Mahwash Ajaz’s diary entry draws laughs and tears


June 21, 2004.

8.59 p.m.

These six months have been wonderful, poignant, eye-opening, enervating. Being a 20-year-old may not exactly be the most wonderful thing since childhood – but I would not exchange this period of my life with any other known or unknown one. My ideals are still being built, my sense of practicality isn’t too refined yet, but then again, I’d rather feed on my idealism. The world has not lost its charm – it does, however, seem bleaker than it once was. People take me seriously only because I do not reciprocate their gravity. If I did, God knows, I’d either be in tears or in constant fits of rage.

Hope has a renewed form and rain isn’t entirely unromantic – as long as the lights aren’t out. From the kaleidoscope of life, this is the time, when I’m laughing out loud, a booming hearty laugh. This is the age, when I have the time and the mind to hang out with my close group of friends at our popular hangouts. This is when I can get away with funky jewellery, mismatched clothing, unwashed dyed hair and too obviously coloured lenses. This is the time, when I get excited about a new dress, low mobile phone rates or at the opening of a new restaurant. This is when I’m confident enough to believe that I can change the world. This is when I’m scared about it all too… but not enough to back off.

The apple is red – shiny red. My horizon goes beyond my sight, yet my decisions are my own. Life is good. It does sting sometimes. But it doesn’t stop my eyes from welling up, when I read about twenty or so innocent teenagers being slaughtered in Thailand or Iraq. I’m still indignant at the low amount of taxes on cigarettes. I’m taken aback by the flaws in our educational system. My world is limited, but it is full. It is full of hope, dreams, ambition, strength, love, and faith. I know I will not always feel this invigorated. Nobody stays young forever. But all my experiences are my investments – and my life to come will build on these assets. Youth is not an age that passes. It is not a vacation from life that you’d merely like to remember fondly. It’s a filling station. You get the fuel you want — all the supplies, hope, joy, wonderful memories, corny jokes, laughs, and strength — to carry you through.

I see Allah (swt) as my Guardian. I see Him as my Hope… maybe that is why I am not afraid of things big and small, come what may. Perhaps it is this Way of Light that helps us define the fine line between youth being reckless and youth being confident.

I have been laughed at for thinking that I am able to make changes … in the way people think and in the moulds of society. But I cannot find my laughter, when I see a young Ali (rta) or a young Ayesha (rta) working in the way of Deen … age cannot be enclosed in stereotypes … it is the power of Allah (swt) that puts us through all our hurdles and all our struggles, when we are young and bright; old and gray.