Working Saturdays have a characteristic mood; a winding up rush, postponing demanding (and those not demanding at all) tasks to Mondays (no wonder Mondays are cursed), just in time or even earlier than scheduled sign offs. The intention is very clear, to embrace the flavor of (whatever is left of) the weekend, even if it means sole Sunday. This working Saturday, of which I shall write in this post, was different. I had concluded my task table at work and there was nothing that could potentially involve me away from signing off on time. Yet there was no intention at my end to leave office. The mood as I recall it was typically that of lingering on, almost aimlessly. Post hours I just stayed back, met the evening shift teams, had some random chit-chat with the staff and lingered on a bit more.
As I was there with my brains on a complete vacate, there came the event my subconscious had, infact awaited all this time. A tweet from a friend announcing the countdown to midnight. A brief conversation that ensued thereafter had all the ingredients to entice the heart into something that was not planned but destined to happen, that too for the first time.
Two hours to midnight… — Noor Rathore (@NoorRathore) November 8, 2014
@NoorRathore some sorcery, exorcism, witchcraft or what! — Muhammad Imran Saeed (@meemainseen) November 8, 2014
@meemainseen all of the above. Peer sahabs birthday — Noor Rathore (@NoorRathore) November 8, 2014
It was a simple exchange of words primarily conveying the impeding birthday of Sir Muhammad Iqbal that midnight (Iqbal Day). What made it special was the context in which a few phrases were exchanged and the person I was in conversation with. The reply “all of the above” and “Peer Sahab’s birthday” and a few more conversational exchanges left me startled as these were sufficient to generate the waves at a typical frequency that tempted me to benefit from my tweep a bit more and eventually head out to embrace Iqbal in the following hours. Things, though random in happenings, do have an underlying purpose. Dear readers, it was the inspiration in these magical words that chalked down a plan and pulled me out straight from my office to be in attendance with Sir Muhammad Iqbal by midnight, on the eve of his birthday.
Driving straight from my office to Iqbal Park, Lahore, having negotiated the outer police cordons, I encountered the main compound of Hazuri Bagh padlocked and guarded. A Pak Rangers’ soldier came to my rescue and though initially puzzled but having deciphered my intentions got the gates opened and escorted me to the Mazar of the Maestro. Having been through the rituals of ablution to relentlessly clean the exterior of my being, I was (in my opinion) ready. The doors were opened and I stepped inside the tomb. My readers are urged to pardon me if I appear to be evasive here in stating that the things that succeeded are nothing but a fuzz in my mind. Exposed to the combined magnificence of the aura and the person I was there to pray for, my being in all humility got diminished and gradually lost into nothingness. There must have been some awfully meaningless body postures in a futile effort to exhibit respect and some ritualistic repetitions of the sacred words from my subconscious, I don’t vividly recall. Out of sheer guilt I got expelled from the interior of the tomb and started heading towards my car parked at a distance. At that particular instance there was absolutely nothing I carried but one couplet from Iqbal swarming my head:
عقل و دِل و نِگاہ کا مُرشدِ اوّلیں ھے عشق
عشق نہ ہو تو شرع ودیں بُتکدۂِ تصوّرات
(the disciples of) logic, heart and vision, all need nothing but one patron, (the unconditional surrender in) love
religion and its scriptures, without this (patron of) love are but the idols of illusionIqbal
Dear reader, in true sense, I haven’t read Iqbal that thoroughly, but I got directed to his tomb by the blessings of a more learned soul. I dearly put myself in attendance that night with a devotion of an ignorant follower, with no idea of the procession’s etiquette, got conferred with the murshid’s blessing , a couplet my tongue shall be reciting in endless repetitions with my heart devoid of the slightest clue to its true essence. I am one follower who will be happy wearing the Taweez from Peer Sahab awaiting to be blessed one day with the curiosity of getting to know its contents…