My College Essay – A tale I’d rather forget.

by Awais Leghari

Today, I am going to reveal to whoever that reads my blog a ‘treasure’ I had kept to myself for a long time. My college essay is not really a ‘good college essay’ so may be you should not really look to seek inspiration from it. It’s a personal essay expressed in what many would say – an ‘impersonal manner’. Nonetheless, it reminds of how once I used to harbour dreams of studying in an American Liberal Arts College. Those dreams, albeit remain in tatters, still remind me of how beautiful and tense and exciting this phase in life can actually be. Now that I’m on a gap year, I crave for such things again but perhaps I won’t fulfil the urge this time – too many ‘No’s’ have I bore; not anymore.

WALKING THROUGH LIFE

Yes we live, but how many of us are consciously aware of it? Too often we are caught in the flow of routine; at any given instant, maybe right now, before you know it, this river of life may abruptly end into a black ocean. How do you stop the roar of the waves and listen to the voice inside your head, then? How do you hack your identity and give it meaning? Some write; some travel; I choose to walk.


When I walk, I feel this is my moment. I take in a deep breath. There is something about the air, biting and urgent, like a burst of caffeine. The senses awaken. My eyes open and see the rising sun mingling with possibilities on the horizon. The ears, aching from everyday banter, now hear the rustling of leaves—whispers that promise some purpose. There is a certain tingling, a certain excitation in my muscles, a sudden desire to dance. And then my mind also stirs. Thoughts surface from the chaos. The movie is rewound and reviewed. Why did I do that?  What drove me? What should be done? Life is simplified: it becomes a ping pong table. The answers are given and more questions reply. I can do this. I can defeat the opponents—my fears and inabilities. My hands move as I battle them in my head. The neighbors already think I am weird so I do not check myself. A final smash and the championship point is won: a conclusion has been reached. When I walk, I grow.  I feel power prickling in my fingertips; the smell of life pervades all. When I walk, I am alive.


My feet move on as if by instinct. They are separate entities consumed with the practical aspects of walking towards an undefined destination. And my mind is freed from the claustrophobic compartment of some rigid timetable the way a balloon’s thread is cut. An astral journey begins. After my previous victory, a sense of happiness, of looseness, evades me. Dreams are born; for once, they are not perturbed by an alarm clock. Random ideas take hold and direct my stream of thoughts. A blogging network for socially awkward people? Would that work? A socio-political magazine for Pakistani youth? What can it change? These thoughts, strewn with images of what could be, become so empowering that I actually pursue them. The liberation afforded by walking makes me confront my own ‘weirdness’, my inner reservoir of creativity and ambition. I get enough courage to go to Naom Chomsky and demand (okay, maybe request) an article… and then get it! Walking on a road is like exploring the landscapes of my self. Each walk is like placing a piece of a jigsaw puzzle. Slowly the curtain is removed. Another stratum of Awais Leghari is revealed. My moment of inspiration wasn’t under an apple tree – it came when I was walking.     


Walking is praying. There is catharsis, self-discovery and purgation. There is greater sense of me, my existence and purpose. And there’s one more lesson that it teaches me: Running through life strips you from experiencing it, but when you walk, you see and feel what goes around you and absorb…and that is all that matters.

Nothing more would please me than some good feedback. Although I’m used to being ignored, I keep my hopes up.

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