Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Life in a Metro - III

You probably don't know about it, but we have something so common within; it seems like a proverbial enclosure of identities. Yours and mine.


In a city like Karachi, your individuality is completely insignificant. Irrelevant because tangled images and their descriptions do only connect with obscurity and unqualified abstractions. Life here, dwells on common grounds. Love me or hate, I would always find a place to exist. I shall always contribute. Nothing in a city ever dies; this prevailing numbness makes everything immortal.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


“What is in mind is a sort of Chautauqua...that's the only name I can think of for it...like the traveling tent-show Chautauquas that used to move across America, this America, the one that we are now in, an old-time series of popular talks intended to edify and entertain, improve the mind and bring culture and enlightenment to the ears and thoughts of the hearer. The Chautauquas were pushed aside by faster-paced radio, movies and TV, and it seems to me the change was not entirely an improvement. Perhaps because of these changes the stream of national consciousness moves faster now, and is broader, but it seems to run less deep. The old channels cannot contain it and in its search for new ones there seems to be growing havoc and destruction along its banks. In this Chautauqua I would like not to cut any new channels of consciousness but simply dig deeper into old ones that have become silted in with the debris of thoughts grown stale and platitudes too often repeated. "What's new?" is an interesting and broadening eternal question, but one which, if pursued exclusively, results only in an endless parade of trivia and fashion, the silt of tomorrow. I would like, instead, to be concerned with the question "What is best?," a question which cuts deeply rather than broadly, a question whose answers tend to move the silt downstream. There are eras of human history in which the channels of thought have been too deeply cut and no change was possible, and nothing new ever happened, and "best" was a matter of dogma, but that is not the situation now. Now the stream of our common consciousness seems to be obliterating its own banks, losing its central direction and purpose, flooding the lowlands, disconnecting and isolating the highlands and to no particular purpose other than the wasteful fulfillment of its own internal momentum. Some channel deepening seems called for.”

- Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
Image: Orwald

Monday, November 07, 2011

What Matters...

Four generations reside my home; from ninety years old grandma to my year old niece, all under one roof. How does it feel? Fun, hectic even chaotic at times but an absolute privilege in its true sense. Something that really deserves to be valued and treasured. Each day, I get to see life's full circle; when both my grandma and niece look for help to get them to the other room. Its a beautiful transition to observe really; and completely awe inspiring to think that almost a century stands between them.

How have things changed in these eighty odd years? How different, in principle, will life of my niece be from that of her great grandmother.

The world around us has radically changed in last couple of decades, no question in that. But how has this change affected our inner selves is highly subjective and variable. Our values, traditions... are they evolving from the curse of barbarism or heading towards it? Is this an escape? Or a salvation. Are we sowing right seeds for the future?

Generations before us have seen unbelievably rough times. My parents, their parents. It makes me sad at times; to see how atrocious life has been to them, and they to each other. But it gives my life a direction too, never allows me lose my way. When I take my mother's wrinkled wobbling hand into mine, I see that it is not just because of her age... it has really been a tough journey. I take pride in how I have been brought up but that hasn't blinded me. Well, not completely would say. I recognize those beautiful loving faces surrounding me, and all that hard work they have put in to see us through.

When I was in school, my father never came for those parents-teacher meetings. It felt strange. I don't remember when was the last time he asked me what I really want to do in my career or life ahead. But today when I see my brother giving extra attention to my nephew's education, I feel that this man, my dad may not have done everything right but yes he did sow seeds of evolution somewhere on the way.

My nephews and nieces will have a better life than us. We, the generation of present have to ascertain this. The non-negotiable integrity, the character should evolve, even in this precarious world of modernity.

Monday, October 10, 2011


We dwell in our minds. Perceptions that keep on growing, evolving from infinitesimal notions to monstrous egos and ideologies. When I see around, I see my people tumbling in conflicts, debating endlessly, molesting each others sensitivities... crushing lives, trouncing minds and squeezing hearts in their nonsensical and absurd state of fury. It isn't a zero sum game really; you don't have to lose for me to win, you don't have to agree with me on everything to be my friend.

Facebook is an interesting space to be in. Some day back a friend updated his status 'Finally.. justice has been done. LHC has given death penalty to Mumtaz Qadri'. 10 more minutes.. and another one came.. 'AllahoAkbar.. Ya Rasul Allah tere chahne waalon ki khair..'. Hmmm. Interesting. One day you travel with a bunch of colleagues with loud music, next day you are with a person petrifying you with his halal haram stories. Now I don't really know or care why people think/believe in a certain way, but I absolutely abhor to be in a place so torn between extremities, so blunt and distastefully crammed that it offers not even a tinniest hole to breathe. Suffocating. Utterly nauseating.

