I notice how writers often begin their tales by describing the environment - the moon, the lakes, the wind, the heat, the rain, whatever - regardless of how do those descriptions fit the course of the story. Perhaps it helps the writer to gain confidence, to feel more at home with the task of delivering the story, to convince himself or herself of the firmness of the earth before treading on steadily. After that first step, perhaps the step that breaks an eon of hesitance and uncertainty, the following steps - of course by no means easy - would be significantly less difficult. However, it is to be remembered, truly remembered, once the steps are taken, decisions confirmed, and roads chosen, the paths would never be erasable. There's no such thing as turning back.
There's no such thing as turning back. One may wish to repent on mistakes, one can repent on mistakes. One may even indulge in the illusion of 'starting afresh', trying to pretend that what has happened in the past has ceased to tarnish one's slate. But the fact is, the reality is, every single event and action that has taken place will leave its mark, however small, in one's book of life. One is composed by one's past. One cannot deny that the past exists, the past is there, and the past will always have its demands on the present and future.
"Now who said that book is allowed in this palace?"
The book in my hand, The Mind Speaks, written by a so-called controversial author, became the focus of attention. I quickly hid it behind my back.
"Give it to me."
The Crown Prince, my cousin, glared at me. He demanded to have the book.
"Everyone said that the author is a wayward thinker, flyaway theorist, renegade theologian. They said there's a chapter in it that describes how the mind, once opened, will enable the thinker to master every living creature. That's ridiculous, deviant to the core!"
"Everyone. Who is 'everyone'? Who gave the authority to 'everyone' to decide and to judge things for you - or for me, for that matter?"
"Impertinence! I've read a few pages of it, and they're enough to convince me that the ideas given are foreign and strange. Dangerous and must never be allowed to enter any healthy, God-believing, God-fearing mind. Now give me the book."
"Oh, just listening to 'everyone' and you're sure the author is doomed for Hell. Just a few pages and you're preaching that the ideas are dangerous. You don't even bother to think and do research, when confronted with something unfamiliar, something new, you condemn it as faulty, devilish even!"
"Don't act smart with me. I'm so much better-read than you. I've seen a lot of wise men and learnt from them. You are no match with me in terms of wisdom and experience. Now give me that book before I take it by force, or worse, let Queen Mother know. You know that being allowed literacy is a privilege itself for girls, reading stuffs like that borders on treachery!"
"OK, if you said it. You're the boss, you're the leader, the Crown Prince, the beloved son of Queen Mother, aren't you? Take it!" I flung the book to the floor where he stood, with as much spite as I could put in. "And for your enlightenment, I've already read the whole book, and there's no such chapter that talks about mind-mastery over other creatures or any such nonsense. I believe your advisors are very wise indeed!"
Still fuming, I stomped away, seeking comfort at the palace gardens with my pet cats. My early teenage was littered with such episodes. Born as the only daughter to the Prime Minister who also happens to be Queen Mother's younger brother, I was the embodiment of the word rebellious. The fact that everybody else - with the exception of dear Froggie - seem to be intent upon keeping a firm hold on me doesn't make things better either. Pity is, Froggie is what he - or it - is, a frog, who inhabited a small pond at a secluded corner of the royal garden . I heard rumours that Froggie is Crown Prince's younger brother, another son of Queen Mother's, cursed into an animal by wicked sorcery, and everybody who knew it was too embarrassed to admit it. But those are rumours.
(to be continued, insyaAllah)