بخش 38

کتاب: ملت عشق / فصل 38

بخش 38

توضیح مختصر

  • زمان مطالعه 5 دقیقه
  • سطح خیلی سخت

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متن انگلیسی فصل

Ella

NORTHAMPTON, JUNE 8, 2008

Beleaguered by questions and lacking answers, Ella found that there were many things that surprised her about her correspondence with Aziz, particularly the fact that it was happening. The two of them were so different in every respect that she wondered what they could possibly have in common to e-mail each other about so frequently.

Aziz was like a jigsaw puzzle she aimed to complete piece by piece. With every new e-mail from him, another piece of that puzzle fell into place. Ella had yet to see the entire picture, but by now she had discovered a few things about the man she’d been corresponding with.

She had learned from his blog that Aziz was a professional photographer and an avid globe-trotter who found navigating his way through the farthest corners of the world as natural and easy as taking a stroll around the neighborhood park. A relentless nomad at heart, he had been everywhere, equally at home in Siberia, Shanghai, Calcutta, and Casablanca. Traveling with only a backpack and a reed flute, he had made friends in places Ella couldn’t even find on the map. Uncompromising border guards, the impossibility of getting a visa from hostile governments, waterborne parasitic diseases, intestinal disorders due to contaminated food, the danger of being mugged, clashes between government troops and rebels—nothing could hold him back from traveling east and west, north and south.

Ella thought Aziz was a gushing waterfall. Where she feared to step, he surged full blast. Where she hesitated and worried before acting, he acted first and worried later, if he ever worried at all. He had an animated personality, too much idealism and passion for one body. He wore many hats and he wore them well.

Ella saw herself as a liberal, opinionated Democrat, a nonpracticing Jew, and an aspiring vegetarian who was determined to cut all sorts of meat from her meals one day. She separated issues into clear-cut categories, organizing her world pretty much as she organized her house, neat and tidy. Her mind operated with two mutually exclusive and equally lengthy lists: the things she liked versus the things she hated.

Though she was by no means an atheist and enjoyed performing a few rituals every now and then, Ella believed that the major problem consuming the world today, just as in the past, was religion. With their unparalleled arrogance and self-proclaimed belief in the supremacy of their ways, religious people got on her nerves. Fanatics of all religions were bad and unbearable, but deep inside she thought that fanatics of Islam were the worst.

Aziz, however, was a spiritual man who took matters of religion and faith seriously, stayed away from all contemporary politics, and didn’t “hate” anything or anyone. A die-hard meat eater, he said he would never refuse a plate of well-cooked shish kebab. He had converted to Islam from atheism in the mid-1970s, as he jokingly put it, “sometime after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and before Cat Stevens.” Ever since then he had shared bread with hundreds of mystics from every country and religion, and he declared them “brothers and sisters along the path.” A committed pacifist with strong humanitarian views, Aziz believed that all religious wars were in essence a “linguistic problem.” Language, he said, did more to hide than reveal the Truth, and as a result people constantly misunderstood and misjudged one another. In a world beset with mistranslations, there was no use in being resolute about any topic, because it might as well be that even our strongest convictions were caused by a simple misunderstanding. In general, one shouldn’t be too rigid about anything because “to live meant to constantly shift colors.” Aziz and Ella lived in different time zones. Literally and metaphorically. For her, time primarily meant the future. She spent a considerable part of her days obsessing over plans for the next year, the next month, the next day, or even the next minute. Even for things as trivial as shopping or replacing a broken chair, Ella planned every detail in advance and went around with meticulous schedules and to-do lists in her bag.

For Aziz, on the other hand, time centered on this very moment, and anything other than now was an illusion. For the same reason, he believed that love had nothing to do with “plans for tomorrow” or “memories of yesterday.” Love could only be here and now. One of his earlier e-mails to her had ended with this note: “I am a Sufi, the child of the present moment.” “What a bizarre thing to say,” Ella wrote him back, “to a woman who has always put too much thought into the past and even more thought into the future but somehow never even touched the present moment.”

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