Monday, December 06, 2004

20Five: the 1/4 century blog

I am 25 today. I have seen twenty five years of life. A quarter of a century. What would some people not give to have twenty five years of relatively safe, warm, unharmed life - even if it were only as much?

If I were to be told to pack up today and leave, I will not have many regrets. I'd just make a silent wish that someone else carry on and finish my work, blow a kiss in the general direction of the ever-spinning Earth, and leave, laughing at my usual flustered hurry.
Coming, God! Hold that train! Oh no, I left my watch behind! Haha. Can I go back, and come back at a later moment? Your one moment and my lifetime, God?!

It's been an extraordinary life for a person in ordinary circumstances. Thanks to clear choice, to courage, to freedom! I am reading the novel Eleven Minutes today - still half way through - and read about Maria who listened to her passions and took the opportunities that came her way. She reasoned that this way she'd not regret what she, or others in her birth surroundings, did not do. After all, said Ally McBeal, people regret most what they do not do.

People sometimes ask me if I have any regrets about some of the very extraordinary and seemingly crazy things I have done. Such as throwing away secure, comfy job offers to the winds, and choosing a risky career path.

No, I do not have any regrets. Not today, when I am twenty five. Not today, when I have a sudden realization that my life would not be the same had I not seen the tribulations, challenges, and sorrows and pleasures, gifts, opportunities that I have.

I have loved things, people, moments, my life with a rare fervor. I have been dreaming in color - with music, lucid imagery, and a variety of stories... I dream tales out of Arabian Nights. I have very often lived on the dangerous edge. I have spurned the ordinary and the comfortable mundane. I have taken risks. I have touched dust and turned it into gold. And I have seen gold turn to dust and fly away... thus learning some of the most enduring lessons about the delicacy of this illusion called life.

God has shown me much pain. Most of it was my own, but even if it weren't, God gave me one of those hearts that cannot tell the difference. I am a citizen of the world, and connected to its joys and sorrows - and I feel everything. The mortality of worldly things often brings pain of its realization. I have learnt to accept it.

God also gave me glimpses of pure joy and delight. One clear winter night, in a cold city in the north, I lifted my head under the dark blue sky and saw a sheer halo of frost glistening under the full moon... a bird fluttered away through the halo. At another day in that same city, I ran to the roof after a heavy rain. Three rainbows spread their magnificent arcs over the skies.
Three rainbows! One arcing over the other... fading into the azure vastness of the sky...

In a life where seeing shooting stars on clear nights was taken for granted, God gave me the extra bit of profiles of paradise: I have seen, while traveling on a sleepy night train, a gigantic cloud miles away, flashing up with bolts of lightening. It was too distant – I saw the entire cloud but never heard the thunderous, terrifying clap. It was dark, and the cloud would occasionally light up like a giant nucleus…profiled over the backdrop of electronic bolts running through it, and then disappear in the night.

I thought I had seen God’s throne.

I have collected rainbow toned sea shells used in jewelry. I have been taken away by currents of the ocean (that I fear so much) and returned by the devilish, playful waves: frightful and excited! I have seen a frozen waterfall in one of the world’s most enchanting mountain ranges. I have heard enchanting music, often the product of my own imagination… playing in my mind. I have also chanced upon some of the best art in life.

My imagination has seen many things before my eyes saw them, and I was most proud when it was my hands and efforts that turned those dreams into reality.

But who could be happy to end life now on these experiential notes? These experiences came my way. What, then, have I given to life? Today, I heard someone tell me that I had inspired them to make their life as it is today (better than what it would have been otherwise). Frankly, there could have been no better birthday gift. To know that I have touched a few lives – or a few moments of many lives – and turned them for the better.

I was born with the gift of beauty, wealth, and intelligence. Many billions of souls strive all their lives to end where I began. Over the course of my life, I have done the very daring experience of giving it all back to life; risking, betting, renouncing, giving charitably away the gifts. While some were tremendous mistakes – I have more often been rewarded. And whenever God brought me to it, He brought me through it too.

My God has loved me generously. I have slept drained of spirit with my head in His lap when I thought the world had left me. I have secretly turned my head west-ward ever so often and whispered to Him to stand watching as I met imminent challenges or threats. I have been discussing my personal, professional, and philosophical life with Him during lunch and work hours, and in bed. I have blamed Him and fought with Him. I don’t worry when He x-rays my soul and tells it like it is. Like a watchful friend, He has often slapped me back onto the right path when I just, ever so little, began to err. At other times, He just stopped a step or two behind me and watched as I went about on my own. I often came back wearing one of those face expressions [:(]… and He gave me one of those smiles [:)]... His and mine has been the most enduring of relationships. The most reliable love affair. Oops! He minds my language sometimes, but I know in His secret chamber He laughs.

I have to go now and do the sleep thing. The sun of December the sixth, my official birth-day, has not yet risen (I have tampered the timestamp). It will rise shortly, and I will be ever so thankful for the twenty-five wonderful, adventurous, and beautiful years of my life.

And for family, friends, and strangers who made a beautiful life possible. I would never change a thing about myself or you, except my wish to make it better for you.

My love to this beautiful life!


  1. WOW! you are a very good writer!

    Happy Birthday Ramla! you are very fortunate indeed :)

  2. HAppy birthday!
    Beautiful essay..i suppose its the outlook on life that makes it lovely & ppl like u make it easier for those with bleaker attitudes, 2 b more positive :)
    REally impressive..hope ur next 25 yrs r even more happier than those that passed.
    BEst wishes

  3. Happy Birthday Bestest Buddy and may the next years be just as great, and as learning as these have been and of has to be there to share in them too. :)....


  4. Happy birthday Ramla.. it's really heartening someone speaking about Life with such passion and zest.. very positive, very inspiring and upbeat outlook on life.. wish you all the happiness in life.. and keep on inspiring more n more :)

  5. Faraz, Empress, Jaguar, AL, and others who emailed - thank you so much. I spent my birthday privately and happily. The wishes and love from all of you has made this a fantastic birthday. I am all yoo-ha!

  6. You are a beautiful person and you have touched my heart. You have not dwelled on what might have been...for what might have been is an abstraction remaining a perpetual possibility only in a world of speculation.

    Happy birthday Remmie!


  7. Cy: what a surprise to see your words! What you said about the possible past is so well put. The past is like Medusa one must not look at for fear of being petrified. :)