Sunday, April 22, 2018

On Mothers.

The amount of sheer love most mothers hold for their kids is so much that it scares me how someone can be so selfless. It's so palpable in every wrinkle that our dress sometimes withholds because we pressed it for ourselves and we know if it was for her, she would never have allowed it to stay on. The food she makes while preparing roti on the side has taste of her hurried concern that her children don't have to bear another hunger pang. The acceptance in her disapproving sighs and the love hidden in desperate plea for not picking up her incessant calls tell tales of her protectiveness.The redness of her eyes and pain of her feet every night bear witness to irreplaceable capacity to work every minute for sake of her children. When I see most mothers around me, their life is all about their children.
I belong to a generation who thinks it might not be a good idea devoting our whole-selves to nurture the next generation (doesn't mean I consider it wrong. Self-love is important) and I think it's partly because we are extremely afraid of the idea and example of selflessness set by generation of own mothers. Of course, fathers have their own set of struggles but the kind of love mothers have doesn't seem to be something that belong to this harsh, stony cold world. It's terrifyingly beautiful.

The Last Mughal

Two months in and I was finally able to come out of depressing and miserable existential crisis that final prof left on me as an aftermath. The book that helped me come out of my worse readers block was not this, it was "Eat, Pray, Love" (yes, the famous healing memoir) but I have yet to complete it and once I was in form, I hurriedly switched to a book I had aspired to read for a long time. It's about last Mughal emperor and his dynasty crumbling to the grounds after war of 1857 that left Delhi in ruins and utter chaos. The amazing thing about this book is its readability. Its 10/10.
Anyone who has read history books would agree that history books have a tendency to become boring very quickly. I've read excellent historians who are terrible writers but William Darlymple knows how to write a gripping story. He practically builds Delhi in your imagination and then set it on fire the way rebels and British did back in 1857. He vividly narrates smallest details of mutiny, war and its chaos. So vividly that often you forget you are reading history, not an imaginative fiction. This aspect stirred the skeptic inside me and made me doubt its accuracy at some points but when it comes to history, you can seldom find absolute truth.
The second most amazing thing about this book is writer's empathetic yet unbiased tone. William makes an effort not to offend readers from subcontinent, in fact he gives them lots of things to relate to. From Ghalib's love of mangoes to mushairaas held in Red fort until late night, a reader from sub continent does not take it as a commentary by a foreigner but a friend narrating those experiences. This is probably because the book's sources were heavily taken from Indian national archives and was emphatically written from an Indian perspective.
Last and my favorite point, writer stays empathetic but doesn't flinch while delivering facts. He didn't flinch while talking about christian missionaries and their insensitive and sometimes relentless effort to convert Muslims and Hindus to Christianity. Nor he hesitated to point out the fact that after Muslims and Hindus rebelled against East India company together (as a consequence of British attacking their religious sensitivities) imam of Jamia Masjid Delhi issued a fatwa about extending same jihad against Hindus which lead to utter chaos along with so many other factors that contributed towards this rebellion becoming a failure.
In short, its a must read for a beginner interested in Mughal history.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

On october and its weather

Book: The ministry of utmost happiness 
October is one the most beautiful times around the world. The weather is gorgeous, neither too hot nor too cold. This shift in the mood of weather is palpable in plants which like a loyal lover obey this change and alter their colors too. They let go of old grieves and prepare to welcome snow. Winds add a tinge of dopamine to this love affair and take away pale aged leaves. In short, its fall and everyone is out, uplifted and happy. However, there are some people who are actually falling this time of the year, as quietly as those poor leaves and they are not even part of a love story. They are medical students. For them, October is all about staying indoor surrounded by their books and drowning in a sea of anxiety. For past five years, I happen to be a part of this marginalized community and I can empathize with those abandoned leaves. However, five years of practice teach you some detoxing tricks. I’m sure everyone has his own therapies developed over the years to add a bit of dopamine to this time. I have developed a love-hate relationship with this part of my year because although my social life ceases to exist, my sleep cycle gets a mid-life crisis and I whine like no end, there are things that I enjoy doing. Oh, those silver linings!

