Of our actions and our prayers

I have religion on the brain these days.  I cannot avoid incorporating it on my blog.  I’ll do some lighthearted posts too, but for now you’re going to have to put up with serious-serious things 😛


I was always a self-obssessed child.  I did not see much of my surrounding, did not notice what was going on around me.  And of course, I led a sheltered life, first in England and then even later on, in Pakistan.  Insensitive to tragedies, the starving sick children were just pictures on the TV, in the newspapers.  They were like the tragedies in my novels – nopt real, not existing.

When I was 16 or 17, I took my first ride on a public bus.  Maybe it was something to do with my mindset at that point, something about how I was waking up then, looking around me with a more objective view of things.  I was getting out of my own narcissism, and the shelled-away, protected, private school life I had in sfs.  At pats my new friends were cynical, objective, observant and aware.  I was changing under their influence and that of my own growing maturity.

Anyhow, that bus ride was one of the factors that opened my eyes, and opened it wide.  And once they were opened, they would not stop seeing.  I saw suffering everywhere I looked, and I was shocked at the depth of it, the insane burdens of hurt and pointless, battered griefs.  I saw people, old and young, going about with all that weight on their shoulders and nothing showing but furrows deep as gashes round their eyes and mouth. 

I lost faith.  And yet at that point, there wasn’t much I could do except plunge into a despair.  I wasn’t equipped to see these things, I had no outlet to handle them.  Eventually my loss of faith lessened.  I found myself creeping back in my thoughts to a God that I thought was still able to fix things.  And I realized despite my inability to help these people, if I had faith there was still one way I could do it, I could get there – one glorious way – I could pray!

And so I did.  I prayed for years, begging that these problems be solved, that my countrymen and women who suffered would receive salvation.  It was a method peculiarly suited to my nature – I could pray and be rid of it, assuage my conscience.  At least I had done something – I could leave the rest to God.

It is only recently that I have come to accept that maybe praying wasn’t enough on my part.  That God, if he exists, helps those who help themselves, and that if they cannot help themselves then it becomes imperative upon those who can to help them out.  I have come to realize that two hands working are better than a thousand clasped in prayer, and that though my intentions had been good, I was merely paving the way to hell.  It wasn’t enough.  I needed to do more – and I would.

18 thoughts on “Of our actions and our prayers

  1. The only thing I remember about Pakistani bus rides is perverts trying to molest you. First time ever on a bus and got to see the true filth of pakistans public transport. I flipped, swore at the guy and then got told of for swearing by my bhabhi, just charming!

  2. / I have come to realize that two hands working are better than a thousand clasped in prayer, /
    You sum it all up in a single sentence! If God would want anything of us, he would want us to be better beings, better humans, more so than bowing fervently and endlessly in front of him.

  3. Our family never let us use the buses .. lekin ek din meine zid ki that i want to go on a bus… first time ever.. oh man… the driver kept winking through his central mirror and the twat behind me thought he had struck gold .. until i flipped.. .

    castration then throw them to the sharks.. but just make sure they are awake and not bahosh from pain.. 😛

    1. lol. Yep, its like that. But you get used to it if you use public transport frequently, as I have come to do. Now I just throw the dude a filthy glare and change seats. Or refuse to look at anything or anyone in the bus in the first place.

  4. You already summed up rightly at the end of article, apparently nothing left to comment.
    One thought I would like to share with others to ponder according to their own perspectives: the world and the life in it especially the human life is neither based on the principles of total justice & equality as most of us may wish; nor total joys and pleasures as some of us may desire. However, one idea seems to fit the description of life on earth; it is a collection of testing conditions for all humans at various points in their lives and throughout their lives.

    1. Hi Faz! Did you follow me here from the ET article on gays? Its nice to see you.

      I agree that life is a series of testing conditions, but probably not in the sense you mean. I see it more as testing our inner character, and our ability to use our brains and good sense to make the world a better place, while not harming anyone or anything.

      Nothing happens if you fail – except that you fail. And that is enough.

      1. Yes I did, now exploring your blog.

        No, I too meant in the same sense expressed concisely yet profoundly by you. Additionaly, at collective level such idea provides a better understanding of the sufferings of outer world to curious minds.

  5. the public bus in Pakistan is one of the few places where you can really see yourself for who you are. sometimes I wonder if when I’m doing good, am I doing it to please Allah SWT or others? On a bus you’re surrounded by strangers whom you’ll probably never see again. So there is no incentive i.e. Peer pressure, the desire to look good in front of your friend etc. To do the right thing. Its at times like these where God tests you. For eg will you give up your seat for an old man?

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