By: Javed Chaudhry
Whenever I get worried or whenever another person makes me worry, I remember the lines of a famous sufi writer (and a former bureaucrat). And when I do that, I manage to smile and move on. The writer said that whenever an individual is worried, whenever he feels perturbed or helpless, he should say to himself a particular English phrase — and if he does that, it will help. And that English phrase is ‘let it go’.
At first, I was quite sceptical about this whole exercise — how could simply saying a phrase alter how I was feeling at a particular point in time? However, I tried it and was startled by the results. For instance, if someone was rude to me normally I would flare up and get angry but before exhibiting that sentiment I tried saying ‘let it go’ over and over to myself. And lo and behold — the anger that had surfaced in me soon subsided and I was able to move past it.
Now, whenever someone is rude to me, or puts me down, or makes a fool of me, or takes away my rights, instead of getting angry and seeking revenge all I do is say this phrase repeatedly to myself and it becomes alright. The more I thought about my reaction to the use of this phrase, the more I began to realise that most of my issues and problems have an ‘expiry date’. Now this can vary from problem to problem but if I act patiently, not react in a negative manner and wait out the said period then the problem automatically gets resolved.
As for the writer who came up with this phrase, it is none other than the author of Shahabnama, Qudratullah Shahab. His autobiography created a stir not only in Urdu literature but also in contemporary society so much so that there will hardly be an educated person in Pakistan today who has not heard of him.
When he passed away, he left behind two sufis – Nasim Anwar Beg, I tell him I am his “only son” (at which he laughs out loudly), and Siddiq Rai. Siddiq Rai is a retired bureaucrat who used to live in Islamabad but has now moved to Jhang. His health is not good these days but neither that nor distance have ever affected my bond with him, which is as deep as ever.
Shahab sahib has left a deep imprint on Pakistani society. If we make his Shahabnama our societal Bible and keep his writings and what he said as our guiding principles then we may perhaps be able to live a life of relative contentment and ease.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2010.