Life.

I am writing after so long that the feel of my laptop’s keys seem unfamiliar to my fingertips. I am making a lot of typos, pressing ‘t’ instead of ‘y’ and writing ‘og’ instead of ‘of’. The layout of the laptop which was ingrained into my muscle memory now feels cold and foreign to my touch.

My head is stuffed with questions and answers; answers which ignite more questions and the cycle continues to spin around and around and around until my mind feels it has been through the spin cycle of a cranky old washing machine.

The month of December 2014 was a nightmare; for me, for my family, for my friends and for my countrymen. Illness, blood, violence, loss; both loss of life and material, followed me like a perverted shadow. I went through a phase of extreme procrastination and depression. Even music, my saviour, lost its charm; King Crimson started to make me physically sick. I have already talked about my phases on my blog and those who are my loyal readers will know.

Oh, my loyal readers! Half the reason I did not start writing again was due to my shame of facing those I had forgotten about. How I had made friendships and left those sweet people hanging, never even reading or contemplating on their own words of woe. For that, I am very sorry.

Every time I return to the world of writing after an unannounced hiatus, I promise my readers I’ll continue writing regularly now. But this time, I will not make another hollow promise. I may not return to the world of WordPress for another two months, for a year, or forever; I do not know.

As the year drew to a close, the nightmare began with the martyrdom of more than 141 students and teachers whose only fault was to attend one of the most prestigious schools in the country. The sentiments of each and every Pakistani were hard to understand. We all felt guilty, angry, depressed and helpless.

It continued when all educational institutions in my country were closed down due to the looming threat of similar attacks. My own university which was founded by our Army’s welfare organization, Fauji Foundation, had received such threats. The last time I was on university premises was on Friday, the 19th of December. We have not been allowed to even step foot inside the college building since then. While us students stay at home and “enjoy”, my university is being renovated into a fortress for our protection.

I have had all the time in the world to contemplate on what was happening around me, and my thoughts dragged me down into a black hole.

While all this was going on, I fell ill and during the course of three days I had had my share of 13 intravenous and 6 muscular injections which my father administered twice a day. For more than four days I did not eat a single bite or took a single sip of water. I spent New Year’s Eve staring at the ceiling of my mother’s room which had been turned into a temporary hospital room. And at the end, it turned out all the medication was just a precaution and a result of misdiagnosis. I had only suffered a severe case of vertigo which had unsettled my stomach, while I was treated for complete intestinal obstruction!

While I was ill, my chronically ill paternal aunt’s condition also worsened. Her kidneys were failing and she was rushed to several hospitals during the course of 5 hours by my brother and cousins. My siblings and my father simultaneously took care of two severely ill loved ones, and I shall never forget their dedication.

As I recovered, my father’s health dropped. At the age of almost 7 decades he has no chronic illness except a deficiency of B-12 and the tendency to stress over things, resulting in higher blood pressure. It was my fault that he had high BP during the course of my illness and days after that. He says he is better now, but the doctor will determine that tomorrow.

I caught up with numerous semester final projects which were due in 3 days.  I slept at 3 AM and woke at 9 AM to try my best to save my 3.8/4 grade point average.

On the 10th of January, I turned 20. Two decades of my life closed among chaos.  But it was not complete chaos. As with every dark cloud, the silver lining had begun to emerge a few days before my birthday. One of my sisters got the job she always wanted while the other had a substantial pay raise which had her dancing at regular intervals during the day. They are also upgrading their car. My father’s business is booming. My aunt, after finally agreeing to dialysis, is now successfully on the road to recovery. She visited on my birthday and brought balloons and gave me cash. She looked groomed and healthy and was even talking about getting a new haircut.

My personal silver lining happens to be the existential crisis I am going through. It may seem like a conundrum to some, and yes it is terribly tiring to think so much, but introspection is something that was required. Ignorance is bliss until you get yanked out of it by a series of unfortunate events. Nonchalance never works out in the long run. Writing, what I had been calling ‘passion’ for lack of a better one, might not be after all. ‘Art’ which I had pushed away indifferently may as well be. But that too, does not make my eyes shine anymore so I am looking for something that does.

I am looking for my ‘calling’, a purpose of existing. For a dream, an aim, which will turn my humdrum existence into what we call life. I finally understand that to live and to exist are two very different things, and I am tired of simply existing like a leaf blowing in the wind.

To life; I hope it comes to me soon.

Image

Fall

Part of a series on "An Abstract View of Fall"

Part of a series on “An Abstract View of Fall”

Today, an unexpected cold wave hit Rawalpindi, Pakistan. I was wearing light summer clothes and open sandals. I shivered and my toes felt like ice-cubes. And I enjoyed every second of the teeth-clattering, toe-curling icy wind.

Here is a photograph taken last year, with my old Sony DigiCam for my Photography project , as a tribute to fall…

Bang Goes The Country

Oh you pretty Chitty Bang Bang,
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
We love you.
And, in
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
What we’ll do.
Near, far, in our motor car
Oh what a happy time we’ll spend.
Bang Bang Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Our fine four fendered friend.
Bang Bang Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Our fine four fendered friend.
Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Oh you pretty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
We love you.
And, in
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
What we’ll do.
Near, far, in our motor car
Oh what a happy time we’ll spend.
Bang Bang Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Our fine four fendered friend.
Bang Bang Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Our fine four fendered friend.
Your sleek as a thoroughbred.
Your seats are a feather bed.
You’ll turn everybody’s head today.
We’ll glide on our motor trip
With pride in our ownership
The envy of all we survey.
Oh Chitty You Chitty
Pretty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
We love you.
And Chitty, in Chitty
Pretty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang what we’ll do.
Near Chitty, far Chitty, in our motor car
Oh what a happy time we’ll spend.
Bang Bang Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Our fine four fendered friend.
Bang Bang Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Our fine four fendered friend.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Fine four fendered Chitty Chitty friend

My fine four-provinced friend. My love. Pakistan. Going CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG. There’s a bang here, there’s a bang there. Our enemies are eating us from the inside. Making us hollow. Killing our youth. Our officers. Our workers.

