Building of Life | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 22, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:42 AM, October 22, 2020


Building of Life

She lost herself to the building of life. Sitting in the center of the vast open space, with her eyes trained on the building. It was not a new sight. One she had seen ever since she was a child. One she had grown up seeing. Or rather, one she had missed.

But tonight, there was something about the building that held her captive. Unable to look away, she pulled her knees to her chest, her eyes shifting from one window to another on the large pile of bricks that sat in the distance.

Tonight, this building was unlike the other ones. It stood out. Each window lit up in a colour of its own. Each window offered her a peek into something that was worlds apart from her. One would say there was not much to see. It was much too far to make anything out. Yet, the slight shifts in light, the bare movements in each window was a sign of life.

If it wasn't for the building with the lit up windows, she may have faded into the nothingness that wallowed around her.

Worlds apart. She was peering into the lives of strangers that she couldn't see. The distance and the foreignness of it all should have made her feel small. It should have reminded her of her insignificance in a world of so many. But it made her feel connected. Grounded. As if a part of her was connected to those strangers that had no idea of her existence.

It was like driving alongside a train. A simple thing really. But there was something beautiful when you're sitting, peering out the window into the train. Once again. The distance is almost tangible. As if, if you reached out, you could just barely touch it. You could let your fingers graze what separated you from them. Yet, in that moment, nothing seems to exist other than you and the train. As if everything and everyone else fades away and you are transported in an unworldly space and time where only you and the people on that train exist. You move in a time so synced that no power could separate you. As if your existence depended on that momentum. And in that moment you feel an unspoken, inexplicable connection to a group of unsuspecting strangers.

The night faded, as did the lights of the building, one by one flicking off, severing her bond to the lights of those windows, disappearing against the pitch black that sat behind it.

The next morning, she came yet again, in hopes of experiencing the magic she had felt last night once again. But to her disappointment, the building that seemed to be booming with life just hours earlier now sat against a clear blue sky. She could barely recognise it. The curtains of all the windows were drawn. There was not a sign of life in the drab of a building that sat there in its place. The unforgiving sunlight pointed out the age and the ugliness of it. This was a completely different building than the one she had seen last night.

With any and all hopes having left her, she trudged away. But with the sinking of the sun came the calling she had felt. The building was lit up once again. The mellow night sky had breathed life into it. The building was once again almost blending in with the sky behind it, the floating boxes of light keeping it alive. It was bustling with movement and life and again she was transported into the world where only she and them existed. Where time and space were foreign. She lost herself to the existence of lives that stood at great distances from her. And for a second time. She lost herself to the building of life.

Syeda Erum Noor is dangerously oblivious and has no sense of time. Send help at


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