Change

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Change, they say is always for good. But what if the thing you fear the most is the change itself? I always thought that my path is set clear in front of me. But, some contingencies, I forgot to account for. Now, I had two options, either to keep treading the same path or change the path itself. But how could I overcome the fear of change?

*

My name is Khan and I am not a terrorist. No points for guessing that I am a huge fan of Shahrukh bhai. And my life is as filmy as his movies. However, I didn’t come to Mumbai, like many other fans of his, to see him. I was here to create a spectacle for the world to see.

I come from a village, some miles north of Peshawar. I was happy rearing my father’s cattle and my world was limited to that village and the vast grazing terrain around it. How was I to know, that my horizon will soon be broadened and I’ll become a carrier of Allah’s message. Or that’s what they claimed. They, to whom my father sold me to buy some more cattle.

I was sent to a training camp in Azad Kashmir along with two other boys from my village and about a dozen from neighboring ones. It was literally, a crash course to manhood. From there, we were sent to another training camp in Punjab, a more sophisticated one. Finally, after an intensive training of one year, a team of fifteen was formed. Our mission was to reach the shores of Mumbai and recreate the horrors of 2008. However, this time, we were to wait, live amongst the people for some time and carry out the assigned task when called for. In short, we were to form a sleeper cell.

We reached Mumbai safely. It seemed the Indians had learnt nothing from the previous catastrophe. I along with couple of others moved to a kholi in Dharavi where we were to be harbored during our stay here. And within no time, thanks to the training we had obtained, we melted within this subaltern melting pot of Mumbai.

So now, you must be wondering, when are we planning the next 26/11? You’ll get your answers soon. Picture abhi baki hai mere dost!!!


*

I wasn’t a Khan anymore, I became Raj. I had a tough time making a choice between Rahul and Raj but DDLJ made all the difference.

While, I was busy waiting for the final orders, I had no idea that here in India, I’ll also meet my Simran, my P…P…P…Pooja. And, yes that is the contingency that I had never accounted for.

I didn’t meet her on a train or a local, as they call it here, with my hand extended at the door as she came running on the platform. My life is filmy as I said, but not that filmy too. We crossed each other’s path for the first time while I was rushing to join the line outside the public lavatory one early morning. Not an ideal setting for the love at first sight but still kuchh kuchh hota hai… tum nahin samjhoge.

I can’t claim that she was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen in my life. On the contrary, her virtue was her simplicity, the indefinable thing about her that made her look so familiar. It felt as if I had known her all along. I bet, even you must have felt like this about someone at some point of time in your life. If not, then you have missed upon a feeling which has no match.

Pooja stayed just a couple of lanes across and we started meeting in the evenings when I returned from the shop where I worked.

They had told us during our training that if we kept following His path, one day we will experience completeness – the completeness of conviction and purpose. With Pooja around, I could experience the same. It seemed as if she was the missing piece in the jigsaw puzzle of my life.

I used to wonder at nights that how could the passion for Jihad be more essential than this passion of souls? If it was so insignificant, then why did Allah allow such thoughts to enter our mind? Or was it the devil playing games on me? Should I leave her as she is the source behind all this inquisitiveness? How can I be with her when she is a kafir? But how could she be a kafir? Both of us seemed so alike. And what harm had she done to anyone?

Such jihad within my mind kept me awakened for hours.

To ward off these thoughts, I started recollecting the verses from the Holy Book which were incessantly recited to us day and night during those days of training. The things started becoming clearer as such contemplating nights passed.

They used to say that He loves the one who does good, the pure, the righteous, the patient and persevering and also the one who takes up arms to fight in His cause.

But that made me wonder, where is the love for those who have sinned and erred? Where is the love for those who are not like us and don’t share our beliefs? Is their path not righteous just because they choose to follow a different path?

We humans too tend to love those who demonstrate good qualities and are obedient to us. Then what is the difference between Him and us, the mere mortals, if his love is also based on conditions.

I had achieved the Jihad. As Shahrukh bhai would have said, "Pyaar zindagi ki tarah hota hai, Jiska har morr aasan nahi hota, Har raste per khushi nahi milti, Par jab hum zindagi ka saath nahin chorte, To hum pyaar karna kyon chorein!" Other things were of no consequence to me.

They wanted me to become a carrier of Allah’s message. And I decided to become one. So this morning, I gathered my belongings and left the kholi discreetly. I wanted to meet Pooja first but decided against it. I went straight to the police station to surrender and become the whistle blower. As it is, whistle blowing is the new fad.

In my voice, Allah won’t speak of Jihad-e-Asghar, the 'Lesser Jihad' of purifying the world with war and crusade. He shall speak only of Jihad-e-Akbar, the 'Greater Jihad' of cleansing ones soul with love and compassion. Nasrun Minallahi Wa Fathun Qareeb!

*

Sitting here in this cell tonight and thinking about what all has transpired in all these days, I realize that wasn’t it a change itself that made me change my path? Yes, the change of heart nourished by someone’s love. And wasn’t it this change that changed the very message I set out to convey to the world? And wasn’t it this change which gave me the strength to ward off the fears of the eventuality of such a decision?

Change, my friends, is indeed always for good.

***

Reflections for Reference
  • My name is Khan and I am not a terrorist is the defining dialogue of Shahrukh Khan’s (SRK) My name is Khan (2010)
  • Picture abhi baki hai mere dost is the famous line from SRK’s Om Shanti Om (2007) and it means, ‘The movie is still not over, my friend’.
  • Raj is the name of the character played by SRK in DDLJ, the abbreviation for Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayeinge (1995) and Simran is his love interest.
  • Rahul is the name of the character played by SRK in Kuchh Kuchh Hota Hai (1998).
  • P…P…P…Pooja is a reference to SRK’s stuttering K..K..K.. Kiran in Darr (1993).
  • Kuchh kuchh hota hai… tum nahin samjhoge is the romantic line from SRK’s Kuchh Kuchh Hota Hai (1998) and colloquially it means, 'Something transpires in the heart... You won't understand'.
  • 'Pyaar zindagi ki tarah hota hai...' is SRK’s famous dialogue from Mohabbatein (2000) which means, 'Love is like life, whose every turn isn’t easy, there isn’t happiness on every path, but when we don’t let go of life, then how can we let go of love!'
  • Nasrun Minallahi Wa Fathun Qareeb is an Arabic phrase meaning ‘With the help from Allah, the success is near’ which was rendered by SRK in his movie Chak De India (2007).


In the Image:
An edited poster of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayeinge (1995)

Image Courtesy:
http://wallpapers-desktop-studio.blogspot.com/ (edited)

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