Every child is a born artist, he has this magnificent way of seeing things. Blue red green yellow.. all colors are sharp then. May not be bright every time but nevertheless, all of them are distinct.. all of them are important. As a child grows up, a strange phenomenon takes over.. opinions begin to capture him, judgments are seeded in his naive mind like a surgical conspiracy. It is difficult to survive really. They throw you in a cage and ask you to fly. Believe in yourself. Can you imagine the agony of a girl who has to make her mind, force herself prepare herself to marry someone he doesn't even know. Or a woman who has no option but to have sex with a person she hates so much? Like a person who beats her every other night?

Stay blessed before it kills you.

image: seafoodmwg

Saturday, September 24, 2011

One Hundred Years of Solitude

“Intrigued by that enigma, he dug so deeply into her sentiments that in search of interest he found love, because by trying to make her love him he ended up falling in love with her.”

Monday, September 19, 2011

Being YourSELF

Tu Dhoop Hai.. Jham se Bikhar...
Tu Hai Nadee.. O Be-khabar...
Beh Chal Kahin... Udh Chal Kahin...
Dil Khush Jahan... Teri Tou Manzil Hai Wahin...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A thoughtful abstraction

The ones you remember are the ones you cherish. Everything else is forgotten. What lies in between perhaps doesn't matter, the extremities have every chance of living eternity. Life may just be unfair but is that what you will remember in the end? Of thousands of face, images and clustered emotions.. what exactly you think will bring you calm? Past, present, future.. what will you loathe more; chances that you missed or the attempts that threw you off the cliff? Head on collision with the authenticity of life.

You might say life's unfair, true sometimes, but its indisputably genuine too. Like a gray dull sky that goes violent, or like a reddening sun. They say... to feel isn't as difficult as to think, but what's the difference? They ask.. what's harder to put in; questions or answers? When a lad from a lower middle class family travels in air for the first time, what is that one thing which is more obvious? Joy? Fear, diffidence?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

60 Seconds...

60 seconds between us. 6 meters ahead of me. Living in a same enclosure, this is what separates us. You, me and these 60 seconds, that's all. Now we are not like those people... they have so much time you know. They can actually go back to that debris and isolate every single decision they took. They can look for the shadows of people they lost, and try to retract images. In their lives, they can bring out their old muddy sculptures back from their subconscious store rooms and wait for the day when everything shall come alive.

We can't do it, can we? They are after me but I don't care really. I'm just about these 60 seconds between us. You got to know this. Just like my past, I can relate with those people and those places. But I can't go back. Glory awaits me.

Isn't this a beautiful thought? Whatever I do today, my love, my desires and all those aspirations... all that is about to come...

I can't be there before you. You got to protect me. Take decisions and act. To make things work for me.

And you have 60 seconds!


Note: I believe this post, originally written on April 25 2009, is one of the finest. Of whatever I have written over the years.

Friday, September 02, 2011


There are moments... when you stand still and do nothing; you see through the window, see through the lives of people inside and around you... trying to figure the dynamics that have governed..

And then you gradually learn to value... its only the spirit that is immortal.

There are moments... when rotten red bricks begin to speak to you.. But you have to listen; they tell remarkable stories... stories of fanatical lovemaking, stories of atrocious bloodshed.. depends on your own circumstances... as whatever you bring in, these rotten red bricks are going to give it back. These walls have thousands of stories buried inside... what you search is all what you'll find..

Thursday, August 11, 2011

She's with you...

You may not be her first, her last, or her only. She loved before she may love again. But if she loves you now, what else matters? She's not perfect - you aren't either, and the two of you may never be perfect together but if she can make you laugh, cause you to think twice, and admit to being human and making mistakes, hold onto her and give her the most you can. She may not be thinking about you every second of the day, but she will give you a part of her that she knows you can break - her heart. So don't hurt her, don't change her, don't analyze and don't expect more than she can give. Smile when she makes you happy, let her know when she makes you mad, and miss her when she's not there.

Monday, August 08, 2011


"After hearing the miracle of my voice, you might think, "Who cares what you earned when you were alive? Tell us what you can see. Is there life after death? Where's your soul? What about Heaven and Hell? What is death like? Are you in pain?" You're right, people are extremely curious about the Afterlife. Maybe you've heard the story of the man who was so driven by this curiosity that he roamed among soldiers in battlefields. He sought a man who had died and returned to life amid the wounded struggling for their lives in pools of blood, a soldier who could tell him about the secrets of the Otherworld. But one of Tamerlane's warriors, taking the seeker for one of the enemy, cleared him in half with a smooth stroke of his scimitar, causing him to conclude that in the Hereafter man is split in two.

