I Stand Alone

The world is so silent, as if all of life has been sucked out of it in one single minute. Only a few seconds ago, I was surrounded by so many happy faces, laughing; oblivious to the future and uncaring about anything at all. I stand alone right now.

Where has everyone gone?

I stand at the precipice of sanity and hysteria, hanging by a thread between the middle as I search for peace. Contentment; what a funny word. Where is contentment after I look up from the pages of a book, my heart dreading the collision with reality after a blissful hour or so within the fictitious world of yet another brilliant author. Where is the contentment, where day after day we toil for the same things, yet remain just as unhappy as we first started; if not more. Where is the contentment when we reach the goals we set out to achieve, yet our souls remain restless and without a shred of peace. As I take a look around at the world going past me, I realize: I stand alone right now.

Life has suddenly increased its pace. Shot through all the times that we were supposed to take; for granted. Age is catching up with each one of us, all at a different pace. Some get tired faster of this flimsy world than others, yet we know that all it takes is a slight nudge, a slight push and life will flip over on its own head…and you will fall flat on your face.  When you finally push yourself up of the ground, you will look around and come to realize on your own: I stand alone right now.

But it is not for right now; it is for ever more. This is life; you, alone, know in which direction you are meant to go. For regardless of the speed with which you take off at first, you will always go through the same lesson as those before us, that this world and its people are as flimsy as a spider’s web and we are the food stuck within its gossamer beams; blinded by the lights and skillfully deceived. We are the people that run after that which we cannot attain, yet we fight to achieve it; and once it is within our midst, we realize too later: I stand alone. Right now. And forever more.

 

كُنْ فَيَكُونُ

Arabic is such a beautiful, powerful language. One of the oldest languages in the world today, aside from Hebrew; it can hold a vast array of meanings in the smallest of words. كُنْ فَيَكُونُ (Kun Faya Kun): the three words that encompass all of Allah’s power like no other.

Present in Surah Yasin, this ayat is talking about how Allah does not need anyone’s help in doing anything (verse:82). In English, it can be translated to “Be, and it is.” That is all He has to do to create anything at all – whether it is the entire universe or simply an ant being born out of a egg. كُنْ فَيَكُونُ

The entire backdrop of these three words can be seen thus:

77. Does not man see that We have created him from Nutfah (mixed male and female sexual discharge – semen drops). Yet behold he (stands forth) as an open opponent.
78. And he puts forth for Us a parable, and forgets his own creation. He says: “Who will give life to these bones after they are rotten and have become dust?”
79. Say: (O Muhammad sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) “He will give life to them Who created them for the first time! And He is the All-Knower of every creation!”
80. He Who produces for you fire out of the green tree, when behold you kindle therewith.
81. Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth, Able to create the like of them? Yes, indeed! He is the All-Knowing Supreme Creator.
82. Verily, His Command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to it, “Be!” – and it is!
83. So glorified be He and exalted above all that they associate with Him, and in Whose Hands is the dominion of all things: and to Him you shall be returned.

Quran (Surah Yaseen, Verses 79 – 83)

Can you imagine the power behind the Creator? It is beyond one’s meager comprehension. We can either believe, or not. There is no in between.

كُنْ فَيَكُونُ

If something is not happening in your life, pray to Him. Pray to Allah. Ask Him for it. Beg Him for it. Cry in sujood. If it is good for you, He will make it happen. If he does not want it for you, no matter what you do; nothing can change his decree. الله أكبر

Accept what He has written for you and move on. You will be stronger for it. We cannot decide our own fate; we do not have that luxury. He decides everything for us. We can only obey. That is the basis of our relationship with Him; that is the entire reason for our existence.

Worship. Do good deeds. Worship. Create a legacy that benefits humankind.Worship.

And He will give to you out of his unlimited bounty. He is Al-Ghani. But don’t lose hope. Keep asking. And He will provide; in His own time, when it is best for you.

For when He does decide to grant you your wish, all he has to say is: كُنْ فَيَكُونُ and it will be.

Fighting The Fog

It’s so hard waking up in the morning; you have to force open your heavy-lidded eyes, turn your body to the side and haul yourself upright, before swinging both legs off the side of the bed… all the while fighting the fog muddling your brain and senses. The drowsiness never really goes away though, you just learn to push it to the back of your head while you’re going through your everyday chores;whether it’s eating an omelette or drinking a hot cup of coffee. It’s always there, hanging like a dark cloud overhead, ready to swoop down on you and drench you in it’s mind-numbing fog (if you allow it to).

That’s why you have to fight it. You can’t walk this road; you’ve seen too many people go down and never stand up again. They go to psychologists to “talk” (who does that by the way? Like that’s a real job?); they take pills because they can’t sleep… other people, they sleep too much.

