April 23rd, 2017

Stranded?0

They had snowfall on Wednesday in the far flung town state of Ras Al Khaimah. Thursday newspapers carried front page pictures of this desert covered with a thin layer of white… Exiting stuff eh? Don’t know what to make of it…we here in the UAE are getting our own little Murree now…YAAAAAY!

But, it makes you wonder about the changes this world is going through right now, doesn’t it?

On the one hand you have hundreds of thousands, make that millions, dead, missing, displaced and aggrieved in all manners, and on the other you have desert people rejoicing at three days of continuous showers/drizzling/cats and dogs raining followed by a film of snow spread over the unlikeliest of places….

Second news… Knicq has landed in the land of the pure. Arrived 10:00 p.m. and was quickly given a crash course tour of Karachi city by Jalali Baba, and a SCRUMPTIOUS dinner at Fash’s thanks to his angelic wife. Karachi by the way is soaked right now, and the rain/drizzling has hardly stopped since I arrived. JB was furious at the timing of both yours truly’s arrival and the rain. The two, he said, could not be enjoyed together… I apologized for breaching the mutually exclusivity clause of the contract signed between the Rain, Jalali Baba and yours truly. It does not take a genius to figure out that the first two parties to the party were not in the wrong, and the brunt of this contractual breach has to be borne by Jalali Baba’s humble servant….

In 30 minutes from now, I board PIA 0530 KHI/ISL. The next ten days promise to be very exciting…

There’s the long awaited and very looked forward to meeting with the blogging family Momma, Abez and Owl.

There’s the other eagerly awaited blogger meeting between knicq and ulta seedha.

There’s the long awaited and very looked forward to wedding of the younger brother.

There’s the taking to task of knicq by his parents, the only item on the itinerary not eagerly looked forard to, for past nafarmanis/disobediences.

…and there’s the meeting of the hopelessly patriotic and nationalist knicq with his beloved, beloved country…

Let the festivities begin….

…ooops, they just announced that the flight is delayed by one hour due to bad weather, DARN!!!

Here it is…found my update :)

So now, the flight to Isloo ( I like this term of endearment coined by Momma for Islamabad), leaves at 0630 rather 0530, and I have been up and running around since 10:00 a.m. yesterday…

Looks like the blogger meets will have to be postponed until after the younger bro’s wedding and my taking to task…if that leaves me not-sleeping-six-feet-under that is :) .

I guess Jalali Baba is right, I ought to have been more watchful of that exclusivity clause after all…

An excuse with two good legs….0

Must be the holiday season… Is there another explanation for me not having updated in the past few days? I mean it is not as if I have run out of topics, or more aptly put, people to blog about.
There’s Guiseppe who has been waiting in line for a dedicated update for over a month I think. There’s Coori, the nut, who has to be introduced, complete with his obsession with optimizing the 7 rupee bag of detergent, even if that meant he had to ask for the room mate’s articles of clothing, so he could wash those too. Coori’s introduction would automatically lead to Lala’s introduction, which would be incomplete without a mention of the phenomenon that Mari is. Lala, whose greatest regret could often be the fact that he had not seen Sargam the 9th time, or the brutal truth that he had befriended Mari; and Mari, who had helped me find my brand new khussa (Traditional Leather Shoe) I had bought to wear at a wedding by lifting his foot, with the khussa on it, out of the waist high flood water of Lahore.
If one were to mention Mari, it would be unfair to not talk about KT Bhai, and talking about KT Bhai will always include that visit with him to PCBA which had led to a reunion with Fash after eight good years of not knowing what the other was up to. Now Fash was instrumental in Madi becoming friends with me, and everybody knows this was a friendship that evolved during those joint study sessions of MBA. What everyone does not know is that often these study sessions could become unbearable ordeals when they were invaded by OT and OTness. Ergo, an introduction to OT would have to follow.
In all fairness you cannot talk about the bad study sessions and not mention the great study sessions that involved 2 hour telephonic brooding with Felicity on the other end of line, and Madi and “Tu Iddar Aa” guy taking time off their “Andaaz Apna Apna” to fume over the brooding. This would bring in the various episodes that involved Felicity, the TIA guy, or the both of them.
In short what I am saying is that there is no dearth of people to write about, implying that there is no shortage of topics – yet I have failed to update for ages…
Like I said, must be the holiday season…

What am I thinking…0

Zindagi tujh se har ik saans pe samjhota karun
Shauq jeeney ka hai mujh ko magar itna to nahin.

(Beautifully rendered in “Sajda” by Jagjit and Lata)

Madi, Joseph and Mansoor. Vol. II0

Joseph wrote me an email, and he signed it Guiseppe. It took me sometime to figure out that Joseph and Guiseppe are one and the same person. I am sure he will forgive me. After all, unlike him, I am not Italian.

I had met Guiseppe by chance. He was the third good thing happening to me on that day. Madi’s visit was the first, my discovery of Mansoor’s music was the second, and meeting Guiseppe was the third. It seems appropriate that I tackle Mansoor before I do Guiseppe. Mansoor is not exactly pronounced Mansoor, it is pronounced more along the lines of Maynsour, what with he being an Iranian and all.

