Saturday, December 31, 2011

Lessons Learnt- from 2011

Dear Readers,
I believe it's a good idea to do yearly lessons learnt series. Every moment that passes, although we may not realize it, teaches us something. The lesson may be so subtle, that in most cases, we never know what changed us. Here are some lessons I learnt in 2011:

(For last year's lessons, click here) <- trust me, they're awesome

-  Sometimes, all you have got is Hope.

- Others can speak from their experiences. It is up to you to see how closely their circumstances match with yours, before you accept what they say.

- Most people have ulterior motives. Sad, but true. 

- Priorities change. 

- Being an Honest person can lead people into believing you are an absolute simpleton. Keep fooling them.

- It’s Ok to be scared of consequences.

- Pets are important. Very important. Get a cat.

- Do not detach from Nature. There is a mysterious power that Nature possesses; it can heal the deepest of wounds. Include Nature every day in your life, even if it is simply looking up to observe the sky for a couple of minutes.

- When things give you too much emotional strain: either 1) do some baking, or 2) think about the big picture (the Universe, the grand scheme of things... and how your little heartache has negligible impact on anything out there).

- There is a time for everything, it happens on schedule. If you try to rush it, or avoid it- you lose.

- Things that you think are unnecessary, or too unimportant, may actually be useful for you. No harm in trying.

- Don’t ignore your creativity. If it has been silent too long, you will have trouble accessing it again.

- Avoid people who make you feel/think/believe in the negative. Actively avoid.

- Recognize quickly which people in your life will make you happier... they are often those you may be inclined to keep at a distance. Why? Think about it.

- Learn to let things lie. Anger does not help. Some things sort themselves out automatically.

- Do something you'd never do normally, just for the heck of it.

- Don’t stop yourself from expressing your positive emotions. Reserve self-censorship only for the negative.

-  A broken heart is a humble, sweet companion. An intact heart has not known magic.

- Inspiration is terribly unpredictable.

- What looks perfect, is not perfect.

-  Share a poem... if a person chooses the exact line that hit you most, you’ve found a good friend. If a person chooses a completely different one, you’ve found a good friend anyway. If a person has nothing to say, well... not your type.

- Forgive more. More than you are naturally willing to.

- Believe in second chances. They do come sometimes.

- ‘Be yourself’ is too limited. Be a hundred different versions of yourself. They make you whole.

- Abandoning an unreadable book is ok. Not your fault. It’s the book’s fault.

- And finally, do not close the door on Love... it has a million ways to come and go. It must always be a welcome guest. And someday, it may decide to stay. 

Happy New Year!!! 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

An attempt

I wonder why I can’t write as well as I used to. Words simply fail me. My ideas seem like a dried up well, or just recycled rubbish. Is it because my mind is working, thinking in some other frame?  Has the beneficent Angel of creativity forsaken me? Where are you, o Angel, who whispered profound truths silently into my being? Who brought me new insight when I looked at the most mundane of all scenes? Where are you, o Bringer of immense joy, you who made my mind slip quietly into that sea at the edge of dreams? Where are you, my constant companion, on still cold nights, my guide through the myriad of questions that have no obvious answers? I see you have become quiet, maybe moved back into the shadows of my consciousness...waiting; for the time when I stop desperately seeking for you, or your shadow- that  forced creativeness, that shallow reflection of your depths... when I stop seeking you out, and renounce the Shadow, maybe...maybe you will come back and rescue me. Give me the words I long to have. Give me back my thoughts, and my silent joyous voyage- into your realm.

Thank you, my beloved Angel...for helping me write this short piece. I begin to feel your embrace again. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Look at love

Look at love-
how it tangles,
with the one fallen in love

look at spirit,
how it fuses with earth
giving it new life
why are you so busy
with this or that or good or bad?
pay attention to how things blend

why talk about all
the known and the unknown
see how the unknown merges into the known

why think separately
of this life and the next
when one is born from the last

look at your heart and tongue
one feels but deaf and dumb
the other speaks in words and signs

look at water and fire
earth and wind
enemies and friends all at once

the wolf and the lamb
the lion and the deer
far away yet together

look at the unity of this
spring and winter
manifested in the equinox

you too must mingle my friends
since the earth and the sky
are mingled just for you and me

be like sugarcane
sweet yet silent
don't get mixed up with bitter words

my beloved grows right out of my own heart
how much more union can there be?

