Ashes

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…

Ash. It fascinates me. I believe in the principle many religions have in common…

From this Earth we were risen, to this earth we shall return. Form this dust we were sculpted, to this dust we shall return. Everything will, at its end, turn into dust and ash.

Everything will eventually burn itself out.

Even the Sun may, in a cataclysmic event that changes the course of the universe, burn itself and turn into nothing but a suspended cloud of glittering ash, hovering in the vast nothingness we call space.

Everything is volatile. Fate is volatile. One broken thread, one action, one word can change the past present and future of one or many people. Everything is flammable. And its burning is inevitable.

Everything burns.

With the course of time it fizzles out, leaving behind nothing but an acrid smell and a pile of ashes.

Everything turns into ashes.

Ashes. Are they not fascinating? A thing that was once alive, reduced to nothing but tiny particles. All the essence of its life, its virility, destined to be nothing but a grey mound. Is this why it is said that the phoenix rises from its ashes?

I believe it does. To me a phoenix is not a mythical creature, instead it is a metaphor that goes well with my life and I believe, every person’s, life.

Segments of our life start as sparks and gradually turn into small flames. We nurture and feed those flames until a bright, brilliant fire is lit. We bask in its heat. But, as is the course of nature, the brilliance of the flame slowly begins to dwindle. A wind blows. The flames flicker. Raindrops fall. The flames are about to die out. What can you do to stop it? Can you stop the wind that blows? Can you shelter the flames from the torrential rain? Do you add fuel to the fire? One day you will run out of fuel as well. One day the fire will burn out. And you will be left cold and bereft, staring into a pile of ashes and watching the glowing embers as they slowly fade into darkness.

For me, many fires have been extinguished over time. Some had water thrown on them, some became covered with sand over time. Some were stomped out in a fit of rage. And some just burned and burned without being watched over, and died with time.

I have never been able to add much fuel to my fires. After nurturing the flames for a while, I grow tired and bored.

I have lost many opportunities in the past year. Some I gave up myself and now regret, some were taken away from me

I have started many fires in the past year. Some remain lit, some have fizzled. All have been forgotten.

I have started many friendships in the past year. All have deteriorated.

I am, in this vast world full of dust and ashes, a lost soul. An alien that is seldom understood. Whose expectations can never be met.

A lonely existence is deadly. When you keep secrets to yourself because you have no one to share them with, when you yearn to laugh and wander about with friends, but can’t, when you have dreams that cannot be achieved due to circumstance or lack of motivation, when you have goals you cannot accomplish without support, you burn on the inside.

It becomes too much and you turn into fire.

And we all know what happens to fire; it turns into ash.

But from the ash, rises a phoenix. Beautiful, majestic. With wings that span the length of a room, with talons that can cut through the hardest of steels, rises a phoenix. Calm and wise, it spreads it’s wings and soars into the air. Alone, watching, listening, thinking, it observes the people it once called friends from its otherworldly view. It pays them no heed but turns it’s head to the Sun and determines to rise as high as that flaming ball on its own.

A new era has began. I am a phoenix, rising from the ashes of the last three month’s betrayals, broken trusts, lies and hopelessness. From the utter lack of motivation and passion. From the letdown of having no recognition of my talents whatsoever. From the insecurities that have been ingrained into me since childhood.

I have not lived on this Earth for almost two decades only to hide in the shadows and flutter about like blown ashes.

I must rise like a phoenix to blind those who doubt me with my brilliance and my light. A phoenix, a solitary creature, that does not require the fake support of masked hypocrites who only want me to turn into ashes.

For me, That day has not come yet. When it does, all will be earth to earth, dust to dust and ashes to ashes…

Thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. – The Bible, Genesis 3:19

From the earth We created you, and into it We will return you, and from it We will extract you another time. – The Quran, Taha 20:55

Looking At Myself : My TV Debut

According to the Daily Mail, the average British woman looks in the mirror up to 71 times a day.

I myself, being a woman, although non-British, look in the mirror about, I would say, 20 times a day. That is not counting the number of side-view mirrors of cars and any other reflective surface in my path where I just have to take a peek at my unruly hair and usually askew glasses.