A couple of years ago, a client of mine, distributor for a major Korean brand of cigarettes had thrown a grand party at the Dubai Golf Creek to launch a new brand of cigarettes. The party was followed by a grand concert, and because the M.D was in a generous mood when he met me, he handed me over a couple of passes to this concert. It was a concert by an Iranian superstar followed by a Lebanese superstar. I understood niether Persian music nor Arabic music, but it seemed rude to decline that invitation, so I took it with thanks. Besides, Persian and Lebanese are generally acknowledged as two of the most beautiful races on Earth, and I thought being in the company of that crowd could only do my eyes good.

Mine was a VIP pass, so I proceeded to the open air venue along with a couple of friends from the host company, one an Indian and the other a Pakistani. Our jaws dropped to the ground with resounding thuds, and our eyes almost popped out when we got to the venue. It was as if we had been transported to another part of the world in an instant – everywhere we looked we saw these men and women of exquisite beauty, and for as far as I could see I could see not a single abaya/burqa/scarf. Actually, the ladies were too liberally dressed even for a Dubaiite’s taste. The concert was yet to begin, but the place was jam packed, and it was abuzz with the indescribable noise reminiscent of a huge beehive.

I tried to listen, and I so very much liked what I heard. Anyone who has heard either Persian or Lebanese accent of Arabic will tell you that there are few dialects that sound more amicable to the ears. There’s of course the sing-song dialect of Singhalese that the Srilankans talk in, there is Swahili that my Kenyan friends seem to sing lullabys in, and in our own backyard we have sweet languages like Seraiki and Sindhi that are easy on the ears – but Persian, and Lebanese/Syrian Arabic are in a class of their own. Perhaps, it has something to do with the over all ambience created by the speakers of these two languages that lends them added beauty.

So there we were looking like kids in a HUGE candy shop, when all of a sudden, without any warning this bearded guy sprang on to the stage with a cry – and the noise that followed was nothing less than deafening. He mozay feghustay dostayed a little before he launched into his first song. The crowd went absolutely berserk, and I found it hard to convince myself I was in UAE. I know a lot goes on in UAE, but somehow that part of Dubai is not a part of the life we born and brought up in UAE Pakistanis normally live. The first song ended, and then without music this guy chanted something like “Deevooney Deevooney…” and half the crowd chanted back in unison. The other half almost killed itself screaming!

Turns out this was one of the most waited for numbers in the evening, something like a Dil Dil Pakistan in a Vital Signs concert. The noise as well as the frantic dancing of the crowd was beginning to get to me, perhaps because I knew niether the language nor the music at all, so by the end of the second song, I had made my way out of the venue, but for a long long time the “Deevooney…” chant was etched on my memory. I had wanted to get my hands on that music for sometime, but unfortunately, I had not taken the trouble of finding out the name of that band at the time.

Two years down the road, I had just sauntered into this Virgin Music Store when the DJ played “Deevooney”. I recognized the tune instantly, and picked up a cassette. I still do not understand more than just a few words, but I love the music. The guy sings very well and our Jals and Jawads could certainly take a leaf out of their music. Its worn off now, but on that day the excitement of listening to something totally fresh had wanted to translate into words on this blog, hence the inclusion in the title of the post. By the way deevooney means the same as Deewana in Urdu, Crazy. Incidently that was also the name of the album – Crazy.

So there…

… Now all I have to write about is Guiseppe, who to date is one of the most inspiring peiople I have met… but you are going to have to come back to read about him.

Bloggers Meet, Crazy Rooster, and The Pursuit of a Speeding Ticket.0

You come back after a week-long hiatus, and its like you are blogging for the first time. Actually, its the same with everything that one approaches on the procrastination canoe – it gets tougher and farther with every minute. Remember that file I was working on waaay back in August, well guess what fellas? Never did manage to finish that one, nor that 167 page book I had thought I could breeze through in a jiffy. There’s a plethora of other jobs I had to finish, errands I have yet to cross the finish line on, and making a list of those is not the purpose of today’s post. So, let us just plainly agree that procrastination delays stuff more than we realize. :)

The purpose of this post is to narrate the “aankhun dekha haal” of the bloggers’ meet held in Abu Dhabi, and hosted by Waleed, the half past nomad guy. Those of yous wondering what on earth “Ankhun dekha haal” is, please note that it is literally translated into “seen with own eyes”. Those who had Urdu as a compulsary subject until they entered college, or after that will remember the oft requested essays in the board examinations with this appendage. The list that comes to mind at random goes like this:

  • Aik Shaadi ka aankhun dekha haal
  • Baqar Eid ka aankhun dekha haal
  • Aik picnic ka aakhun dekha haal.
  • Mailey ka aankhun dekha haal.
  • and what have you ka aankhun dekha haal.

