Ihsan

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

36 Years With & Without Imran

Today is the 36th anniversary of my appearance on the planet. So please, dear readers, allow me some indulgence to vent my spleen.

I am the youngest in the family. Being the youngest has its advantages and disadvantages. In my case, it is hard to know whether they cancel each other out.

One major disadvantage is that I am the only male kid. I am surrounded by two female siblings. But I am told that at one stage I had a brother.

Imran was 2 years old when he died. He had some kind of dehydration or pneumonia or something like that. Mum used to often talk about Imran, especially when I felt my sisters were teasing me and picking on me.

Imran died before I was born. But somehow Imran was always the benchmark. He was fair-skinned while I was darker. He was slim and handsome why I was chubby and not exactly a stunner. His hair was light brown while mine was jet-black.

If our ancestors had not left Ottoman Turkey (or wherever it is they left) and landed in India, one would say that Imran looked Albanian while I looked Kurdish.



I really miss having an elder brother. Today I apparently turn 36 and I am especially missing him.

The mythical Imran was the person I used to take all my problems to when I was young. I always imagined Imran to be this young baby-saint sitting in heaven passing my prayers directly to Allah. Imran was like a guardian-angel in human form.

I turn 36 today, and I feel no closer to wisdom. The only thing I am closer to is death. I surround myself with causes and client files and things to write about. And as usual, I surround myself with the problems and crises of others.

Yeh ilm ka sawda
Yeh risale
Yeh kitabe
Ek shukhs ki yado ko
Bhoolane ke liyeh hain


These are lines from an Urdu ghazal we listened to when we were young. They mean something like …

This exchange of knowledge
These journals
These books
Exist to enable me to take hold of the memories of a person
And extinguish them.

Most people here will probably not have reached 36 years yet. And those who have are probably fairly content with their marriages or relationships. My problem is that I have a 7 year love cycle.

Every 7 years or so, I meet someone with whom I accidentally or inadvertently fall in love. Often I deliberately have my defences up and actively try and avoid the emotion. On this occasion I put up defences so high that the Israeli army would want to model their Great Wall on it.

But someone jumped over the defences. And last night, I was told by another person that I had read the situation completely wrongly.

And how did I get it wrong? How’s this for female logic:

“Irf, you allowed yourself to fall for her.”

“Irf, you should have given her more time.”

“Irf, she couldn’t tell you to go away because she needed you.”

“Irf, she felt nothing for you.”

“Irf, she fell for you but she needed time to sort things out.”

“Irf, it’s not about you. It’s about her.”

“Irf, if you give her time, things might happen.”

“Irf, she doesn’t know what she feels. She can’t clarify it for you. Just accept that.”

“Irf, you are being selfish. She is depressed also.”


So what do I do? I am in the dark. I have no idea where I stand. I have a rope in front of me, and I am not sure whether to pull or place it round my neck.

Ramadan is coming. If I can make it through the next 2 weeks, I will feel its blessing again. Ramadan solves everything. This year I won’t feel on the fringes of Ramadan as I will be able to fast.

Maybe this Ramadan I will ask Allah to enable me to graduate from my Rumi syndrome. Or at least to help me realise that there is a tinge of saintliness in all this.

I wonder what Imran would advise me to do. He would probably look at me and giggle like Jane used to. He’ll remind me of the message of Ihya Uloom al-FatAlbert. Love is inherently good. When you love someone, it is the most magical feeling. But the one who deserves your love the most is your Creator who places the love in your heart.


“Remember Me and I will remember you.”

© Irfan Yusuf 2005

2 comment(s):

  • happy birthday dude!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/21/2005 09:18:00 PM  

  • Salam Irfan

    Hope you soon feel better. Birthdays can be a cause for gloom sometimes but perhaps this gloom has a spiritual reason. Remember taht story (may be Rumi?) about the father who told the son to open a door when he was really desperate, and when the son did this after the father's death he found a rope with a noose, and after several years of running around doing nutty things he came back and used that rope and it broke a hole in the ceiling where treasure was stored. (I always thought that story was kind of neat.)


    By Blogger Anna in Portland (was Cairo), at 9/21/2005 11:22:00 PM  

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