The Land of Wise Men.
This world was small enough when I was a kid, but became smaller as I grew. At first, this world was everyone who would wish me at my birthday, people that I knew from my school and everyone else I used to call, ‘stranger.’
But now, even these strangers have become friends, and some of them, are now enemies of mine. But as said by Rudyard Kipling, ‘Don’t give way to hating,’ I don’t care now if I am favorite of anyone or beloved of my friend circle. I adore the way this world is.
Everyone is working hard, and believe me even if they pretend that they don’t like the things they are doing, they are enjoying them. A man doing something in a group is enjoying it with his mates and someone doing it alone is enjoying his own company.
Birds are always happy. They sing and delight in everything. Some fools instead of listening to birds listen to music which makes no sense.
“Music does not give you a shoulder to cry, it gives you a mood to cry.” My grandfather used to tell me and used to add, “Life is a sand of the beach, it can be shaped as its master wants it to. But for today’s man, life is a sand storm, because he is so busy in dealing with this that doesn’t belong to him that he has forgotten the things he has.” I never understood his words, but today these words fit in the puzzle of this world. Nothing can make us happy or sad but us.
My grandfather once told me a story about his journey to the land of wise men. He said he had heard about it from his father that this land is but the paradise on the earth. Beautiful, green, windy, and filled with laughs and joy.
The legend was that there lived men with long hair and long beards. They say no one is in hurry there. They do with love whatever they do.
In late March, my grandfather started his journey to the lands he knew nothing about. What he knew was that he just has to travel and according to the legend he will find it if wise men want him to.
He traveled to Persia, Karachi, Kandahar, Punjab, China, Iraq, and Europe, but found no trace of wisdom there.
On his way to Damascus; the oldest standing city of the world he came by a man named sheikh Haleem Halebi.
People used to say that he has the answer to every question, and my grandfather wanted to know about the way to the land of wise men.
“I have heard that he can bring the dead back to life.” Was saying man 1.
“I have heard that he can turn the mountains to the gold” was saying man 2.
And like that said every man has a different story of his greatness. so said my grandfather “I have heard that he knows the way to the land of wise men.”
On listening to my grandfather stood everyone silent for a while and then everyone busted in such a laugh that the shyness of my grandfather overcame his passion for finding the land of wisdom.
And then the sheik came out of his room having heard all the laughter “What is the matter?” Sheikh asked.
Someone spoke pointing to my grandfather “This man wants to know about some fairy tale ‘land of wise men.’” Hearing that Sheikh called upon my grandfather, “Please come inside sir” and silence
spread upon the face of everyone.
After entering the room, my grandfather saw nothing mystic there. No magic ball, no antique objects, nothing magical, instead this room was a normal one, like you and I have. Filled with clothes, books, and other items.
“You look confused young man as someone has robbed you. What is the problem?”
“People said you can bring the dead back to life, you can turn a mountain in gold, but I see no magic ball here, no magic items or anything. How do you do these things?”
“People are confused, they don’t even know what their problems are. The hardest part is not finding the remedy, but knowing what the problem really is. Once you find the problem, the remedy comes
with it itself.”
My grandfather, without any hesitation, asked, “I want to find the way to the land of wise men. The men with long beards and hair.”
“I guess there are wise women too and some men are beardless and some are hairless. Some are tall and some are short. You know nature has variable gifts.” After pulling out a map, sheikh proceeded,
“Please tell me where are you from?”
“From Indonesia Sheikh.” Replied my grandfather.
“Pass from Baghdad, Hamdan, Balkh, Lahore, Srinagar, Anantnag, Delhi, and then go back to your home. You will see wise men. Some with hair and a beard and some without.
You will see wise women carrying wisdom in their laps and they all will teach you their wisdom. You will see their land. Windy in Baghdad and Hamdan, you will see joys in Lahore, Balkh, and Delhi, you will see greenery in Srinagar and Anantnag, and in your home, you will see all of these things.”
After reflecting for some time, my grandfather asked, “Don’t these wise men have a different home, a different land, I mean separate from the common people like us?”
“You have already received your answer,” replied the Sheikh.
My grandfather left as Sheikh had said. He passed by all of these cities and cultures. He observed everyone keenly.
While observing a woodcutter keenly in Srinagar, the woodcutter came to him like with an answer to my grandfather’s question. “Is everything fine sir?” Said the woodcutter.
“I am in search of wise men. The men who are never in hurry and always love what they are doing.” answered my grandfather.
“Don’t I look that way? I love what I am doing and I am not in hurry.” Replied the woodcutter with smiling lips.
My grandfather looked around the greenness of that area and the joy this area was giving to this woodcutter and the happiness this woodcutter had in his eyes. So requested my grandfather to that woodcutter, “Teach me your wisdom, sir.”
“Have not you seen any other man doing his job happily and with delight?” asked the woodcutter.
After reflecting upon his journey, my grandfather came through hundreds of men and women who fitted the description of wise men perfectly, according to the legend.
Then knew my grandfather that wisdom is not talking metaphors or murmuring something that explains a problem and then finding its remedy. But wisdom is enjoying everything you have and everything you do.
Wisdom is in doing the best, hoping for good, but being prepared for the worst. Meeting with everyone with a smile and most important, loving everyone and hating none. Then my grandfather came back home and started working with peace and delight.
He taught these lessons to his friends and some strangers who had left for finding the land of wise men like him.
“I have heard that your grandfather can bring the dead back to life and can turn a stone in gem, is it true,” Said a boy to the narrator. …
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Written by Waqar Farooq
Edited by Ayaan Ashraf