Basically, what one was required to narrate in such essays was the event experienced in first person. So, you started with the murgh kee baang, without necessarily inking out Cock-a-doodle-do. Though at least one teacher thought it a nice touch in 8th standard, but then it was towards the end of the year, and by that time every year, one’s Urdu teachers used to have fathomed the talent of their “honihaar” student, and would pretty much be able to see the creative genius in anything he submitted. Wifey says I ought to be a tad more modest when recounting my childhood accomplishments, especially since they are such rare moments in the history of civilization, and ironically because they have long been listed along with the dinosaurs in the existence chapters. Jalali Baba says, however, that precisely because they are such rarity, I should not miss out on any opportunity to make the most of them towards building a good impression of mine. He quotes his own example often, and I tend to agree more with him.

Back to “aankhun dekha haal“, you started with the first thing you heard, said, or did depending on which one of the three was the least censorable, and recounted the whole day tilll you had got back home, and gone to bed with some corny promise to yourself to go to next occurrence of the thence stated event ASAP. Aankhun dekha haal, I am not sure if there is a synonym in the English language for this phrase. However, let me not be pulled away from the topic and purpose of this update.

So, yes. The much awaited bloggers meet finally took place this past Wednesday after much planning. Have I told you who the four bloggers were? I believe I have, and if you had not been paying attention in the past, you will have to make up for that by reading through the rest of the blog and finding out for yourself. There was yours truly of course, and there was JB, but there were also a couple of other gentleman as those with exceptional arithmetic talent will have figured out by now.

However, since this is to be an aankhun dekha haal, shouldn’t I start with how I had woken up late that morning, hours after the neighbour’s rooster had stopped with its obnoxious cock-a-doodle-do. They should get this &%$@#*& rooster checked, or hand it over to us for Friday Biryani. The foul fowl has its body clock all messed up, and mistakes 3 a.m for a little past 6:30 a.m. Now, I would not want to interfere with its flawed perception of time, if it did not interefere with mine so much. I am a very tolerant person, and am completely awake, no pun intended, to the possibility of people from different back grounds having different perceptions. For all you know the poor thing traces its ancestors back to Guangzhou, where they have morning 4 hours ahead of us, and gets all traditional about its sense of timings. I could even live with a ‘baang’ or two at the odd hour, but must it insist on everyone waking up and proceeding for Fajr prayers before it stops? Wonder what are the three dozen cats of the alley waiting for? They have devoured every other body attached to a beak in the area, why discriminate in his case?

Oh, well. This isn’t going as planned, this way I will never get around to how the bloggers meet went that day, at least not in this post. Can we agree that I woke up late, ploughed my way through the rush hour of Wednesday morning, got into office late, enjoyed half a cup of tea, and finished the day’s work precisely at 6:01 p.m? Because if we can’t, I will have to tell you about what I had for lunch, and more importantly why I did not have what I did not have for lunch? Actually, if I do go into that detail, I will have to clarify why I did not have lunch that day, doing which will then demand that I also tell you how famished I was during the day, and how that had led to me taking the more crowded road to Abu-Dhabi, the rendezvous, just so I could stop over at the McDonald’s along the way. So, are we agreed? Good. That should save us some time.

So, I got off work at a minute past 6 in the evening, which is late by my standards, because 6:00 p.m. is the time the office officially closes, and I have hardly been around to see what it looks like when it closes. I escaped by a whisker on Wednesday, and because I was leaving an hour later than panned, I decided to forgo the idea of going to Sharjah and changing into something more comfortable. Fortunately, I had me slippers in the car, and as long as my villager’s feet are not bound in shoes, I am less uncomfortable even in official attire. So, off I pushed to Abu-Dhabi, but then I had to take the shorter, yet a lot more crowded, route because I hadn’t had lunch, was famished, and thought I would stop over the McD’s along the way. Wait a minute, I just had a deja vu feeling! Wow, I love it when that happens.

Anyway, the plan was to pick up Jalali Baba, who had had a prior meeting with HPN and knew his place in Abu Dhabi. HPN had also had a meeting with KK in Karachi, and therefore KK who was coming from Al-Ain was to meet him directly. I had spoken to both HPN and KK a couple of times, had found them both to be very likeable nice chaps. KK and my father had worked decades in Al-Ain in the same Government Organization, but in different fields, and even though we had both gone to different schools, we had been able to uncover quite a few mutual acquaintances. What made it all the more fun was the fact that we had met in blogistan, and meeting a fellow Pakistani blogger GCCian is always something of a rarity. While KK hailed from my birthplace Al-Ain, sort of a Chichon kee Maliyan in UAE in that one hardly meets people from Al-Ain, HPN had been around. He had studied in Al-Ain, Abu-Dhabi, Sharjah and where not. Guess he was too much of a bully, and they kept throwing him out of every school.

I picked up Baba as agreed. Baba, by the way, was travelling to Pakiland that same night, and was pre-occupied with concerns about whether or not he would be allowed to carry along his two hand carry luggage bags. One was an a standard hand carry size, the other was the typical Pakistani hand carry which is to say it had some 30 Kgs crammed into it. His concern was not that he would have to pay anything for his luggage, he was traveling light enough. His concern was that if he were not allowed to carry both the bags along, he would have to wait the queue for eternity on arrival at Karachi for just the one teeny weeny bag. I had some good fun psyching him up, but he was also Jalali Baba after all. He remained adamant that they would let him pass, and guess what? Eventually they did let him pass with both the bags in hand.

