As in Lahore, a road in this town is named after Goethe. There is a Park Street here as in Calcutta, a Malabar Holl as in Bombay, and a Naag Tolla Hill as in Dhaka. Because it was difficult to pronounce the English names, the men who arrived in this town in the 1950s had rechristened everything they saw before them. They had come from across the Subcontinent, lived together ten to a room, and the name that one of them happened to give to a street or landmark was taken up by the others, regardless of where they themselves were from. But over the decades, as more and more people came, the various nationalities of the Subcontinent have changed the names according to the specific country they themselves are from – Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan. Only one name has been accepted by every group, remaining unchanged. It’s the name of the town itself. Dasht-e-Tanhaii.The Wilderness of Solitude.The Desert of Loneliness.
It is possible to think of fragrance existing before a flower was created to contain it, and so it is that God created the world to reveal Himself, to reveal Mercy.Once or twice a year, perhaps three times, a woman visits the garden, her face ancient, the eyes calm but not passive as she approaches the rosewood tree and begins to pick and examine each fallen leaf. Whether she is in possession of her full mental faculties, no one is sure. Perhaps she is sane and just pretending madness for self-protection. Many decades ago - long before the house was built, when this place was just an expanse of wild growth - she had discovered the name of God on a rosewood leaf, the green veins curving into sacred calligraphy. She picks each small leaf now, hoping for a repetition of the miracle, holding it in her palms in a gesture identical to prayer. The life of the house continues around her and occasionally she watches them, following the most ordinary human acts with an attention reserved by others for much greater events. If it is autumn, she has to remain in the garden for hours, following the surge and pull of the wind as it takes the dropped foliage to all corners. Afterwards, as the dusk begins to darken the air, they sit together, she and the tree, until only the tree remains.What need her search fulfils in her is not known. Perhaps healing had existed before wounds and bodies were created to be its recipient.