Sunday, 19 August 2018

Blots of Pain

Last night, while I was tossing and turning in my bed, trying to go to sleep, my subconscious (which is more like another person living inside me, questioning all my decisions and serving as a companion for interaction whenever I need company) summoned some vague ideas about "pain" and pulled me in to have a full conversation about it.
We argued a little about its relation to its cause and later agreed that all kinds of pains were significant, but the ones that we have to take responsibility for, are the hardest. Maybe that is why we hope secretly for someone else to take our decisions or to push us towards something hateful or to do something to us. If the source of our pain can be linked to another person, it is always easier to bear because we have the victim card to toss either at other people or at ourselves.
I have spent most of my life blaming a lot of people for all the pain I've had to bear. This might be the reason as to why I haven't borne any life-altering pain.
Owning the responsibility for our pain is something extraordinary and requires a lot of courage. The blots of our pain need to be our own because it is extremely ugly to get stained otherwise.
Are your blots a product of your decisions?

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Watashi

I am twenty years of broken dreams bundled up in curiosity.

I am too many feets deep in self pity,
And no amount of kicking helps me breathe.

I am too poor in grief,
So, my latest muse is the worst of what I feel.

Some days, I want to weed myself out,
Crawl to the precipice and see if someone holds my feet.

I search for the flaws that don't exist,
And the pain that I am entitled to,
So that this melancholia makes sense.

I try, on loop, to unravel the curiosity of my being so,
Only to end up vexed and forlorn.

I envision slaying contentment,
And then seeking it again.

I am quintessentially sceptic and dissatisfied,
And that's how I go through.

Friday, 27 October 2017

A random rant

If I could listen to one million stories during a lifetime, I would listen to them with you, or rather, listen to you.
The summers, I'd spend listening to tales of your notoriety that landed you in trouble; and the monsoons, when the smell  of petrichor would fill my nostrils, I'd talk to you about the puddles you jumped into, as a kid. Come autumn, and I'd hear you sing your favourite song, shedding all inhibitions in front of me; and during wintry nights, I'd snuggle up next to you and hear of all the overwhelming moments that rendered you speechless. The tales of your carefree days would fill the next in line-the days of Spring.
Your stories theme into genres in my library-one for each season and one for every kiss. They are the lyrics that tune to the notes of your mood. They are the essence that ensues when two souls entwine.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Reminiscences

The images of my childhood are blurred portraits. Blurred, but not inferior. They are grand and royal and beautiful. They serve as a vessel to all the happy events and the cherishable memories. The music that used to play in my brother's room, the smell of phenyl from when the floors were mopped, the sound of the fan turning at maximum speed during summers, mother's morning call on Eid and midnight hugs on my birthday--they are retained in my memory like the back of my hand; and are evoked at the sligthest mention, smell or sound of it. They are retained in my memory, not in details, but in emotions.
Recently, I visited an amusement park from one of those memories and it had suddenly shrunk in size from what I could recall through my childhood memories. And so had that hospital that I used to visit as a child for my vaccines. It made me realise that all our memories are prone to subjectivity.
It is always emphasised how childhood days are the best ones-full of hope, devoid of responsibilities. I dare to disagree. I believe that the nostalgic overview of our childhood is what renders those days as beautiful instead of our childhood itself,  just like looking back at youth seems beautiful when we're old. I don't know if there is a scientific theory to prove this, but I believe that we have the power to manipulate our memories. So, if something good happens with us, we amplify that moment in our head to resemble a fairy tale; and when something bad happens, we manipulate it into gorgons chasing after us. There's really no way to figure out how much we've manipulated the actual events to suit us except re-visiting them. But, only places can be revisited, not events. Hence, the grandeur of a moment is lost in that moment itself. What remains with us is a fragment of that moment. The rest is a story; our story, the way we want to make it look.
So, the next time you look back at a memory, know this---it's more a part of you than you believe it to be. It's not just something that happened to you,but something that happened in you.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

