Money On The Brain

It’s just a piece of paper, they say.

It doesn’t mean anything; there are more important things. Money can wait. 

It’s just a piece of paper. 

Why can’t you focus on the other things in life? 

There is so much more at stake. 

It’s just a piece of paper. 

Why let your mind wander with worry, 

When you don’t have any, 

It’s okay; you can survive. 

Can I? 

It’s just a piece of paper.

Keep tellin’ yourself that lie.

Money doesn’t matter. 

What matters is life; how you spend it, how you help others build it, how you create beauty out of nothing. 

Happiness doesn’t lie with the green. It can be found in the most simplest of things. 

It’s just a piece of paper. 

But what about my needs? My family needs to feed. How can I provide for my mother and the medicine for her disease? 

Remind yourself, it’s just a piece of paper! It’ll all get well; in the end.

Just hold on; hold on tightly don’t let go. When you’ll strike gold you never know; but you can’t lose hope! Keep trying; keep hustling; keep moving forward as you go. 

Keep telling yourself: it’s just a piece of paper; and it will end well. 

We Don’t Talk Anymore 

https://youtu.be/3AtDnEC4zak

You disappeared.

Without a trace.

And I don’t even have pictures to remember your face, with. 

You just ghosted. 

As if there was nothing between us.

And here I am still waiting,

My brain refusing to accept that I got roasted.

I thought we were close. Weren’t we? 

I know you better than anyone else 

You know me better than all the rest

Then what happened? How come you just up and left without a word? 

You didn’t even bother to give me a headsup. 

I can tell what you’re thinking just by taking one look into your eyes, 

You can’t hide shit from me behind that smile. 

I know how deep the pain lies.

I wish you could have trusted me to heal you, trusted me to teach you to leave it all behind. 

You have a set image of what you want in life; 

And even though we fit perfectly, just right; 

You can’t seem to see past the image of the future blinding your eyes. 

But I guess every good thing has an end. 

And our relationship, even though it was one of the most beautiful parts of my life, reached its natural conclusion.

I’m not under any delusions. 

I know you left. 

My brain accepts that fact, even as my heart is bereft. 

There is a wound there; i hope it heals quicker than yours have. 

I need to move on; I can’t spend my life looking back. 

Wondering what could have been. 

Wondering if I did something wrong. 

But I know I didn’t. 

But maybe, just maybe, you will let me know what happened in your brain; 

For you to just jump the train; 

POOF! Gone in a split second 

Trying to control the meltdown happening in my brain. 

Maybe I scared you off; 

Maybe you sensed me coming too strong; 

Maybe you fell with me, before you even realized what was wrong… 

There was definitely something there. 

You can deny it all you want; I don’t care. 

I know we both sensed it; it’s okay.

I knew this would end one day. 

Just wasn’t expecting it to happen so soon. 

Guess I should have been better prepared. 

You Don’t Understand 

When you look at those my age and compare me to them, I know you don’t understand. When you repeatedly ask my why I dont have an interest in my surroundings anymore, I know you don’t understand. When you passionately talk to me about running a company and get frustrated when I don’t show the same level of interest, I know you don’t understand. When you look bewildered as I try to explain how at peace I feel when attending a sermon, I know you don’t understand. When your eyebrows draw together in a frown as you try to picture me surrounded by a group of “ignorant women” wondering what I could possibly glean from that particular set, I know you don’t understand. When you vehemently argue my choice of clothing as “archaic”in favor of more “modern times”, I know you don’t understand.

I know you don’t understand me, Mother; your own flesh and blood changing before your eyes. I know you don’t understand the pressing need that I have to keep going forward in a direction you would rather avoid. I know you don’t like it when I become stubborn and stick to my thoughts; because I know you feel I am wrong and fast on the way to getting lost. 

