Fayes T Kantawala was listening to an audiobook of The Secret when disaster struck

The fact that I don’t get any cooking gas in my house is only one of the reasons I was listening to an audiobook version of The Secret.

The Secret, in case you’re out of the loop, is a self-help book that has been billed (successfully) as the reinvention manual for the 21st century. The book came out a decade ago and was an instant international bestseller, which is unsurprising given its central message (you can will anything in your life to materialize through sheer positive thinking). Author Rhonda Byrne calls this the Power of Attraction. (So does Oprah, just in case you don’t give a crap about what Rhonda thinks.) I read the book when it first came out and was all about it for a few years before its message sank irretrievably into the depths of my turmoil.

I found the audiobook recently and thought, “You know what? I need myself some positive thinking. Yes I do!” Naturally, I played the mp3 while working. The Law of Attraction, Rhonda’s voice told me in the breathy, wafty tones of a massage therapist, is a universal law akin to “like attracts like”. So if you’re thinking thoughts of poverty, for example, of not having enough money or worrying about getting money or getting upset at your inability to make money, then Rhonda says that’s why you don’t have any. In emitting frequencies of “not having enough” into the Universe, you are attracting more “not having enough” back to you. Make sense?

Conversely, if you think that you have lots of money, believe that it’s always coming to you and there is no lack, then the universe will attract more abundance to you, because that’s what you’re putting out there. You can see how vast The Secret’s appeal can be. Don’t have that car? Just believe you do and eventually you will. Want the perfect partner? Ask the universe and believe in his or her imminent arrival. Belief seems to be the crux of the matter. If you delude yourself into believing you already have what you want, then eventually you will. (The funniest part is when she tells you in order to be skinny you should simply not look at fat people, because looking at them brings thoughts of being fat...)

Now I have a deeply complicated relationship with divinity. But The Secret struck me all those years ago as a simple way of monitoring my own thoughts, so that I could, at the very least, avoid the pitfalls of a countrywide negativity that is all too frequent and soul-devouring.
My first thought was "Terrorism" followed by "Where is my passport?"

“The secret to the Secret,” Rhonda’s audiobook confessed, “is that you have to feel good now, just feel as if you have what you want. If you are transmitting feelings of “having”, then by the Law of Attraction the universe will bring more “having” to you. The law is indeed perfect….”

I closed my eyes, and took a deep breath filled with springtime air and positivity to feel good. That’s when a huge explosion came out of nowhere and several seconds later I found myself knocked off my feet, sprawled on the floor of my lounge surrounded by shattered glass and dust. My first thought was “Terrorism” followed by “Where is my passport?” It’s amazing how time slows down in such moments. I recall falling slowly, trying to decide if I should land on my battered back or bruised face. I chose face. (Bad call, but it was better than my already injured back.)

I looked around. The large windows overlooking my garden were in bits; the remaining shards of glass still stuck to the top of the pane like a hastily improvised guillotine. A second later, with comic timing, every single painting on my walls came crashing down. That was followed by the kitchen door falling off its hinges. My hearing came back in another two seconds.

“…You never have to be stuck again. Remember, the universe is your friend! If you want something, all you have to do is ask. Just aaask….”

I went to the kitchen and found my cook, a resilient man aptly named Zia-ul-haq, sitting on the floor, his hair singed off in places. Repeated viewing of Greys Anatomy must have settled into some part of my system because I took his pulse and checked his pupils to make sure he was OK.

“…Just ask. Clarify in your mind what you want and then place an order from the catalogue of life. It’s just that simple! But never doubt. If anything makes you doubt you’ll be getting what you want, then just think of other things…”

Zia and I staggered up together and I helped him wash up. I called some reinforcements and had him taken to the hospital for a checkup. Once he’d left, I surveyed my hitherto brand new kitchen.

“…If you believe you have what you want now, then the universe will shift everything to make it so! If you want that new car, or house, just believe you already have it!”

The Kitchen looked like a wartime installation at the Tate Modern. The carnage radiated out from the stovetop. Drawers and cabinets flung open by the weight of a blast so powerful it broke windows 50 feet away and brought all 180 lbs of me to my knees. (OK. Fine. 187. Whatever.) Cutlery was strewn in odd places, and there were dark marks, comically similar to the things you’d see in a Bugs Bunny cartoon, streaking outward from under the stove.

“….Your life now is a reflection of your past thoughts. You have attracted everything in your life to you. Now that you know the secret, you can attract only good things by thinking only good thoughts!”

I still have to get it checked, but I’m told that the huge gas canister attached to my stove was the issue. I have a canister because the Lahore Cantt authority (that’s right, I’m naming names you douches) hasn’t provided my house with gas for three years. So I got a canister and it blew up. It could easily have taken half my house, or my body, or my life, or worse, my passport with all the visas in it. That both Zia and I are safe is something of a miracle.

Behold this ironical realization: you have to be mindful now of a bomb in your own house that has nothing to do with the Taliban/ISIS/Extremist groups. If you’re not gunned down in a school or a mosque or a public space, be careful! You could just blow up because of the canister you have because of the gas you don’t. Laugh, but what happened to me is like text-book domestic terrorism. I feel terrorized, domestically. After the initial adrenaline faded, I went around the entire night shaking and laughing maniacally to myself because WTF else do you do?

“…Whatever you imagine is possible! You are the creator of your own masterpiece, and your masterpiece… is you!” 

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