But God, it’s such an effort now. Picking up the phone, opening WhatsApp, responding to people’s messages- or even just making small talk because you’re afraid of completely losing touch with others if you don’t. It’s so hard. What is there to talk about? What can you say? Nothing. Because you do nothing. Because you are nothing. Just a waste of space taking up valuable oxygen from other people inhabiting the same planet.

You just want to sleep now. It’s so much easier; just close your eyes and woosh! Off you go into lala land, and before you know it yet another week has passed. So much easier than putting a smile on your face every day, pretending you’re not silently crying on the inside even as you laugh at another person’s jokes, pretending you’re okay with what is happening around you, when in reality you would change it with a swish of your wand if you could. There’s so much loneliness, even when you’re in a crowd. Everybody is so different; far away from you. You want to reach out to someone, but you can’t make a sound. In your mind’s eye you see yourself standing all alone in the middle of an open ground, not a soul in sight, not a sound.

What does all this mean? You’ve had similar emotions in the past, but they’ve always gone away after. This time… this time it’s harder. It’s like they don’t want to leave you alone; it’s almost like they’re your only friend in this big bad world. You don’t want them to leave you either…

This box is driving you crazy. You want to break out of it but you can’t. You might busy yourself in work for a little while, but as soon as you look up from the laptop/notebook, there it is; that creeping feeling again, peeking over your shoulder like it never really left.It casts a long dark shadow over everything it touches, everything within sight; until you’re surrounded by darkness, not a glimmer of light.

You wake up in the middle of the night with a jerk and you can’t remember if you closed all the lights. They’re all on in your room. Maybe you didn’t close them? Maybe you just thought you did… but you remember staring down at a mobile screen while you were on your side right before you went to sleep; the lights weren’t all on then. Or were they?

Memories of another time flood your brain; laughter, happiness, friends… was that really you? Or is your mind just making up these emotions from the past because you’re slowly going insane?

But who can you talk to? Who will understand? Is this normal? Or is this just ‘hormones’ like everybody says.

You don’t want to explore these feelings; these feelings that have now become such a large part of you. You don’t want to hear people say “you know we love you, right?”, with that look in their eyes. You don’t want to hear it! You don’t want people to tell you you’re slowly going insane; even though you know inside your heart is slowly dying, waiting for this life to just come to a stop. But you can’t do anything about that because your soul, you owe it to God.

“What He giveth, He taketh away”… only this time it feels He’s just sitting on the sidelines, watching you as you twist and turn in the wind. Maybe it’s a test? Maybe He wants to see how devoted you really are to Him. Maybe if you leave the house more often you will stop feeling like this… like you’re stuck and everybody is just moving forward, onward with their lives; without you. And there is so much you still have to do, so much you still have to prove, both to the world and yourself, but by God… it’s so much effort to just open your eyes and get out of bed.

You’re so tired. Your body hurts and your brain has turned to mush; you go through the motions, not really registering anything much. You can’t wait until you’re back home, when you can fall back down on the bed and close your eyes, aboard yet another flight to Lala Land, where all the darkness disappears… or if not completely, at least you don’t need to move that much. At least you can lie still as the time passes by, as you grow old… one more day closer to goodbye.

 

 

Ana Ayesh Iw Mosh A’ayesh

This is not a poem, though god knows I’m emotional enough to write one at this point. When I first saw the Ruiyah, I woke up confused. I thought I had mixed up two different people; mentally changed a scenario in my head from how it should actually be, because of increased contact with one compared to the other.

Two years on, I am faced with the blood-chilling prospect that maybe, just maybe, I did not change anything at all. The Ruiyah was exactly like it should have been…down to the last T. And now this horrifying scenario looms ahead of me, completely taking over my mind. My soul feels trapped, as if shackled to the ground – frightened of what is to come, yet helpless to change it.

What am I to do? I know what is coming. I have seen it. But how does one mentally prepare oneself for the possibility – total loss, soul crushing pain… Where do I go? Who do I turn to?

Regardless of how much I feel as though I am hurtling towards the edge of a cliff, facing a bottomless pit; as the image slowly grows larger than life, taking over me; I have to ask myself: why did I see what I did? Why did God show me that particular Ruiyah?

Was he trying to warn me? Mentally prepare me? Am I supposed to do something to change the end result – but how can I?

Inaha Makhtuba. It is written. I am so afraid. I know what is coming. I want to change it. I want to stop it. How can I?

Oh Allah, take care of me. Twasa Fia.