To seek or not to seek

As the wintry chill swum across the village and engulfed its inhabitants in yet another wave of iciness, our grandma beckoned us to come sit around her in the verandah where she had lighted up the fire. The seven of us raced to reach her first, and be the lucky one to sit nearest to her and to the fire. This had been our evening tradition during all the winter vacations, for as long as I could remember. We surrounded our grandma like the planets surround the sun. She used to be the centre of our universe for the two hours that used to follow. Childhood tales, legendary stories, amusing and terrifying anecdotes followed by morals and bits of advices-these were the bits that effectively filled those two hour long sessions.
That evening, however, was extraordinary. The teachings imparted that day would continue to guide me through all difficult moments in life. It was that evening when I was introduced to the concept of individualism. That evening was indeed magical-in the lessons imparted and in the lessons learnt.
"There was once a little boy who grew up to be a brave, kind-hearted, and compassionate warrior", began grandma. "He became famous among his fellow-men for possessing all the qualities that people associated with "the ideal man". He fought and won many battles and soon became the General of the army. Proud and honoured though he was, what he lacked was a certain satisfaction, which came to him neither when he was happy nor when he was sad. Neither did ecstacy excite him nor did melancholy shake him.
"When he was alone, he sought company. When he was safe, he sought danger. When he was prosperous, he sought poverty. When he was calm,  he sought anger. When he was at peace, he sought distress. When he was shaken with loss, he sought the assurance of fullness and when he was full with gain, he sought the melancholy of loss.
"Great though he was in the eyes of his fellow-men, never was he actually satisfied. Great were his years spent as a warrior, as a son, as a husband, as a father and grandfather but never as self."
To this, one of my cousins asked, " So what is it that we should seek in order to be satisfied?"
"To live in the 'today', to remember 'yesterday' and to welcome 'tomorrow', without fearing what it'll bring, that is what you need to reach your end, to be satisfied."
"But isn't seeking ambition, power, dreams and people a means to seeking that same end?", asked another cousin.
"The end that we all are seeking requires no means at all. When you start accumulating these means to reach your end, you start burdening your soul. With every addition that you make to this list, you become a slave to those means that you think determine your end. Do you know why that's so?"
We tried to conjure up some extraordinary answer to this. Unable to do this, we just shook our heads and silently anticipated the words that would come out of our grandma's mouth next.
"That's because the means are always determined by what other people think of us. We think that prosperity will buy us respect and loss will buy us sympathy. That is exactly how we decide that to be satisfied, we need those certain reactions from people towards us, and to bring about those reactions, we need prosperity and wealth, loss and distress. The warrior was never satisfied because when one of the things that be had sought in the past would come true, he would begin seeking something else. That is how the chain extends, never-endingly. The day you stop seeking your satisfaction in those means, you shall see your end."
That night, I stayed awake till the early hours, thinking about all that grandma had said. That night, I saw the change in myself as I annulled the fantasies that I had created in my head, and slept peacefully.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

A lonely man

[I wrote this story back when I was 14. This story is really close to my heart.]

After school, I walked to the cafe which was located on the way to my house. I entered, took a table next to the window and ordered some french fries, a sandwich and a juice. After a few minutes, an old fellow with white hair, white beard and a broken leg entered the cafe and sat across from me. This had become my daily routine since I had come to the new city. The first time I came into the cafe, it was full. There was not an empty table. But, this old man had been kind enough to offer me a seat on his table. We began with introductions and soon started talking about our past. "You were about to tell me what happened to your family",I said. "Yeah, that", he said, leaned on his chair and began....
"It was the July of 1938 when I got married. I was 21 then. It was a love marraige and I really loved my wife a lot. For two years, we spent a peaceful life even as the world was waging war. I was a journalist in one of the leading papers. In the summer of 1940, all the countrymen were called upon to defend our country against the enemies who were attacking us. I went forward and enrolled my name for the war. Soon, a call came and I had to leave my wife back at home. We promised to write letters to each other as frequently as possible, and I left. After six months, my wife gave birth to a child. I yearned to go back and hold my baby in my arms, but the war was on. On the 15th of March, 1941, the Government announced that it wasn't safe anymore to send letters as they were being checked and we were banned from doing so. Thereafter, neither did I write to my wife, nor did I get any of her letters. This separation was hard to bear. I longed for my family. On November 16, 1941, while at war, I broke my leg when crevice pierced through it. My leg was cut off. I had to learn to walk all over again with crutches on my side. After this incident, I could no longer fight in the war. I was honoured for my work and sent back home. When I returned to my city, my house, everything had changed. Our house was now occupied by some other people. No one around knew where my wife had gone. I grew frantic. I contacted everyone my wife and I knew, but to no avail. I never gave up hope. I left no stone unturned in the search of my family. I searched the whole city twice and then all the places I and my wife had ever visited together; I even hired a detective to find out about my wife, but in vain. I was ready to go to any limit to find her, but wherever I went, the doors closed on me. I resumed my job as a journalist, but also continued with the search. One day, I wad assigned to cover a story about a far off village, where there were frequent bombings, post-war. On my way, I stopped by a little market and went on to buy some snacks. One moment I was buying some chips, the next I was facing my wife and child. We looked at each other and tears flowed down our cheeks. She had a little baby with her who was pulling at her sleeve leading her towards an ice-cream stall. After sometime, we smiled at each other, there was a loud noise and everything in front of me blew up. It was another one of those blasts. I was at a safe distance from the blast. But my wife and my child..." The old man began to cry like a baby. I comforted him. After a long pause, he said,"My wife died then and there. My son survived with major injuries. The bomb had some chemicals which affected my son's nervous system. He went mad. He is currently in a hospital and tied up with ropes 24X7." The old man said nothing after that. He simply got up and left me dwelling on my life. I felt sorry for the old man who had gone through so much in life and yet stood up bravely. He was still a lonely man in this wide world. Even with many people around him!

Monday, 21 March 2016

Relativity of thoughts

They say this is good. They say that is bad.
They say this is true. They say that is false.
They say this is moral. They say that is sin.
They say this is acceptable. They say that is punishable.
They decide he's enviable. They decide she's detestable.
They decide your do's. They decide your dont's.
What is good; what is evil: if not an inference reached through our personal versions of ideals? What are our actions and reactions, if not a physical expression of the objectivities that we have individually explored? What are our emotions, if not an articulation of our perspectives? What are we, if not a sum of our outlooks? What are people to each other, if not relative thoughts, pointed and aimed at each other?