But the ultimate ‘looking at myself’ moment came when I, in all my overweight glory, witnessed myself on TV.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, thanks to my wonderful sisters’ links in the media industry, I was part of a one-hour youth talk-show on the topic ‘forgiveness’.

My daily readers will know my views on this particularly cringe-worthy (for me) topic, so imagine how I managed to give diplomatic answers to the host for 45 minutes straight.

Keeping the topic issue aside, it was a moment of complete reflection when I saw myself as others saw me. On national television. Let’s just say that I have a lot of things to work upon.

On the other hand, it was a successful show all-in-all. The host liked my answers. I was expressing my radical point-of-view in a diplomatic manner and if I say so myself, I speak well. Thankfully the show was in English, or (as my siblings often make fun of me) I would have said words like Arrmaree and Ookhbar.

It was aired on our internationally broadcasted public TV channel PTV World.

Between me, my sisters and a pair of guys my age who were participating as well, it was a good show on such a dry topic.

Two things I learned that will really help me in any such future experiences are one, I should have a pair of prescription contact lenses made and two, I should wear clothes my own size. I had to take off my glasses as they glared a lot on camera. And due to my half-blind state and even more blinding studio lights, I was, for lack of a better word, blind as I did the show. And my slouchy clothes meant there was no shape whatsoever to my body!

As soon as the video is uploaded, I will be sharing the link here if some of my readers would like to really look at me at listen to me rambling on and on about how “I don’t forgive easily” and people “have to work for it!”

Gratefulness – An Analysis

Executed in a typical college assignment format…

Introduction:

My father, ever the philosopher, starts different ‘happiness’ campaigns around the house from time to time. This time, he posted a paper saying ‘I am grateful for…’ in our living room.

It was a little offensive as it suggested that we were not thankful to dad and others. But still some one or other did make some additions to it.

I however, have decided to numerate here some (slightly mundane) things my family members have done for me over the past few weeks, just because I want to tell myself that I am grateful for even the smallest pf things!

Things my niece (age 23 months) did for me:

  1. Made me smile.
  2. Made me laugh.
  3. Shared her candy.
  4. Hugged me.
  5. Bit me on the cheek (it’s her way of a kiss).

Things my sister-in-law did for me:

  1. Made me breakfast numerous times during the holidays.
  2. Brings me my fresh laundry every day.
  3. Sorted out my clothes and cleaned my closet for me. That was probably to make me ashamed, but still…
  4. Makes lunch everyday

Things my sister  did for me:

  1. Made me tea numerous times.
  2. Possibly made me a sandwich when I came back from college. It was either her or my sister-in-law!
  3. Helps me find freelance work because she has contacts.
  4. Is having a trouser specially tailored for me.
  5. Is very patient with the mess I make in our shared room.

Things my other sister did for me:

  1. Brought me ice cream.
  2. Gives me pocket money.
  3. Takes me shopping.

Things my brother did for me:

  1. Picked me up and dropped me without complain several times.
  2. Helped dad find and buy a laptop for me.
  3. On my demand had an awesome custom sticker skin printed for me for said laptop.
  4. Possibly remembered my favorite color (purple) because he selected that instead of pink for the laptop’s edging.

Thinks my oldest sister did for me:

Fucked up my family life and ruined our trust for eachother 3 years ago.

Things my mom did for me:

  1. Gave all of us money from the inheritance she just got from her brothers.
  2. Made me Parathas even though she wasn’t talking to me.
  3. Fought with me.
  4. Ruined my self-confidence.
  5. Isn’t talking to me since one week.
  6. Said she is only ‘tolerating’ me until I fuck off somewhere.

Things my dad did for me:

  1. Bought me a new laptop.
  2. Is going to buy me a new smartphone soon.
  3. Bought me new headphones.
  4. In my whole life he has done uncountable things for me; he used to dress me for school when I was a child, before going to work himself. He taught me the Namaz and Wuzu. He tutored me. He took care of me, and still does, when I’m sick.
  5. Makes me breakfast every morning and has been doing that for the last 8-9 years.
  6. Is at the gate seeing me off for college still.

Conclusion:

I have a lot to be grateful for. And a little to be mad about. I am not ungrateful. I am a spoiled brat. I don’t get along with my mother. I have stopped censoring the word ‘fuck’ into fudge or duck.

And I fucking feel great!

