Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Imbalanced Social Equation


Last night, I happened to have the honor to be at a party – societal elite’s gathering. I had never been bestowed with such an honor ere, so this night was quite a night for me. I came across souls which were difficult for me to relate to. I had never met so many people from this class at one place like this before.

The gathering was arranged in a ‘house of the lord’ – expensive chandeliers; shiny marble floor; Italian style wooden furniture; vintage crockery; classy decoration pieces; and breathtaking original paintings on the walls were some of the attractions that dazzled my eyes. Apart from this, their silky attires reminded me of the Roman monarchs - adorned with gems and other embellishments.

I have to admit I felt like a fish out of water; someone who didn’t really fit the bill of the gentility but I was having a nice time scrutinizing the ‘Martians’ – and I was returning them the same favor.

The best part was the dinner; the serving was done in silverware with a blinding sheen, and an array of dishes occupied the large glass table. From Asian cuisine to exotic delicacies, from a variety of fruits to colorful beverages; things seemed to have come out of a book illustrating the food in heaven or at any Mughal emperor’s court. Caterers, in their regalia, roamed around crooning ‘yes, ma’am, yes sir’.

I took a bite and I was chockablock – it seemed as if the food was as shallow as the milieu – outwardly tempting but inwardly unsavory. I wrapped my sandwich in a tissue paper to throw it away later, since I could not see any leftovers on the table and I thought it was one of the aristocratic class rules – so I was forced to follow their norms…as the old adage goes ‘when in Rome, do as Romans do.’ Naturally!

Flabbergasted in my mind and stumbled over the existence of such a class in our society, I wanted to take some air so I went out to gather myself. Dramatic, it may sound, but the atmosphere was so intense, I badly wanted some fresh air. The patio was a semi-circle with a fountain in the heart of it.

Just when I was observing some mosaic pattern on the wall, I faintly heard the eesha azaan – very feeble and dead in the deafening Spanish music. I thought it was time for me to leave.

I bade farewell to my hosts and walked straight to my car, thinking about the witnessed pomp and show.

I realized the sandwich was still in my hands (now somewhat stale and sweaty), looking for a garbage can, I reckoned I would better dump it in my kitchen trash bin. Just as my car turned at the crossing, I saw something on the road – was it a dog? May be a big cat? What was that on the road? Oh! It was a man! With his eyes weary; his skin tan; his finger nails blackened to the end; he came forward with pursed lips…I thought he must be hungry, so I gave him the sandwich I was previously thinking to dump. I don’t know how to explain that in words, but he gnawed at that piece of sandwich like an animal. I had never seen a man eating that way ever. I am not sure since when he had not eaten anything, but I can certainly say he was as much a human with stomach and taste buds as the people in the ‘palace’.

My car stood in the mid-way; on my right was the illuminated chateau, where the royals celebrated their jamboree and to my left was a hungry man, born to live on leftovers and to lie in dark alleys. It gave me chills down my spine. I was thankful to Allah for giving me a life better than so many others, and moreover for giving birth to me in a country like ours, where I can see both the black and the white, and can be thankful to realize that I lie in the gray part between the two extremes! I am proud of living in a country with four seasons, but I think it makes me less proud to be a part of a system with such an imbalanced social equation. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

My Political Evolution



Today, I can proudly say that I possess the much needed civic sense that most of us lack – I finally cast my first ever national vote. May be I should have done it earlier but….Yaaaaaayyyyy!!! At least, I have learned to put my cards on the table.

To chip in a protest for your right and that of your fellowmen is nothing short of casting a vote, right?

We all talk about prompting some change or revolution to shove off our country from the current ordeal, but we seldom ever work our fingers to the bone to make it happen.

However, I am a happy soul today. I took part in the recent sit-in protest observed by PTI against the US drone attacks on our soil.

There was a hive of activity. Weaving in and out of the crowd, I could get but a brief glance of Imran Khan – the man in action. Donned in white shalwar qameez and chitrali cap, he stood there looking tenacious! The moment I looked at his face (this moment lasted only a fifth of a second) a flashback ran at the back of my mind; the moment he lifted up the cricket world cup; the campaign he led for his cancer hospital; his efforts during the flood-2010; and now he stood there showing all the ‘Experienced Politicians’ the ropes, who don’t seem to halt their blamestorming, let alone the NATO supplies.

Imran Khan? He is such a mover and shaker. Ya! He is the man. I want him to become the next Prime Minister of Pakistan. At least, we should give him a chance”. Sounds clich√©? I have heard a million people saying this about him, but seldom do we use our right to vote. By dint of which, he is always thrown in at the deep end.

I think it’s time we learn to get our feet under the table!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Writing – My Love is As a Fever





If writing be the food of life, go on,
Give me all of it; but even with surfeiting,
The appetite may never sicken or die.
(Modification of Shakespeare’s quote)

I like to live with the credo that my love for my creator or my kith and kins is unconditional, but does my love for writing enjoy the same status? To my cognizance writing is my passion – something I fell in love with in my early years and continue to nurture my feelings to date - sounds quite like a clich√© but that’s how it really is.

While pondering over my love for writing, I decided to jot down some of the obvious reasons why I might be in love with it. Here is what I could think of:

It has anted up my voice – I can reach a million eyeballs and ears

It satisfies my urge of human right of speech and expression – something I had only heard of before

It makes me feel cocksure – the feeling that I have the efficacy to beget something overwhelms me

It wins me appreciation

Wins me friends – most of my cyber friends go gaga at my introduction as a writer – although they may get chagrined at the mediocrity of my writing afterward but by then I have already won them as friends  

Satisfies my hunger for knowledge

Very few lucky ones have the opportunity to make their passion their livelihood and I am happy to state here that I am one among them

It has given me an identity of my own – I could never wish for anything more

My friend in my loneliness – it always mitigates me in the darkest of times

It taught me the term 'writer's block' so I don't have to say 'I'm afraid' or ‘I can’t do it’

Monday, April 11, 2011

Last Week, I Won a Pot Full of Wisdom in the Lottery of Life!!!

Every new day of life totes with it an overflow of lessons, making us mature enough to endure the venom of life more sensibly; preparing us to take the good things in high spirits; and helping us to learn, who means what to us in our life (because we tend to either underestimate or overestimate it quite often). Last week has been somewhat freaky for me – it has been nothing lesser than a roller coaster ride with all its see-saw effects.

Let’s first talk about the high-up; I got my dream writing project – and I feel like a million bucks for it!!!

Then, there were those obnoxious knocks at my door! The first concerned a school-time classmate (I can hardly call her my friend), who lost her only brother aged 30. I have not seen her in years, but when I heard of her loss, I had to fight back my tears. For a moment I was like a bump on a log and her face kept crossing my mind round the clock.

Then, I heard about my old school teacher, who never taught me, battling a fatal disease; the thoughts of death and tragedy kept creeping into my mind through showers of nightmare.

And then the biggest blow was the news of my friend’s divorce. A friend, I had met on FB and have never seen in real. You cannot impede anyone from dying; you cannot curb a deadly disease; but you can surely prevent falling apart of the things that you have control over.

Although, I don’t know any of them like the back of my hand, but I feel for them – at least, we share the same race – the human race!

All these happenings collectively worked as a caution light for me, professing one basic truth – we don’t know for how long we may live, so we must live happily, appeasing, and obeying Allah – to whom we are accountable for all our actions.