This stream is for my dad. My dada jaan. The person who gave me my curls, my moods and an insatiable desire to create.

I kept a quiet image of him in my mind after he passed away two decades ago today. I tucked his spirit into my heart parts, hoping he could help me deal with my demons and life conundrums like that. I was young. I decided not to attend his funeral so I could remember him as what I needed him to be— my protector, my guide. My Inayat Amin-Arsala. 

Inayat: kindness, loving, bounty

Amin: faithful, loyal, true-hearted

Arsala: lion

I can say very confidently my father was the kindest of the loyal lion clan. The man who washed dishes at his own engagement party and would ask for forgiveness any time he lost his cool on me. He taught my sister and I how to be artists without ever calling himself one. He was a mystic and a visionary and he was silent about his pain. 

/We hide it well/

I sensed his presence heavily as I approached an early Saturn Return. I was molting, in the midst of growing pains reaching for a clearer outlook on the world. Inevitably every cry sesh in that time softened tunnels to the calcified tears from when I lost dad. It was like passing emotional kidney stones. I wasn’t just moving my own, I was moving his too. 

/We multitask/

It took until the whiplash started to wane to finally understand how I could really grieve dad. How to remember his essence. How to honor his shadow and not ignore it. So that I may not ignore it in myself. 

In our agreement with the natural world, compost is the space between death and life. In that threshold I had to meet dada jaan next.

/We find purpose in pain/

I passed through 2,020 gates to begin composting Inayat Amin-Arsala. To release his spirit from all the responsibilities and projections I’ve held him to. A gauntlet of surrender.

/We let go/ 

It’s time to put my own shores of guidance and protection into play. 

/We are held by our faith/

Sometimes simple answers take delicate and intricate mental movements to unlock. Guess who I get my love of riddles from.

If you feel so inclined, think about something beautiful, take a sip of chai, bite into a pastry or rock out to a qawwali for my guy in the sky. Those are a few of his favorite things.