Nonsense! Quite the opposite, I'd even allege that souls divided in life merge in the Hereafter. Contrary to the claims of sinful infidels who have fallen under the sway of the Devil, there is indeed another world, thank God, and the proof is that I am speaking to you from here. I've died, but as you can plainly tell, I haven't ceased to be. Granted, I must confess, I haven't encountered the rivers flowing beside the silver and gold kiosks of Heaven, the broad-leaved trees bearing plump fruit and the beautiful virgins mentioned in the Glorious Koran-though I do very well recall how often and enthusiastically I made pictures of those wide-eyed houris described in the chapter "That Which Is Coming." Nor is there a trace of those rivers of milk, wine, fresh water and honey described with such flourish, not in the Koran, but by visionary dreamers like Ibn Arabi. But I have no intention of tempting the faith of those who live rightly through their hopes and visions of the Otherworld, so let me declare that all I've seen relates specifically to my own very personal circumstances. Any believer with even a little knowledge of life after death would know that a malcontent in my state would be hard-pressed to see the rivers of Heaven"....

Chapter 1 - I Am a Corpse
My Name is Red - Orhan Pamuk

Personal Note: May not be an easy read, But I would recommend you to read this book. Its mystical, rich and stunningly beautiful.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Savor Life!

It was a cold, blustery December evening; the year was 2007 I think. Me and few of my colleagues occupied doing something so usual; squashing breasts and breaking legs at some local roadside (dhaba) restaurant, mapping grandeur of our futuristic but nonexistent start-ups. Slightly irrational, majorly unrefined and completely unconventional.. everything appeared so normal. And then, we felt one baba standing at some distance from us. He was in his advanced age. Short, ragged and severely unprotected, perhaps unfed for at least a couple of days. Soon we realized that he wasn't really a beggar, as his pushcart was parked a couple of meters away from his place. Calm and quiet, we didn't know for how long he had been here watching us without uttering a single word.

Friend: "Jii baba, kuch chahiye?"

Baba without saying anything singled 'one' with his finger

My friend read his clue and offered one naan to him

At that very moment, one middle age woman equally ragged came rushing towards us and stopped right next to baba. This usually happens that when you try to help someone poor, the others (either really deprived or mere impostors) who always have their eyes in, sprint towards you to try out their chances. I won't call it a business but this can be one way of living. And something similar had happened here..

Woman: "Beta, kuch roti dila do, ghar pe bachey bhukey hain.."

My friend looked at us and smiled.. "Lo bhaiye.. aik aur.. Jao amma maaf kero!"

What happened then came crashing on us, trouncing our intellectually inflated minds, humbling us to our deepest core..

That baba who appeared so helpless, who quite evidently seemed starving, who himself had asked us for food, tore into two that single piece of bread we had offered him and extended it to that woman. It was stunning, I can not explain the sheer power of that moment. He smiled at her, kept his half bread in his handbag and walked away..


Nature has its own ways to reveal magnanimity.. Life is not just a cluster of meek, cagey familiarities.. Greatness comes in all form..

So much from God
That I can no longer

A Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim,
a Buddhist, a Jew.

The Truth has shared so much of Itself
With me

That I can no longer call myself
A man, a woman, an angel,
Or even a pure

Love has
Befriended Hafiz so completely
It has turned to ash
And freed

Of every concept and image
my mind has ever known.

- Hafiz

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Colored Toys

When I bring to you colored toys, my child,
I understand why there is such a play of colors on clouds, on water,
and why flowers are painted in tints
When I sing to make you dance
I truly know why there is music in leaves,
and why waves send their chorus of voices to the heart of the listening earth
When I bring sweet things to your greedy hands
I know why there is honey in the cup of the flowers
and why fruits are secretly filled with sweet juice
When I kiss your face to make you smile, my darling,
I surely understand what pleasure streams from the sky in morning light,
and what delight that is which the summer breeze brings to my body
when I kiss you to make you smile.

