Love, humility and motorbikes: Reflections from Ramadan and life

8 days ago, I found myself curled up in the middle of a side street in Lahore, after driving at a speed way too fast for 40 degree temperatures, 16 hour Ramadan fasts, and unpredictable rickshaw walas.

Within seconds, I was immediately surrounded by 7–8 men, gently pulling me to the side of the road, carefully removing my helmet, delicately checking my arms and legs.

Laying in their arms, I realized how vulnerable my life really is. How interdependent I really am. And how desperately I needed those 7–8 men.

Is it possible that we cannot fully value someone until we realize how deeply our very existence depends on them? Is it possible that love cannot exist without humility?

Three mornings after my accident, a friend sent me a Ramadan reflection which begins to answer these questions:

There is nothing like fasting to break the ego’s grand delusion of self-independence… Our dependency on food and water really makes us realize how interdependent and interconnected to each other and to the rest of God’s creation we are for mere survival.

Yet all too often, a sense of invulnerability and self-sufficiency causes arrogance to abound from within such that the arrogant one thinks they can do whatever they want [like driving at 60+ KPH in a service lane in Lahore] without any consequences.

Humility is about entering into a state of illumination — a state where a person realizes how dependent they really are on God and divine blessings in creation.

Two nights after the accident, I randomly stumbled upon a book one of my best friends gave me, where the author makes an incredible connection to this dichotomy of love and arrogance:

We have to fight to remember that “other people exist.” That we are surrounded by other people and that each person is living a story and every single story has questions and pain of its own…

Left to myself, I get quiet and bitter and critical. I get angry. I feel sorry for myself. Love is a thousand things, but at the center it is a choice… I would like to start making better choices.

This Ramadan, and on the eve of my 31st birthday, I pray that this is a lesson I can start learning and living. That it won't take another collision on a bike to remind me how delicate I am, how deeply I need people, how vulnerable life is, and how we can’t truly see someone or truly love someone until we forgot about ourselves and embrace our interdependency and interconnectedness.

“it is common to take a dog for a walk, it is less common to take a dream for a walk” || @amalacademy + @understory cofounder | nature novel in progress

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