-Jelalludin Rumi
translated by: Nader Khalili
taken from the Poetry Chaikhana

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

rah-e- talab mein kaun kisi ka?
apne bhi begaaney hain,
chand se mukhrey, rashk-e-ghizalan,
sab jaane pehchaaney hain.
tanhai si tanhai hai, kaise kahein, kaisey samjhayein,
chashm-o-lab-o-rukhsar ki teh mein,
roohon ke veeraney hain,
uff, yeh talashey husn-o-haqeeqat,
kis jah theherein, jayein kahan?
sehan-e-chaman mein phool khilein hain,
sehra mein deewaney hain...
hum ko sahaarey kya raas ayein,
apna sahara hain hum aap,
khud hi sehra, khud hi deewaney,
sham-e-nafas, parwaney hain,
bil-aakhir thak haar ke yaaro, hum ne bhi tasleem kiya,
apni zaat se ishq hai sacha, baaqi sab afsaaney hain...
- Ibn-Safi

English translation:
(on the path of desire,
even the dearest become distant,
and pretty faces, admirers of beauty,
all remain familiar.
who to tell, to speak of,- this loneliness?
beneath the layers of all eyes, all cheeks,
lie shadows of haunting souls.
oh! this desire for truth and beauty...
where do we go and where do we stop?
flowers blossom in gardens and terraces-
yet in deserts they wander madly, in vain...
for me, no support has worked,
except myself,
myself- the desert, myself- the crazy wanderer,
myself- the lamp, myself- the moth,
alas! my friends, I admit,
With oneself only, love is true-
the rest are but tales and fables...)

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Sinking Ship

My aunt says, the ship's sinking- and its our fate to stand by and watch it sink. This perfectly describes the way I feel, when I look around the state of my country, and even the world at large... the feeling I get reading the news each day. With every headline, my heart seems to sink a bit lower than it was a day before. There must be a deep limitless well, somewhere within me, where all this sorrow has found its place.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a chronically depressed individual. In fact, like most people, I want to enjoy life and be happy as much as I can. But these days, happiness is a bit hard to find. You can laugh at jokes that your friends forward you (but there is a tinge of sadness when you see the joke is about a recent tragedy- is this what we have come to?), you can visit places to amuse yourself (but you avoid certain areas/roads on the way- where there was a bomb blast or firing incidents), and you can watch TV (but you can't avoid that ticker at the bottom, telling you all the unfortunate news you'd rather not hear about).

It's not just about a certain city/country anymore. When I log on to the net each day, I'm greeted on my homepage by more global tragic incidents mixed with absurd celebrity news. When I log on to Facebook, I find one more tragedy per week to add to my sinking ship. When I read/watch the news... you get the drift. It's not surprising then, that my internal dialogue has this constant hum of "escape escape escape escape"...but where?

Why has the world today come to this? Is it because we are more connected that, we learn of more dreadful things happening around the globe? Is it because the media all over the world is consistently enamored by all things sensationally horrific? Was it this way before? I doubt it. Not in my parent's time. True, the world had its sad days, but I feel nowadays it's more frequent. 

I wish our generation wasn't stuck with the mistakes people made in the past. That we didn't have to live in this world full of anger, hate, crimes; with people after each other's throats, ripping bodies apart for their satisfaction. Others hell-bent on destruction of all that is good and human, or running after a mirage of commercialism. The race of life is too fast, too narrow, too single-tracked, too un-scenic, too plastic. Why?

Are humans today happier? Is this planet a happy place humming with life and creative energy? Or is it a sinking ship, dragged down with our misfortunes, greed and negativity?
No, I don't have an answer. Just escape escape escape....

