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Posts Tagged ‘islam’

Repost from Chai and Charas (My other blog)

The blank page can be daunting. But at the same time it offers a world of possibilities and freedom that only those who can muster up the courage to face the blank page understand. No dis-respect intended towards those who don’t write, but those who do will probably understand what I am talking about. Back after my hiatus from the pages of this magazine, I had the daunting task of writing something that would not be completely mundane and boring, as my life has seem to become.
Since there is nothing of particular interest going on in my own life; I have finished the course work for school and now wrapping up projects and working part time at two jobs to keep busy. I resort to offer commentary and personal opinions on some events happening around the world, mostly in Pakistan – the homeland.

Karachi the city by the sea that I have learned to love for its complexity and bustling life, but grown to hate for its violence, its areas divided on ethnic lines and the traffic lets not forget traffic, The time I spent there would be one I remember fondly but it recently made headlines – it usually does for all the sectertation violence but for a factory burning and killing around 300 workers, a tragedy but largely gone unnoticed in the country for the post part. Those responsible hide behind their political clout and hordes of money. Innocent lives being lost has become such a way of life for us that it hardly even makes a blip on the radar. Yes the government promised action, justice and accountability for those families who are now without a source of income. But haven’t we seen all this before? There will be ‘discussions’ and ‘committees’ and a lot of people talking in their fancy boardrooms, but when will justice prevail? The rich remain aloof, the middle class remain torn b/w their needs and wants and the poor, well someone has to clean the streets and be the poster cause of some rich socialites charity cause.

Which brings me to the second item on the agenda – recently I started noticing some Facebook activism going on in my newsfeed; something around Islam and the Holy Prophet. Now I am not a particularly religious person, but I believe in limits to freedom of speech, and when your free speech clashes with my freedom. The cause behind the protests (which I later found out was not limited to Facebook but in the middle east there have been incidents of violence and the such, I shall spare the details) is a movie by some guy which portrays the Prophet in bad light. Muslims are an emotional bunch, and after the incident with the Danish Cartoons, people should have learned not to touch our raw nerves. We almost always react to such incidents in violence and bloodshed. However beyond all the violence and bloodshed was a picture that appeared in my inbox. A story of a man in the UK distributing free copies of the Koran (Quran) with English translation in an attempt to bridge the understanding between Muslims and non Muslims. Admirable. Why cant we react to such incidents in a more civilized manner, rather then burning down everything that lies in our path, Yes the movie is offensive, I personally only saw the 14 minute clip and it seemed completely random and production value, direction acting everything was something a high school kid would make for his school project. The actors claim they did not know what the movie was about or what it was intended for. Motivations and intentions of the clip aside, I admire the spirit of the person in the UK and hence wanted to highlight his reaction above everything else, perhaps if we did not resort to violence, we could actually bridge this massive gap between Muslims and everyone else.

This was different then my usual works of satire and humor. But I personally felt like these incidents are something I needed to bring out, and express my opinion over. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and some of you may agree, some of you may disagree, but lets try make a positive change.

tra The End as we know it – Fiveless. Credits: com

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This post has been removed because it is due to appear in London Link Magazine.

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Ramadan Kareem

I am a day late in declaring this but, ‘Happy Ramzan’ my muslim brethern. Not that anyone reads my blog, but on the off chance, someone out there stumbles upon it, I want to make it clear, I am a Muslim. If not by choice and practice, then by birth. I particularly look forward to this month, gives me a reason to fix my bad habits and act more or less human. Others, shiver and tremble is fear, for  I assume they too are creatures of habit, but not welcome to change.

This year is different. I never remembered Ramzan to be this difficult. Or perhaps it’s the first fast that’s always the hardest. Or is it that I do my own cooking? Or is it that I was never a nicotine and caffeine addict? Modern luxuries, fast paced life have ruined my habits and made me into a raving addict of chemical kicks in the morning to get day started. Deprive me of my external influences and watch me fall apart; splitting headaches, terrible mood swings and lets not forget the general irritability and inability to function.

But, but … but, and I cant stress this enough;  Ramzan isn’t about getting over your addictions. It’s about getting closer to God, experiencing that spirituality that we so often ignore in our modern, fast paced, money chasing, ‘time is money’ life. Ramzan isnt a month or time for detox. It’s time for reflection and meditation.

‘Take it slow’ says God to us. ‘Take it slow and remember, what life is really about’.

Of course, neither of us listens. We, including myself, just go hungry and fight cravings all day. At sunset, we breathe a sigh of relief, indulging ourselves in gluttony.

‘How the hell can I think about God when I cant stop thinking about food/caffeine/nicotine’ Pick your poison, plug it in. There you have it. Staring at your own  reflection.

At the cost of sounding like a whinny baby, but this Ramzan, Eid, and 14th August, fly your flags in half mast; at least. In respect to those who have lost everything in the recent floods. A disastor greater then the tsunami in Bali, and the earthquake in Pakistan. If you cant go there, send them money, if you can send them money, pray for them. If you cant pray, think about them at the very least.

Here’s to the false hope, ‘This time it would be different’ , to silence the heart. But all in good spirit eh?

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Although, when i said to my self, let me try and write something meaningfull, i had a few idea’s in my head. Mainly after a conversation with Wad, i thought i’d write something pertaining to it. In either case Wad, this is dedicated to you. And to you Dad, coz you told me. Write something. This maybe not be published in the TFT, but i am making a sincere effort. And you; Dad, never asked for more. No matter what i churn out of my Medula Oblangatas, this post is dedicated to the both of you.

