Born on a sunny morning of March in the southern city of Multan when the air was crisp and the orchids sprouted in the hospital grounds, I was welcomed in this world with sweetmeats being distributed among my father’s comrades who celebrated with fervor at the birth of their Commanding Officer’s first daughter and my mother lauded with gifts brought all the way from Lahore and Karachi, the two home towns and two ties that would remind me of my roots in years to come. I was named Aayesha Aijaz Bari after Ayesha, the wife of Muhammad (pbuh) when I was nothing but a fetus, thus pre determining my destiny by a family who highly believed in the mystic importance of Islamic names. My grandfather, May Allah forgive him, held me in his arms and prayed to the Heavens above to bring me joy and peace, health and happiness. I grew up under the shadow of my father which served as a solitude from the world unknown to myself as a happy, peaceful, healthy and a joyous child. Being an army brat I’ve spent a good part of my childhood travelling extensively and making different cities my home. My disciplined upbringing instilled in me a sense to be acutely aware of my surroundings, noticing the minutest of details, absorbing everything that a child’s brain could comprehend, ultimately shaping me into a woman I’m today. Being a dreamer, I’ve been drawn to stories of far off lands and epic adventurous tales of the knights, making me an avid reader ever since I could spell out words. A happy childhood spent in a flash of lightening paved way to the more realistic and mature years of my life where I not only became aware of the life unbeknownst to myself but also began to understand the soul and mind that my body withholds.
Wanting to be someone, I’m struggling to recognize my most innate demons. Possessing the urge to be the best of myself I tend to defy stereotypes and leave a mark. Honing my artistic skills with the stroke of a brush, I have learned to express myself on a canvas. The best consolation is that I’m myself. With hard work as my weapon I work on breaking the dependence and stop myself from using my femininity as an excuse to not being what I want to be. Mistakes made during my university years have made me realize that the stigma of life without faith, actions without purposes and feelings with passion drives you to a certain aloofness which is hard to overcome. My mind lingers on words uttered and also on those left unsaid. My eyes fixated on the way grass grows in the dry creaks of the concrete ramps, my ears straining to listen the rhythmic beating of the blood in my veins and my fingertips feeling the rich creaminess of the paint on my palette which burst my soul into a thousand shades of happiness. I spend my days assembling my segregated thoughts to define a broader purpose of life, the meaning of which I seek in my faith, nature and literature, the three most fundamental aspects which will define my future.
What the upcoming years behold, no one knows. But, a life sprawled with meaning is what I strive for, where my every action has a motive, every deed for the land which made me and every step taken for the people who complete me. What drives me towards my destiny is the sheer determination to show the world what I am through my words, wisdom and art. The motive to live every day and not just exist, to mold, to grow and rejuvenate is the paradigm and also the very center, the pivot on which I want to balance myself. A future where the tales of my travels are inked, illuminating the ways in which the narrative of my homeland can transmigrate into history. Thus, serving as my contribution to literature and art. I’ll end the words on myself with a few lines from my poem “Chasing Exuberance” which exemplifies my yearning for knowledge and progress, an aspect of life which has always been my objective.
Fleeing omens in search of portents,
Forever in search of progress
Because I know, happiness doesn’t chase me
It’s my own efforts which will take me there
Responsible you are, for your miseries
Reluctant still, for the cemeteries
Decide now, or regret later
To stay a blackened soul or the spirit of color?