میری پہلی چاہت / by Aamir Bilal

It is hard to forget the first liking. Love is so a stronger felling than liking. And as it takes time for a boy to mature into a man, it takes time to understand love and separate it from mere liking. For a foolish young boy, it's hard for him to know what ''love'' is. Love keeps many shades and there is a difference of worlds between the thoughts of a boy and the thoughts of a man. No matter what the age of a mortal, love has it's roots embedded in the understand. In short, a man can love while a boy is most likely to like. With time any liking can evolve into intense love. But love never fades back into liking. It's like a river with only one direction of flow. Ages ago, I was a boy, more foolish and timid than I am now. So love was hard to understand. Even today, I am unwise for most part but back then everything could trigger adventures of foolery. As the poet said,

Aik Umar Chaheye K Gawara Ho Naish-e-Ishq
Rakhe hai Aaj Lazat-e-Zakham-e-Jigar Kahan

(It takes time to understand the pleasure and sweetness of the pain one earns in love.)

Liking is a mere attraction. It can be temporary. But definitely, it grows with time if given proper nutrition of care and attention. Once changed into love, it stays as such. It's color never fades. It's strength never breaks. That is why in old age, men can't forget their loves they had in their lives. Love, in short is a very strong emotion, perhaps the strongest of all. Use this word carefully. I still remember a face from the past. Undisputed, I would name it my first liking. She was average in her height, fair color, a round face, curly dark hair and she always used to wear big circular ear-rings. I saw her in the classes of my entrance exams. In those thirty days of study, we were together. But even in those handful thirty days, she took some days off. I remember the last day of that class at the academy. Lahore was cold that morning. I went to the academy earlier and waited for her. But that wait extended to the present day. She didn't come. I saw that van on which she used to come. I still remember it's license plates. It was one gloomy day for me. I still remember the color of the sky. I always used to leave the academy when she left. And she used to leave as soon as the bells of the last class rang. But that day, I came home three hours after the normal time. Time went by. I still remember her name. During those days I knew only her roll number from the academy. We had a multiple choice questions test every second day. One day I stole the her test paper's answer sheet. That task was very hard. But I gathered my courage and took the step. She looked upset the next day as the teachers announced that her paper is not in their records. I never asked her what happened. But I knew I was the cause. At least one emotion in her life was because of me. She was sad. I was happy-ish sad. She never knew that her paper was in my bag. On the paper, only her roll number was written along with her name. A name that I still remember. It was a young, naive, foolish Aamir's first liking. A name that a stable Aamir remembers now and smiles. Meri pehli chahat. While writing this post, I feel it's a cold foggy morning and I am sitting in that room. The door will open and she will walk in. Maybe in an alternate life all this might have happened and this writing exists only in this universe. I will remember you M. I always will.

Aamir Bilal