The Blessing of Knowing Who You Are

In response to the Daily Prompt

As I look at the daily prompt of 2 days ago, I realize how much I want to write on this topic.

One thing I love about mirrors is that one never has to pretend in front of them. They cannot judge you. You see what you want to see in them. I believe that what the mirror shows me is pretty much who I am.

I have, I had always thought, an identity crisis. I pretended to be someone else, when in reality I was a completely different person. But who doesn’t pretend? In front of others we are always what we want to be, never who we actually are.

Over the years, I have left these inhibitions behind and have tried to stop pretending. It did not leave behind many friends, or many smiles, but it did leave a happier me.

And so, as were asked to take a self-portrait for our Photography final, I decided to not pretend…

selfie1

A self-portrait that pretty much sums up who I am…

I had decided to only let this picture speak for itself, but I realize that I still want to say a few things.

When I look in the mirror, I see a pretty girl. I have been told I am not pretty or not up to society’s standard of being tall, fair and skinny. But as I look in the mirror, I realize I am not that ugly after all.

Ever since I have added that bit of red to my hair, I feel as if my physical appearance is now in equilibrium with my inner personality. It is fascinating how such a superficial thing like a streak of red dye can completely change how you see yourself.

As I look in the mirror, I see a comparatively tall, slightly overweight teenager with acne scars on her face. She has medium length dark brown hair with a brilliant streak of red going through it. Her eyebrows are thick, her obsidian eyes seem to be teasing and saying “I know things you don’t”. I see her full lips turned up in a clever half-smile. Her chin has a slight cleft in it, a legacy of her father, something she is very proud of. She has straight large teeth, not brilliantly white. She usually has her purple glasses fixed to her nose. She wears  collared shirts and trousers and is very careful of looking as best as possible.

As I look within myself, I see a bossy self-assured woman with an unconventional mind. She loves to eat. She is practical yet she is lazy and loves to procrastinate. She is strong and she does not like to cry. She has a very “I don’t care what you think” attitude. She is proud and egoistic. She gets angry easily and does not like to apologize. Her mind has stored some odd facts and figures about the world that sometimes come in handy. She likes to lead but goes over everything herself at least once. She is very much inspired by her father and longs to be like him in every way. She sometimes ‘forgets’ to brush her teeth (another proof of her laziness). She loves to read. She has a unique sense of style that is sometimes frowned upon by other Pakistani women. She is very self-conscious.

As I re-read what I’ve written, I am happy to see that my outer and inner appearance do coincide.

I am a true mirror image of myself…

Status: A-Okay

I am fine! Awesome. Completely okay. I had a minor bout of stomach flu last week, but now it’s all good.

Yes I’ve been having a lot of arguments lately but honestly, when am I not arguing?

My semester finals are almost at an end. Just one more to go. And there’s a photography display on Thursday that I’m quite tense about.

The USEFP people have apparently come out of hibernation and are sending automated e-mails saying that they’ve received our applications.

I haven’t got one.

Yet.

I was quite tense about that as well. Until I stalked a couple of pages on Facebook and came to know that we should ‘expect to hear more this winter’. Oh and I had my friend talk to her friend who is a UGrad Alumnus to confirm what I already knew deep down. Now all is good on that front.

I had a haircut. And I had a red statement streak put in my hair. Got a lot of odd looks on that. I’m proud of my hair for achieving such scandalous reviews. My dad liked it and surprisingly my mom didn’t give a nasty comment but instead actually smiled on my new look. Woohoo!

There’s a huge row going on between me and my sister. Our egos are clashing.

There’s a concert on 31st. One of Pakistan’s best rock bands, Qayaas, is performing in Islamabad. And I’ve got permission to go with my friends, as long as I figure out the ‘logistics’ myself!

I have resolved to learn to drive as soon as possible. I will be utilizing my semester break for that.

I must confess, rather shamefully, that I have not returned a novel back to the library on its due date. In fact, I haven’t even started reading it.

I also confess that I have not written, read or drew anything over the past three weeks. My creative mind is in slumber.

I have only fought my laziness to write this post thanks to Alienora‘s comment which reminded me that I am somewhat part of a literary world that I’ve been neglecting.

Thank you Ali, for pulling me out of the dreary void I had fallen into!