We arrived at HPN’s place only to find that that HPN had gone to the bus stop to pick KK up, and was on his way back. They arrived in a short while in the nifty 206. I had these mental images of the guys I had been talking to, and the guys were exactly unlike what I had thought them to be.

HPN stepped out of the driver’s seat, and I tried to make connection with the kid’s image I had in my mind. That image by now had been scared to its bones by this well built brawny, bearded Mulla who stepped out of the car in his casual attire. As the image lay shivering in foetal position before it eventually vanished, HPN and I exchanged a warm Pakistani hug. I thanked HPN for sparing my bones, and apologised for any insolence henceforth. I had intended to elicit a non-violence pact from him, but he did not seem taken with the idea much. I stayed away from him for the rest of the evening. Any formalities between us were discarded that moment onwards, and the rest of the evening was spent pulling each other’s fat leg. Momma, before you admonish me for misbehaviour, please do know he started it….

KK on the other hand had sounded brawnier on the phone than he turned out to be. Actually, he looked so young in his clean shave, and smart jeans, joggers and shirt that I had to remind myself a couple of times not to patronize the guy in any way. Thankfully, I had been reading his blog and knew how well read he was. Not to mention the fact that the guy was a physician by profession, and my parents have always believed that they are the only educated people on the planet.

The dilemma we faced then was that we had no itinerary to work with, and had absolutely no idea what to do now that we had met. The bigger dilemma was we could not stop talking, (Baba and I mostly), taking swipes at each other (HPN and I mostly) and staying quiet (KK mostly). After much pointless driving on the streets of Abu-Dhabi, we ended up at this Lebanese Restaurant, which seemed to be a favorite of both Abu-Dhabi walas, and HPN quickly ordered what almost became the main course of the dinner – Water. 2 bottles of Masafi and about an hour later, we were able to place our orders, and after a filling and delicious dinner were on our way back to HPN’s place.

Knicq’s special tea was served at HPN’s spacious apartment, which by the way was relective of HPN’s own dimensions in size. Humungous place fellas, one that did not seem crowded even with knicq, JB and HPN all crowded into it at the same time. Knicq was guilty of letting the tea boil over on HPN’s Oven, but then HPN should have known better than to divert knicq’s attention when attending to such crucial matter as preparation of tea.

Baba was getting late, so we decided to drop him off at the airport, and see to it that he did get on that plane at all costs. That needed a bit of speeding on Abu-Dhabi roads, and the only soul that sounded any less comfortable than the driver was Jalali Baba who was sitting on the front seat. I must admit his tense but firm grip on the door handle was cause for much motivation behind that continued quest for speed and pertaining ticket. Once Baba had been dropped off at the airport, and we got a chance to talk to each other, I felt it necessary to start with the introductions once again, but HPN insisted that they had been able to figure out quite a lot by themselves by then. Baba had in his inimitable style imparted the headlines of his 29 years on Earth in such a short while.

Our informal introduction, interspersed with Baba’s update calls from various stages between entering the airport and being seated at the emergency exit, continued for some two hours after that.

At close to three in the morning, both HPN and KK seemed to have a heard a lot of me for a first time meeting, and I thought it best to let them regurgigate all that information for some time, so that they had completely digested this information inflow by our meeting the coming week.

With this thought, I left them at HPN’s door step, and sped my way to Sharjah…where that darned rooster was at it again!

Oh, Mama.0

What started as a possible cold Sunday morning developed into a full blown throat infection by the night, leading to a handsome fever by Monday morning, which metamorphed into a dry cough before the sun departed…*coughs.

So, here I sit with a stuffy nose, watery eyes, a hoarse voice (more than ever), a spinning head, and a general feeling that the world is coming to an end. Walda has always maintained that I enjoy being ill, and hence the center of attention. I am pretty sure about the latter part, but I have my reservations about former. Wifey agrees and differs respectively with Walda and me. What I did enjoy in the good old days was the fact that I got to miss school and watch cartoons during the day, and not do any homework in the evening. Its much the same today. I got a chance to skip work, legally this time, and nothing is more fun these days than NOT going to work. I did not have to run along for any groceries, and I got to watch my favorite programs too. There’s a long list of pending jobs to be taken care of though, a list that runs something like this:

  • Update.
  • Complete (Read start work on) file on this month’s business, before M.D flies out Wednesday.
  • Update.
  • Send CV and Cover Letter to this hot shot company, I have been wanting to join for a year.
  • Read “Beginner’s guide to HTML” so benevolently provided by Jalali Baba.
  • Update.
  • Finish that 167 page book I was supposed to be finishing last month.
  • Get through that manual of the Kashmiri lady’s company, so that a chance at freelance work might be availed.
  • Update.
  • Meet Half Past Nomad, KK, and Jalali Baba Wednesday for a bloggers get together event.
  • Help wifey get well soon.
  • Update.
  • Oh, and go to office.