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

One is All

Today, I want to share a small paragraph I read from Paulo Coelho's book (Like a Flowing River):

"A meeting in the house of Sao Paulo-born painter based in New York. We are talking about angels, and about alchemy. At one point, I try to explain to the other guests the alchemical idea that each of us contains the whole universe and that we are, therefore, responsible for its well-being. I struggle to find the right words, but cannot come up with a good image that will explain my point of view.
The painter, who has been listening in silence, asks everyone to look out of the window of his studio.
'What can you see?', he asks.
'A street in Greenwich Village,' someone replies.
The painter sticks a piece of paper over the window so that the street can no longer be seen; then, with a penknife, he cuts a small square in the paper.
'And if someone were to look through here, what will he see?'
'The same street,' comes the reply.
The painter cuts several squares in the paper.
'Just as each of these holes contains within it the whole view of the street, so each of us contains in our soul the same universe,' he says.
And all of us applaud the lovely image he has found."

Just beautiful. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Hand that made us is Divine

The spacious firmament on high
With all the blue ethereal sky
And spangled heavens, a shining frame,
Their great original proclaim,
The unwearied sun, from day to day,
Doth it’s Creator’s powers display,
And publishes to every land,
The work of an Almighty Hand.

Soon as the evening shades prevail,
The moon takes up the wondrous tale,
And nightly to the listening Earth,
Repeats the story of her birth,
While all the stars that round her burn,
And all the planets, in their turn,
Confirm the tidings as they roll,
And spread the Truth from pole to pole.

What though in solemn silence all,
Move round this dark terrestrial ball?
What though no real voice, or sound,
Amidst their radiant orbs be found?
In reason’s ear they all rejoice,
And utter forth a glorious voice-
Forever singing, as they shine:
The Hand that made us is Divine.
(19th Psalm paraphrased by Addison)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Egg

You were on your way home when you died.
It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.
And that’s when you met me.
“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”
“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.
“There was a… a truck and it was skidding…”
“Yup,” I said.
“I… I died?”
“Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.
You looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me. “What is this place?” You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”
“More or less,” I said.
“Are you god?” You asked.
“Yup,” I replied. “I’m God.”
“My kids… my wife,” you said.
“What about them?”
“Will they be all right?”
“That’s what I like to see,” I said. “You just died and your main concern is for your family. That’s good stuff right there.”
You looked at me with fascination. To you, I didn’t look like God. I just looked like some man. Or possibly a woman. Some vague authority figure, maybe. More of a grammar school teacher than the almighty.
“Don’t worry,” I said. “They’ll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn’t have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly relieved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If it’s any consolation, she’ll feel very guilty for feeling relieved.”
“Oh,” you said. “So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?”
“Neither,” I said. “You’ll be reincarnated.”
“Ah,” you said. “So the Hindus were right,”
“All religions are right in their own way,” I said. “Walk with me.”
You followed along as we strode through the void. “Where are we going?”
“Nowhere in particular,” I said. “It’s just nice to walk while we talk.”
“So what’s the point, then?” You asked. “When I get reborn, I’ll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything I did in this life won’t matter.”
“Not so!” I said. “You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just don’t remember them right now.”
I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. “Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold. You put a tiny part of yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had.
“You’ve been in a human for the last 48 years, so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for long enough, you’d start remembering everything. But there’s no point to doing that between each life.”
“How many times have I been reincarnated, then?”
“Oh lots. Lots and lots. An in to lots of different lives.” I said. “This time around, you’ll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD.”
“Wait, what?” You stammered. “You’re sending me back in time?”
“Well, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from.”
“Where you come from?” You said.
“Oh sure,” I explained “I come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there are others like me. I know you’ll want to know what it’s like there, but honestly you wouldn’t understand.”
“Oh,” you said, a little let down. “But wait. If I get reincarnated to other places in time, I could have interacted with myself at some point.”
“Sure. Happens all the time. And with both lives only aware of their own lifespan you don’t even know it’s happening.”
“So what’s the point of it all?”
“Seriously?” I asked. “Seriously? You’re asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a little stereotypical?”
“Well it’s a reasonable question,” you persisted.
I looked you in the eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”
“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”
“No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.”
“Just me? What about everyone else?”
“There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”
You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”
“All you. Different incarnations of you.”
“Wait. I’m everyone!?”
“Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.
“I’m every human being who ever lived?”
“Or who will ever live, yes.”
“I’m Abraham Lincoln?”
“And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added.
“I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled.
“And you’re the millions he killed.”
“I’m Jesus?”
“And you’re everyone who followed him.”
You fell silent.
“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”
You thought for a long time.
“Why?” You asked me. “Why do all this?”
“Because someday, you will become like me. Because that’s what you are. You’re one of my kind. You’re my child.”
“Whoa,” you said, incredulous. “You mean I’m a god?”
“No. Not yet. You’re a fetus. You’re still growing. Once you’ve lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born.”
“So the whole universe,” you said, “it’s just…”
“An egg.” I answered. “Now it’s time for you to move on to your next life.”
And I sent you on your way.

