pool, the playground and big slides. I realised then, that as a child if you do not enjoy the school every day it is very therapeutic to show it to you from far far away, from where you cannot extend your hand to feel it. Likewise, teaching elsewhere, other than confined four walls of the classroom could be a good idea too.
It was a great view. The area was a heritage site, a shadow of past glory with Mughal architect, colossal gardens and waterfront. Not far was a heritage site for Buddhist and Ancient Greek ruins. It also had a most popular Sikh shrine where Sikhs all over the world used to pay holy pilgrim. There were many interesting tales about the rivalry of the saint on the mountain and this guru in the Gurdwara on the ground, that we related on our tiresome journey to the top and back.
I could not recall anything, that could be a reason for my fears, or my anticipatory anxiety before any kind of travel except one.
One day I realised on the last moment, I had not prepared my English summary, so on my turn of oral test I ducked down and the teacher, assuming there was no one on my seat, asked the next girl sitting to me. I to this day think she did it on purpose to overlook my embarrassment or perhaps she knew what was I going to be facing next. After the class ended, I had the most laughing time of my life with classmates and discussed how we wasted our entire life not knowing the benefits of being likeable and cheeky, for it saves the day.
On my return home, I had a bad news, my father had met a road accident and passed away. He was the only one who saw my grace, eloquence and elegance despite being an ugly duckling in the family. His untimely sudden death left permanent scars in me and sowed the seeds of fears which I watered all my life.
I placed barriers for myself to prevent me from over enjoying and laughing endlessly, by Anticipating fears, that prevented me from living a life bravely.
My pen has lately become my sword, my bow and arrow that I fight all my fears with. This creative journey is that mountain that has exposed me with new pen hikers who are fighting chronic ailments, denied social interaction and exposure yet stand with great willpower in moments of storms. I have witnessed the writings of the blind, or the special people who cannot listen or express, yet overlook the appearance and find the beauty and love of others in a most romantic way.
Yesterday, I got all anxious again to see a child miss an accident by a fraction. Today I enlighten the candle of my fears with flames of courage, to see better in the darkness of despair. It is giving me light, vision, hope and strength. I have realised that to spread the light of knowledge, one has to set fire to the candle of dis-belief first, and the light travels and hopefully helps others too.
Thanks to the notion of Iqbal, I can see my way a lot better now…. can you?
See you with a new light next…