*Coughs*

But, right now, I have got weather all over me, and I am just soo under it. No offence to wifey who has been at one’s beck and call despite her own poor health, but getting sick was fun when one was younger, and one had one’s Walda tending to one’s whims, without remarking what a baby one was…Oh, Mama.

*Coughs and Coughs*

Introducing Jalali Baba … III.0

In about 20 minutes from now, Jalali Baba will emerge from the Abu-Dhabi airport a free spirit embodied in a 102 Kg nicotine-infested holy temple, about to become nothing less than a nicotine mine.
Reason: His family, which in his tech-savvy definition is the same configuration as mine, will have boarded a flight to the land of the pure. To a less than sufficiently tech-savvy person like his humble disciple, our families being in the same configuration is meant to indicate the fact that it is possible to explain the principle of one-to-one correspondence to 4th graders using the two families as examples. Hence, when the families get together, the members of the families locate their respective counterparts, and initiate drawn out discussions on matters of mutual interest/disgust, not excluding gheebat sessions.

So, while Jalali Baba is seen imparting worldly wisdom to his unworthy disciple, the ladies (elder ones) exchange notes (read brag about) on the irritating (lack of) talents of their husbands, the three and a half year old boys get into fist-fights over each other’s toys, while the young almost two-year old princesses practice the essential girly art of giving each other the cold shoulder treatment. The last pair also gets into frequent arguments over establishing who is the “baby” around there. Either party insists on calling the other “baby”, and takes lead at flashing a triumphant smile at the ensuing tantrum thrown by the other. One is reminded of two blogging sisters driving a blogging mother nuts with their ‘U Turn / No, U turn’ arguments on their road trip. Well, this argument if it were garnished with enough ‘U’s would sort of sound the same:

Princess 1: U baby!
Princess 2: No, U baby!
Princess 1: Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! (Princess 2 flashes triumphant smile) NNO!U BABY!
Princess 2: WAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaa!!! (Princess 1 flashes triumphant smile) NNNO! U BABY!!

… and so on and so forth.

I digress unnecessarily. The long and short of it all is that Jalali Baba’s family has gone home today, for at least a month, which is short as compared to the last trip which had lasted six months. In those six months, Jalali Baba had put some 50,000 kilometers on Saab Ki Gaadi, running up and down between Abu-Dhabi and the mountains of Dibba, Fujairah. For those unfamiliar with UAE’s geography, allow me to explain that between Abu-Dhabi and Dibba lies almost all of the rest of the country. Those were also the six months in which he had made up for all the nicotine deficiency in his body.

Last year, when his family had gone home, the distance between Abu-Dhabi and any point in the country had been reduced to immaterial. Hence, it was often Baba who would descend at the disciple’s cottage. Towards the sixth month, the disciple’s family had also proceeded to Pakistan for a one-month vacation. It was in this month that the disciple was afforded a chance to visit Baba’s exalted abode. The prelude to this visit was a Mushaira, which was to be held in Abu-Dhabi.

In months leading up to this Mushaira, Jalali Baba had heard my poetry a little, and liked it. He was subjected to it a lot more, and was courteous. He has amazing command over Urdu, and is intimidatingly well-read. Now, for him to approve and like my work counted as a big compliment, and I reveled in the limelight of his approval.

A couple of weeks later, we went to this All UAE Urdu Mushaira, where some of the best poets of UAE, and some more from Pakistan and India were reciting their kalam. We both traveled in my Jimmy from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, taking BIL with us to attend it. We got there before the mehfil had started. As the first poet, the youngest of the lot, recited his verses, I got an sms on my mobile from this exalted fan of mine, and it read thus: “Mian Choozey, ab apni auqat pata chali!!!” Translated, it meant something like this: “Chicken shit, do you realize your worth now?” I was shocked. My one fan had dissed me within the first five minutes of the Mushaira. Did wonders for my soaring self-esteem. He still laughs about it.

I continue to see the shrink.

Finished, we went to his apartment. It was a disaster. If I thought my room was unkempt, all my fears were dissuaded. The cushions that his son had thrown before he had gone to Pakistan six months ago were still lying on the floor. Laundry was piled right after the dining table, just before the mattress, where he had evidently been sleeping in front of the TV after the family had gone home. There were all sorts of books on all sides of the mattress. Some were even under the mattress, others peeked from beneath the pile of laundry. Amazingly, he could locate each book at the drop of a hat, provided you could help him locate the hat in a jiffy.

There were four boxes of Pringles lined on the side of the mattress just beside the pillow, and I presumed he had been living on Pringles ever since his wife had taken that flight to Karachi. I proceeded to open one of them to munch on some, and he screamed at the top of his lungs. Turns out, each of these boxes was functioning as the final resting place of what had been the contents of tens and tens of Marlboro packs. Whoever had the time to go empty the ashtray every now and then. Indigenous thinking had made those trips to the trashcan redundant, while at the same time making the final resting place of all those cigarettes into trophies in their own right. Bhabi, a doctor by profession, wasn’t supposed to know he was still smoking, and he planned to tidy the whole place up before she came. I tried to reason with him – if you had had half a kilo of ash lying in a room for half a year, no amount of tidying up could rid the place of the stench. He seemed to believe otherwise.

