A Letter To My Younger Self: “Your Heart Will Learn To Bloom Again”

Dear Jiya,

I miss being called by that name. ‘Jiya’, originating in Sanskrit, means ‘an essential part of the soul’ (colloquially reduced to meaning: ‘heart’). Baba gave us the name, but hardly ever imagined how we would grow up to own every syllable of it.

I remember you. I remember the half-ponytail, and the haircut that never quite had a name. I remember how you saw devastation, and wanted to fix it. You always thought cracks could heal with a Band-Aid, until your first heartbreak. I remember you crying, cradled in Mamma’s lap, as the hours of dawn passed us by. You never thought you would see the light of day, but I am proof that you did. I am the promise that you will continue to.

I want you to know that being full of love is not your fault. When you top in class, and watch people move away from you, I want you to remember that their lack of understanding was never your responsibility. You never ‘handpicked’ your friends. All these years later, I can affirm that you never will. Our door will be forever open for anybody who wishes to walk in. But remember what I have learned in these year: Not all of them will come to you for the same reasons.

Some will run in on a rainy day, seeking shelter. You will brew them some tea, and crack open a tin of your favourite biscuits. Maybe, you will give them the last ones which you were saving for that Friday-evening movie. The two of you will speak of Math problems, report cards, lost hair-bands, but once the rain is over, they will go back home. Neither your tea, nor the biscuit-sacrifice, will ever hold them back. They were only here for a while.

Some will ring your doorbell because they have heard of your pretty house. Waltzing into the nooks and crevices of lavender-scented walls, you will let them touch and hold the everyday items. When they leave, the calendar will be crooked from when they leaned against it, the floor with be slightly wet from the coffee they spilled, and some of your prized artifacts will be missing. Don’t wait for them to come back and set your house in order. Don the cleaning gloves, sweep the floor, adjust the calendar, and spray some room freshener to mask their smell. It will be gone in time.

Some will come in search of shelter- broken, and quite possibly, hurt. You will warm them some milk, give them a towel, and sit by their side, as they sneeze their way to sleep. You’ll sing them your favourite lullaby and mumble through the parts you have forgotten, but sing all the same. Don’t deny them the warmth of your being, because of the ones that came before. It is not their fault that you were hurt, the same way that it is not yours.

The truth is that there will never be a formula to determine the ‘Hurt Quotient‘ a person can bring into your life. Remember to love yourself, to put yourself first, and to trust that force in your stomach which twists when it sees harm. Please walk away when your instincts tell you to. It will save you the cost of long-term therapy.

I love you. More than you know to love yourself, right now. More than anybody ever will. I hope you remember to choose yourself first. While I know that there are many storms waiting along the way, I promise that you will always be bigger than the darkest clouds and the loudest seas. I am leaving you a poem I wrote a couple of days ago. It is supposed to be a reminder of everything that I have learnt about my heart. Once I finished writing, I wished I could send it back in time, to when I needed it more. So, here it is:

| Muntazir |

If you climb the Faraway Tree
and wait for 48 days,
the skies will let you in.

In April, a Sunday afternoon
was roughly swept away
by a thunderstorm that lasted
only a second.
The wailing was so loud,
it traveled back in time.
When they brought it back,
soot-stained, dirty,
hanging by the scruff of its collar,
it looked a lot like Tuesday,
then Wednesday,
then Thursday,
but never Sunday again.

In May,
When the skies took me in,
I was in a land of djinns;
of potions that smelled like home;
of charmers who could
breathe a memory into oblivion.
I was in a land of Making,
of Packing Yourself In Boxes
and Breathing, truly breathing.
They called it the ‘Right Place‘.

If you should ever visit,
book a ticket to the village of ‘Paasbaan‘.
Maybe you will find the potpourri stall
that sells the smell of forgiveness.
Maybe you will stumble on a rock
they have named ‘Earth’
Or, maybe, if you hike far enough,
Grandma Huko will invite you in for tea,
for the stories that her son left
before he went to war,
for a little more love than
20 lifetimes combined.

When it’s time to leave,
don’t ask her about her cashmere scarf,
or the bottles of glowing fluid,
or how she has lived through
600 revolutions around the Sun.
Paasbaan‘ in Urdu, means ‘Keeper‘.
They don’t talk about things
they protect.
I left my heart in a jar she keeps
beside the flowers.
She says they will teach it how to bloom

With all the love,

Somebody who looks up to you.