I have always wanted to write a book, but books are written by people who have answers or who have something original to contribute to the world. Books share knowledge and wisdom. A reader's world view expands with every book. Unfortunately I have no such thing to share. All I have are questions. I have an incredible desire to understand my life but every time I introspect I come up with more questions.
Everything happens for a reason is a mantra I have lived by all my life. Nothing is really random. All experiences, good or bad, are building blocks for future events. I am blessed to have really unusual childhood experiences. I grew up in a house where 5 languages were spoken and where religious tolerance was not just something my parents talked about but a living reality. My mom is Muslim and her best friend for now nearly 55 years is a Hindu. Although it has been 30 years since my aunt moved away to India, the bond between these two women is just as strong. Even my mom's dementia cannot dim her love for her best friend.
The friendship of these two incredible ladies is so strong that our families grew up as one. They are sisters and their friendship is embraced by the entire family. My aunt's siblings consider my mom as another sister. The entire extended family on both sides takes it for granted that they are sisters. I have yet to come across another example of such strong and pure friendship. When one was worried or had a problem the other automatically knew it even before they spoke to each other. It was a unique telepathy.
The beauty of their relationship lies in their religious tolerance. Growing up, I saw that both ladies were strong in their own religious practices and yet never once have I come across an incident where one tried to convert the other. Nor did I ever see an occasion where one offended the other due to insensitivity. My aunt though not a vegetarian, does not eat beef obviously, so it was never cooked in our house. Simple. No beef, no issue of contamination. They kept life simple. Perhaps that is why they enjoyed their relationship.
All festivals were celebrated together, be it Eid or Diwali, we had a blast. My dad used to bring the fireworks for all the kids on Diwali and it never occurred to us that it was unusual. They taught me and my other cousins that you can remain true to your own beliefs while respecting the customs and rituals of others. We worshiped Allah and never bowed to any idols, but then we never showed any disrespect either. Few people are so lucky as to go through their formation years in such an environment.
The biggest issue I had as a child was that I was jealous of my cousin that my mom considered her perfect and wanted me to be like her and my cousin was jealous because her mom doted on me a bit too much. Sibling rivalry of an only child. It was a weird but wonderful childhood. Which is perhaps why I have so many questions now. At the back of my mind is the feeling that there is a higher purpose I have to fulfill and these childhood experiences were meant to build the foundation for it. But what? I don't think that merely an open mind is the purpose. That is my world view, but to do something concrete with this world view is the purpose. And I struggle each day to discover it.
Also I find it very strange that have experienced such friendship firsthand, why am I so aloof and disconnected with people? Surely with such an example in my life I should have long lasting and deep connection with people, or at least one friend. But strangely I find it very hard to hold and maintain friendships. I have friends yes, some I've known for nearly 30 years, but for some reason I can't seem to make the effort to keep in touch and invest in those relationships. Strange! How can a positive experience lead to such an opposite outcome?
Each chapter in my early life leads to more questions. I should be able to make sense of them but I can't. And till the day comes when I have clarity of understanding I cannot really write a book. After all, no reader in the world wants to end up more confused at the end of the book than when they started reading it.