I found magic

Published: February 17, 2017
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A sufi dances outside the Data Darbar complex which contains the shrine of Saint Syed Ali bin Osman Al-Hajvery, popularly known as Data Ganj Bakhsh. PHOTO: AFP

Unlike most dramatic beginnings, this one was a humble take-off. There were no signs that I was about to undertake the journey of my life. No early-morning itches, no accidents, no drums rolling and no divine calls. It was as if God wanted to take me by surprise.

Mama had to visit Sehwan for some office work and I tagged along, simply for the sake of obliging her and out of my own curiosity. After a road trip of three hours, we finally reached our destination. At first, I felt no magic in the domes, the mausoleum or the city with its array of labyrinthine ways, enigmatic beggars, and sellers of assorted, sacred knick-knacks. It was a regular, dusty town with no hint of the spiritual magic that was about to befall me.

The mausoleum itself was crowded to the brim. People had gathered – their eyes a thousand begging bowls; the lines of their faces etched into supplication; each mannerism entreating for a divine intervention. There were no distinctions here; no divisions, it was as if everyone was connected through their needs and desires. It was either a call for the beloved, for money or for setting domestic wrongs right.

It was a parallel world where eyes did the talking, one where the mundane became the extraordinary – infused as it was by a spiritual tinge.

I saw a boy, about 13 years of age, with misery and poverty written on his face, selling snacks and sweets. Unexpectedly, the streets broke out into commotion. An old lady was shouting that her belongings had been stolen and she had no money left to go back home as she spent it all on the pilgrimage to Sehwan. Everyone looked in desperation and yet everyone had something to offer. A comment, an expression of pity, a gesture of condolence.

And then stepped ahead, the beggar boy.

Vendor or provider? Supplicant or giver? Human or divine? Obvious or the sublime?

He handed over all his belongings to the lady and disappeared into the crowd before anyone could even register what had transpired.

I was surrounded by glistening eyes, heads bowed down, and a dhamaal kicking up nearby. There were drums beating in celebration of desire, hope, supplication and divinity. This was my encounter with God – God manifested its Being through a young seller, a young hope.

The dancers continued in frenzy, and the music reached a crescendo. My soul was enriched. I looked around the dusty town of Sehwan and I saw magic. I saw magic in the grubby streets, in the blue domes of the mausoleum, in the famished supplications, in the flag fluttering high, in every pebble that adorned the city – I saw it.

I saw the miracles abound.

Samreen Naqvi

Samreen Naqvi

The author is a digital marketer by profession with a weakness for the written word, fries, harry potter and tea.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Usman Khan

    There we go with another educated illiterate.. have you ever wondered how come there is no dhamal on Prophet Muhammad PBUH’s grave, forget about dhamal is there even a shrine at the person’s grave for whom the Almighty created this whole universe. Stop supporting the stupidity and stop calling it magic while it is purely ignorance.Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    There are things and the experiences one undergoes which cannot be explained with science or logic but they do occur. Travel to mexico city and at the edge of the city you will find a line of believers and worshippers movng on their knees towards the shrine of a woman outside a cathedral. Hoping to be able to say a prayer which according to the city dwellers will be accepted. I a man of science followed the line and walked on my knees about 100 metre straight on the metaled pavement and prayed too. upon return to the hotel my prayer was answered positively within an hour. There is no magic in such phenominas nor any straight explanation but they do exist, in Europe and Americas and ofcourse in the Asian continent.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Najeeb A Khan

    I n fact the boy was that lady’s group member whose job was to inspire others to believe that lady was genuinely looted.People started to give her money when they saw that others( boy) were doing so.I have handed over such cheats ,twice to the police.Its not a magic . It is a drama to exploit.Recommend

  • Najeeb A Khan

    No one is stupid or wise in religious matters..one adopts the religious beliefs where one is born.Recommend

  • Yasir Zaidi

    Everyone has a right to share the experience, whether it would be the realty or delusion. GOD can be manifested anywhere and it is in the eye of beholder.Recommend