Tag Archives: suffering

The beauty of suffering!

Why is it that sometimes our path is crystal clear, but our eyes become clouded? Why do we become so hollow when everything around us is supposed to fill us up? That’s how I feel right now, like a huge chunk of me is missing, or maybe I ripped it out. Maybe because I was afraid of getting hurt. Afraid of aching, so I took away that part of myself that was capable of feeling pain. But that’s where I was wrong. Pain doesn’t always have to destroy, sometimes, against all odds, it has the ability to save.

Imagine getting stabbed in the back. It hurts I know, but what if it didn’t hurt? What if you didn’t feel pain? Then you would never know how severely you’re injured. If you don’t know you’re wounded how will you sew your wounds? How can you be cured? Pain, as harsh as it sounds, is your body’s way of telling you something isn’t right and that something needs to change.

Through pain and suffering, we understand the beauty of love. The beauty of healing. Because when you’re in pain you have two choices. Either you give in to that feeling or you fight it. Giving in is easy, but fighting is hard because you don’t know what the outcome will be. You might come out injured even more than before and I guess that’s what life is. To keep fighting. To keep falling and to keep rising.

Sometimes the scars aren’t visible. The burns are etched deep inside, but they still hurt. If there is one thing I’ve learned in life that is to never be afraid of pain. Because it is through pain we understand life’s greatest lessons. I’m not saying that I’m unafraid. And to be honest, I will never be ready to fight, but backing down doesn’t really seem like an option.

The very early King of Halacin had been through so much suffering in his life that he vowed to keep his unborn son away from pain. He did the best he could. He built walls and barriers around his palace to conceal his son from the outside world, but that didn’t help. Pain would always find a way to sneak through.

The King became desperate. Not knowing what to do, he left his Kingdom in search of the witch who had extraordinary powers. He found her, convinced her and promised her gold if she would take all the pain away from his unborn son’s life. The witch agreed, “but my lord,” she warned. “Your heir’s pain shall be transferred to you.” The King did not care. His unborn son was all that mattered to him.

When the King came back to his Kingdom, he was told that his wife had passed away while giving birth to a healthy baby boy. The King as happy as he was, mourned for his dead wife. She was the only living being that loved him for who he was. She was the one who showed him light when he was wrapped in darkness.

Days passed by and months changed into years. The King’s son was now an adult, who was cruel, unjust and unkind. He did not care about anyone in the Kingdom but himself. The King saw his son as a threat to the people, so with remorse and regret, he ordered his son to be hanged. The King, knowing his son would die, was in excruciating pain. He lost everyone close to him. Having no other option, the King went to his son and asked him why he was like this.

“I’ve never felt pain, father,” the son said smiling. “I don’t know what suffering is and I’ve never suffered to know how it feels. If I’ve never been hurt, how can I feel someone else’s ache.”

The King realized that he was the cause for his son’s behavior. Had he not asked the witch, his son wouldn’t have been like this.  Pain, he understood was what made living creatures, humans. Without pain, there would be no empathy no companionship. It was through pain, people understood the beauty of love. The beauty of giving. Pain was not a form of suffering, it was a blessing.

Before the King could hang his son, his son escaped and led an army full of people out into the Kingdom. Where they burned down people’s houses and killed whoever came in their way. The King becoming restless left the Kingdom and went in search of the witch. When he found her, he begged her and asked her for mercy. “Give my son a reason to suffer. Give him a reason to feel pain. Make him human again,” he cried. “Watching him like this is giving me pain.”

The witch assured the King and promised him that everything would be okay. “You will be in peace.” The witch promised. “And your pain will fall on your son’s shoulders and he will suffer.”

The King was not at ease. He was watching his Kingdom burn down in flames. Greif took over him and he fell ill. When his son heard of his father’s fate, he felt something crack inside of him. For the first time, he felt a pang of guilt. He felt pain.

The son stopped what he was doing and led his army back into the palace. The slicing ache in his chest was increasing. The man who had raised him, protected him was lying in the lap of death. The son ran to the King’s bed, but before he could apologize for his crimes, the King died and was in peace, but the son was in pain and was suffering. His father’s death gave him a reason to feel. It gave him guilt and sorrow.

Pain doesn’t come with a smile. It comes with sharp claws, but in those claws, there is mercy. In that wound, there is a cure. Maybe not all wounds make sense, not all injuries are capable of healing. But there is salvation. There is always salvation.

 

 

I am not guilty

I am not guilty
Listen to my pleads
My words are my witness
Won’t you trust me please?

