A Matter Between Our Hearts

We have a saying in Urdu, "Dil ko dil say raah hoti hai." People say this to each other when coincidentally or serendipitously they do what the other was thinking. Grandmothers say it to their grandchildren on the phone. "I was just cooking your favorite dish and was thinking of you, and you called! Dil ko dil say raah hoti hai." Such a simple, wonderful, poetic thing to say. "There is a road that links our hearts," is the rough translation, the implication being, "Our hearts know each other's desires" or "There is an invisible force that connects my heart's desire to yours."

My mother says this to me if I call her while I am driving to work, a rare occurrence, because I guard my commute hours with a jealous diligence as I listen to my audiobooks. "I was just talking to such-and-such about you, was just saying your name, in fact, when the phone rang. Dil ko dil say raah hoti hai." And I respond with an underwhelming, "Hmm," not convinced that there is an invisible string that links my heart beating in America as the dawn breaks over the sky to my mother's heart in Pakistan as her sky turns gray with the approach of dusk. I don't tell her what I am thinking. Our hearts are separated by the sky, mother. The sun from yours dissolves into liquid rays in the last few breaths of the day and appears just as languidly on mine. When my heart beats on the morning of a Saturday, your heart lived through that moment on your Saturday morning a full twelve hours before me. For twelve out of twenty-four hours, we exist on different days of the week.

Yet, I have an almost supernatural tendency to do things that make my loved ones say this to me. Sometimes I make a family member's favorite meal when they are secretly craving it. I randomly text my sister telling her I love her just when she has had a bad dream and wants consolation. And these things happen to me, too. Someone suddenly calls, or I get an email, and last night when I was about to block my Gmail and social media websites so I could get some work done, my best friend suddenly sent me a message on Google chat. "Hi!" I responded. "I was about to block my Gmail and you sent a message! We have a saying in Urdu that roughly translates to 'there is a road that links our hearts.' Looks like our hearts are connected!" "That's beautiful," she said. "You have to write about that."

And here I am, writing about it, because I can't stop thinking about this beautiful and implausible idea.  

Photo by Rebecca McCue