Sunday, January 20, 2019

Peace at sale!*

(*the story is fictional..... or is it?)

I was stressed. There are multiple signs you start sensing when you are stressed; these signs usually amplify around stressors.
Now I know you must be thinking I made up this word for you-know-whoEVER but that is not true, this is an actual word and you can google it. Stressors could be in any shape or form.
Anyway I started seeing signs like irritability etc etc… (and well it's the internet and that’s all you get to know)
But it really hit me when I noticed I was becoming defensive. For those of you who know me, I am not a defensive person at all; I am mostly very okay with making mistakes and being wrong. Because, well, to err is human. But in this state of stress and anxiety I had become defensive and felt the need to justify my actions. This enlightenment dawned upon me in the holy place of ‘second cup’.
I was hanging out with a friend and I volunteered to place the order. My friend wanted a tall Americano. And when the order came it was a grande?! HOLY MOTHER OF COFFEE BEANS!
The dude could not get the order properly. And I JUSTIFIED to my friend how it was NOT MY FAULT that order went wrong? And told the server how he needs to be more attentive. Best part - no one cared, neither the server nor my friend. The cost was negligible and culprit could be any. I had overreacted.
After this life changing experience. I started thinking even more or to rightly put it, I started ‘over-thinking’. I started critically analyzing my actions and life, and actions and life of my pet dog, Snoopy. So an apple to apple comparison could be drawn. And all the research got me this, “I have a lot of time on my hands to think. This is a luxury not afforded by many. Usually, people are super busy in their lives; working to pay the bills, make the ends meet. Finding happiness by giving away all things that bring happiness to get it, that's a mind f***! they don’t realize until they are on the death bed and then they say something, share/like-worthy, like ‘live your life the way if you knew you only had a year to live’”. Unexpectedly and unfortunately, the technique of ‘over-thinking’ did not help!
But there was one silver lining. I discovered that I have little problems and I have a lot of time. The entrepreneur in me as always thought of an idea that would help people and not make any money. There was a gap, people don’t have time and I have the time. I devised that I would put my self up for selflessly use my time to try out stress relieving experiences; after all, ‘service to humanity is the most satisfying feeling’. My dad said told me this quote, those party poopers seeking a source.
To forward my social cause, I booked a trip to Maldives. I went to a friend and tried to convince her to go with me. She said something about a ‘free meal’ and why should she spend all that money to go to Maldives with me. She told me its ‘chahrtay suraj ki duniya (the world belongs to the rising sun)’ and I thought she meant we should go to Japan. But really, she was saying that she doesn't care what I drive or wear and she likes me for me and would be happy to spend time with me. I was so happy to hear that I promised to get her brother a job through my aunt in the government.  
Let’s call my friend ‘Fair weather’. So, me and fair weather set to Maldives. We landed and I felt half of my stress was gone. I could smell the ocean. It was almost sunset and colors of purples and pinks were spread creating a transition between the blue of the sky and bright orange of the setting sun. There were no clouds. I thought to my self, ‘the environment around makes all the difference; I should run away form my problems and settle here to live a simpler life’. With that thought, that day, I slept thinking of my house-help’s home made cookies and milk that I did not get that night.
The next day Fair weather suggested we go to the beach. We spent the whole day there. There was a masseuse and I decided what better than to get a relaxing foot massage for stress reliving. That B****, the masseuse!! That was not a relaxing massage, not for the first 10 minutes of thirty at least. She said ‘I know the pain you feel’. You are stressed! I had travelled 1000 of miles to hear that from a woman who barely spoke the same language as me.
Clearly it didn’t work, trip to Maldives is not stress reliving. Thinking to try yoga! Ofcourse, the sweet heart that I am, I will share my findings with you folks!

Monday, December 10, 2018

A human who became a rat and died a rat

Labels and tags; are they necessary?
Is it really necessary to compartmentalize the richness of a human being?
Does the efficiency that classification brings really worth the destruction of an individual’s self esteem?  

When you really don't fit into any label. Your definitions of labels are as dicey as the labels themselves. Whether you are a bigot or not, depends on who is deciding. Just as beauty lies in the eyes of beholder, your definitions are always changing. Cutting someone slack, giving grace marks or exception; favors and sides - is that what we have all come to be?

Where you live? What you wear? What you do?
When some of your best sleeps are at worst of places. The clothes don’t guarantee the best laughter. When your work doesn't guarantee contentment.
Why does it matter?

Your personality type? Your skin tone? Your voice?
When there no two identical personalities in the world. When flesh is same, flows the same, behaves same. When the sweetness of your voice cannot take the bitterness of your words.
Why do you classify?

Your faith? Your education? Your occupation?
When everyone practices faith in their own way and sins, and sins differently. When education doesn't guarantee wisdom. When occupation doesn't bring any compassion. 

When these things don’t matter, why are labels still so important? Do they expedite decision making and help us use our time better? Time is money after all! Does it all come down to money? That doesn't appear so smart; the work of the smartest creation on earth. 

So your residence locality, gathering superiority, unworthy popularity, happiness artificiality, power priority. And still nothing?