I know my case isn’t strong
And I have no proof
but
If I could rip my heart open
I would do it
Just to show you the truth

Eyes can be deceiving
And words can tell lies
You’re listening to their words
Yet you don’t hear my cries

Maybe you’ll realize
When the time has gone
That I wasn’t guilty
I was just trapped
When I hadn’t done anything wrong

This prison doesn’t mock me
It’s the tearing thought inside
You were supposed to trust me
When no one else was by my side.

These walls I’m trapped in
don’t bother me at all
But it hurts knowing
That the person
who was supposed to help me rise
Was the first to make me fall.

Planning a murder

Her whip hits me on my back between my shoulder blades, right beneath my neck. I wince in pain, but like all the other kids I clench my jaw as tightly as I can. The lesser I scream the quicker it will be over.

I try to focus on the yellow grease spots on the tiled floor in front of me, but that doesn’t help. The pain is numbing out all my senses and I’m afraid I’ll pass out like last time.

She hits me with accuracy because her leather whip touches the same spot it touched last time and the time before that. Maybe she has practice or maybe I’ve gotten used to the pain that now it hurts the same in every spot.

Her name is Nilana, but everyone calls her Didi. She’s very ugly because she has that huge scar on her face. It starts from the middle of her forehead, crosses the bridge of her nose, and cascades down her chin. I feel disgusted by her, not because she’s ugly, but because she smells like the sewerage drains. Like someone who hasn’t taken a bath in weeks.

Half of Didi’s face is burned. The other kids say it was Wasi who did that. He caught her having an affair with some guy outside of our district. So, he threw acid on her face and burned her.

Didi catches me staring at her burnt flesh. Her anger transforms into rage, and the whip this time collides with my face. A deep slicing pain cuts through my cheek. Tears start to well up in my eyes, but I refuse to let them fall.

Every limb in my body feels numb now, but I don’t move. Not even an inch. I stare at the ground and wait for her to stop. She does when she gets tired. My white face is a mosaic of different colors and shapes. I look more like the other kids now.

Everything around me is spinning; all I see are black and blue circles and the blurry images of the kids leaning against the walls.

Didi moves away from me and goes on to the next girl. The whip from her hand loosens and she heaves in a breath. She’s tired now, and all the other kids are spared.

The first person to be hit is always injured the most because that’s how Didi takes out all her anger. The rest of the children get away easy because Didi gets tired after the first few children. Didi doesn’t always hit us because she’s mad or we did something wrong, sometimes she hits us just to give us these scars.

According to her logic the more wounds we have the more money we’ll make.

“People will pity you,” she would say when she felt bad for someone. “Rich people have a soft spot for kids. They’ll feel guilty and guess what they’ll give you more money.”

I hate Didi and everyone here. The beans I ate from the cart in Koyla Bazaar are coiling in my stomach. I try to get up on my feet, but my knees sink beneath me and I fall. Darkness is starting to invade my vision; no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to focus.

The pain from my back is radiating up to my stomach, and I throw out everything I ate in the past few hours. Everything around me dissolves and I am welcomed by a soothing black abyss.

——————————————

I wake up to Sahil sitting across from me. His legs are crossed, and he’s chewing on a piece of tobacco.

“I don’t like you.” He spits on my face. He’s the same age as me maybe a little older. Like me, his clothes are ripped, and he has bruises and scars scattered across his face. A few of them are old but a whole bunch of them are new.

Sitting upright, I lean against the wall hoping he would go away but he doesn’t. He suspiciously stares at me for a while. I do the same.

“How old are you?” his voice softens now.

“Ten,” I say looking at the cuts on my arms. New bruises are starting to appear while the old ones are fading away.

“I’m twelve. I’m the oldest kid here. Everyone listens to me. Do you understand?”

Nodding my head, I inch closer to the wall. He senses my uneasiness, but he doesn’t seem to care. Instead, he moves closer to me, and I can feel his warm breath fan my face.

“Rule number one don’t ever stare at Didi’s face.  Rule number two don’t make friends. Rule number three if you want to survive then keep your head down and become invisible,” he says his rules with such authority that I find myself nodding my head even though I want to ask him a bunch of questions, but I’m scared to open my mouth.

“What’s your spot?” He’s asking me like he actually cares.

“Lihari street. The big signal, in front of the Oxford building, close to Madiha library,” I say trying not to make eye contact, but my eyes drift back to his.

“You’re a newbie. I work in the Sigrat community, in front of the Bahriya complex. I’ve been here since I was five,” he says it like he’s proud, but I see a glint of anger radiating in his eyes.

Most of the kids here start begging on Lihari street, it’s the only street where no one really cares. It’s crowded and it’s filled with impatient people. The girl that was blind in one eye was hit by a car the other day and no one cared. They walked right past by her as if this was nothing but a minor inconvenience. No one even stopped to check if she was okay.

They buried her body in a cemetery near the sewage in Lihari chowk because no one came to claim her body.

