Wednesday, October 08, 2014

[Photo Post] The Lock In My Heart

Up there in the cloudy tip of Penang Hill, which you can reach after a visually stunning inclined train ride, you get to a point where you find hundreds of 'Love Locks' on an iron grill. Inspired by many different locations around the world, I guess they started this in Penang Hill not too long ago, judging by the number of locks. Lovers write their initials on padlocks, and lock it in the grill and throw away the key, hoping their love would be locked forever. Although the concept seems nothing more than a sham to me, I was still having fun looking through all those different initials and names painted on the locks with bright colors. But I wasn't looking just randomly, rather I was searching for a very specific message, and I was hopeful I would find it, at least one. And I did find just one, but it was enough for me. Because it spoke my words.

Penang Hill, Penang, Malaysia.

It has happened to me so many times, that I'm travelling in the most spectacular of the waterfalls, the most gorgeous vistas, the majestic mountains, the sparkling cities, and all of a sudden the face of a loved one from my family would flash before my eyes. It can be the caring yet reserved smile of my Dad, or the boundless love in the face of my Mom, the anticipation in the eyes of my Sister-Friend. But worst of 'em all, it's the innocent smile of my nephew Zubair, a smile that has nothing but joy, that is purely love which is untouched by the corruption of the world. And my mind develops a face of my nephew smiling, yet there is a longing in his eyes that begs for me to come back from abroad and play with him. Not to forget the younger one, who can laugh and melt my heart in an instant.

And for that second or two, the mountains around me shrink down, the blue sky turns pale, the ocean stops gleaming, the cities look glum, the waterfall looses its flow. As that moment passes away and I'm back enjoying my time, the feeling that stays on is that of longing, and the thought of 'If only they were here with me now'. And there is a twisting, turning pain deep within the heart that doesn't go away. I guess that's the pain of the 'Love Lock', punched through the flesh and never to let go.

So when I found this lock, out of all the others with the initials of the so-called sweetheats, I felt happy, that at least someone thought about his or her family at this place. So, to whoever wrote this, May Allah bless your family and mine and everyone else's. I wish the pain from the lock in my heart always stays there. Because it reminds me that there are people who have their rights over my heart, who wait for me, think of me, worry for me.

I wish the key of that lock is lost forever.

[First posted May 10, 2014 on Google+]

Monday, October 06, 2014

Thesis Valley

Thesis Valley is a place of melancholy. A place where day and night are the same. You don't get to care if the sun and the moon are replaced by other planetary objects. Time is only the count of hours, how many you've passed and how many left, there's no time of day!

In Thesis Valley, you trudge along, reluctantly, yet relentlessly. A few inches from your head, dangles a white curtain with ever increasing strange black symbols. In the first days of your time here, the curtain is mostly blank. And it's that emptiness that panics you! It drives you on with a hunger, a strange intrinsic urge in the gut to fill that white curtain with more and more symbols. That's the first village in Thesis Valley. Here you dig up the ground, you look into every alley, you turn every rock to find more things to turn into symbols to add to your curtain. And the more you walk, the more you pick up and more is the curtain filled with black. You soon find there are other sources to fill up the curtain too. All you've done in your last 2/3 years, your queries, your wonders, your conjurings! Your philosophies, lessons learnt, your mishaps and regrets. You get to dig those up from your memory, and purge it all on that cursed curtain to fill up the space more and more. The curtain keeps growing longer and longer, and starts to roll up, like a toilet roll.

And all the while, you trudge along. You hit bumps, sharp rocks, muddy puddles, dusty patches. You don't seem to care. Because all the while, the clock ticks in the back of your mind, reminding you of the little time that's left for you.

Where are you heading, what's to the left or right, you don't seem to care. It's hard to look anywhere beyond that dreaded curtain. The sound of Thesis Valley is almost silence. There is no chirping of birds or laughter of children, or the honks from cars in the street. The only sound you here is the continuous taps you hear as each symbol is pressed onto the curtain, and a very slight hum from some sort of machine. The air though, is just right. It almost feels perfect, too perfect to be real! And light on the sky is constant, no change in its color or brightness, always fixed in a pure white. A white that is more hurting than soothing. 

You know there are indeed people around. Your friends, guys next door, next table, So near, yet they are obscured for some reason. It's like when you focus on something very close to your eyes, everything else becomes blurred, only in this case the state is permanent. The focus cannot be adjusted, manual or auto, to anything else except that damned curtain. There is no sight other than that of the curtain. 

When you feel the size of that curtain roll is quite hefty, you've come near the exit of the first village. But you can't get out so easy, as The Guardians of Turnitin block your way! They are the ones with the keenest eye, to check every symbol you've put into that curtain of yours. They are perfect in finding stolen goods, but you know better how to steal! To make sure you don't get caught, you have already smashed up all the things you picked up, and de-shaped them, so they look like different stuff! And guess what! Those keen-eyed Guardians might have super sight, but they are dimwits compared to you. They don't have a clue about your trickery, and they let you pass. But the journey makes a different turn right there.

The curtain is raised, but what you see in front of you, makes you wish it wasn't. You have entered The Maze of The Policies. It's a land full of perils. Every turn is met with more turns, till you don't have a clue where you're standing. The sides are of thorny bushes, that prick you at the slightest leaning. You can hear the others moan, somewhere over the walls, lost in their own path. You keep wondering, turning left and right, right and left, hoping somehow, within the Deadline Day, to reach the other end and unclip the curtain from your forehead. 

In Thesis Valley, you don't get to rest, to lay back, to have a feast, a day out with buddies. Here, you trudge along. You do get food and drink by the way, but instead of being pleasurable delicacies, they seem more like drugs to keep you alive so you can walk along in this doomed path. You know others have walked this path, and sometimes you can even hear their cries, and you know that others have also made it through somehow. But instead of giving you hope, that only makes you mindful of the pains that they've gone through. In Thesis Valley, you are a mindless creature, engulfed in deep melancholy, with the only goal of getting rid of the curtain. Alive or dead.

P.S. Yes, I'm writing my thesis now. But this post is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any actual person or event is purely coincidental. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to write this post, right? And guess what, it also has hidden potential. It's got me back to the blog after more than 2 years!