He was sitting near the lake. It was evening and near the lake, in the bunch of thicky trees the tweeting of birds like a noise was making his ears senseless. The view of the lake was beautiful. Unconcerned from around, he kept trying to look across the lake.
“Why are you sitting here, Ilaaf?” The voice came from somewhat near otherwise he could have not heard it.
He turned his neck. Alchemist was standing exactly behind him.
He got up smiling. Looking him in this strange environment, Ilaaf had a strange sense of familiarity. Today his robes were of green color.
“How are you?” He asked involuntarily.
The smile of Alchemist grew deeper.
“Leave me. The world in which I do live everybody is always happy and peaceful there, yes but the world from where you have come, peace and happiness are found rarely there, that’s why tell me how are you?”
He got confused on this question for a while, “how am I…..”
“Alright, let me tell you that how are you?” He started looking him with a surprise.
Both of them came ahead from the lake walking, on the same long road, didn’t know whereelse they had to stay on that way.
“Restless, agitated, uneasy, exploring, desiring.” He looked Ilaaf smiling, “You do search something every moment.” Ilaaf shook his head unwillingly, perhaps hiding something in front of Alchemist or lying was not possible.
“Don’t worry, whatever you search, you will find, in this world and even in your world because one can find everything by searching even God, conditionally if he has the true passion.” He kept looking him with a puzzled look.
“Passion….what this passion is? Why it doesn’t let one to sit peacefully? Why it sends our feet towards an endless journey? Why does it throw our heart to sink in the ocean of pain? And either this passion is true or not who will decide it? When there is no scale to measure the magnitude of this passion then how one could know that this passion is either true or not?” He kept saying with an anxiety.
“So many questions are being asked simultaneously. I can not answer all of them together.” Alchemist looked him smiling.
Ilaaf remained silent.
“The journey has just begun; you will get the answers of all questions slowly and gradually. Why to be hurried?”
The restless soul of Ilaaf got agitated on his satisfaction.
“I have to be hurried, why should not I be hurried? This burning, this emptiness, this agitation and restlessness don’t let me to live.”
“Be patient, on the way of Love, on the journey of Love, the finding of the destiny is difficult as well as patience testing. This hurry can harm you.”
“Love….” He looked Alchemist with a stunning look.
“So, is this the road of Love?” Ilaaf asked by indicating towards that long road.
“What do you think?” He asked by looking directly in Ilaaf’s eyes.
Ilaaf had no answer. He changed the direction of his eyes.
“The world that exists inside the heart has every road, the road of love, Ilaaf. And this one road can take the man to visit the new worlds. How vast and wide is the world of heart, and whatever it has is more than the entire knowledge of the world. One who becomes aware of the world of his heart, he would be able to be aware from each and every secret of this universe. You too are in exploration of a secret? You want to know the secret of your existence, so you will have to be patient for that.” This time Ilaaf could not argue with him.
The road was once again turning, towards right this time. Alchemist started walking at some distance to the road. Ilaaf was behind him. That was the floor of bricks like a pavement, on which the large cement benches were fixed at equal distances and different people were sitting there. Ilaaf felt like he has come into a new world. That place was like the plateform of a railway station where people were seemed to be staying in order to rest for a while, and some were seemed to be moving in different directions and going towards their destinies. Ilaaf kept moving ahead along with Alchemist and kept looking the people passing him around. Strange faces in which several colors were visible; fair ones, black ones, brown ones, nut-brown ones, some tall, some short heightened and some with average height, some having extremely long noses and some had the thicky ones, some having eyes of different colors while some had just brown or black ones; some people had broad foreheads and some had stretched chins; some had the swollen cheeks and some were whose cheek bones were much prominent. The only thing which was similar in all of them was their dress. All of them were wearing long black robes with white turbans on their heads. This was very clear that all of them were not related to one nation, Ilaaf could feel it evidently with the features of their faces.