1) These days make me eat more and better. Being an underweight person, I have a very dysfunctional relationship with food. My satiety threshold can be compared to an ant's and my motivation to make myself something to eat is even lesser than a panda's motivation to procreate. But these days help me push limits effortlessly because first, cooking serves as a nice escape from the study and second, it’s an amazing therapy. A nice meal is a powerful mood lighter for me. Since I'm mostly too broke to have a personal stash of chocolates; it’s a cheap and convenient way to find some happiness in my otherwise miserable state of life!

2) It helps me plan my life. As silly as it sounds the hours I spend daydreaming during exam preps are incredibly productive in a long run. I plan my career, travel destinations, ways to save money for future endeavors (money that will come after I pass those exams though), bucket list I'm going to follow, before 30 goals, blah blah; the list is endlessly unrealistic! Don’t think It’s all happy and nice. These thoughts soon get darker and fill my head with the sadness of closures I never had, the guilts I couldn’t let go and embarrassments I had to endure in past life. This is where I go back to point no. 1 and make myself a sandwich! Anyway, although they are daydreams, they help me narrow down a few realistic goals that I put down in my notepad and follow afterward.

3) They make me write more because somehow, these are most creative days. It has something to do with the alertness of brain or perhaps the introvert-ness that comes with these days. In any case, I sit down to think and ideas come rushing! Even right now, all I sat down to write was a caption for a photograph of breakfast that I made myself (and It wasn’t even a very nice picture) but I've written a huge essay effortlessly. I love it though so, I realize my real passion is writing now. So, reality checks, way to go!

4) They increase my productivity in every way. Although I sleep A LOT to cope up with the stress and also generally I'm a sleepy person (Another way I believe I can compete with pandas) these days are comparatively more productive even in a non-study sense. The main reason is the realization of time I spend on social media. Every minute I spend on social media gives me a guilt trip so, I try to do something productive in that time. When I don't feel like studying (which is a lot, to be honest), I read a book or watch something fun. So, that consistent useless scrolling of Facebook and Instagram is replaced by new things I discover!

5) These days tend to give a significant level of self-awareness. You observe how your body reacts to stress and how your mind deals with various situations. These self-realizations, disappointing most of the times though, help you trace your future strategies and life choices. Because let's not kid ourselves, life is going to get harder and blind optimism serves no good in long run. These days bring us closer to reality and help us take a more pragmatic approach. Since this is my last year, I have gotten a fair idea about the career path that will suit me in life which is a major decision in most of the doctors’ lives. See, it's not all terrible!

So, somehow if I don’t fall in love with October due to its weather, I love it for a strange kind of discipline it brings in my life. I experience it in peace and silence of final hours of the night that most people miss out. This is the part where you might be expecting me to say I will miss these days next year. Well, the truth is that I won’t! Because no matter how amazing a love-hate relationship sounds, It’s always a good riddance when it ends!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

On misplaced egos and broken friendships.

I have met very few people in my life with tandency to stay objective in a situation that had transpired because of their own flaws. Most of the times, we resort to blame game and choose to see perspective that validates our beliefs about our inner goodness or at least the will to be good intentioned. Then our brain looks for little things that could validate our version of story. It seeks out anything that could fill in spaces. It filters anything that could corroborate our narrative while subtly ignoring the opposite account.  People choose to be biased or emotional because its hardwired and doesn't take any effort that is usually involved in being objective or in accepting that they could be wrong. Perhaps it's easy to live with sense of being a victim of someone else's actions than to be perpetrator following his inner darkness. In fact, it's a defense mechanism we use to alleviate guilt that could splurge every now and then, and make us miserable. Its how we sleep at night satisfied that whatever damage had happened, wasn't our doing. It was because of other people, circumstances, life phases, age issues or anything that could fill the puzzle for us. Anything that could dim the red light of responsibility. It's true these thing have their own roles to play but a lot of times mistakes of individuals cannot be hidden under these tags. When we say to err is human, at the same time we need to accept that to realize is human too. In fact, realization is the first step to wash away mistakes without even leaving scars.  Realization is important because only those who have guts to even consider for once that they might be on flaw and reflect on their own wrong doings can grow in life. Those who choose to sideline their subjectivity,  negate their ego and see everything through window of different perspectives can become persons who are better than what they were yesterday.  If that could happen more frquently, there would be lesser ruined relationships, broken friendships and dysfunctional families.

Friday, December 2, 2016

On passing time.