Begging isn’t hard. All you have to do is make a pouting face and cry. No one really cares and because of that no one really gives money. But the more money you make the more food you get. As time progresses you’re given a new spot to beg on.

Foreigners, especially people from Europe are the easiest to persuade. They sometimes care, and they ask questions. But the answers Didi taught us are all lingering on the tip of my tongue. The lies come easily. My parents died. I have no place to live so I beg, even though that’s not true.

My Maa and Abba got a divorce. Abba didn’t want to keep me and Maa couldn’t afford to. So, she sent me to the city with Saad. He promised her that he would put me into a school so one day I could be something in life, but he lied, and she believed him. It’s been six months since I’ve last talked to her. At first, Saad took me to the PCO in the nearby village every week so I could talk to her, but then gradually he stopped.

“When did you get here?” the boy asks breaking my chain of thought. There’s a fine layer of dust resting beneath the tips of his nails and he’s chewing on the tips. He’s disgusting. He smells worse than Didi.

“About a year ago,” I whisper glancing up at him.

“Do you wanna go back home?”

Home 

The word seems odd. I feel something warm brew in my stomach.

Home.

Yes, I want to tell him. I do. But instead, I nod my head.

A smile tugs at his lips and it’s not the genuine smile that people give when they are happy for you, it’s the one that has something selfish hidden behind it.

“Fine. I’ll make a deal with you. You help me and the other kids, and I promise I’ll get you back home.” He extends his hand, bending his elbow a little to not hit my face.

“What do I have to do,” I ask shaking his hand.

“Nothing much,” he says encouragingly. “Just help us kill Didi!”

 

Panic Attack

Your chest all of a sudden gains a few hundred pounds and you can feel the crushing weight explode through your ribcage. That organ pumping blood through your veins and arteries is pounding at a faster pace.

You’re having a heart attack.

No, you’re dying.

The amount of oxygen in the air significantly decreases and you can’t think straight. It’s like you’re gasping for air, but no matter how much energy you exert on your lungs you just can’t seem to breathe. Semidarkness starts to consume you and you’re trying so hard to stay in control, but you can’t. The ground beneath you starts moving so rapidly that it feels like an earthquake is erupting and you’re about to be swallowed by the earth. Every limb in your body turns to jello, and you feel the nerves in your body twitch. Your legs refuse to reconcile with your brain, and that tiny speck of light, illuminating your way all of a sudden just dims. It’s that strange feeling, that makes you paranoid. You know you’re not having a heart attack, but your brain tells you otherwise. Your entire body is soaked in sweat and you can feel it trickle down your spine.

The banging of your heart in your chest increases by a threefold and you’re scared because you’re afraid everyone will hear the thudding in your chest. You can’t make eye contact, so you lower your head and hope no one would notice.

The ache in every cell of your body is threatening to increase so you dig your nails deep into your flesh, hoping the mental damage that’s causing physical pain would somehow decrease, but it doesn’t help.

Nothing helps.

You want to cry for help because you don’t understand why you feel this way and you hate yourself for being the way you are.

The odd feeling of displacement.

The palpitations.

The loss of self-control.

Anger.

Rage.

Excessive Fear.

The terror of doing anything in the fear that something you can’t control will happen.

Every emotion takes turns to rip you apart from the inside.
It’s so exhausting and draining, and the only thing you want to do is lie down and sleep. Maybe ignore everything and hope that it will go away on its own.

“It’s okay,” you silently chant the words, hoping they could somehow embed into your brain. But the words seem meaningless and no matter how hard you try you can’t seem to act upon them. So, you clench your jaw so tightly, that you can hear the crack, but it doesn’t make a difference because the only thing that matters is an escape, because you know nothing is okay. But the problem is that you’re not trapped anywhere. The jail you’re trying to escape is in your mind.

This was just the panic attack. The overwhelming feeling that comes afterward is just as bad. It makes you feel weak and you scold yourself for overreacting. The threat wasn’t as big as the panic attack was. Guilt, self-hatred, doubt, every negative emotion just lingers in your mind.

“Maybe it won’t happen again,” you persuade yourself.

But what if it does, that tiny part of your mind screams.

This isn’t the worst part; the worst part is being afraid to do anything in life because you’re afraid that your mind will betray you again. It’s that feeling nagging you in the back of your mind, mocking you, telling you that it’ll happen again. And it does. Every freaking single time.

Your grades suffer.

Your relationships suffer.

Your job, friends, everything becomes chaotic.

But you’re afraid to seek help. Afraid of what people will say. Afraid of having to explain yourself to people who won’t understand. But you can’t give in, because the day you do, you’ll lose yourself and you can’t let that happen.

Not now.

Not ever.