Monday, January 08, 2007


My head is still spinning from all I have done and seen since leaving for Malaysia last December. After Malaysia and Singapore I hit the road immediately and went to Kashmir, Bangalore, Puttaparti, Mangalore and ended in Goa on the beach. The first two pictures here are from Goa and the last from Kashmir.

During too long bus trips I have had a lot of time to think and reflect as I search for ongoing meaning(s).

My Indian and Malay roots, my Blackness, my politics, my life, my hands and knees have filled my head with thoughts of being really awake. But last night while asleep I played with my daughter inside a dream about a dream.

As the wind rushed through long-standing walls my daughter spoke beyond her tender unborn years.

We were in a car like you find at a carnival when she looked at me and said: "I will never allow a man to hurt me in my life." I was surprised but proud that a four year old girl could muster the feminist determination to declare herself free.

Still being a man I replied and said:"do not worry my dearest no damn man will ever get close enough to hurt you." Even as I repeated these words my hands felt the rumpled contours of my conscience.

In my mirror I saw and felt the power of what she spoke as I approached the crossroads of knowing the weight of balance that each of us must bear.

Her words burn in my head as I sit here in my cold office in Delhi. The usual searchers have knocked on my door. I had lunch with self-inflated academic egos drawn from the global market of academic production. The food was good and Saddam Hussein was hung while George W. Bush slept through his war on the innocents.

After six months in India and too many falls after Portland, I want to hear my daughter again and again. I also want to see her grow in a world where she can be born really free from the inhumane distortion of greed.

I don't want to see her beg for rupees or pesos on any street where a man and his men enclosed by the business of religion can draw Europeans and others to worship his aged feet.

These words would be meaningless in any context of searching if I were to pretend that I can claim an origin and freedom for myself alone. They would be even more meaningless if I did not acknowledge that I don't want to hurt anyone again.

But I also do not want to be suspended in regretful fear where falling closes windows and causes my hands to cry. If my daughter is to know beyond the fear of man then she must be born free.

No damn theory and no damn history can tell her who she ought to be ... not when she is born free.

As I have returned to the places I have never been, my mind has sought to bring the meaning that was lost. But my memory is not just me. It is not even behind just me. In front of me are memories of a daughter who is yet to return to where she has never been.

So my search for meaning is more than what I can bring. More than the fears imposed and deposed as I scrapped these hands and felt the blood on my knees.

I am not just about me. I am settled with not knowing all that I yearned to know. And, not being all that I wanted to be.



Anonymous said...

Hey Ridz...

Dear Brutus was a play written by J.M.Barrie.
Your post reminded me of a scene in the book which was quite frankly one of the most powerful what-ifs I ever read...
I think you might like it. It's a short read ;)


Ridwan said...

Salaam pserean:

Thank you for commenting on this post. I had to read it again after so many years.

It reminded me of what I decided after leaving India in 2007.

I will look for the Barrie play for sure. I am excited to find the scene you mention.

I thought of you yesterday when I stopped in to see Ridwana and her family on my way back to Pretoria.

I told her that someone special wanted to see her on the blog in Nikab.

She was very gracious and way beyond her 13 short years.

I trust you are absolutely lekka today.

Peace to you,
Ridz :0)