I know you dont understand when you hear me recount an event from the Prophet’s life, as I try to convince the other to implement it  in his or her life. I know you have trouble recognizing this daughter from the one you had last. I know you don’t understand why I am going down a path that you feel will be full of strife. I know you  fear I will become the very woman we both used to ostracise; I know you fear for me and for you, wondering which direction I choose to change my life. 

I know you don’t understand when you try to convince me to give it all up and just act “normal” like everyone else. But Mum, this is my normal; doesn’t have to fit in or be like the rest. 

I know you love me and get angry when I refuse to accomodate you sometimes. I apologise; my beliefs are greater than the both of us… greater than this life. 

I love you so much, Mum; more than I can ever express. You may not understand me now, but remember that you sometimes have to be very far away from the rest of the crowd… if you want to be one of the best. Peace out. 

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.

Fog of Pain (1)

So much pain; It is everywhere

This deep, dense fog – it obscures everything around me.

I can’t see through this haze of pain you’ve left me with –

I keep replaying the moment I let you leave.

Maybe it was my fault; it must have been

You really did try you best –

But sometimes, one just can’t win.

I’m grateful you had the courage to tell me the truth.

About how your feelings have undergone a change – how you’ve evolved.

Now, here I am, left with only my memories of you.

You are the other half of my soul –

You knew me better than anyone I know – better than anyone else to come, that’s for sure.

I never thought you’d leave

Despite all our differences and obstacles,

I thought we’d always be – somehow sticking around, fighting until the very end

Just you and me. Maybe I was dreaming; lost in my own little world

The reality was a lot harder – and I’m grateful to you for making me wake up and smell the turf

So much time has passed; it has been so long

How will I ever go on?

Everything reminds me of you – every place in this city has a memory of us stored away

Not a day goes by, not a street do i pass – I can recall the exact memory, what you said and how we had it all.

I remember your laughter the most; those gorgeous dimples on either side.

God! Why is it so hard for me to cry? I can’t cry.

The tears came out in spurts that first time

You left.

And now they’re somehow stuck inside; I can’t even talk about it

The pain, it makes me blind

To everything else.

I try to work and occupy my mind

But after the day ends, the dread returns with the night

I am all alone – you are no longer there.

We are no longer a team.

I miss our conversations, our laughter and intimacy –

the way we understand each other without the need to talk. We are connected, you and I.

I just wish I were the one you needed in your life.

I know there’s a lot more where this came from ;

but right now I can’t write much more.

It’s weird; I can’t speak aloud. No matter how hard the pain.

I don’t know what is going to happen next

All my plans have been laid to rest

Now there’s just this dense fog

And I can’t see

I don’t know what’s going to happen to me. But one thing is clear,

Wherever I go and forever long I live

I shall never forget you.

You took my heart… I don’t want it back.

Keep it; you treat it much better than I do.

Random Mutterings Of Rusty Chains

There is a slight heaviness building up where my heart used to be

I can feel it pounding…. each beat as painful as the breath i take in

As the air that forces itself through my struggling lungs

Trying to keep a grasp on the feeble thread of this life.

Just one more kiss… just one more touch

Will it be enough?

Goodbyes are tough

Those undertaken for eternity are even worse still

Yet this circle of life

That connects us all to each other

Continually forces us to let go

Of the past

And walk forward to grasp the future

Work towards it

But don’t forget to live in the present –

otherwise it is all for naught.

And one day

Just as you think you should now take a break

Because you have done your bit…

Your life is over. It all ends in a flash.

And you’ve suddenly crossed over to the other side

For what? To start all over again?

Live. And let live. And live to love.

Life will be worth living that way.

Karachi – And The Pakistan Urban South Asia Cities Conference

ImageKarachi, the largest metropolis of Pakistan, is also the financial hub of the southern province of the country. Given its monetary value for a majority of the nation’s population, it is no wonder that people from different parts of the land flood to its shores, looking for bigger and better opportunities.

The city, with its population of over 15million people – speaking a myriad of different languages – is the heart of Pakistan in more ways than one. However, with its overflowing population and fast expanding parameters, there are a few problems that naturally have arisen over the years.

