Asian Lite is marking Holy Month of Ramadan with a new column by Masarat Daud
During a casual conversation with a friend, told her that I was listening to some music from the 90s and working. She said that she was listening to some old music too. It was a way to re-live the happiness of the younger days without trapping ourselves in the past.
There is deep happiness in remembering a great childhood. When we look around us, there are persistent examples of children uprooted from a loving childhood and thrust into the pits of human insensitivity. A lived childhood is a great blessing. For this, I am indebted to my parents. The things they have sacrificed and shielded us from only appear to us when we start stepping into their shoes.
There is a huge emphasis in Islam to respect one’s parents and to maintain ties of kinship. Many times, from childhood, we are taught that parents deserve respect in return for their hardwork to raise us and the physical pain a mother has to undergo to birth us. But as I get older, I realise that this notion of repaying parents is simply unachievable. We cannot pay them or repay them in any form because their love is so magnanimous that in its shadow, we can only thank them and be kind to them in gratitude. There is no price tag or a barter system that can help balance what they give and what we take.
One of the terrible tragedies of getting older is to experience the death of a parent. Two of my close friends have lost their fathers and I simply cannot begin to imagine how Life crashes upon us in such unexpected moments. Maybe there is some truth in understanding that a beating heart is one way of keeping someone alive but what truly means to be alive is to imbibe their actions, words and breathe a part of them into our lives. Somehow the pain of the passing, the absence is less when we see their quirks and habits within us or within people in the family. They live in them, through them. In the same way, one can be alive but so distant from having an affect on our lives that after the first few moments of feeling bad for a loss, life simply returns to its former self and continues on.
This is a reminder to think of our parents, to see them as humans, not as fault-free individuals and despite their cracks and craters, how they have managed to raise us to a standard we can only hope to replicate with our next generation.
(Masarat Daud is many things. A girl’s education campaigner, a TED speaker, a TEDx curator, a recent SOAS MA graduate and a politically-incorrect humourist currently based in London.)