Serenity

Dark clouds converge overhead,

The sound of thunder rips the air at intervals,

On deck, people rush for shelter from the rain,

And I… I stand in the middle of it all,

Longing to feel a few drops on my face.

The water, it washes away my sins,

I no longer feel chained to my grief,

Cold shivers run through my body,

The rain is resurrecting me.

The thunder reflects my ire,

The silent screams inside of me,

Which were never allowed release.

Its ear-splitting sound echoes,

The pain deep inside my soul,

It has gone numb over the years,

So deep inside that now,

it is a part of who I am,

And I realize that the mask of calm and serenity

Which I love to wear,

Is slowly disintegrating,

And I’m trying catch the layers,

As they peel off one by one,

Little by little,

My feelings overcome,

My resistance,

And I am left with nothing,

But an image of the past,

With that smile of yours I love so much,

And the dimple peeking out at the world,

Just above your jawline,

And I can’t help but reminisce,

On how it used to be. And how it all ended.

And here I stand,

In a world of my own,

Regardless of the outside,

Safe in my cocoon,

Of memories.

I can never let it go.

And as I think this, I realize,

I don’t want to.

I wish to hang on to these precious memories forever,

For they are a part of me as much as they are a part of you,

And for all the peace you brought me,

They help me remember, in snatches,

What that serenity felt like,

For when you left,

You took it all with you.

Nothing Left Inside of Me

Memories. There are only memories left of me. Nothing tangible; just a long, lonely walk to infinite.

I find myself lost in the past, a haze of sorts preventing me from seeing the future.

I am confused. I am emotionally distant. And somewhere, deep inside of me, there is pain.

So much pain, that I am afraid to touch it; lest it devours me.

The dying embers of a love lost; never truly die. Love never really runs dry. The tears, however; the tears stop flowing after a time. So now, only my eyes reflect the pain inside.

All around me, life moves on. Laughter, happiness, new beginnings, new lives, new relationships…. and all the while, deep inside, there is a sorrowful cry.

I have big plans; plans which would never have come into place had you decided to remain by my side. Plans that aim to take me away; far away from this place, where there are only memories…

Wherever I turn, there is a familiar face. Be it a building or a street or a person, everywhere I turn, I see you. Sudden flashbacks take me unawares, leaving my breathless, unable to utter a word. It is a wonder I am coherent at all.

Time has not healed my fall. A numbing sensation creeps slowly from the pit of my stomach to the corners of my body, touching my very soul. My heart is pumping furiously, as my soul shudders and tries to stand after the blow. My body cannot help but curl up into a ball; the sudden opening of a window to many beautiful memories renders me nearly senseless. I am sitting here, in a crowd, yet I am not. I am far away, so far away, with you.

A mention of an event, a laugh, a sound, even the clouds… anything, anywhere, can remind me of you. How you would have reacted, what you might have said had you been here, what you used to say, how you used to laugh….

The dimple on the side of your face, which I would be so helpless against. I wish I could kiss it away again. I wish you were here right now to tell me about your day, or to simply laugh at something I say. How you used to force me to speak, when I was overcome with emotion and unable to utter a word – I am afraid now; now that I am all alone.

I don’t know what the future holds. But I know this; I can never compromise on what we had, what I have felt and seen; what I have experienced. I don’t know where I will go, where I am headed; but I do know that I can never accept anything less than what we had. But I don’t think I will ever get it again; because, see, there is no us. There is no you. There is only me.

And you’ve taken the best part of me. Now, what is left, is nothing but dust and ash. There is nothing but a numb, hollow pain left inside of me.

Peace

I am alone

On my own once more

I can feel the restlessness

Stirring deep inside my soul

The winds are howling inside my head

Old demons resurfacing after an eternity of rest

Long forgotten fears

Once again shackle me to the ground

My eyes are shining with long dried tears

I cannot make a sound

My soul is petrified

Afraid of what is yet to come

You left me on my own

After promising to forever hold my hand

So here I am

Trying to capture these footprints in the sand

Before the waves of time wash them away

For good

You gave me peace

You were the only one who understood

Me.

All my demons, all my restless energy

Were asleep because you were there

Now I search for glimpses of you

Anything to get back what I have lost

I let you go to keep you happy

Aware of the high cost

I was going to incur

I have so many dreams,

Wild fantasies I must work to come true…

Yet, I gave them all up – for you.

Now you’re gone

And the poof of smoke that you left in your wake

Has shattered the dream I lived in

Shaken my awake

The bubble of optimism and dreams has burst

Leaving behind deathly shadows and a slowly falling curse

Of sedition and despair

I have seen it – I saw it way before you were there.