(please drop a line of appreciation to the author if you like this story as much as I did)

A new blog

I just realized that I've written 50 posts- which is a lot more than what I expected when I first began to write. I thought I'd give up after a month or two. But it has been going good so far. I have started another blog about my current visit to Karachi, and it seems I will be updating that blog more often nowadays than this one. This doesn't mean I have abandoned my eternal limits one. I'll continue to share poetry and my experiences here, it's just that a travel blog won't fit into this site. If you want to learn more about my city and daily life, do visit my other blog. I promise some information and some entertainment in each post. I hope you appreciate. Thank you!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Coke Studio's back!!

Hello readers! I am really excited today because the next season of Coke Studio starts in a week (next Sunday), so I thought I'd do a little compilation of my favourites from all the last 3 seasons.

What is Coke Studio?
-It's a TV series featuring live music performances by various artists of differing genres collaborating with each other (read up more on Wikipedia here). 

Why should I/we bother to read about it or watch it?
- it's not just any regular music programme! Each performance is something to experience!

What's so special or different about it?
- you get to hear different languages (Urdu, Farsi,Punjabi, Purabi, Sindhi etc etc) - you don't have to know all of them (I don't know any language except Urdu/English and a bit of Farsi - I just check out the English Translation on their website)
- Blend of different musical instruments (western fused with eastern, flutes and guitars, tabla and drums, rabab and the Sagar Veena) - some of these you have never seen or heard before
- lots of Sufi influence (especially lyrics)
- best house band ever!

 In short, it is the best representation of the cultural tapestry that is Pakistan. 

CK reminds us that Music knows no boundaries. So here's my top 15 countdown (tried to limit to 10 but it's impossible):

15- Ramooz-e-Ishq (performed by Abida Parveen) 
language: Urdu
style: Sufi / Qawwali 

14- Dastaan-e-Ishq (performed by Ali Zafar- lyrics so touching that he broke down while singing this song, and they had to upload the rehearsal version) 
language: Punjabi (some Urdu)
style: Sufi / Punjabi folk

13- Sar kiye pahar (performed by Strings- though the original 90's version rocked, this is a mellow version accompanied by steady drum beats in the background)
language: Urdu
style: modern rock fused with Baloch drums

12- Moomal Rano (performed by fakir Juman Shah- note the synchronized strumming of the lute-like instrument of these folk singers)
Language: Sindhi (I don't understand a word of what they are saying, but they are retelling the famed folk story of Moomal and Rano as told by Shah Latif Bhittai in his Shah jo Risalo)
Style: Sindhi folk

11- Aj latha naeeo (performed by Javed Bashir, original track by the Legendary Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the beat of this song was such a hit that it was often played in fashion shows for cat-walk- a classical folk song about pleading the lover to stay a little bit longer)
language: Punjabi 
style: punjabi folk fusion

10- Mori Araj Suno (performed by Tina Sani with Arieb Azhar- a composition of Faiz Ahmed Faiz's poem describing a complaint to God about the condition of humanity on this Earth, and God's short and sharp answer - has some slight Communist undertones)
Language: Punjabi (some Urdu and Purabi dialect usage)
Style: Ghazal-style fused with modern Western

9-Hor vi neevan ho (performed by Noori brothers, along with their mother playing the rare Sagar Veena instrument- simply beautiful rendition)
Language: Punjabi 
Style: modern western with typical Noori-ish singing =)

