August 15th, 2018

Finding a way out of the woods…

For many days now, I have wondered what has gone missing. It was not very long ago when I had so much to say, to so many people. There were words galore, and some of them carried some meaning too – or so at least  I used to think.  Someone wise had once told me that it is best not to go back and read the mind rot we churn out, and it was perhaps some of the best advice given to me by wise people, which is also to say that I went back and read some of the old stuff. Not that it changed anything except help put things in perspective.

More than words, however, I used to think I had ideas – ideas which the world needed so that it could save itself from all kinds of bad things ranging from mere stagnation to total annihilation. It takes something away from your motivation when you figure out that most of your bright ideas have already been around for a few centuries if not millenia. I really did think I was on to something big when I had thought up a scrabble board that would have nice little compartments for tiles to rest in, so that every little nudge, every little careless (and sometimes careful) movement of a hand did not reset the entire game. Turns out, someone has already beaten me to it. The ‘reset’ option was another one of the great ideas that would have been entirely mine if only I had had the foresight to arrive a couple of centuries earlier. As luck would have it, some company claiming to be soft at the minutest level has taken the ‘reset’ idea to ridiculous heights of application – only they call it ‘restart’.

I am not making sense. Again. This seems to be my default setting. Even though writing at this blog is being forced into restarting, it would appear that we continue to write in the same manner, and a hiatus of a couple of years has done nothing to help our style mature. We are feeling very regal in that way today, since it is a proven fact that royalty maintain some semblance of sanity through keeping up appearances – if only for the public eye, while the general populace, the commoners so to speak, simply let the standards slip. The tragedy, of course, is that even if we did not act so regal, and vehemently, even vociferously, encouraged the standards to slip, they might find very little slipping possible despite the best of their efforts.

Shorn of words, bereft of ideas, what does one write about? And how?

These are difficult questions to have to consider. If I had any political acumen, I would have devoted my energies to discussing the political scene back home.  More importantly, if I had any interest in the circus that is called politics in Pakistan, I probably would have overlooked my own shortcomings in the acumen department and gone ahead and written about the circus anyway. Fortunately, circus when it is reduced to freak shows holds very little interest for me.

I would write about my understanding of deen, and how I have arrived at that understanding. I tried doing it too, but I felt an absolute hypocrite pontificating (ironic use of word) when I have consistently failed to bring deen into my own life. There is also the fact that most discussions about deen tend to turn passionate, and need some level of passion and drive to keep going. I look inside me, and find no remnants of any passion I used to have. I am convinced that I have no inclination of getting into heated debates and arguments about anything. If people see the world differently than me, it is their choice, and hence their own misfortune. They are not my responsibility.

Besides, a few times already, I have alienated a few close friends simply because I could not resist the allure of winning an argument. What is an argument worth at the end of the day? I am sure it is worth something, since so many people, so many groups of people, so many nations seem to relish every opportunity to dive into one.  Is it worth a friend, worth losing a friend? Is anything ever worth losing a real friend? Once, I had come very close to losing a friend, a friend who has always been more than just a great friend, even more than a brother. We grew up together, learning from each other, relying on each other, and yet being different from each other. We learned to appreciate our differences, and value our common interests. It was not an argument that had threatened to cost me so dearly – he was wise enough to know that an argument when we both knew that I was the one who had been in the wrong, could only make matters worse, so he had walked away before an argument could even begin. And then, some years later, he could find it in his gracious heart to forgive the disappointment and the hurt I had caused him, and he just showed up one day at my door. We picked up right from where we had left, and have never had to look back. Alhamdulillah. Amongst the millions of things I have to thank Allah subhanahu for, this second chance certainly ranks very near to the top. Would I ever risk being in that spot again? I am inclined to think not.

What is an argument then? Except mere clash of egos disguised as opinions? When egos clash, egos bruise, because they are fragile, and inflated, and plain silly. And such are opinions. No opinion is worth risking a friendship, so when I see opinions rearing their heads, I walk away. Except, when it is a matter of faith. Faith is faith, and sometimes it is not possible to walk away from a discussion on faith, not when it is not something trivial, and is indeed something about the very fundamentals of faith. For this reason, I decided against updating on deen as well. I am not qualified enough to discuss faith, nor do I have the knowledge, yet in matters of faith little knowledge often masquerades as enough knowledge, and leads people to developing opinions. Opinions that may or may not have much to do with faith, but will be considered worth an argument – worth losing a friend. I am not prepared to lose friends over words, but what is stop some friends from being willing to lose me over a few words? And what if my own opinion dons the mask of knowledge and drives me away from friends I have cultivated over the years?

Leaves sport and work to write about then, and I am good enough at neither to be writing about it.

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