May 17, 2011 – my last in the city as I prepare myself for returning to my hometown to take a break from regular work indefinitely. Peshawar city is under scorching sun as it usually is in summers. This time, I am not motivated to stay here and work more, feeling motivated to write and edit more than in winter as I usually feel. My dreams over the past two weeks keep signaling me that I am getting detached from my inner self – dreams of my old houses and elderly kin asking me to help them walk and work. They are reaching out to me. I can’t say no, because I know it’s the voice from inside my core, echoing, “It’s time Ernest; it’s time!!!!!”
More than five years ago, I moved to the city with dreams of establishing, myself as a writer and a research scientist at the same time. The research dream was dazed by disillusionment when I learnt what research means in our academic institutions of higher learning – quackery and authoritarian control. I was finally terminated for inefficiency and misconduct when I blew the cover off the bogus data reckoned as “research” by a senior professor. I had already entered the world of writing and editing by then. So I got a new start, as a freelance independent writer. And whew! I became known worldwide, so that the BBC would call me for comments (they never used any of mine though, LOL).
But I was moving ahead without keeping track of my heart, always confident that my heart was waking enough to nudge me whenever and wherever I needed it to. Finally it did. Since last month, it kept tossing before my attention the need to take a break, and to complete the novel that I started so lovingly 6 years ago. How far can I go ignoring the signal of my heart? Maybe thousands of mile, but I won’t get anywhere, because it is my heart that tells me “You made it Ernie!” Now when it is calling for a reverse gear, I am glad to be able to put my hands where my heart beckons.
Tomorrow, I’ll be leaving this city of smoke and dust, and apathy for months, maybe forever – for the first time after nearly six years. I came here as an aspiring author; I’ll be heading home as the author of four books and the editor of quarterly a journal, besides dozens of individual publishing credits in magazines, books, and newspapers. But I’ll also be leaving with the thought of a few good friends whom I’ll miss and the recently befriended canine family of homeless dogs – a dog and her four pups – that I smile at each night and receive their unsaid gratitude as they wag their tails, gasping the bread from my hand in their paws and making short playful scampers.
I may return, if my heart tells me to. For now, on this last day in the city, am thinking how to make it memorable. Or perhaps something else already did it for me. It was a wasp that somehow crept inside my room and bit me on my head in the morning. It escaped, leaving me thinking whether it was bidding me farewell or just trying its venomous sting on me to see how it works. No significant swelling. Wasps in cities aren’t good enough at what they do. :)
Adieu Peshawar! Thank you for hosting me!