The two bed rooms as well as the kitchen were uncannily tidy – it was as if no-one had been there in a long while. Actually, no-one had been there in a long long while.

I understand that bhabi had replaced the cushions in their rightful place before leaving today, so the place should be relatively tidier in 30 days – relative to what it had looked like last year.

Hence fellas, Jalali Baba has his freedom from today, and my guess is he is at a mini-mart right now, paying for Pringles!

Ghulam.0

Bohat arsa beet gaya,
Kisi kahani ka sira haath nahin aata.
Wohi zama’n hai…
Wohi hai maka’n bhi,
Magar koi khadsha nahin chillata,
Koi dard nahin cheekhta,
Koi jazba sar nahin uthata!

Main khidki ki aut se,
Sadkun par bhaagti daudti gaadiyun ko,
Aur bemaqsad zindagi ki saraab raunaqun ko,
Dekhta hun….

… aur kuch nahin sochta!

Khushk aankhun main,
Koi baadal nahin aata,
Pur sukoon sanson main,
Koi aandhi nahin chalti,
Zehan ke dareechun se parey,
Koi toofan nahin uth’ta,
Koi bijli nahin girti…

… koi kuvaad nahin bajta!

Jaaney kab zeest rau,
Behisi ke saanchey main dhali?
Jaaney kab maqsad kee tag-o-dau,
Thehri,
Thami…
Tham ke giri!

Jaaney kab qayamat aayi?
Jaaney kis pe beet gayee!!?
Main ne khudi ka zeena dekha tha,
Magar…

… bohat muddat beet gayee!!!

(December 14, 2000)

Abez, I tried translating this one to append the translation here, but failed miserably. Once akvetcher is back from her vacation, I shall enlist her permanent services to translate Yawar’s work, who by the way is seriously considering a blog of his own. Thank God. For now, I am afraid I must subject all to this horrendous approximation below:

Slave.

A long while it has been,
I get hold of no storyline,
The era stays the same,
and so does the setting.

Yet, apprehension cries out,
Nor does pain register,
And passion nomore rears its head.

I look out the window,
at the cars running to and fro,
and at the mirages of a pointless life,
and no thought passes through my mind!

The eyes remain dry,
Not a cloud appears.
The serenity of my breath,
No tempest it fears.

The portals of my mind,
Niether a storm rages,
Nor lightning strikes,
Thought not a door, no window, it engages.

Wonder, what trapped existence
Into the unfeeling, obdurate mould,
Wonder when the quest for the purpose
Wavered,
staggered,
halted and dropped.

Wonder when doom did arrive,
Wonder who it descended upon.

I did see the way to me,
But…

… a long while has since elapsed.

Comment Gone Lengthy, CGL VI.0

*Very long post, even by my standards*

(Refernce: Comment box, CGL V.)

BAQ, thank you again for your valuable comments on the previous post. A reply to over 20 fragmented comments would invariably have come in the form of another 20 odd comments, if not more, and for the convenience of the chance reader of this blog, I have decided to post my reply as a new post. You have covered a lot of ground, and I wonder where I should start from?

Shall we start by stating out the objective of the original discussion? Having gone through your comments rather diligently I feel that my premise for the whole discussion was misunderstood, and my comments often completely misinterpreted. I cannot help but agree with almost everything you have had to say, yet because a lot of it comes on the back of misconstrued opinion, it is not completely germane, and I feel obliged to offer a few clarifications.

The objective of this post, or the comments that followed, was never to absolve the US of its crimes against the many peoples of the world. It was to shed some light on the oft criticized propensity of many fellow Muslim brethren to take severe note of, and issue strict reprimand for the actions of the US when they transgress the morals of humanity; but not to show the same fervor when reprimanding similar actions by people from our nation. Quite a different proposition, you will agree, from discussing the merits and demerits of a certain civilization.

Why does a US criminal act against our people elicit a more animated outcry from us? Yet, we hardly ever go up in arms against similar, or sometimes even worst atrocities, committed by our own people, and ironically on our own people. Why does it seem to give the impression that we are more comfortable being wronged by our own people? Isn’t a crime just that – a crime? Does it matter who commits it?

By drawing a comparison between the present day civilizations of both the West and Islam, I had sought to underline the fact that the Americans as well as the Western world are doing at least some things right, while we are not doing anything right. This is the reason they are ahead of us in so many fields. I did not advocate blatant aping of the West, but merely wanted to highlight areas where we could learn from the West. One can, and actually will, always argue that the values, which are instrumental in putting the West ahead of us, are those espoused by Islam, and hence we should follow Islam in spirit. Well, I have two comebacks for that – first of all, isn’t it a given anyway that as Muslims, we follow these values and teachings? Second, how many of our people actually follow those teachings? Worse, how many will follow these teachings after this implied, yet deceptively candid, admission that if we follow these teachings we could excel also?

