Sajed Bhandari

America, Books, Cooking, Muslims and some other things

“About Stony Brook”

“About Stony Brook”

Sajed Bhandari

What can I say about Stony Brook?  What can I Say about the Muslims there?  What can anyone say about what gave birth to who they are?  What can a person say about what created them?  Only God can speak of creation with the authority of its author.  Someone asked me what happened to those questions I asked at Stony Brook, those empty months after I had left its campus.  My years there, I never knew you really. I saw you walking about, I read the articles you wrote.  I never really knew you though.  Well I never really spoke to you until that day I questioned you.  You asked me why is it that I have not written that article.  I have written so much since that day, that day I visited my old campus.  I have written a book, shitty poems, articles and essays.  But not those words.  Not the answers to those questions I asked.  Yes I was busy with school, yes I was busy with my family in places so far away from where I would call my home.  Yes I was busy with all things that occupy the mind and time of any individual in this world.  I said to you through the most disconnected of means that I was busy with something else other than writing that article.  My answer, my friend, and I call you a friend because you know like any other and like myself, what this life is really about and what this struggle is about.  My answer then is that question I asked in the beginning.  How can anyone write about what gave them life?  Any effort to describe life, life really as what it is, is a futile task.  We write about things we can understand apart from ourselves.

I cannot understand my experience, my four years at that campus, in that town apart from myself.  The teachers I had met, the friends, the fans, the objects of beauty and of desire, I only really found at that small town, so east of anything.  I remember those moments in sujood, those doubt-filled prostrations to my God.  Those moments, my head on the ground towards a distant land, a land of my spiritual forefathers, those lands of an apostle I would never meet in this world.  Stony Brook, that room in that decrepit and aging building. That small, tiny room.  I spent so many moments with my head on the ground feeling so close to something other than myself, to my brothers I bowed with, to those sisters behind the barrier.  To God and to myself, yes to myself.  I felt so at home, so far away from those who gave birth to me, to those who lived in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks and struggled with me side by side.  That small town, by the port, by the sound, by the bodies of water and by the suburbs that surrounded it.  You asked me why I did not write that article?  I did not write that article yet because I am not ready.  I am not ready to truly write down how I felt those years, those months, those autumns and those moments along the roads that furrowed through that campus.  This is not a poem to Stony Brook; I am not a poet and I am poor in my words.  This article, these words, they are my lament.  I wish to write about my time there, I wish to write about the questions I asked all of you.   I will one day.  I do not promise often and I do not promise much.  I do promise you all that I will write one day.

I questioned you all.  Those doctors, those lawyers, those accountants and those leaders of this world who will one day bring us to salvation.  Salvation, not in some distant world after death, but rather salvation, of comfort and of peace in this world, in this lifetime in this consciousness.  I will write to you all one day.  But, I am not ready yet to part with my life there.  I shudder at the idea of having to explain even one thought I had in those walls, those roads, and those windy moments of existence underneath a Stony Brook autumn.  I hesitate because how can an illiterate and utter hopeless fakir as myself even begin to write about my life there?  I took notes of what you all said, I listened carefully, and I lived the experience with you.  I attempted to write sentences and paragraphs about that night with you all.  I truly tried and I tried and for the first time in my short and long life, I failed at writing a thing.  I failed because, to you it was one night, a weekend night, empty and desolate as Stony Brook gets get during the weekends.  I failed because to you all it was one night an older, somewhat familiar face returned and distracted us for a few hours.  I failed because even though all I was, all I really was, was a distraction.  I failed because with all the good and the beautiful that I have experienced, my life there, my life in those academic and social walls, truly created me.

I say I will write one day about those questions I asked you all.  I never promise things.  But I do promise that I will write, about the questions I asked and about the answers you offered.

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Written by sajedbhandari

September 16, 2010 at 11:26 am

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