‘sow dajeh’ 

“Hi, A!

How’re you?

I know I haven’t been writing to you lately. I’m sorry. I’ve just been a little busy, a little distracted. Heh,my maternal instincts have been all over the place, man!

You see, I was busy rescuing a baby sparrow. Motherhood is so beautiful, no? Damn, my little heart can’t handle all of this beauty all at once. lolol.

A. It’s so tiny and the feathers haven’t even grown out properly and it can barely move and it’s a tiny baby and I dont know how it landed so far from its home and the mother is probably worried. And my heartttt, A!
And at one point it spread out its tiny wings and oh God!
And I was feeding the tiny baby and it opened its beak soo wide for me and I was just so proud and my heart was so warm and fuzzy and it just struck me how everything is so beautiful and there is hope and miracles are real!
I hope we can find its mama and I hope it survives. I will never forgive myself if this baby doesn’t survive, A!

You know what? I’m pretty sure I’m a bird whisperer, hah! I fed it and now it’s tiny tummy is full and it’s so warm and it’s resting right now!

Oh, I’ve named her Noor. Just because I can. She’s two weeks old; I know because I did my research, teehee. I made a bed for it too but instead it dug its way inside to keep itself warm.
It also opened its eyes and looked up at me and my heart just melted!

Listen. I did the right thing by bringing it inside, no? There were so many predators outside! They would’ve eaten this little thing! I did the right thing, eh? It’s warm and its breathing so I guess I’m doing fine?

It’s so tiny, it could’ve come underneath my feet.
And you know when you tap the side of her beak, she opens her beak so wide, it’s a reflex. And then automatically swallows. It’s beautiful. ITS EXHILARATING, everytime she opens up her tiny mouth.
And I made her some rice and mashed them and then I filled it up in a syringe and fed it like my little baby and then it ate. My heart is so fulll.


I have reached peak motherhood. I have started singing to my bird. I even sing her lullabies…

A. This bird makes me reflect so MUCH. I need to write about this.I really, really do. I’ll write about my little baby bird and show it to you. I’ve also attached her picture along with this mail. Doesn’t she make your heart go all warm and fuzzy too?

Such an old soul I am, A. I mean…I’m obsessed with the whole concept of love, maternal love, motherhood, my mother, being a mother, parenting, listening, observing, feeling, understanding, being understood. Soft and gentle people. Also, silence. I really appreciate silence a lot of the time. I really like to love, and I really like being kind. I feel intensely about Orca Whales, the Sioux people and the moon.

Lots. I feel lots about lots. And so do you, hence, this e-mail.

Tell me now, write back to me as soon as you’re done reading this. Tell me what you’ve been thinking, what’s life doing for you, what you’re doing for life.

I miss you, A. Keep taking care of yourself.


She finished reading the e-mail and rubbed her eyes, trying to imagine her dear friend mothering a little bird. Knowing her, that little bird had probably inspired her in more than one ordinary  way and given a new dimension to her sense of spirituality.

“Dearest A!

Noor is such a little miracle! I mean, if you look at it closely, does it not make you think of how God created this little living, breathing creature with wings and a beak and the ability to fly and touch the skies and rest on flowers of its choice? Something that two-legged creatures like you and I can’t? We can sure claim to fly in huge planes, but can we experience the magical joy of flapping our wings and being slapped by the salty air as we soar amongst the clouds, above the ancient seas? Pfft, no! And then how it’s transitioning from a little hairless baby to a beautiful bird! That’s so divine! Noor means ‘light’. And your little Noor, I’m sure, has been sent down to you to help you see things a little bit more clearly. Like the crystal clear water that is supposed to quench your thirst and mirror your hidden desires so you can no longer run away from the bitter sweet truth. Do you understand? You probably do.

And yes, of course you did the right thing by bringing it home!