The speed of Alchemist in this crowd was much fast and in order to be with him, Ilaaf had to walk in a fast pace as well, and therefore despite of his will he was not able to see a single face keenly.
“Which is this place?” With irregular breaths looking Alchemist, he asked the question.
“An outer area of this city where, the people, when arriving or leaving, stay for a while.” Alchemist answered and then turned towards the right side.
The floor of bricks was ended. Now, on the wide unbeaten road there were two different ways.
Ilaaf moved towards right side.
“Don’t go there, Ilaaf.” Alchemist suddenly said in a very firm tone that moving steps of Ilaaf stopped there, but even then he still could see, at the right side the steam that was rising from over the bunch of trees at some distance and was producing due to a fire that was burning there. Ilaaf could not see the fire across those thicky trees but he could feel the heat of that fire even from so much distance.
Alchemist was going towards left. Ilaaf started to walk towards left as well following him.
He seemed to be in hurry. Ilaaf wanted to ask about that fire and steam to him but he could not get the chance.
And then after some distance there was a big wall. The charming art works on red bricks were enough to make the wall attractive for the viewers.
Both of them stopped reaching the lower part of the wall. Then Alchemist turned his head and looked Ilaaf.
This is the second gateway to enter the city.
Ilaaf showed the surprise with his facial expressions.
The place where they were standing, there was a door of exactly a man’s height and a bit narrow through which a single man could be passed at a time.
“Let’s go.” Said Alchemist and moved towards inside, Ilaaf followed him and stepping inside he had an idea that the wall was the wall of a tunnel.
In darkness on the guidance of the sound of Alchemist’s steps, he kept moving ahead, then slowly and gradually the light coming from the other side made him to feel that the tunnel was ending.
The tunnel was ended. He stepped towards the other side and came out.
And coming out he felt for a while like he had come into a paradise.
That was a garden at one side of which were mountains and thorugh those mountains in the form of tiny water-falls the water that was falling down was moving ahead in the form of a lake. At left side there was a pavement made up of red bricks and across that pavement there were several trees loaded with different fruits and flowers. Beautiful flowers whose beautiful colors and the breath penetrating fragrance which was scenting his brain and heart. Ilaaf wished by heart to keep standing there and to keep getting the peace for his soul by visualizing that beautiful scene.
Alchemist was smiling standing aside.
“Let’s move, Ilaaf. We don’t have to stop here. Indeed, this view is charming for eyes and peaceful for heart but we have to move ahead.”
“Can’t we stay here for a while?” Ilaaf asked.
“No, the time will be up. Still, you have to see the other gateways of this city as well, and looking them perhaps you will come out from the enchantment of this view.”
Ilaaf looked Alchemist surprisingly.
“Are there other gateways of this city as well? I have already seen two.”
“You haven’t seen anything yet, Ilaaf. This world is so beautiful, so colorful that on every step the eyes are packed, but at the same time so difficult, complexed, and full of hindrances and trials.” Ilaaf kept looking him silently.
“If you want to move ahead in this journey with me and want to know the secret I am guarding then prepare yourself for every situation you will face on this way. And if you feel that you will be tired on this way or would not be able to move ahead then you have enough time, decide now. Return from this point, if you decide to withdraw and go back at the middle of the journey then you will neither be able to reach your destiny nor would be able to return. You will lose everything, Ilaaf; the way of your destiny as well as the way of back home. Tell me, what is your decision?”
Ilaaf puzzled on this sudden question and couldn’t answer; wanted to think for a while, but what he wanted to think? Would even deciding to go back could be able to provide him some peace? No, then what’s wrong in moving ahead?
He came ahead few steps.
“I will move forward. I would get my destiny, would get the secret of my existence. Either will make my destiny my fate or will ruin myself by turning into the dust of this way, but won’t go back; no matter what happens.” He declared his decision in a firm tone.
This time the smile of Alchemist was more charming than ever. Ilaaf also smiled.