From time to time, I am bewildered by how it takes me an inordinate amount of time to understand intentions or certain things people do. For all my powers of observation that be, I am pretty dense sometimes. Genuinely, I am like that cartoon character in shows who understands the event long after it has happened and a certain bulb lights up above my head. By that time, the end credits have played.
Of late, I’ve been wondering quite a bit about — how should I make this a little less unattractive — meant-to-bes or the preordained. That some events occur because they have to occur, and not because they have some moral consequence. Of course, they will add up to something in the long timeline of the universe, but sometimes, it is what it is. That their analysis, cause and effect, or even inference is not necessary. Which brings me to denouement and that, though, something might not make sense now, but it fits into the overall scheme such that the story falls into place. Morality is placed out of the question in this scenario.
I started thinking about this when I was reading East of Eden and now, a little more while I was reading the uncomfortable (and sometimes bizarre) book The Sensational Life and Death of Qandeel Baloch. I went so far as to call Pakistan a deeply troubled country, but the more I think about it, the more it all fits into the narrative of the nation and where it could go from here. I recall what DF once very eloquently said to me, “It’s like the meteor that blazes across the sky but its destiny is to crash and burn.” He did put it in better words, but you get the drift? Not that romanticising honour killings is my new stance, but some events in life are inevitable. (Inevitable! That’s the word I’ve been looking for.) What can you do? I find myself suspending my arms against the inevitable. Why even try to wrestle against the great acts of the universe, no?
Know what? I would really like to talk to someone about this. Throw in a little bit of absurdism, philosophy, or even science into it. Religion, too. I don’t care what. And I have never, ever, ever said it on this blog, but if you have an opinion, please leave a comment/DM me, and I’d love to talk to you. Now that I have said those three words “Leave a comment” I should crawl back into the woodwork of the Internet, but in a while, okay?
When I started out writing this post, it was about the pre-ordained and then turned into some sort of reflective mess about the #MeToo movement. But honestly, it did not sit right. I wanted to write about the six poems I wrote, the quiet fear of joy, that academic reading is so enriching, about fraught relationships and orchids that take six months to bloom, and how the past tends to creep off into the night when you’re not looking. I wanted to be lyrical and brazen and dripping with love because I God-damn will decide what I want this post to be. So, I trashed the earlier post. I announced it on Twitter, because how else? And I fell asleep.
I had a weird dream, woke up to a numb right arm, and then it struck me why The Veiled Suite was gifted to me on my birthday a year ago. I won’t say it came out of nowhere because I read Tonight before I fell asleep. (Do yourself a favour and read it.) But, Good Lord, am I dense or what? Between that moment and now, I have read all of Call Me Ishmael Tonight. (DF and BB, I am sorry it has taken me so long to figure this out.) Agha Shahid Ali is an education in poetry. And while Stationery is as popular as it is genius, there’s so much more in his volume of work that I can relate to and that I am only beginning to see. It’s amazing to me when I discover these Easter Eggs hidden inside my own story. I wonder how many other things I have overlooked though they have been staring me in the face for the longest time.
I don’t know. I can’t tell.
And I honestly don’t want to be the kind of person who wants to find meaning in everything. Because where’s the fun in that? As you can see, I am full of odds and evens, so let’s get to that bit about discussing the occurrence of events without any moral consequence, shall we? Going back into the woodwork now.
P.S.: This whole life is lyrical and brazen and dripping with love.
What a noise the sentences make writing themselves —
Here’s every word that we used as a flame for you.
I remember your wine in the springtime of my sorrow.
Now the world lies broken. Is it the same for you?
– For You, Agha Shahid Ali