While the Health Sector in most areas across Pakistan is certainly not as effective as it should be, Karachi’s Industrial and Residential areas are those worse effected.

Take a walk down Korangi Industrial Area or even the so-called “posh” area of Badar Commercial, and you will see mounds of garbage and trash on the sidewalks. Piles of such trash lie in heaps next to houses in Defence, with the people residing there being the least affected by such poor living conditions. It is truly astonishing!

While some might blame the population at large for not being conscious enough, this correspondent would surely set more than half the blame on the city district government.

Factories are being run with no basic health provisions for the labor class. Whole companies are being run without heed to safety, and health risks of their employees; and no health inspector or government official has as yet seen fit to penalize such places for the betterment of our society.

It is not an uncommon sight to find sewers overflowing and flooding residential areas, forcing people to walk with their clothes raised high above their ankles, jumping over pools of dirty contaminated water. Sadly, it is equally common to come upon urchins bathing in this same water as though they had just stepped foot inside a Roman Bathhouse.

What a poor impression this must leave on the (few) tourists who come to visit our country, and are naturally shown Karachi as part of Pakistan’s splendor, with its hustle and bustle, expensive malls and eateries.

However, the government has recently become very active in trying to improve the overall environment of Karachi.

The Planning and Development Department of the Government of Sindh, the South Asia Institute of Harvard University, Urban Unit, Government of Punjab and the Institute of Architects, Pakistan are collaborating to hold the Pakistan Urban Forum South Asian Cities Conference (PUF-SACC) 2014 this January.

The event is to start today (9 Jan 2014), at the Mohatta Palace. Regular sessions of the conference will commence from 10 Jan onwards, and this three-day conference will continue until 12 Jan (Sunday).

The event is expected to get participation from other South Asian countries, and will bring together prominent government leaders, community based organizations, activists, academics and the like in order to discuss how best to improve – and implement – urban development in South Asian cities. It aims to be a dialogue process for discussing and finding innovative solutions to common challenges for urban development.

This correspondent, for one, sincerely hopes that a solution(s) is reached in this conference, which can help improve the living conditions of the people in Karachi (along with other South Asian cities). We have waited long enough for one; it seems as though things are finally looking up now!

Dhadakne Dou

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“Kab tak ginay,

Ham dhadkane.

Dil jese dhadkay

Dhadakne do!

Kiun hay koi

Aag dabi

Shola joh bhadkay

Bhadakne do!”

 

These lines, written by Javed Akhtar for the song Dil Dhadakne Do from the movie Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara embody everything that the world at large refuses to be. And everything that I am.

I’ll be honest with you. People like me find it very hard to fit in to normal society; for the simple reason that we are different.

No, not in the retarded way. More like, we cannot function without being true to ourselves and our passions. The world, unfortunately, functions slightly differently.

We feel with the heart and the soul, and leave the mind for those who have neither of the two (in our opinion). It is very difficult for us to live the way we want in this society because, in the words of the wise, “passion does not pay bills – money does.”

Myself, I love to write. I love to watch the spread of words on paper (or the screen, depending upon the medium) and the joy I feel at completing each sentence – bringing me ever closer to the end goal – is indescribable. I can describe to you every feeling, every thought, every event and incident that has ever happened. I can bring to life the most mundane of acts with a few simple words; transport you into a world all of your own – or rather, my making.

But what good is all this in the face of the teeth-baring world out there? Which lies in wait to gnaw you to the bone, before using those very bones to pick its own teeth.

And therein lies our dilemma.

For we understand that money runs the world. But our passion(s) runs us!

How are we to function if we cannot even feed our soul?

I was forced to study business, when all I wanted to do was to join writing school. I was forced to enter into our family business, when all I wanted was to be journalist. I was forced to learn how to tally the accounts of our company and make decisions based on numbers, when all I wanted to do was to be left in peace – and just write.