Because we are talking of the values, which have helped propel these societies into world leadership, we are obviously not talking of the shortcomings of these nations. I know as well as you do that the US is not leading the world, because it has one of the highest crime rates in the developed and developing world, or because a mockery has been made out of the institution of marriage in the country. I do not need to be told that emancipation of women from their clothing; rampant drug abuse, domestic violence and many other ills that plague the American society have had no part to play in the development of the US Civilization. So, if we delve into these details, we are obviously digressing.

Our failures, ADMITTED OR NOT, are failures; failures that continue to haunt our daily lives. They cannot just be brushed aside – not when they can be addressed and rectified immediately. Unfortunately, we are quick to move on to condemnation of others after our own candid admission – as if this admission absolves us from the crime of having failed to follow the way of life we were ordained to adopt. Ironically, what would propel us to prosperity, and pull us out of our misery is not the blind and rhetorical condemnation of others, but an active interest in, and a direct effort at addressing these ADMITTED failures as you call them.

The objective, therefore, was to categorically state on the one hand that there is no justification for our people to treat or react to a crime differently based on the nationality and religion of the perpetrator, thus implying that when the criminals are from our ranks, we should take as much exception to their crimes as we do to US actions against our brethren; and more importantly, to show on the other hand that part of the reason the US actions elicit a stronger reaction from our circles as well as from world over is that the world looks up to the US nation because of the importance this nation attaches to the right ideals (Freedom, Liberty, Equality, Peace, Compassion…)

The world, therefore, least expects this nation to perpetrate such cruelty and such atrocities, especially with such disregard for international opinion. So, when this nation does stoop to bombing of entire nations on fabricated pretences, the world loses a sizeable chunk of hope in the future of the world. The whole world becomes apprehensive, and afraid.

It is simple to see why. If an acknowledged and self proclaimed savior of human values, however dismal its record in defending and upholding these values be, itself regresses into a remorseless monster, there is little one can expect from the already less humane people of the world, people who do not even have any pretensions of being morally correct. If you delve into the dismal record of this nation’s colonial past, you will be surprised to know that even when the US forces were committing the worst outrages in Korea, Vietnam Chile, Iraq, and Afghanistan, to name but a few, the Americans genuinely believed that their forces were liberating the very people they were attacking. Stupid? Yes, very.

However, please understand that I am not defending the stupidity of a nation that buys wholesale into the excuses and farces its government presents in defense of its heinous acts elsewhere. I just wish to highlight the fact that as naive as they may be, these people have to be sold the idea that their government is doing the “right thing” before their governments go out and do the “right thing”. The “right thing” the Americans often think their Government is doing is almost always different from the “right thing” the American Government has often actually done.

We are therefore talking about two different topics, hence the mutual feeling that the other digresses. You talk of the American history, the actions of the Americans affecting the world, and the moral decay reflected in rampant marital infidelity, sexual anarchy, domestic violence, and such.

I talk about the fact that the American people do actually believe that they should stand by the right thing, and are willing to offer their sons in doing that right thing for another nation. No American government has gone to its people, and told them the real motive of its latest invasion of a country. Even the crazy cow boy does not just stand up and admit that there is a lot of Oil to be had in the Middle East, that the Jew agenda needs to be carried out by the American stooges, that there will be monetary, financial and commercial benefits (Booty?) for the nation if it goes on rampage on another nation. He wouldn’t be able to sell a war to his people if he did not tell them that they were doing the right thing – standing up for lofted ideals.

We can again throw a tangent here and digress into debating why do the American people buy into such blatant lies. However, it could only be pertinent to discuss if we could establish that the American public actually is discerning and knows the truth, is aware of the farcical pretences presented to them by their government to attack other countries, and yet lends its support to the government’s actions and atrocities. You and I both know this is not true.

I have seen many a fool on Faramin’s and Laura’s blogs who thinks Bush and Co. are doing the noble thing in Iraq in “trying to bring true democracy, liberty, freedom, peace and what not” by bombing the country into oblivion. My discussion is not on how naive and media-affected (read infected) these people are, neither is it an attempt at justifying anything. My discussion is just highlighting the point that here is nation who if led to believe is doing the right thing, will do the right thing, and will be ready to bear the costs. Can the same be said about our nations?

You have often criticized the American nation for giving a second term to butcher Bush, but you have failed to extol the virtue of the nation half of which voted against bB. We cannot point fingers at them when our own people elected the likes of Nawaz Sharrif and Benzir Bhutto twice, and would gladly elect one of them for the third time, despite the fact that each had plundered the nation each time he/she was elected to office in the past.

The discussion, as I have explained was not about the merits/demerits of the American civilization. It was more a comparison of the present day American Civilization with ours. A comparison meant to bring out and highlight aspects where the Americans excel, and because of which are expected to be more responsible, and held more accountable. I do not think I need to defend myself against your charge of wizardry after the above clarifications. You will agree there were no diversionary tactics of the magician employed at any point. I think I have also fairly established that at no point did I wish to present any justifications for any of the US government’s actions.

