I am, on paper, at the prime of my life. I am twenty three. I am out of college – in fact, I have nearly finished enough work to get a Master’s degree at an age when many people don’t have a Bachelor’s. I have the world ready and laid out to be conquered. I have an entire life ahead of me, to prosper, to enjoy, to conquer its peaks one by one, to make a good life after all the hard work of school with little to worry about. I have no financial obligations to meet other than to satisfy my own animal instincts of hunger, thirst, shelter. My parents are blessed enough that they do not need my money, nor do my siblings. Things could be better but things are going great. I have a great set of friends I love to hang out with. I have the best restaurants to dine at nearby, I am going to get my own car after I start getting paychecks, soon. What would I have to complain about?
On Eid day recently, I had the honor of being invited by a female acquaintance’s family to their home along with a few other friends. Few friends have introduced me to their families, so this was an exception. I knew her from the MSA, but had barely ever spoken to her – in fact, I had ignored her for months if not for a couple of years but had more recently interacted with her enough to get the invite. It was a happy occasion but I cried or struggled to not cry later that day. Like a true gentleman, I never let anyone know of my turmoil. Hers was an amazing, lovely, happy family which looked cute together. I was missing my own. My family all together, happy and frolicking around , just like that.
I had selfishly moved away from my parents seven years back for my career. I saw my past years flash before me. I wasn’t really jealous here, or may be I was. But I wanted the same. I missed being in my mother’s arms, I missed the hug from my father. The kiss on the forehead from my mother. Resting my head on my mother’s leg. My father’s insatiable love for me and the now unbelievable desire for me to succeed. My loving sisters, my brother who I fought with at times, but for whom I prayed and wanted to succeed. We all made a pretty, lovely, happy family. Our sibling rivalries looked cute. The thought that those days are never going to come back brought a gulp in my throat then and tears in my eyes now. We went out every weekend, we had our family games of carrom and chess, snakes and ladders and a few other board games. We loved arguing what to order at the restaurant for our weekly dine-out. We loved shouting when our mother cheated by picking up coins from the Carrom board without pocketing them in with a striker.
We’ve all grown up. My sisters are married, and are away with their own new lives and kids. My parents are old and I am not with them. My brother is busy and has a life of his own away from all of us. They miss me and I miss them. I forget them all too often as I get engrossed with my life, but I know they do not forget me at what are supposed to be their happiest of times. I cried when my mother asked me to be with her on Eid.
I have given up so much for the time here that every moment that I am away from them is precious as diamonds that I have to try to extract the best out of. What I have achieved in the seven months since the last time I saw them does not seem to match up to that.
All I can think of right now, and pray for, is for all of us to be united in the eternal paradise, and live happily together, forever and ever. An eternal life of bliss and happiness celebrated together. Bring on the monopoly with two dices, please!