All over the world, people think that we are the enemy! But the world is our enemy. They don’t see what we, the people, are going through. Some have fattened up these so called religious extremists with their funds and their guns, and now their making us go up in flames.

I say if they (the Taliban) make us go bang bang, then we should make them hang hang!

Our fine four fendered province-d friend.
You’re sleeks strong as a thoroughbred.
Your seats  grounds are a feather bed.
You’ll turn everybody’s head dead today.
We’ll glide on our motor trip mother ship
With pride in our ownership
The envy of all we survey.
Oh Chitty You Chitty
Pretty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
We love you.

Change

First published on 23rd December 2013. Reverted to draft as it was sent to Express Tribune Blogs sometime in early January. Re-published on 24th February 2014 after being kindly rejected for ‘not being the type of posts published in ETB’ and the writer ‘should write something on another topic and send it again…’

Change – the slogan of many political campaigns of the world. They all say they will bring change, but can anyone, ever, bring change? Is change a glass of water, of what you can just say that bring me a glass of water? If I tell a politician, bring me change, will he pour it into a crystal glass and present it to me on a silver platter?

If that is what change is, then why have we not changed?

Why are we still the same as always?

Why are our minds still narrow, our eyes still closed and our hearts still black?

Why, still, do we sneer at Shias, laugh at Christians and scorn the Ahmadis?

Why, still, do we beat our women, ridicule our sons and shun our daughters?

Why, still, do we not love our country, cherish our country and idolize our country?

Why do we still look at America and England with envious eyes, why do we still worship Indian actors, why do we still prefer Chinese products?

Why is that we want our children to be raised in the western countries?

Why is it that to better our children’s future, we move to England?

Is this change? Can a single man bring change? Can a single man fix billions of hearts? Can a single man change the mind of a whole nation.

Although Mr. Imran Khan, a person I hold in high regard, said he can and he will, he never did.

People say they will, but they never do. That is a paramount cause of where we are now.

I am also guilty if this social evil. I say I will, but I never do.

I have to remedy this soon.

I must change myself, because I believe that change starts from within, radiates out and ultimately changes the people we are surrounded with.

A single man cannot change a nation, but a nation can change a single man.

In the words of a Pakistani rock band, Noori:

“Tum Badlo

Badlain Dil

Badlain Log”

You must change, hearts will change, people will change.

As Pride Runs Through My Veins

On 21st January 2014, I wake up ealry with the intention to revise for my major exam, Introduction to Mass Communication.

As is the rite of every teenager, I lie in bed bleary eyed and switch on my cell’s WiFi to scroll through the social sites.

A Facebook page has posted a ‘meme’. I am ecstatic at the news it points to. But I am also skeptical.

Rough translation of second frame: Look who's coming!

Rough translation of second frame: Look who’s coming!

My exam is in the afternoon, so I decide to switch on the TV.

Radio silence.

The vast number of privately owned media channels are mum. They are only sensationalizing mundane news items. Even the 9 o’clock bulletin has no mention of what my brave fighters have done in Mir Ali, North Waziristan, in the silence of the night and the pure light of dawn.

Not losing hope, I Google the news. “Air strike on terrorists”, “PAF strike on NW” and such related queries yield no result at 0930 or 0945.

At 10, I strike gold. Al-Jazeera, Reuters our local Dawn News has finally reported the news.

I post proof on Facebook ASAP...

I post proof on Facebook ASAP…

Pakistani bomber jets have annihilated known Taliban hideouts in North Waziristan.

By doing that they have effectively broken the ‘pact’ made with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan elders in 2007, that the Pakistan Army or Air Force will not bomb terrorist hideouts from then on (in return for what favor, I have no idea!).

PAF shoved that pact right up those extremist’s arse, adding in a few missiles for a bright, dazzling effect that left those bastards reeling and us Pakstanis feeling, finally, hopeful!

This is where I feel so proud of my Air Force, as does my father, a former Wing Commander of the PAF…

They, the TTP,  think that they can outright kill  and blow up our soldiers, our officials, our women and children and that we will not retaliate? Well, unfortunately for them, there are still some upstanding elements in our country!

And they have bombs!

I Am Pakistani

Violence.

Violence that I was not a witness of, but violence which has sparked another onslaught of protests in my country.

For those who do not know about the sects people have made in Islam, I will tell you, there are many. They are pitted against eachother due to the minute differences in their faith. But the two sects which exist in majority, the Shiyas and the Sunnis, have been at loggerheads for as long as anyone can remember.

The recent scenario in my city of Rawalpindi is responsible for the start of a series of killings. A bloodbath has ensued due to the stupidity of one ignorant ‘scholar’.

In the view of this tragedy and others before it, I want the world to know that at this time I am not a Sunni. I am not even fit to be called a Muslim. But there is one thing I am. There is one thing my Shia brethren are. There is one thing my Christian brethren are.

We are all Pakistani.

We were all born on this land and we will all be buried under the dirt of this land.

I condemn the Sunnis killing the Shiaas, I condemn the Shiaas killing the Sunnis. I condemn the Jihadists killing my Christian brothers and sisters.

I am Pakistani.

They are Pakistani.

We at Foundation University, condemn sectarianism and firmly believe that we are one!

One nation!

One Pakistan!

A dire time for all Pakistanis to unite…