As you grow up, the crowd around you shrinks. That care, love, and support you have been cherishing since your birth starts reducing slowly because the givers are not there anymore. Some die, some leave, some get too busy, some find other distractions but your inner child stays in denial for a long time, clinging on things too hard that the grip hurts your palms and blood oozes out. You hold so tight that it digs in your skin and leaves deep scars.  Every goodbye, every heartbreak inflicts a mark on your heart, like a diamond cutting through glass. You cry on some, scream on others and sob silently on most of them because you're forced to come out of your warm, comfortable cacoon and face the cold winds of emptiness. That's why adult life is so challenging psychologically. Oblivious to the cruelty of time, you get attached to faces popping up in that comfortable maze around you and get blown away when they fade or disappear soon. Time makes it happen, it makes people grow out of your maze and fly somewhere else. The circle goes on until every wrinkle on your body has a story to tell. A story of pain, a story of parting, a tale of laughing and forgetting, a tale of crying and loving again. Yes, loving again, growing fond of those bleeding wounds and chasing butterflies again because time may be cruel, it may take dear things from you, but it gives too. It leaves a beautiful souvenir of healing. That's why wrinkles are said to be full of wisdom because they have endurance hidden in them gifted by time.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Bliss of Solitude..

The best thing you can do to yourself is getting comfortable with your lonliness. Embracing it not as a liability but as a blessing, with open heart, because desire for companionship is like being tied to numerous invisible ropes, with their other ends attached to beings surrounding you. An insidious tug makes you fall at your face, bleeding from places it hurts the most. One little jerk in attempt to gain freedom can spread to the other side and come back to clench your own heart. But once you learn to be comfortable with being truly alone, you get rid of the repressed anger, broken expectations and insatiable need to depend on a friend, mentor, lover or anyone, everyone. You convert it into this magical, delightful bliss called solitude. It's not about building walls around you, protecting yourself or hiding from people. Its about eliminating the need for building walls altogether and coming out in the open fortress of love for your own soul. Because, once you roam that field of happiness, you truly achieve validation of existance and begin to look beyond it, persuing universe in all its glory, with steps that are unshakable and gait that reflects grace embedded in fierceness and strength.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Killing healthy dialogues!

What's with this opinion-shaming?  I've often seen people making fun of and mocking those who are vocal about their opinions for being "wanna-be experts" on the subject at hand. The trend of being vocal has upraised due to availability of social media. So, if there's any terrorist attack and public at social media discusses its causes- it's an attempt to become scholars on religion. If there's a shooting and people participate in discussing gun laws-it's an attempt to become political analyst. We saw it with wife beating fiasco and Hamza Ali Abbasi incident. The most recent is Brexit (UK exists EU, Big news!). Masses are merely expressing their respective views but there's a group who doesn't participate in anything productive. Instead it retorts to mocking others who consider it important enough to discuss. I can quote plenty of examples but I think it would suffice saying that some ignorant and lazy individuals with a notion of high intellect just sit behind their keyboards and judge others for raising a voice and think that they are making a difference. Like their own selfies, emotional rants and travel logs are only crucial things that world needs to know about. You say writing long Facebook posts won't help anyone? Let me teach you a thing or two about how power of masses works. Raising a voice is initiation of process that stirs a change and having a productive discussion is first step of staircase of betterment. But how will we ever know that? We are Pakistanis, remember?
It's a curse of totalitarian society where raising a question becomes an anomaly. People reach a level of self-loathing where Stockholm syndrome kicks in and everything looks like a rainbow. When flux of information is controlled by a certain fraction, ignorance seems like a strength. Does it ring a bell? You got it right! George Orwell's 1984 is still relevant.
Our society is immature and intolerant to its core because of same lack of dialogue. If you don't make it comfortable for people to say their hearts out, how will you learn being tolerant to others views? But we are not ready to learn this lesson yet. For now, we find it entertaining to humiliate people who try to indulge in dialogue by calling them attention-seekers and laughing at their desperateness to look cool. Anyone who dares broadcasting an opinion or holding a discussion is seen as an outcast striving to jump on a bandwagon. People call him madman! Maybe being sane in insane times is itself an insanity! But mark my words, this mockery is nothing but satisfaction of your fragile egos. It's just another way to validate your ignorance or lack of willingness to say something that world deems important. Anything that happens in the world can be discussed, should be discussed and there is no shame in it. Only shame is doing nothing and airing a sense of superiority in ignorance!