Aab's Musings-10 - Comfort in not belonging

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

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“Where do you belong to ?” People often ask this question to new persons they meet. Whenever someone asks this to Aab, he is puzzled. He would perhaps be able to answer the “where” if he knew the meaning of “belong”. On the one side, he firmly believes that everyone and everything in this universe is connected. On the other, he wonders who belongs to who. When we cannot even own the air we breathe, how can places own us ? Aab sits on a patch of ground and wonders whether he can belong to it. He walks on a road and muses whether he belongs to it. He walks on a road and muses whether he belongs to the path. He looks up at the sky and clouds and refuses to believe that he can belong even to a tiny patch in it. And as if to prove his point, the clouds move away, change shape, disintegrate – and disappear. He listens with amusement when people talk proudly about their ancestry, their roots, their “native” place, and their possessiveness over it. There is such a strong need to belong as though by ourselves we are incomplete. We need to reassure our fickle minds and appease our insecurity by the reassurance that we are not alone and we need not fend for ourselves. But Aab finds a strange relief in not belonging. He has no home town, no mother tongue, no family tree. Every moment that he is with any friend or stranger, he feels belonged to that person. When someone reaches out to him, he holds the hand, when someone moves back, he moves on.

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