The Journey of Gratitude.
By Sonal Dhanani
I recently have experienced the Global Darbar ceremony which is a religious ceremony of the Shia Imami Ismaili Community. The entire Journey of making it to the LISBOA will remain to be my favorite adventure! yes, adventure it was!
October 2018 we got to know about the International Jubilee Arts Festival! and all Ismaili artists in Pakistan were equally (or maybe more than me) excited about this.
I being a business student ending up into running an initiative which focuses on conducting creative therapies program to reduce the stress among communities have developed a corner, a passion for the arts and culture.
And the journey begins! Got blessed with khidmat at different levels. Looking at the talent coming from the highest valleys of Pakistan was an ultimate pleasure and kept wishing and visioning what could be done for these young artists at the learning stage, how do we make sure that their learning process doesn’t get stop.. and there I found my way… Out of numbers of artists applying approx 7000!, Pakistan finally found and prepared their best in each art category. And I wished to see all of them performing at the stage in Lisbon!
A new adventure began! Ticket to Lisboa!!
As soon as Global Jammat got to know about the Global Darbar Ceremony in Lisbon, each and every Ismaili wished to get to Lisbon! Pakistan is a weak passport holder country had to face a lot of trouble! alot of documentation to be done.. and It wasn’t easy for many yet the wish and chahat to see the Imam made many to go through this tough process.. more than 2000 people applied from Pakistan. For the people from my generation and people younger than me who haven’t experienced any global darbar before it was a wish to experience this magic.
The time came where I along with manyyyy others applied for the Lisbon Visa, during the time we in Pakistan got to know the value of being Ismaili how support was extended towards us during the process. As we were getting close to the dates of Festival people started getting restless about getting visas on time, we used to ask each other everyday did you get a call? did you get the visa? oh we heard he got rejected, oh we heard she got the visa.. thousands of update..
The intezar for the visa was such a reflective time and I believe I remembered mawla the most during this time as it was my exam time and I need to clear it :D and one night I got a call to collect my passport! and this was another adventure where I was feeling bad and anxiously waiting for my friends to get visa too. but who knew I will be traveling without my travel buddies!
Made it to Lisbon! but unhappy somewhere because other thousands were and are still waiting for the visas to come. Many important khidmatgar couldn’t make it, I felt I wasn’t needed at the festival my job could have been done by anybody else but other many left behind in Pakistan were needed..but as soon as festival days were passing by and the Global Darbar day was coming near I started getting tons of message for prayers for mubarakis and I kept asking am I the chosen one? I kept thinking was the urge of seeing Imam was that intense that I actually made it or am I just being lucky?
11 July 2018! The moment came for which everyone was waiting! approx 50,000 Ismailies gathered from the 22 countries! The Long queue at which we started at 10 am and got in at 1230pm was worth experiencing! The ziker going around, the shining faces, young kids sharing their sentiments, the shukar in the air was worth experiencing! I kept thinking of my family and every other person whom I knew who wanted to experience this. And the silence when Imam walked in! the laughter and blessings and clapping’s were all HISTORICAL! I left that Darbar hall with a lot of Gratitude with a lot more responsible attitude with a lot more kindness!
The long journey from October 2017 to July 2018 will remain to be my favorite assignment in the Khidmat journey! When he calls nothing can stop me.