8- Aicha (Urdu cover of the French-Arabic song by Khaled, this version performed by Amanat Ali- the song tries to keep the same general rhythm and tune, while the lyrics are a bit tweaked to fit into Urdu)
language: Urdu
style: modern pop/rock style

7- Khamaaj (performed by Shafqat Amanat Ali- while the original has been one of my favourites since it came out and when the band Fuzon was still around, I think this version is just as good if not better)
language: Urdu 
style: folk with mellow tunes

6- Nazaar Eyle (performed by Zeb and Haniya - Original song by Baris Manco, the beat of this song is completely foreign and playing it so perfectly was a lot of hardwork)
language: Turkish (I don't understand a single word, but its a folk song)
style: Turkish folk song with some Western fusion

5- Bibi Sanem Janem (performed by Zeb and Haniya- old Farsi/Dari/Tajiki song, often sung on weddings and a famous rendition of this song from Tajikistan radio can be found here. Check out the brilliant Rabab the CK version begins with)
language: Farsi (Dari/Tajiki dialect)
style: Folk with western fusion

4- Na raindee hai (performed by Arieb Azhar- not exactly a 'song' but more of a melodious recital of Baba Bulleh Shah's brilliant Sufi piece. Note the soul-stirring violin that begins this song)
language: Punjabi
style: folk

3- Yaar Daddi (performed by Ali Zafar, original song was made famous by Abida Parveen- this version combines the Seraiki folk with a hint of Spanish beats, also check out the flute following the pattern of the raag towards the end of the song)
language: Seraiki (famed poetry of Baba Ghulam Fareed)
style: Sufi - Folk

2- Paimona (performed by Zeb and Haniya- this song basically made me fall in love with Dari/Farsi music and now I'm a huge fan of Z&H. Check out the rabab playing in the beginning, and Zeb's soulful voice.)
language: Farsi- Dari Dialect (from the "Rubaiyaat" of Omar Khayyam)
style: Afghani folk with a bit of fusion

1- Aik Alif (performed by Noori and Saein Zahoor- what can I say, just brilliant. From the lyrics to the banjo, to the last couple of lines sung by Hamza in his refreshingly different voice- this song is a masterpiece, and as yet No. 1 on my list)
Language: Punjabi (by Baba Bulleh Shah)
style: Punjabi folk with some Western fusion

I hope you enjoyed. I know almost all songs are great (but I had to cut them down to fit into a blog). If you like the Punjabi folk you might also like Alif Allah by Arif Lohar and Meesha Shafi (it was a big hit, but sadly it did not make it into my top 15). Let me know your comments. 
Now I can't wait to see the new season, it'll be awesome, I'm sure! 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Cost of War

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. ......Is there no other way the world may live?”

–President Dwight David Eisenhower, “The Chance for Peace,” speech given to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Apr. 16, 1953.  (Comment found on NYTimes website)


Friday, April 29, 2011

I touch God in my Song

By: Rabindranath Tagore

I touch God in my Song
            as the hill touches the far away sea
                     with its waterfall.

The Butterfly counts not months but moments
            and has time enough.

Let my love, like sunlight, surround you
            and yet give you illumined freedom.

Love remains a secret even when spoken
            for only a lover truly knows that he is loved

Emancipation from the bondage of soil
            is no freedom for thee.

In love I pay my endless debt to thee
            for what thou art.

(from the Poetry Chaikhana:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Things that make me Angry. Really.

My Classmates from High school, (when asked about my negative side in my slambook), all had the exact same thing to say: “Gets annoyed quickly”. It is very unfortunate that I have such trouble trying to control and cope with my anger. Some days are worse than others, and I feel like lashing out at every other thing. From the weather, to the traffic, to the fact that the light in the room is too dim or the chai is too cold or too dark, to what other people are saying.

Anger comes to me really quickly, takes me by surprise, in which I lose myself, say extremely spiteful things, and most probably I might even throw or smash something. The good thing is that anger leaves me really quickly too. After about an hour, I’d be perfectly alright and feeling guilty about what I just did. I also tend not to apologize quickly and easily, which is wrong. 