How do I describe to you the feeling of acute suffocation when I am unable to do what I love doing – write.

I remember asking a very close friend, my soul mate why he loved basketball so much.

“Because I understand it,” he said simply.

To me, those four words make all the difference in the world.

It is very simple a concept: understanding one another, or even something. It is very difficult to get through to the end with that same passion if what you love doing is not always accepted as the norm.

For to me, there is no greater joy than getting lost in the characters that come to me. I live a thousand lives each day in the form of the numerous stories that I weave; some that flow out of my grasp, never to be found again; while some live on, waiting for me to harvest the crop and reap the rewards in the form of a leather bound novel (or rather, an E-book).

“Why can’t the world just let me be?” I ask. “Why must money run everything – why can’t I follow through with my passions, be who I am?”

However, no matter how far I have to go, no matter how many obstacles I have to overcome – I shall not give up. I shall feed my soul side by side with my mind  – maybe slightly more, to bridge the gap between what I love doing and what I must do. For in the end, if I myself suffocate inside and die – what good will that do anyone?

 

 

Liberty Books, Online Payment… And The Ultimate Book Lover

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My earliest memories involve laughter, day dreams – and books. Ever since I can remember, I have lived with my nose between the pages of a book. Being an only child, I never had any siblings or playmates within the house unlike most of my acquaintances; my best friends were always the characters I would read – or sometimes dream – about.

As I grew older, my passion for books slowly evolved into one for writing.

There was never a time when I was without either a book or a piece of paper in my hand.

The first time my father introduced me to a Liberty Books store, we were in Lahore and I had just recently turned ten-years-old. I remember feeling like I had stepped off the Earth and taken a leap into Heaven. The sun streamed in from the two windows on either side of the entrance lighting up the interior of the store, and the din of the traffic outside faded into the background as my eyes widened while they took in the bookshelves surrounding us.

I don’t remember much about that particular trip, except a sense of deep happiness and profound joy. I have never ceased to feel that way each time I step inside a Liberty Books store – no matter the length of said intervals.

When Liberty Books launched their website, I was (not surprisingly) ecstatic.

No more heaving salespeople as they tried to carry the load of books I had decided to buy; no more shocked glances sent my way by the rest of the customers at the pile of books I would inevitably slam onto the payment counter to be checked out; and certainly no more behind-the-counter salesperson asking me politely but without quite managing to keep the inflection of surprise out of his voice, “ye saari kitabain aap khareedaingi?” (“You’re going to buy all these books?”)

Now all the books that I wished to add to my “read and shelved” list were merely a mouse click away. What more could a booklover want?

When I first tried out the home delivery service on their website, I have to admit I wasn’t completely sure. Since it was the first time Liberty was trying such a service, I obviously expected a few glitches along the way. But I have to say – their professionalism and fast delivery had me completely bowled over from the very first.

There is no better way to pass the time than by spending it perusing through the countless books on display on their website.

Recently – to the overwhelming delight of the reading community – Liberty Books launched a credit card facility for its online shoppers. While their cash-on-delivery service is certainly worth mentioning, this added facility has spread joy throughout the booklovers’ community.

When I first heard about the newly added facility, I immediately went online to check it out for myself. Needless to say, I was delighted with my discovery!

Liberty Books offers you three choices with which to pay for your order directly online: Master Card, Visa or Credit Card.

Once you have selected your book(s), you go to cash out and select the type of online payment facility you would like to use. From there, it is just three easy steps towards getting your book delivered to your doorstep the very next day.

Liberty Books has seriously upgraded their online facilities – and with so many new arrivals coming in, this writer aka booklover, for one, is beside herself trying to order as many as she possibly can without seeming as though she has a business smuggling books.

However, for those of you who are as literary crazy as I am – a word of caution to this tale: be prepared to spend the rest of the coming month broke, enjoying the smell of printed paper and the feel of hardcover books. For who needs money to live when we can feed off the characters that are as alive as we are?