An Introspective Paradise

A word I want to see written on my grave: I am alive like you, and I am standing beside you. Close your eyes and look around, you’ll see me in front of you. ~Khalil Gibran

You don’t see me. As I hear the clock tick, papers rustle, pencils break, I find a sense of anxiety stirring up from within me, a home-sickness washes over my body and my heart falls heavy within my chest. My brain is subconsciously holding my exterior together, while my heart shatters into a million pieces crying out for the love I had discovered this summer.

Summer. A place where time simply did not exist; where I spent my days living in moments of sheer bliss.
Bliss. Sitting on the floor of a hotel ballroom light-heartedly playing cards with my new family in Mombasa.
Mombasa. The home where my heart lies.
Lies. That reality is perfect.
Perfect, doesn’t exist.
Existing is merely what I am doing now.

And so my thoughts continue forth in a similar labyrinth, the walls begin caving in, and nothing seems familiar anymore. I am trapped in a world that used to belong to me, a place where I grew up exploring, laughing, living. But I am not the same girl who spent her days self-loathing and people-pleasing; I’m no longer a wanderer of time and space, I am my own truth. Circumstantially, I am a complete stranger to this life now, a stranger to my former self, a stranger to those who once thought they knew me. I exist in a world where my idea of home lives within the realm of my fondest memories titled, “What once was…

img_5447They say “home is where the heart is at” and if that deems to be true my home is suspended into moments in time where I’m stargazing in Amboseli under a radiant moon amidst sleeping lions and intuitive monkeys, or being embraced whole-heartedly by the affectionate children of Noor Madrasa, or dancing with countless gypsies, like myself, in an over-crowded room to celebrate an occasion that binds our identities together.

And all it takes is a few introspective seconds, with my eyes gently closed, to be back at home.

My senses awaken and I am walking through the Commons at the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa for breakfast, greeting countless new faces that have imprinted their names into my heart with a permanent burning rod; igniting a long-lost spiritual fire within me. Every individual arrives with a unique story- be it one centred in Syria or another in India- to share an enlightening truth about the human condition’s ability to be resilient. Every story develops an intimate bond; all of which reassured my own existence as a human-being. From them I learned the art of simply being.

beautyMy heart then guides me out the Commons, onto a bus, fast-forwarding past the odour of burning trash and the distant touch of the Indian Ocean, to where I first discovered my purpose: Noor Madrasa. It is in this two-room school, where I discovered Love. Love in the children’s shy smiles, long-lasting embraces, and within the evoked curiosity in their beautiful brown eyes. Love appeared in the form of the orphaned angels surviving in the slums of Mombasa; sent from Above, to set aside their own heartaches and benevolently mend ours with subtle pecks on our cheeks and warm-hearted laughter. I gravitated towards centring my energy around the enhancement of their quality of lives, as it was through these interactions where I understood that my purpose, as an individual, embodies more than simply caring for others. Rather, it encapsulates an unconditional love; manifesting itself as a mother, a sister, a friend, a lover, or a stranger, in service of those I selflessly devote myself to.

dscn0001My heart takes another leap, it’s almost bed time and I am sitting out on the balcony listening to the waves of the Indian Ocean gently caressing the shoreline. The stars are emitting a comforting glow while the moon and I take turns singing each other lullabies, entailing messages of reflections transferred into my leather-bound journal. The moon whispers to me the wisdom it has so profoundly hidden in the shadows bound by clouds and in the natural rotation of the earth upon its axis; and I speak of the condition of my heart, each day collecting the bred crumbs left by destiny for me to discover. It is in times of solitude, where I unravel the magic of self-awareness. Where I recognize the beauty of transformation in language portrayed in my thoughts to the depth of the contemplation itself. It is here on my balcony over-looking the Indian Ocean, where I learn to empathize with myself.

And with that my eyes open, taking time to readjust to my current reality. My anxiety has decreased but my longing for a home that only exists within my heart creates an abyss of emptiness, leaving me with bitter-sweet feelings of remembrance and melancholy.

I am homesick for a place that has no geographical location nor is bound by time; it is simply a collection of moments connected in unison by multiple heart strings of passion and gratitude; forever evoking an emotional journey of nostalgia.

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4 thoughts on “An Introspective Paradise

  1. Dear Malika,


    I am in awe.

    I cannot begin to comprehend the amount of wisdom that I have received from reading this piece. I was inspired by every word that I read – every word joined together flowed beautifully. You have the talent of capturing intertwined words and untangling them so that they flow out like silk. I cannot lie, this piece provoked a sense of longing within me. The piece chained me to the feeling of discovery, of experiencing the amazing things you have and gain the vast amounts of wisdom that your mind holds. I really enjoy hearing stories about your recent trip to Mombasa because every time, I develop a even deeper sense of inspiration.

    At the beginning, when you connected terms by using the word at the end of each sentence really brought my attention. This was something that was so simple yet so complicated. It brought a twist upon my emotions because with every phrase came a deeper meaning and definition. This was a brilliant way to bring your audience together because it gave the audience insight on what your perspective on a certain topic was.

    When you described all your wonder-filled memories, my heart burned a little brighter. Your words are so descriptive that I can feel your sorrow or your joy. Not many people have the capabilities of turning their emotions into words, but you can.

    This piece, and you, are so inspirational.

    Warm hugs,

  2. Dearest Malika,

    Wow. Just wow; the same reaction I had when I watched your presentation.
    After reading your piece, I have come to realize that you are a very inspirational person and leader, who motivates people to become better people, better writers, and to gain wisdom, and spread love wherever they go. My second thought was, “I wish I could do that.” And it just proves how admirable you are as a writer. I know that I have just begun my own journey and I hope that I will grow into an inspiring person like you.

    Your style of writing in this piece was beautiful, smooth and intertwined with the whole theme of unconditional love. It reminded me of the word “flow” which related to, in my opinion, “river”. So I think of this piece not as a bubbling brook, but a flowing river that is everlastingly gentle and loving.

    I loved the part when you began with those italicized words, it made me want to read on and find out why you did that. This morning you told me that you still did not like your piece, but I think that if it inspires people, it is truly honourable, and that if it helps another person, I think you will come to like it just the way it is.

    In terms of things to work on, I really don’t have anything to give you, except you did spell “bread” wrong. Overall I really loved this piece because it was truly beautiful and inspirational.

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