Here is a list of things that make me fly off the handle: (PLEASE EXCUSE MY LANGUAGE AND SLIGHTLY LONG LIST THANKS)

-         - Conservative and negative opinions, especially relating to women or people of other faiths/cultures/countries

-        - People scoffing books

-         - Blind following of faith, and absolute knee-jerk reaction when questioned/cornered

-        -  “Hi, this is Amy calling from XYZ duct-cleaning services; please can I speak to an adult?” What am I? A larva?

-         - Continuous stream of hate, bias and ridicule against a certain political party:  seems like it’s a fashion nowadays, isn’t it? If you don’t crack a joke about them you’re not cool.

-         - A toaster not plugged in for some mysterious reason

-         - A certain ‘politician’ – my advice to him: do what you do best, i.e. cricket.

-         - “You can’t do that!” “Why not?” “Because you are a girl! Girls can’t use a screwdriver you see.”
-         - Bell Internet services.

-         - Videos of an abomination called “Azizi”

-         - “Look this is so Cool!! Girl jumps off a cliff after reading this” – this type of FB shares, keep them to yourself

-         - Invitations to join groups that condemn other groups insulting religion (you tools are basically  freely advertising those sick bigots and their pages with your condemnation)

-         - Gits who were given a driving license by a jinxed or drunk examiner.

-         - Electronic equipment refusing to cooperate (tv, remote, Modem, computer, printer, cellphone, mp3 player, microwave,  hairdryer, curling iron etc)

-         - Recipes that take too long to make and go wrong halfway

-         - Friends that tell you they’ll “brb” but keep you waiting longer than 3 minutes

-         - Absolute pricks who take 2 minutes to type a coherent reply in a chat window

-         - Guys who immediately tell me “your eyexx so beatyful, sooo naaizze.. cn I have ur ph numb3r plzz”

-         - People showing off their expletive vocabulary on Youtube comments section, especially talking about “Nuking” certain war-torn countries. Wish I could selectively nuke their families and ask them how it feels. Petty filthy jerks.

-         - Illiterate idiots who type like this: y0 mAn U Rck! I lvv dis is xxoo gudzzxxx 4564934878rr54!!!!  Je ne comprends pas. Anglaise, s’il vous plait? Merci!

-         - “Hello, you have just won a Caribbean Cruise with Malta Tours Services, if you could please take a minute to—“ SHUT UP

-         - People believing in “disinformation” or “misinformation” or backing up their claims with dubious or obviously fake links with zero credibility- thanks for wasting my time

-         - People sending a Friend request and then asking me why I added them or do they know me?

-         - People tagging me in irrelevant pictures make me doubt their intelligence- thank you but I do not resemble a monkey dialling a phone nor is my name mentioned in that cliché quote you just posted, should I feel insulted?

-         - Get 2500 Shoppers Optimum Points!!! Open email -> when you spend $75 or more in-store. Dammit.

-         - Bose Sound System, buy one get one free. Exclusive offer from Reader’s Digest. Hello Mr. Hareem, you have just won a chance to get a Bose Sound System -> it’s MISS, MISS HAREEM.

-         - Check Hotmail inbox-> nothing important. Check Gmail inbox -> s**t-load of Spam. Delete Forever? Yes. Repeat every two hours. Every day of your life. Thanks.

-         - Canada Post. Postes Canada. Defining “Snail Mail” since 1867.

-         - Find highly interesting phrase --> type excitedly in Google (on Chrome) --> hit enter -> 15 seconds later -> Oops Message. Repeat.

-         - Discover perfect sale going on -> find perfect shade and style of jean -> all sized in the range of 00-04 only. Expletive.

-         - Read/Watch exceptional Jane Austen/Bronte sister story --> hear or read comment by stupid teen girl “Mr. Rochester/Darcy/Tilney/Heathcliff is soo based on Edward Cullen <3 I wuvv Edward Cullen!” --> do you even realize that Rochester, Darcy et al were created in the 19th century? Do you?

-         - Girls putting a truckload of mascara on their eyelashes until they look like thorny spiky needles coming out of their eyelids...must hurt.

