An Odyssey of Innocence

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By: Mariam Ukht Rafay

Every season shapes part of a man’s life. The seasons are in some kind of spiritual relationship with man. Each of them has a very different impact. Perhaps they make you feel happy as they change or may bring back memories of dear or past days. Winter is one season which I relate to. It makes my emotions come alive and I can feel an unconditional change in myself.

  Childhood memories! One cherishes them and badly wants to have those supreme days of innocence back again. Oh! What tranquility, freedom and happiness! If I could just travel back in time to that golden era of life again, I would give up anything for that.

  Winters! Little children wrapped up in layers of wool: sweaters, pull overs, jackets, gloves, socks and hats. That is what we wore before going out of the house. Those pale faces with rosy cheeks, the chattering of teeth and laughter at goose bumps, most prominent in the chilly weather. The colourful sweaters, soft and beautiful

  In the morning I would not get up from my until my mother would come and take me in her arms. When I would be all dressed up to leave, I went on an epic journey to freedom----- the world outside. It was an enchanting experience to have a ball in the wilderness. Some had skis, some had balls, some ice-skates, but I preferred the snow. Rolling down a snow covered hill, enjoying every moment of it.

  In the evening sitting around the bonfire we heard our favourite stories. They were so captivating. And then as night fell upon us we counted the stars shimmering brightly upon us, as if they were smiling at us. Sometimes I wonder whether it was really true or a figment of my imagination. 

  Now after ten years of freedom fighting and heavy bombardment, everything is a wreck. All those memorable places have been destroyed. Was this the destiny of an innocent child?

  Those hills and grounds burnt down to cinders, never to be played on again. And where is that mother who would hug me every morning and make my dreams come true?

  Bitterness and memories are all I have, sitting in a refugee camp, on the border of life and death, I can only shed innocent tears remembering those golden moments and a weak smile comes to my face. In my heart there is still hope that I might see those winters again and erase all the scars of sorrow that I have collected over a decade. 

  I am thankful to Allah (Subhanahu Wata’alah.)He has given me countless blessings, I am a traveler traveling alone to seek an end. Shall I succeed? Yes! InshaAllah. Allah’s limitless Mercy keeps me optimistic. (Ameen.)