21 guns-Green Day to fuel my creative juices.

He asked me if i was happy. Moving to another city, miles from my home, family, living in an apartment with a stranger. I said i am content. I guess the answer is not that simple.

If i track back on the other posts i have written, on this blog, I start by ranting on about how i dont have a career or a job or no direction blah blah. Now i have all of those things. I have a job at a very good company. I am getting paid enough to keep a good lifestyle, and i am living on my own. Independent to make my own desicions. All that one could ask for? Or is it? Is it right for me?

Yes. It is. When i ask myself, ‘what would I be doing back home’. The answer, inevitably is i would be either thinking about all those things mentioned above. Sitting in the window ledge, wondering, and slowly killing my air bags in the process. Then i would eat, lay infront of the tv. Or sit on the internet. Nothing productive. So yes compared to that, this is a much better deal . Specially now since i got a good place to live in, and that gives me a peace of mind. I have a decent, no wait, an excellent place to come back to after a long days work.

Ofcourse then, the exercise of this blog is not to let the corporate world drown out the tiny voice in my head. The voice that drives me to question social norms, status quo, in short, that gives me that individuality that i pride myself so much for. My ego. The stack of books on my bed are to keep me grounded. I am not comfortable with money or power. They corrupt people. They are the eccense of the consumerism that is killing out society and our minds. A slow creeping death. The irony. I am part of  the machine that is driving that culture. The catch. I wont let it get to me. I think it was in some Islamic reference that i heard, ‘Life is a constant struggle’. And so it is. No one said its going to be easy.

I stayed at PC and Avari, all expenses paid when i first arrived in The City by the Sea. My first reaction when i arrived at the hotel, PC, was utter discomfort and conflict. I cant do this, i told myself. I dont deserve it, I dont feel comfartable with people running around me, picking up after me. Its inhumane. Its below human dignity to be a servant to another man. But i realized after a couple of days, thats their job. They might not have chosen to have smiles pasted on their faces and fullfill every ridiciolous demand that the guest makes. But it’s their job. It fills their stomach, and their wives and childrens. In the end, all that we should/ even maybe are judged for is if we made an honest living. With our head held up high. Even though these poor bastards cant hold their head high. They do make an honest living. For the sake of their families they bear it all. All i can do is make it easier for them. Hence I humbly passed my time at both the hotels. Always being polite. Always greeting the staff with a pleasant smile. Always being grounded and not forgetting, this is not my place. It is only but passing. I was hazed and disoriented but i managed to keep my head straight. That has been how i have been brought up.

If Ali had been in my place, and he was talking to you, Wad, he would suggest Islam as a source of comfort for your troubled self. So would my sister, Gol. I would too for that matter. Although there is much lacking from me in that front myself. I am yet to get a prayer mat in my new room. I dont believe in traditional religion and rituals maybe. But i have a strong belief in God. It is an utterly personal thing for me. Not to be worn on your sleeve or displayed in your beard and piousness in wearing your shalwar above your ankles. It comes as all forms of respect and love must. From the core of your existence. It is very personal.

When i first got the call for the job, i remember sitting infront of the tv, watching, horrified, the news of a bomb blast in Peshawer. This was the second time some close had been so close in proximity to the destruction. Rabia’s windows and doors were shattered by the blast. Before this, Feryal’s parents were inside Marriot when it blew up. I asked my self, my country is drowning in blood, and i am going to go and work in a comfartable office, with people who live in a different country. Their worlds are not touched by such things. Mine has been. Or i choose to make it a point to register such things. I cannot live in a comfartable bubble and pretend my world ends where the rest begins. Politics is something every person must have a say in. It touches us all. But my justification, right or wrong, time will be a judge of it, was that at that stage, a fresh gaduate with no job experience, no money of his own. What can i do? I know, this is the question that we all must learn to answer to make a difference. I was writing those days. And i wrote a piece on the carnage of the current civil war that i saw myself at Malakand, ‘Damage Control’. I strongly believe in the written word, and its power to bring about change. But my part is not done yet.

What do all these seemingly random threads of thoughts come down to? I strongly believe i am made for things that are beyond working in an office, day in and day out. I strongly believe there must be more to life, then simply the nihilistic circle of making and consuming. We are, by God, or my evolution, in possesion of a brain. Rather a mind, the abstract concept of the slobby organ on top. The abstract which learns to say ‘I’, ‘Me’, ‘Why’, ‘How’  ‘When’, and all those questions. We are after all the only animal to ask questions about our own origins and look into science and spirituality for answers. For me, i believe it is writing. The power of language to express complex human thought and emotion in a way that others perceive  it and comprehend it is just fascinating. Must’nt we all have a higher purpose? That is a void, that can be filled with religion or science or art or any other thing of your choosing. Or let your intellect sink into a ocean of numbness and debauchery untill the tiny voice in your head is silenced.  Stop waiting for someone to show you the way. Make your own path. Think of Chris Columbus, or Alexandar, or Amstrong and his team at NASA, or Watson and Crick, or closer to my own heart and home, Abdus Salaam. There are many battles out there waiting to be fought. Pick one and get on with it.

I have a strong temptation to send this to TFT now that is has crossed the thousand words mark.

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