Zakia Sultana: Resistance and the Dream

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January 2019 Prompt

(Please note: the images we will use as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.)

Resistance and the Dream

By Zakia Sultana

“Every mountain top is within reach if you just keep climbing.” Barry Finley, Kilimanjaro and Beyond.

“I wish I could be a bird. Then I would be able to play hide and seek with the clouds over the mountain. If I could just walk again, I would touch those clouds. Mom said that there was a forest on the top of that mountain. I would really like to go there and lose myself in the harmony of nature. If just I could climb the mountain. If…”

Neil was talking to himself sitting beside the window, looking outside with an unwinking gaze. Only when he heard his mother shouting his name, he gained consciousness.

His mother said, “Neil, can you hear me? It’s time to have your milk. The glass is on the table. Drink it…drink it all before it gets cold. And then don’t forget to take your medicine.”

“OK mom,” Neil said, rolling his eyes. He neither liked to drink milk nor to take medications. But he couldn’t say no to his mother. He knew very well that it would freak his mom out.

Neil lived in a small village which was surrounded by mountains. He used to be a very mischievous child. He used to run indoors and play with his friends all day long. There was an old tree beside his house. He used to climb that tree often. It was his favorite thing to do. His parents didn’t like it and used to tell him not to do it every day, but he didn’t listen.

His mom said, “Listen to me, Neil. Do you realize how much pain it will be if you fall? You could even break your legs or hands or even injure your head. Don’t do this.”

Suddenly one day he fell ill. He had a high fever. His condition worsened. No medicine seemed to work. His parents consulted with doctors. After almost twenty days his condition started to improve. But he was still physically very weak. One day, on a beautiful sunny morning, he wanted to go outside the house. But the moment he tried to walk, he fell. No matter how much he tried, he couldn’t move his legs. His parents called the doctor. After a checkup, the doctor said, “I don’t know how to tell you. There is no easy way of saying this. Your boy’s leg is paralyzed due to the fever. It’s not permanent damage. With proper physiotherapy, it will get better, but it will take time. Till then you have to be patient. Don’t let him lose his mental strength.” From that day on, Neil had been taking treatment.

Amidst all this, Neil never lost his faith and hope, although there were some moments when he became impatient and frustrated. All he wanted at those moments was to go outside. See the world with his own eyes, feel the ground with his legs. But then he reassured himself that everything was going to be good. Just a few more days and then he would be able to walk again.

It was one year and a half after that incident. Gradually he was gaining control of his legs. Though his legs were still weak, he could walk with the help of a walking stick. At that moment it was more than enough for him because as people say, “Something is better than nothing.” One day on a sunny morning he was watching the mountain through his window. He realized that the attraction he felt toward the mountain didn’t fade away, instead it had increased. He thought for a second. No one was home at that time, and his legs were better than before. He decided it was time. Leaving a note for his parents, he took his stick, filled his backpack with some dry food, a water bottle, a sleeping bag, rope, some emergency medicine, some bandages, and he went outside. Though he couldn’t run, he could walk. He was walking slowly but wasn’t falling down, and that was a relief. When he was outside, the joy he felt couldn’t be expressed in words. He touched the ground. The smell of the soil was mesmerizing. He looked again at the mountain and started his journey toward it. There was no way to tell from where he gained such courage. But the point is at that moment he felt like he could even climb Mount Everest.

So his journey began. He started to walk up the mountain. It was a thrilling experience. The higher he was climbing, the more this energy was expanding. He could feel it. He made sure to take regular short breaks to eat energy foods, rest briefly and to assess his direction. He also made sure to not linger too long where he was cooling down too much. Despite all his efforts, it was becoming difficult for him to continue because of his issue. Soon it was dark. So Neil settled in a suitable place to camp for the night.

The weather remained perfect the next morning.  Standing there, Neil started to look back from where he started his journey. He couldn’t believe that he came so far. It was only yesterday when he was lying on his bed, looking outside the window. And today he was here. So close to fulfilling his dream. He ate and then started his journey again. He had still a long way to go. He walked slowly collecting all his strength and courage. It was not easy at all. But he was not the type of person who would lose hope after failing once. He had a pretty clear idea of what he was going to get once he was out here, far away from home. The path was not smooth. The rocky path was making it hard for him to climb. He was getting tired. He fell two or three times and got several scratches. But now was not the time to ponder over those.

He looked below. Everything seemed so tiny. From this height, his village was looking miniature. He had to admit that once or twice the thought of quitting crossed his mind. But now he could tell that he was not going to quit. He looked above. His goal was near. He could feel his excitement. He resumed his journey.

He didn’t notice the time until it was 4:00 PM. His legs were hurting so much. But he paid no attention to that. Because the scene which was in front of him was worth dying for. It was indeed a breathtaking one. The sun was shining above the clouds. The clouds were beautiful. They were looking like big balls of cotton. Tender winds were flowing as if they were caressing the clouds. He couldn’t believe his eyes. If he could just touch the clouds. Unable to control his happiness he began to shout. He didn’t know what to say. He just shouted and said out loud, “I did it. Yes, thank God I did it. My lifelong dream…finally!!!”

Before he knew it, tears rolled down his cheeks. But he didn’t seem too concerned about that because it was tears of happiness. He dropped his walking stick. He figured that he didn’t need it anymore. It was the happiest day of his life. All those years whenever he saw the mountain, he had the feeling that the mountain was calling him. And now he was here, on the top of the mountain. The only place where he was destined to be…

Sometimes all you need is strong willpower to make the impossible possible, to conquer the resistance.

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Visit Zakia’s Booksie site and follow her wonderful writing. Click here:

Write the Story: January 2019 Collection

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