Thoroughly enchanted with the great scenery before me, I had no idea I wasn’t alone until I heard Tahir say:
‘It’s breathtaking, isn’t it?’
‘Yes, it is’ I replied, turning around to face him. ‘For the last two months, I have done nothing but look out this window and thank Almighty Allah for this grand view. And today, I will thank you too, for fulfilling your promise to give me a room with a view.’ I added, smiling at him.
‘Did I promise to give you a room with a view, when?’ he asked.
‘Oh, it’s a long time ago, I’m not surprised you find it hard to remember. We were living in Kaduna then. And one day while making the journey back to Kaduna from Kano, on a whim, you suddenly decided to divert to the road leading to Tiga Dam. You said you wanted to see what Bagauda Lake hotel looked like then. You told me you were there when the place was in its hey days and were curious to see it years after.
We went to the hotel and were allowed in by the few courteous staff around. They admitted that the place wasn’t operating in any capacity, there wasn’t even food to eat. But they still obliged us when you requested to see the rooms. To our surprise they were clean and the beds well made, all that was missing were the guests.
One particular room took our breath away. It was overlooking the lake and the first thing I said when I saw it was ‘What a grand view.’ You agreed with me that it was. And when we drove away with me rhapsodizing about that spectacular view of the lake from the hotel room, you looked at me and said “One day, you will get a room with a grand view, Insha Allah.” That is the promise I was referring to today.’ I recalled.
‘Well thank God for your good memory, I have certainly forgotten all about it. But I welcome the gratitude. It feels good to be thanked for doing your job. I mean it is my duty to give you a home, with or without a grand view but your appreciation makes all the difference.’
‘Thank you, and though this is not the captivating view of a lake, my grand view is beautiful in its own way. The smooth grey hill with the trees and shrubs scattered over it, is a heart-stopper any day. The best part of it is when I open the curtains at dawn. It does not give me a view of sunrise because the hills block it on all sides, but it does make my heart flutter when the dark sky transforms to the light of day above the hill while I sit on my carpet doing my morning recitation and remembrance.
A kind of peace and serenity pervades my soul when I look at that particular rock formation with the small trees on top. But the ultimate sight is when it rains heavily and the water flows down the hill in torrents. It just feels like having my own private waterfall.
It is an enchanting sight. The first time we saw it, the kids and I were glued to the window in wonder. This is the sight that greets me every morning hubby dearest, and it makes me the happiest wife alive.’
‘That’s great, but you can have the sunrise as well as the sunset in your sights too, if you wish. Come and see what I mean.’ Tahir said walking out of my room. I followed him through the sitting room to the balcony of my apartment. He drew the curtain back and let us both onto the balcony. ‘Can you see the hills you are facing now?’ He asked and I nodded, ‘Over them the sun rises and sets every morning and evening and most times I get to see these breathtaking phenomena from my apartment. Since I am right there above you, we share the same grand views of the hill with trees from our bedrooms and this amazing skyline from our balconies.’ He enthused.
‘Oh yes that’s true. This is why I didn’t say ‘no’ when you proposed a family apartment block rather than a bungalow or a duplex….’
‘Or a mansion…’ Tahir interrupted.
‘No, I never considered a mansion because you are not the mansion-building type nor am I the mansion craving-type. But when you said our own home was ready after over two decades in a rented house, I thought any convenient arrangement was welcome. At least it will be our own roof over own heads. That was why I welcomed the family apartment block without complain. That it came with these grand views is a bonus I didn’t anticipate.’ I confessed.
‘But be honest Bint. All women love a mansion.’ He insisted, jokingly.
‘Not those who know they wouldn’t get one.’ I joked back. ‘And for them, the prospect of an eternal mansion in paradise keeps them from craving the temporary, imperfect one here. Talking about heavenly mansions, do you realise that this hilly skyline is highly reminiscent of the holy city of Makkah? Of course I’ve heard that the architectural monstrosities being built all over the holy city now are wreaking havoc on the natural landscape, but I do remember falling for the rocky skyline of Makkah mukarramah. They are especially mesmerizing at dusk when the hills turn dark and seem to envelope the holy city on all sides, making it look like a huge valley. Oh it’s all so magnificent and so like what I see before me now.’ I marveled.
‘It looks like you keep finding more and more reasons to love this house.’ Tahir responded, leaning on the railing.
‘Yes, I do think this house is winning over my heart. I just hope it will be the abode of peace I always hoped my ideal home will be.’ I replied wistfully.
‘Don’t you mean an abode of bliss?’ he asked.
‘No, I’m sure I meant an abode of peace, because even bliss cannot come without peace. But if I fail to find peace in what seems like our enchanted paradise, believe me all these grand views will amount to nothing. I might open my curtain window in the morning one day or stand on this balcony one evening at dusk and see nothing to cheer me up. This is why I pray for peace in my life, every morning and evening when I sit down to pray. I can’t think of anything more important than that at the moment.’ I emphasized.
‘How about peace in my life, do you pray for that too?’ he asked.
‘Yes of course but peace in my life will automatically translate to peace in your life. Still we will need your prayers too, to achieve the kind of peace possible in our imperfect world. The perfect peace, as you know, is only possible in the Hereafter. I suppose, this is why it is also called Darres salam, the abode of peace.’ I affirmed.
‘I hereby pledge to pray along with you towards making this house our abode of peace and bliss. So help me God.’ Tahir proclaimed, raising his right hand in a mock pledge.