I used to be obsessed about God. I really thought about Him and called on Him for the littlest of things. I remember that thick, silky curtain that separated the living room from the rest of the house (it was used when guests were over). I used to wrap myself in that curtain and pray. It made me feel like I was invisible from the rest of the world.
I remember I used to pray all the time (no joke). I was hopeful at every moment during the day. I would hide behind those curtains, form a cup with my hands, and ask for things. A doll house. Australia. A pet. America. I wouldn’t quit asking. I wanted to leave Pakistan. My uncles were living in Australia and the U.S. and I wanted so bad to leave and live life in a better place.
“Allah* mian mujhe kahin bahar janaa hai” (Allah*, I want to go outside, i.e. abroad).
“Allah mere test mein achhe scores deejiye ga” (Allah, please give me good scores on my test)
“Allah please mujhe aaj Papa se ice cream dilwaiye ga” (Allah, please make my dad buy me ice cream today)
So many years later, after having moved to the U.S. at the age of nine, that little-sparkly-eyed-girl has become extinct. A once-upon-a time-species. She is similar to those birds that I talk about during my naturalist meetings. The ones that used to exist, but now are only in the memories of the birders that were enthusiastic about them.
I wonder where she is now.
I know she’s here somewhere. She’s overshadowed by years of so-called “adulthood”. Morose-hood is a better term. We don’t just become adults. We somehow become epitomes of pessimism. Why should we define when childhood ends, and adolescence starts, and when that is overtaken by adulthood? Why can’t we just live as innocent, little, curious creatures? (Yes, I understand that I might not be making any sense).
Now, it feels like a chore to ask God for anything. It makes me sad and frustrated. What happened to that little girl? Where did she fly off to? Will she ever return?
Maybe one day I will go back to being the girl that asked, asked and asked from Someone who gives, gives, and gives. Today I ask God for something –I want that little girl back.
*Allah= literally translates as ‘The God’ in Arabic. It’s unique because it is neither a masculine nor feminine word.