- Tagore

Friday, July 08, 2011

Husn e Haqiqi - Beauty of Truth

Ai husne haqiqi noor e azalO' Beauty of Truth, the Eternal Light!
Tenu waajib te imkaan kahunDo I call you necessity and possibility,
Tenu khalik zaat qadeem kahunDo I call you the ancient divinity,
Tenu haadis khalq jahan kahunThe One, creation and the world,
Tenu mutlaq mehez wajood kahunDo I call you free and pure Being,
Tenu almiya ayaan kahunOr the apparent lord of all,
Arvaah nafoos aqool kahunDo I call you the souls, the egos and the intellects,
Ashbaa iyaan nehaan kahunThe imbued manifest, and the imbued hidden,
Tenu ain haqeeqat maahiyatThe actual reality, the substance,
Tenu arz sifat te shaan kahunThe word, the attribute and dignity,
Anvaah kahun auzaah kahunDo I call you the variety, and the circumstance,
Atvaar kahun auzaan kahunThe demeanor, and the measure,
Tenu arsh kahun aflaak kahunDo I call you the throne and the firmament,
Tenu naaz naeem janaan kahunAnd the demurring delights of Paradise,
Tenu tat jamaad nabaat kahunDo I call you mineral and vegetable,
Haivaan kahun insaan kahunAnimal and human,
Tenu masjid mandir dair kahunDo I call you the mosque, the temple, the monastery,
Tenu pothi te quran kahunThe scriptures, the Quran,
Tasbeeh kahun zunnaar kahunThe rosary, the girdle,
Tenu kufr kahun imaan kahunGodlessness, and faith,
Tenu baadal barkha gaaj kahunDo I call you the clouds, the flash, the thunder,
Tenu bijli te baraan kahunLightning and the downpour,
Tenu aab kahun kahun tenu khaak kahunWater and earth,
Tenu baad kahun neeraan kahunThe gust and the inferno,
Tenu dasrat lichman raam kahunDo I call you Lakshmi, and Ram,
Tenu sita ji janaan kahunand the lovely Sita
Baldev jasuda nand kahunBaldev, Shiv, Nand, and Krishna,
Tenu kishan kanhaya kaan kahunkishan, kanhaiyaa and kaan
Tenu barhma bishan ganesh kahunBrahma, Vishnu and Ganesh,
Mahadev kahun bhagvaan kahunMahadev and Bhagvaan,
Teni geet granth te bed kahunDo I call you the Gita, the Granth, and the Ved,
Tenu gyaan kahun agyaan kahunKnowledge and the unknowable,
Tenu ibrahim hawa shees kahunDo I call you Abraham, Eve and Seth,
Tenu nooh kahun tufaan kahunNoah and the deluge,
Tenu ibrahim khaleel kahunAbraham the friend,
Tenu musa bin imran kahunand Moses son of Amran,
Tenu har dil da dildaar kahundarling of every heart
Tenu ahmad aalishaan kahunAnd Ahmad the glorious
Tenu shaahid malk hijaaz kahunDo I call you the witness, the Lord, or Hejaz,
Tenu baais kaun makaan kahunThe awakener, existence, or the point,
Tenu naaz kahun andaaz kahunDo I call you admiration or prognosis,
Tenu hoor pari ghilmaan kahunNymph, fairy, and the young lad,
Tenu nouk kahun tenu ttouk kahunThe tip and the nip,
Tenu surkhi beerha paan kahunAnd the redness of betel leaves,
Tenu tabla te tamboor kahunThe Tabla and Tanpura,
Tenu dholak surr te taan kahunThe drum, the notes and the improvisation,
Tenu husn te haar singhaar kahunDo I call you beauty and the fragrant flower,
Tenu ashwa ghamza aan kahunCoyness and that amorous glance,
Tenu ishq kahun tenu ilm kahunDo I call you Love and knowledge,
Tenu vehem yaqeen gumaan kahunSuperstition, belief, and conjecture,
Tenu husn kavi idraak kahunThe beauty of power, and conception,
Tenu zauk kahun wajdaan kahunAptitude and ecstasy,
Tenu sakar kahun sakraan kahunDo I call you intoxication and the drunk,
Tenu hairat te hairaan kahunAmazement and the amazed,
Tasleem kahun talveen kahunSubmission and the connection,
Tamkeen kahun irfaan kahunCompliance and Gnosticism,
Tenu sumbal sosan sarv kahunDo I call you the Hyacinth, the Lilly, and the Cypress,
Tenu nargis nafarmaan kahunAnd the rebellious Narcissus,
Tenu laale daagh te baagh kahunThe bereaved Tulip,
Gulzaar kahun bustaan kahunthe Rose garden, and the orchard,
Tenu khanjar teer tufang kahunDo I call you the dagger, the lance, and the rifle,
Tenu barcha bank sanaan kahunThe hail, the bullet, the spear,
Tenu teer khidang kamaan kahunThe arrows made of white poplar, and the bow,
Soofaar kahun peekaan kahunThe arrow-notch, and the arrowhead,
Berang kahun bemisal kahunDo I call you colorless, and unparalleled,
Besoorat har har aan kahunFormless in every instant,
Subooh kahun qudoos kahunGlory and holiness,
Rehman kahun subhaan kahunMost glorious and most compassionate,
Kar taubaa tart Fareed sadaRepent now Farid forever!
Har sheh nu par nuksaan kahunFor whatever I may say is less,
Tenu paak alakh be aib kahunDo I call you the pure and the humane,
Tenu haq be naam nishaan kahun The Truth without trace or name.