In the end I would like to sum up the discussion with a few specific clarifications for your comments. To make matters less ambiguous, I have colored your comments in blue, any of my comments you quoted in green, and have stuck to black for my own clarifications.

“Because at the end of the day, their leadership and their media consist of their own people…”

“So, now we have a full implication that the American people and their government and their media are all inherently ONE in this whole drama by any means!”

Not exactly what I had meant. All I was trying to say was that because the American leadership and media institutions are run by their fellow Americans, Americans are not skeptical of what they are told by these people, and that it contrasts sharply with the state of affairs at our own end where we take everything our leaders and media tell us with a pinch of salt, if not a handful of salt. The difference in attitude stems from a people’s view of themselves. You have found a completely different implication in my statement.

“So if that’s the progress we are talking about where the most educated fools are routinely produced from the best universities in the world, we wouldn’t want such progress for our children, would we now?”

The progress I was talking about was one of going from a genocidal nation responsible for wiping out the native Americans to a nation willing to sacrifice its own in the name of upholding the freedom and liberty of others; of a nation unrepentantly “licking” people for their color growing into a nation that is exceedingly watchful of any discrimination on the basis of colour; and of a nation capable of putting its own president on trial for having an illicit affair. You may respectively argue that US actions have seldom brought freedom and liberty to a people, or that racism is still a reality in the US, or that putting a president on trial was more a political circus than anything else. But then you will miss my point again – the point being that the people of America on all three counts could not be found in the wrong. They will lend their genuine support to an action once convinced that it is for the betterment of another people, they will always be watchful of racism, and they were able to put their own president in the stand for what was or was not a crime. I hope you see the distinction I make.

Secondly, you may hold the view that the universities churn out the most wel-educated fools in the world, yet it remains a fact that a seat in these universities is coveted world over, that these universities churn out world leaders in various fields including Sciences, Arts, Literature, Music, Medicine, Economics, Psychiatry and Philosophy. You have yourself admitted these universities do provide an excellent education. If we wouldn’t want such progress for our children, why pray do we continue to strive day and night to get them into these universities?

You make some very interesting observations in your reminders also, and I have a lot to add in that department, but given that this post is already exceedingly lengthy, let me try and limit my queries to just a few lines.

“Ever since, and because of weaker military capacities, at least in part, they lost out their nations one after the other to the inhuman, colonialist movement of the Europeans…”

And what do you think brought about the weakness in our military capacities when we were at the zenith? I would think it was our deviation from the ordained path, infighting, power struggles and distortion of the Islamic way of life. Who is to be blamed for this?

“So much so that it was the science and technology developed by the Muslims that became the guiding light that brought Europe out of the darkness and gloom of its ‘Dark Ages’. “

This, I think, is a flawed argument. Actually, the implications of this argument are flawed. Often, our people present this argument implying that the West’s progress in the fields of science and technology would not have been possible without the contributions of Muslims. Well, a lot of scientific progress had been made by the earlier civilizations too, on whose work the Muslim scholars had based their work. Achievements of Muslim scholars and scientists in no way diminish the progress their western counterparts of later centuries made, just as the advancements in the previous civilizations take nothing away from the Muslim luminaries of the past. My question is much simpler: What kept from Muslims from benefiting from this “guiding light” themselves?

“The vices you mention are not only rampant in the US, they are equally there in our societies. The worst part is those vices are not all vices by definition in the US society, but they are so in ours. Moral and legal transgressions – and yet our societies indulge in many of them en masse.”

“It must be confessed that at no point in Islamic history was there ever an entire community of Muslims who were regarded as immaculate angels by any standards. Not even was this so in the time of the Prophet for he had to contend with the hypocrites and the doubters within the community himself….”

I had not meant to make the unrealistic declaration that the Muslim society is totally free of all vices, though I believe an ideal one should be as close as possible. I am just drawing your attention to the fact that while we are quick to crucify the western societies for the moral debacle, we seem to forget that the very same vices are rampant in our societies. What is more, the western societies have removed the immoral or illegal tag from most of these vices, while in our societies they are still considered immoral and illegal. Hence while they are moral (or at least not morally offensive) and legal in the western society, they are immoral and illegal in our societies, looked down upon officially, yet these same vices are equally rampant in our societies. The emphasis again is on the fact that we are neither moral nor law abiding, so it does not do to point fingers at others.

“Add to this the fact that the western media, in its attractive projection of immorality directly into homes in third world countries, and we have one of the greatest moral catastrophes in man’s history taking place right in front of our eyes. ”

This fact might be mitigated simply by taking the decision not to watch Western media. We are not forced to watch these “Immoral” programs, and the West does not specifically make them for us. The brunt of responsibility thus we must bear.

‘you are the best of communities raised up for mankind, (since) you encourage the Good and prohibit the Evil. And you believe in God.’

So all said and done, while we believe in God as one must, the developed nations at least at the people’s level seem to be doing the encouraging the good and prohibiting the evil part as one must.

Imhotep theme designed by Chris Lin. Proudly powered by Wordpress.
XHTML | CSS | RSS | Comments RSS