I am a firm believer that all who we meet along the meandering paths that course through our lives have something to teach us, whose presence will undeniably serve to be a pivotal influence on our spiritual development. As much as many may be quick to dismiss it, at the end of the day there is no other growth as important as the one that nourishes the spirit. I can personally testify to this claim since I have witnessed in the past the remarkable sparking of true self-realisation in the terminally ill and it is always the case that the sensation of approaching mortality – The Grim Reaper – takes on the last role of teacher in the patient’s life. Such is this teacher that the dying one comes to the painful regret that what they know now they wish they had known in earlier life. The miser who cloistered his attention to building towers, tight-fisted and cruel, miraculously turns into a tender-hearted giver on death’s doorstep. The workaholic, in his final days, becomes fraught with a sudden awareness that what he had deprived himself most in life was the chance that could have been his – to be there to watch his children grow. The vain model forever preoccupied with her prepossessing looks, now emaciated to the bone, sheds silent tears for not releasing herself from the beast of her ego earlier. HOWEVER, Life, too can enrich the content of our souls. I became a teacher to this end. I admit there have been times when it has been substantially harder for me to accept that a quality of untapped good potential exists in the person in front of me but, I always try my best to see it. If I find it torturous to observe any good in the person then, I reflect the entire experience back on myself and ask my conscience if I am the one holding back in giving someone a chance – am I the bearer of deep-rooted prejudices and unhelpful attitudes? Yes, dear reader, I am no more teacher as I am student. Therefore, returning to my original first line, I believe Destiny does bring people into our universe for spiritual edification, and quite often it is not apparent at first that this is occurring.
The photograph below is of one such tale from my past that I felt strongly compelled to share with you tonight. Three years ago a stranger posted a message on his Facebook wall which subsequently appeared on my Newsfeed. I remember vividly that I was in class and preparing to pack my bags to go home when something told me to open Facebook on the computer and, lo and behold, his message popped up on my Newsfeed. Alas, I am not fluent in Bengali – my ancestral tongue – and even to this day can only read and write my name. BUT, I am possessed with a sixth sense and have partial synaesthesia so the script on the screen that day began to glow and pulse with the fragrance of mysterious significance. As if I was a conduit of some higher power, my fingers on their own accord reached for the mouse and I glided straight towards the print button. I took the piece of paper home and looked at it again and oh how to tell you how I felt the urge to have it translated by my Amma (Mother) but she was quite poorly at the time so I did not want to bother her with my trivial curiosities. Accepting with a dull disappointment that this was beyond me, I folded the paper up and tucked it into my copy of Tagore right at the back of my mountainous bookshelf. In time, the message vanished into the thick mists of the past and it was only in those times that I needed to refer to specific passages of Tagore that did the piece of paper flutter out like a white origami butterfly.
“… the time is ripe for sharing a message that I have failed to unravel although, I can smell the scent of its essence much more intimately now: it is like spring and monsoon and dusk light dancing altogether in ecstasy in some faraway land…”
Today, that sixth sense that had originally ascribed significance to the message reawakened and I found that I could not hush my desire to explore again the brackets and colon dots of that message. How peculiar that even today in Facebook I end all my comments with smiley faces made of brackets and colons, letting the final sentence always trail into lingering and unfinished thoughts using a parade of marching dots! I still have not deciphered the message into English and nor have I shown it to my Amma. Why? Because I know I am not meant to. My stranger, who may or may not know – wherever he may be – has taught me the beauty of patience and who has reinforced my inner Faith that everything will always work out in the end. I say this because I feel now more than ever that I must send this photograph out into the wider world. It is for this reason that I have photographed and posted this message today because I can feel it in my gut, the strength of iron conviction, that this is what I was meant to do and to do it now. Yes, the time is ripe for sharing a message that I have failed to unravel although, I can smell the scent of its essence much more intimately now: it is like spring and monsoon and dusk light dancing altogether in ecstasy in some faraway land. If you should be reading this and happen to be fluent in Bengali then please permit me to be bold enough to predict your response: your heartbeat knocking a little faster than usual followed by a slow tender smile, a dawn sky yawns… :))
Photograph & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | UK 2014
Bengali Message printed off FaceBook in 2011