What do I tell my children about God, life and His creations?

How do I explain to the little inquisitive minds about man’s barbarity? And that it knows no bounds, understands no limits. Just like God’s mercy knows no bounds, and understands no limits.

How do I tell them that there is one God? And that anyone who believes in a higher power is looking at the same sky, praying to the same heavens. Whether standing, sitting, with hands folded or open, eyes open or shut. Yet in the mind of one believer, the other is always unworthy; One method of prayer is correct but the other is an abomination; One Book is light but the other is confusion; One language is enough but the other is inadequate; One skin color is perfect but the other is impure. I am right, but you are wrong.

How do I make them understand that all religions preached by Prophets from the past said the same thing, in different words, under different circumstances, but essentially sang the same tune? Yet still, everyone claws at each others throats because one doesn’t like the sound of the other.

Image credits: Sameen khan

How do I explain man’s kindness? A small number of people who make the world go around. These are life’s real heroes who restore your faith in everything that is good and blessed. These are people who make the real difference.

How do I tell them about life’s unfairness? But that there is nothing more fair than death. There are things we will never understand because we don’t have all the facts. That’s why we are the worst of judges.

How do  I explain that life is more grey than it is black and white? There is always an exception to the rule, an anomaly that stands out like a blister. Everything is as simple as we live it to be and as difficult as we think it to be.

How do I tell them that everything is disconnected  when looked from our eyes and that nothing ever really makes sense? But then that’s why we look up and within; For signs that show the connections. For dreams that tell all.

How do I tell them the importance of coincidences, flukes, luck and whims? Those are life’s miracles, our own magical moments, where God leans over and whispers.

How do I make them realize that they might spend their entire lives juggling such unanswered questions? But then maybe that’s what matters the most. As long as they ask, they will continue to look for answers. And as long as they don’t stop looking, there will always be hope.


The holes death pokes in us

Death pokes a lot of holes in us.

Making us feel in places we didn’t know existed.

But one nagging feeling never goes away. Death makes us want to hold on longer. Emotions. Thoughts. Memories. Pictures. Anything to hold on to when loved ones go away. Enhanced versions. Blurry versions. Better versions. Anything to wipe away the tears. The good ricochets with a fiery vengeance. Hammering into our heads, telling us how perfect the people who left us were. We replay their deaths in our heads like the ticking of a clock. Over and over until the colored hue of their memory is replaced by a black and white hazy picture. But the wonder and mystery of death remains. Sinking into our minds like quicksand.

We are overcome by feelings of raw surrender and troubling awe at those who pass and those who remain . People who die become glass encased specimens in a museum. Every mundane detail about the dead becomes extraordinary.

What they ate? “Oh he loved chowmein. It was the last thing he ate.”

What they wore? “Half of her wardrobe was black. I couldn’t get her to wear any other color.”

The last thing he said? “I will be back soon from work and we’ll talk. All right sweetie?”

What they didn’t say. “She was never much of a talker. Her silence was my biggest comfort. Where will I find my comfort now?”

What was their hobby? “He loved fixing things. From a leaky tap to a leaky tear duct, he could fix anything.”

The mole behind her neck. That skewed smile. The way he cracked his knuckles when he was nervous. How skin between her eyebrows twisted like a snake every time she scowled. That lone curl resting behind her ear. Warm hands.  Cold toes. Every nuance of their existence suddenly begins to matter more than it ever did before.

We know the real deal. Nothing’s new. Death always beats life to the finish. Whether in its significance or its finality. From renowned people who died natural deaths to normal people who died shocking ones. Death is always the dominant twin. Dragging life by the ears. Peeling away layer by layer.

But the question remains. Why does everything become more important when death is involved?  We ignore so much when a person is alive. We forget the good and highlight the bad. We take relationships for granted. We shun them. We forget them. By the time we give them their due credit, the expiry date is already flickering like a neon sign. Sticking its tongue out. Mocking us for being too late. A complete overhaul of perspective takes over.

Death is the most important event of our lives. Whether we like it or not. It marks the end of the line and the beginning of an immortal journey. The last known chapter.

Maybe that’s why the dead shine like clusters of stars. Flames that never die. Light that cannot be overshadowed with hate, or malice, or contempt. Maybe it’s our way of paying homage to the people we once knew – Of apologizing and making up for all the times we hurt them – Of justifying the end.

Maybe it’s the least we can do.

Remember them. Always. Every day.