And then you die. You mean nothing. You are forgotten. 

The tagging game you play every-day; some days you miss and get a prefect and other days a mischief, sometimes noble and other days a thief, some days pretty and other days beef, some days smart and other days jeez!

You are never good enough? For whom though? [Loug (People)?]

Your self esteem is determined by you. Your self worth is what you decide. Be true to you and to the human kind. Dance in the rain, lend a hand and donate your time. Love your family, enjoy the moments and grow things you leave behind.

Voices will fade and the crowd will not look twice.

You are born free, don’t die a mice.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Iss parcham k saye talay hum ik hain? (We are one under this flag)

We have different skin tones, we are different body types, we practice different faiths, we have different beliefs, we have different lifestyles, we have different occupations, we have different challenges, we have different circumstances, we follow different theories, we have different status, we have different hobbies, we speak different dialects, we belong to different sects, we speak different languages; we are different. But we are one.

That oneness is our unity. The oneness of our hospitality, the ones of norms, the oneness of our piece of land, the oneness of our traditions, the oneness of our songs, the oneness of our sports, the ones of our identity, the oneness of our society, the oneness of our systems, the oneness of our economy, the oneness of our people, the oneness of our language, the oneness of our love for the society, the oneness of our pride, the oneness of our air. We are indeed one.

We are different but we are united under our flag, our land, our identity.

Our identity is composed of all the differences that exist in our society. A Muslim economist, a Hindu lawyer, a Christian farmer, a Zoroastrian teacher, a Jewish doctor, an agnostic engineer, a Sikh solider are all Pakistanis. We are one with all these differences. Our identity is inclusive of us all.

We are stronger as one.

We cannot afford intolerance. We cannot afford classism. We cannot afford sectarianism. We cannot afford sexism. We cannot afford racism. We cannot! It hurts everything; it effects us all. It impacts our security, economy, society, politics, development, environment.

Whether we like it or not; Pakistan is not one niche of our society but it us all. We cannot sustain on not employing the minorities, we cannot sustain on making exceptions favoring the elite. We cannot sustain by behaving above the law. We cannot sustain by misusing our privilege.

Its about time we start owning to our oneness. It is about time we forgo our differences and celebrate our similarities. It is about time we play our part to create that balance that provides an equal footing for us all. It is about time; we embrace our differences. 

Friday, July 27, 2018

Even the soul left the body (Short stories)

Thirty seconds remaining before the signal turns green; this dirty boy needs to speed up picking his coconut strips from the road. How stupid does one have to be drop a small tray? That is probably why he is a street vendor. Most likely, he will sell these soiled coconuts to the cars stopping at the signal later. Ten seconds (driver beeping); aww! the poor thing is crying. But needs to hurry up! I am getting late for the fund raiser.

I am so excited to be part of the fundraiser for a primary school, set to be opened by end of the year. It feels great to be part of something that is bigger than me. I am volunteering for this multi-national non-profit that focuses on child education. It's great learning working with them; great network and will help with my college applications.


Tanveer:          Don't you feel it?
Anum:             Feel what?
Tanveer:          The numbness.
Anum:             What numbness.
Tanveer:          This numbness that's growing around us.
Anum:             It doesn't bother me.
Tanveer:          Your life goes on.
Anum:             I am sorry if you have a problem with me being content. I have my own battles that I fight, I have my own struggles and I don't need your approval.
Tanveer:          I did not mean to offend you. I just think sometimes, that we have got the bigger and better share of life than most people. We are privileged in every sense and may be we ought to do more for the lesser privileged. We owe it to others, its our responsibility. We are where we are for a reason.  
Anum:             I have worked very hard for where I am. I studied hard, I spent wisely, I struggled. I am honest and I contribute to the economic activity of the country.
Tanveer:          True and I do too. But we do it for ourselves.
Anum:             Yes, we do it for ourselves because we live in a world that judges’ success by money and power and status. The society designs us to be selfish and not selfless. You may not like to hear it but it is true and no matter how bad it sounds, it is survival. Money defines our social circle, residential area, entertainment, lifestyle... likability.  
Tanveer:          That's not contentment. After achieving that comfort, social approval and likability; would it feel like success?
Anum:             Thousands die everyday; thousands are born everyday. No one knows, no one cares. That's the circle of life.
Tanveer:          Some live forever. They are the outliers. They don't care for status and likability. They are disowned by family and friends. They don't live the easy life but they are the only ones who live life.  
Anum:             I don't mind living a dead person’s life that gives me a pool side view for my breakfast when I am sixty.


We like happy endings. We like seeing the good in the society. We like consuming stories that inspire us; stories that feature extraordinary people. It gives us the comfort that there are such courageous, brave people living among us that save the day. We believe keep the balance in the world. Those people are not us and we don't try to be them. We are viewers, we are comfortable in our seats and we like that. We forget that these people are among us and they are decreasing in number. If these individuals, these mavericks disappear we will have nothing but tragic endings and darkness to experience.

Source: Movie, "Khalil Gibran's The Prophet", screen shot