It is my due,

And I will have to pay

In our world there is a price for love

One does not simply get up and decide for oneself

There are repercussions – family to consider

If only it were as easy as that episode with Cathedral Cove

But oh, what am I saying! I find myself talking to you all the time

But you are not here – am I going out of my mind?

For even if it is a month or two years or forever

I know this: that your memories will help me last an eternity

I cannot allow anybody else to come close to me

No one can touch my body… or my soul

It belongs to you; my heart is fully yours – It is not in my possession anymore

And whether you agree or not… I’ve given it to you

For now and ever more…

-Cupcake ❤

From Siachin to Sialkot

Pakistan is a country familiar with war and strife. For years, India and Pakistan have battled one another on high and low turf, for both geographical and ethnic territory. The recent spotting of an Indian drone flying over Sialkot is just another chip in the long slowly eroding relationship between the two nations. The part that worries me, however, is the nonchalant way the present government of Pakistan reacted to the news of an Indian drone flying over Pakistani airspace.

When it comes to each other, most people will agree that we (both Indians and Pakistanis) are at two extremes – one group would love to throw away our past of bloody strife and mixed heritage, while the other refuses to trust within arms length of each other. Given our common heritage, it is not difficult to understand how emotional this relationship truly is. It does not help that military wars between the two countries in Kashmir have been going on for the past sixty years.

The Siachin conflict (or, Siachin War as it is most commonly referred to) is an ongoing dispute between the two neighboring countries regarding the 6000 meters high Siachin Glacier i n the Kashmir region. The conflict was first precipitated in 1984 after Indian Security Forces successfully undertook Operation Meghdoot.  From a height of about 6000 meters, this is the world’s highest battle ground. Today, both countries have a continued military presence in the area, with ties heavy with political tension.

This is not the first time India has attacked Pakistan however; and I doubt it will be the last. The Indian media is known for throwing as much muck at Pakistan and its counterparts as it possibly can without outright declaring itself to be politically skewed. The Line of Control is a sore point in both country’s history, and continues to be as Indian armed forces keep dishonoring the tension-filled truce that was struck so many years ago as a way to provide at least a semblance of peace to the people of both countries.

I must say, however, that given India’s history with breaking rules and the constant human rights violations the Indian Army undertakes each day in its ethnic cleansing of Occupied Kashmir (there is really no other way of describing it), it comes as no surprise. The world has always turned a blind eye to the atrocities committed in the Occupied Kashmir area, where Kashmiri Muslims are killed brutally and terrorized by Indian Jawans. Though in truth, the only thing the Indian government truly wants is for Kashmiris to stop chanting their azadi slogans – but their military presence (which the Indian government claims is to fight terrorists) is really not helping matters.

Hair raising stories have been narrated by Kashmiris living there, talking about their friends and families dragged away by Indian soldiers from the homes – both men and women. The recent incident of a woman and her husband being taken away to custody in an Indian Jail in Occupied Kashmir by Indian soldiers, who was released after four days only because Human Rights Activists from around the world started protesting against the atrocity, is testament to the cruelty inflicted upon the people of Kashmir everyday by the occupying army. The woman was later released after increased media hype, and had to be treated for mental trauma, torture and rape. Her husband was never seen again.

Given the long standing history of the Indian army with violence, I don’t think the Pakistani government should remain silent on an issue as serious as an Indian drone being spotted flying over Sialkot. Just claiming to take “note” of the incident does not provide the Pakistani people with the security that they deserve. Any other self respecting nation (whether in the East or the West) would have shot the drone down as it infiltrated air space and sovereignty. I suppose since we have been at the receiving end of numerous US drone strikes for the past decade, at the cost of thousands of innocent lives, our government is a pro at closing its eyes and ears and pretending to be blind to the many atrocities being committed against its people everyday.

The question is: how much longer can the people of Pakistan tolerate this unfair treatment at the hands of the rest of the world? For the cauldron of patience is nearly full…

You Only Get To Live Once

Life; it is a funny thing. One moment you’re hurtling along a particular path heading towards a certain destination – and another, you have nowhere to go. Fate has a funny way of announcing its presence: when it is least required and most effective. Many of us tend to forget the hand of Fate that waits for the perfect moment before dealing the deadliest of blows; we forget that destiny might be changeable with hard work, but it is still written in the stars.

So much has changed in the past year. People, circumstances.. everything. Life is not what it once was; that carefree laughter and days filled with enjoyment and fun – now, responsibility sits heavy on the shoulders, its weight bearing down on me like an oversized helmet sitting astride the shoulders of young boy heading into his very first battle. There are so many decisions to make -options to choose from… but only one sure path that must, and can, be taken. For contrary to the beliefs that blossom in the bosoms of  many an adult in our (I hesitate to use the word “backward” ) society, sacrifice is not the ultimate path towards eternal happiness and success.