You have little Noor, and I have baby Mohid here. He’s my neighbor’s nine month old little boy, and the most handsome little devil that I have ever seen! Watching him struggle to stand up on his two, tiny feet and then roll over with the effort does to me what watching Noor open her beak does to you! Seriously! It’s like I’m awestruck when I see him coordinating his hands and his knees to crawl…God! And his smile, A! It’s strange, and you may laugh, but when his chubby face breaks into a big, charming smile on seeing me and when he extends his tiny arms to come towards me, I feel so important. It’s like the purity of that smile, the silent knowledge that I’ll hold him safe and I’ll play with him – that rock faith that only a nine month old can boast of – is an evergreen reminder of my own dependence on God and how little joys are actually much more, so much more meaningful!

But it’s also sad, isn’t it? It’s like ‘saudade’. ‘Sow dajeh’. You’re in love with this moment, but you know that it won’t come back. It’s terribly beautiful because you love this baby Noor – your heart swells with the pride of pure happiness when it opens it’s mouth to swallow the mashed rice that you painstakingly cook for it and your eyes have tears that you aren’t afraid to shed because it made its first attempt at kissing the sky. Only Noor can do that to you because she aroused a different shade of spirituality within you, different feelings, and while these may not be the best you’ve experienced, they’re holding your hands and guiding you towards the Everlasting. And it won’t come back again. Noor won’t be this tiny again and she won’t need you around anymore, soon. She’ll have wings and her natural instincts to have her go looking for her own food – nature doesn’t change. And you’ll miss that, but you’ll be happy because you know that you experienced with her what nobody else did and for that innocent, lovely bird, it was worth it. It was worth it because all that time, it only rained smiles on your pretty face and helped you reconnect with your soul. So I can feel this melancholy happiness that your heart is holding, A. I really can.

You know, I’ve been thinking about all this – life and how time takes you forward. And the more I think about it, the less scared I am of the immortality of death.

When I was a kid, I’d often find myself being swept over by the disturbing feeling of sudden, inexplicable melancholy that would tug at my heart and make me wonder if I’ve done something wrong. Simply put, English language could describe it as being ‘uncomfortable’. But it was saudade. Saudade more, saudade less. I didn’t know this word existed back then, but I felt it. I felt it as I laughed along with my family and enjoyed delicious brunches by the beach and played cricket with my father and sister,  and competed with my cousins for Mayfair Land during a game of monopoly in those cool, Ramadan nights before Sehri. You get it? It’s like in the middle of all the fun and games, there’s something tugging at your heart – the bittersweet awareness of not living this again. You’re glad for now, but sad for for then. It’s like the happiness of ‘is‘ is being overshadowed by the loss of ‘will‘, and before you know it, it’s ‘was‘ already and you realize that perhaps, you didn’t live it enough. Don’t do that with Noor, okay? In fact, you may just realize that Noor is not meant to be saudade because if Noor is not Noor, and you are not you, but Noor and you are ‘us‘ and ‘we‘, then none of this matters. Because you know that even when she’ll fly away, she’ll be your little bird and you the beautiful mother and it’s just the feeling of a connected heart that matters! And how will you know that? When you don’t feel like a spectator in your own life, watching the show reel, the characters living and stumbling; rather, you anticipate tomorrow, because tomorrow is simply another day. You look forward to its first flight because…it just has to be that way. Special occasions matter, but they don’t define your gravity. So only your feelings, the secret, sixth eye of the heart will tell you if Noor is saudade.

Write about Noor and send it to me. If this is what Noor and Mohid did to me, I can only wonder what’s brewing inside that magnificent heart of yours, A.

You keep being you, too.
Lots of love,

She clicked on the ‘SEND’ icon, signed out from her account, and switched off her laptop.

I hope Noor is not saudade,she thought to herself, because it’s a horrible beauty. It’s like admiring that beautiful crystal vase worth a million dollars, displayed in the finest of all shops, and as you’re lost in its glory, a little nudge, a little slip and a small tremor of the hand will send that crystal vase flying down, crashing. And as you had it reveredly wrapped up in your hands, you knew that the sad delicacy would break into a million pieces, and with that, your heart. You knew that, and you still held it. That’s saudade.

It was getting late and nights like these were meant for her – nights of chilly winds and rustling leaves and the old, old moon and nothing but blissful silence that makes you feel everything about nothing and you know that ‘something’ is a mere mirage.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s