I feel myself revisiting Hajj 2005 in more than one way. And the process has led me down memory lane to scavenge for scraps of writing from that trip. I leave on Thursday for Saudi Arabia, to perform the Umrah pilgrimage with my loved ones. It will be the first time since that landmark Hajj four years ago. I also wonder how very much I have changed since that time... Some change is mandatory, some not so obvious.
In preparation for the Journey, I wrote this piece in November 2005:
I do hope that my style of writing has improved, although the space for reflection still exists, thankfully :) I wrote Struggling with GOodbyes just before I left, in December. (I still use words like 'whirr')
I kept a Hajj Journal for my varied encounters; for those days when I happily merged with the crowd to be a single mass of collective worship. A mass of Love. And this, the Journey of Love. I scribbled notes in the darkest hour of night when the camps in Mina finally laid to rest. And again when they awoke to the call of the early morning prayer, and the energy of people ascended to the heavens in one voice. I learnt surrender. I could not find the words to write it. I just knew. I wrote about The Hajj, soon after my return, in attempting to capture it all; but more because I wanted to reclaim that feeling once again. The evasive surreal. I could only try. My favourite piece: The Hajj.
I surrendered once more to the evasive surreal. I wrote a poem a week later: Perfect Circles suggested that even if I could not capture what was, I could own it. I made peace with me.
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