The generations that have come before us (our parents, and forefathers) have always bowed down to the rules put before them by their elders. Out of respect and love and consideration for the age and experience of those who came before them. Whether the choices made for them by their elders were what they wished for or nay, they would obey out of obligation. Quietly live the life that was chosen for them, with or without their consent, and sooner or later turn into their forefathers as well.

I come from a very different generation; with a mindset as broad and thirsty for knowledge as their’s is myopic and afraid of change. I do not believe in sacrifice; for each individual must lead his own life according to his own rules – the ones who came before him were born during a different time; the ones who shall come after us will be born for a time that we shall not be a part of. Then what right do we or any of us have to dictate the choices of our young? We must learn to trust their judgement; to trust our values that we have instilled in them. Led them have their lead and choose the path they wish to tread to make the journey of their lives both eventful and full of happiness. For you only get to live once; why live a life of somebody else’s choosing when you could be living yours?

PML-N : Animal Rights Watch – Where art thou?

Elections are a time of high emotions, constant campaigning and hectic schedules. Opposing parties try their utmost in order to win as many voters as possible, resorting to the various tricks in their hat bag. In Pakistan, this is especially the time when the blood runs thick and strong in everybody’s veins, causing tempers and enmities to flare.

But of all the ‘tricks’ pulled out by any of the parties currently campaigning in the Elections of 2013, the prize for the most stupid trick MUST, hands down, go to PML-N. The Sharif Brothers, with their promises of “no more electricity problems – which they’ve been constantly reiterating since the past few years at every election; no more injustice – please!”, really pulled out all the stops at their rally in Lahore (7 May 2013).

Tiger 2
The nine month old white tiger (female)

Given the symbol of PML-N is the “sher” (lion), with its leader Mr. Nawaz Sharif so blithely calling himself the same (seriously?),  the party decided to bring out Mr. Sharif’s family pet – the one and only exotic white tiger. This animal(s) has been gracing many of the PML-N rallies during the past week, with the party giving the crowd a constant “live show” – heedless to the proper care and rest required by such an animal.

Tiger3

Maryam Nawaz Sharif, the daughter of PML-N’s leader, has thoroughly been enjoying herself at these rallies, loving the attention these animals bring to her; revelling in the spotlight their presence provides.

Speechless? Yeah, so have we been. Firstly – it’s expensive. HOW did the Sharif brother’s make so much money? With electricity problems rampant across the nation – ask ANYBODY living in Pakistan – where exactly does one get non-stop, constant air conditioning for the exotic pet you’ve decided to place inside your home? Think of the BILL, man! The government should have been able to meet at least some of it’s deficits by now, wouldn’t you think?

Second, one does not simply bring out an endangered, exotic wild animal in the midst of a noisy blistering rally. Obviously, it died. Given the amount of noise and heat (not to mention the fact that it was probably not fed or watered properly, either). Along with the constant shoving left, right and center as it was surrounded by hoards of screaming fans on all sides, chained to a single platform (which was also probably heated because it was metal – which conducts heat). The poor animal naturally died of suffocation, starvation and fatigue.

According to the WWF (World Wild Life Fund) white tigers are extremely sensitive to both heat and noise. Given that temperatures in Lahore are currently at around 36 Degrees Celsius, one can only imagine how hot and blistering the atmosphere is.

Thirsty tiger, sitting in the heat at the center of the rally
Thirsty white tiger  sitting in the heat at the very center of the rally

The tiger was brought unconscious to the University of Veterinary and Animal Science in Lahore on Tuesday. Doctors tried their utmost to revive it, but to no avail. It died Wednesday morning. This is the second white tiger to die at the hands of the Sharif Household.

According to the WWF, the PML-N broke international animal rights laws by using this rare white tiger as a prop during their rally. It has been reported that Faryal Gohar (actress and conservationist) shall file a petition with the High Court against the use of animals during election rallies. Honestly, Animal Rights Watch should sue the party for their inconsiderate and inhumane treatment of animals; and the Sharif Brothers should never be allowed possession on rare exotic animals.

Some are calling it an omen – the death of PML-N’s symbol just a couple of days before the elections. Given the party’s lack of respect for both animal and human rights, I for one sincerely hope so. If a family cannot take the necessary steps required in order to protect and care for their pet (especially one they know is an endangered species), and would rather parade it around constantly with no heed to its rest or protection, until the point where it died of said treatment  – one would have to wonder whether they are in fact fit to grace the throne of Pakistan… where there are millions of others at stake. Don’t you?