The handwriting by Asma Ishaq

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     The Hand Writing

Love is a blissful rain over the craving land. It is like the calmness of a sea when sun approaches near to set in. It is a pleasure like to see the seven colours altogether on the sky after the forceful storm, bright and clear. It is the full moon that casts its dazzling-silver–affection over a smooth river. This is all what she has always read in the books or heard from the people about love but she never knew that she would get to know and met a man who would prove to be the true personification of love. In the slightest of moment, she fell in love with him and then life was never felt less than of any blessing. To her, he was exactly felt like writing a beautiful poem drenched in love and then to read it again and again.

He was the lecturer of English Literature in a private college. His favorite hobby was making Literature an easier subject to his pupils. Literature was his love and he was truly immersed in it. Each new academic year upon receiving the new students he would say to them, “Literature is his great love, and teaching literature is greater love but making his students to love literature is his greatest love.” He would win every student’s heart easily even if he has taught him or her a semester only. Having observed the love of his students for him. She asked one time, “How does he manage to be such a loving teacher for all his students? He replied in his same placid manner, “It’s simple! I just let them to be what they want to be. I help them to explore the potentials but most importantly I only guide them to be on the path the rest I leave to be discovered by themselves. I don’t bring my interpretation of life to them I rather let them to interpret the life by themselves.” She once again smiled and felt speechless to add anything in the words he has just uttered with much wisdom.

He was a man of the words but one who interprets those words in the actions as well. He was the one who she always looked up to for everything. She reserved a place in her heart for him that no one could take. There is something which is unexplainable about him and that cannot be described in words and that she has always felt some peace in her heart every time his thought has struck in the mind. One day, she conceded after a good contemplation about him that he was not from this world and he was an exceptional soul with a super fine heart. He has got every graceful ingredient to be called a graceful man, his subtle demeanor, his careful mannerism, his graceful smile and above all his captivating voice that she always longed to hear for hours.

It was the Shakespearean week ‘The Bard of Avon’ to be celebrated from 22nd April to 28th in the commemoration of his great literary work following his birthday on April 26th   in his college. This was an event for which he loves working more rigorously with his students. One responsibility was assigned to him for preparing the students for any of the Shakespearean famous play’s enactment. He was fully involved in this enactment to be shared via stage. He directed his students well for the play he has picked up, ‘The Merchant of Venice’. One of his all-time favorites. This play gives a universal message about the nature of Divine Mercy that is: “If one intends to be kind to the fellow humans. It is a blessing to both; the one who receives the kindness and also to the one who gives it to other.” He chose this play to give as a message to the students. He himself would cut strips of the pages to write lines on them and then to give to the students to be memorized by them.

Amidst his tough schedule of rehearsals he would call her asking to join them. Thus, it became a practice that after her school she would join him, she loved seeing him doing what he loves so passionately in real. She also has been a Literature student so this all was much like an entertaining treat for her. And then it is something related with him which she can never think to miss from her life.

The Shakespearean week began in his college. He was much excited for his play but then suddenly he thought of her who he had not been able to give proper time for being busy in the rehearsals. He thought to invite her to see the play too with him that she accepted gladly. She took a leave from her own school and reached there on time. They both sat together to enjoy the play that he had directed. For not to her surprise, his play received the standing ovation. His name was called for giving the award. She was too happy for the appreciation he received because of his hard work once again.

On the way back to home, she was thinking about him. She thought of the time when she had met him first. She met him some years back in a Literature Festival that had been held annually in the city. She loved attending the Literature Festival every year. She somehow reached in the hall where he was presenting the elocution of the famous soliloquies of Shakespeare. She immediately got impressed with the way he delivered. He had got a perfect balance of intonation.  Later on she met him in another session which was on William Wordsworth work for the love of Nature. She sat there and her next seat was empty. He came there asking if he can sit there with her or not. She nodded for yes, he sat there then they had a brief introduction about each other. It is said that if you feel a connection for one another, you feel within few minutes otherwise ages are spent but connection cannot be developed forcefully. In their case too, it was a connection of minutes that got developed faster. When they entered the hall, they were strangers but when they came out, they were like best friends. He told him that he is a very hard working man who has recently joined a private college as a lecturer for English Literature. He told her that he loves books. His book are the most precious asset. They talked a bit further outside the festival venue, exchanged their cell numbers and went to their ways to the homes. The days passed on. Seasons changed too. Their conversation became informal from discussing only Literature to mutual and even personal interests. She was much glad to have found him. A man of such intellect and graceful personality was a very difficult search to find indeed. She never praised him for his clothes, money or any other materialistic possession but all for his wonderful simplicity. He was calm like sea, observant like dark night, brightened like the radiant sky. She would also say the same thing in her heart he was not from this world and felt happy to have said it.

The rain came, and this evening it came more blissful. She was standing in her balcony to see the rain. She felt him around herself. He was away from her but she would feel as he lives within her. He invited her to celebrate his success of the play being applauded. Next day in evening, they were sitting at a cafe. He was sitting in front of her. She cast a secret glance over him and saw the same grace. She could not resist asking one question to him, “What is grace to him? At first, he smiled sipping the coffee. Then he began speaking, “Grace is all what any person carries as above-standard conduct. The conduct we practice or observe of others is normal or expected. But grace is somewhat an exceptional trait which is not common to be found easily. Having a personality is fine but showing the conduct which is of excellence nature of simplicity, humility and austerity is one’s grace. It is practised for a good time period and then it is attained, it is not just adopted in a short time span. One has to stay calmer in all the challenging situations. One has to go a mile ahead to show humbleness even when there are ostentatious people all around. Then one attains the grace.” He stopped speaking, enjoys her amazement for the words, he has just spoken. She could just spoke, ‘You are truly blessed with a divine kind of light that reflects via your wisdom.” There was a book on the table that he had brought to gift her as to remember his this success. He wrote some lines on the first page and gave it to her.

Love in essence is the grace of heart. It only comes truly to reside in the heart that seeks refuge in the simplicity, humbleness, and it is devoid of arrogance of every sort. Years went and time came when they were older and living together happily. He was way more graceful and wiser now. He would often speak to audience of the Literature students at a nearby Reader’s Club spot. This was another day, he had gone for speaking on the John Keats’s famous poem, ‘An Ode to Grecian Urn’. This was also one of the common favorites to them from the great literary canons that they have discussed as it speaks how one survives tolerating all the strife of one’s life.

As he was gone for the session. She starts cleaning the book shelf and among the other books set in there carefully, she found one book with a page written by him years ago. This book bears his hand writing so it had been her the richest possession. She has been caring it like any treasured asset. She sat to read it again recalling the same time when he wrote those line years ago for her. Those words and his hand writing still appears the same appealing, still all of this brought the same light of love in her eyes when she looked at him the moment when he was writing it for her. She felt rejuvenated after reading this page. She closed the book with tears in her eyes. She took a deep breath of the genuine gratitude and thought what could have been the human’s life without love? She answered in her own thoughts: a barren-abandoned land!

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Life seeks love for the survival and love cultivates the life. It is the first and foremost need of human nature. Life without love is sheer insipid. Love gives to life an infinite strength and an ecstasy to one’s soul. And nothing can be any degree of compensation for the loss of the true love.  

-Asma Ishaq.