there are among us
wild ones, free at heart
those without check
beyond the compass
of their own mind
live as they do
or do not
but make no mistake
their existence is
which needs neither
Today I feel like an origami bird. Suspended in thin air, held only by a delicate thread.
I was checking out the book mart at Karachi airport today, going through prologues in the hope of stumbling across something interesting in Fiction. But that failed to happen so I randomly picked up this book titled ‘Jinnah vs Gandhi’. 3 hours ago, I wasn’t a big fan of Gandhi. Honestly, the only thing I remembered of him from school history books was that he was not a man of his word, he was strongly opposed to partition, deceived Muslims on major turning points in the freedom movement, and only championed the rights of Hindu majority. And that he used to drink pee (to that part, still eww). You talk to anyone in Pakistan about to graduate high school, irrespective of which system the bacha/bachi is studying in, they will more or less portray the same sketch of Gandhi for you.
This book challenged all of the above mentioned pakistani-history-book-information, which had successfully managed to form my opinion about who everyone calls one of the greatest Indian political leaders ever (not in Pakistan though. To us he is a pee-drinker). I got really angry when I moved from the prologue to the first chapter. How could Gandhi’s political aims be holistic and based on his genuine political thinking of individual reformation as the first step for the mass political reform. What Quaid envisioned was that Muslims should not live with Hindus- an aim he accomplished- but he did not want those Muslims to be any different than when they were in India. He didn’t expect them to change at any spiritual or individual level after the said goal was accomplished. Gandhi, on the other hand, believed in a Swaraj that was applicable not on the political level, but also on the personal level. Self-rule and liberation, as envisioned by Gandhi, was a means for individuals to liberate themselves from their lower instincts as a means for political liberation. The man was a genius.
What I love about reading self-proclaimed ”objective” commentary on historical events and figures of the British colonial Raj and post-colonial era is how angry it makes me at first. It makes me fidget in my seat, an obvious sign that something that forms a part of my core beliefs is being challenged. A moment of reckoning follows: should i read on? What if it eats away at whats left of the itsy bitsy conventional and mainstream in me and I end up being an even bigger non-conformist and misfit after I’m finished reading. Simultaneously, I get really angry on these gora people for coming up with their own ”unbiased” and ”neutral’ versions of OUR history, making our history books look like an indoctrinating tool kit. Forcing a narrowly conceived version of patriotism- a confusing blend of nationalism, Islamism (read: a vehicle of God’s will), and hatred for everything ”Hindustan”- down our throats.
It made me angry and then it made me think.
The God of Love, Plato wrote in “The Symposium,” “lives in a state of need.”
Two beautiful words I fell in love with during the short vacation to Amsterdam. We were on a boat cruise, me and two friends who happen to be a lovely couple. So it was my last day there and it got us talking about memories and nostalgia. And T told us about this word that Brazilians use to describe the feeling when you are melancholic about having to say good bye but happy that you made all those profound memories.. saudade. I don’t think English language does justice to what this word actually entails because it just doesn’t describe how intense those feelings are. Someone here has rightly said that its an ‘untranslatable and undeniably potent’ word.
And while we were on the subject of how English language has no words to describe such deeply felt beautiful or heart breaking emotions and moments, we landed on another word: gezellig. Its a Dutch word which describes the feeling of being cozy and having fun with your friends. It’s a little to do with the ambiance of the place where you are and a lot more about the people you are with. Happy word.
And I recently learnt about a German word that evokes such deep nostalgia that no English or Urdu word has ever been able to do: sehnsucht. It represents thoughts and feelings about all facets of life that are unfinished or imperfect, paired with a yearning for ideal alternative experience. It tells of a longing for a place we have never been to.. a far-off country, but not a particular earthly land which we can identify.
Now isn’t this the most nostalgic and beautiful word you know? And isn’t it just unfair if we go through life feeling these really deep, complicated emotions without even having a word to explain how we feel.
So, I’m sitting in my office- dream office actually,if you would allow me a little pretentiousness. Only a few people know how much I have always wanted to be here. I have a HUGE respect for what they do and also the whole world kinda knows about them These days, however, what makes me fall in love with this office everyday is nothing deep or philosophical at any level (but take my word for it that it allows many of those moments just by being itself).. its a glass wall ladies and gentlemen. Yeah, I know its pretty cool. So this glass wall lets me enjoy every change in weather while sitting inside- sunny day, rainy day, windy day (that’s when the trees go berserk). And makes my work a little less drab.
So I’m sitting here after working tirelessly for the last four days and today i just don’t feel like putting myself through the grind. Friday..lazy day. Eh. Listening to your soul and going a little Alchemist kinda day.
Posting old posts from my old blog here so I can revisit them any time I want. I like doing that sometimes. Not for any particular reason. Just that it helps me see events and people in retrospect which gives a sort of looking-back-and-connecting-the-dots-like-a-steve-jobs feeling. And sometimes it just makes me happy about how far i have come emotionally as well as in life generally.
So i was talking to this girl who I am car pooling with these days and we were talking about our fav shows. Sons of Anarchy came up and she told me how besides all the Harley-Davidsons in the show, what keeps her glued to it is the dynamics of how the street gangs work. The organization, the hierarchy, the rules they have to live by. That they have a complete mechanism in place for going about their daily routine. She went on for about two minutes. And you know that feeling when you suddenly realize you are not such a freak? Yeah, i got that feeling. And I told her how glad I am to know other people also over think about something as mundane as a show.
So, may be I should get back to work and do this a little more often. Writing about my day, that is. Always helps.
It’s that time of the year again. When the winds begin to pick up and the sweaty afternoons slowly give way to foggy mornings. The old gives way to the new. And its this time of the year that brings with it a desire to shed the old skin and begin anew.
They say reminiscing about the past is a sign of getting old. Is it? I don’t think so. It’s a sign that you are alive and you are human. That there is a part of you that is not willing to change- your memories.
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