-         - Hey plz be my fan plxx plxx plxx.... WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?

-         - Hi there- WHAT was that noise? Like some car hit our Garage door or what?- that’s the Mississauga News guy delivering weekly recycle bin trash. Oh, I see.

-         - Trying to sleep at night --> Drip Drip Drip --> Is that water dripping from the tap? Oh no... --> get up, turn on light, tap is innocently inactive -> go back to bed --> Drip Drip Drip. Am I imagining this? Tic Tic Tic... Oh my God. Shut up. LOUD HORN. 

      That's all for now, I guess. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

"I wanted to go to Paradise"

A cyclist on an old D.G.Khan street

Umar Fidai is 14 years old. He has two sisters and a mother, his father is dead. He hasn't been to school. He is being interviewed by a reporter while strapped to a hospital bed with severe injuries from a recent bomb blast.
No he is not a victim. He was supposed to be one of the suicide bombers to attack a Sufi shrine in D.G. Khan area of south Punjab. Somehow he was not able to detonate the bomb he had on his person, and was caught by the police although injured in the blast. Around 50 people have died.
The reporter asks: "Why did you do this? Why did you kill people?"
"They said kill the non muslims. They are wrong." Umar replies staring dazedly at the camera.
"Who? Who said kill the people?"
"The Taliban."
"Where is your family, your mother?"
Umar starts speaking in another language. Realizing people don't understand him, he switches back to broken Urdu. "Torkham, I'm from Torkham. The Taliban told me to do this."

A few feet away, a family of 6 or 7 people huddle together, the women wailing and mourning. They have lost an 8 year old child. The grandmother cries it was her fault, she sent the child to fetch some sacred water from the shrine. If only she hadn't. The mother of the girl looks up at the camera, but her eyes are vacant. She says nothing. Two little sad-faced boys stand beside her, uncomfortable with the camera and the hospital environment. The mother draws both her sons in her arms. The grandmother hides her face in her shawl.

"Aren't you sad? So many people have died... they were innocent. Aren't you ashamed, Umar?" the reporter asks the terrorist again.
"I wanted to go to Paradise", is all Umar says.

*An Update from Umar*

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Should doctors forget their oath?

It is day number 37 of the Doctor's (Young Doctor's Association) strike in Punjab province. They demand higher pay from the Government, and more benefits, and have refused to provide any OPD (out patient dept.) or Emergency services in Hospitals through out the province.
Almost 40-50 cases of death due to lack of medical help have been reported so far, (with actual figures much higher especially in rural areas). Other hospital staff, such as nurses and ward-boys have taken over this crucial role without having the skills and education needed. 
Today, I saw a man being interviewed on TV talking about the Doctor's strike. With tears in his eyes he explained how he had come from a far-away village to the Emergency dept. of a city hospital, only to be told there was no doctor on duty to help his 2 year old son. After 3 days of desperately asking for some medical care, he had to watch his child die. There are other similar stories. 
It seems all the doctors care about are their own demands. But what about their oath, their duty, to help humanity? Or is becoming a doctor only for financial/social respectability reasons? A doctor isn't just another person with a family, he is first and foremost the healer and the helper for those who are sick and needy. Have these doctors forgotten their oath?
I looked around on Google to find the famous Hippocratic Oath, and I found myself looking at another "debate" about whether it should be included in "ceremonies" or not, whether it offends somebody's religious beliefs, whether it is outdated, whether it's this or that or politically incorrect. This makes my heart sink. The essence of the medical profession, and the essence of this Oath, have been lost in this 'modern' socio-political jargon. 
So, today, the loss of human life from neglect is worth the financial gain of the striking doctors, just as the loss of the 'helping humanity spirit' is worth the political correctness and social relevance of a document. Such shame!

Here's a version of the Hippocratic Oath that I managed to find online. Maybe these doctors need to re-read what it says:

I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:
-I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.
-I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.
-I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug.
-I will not be ashamed to say "I know not," nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient's recovery.
-I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.
-I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.
-I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.
-I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.
-If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.
Written in 1964 by Louis Lasagna, Academic Dean of the School of Medicine at Tufts University.