The shepherd from Vijhara

Mohammad Ali Bandial:

A tale told by father

Originally posted on Wonders of Pakistan:

The moral of the tale is that the men of of sense must never lend ear to women’s gossip. But that is not the true essence that hides behind the tale.
This is a tale of Punjabi resistance to the all-powerful Mughals. Here in the Laehnda, the rich and powerful Bandials and Tiwanas were the masters; the Ghanjeras were a tribe of lesser influence. And here was a Ghanjera who was courageous enough to make off with his stolen property from right under the nose of the most powerful emperor the Mughals were ever to produce.
And if a poor Ghanjera shepherd could be so, consider what the more powerful tribes could wreak upon the Mughals.
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PUNJABI‘S HORSEAND THE INDIANKING

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by Salman Rashid

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Aali of the tribe Ghanjera was a shepherd from village Vijhara under the southern shadow of the…

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My debut short story published on Amazon Kindle

The story is a satire on the unpredictable nature of politics and shaky power bases that are prevalent in most post colonial states in South Asia. In today’s age, no state can afford to adopt an isolationist stance. This has been depicted in a satirical fashion here as the inhabitants of Monty’s bathroom have to face the repercussions of changing policies, taking place beyond their borders and out of their control. Through the course of the narrative, the fickleness of loyalties and vulnerability of alliances and dynasties is  exposed.  As the arrival of an unexpected outside sets in motion a chain reaction of events that threaten the status quo of the ruling party, ties of friendship and loyalty will be questioned and each character will have to answer their own demons as they are faced with a constantly changing political landscape.

Please do check it out on Amazon Kindle and spread the word too!

Thanks

My way or the highway

Life is a vehicle,

the choices you make become the road that you travel upon,

Maturity is borne out of the miles that tread beneath the tires,

you have rear view mirrors for hindsight and retrospection.

 

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This vehicle, however, can only go forward.

Man aspires his progeny to act as the reverse gear.

wherein he can go back,

relive the past,

make up for past mistakes,

strive for success again.

But no two vehicles are alike,

just as no two roads lead down the same path.

In the end,

all one can do is to sit back,

roll down the window

and enjoy the ride,

all you need is a great playlist.

 

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The personal statement I would never write or why we love Shahd Afridi

That was uncalled for.

I have been called many things in life.

I am ok with that.

When you have spent as much time as I have in hostels and boarding schools, you are bound to meet up with a lot of people.  People who have disagreed with my parents for their choice of name for me. People who have felt the need to replace my birth name with an adjective.

I am ok with that.

Infact, I learned to appreciate and respond to the adjectives that I came to accumulate and in turn, bestow upon my acquaintances.

It was fun. It became sort of a rite of passage. A barometer of sorts. The quality and quantity of names you had acquired providing a bird’s eye view in a way of you as a person.  Our obsession with castes and ethnicities is at some level another proof of this urge to be associated with the dominant group.  In some ways, it is what Cooley described.

I am ok with that too.

But here’s the thing. The mirrors that you choose to see yourself in are in essence your own creation. What happens when you come face to face with a version of yourself you never knew existed?

Safe

That’s what he called me.

I’m looking at this person I have never shared three samosa chats with. This friend of a friend.  And I’m thinking…

That was uncalled for.

Admit it. That is not the adjective you would want in your Top 3 words-to-describe-yourself list. Or Top 10 or Top 20 even. If a potential father-in-law figure called me that, I would maybe be ok with that. Because, well you know, you’re looking at the bigger picture. Let the old man see whatever makes him sleep peacefully at night, right?

But this guy was my age. He might as well have challenged my whole belief system, for all I cared. The metaphorical line had not only been trespassed, it had been mutilated.  He would have had to take atleast two connecting flights via Dubai to retreat behind the line.

But behind the fake constipated smile and the loud buzzing inside my head as all the available blood was deployed to my ears, I could hear a tiny voice whispering…

What if he is right?

In my defense it was my first time playing Texas Hold’em and I did not want to make a fool of myself.

Aha!  Says the little man, straightening up and walking a little taller, So u WERE playing it safe. *At this point I’m assuming this is the owner of the voice inside my head.*

I’m tempted to say Better safe than sorry but with fake money involved, who am I kidding?

I AM safe.

My whole life has been a lie. I have an out of body experience where I’m seated in a leather cushion infront of a giant screen. I am watching scenes from my own life.

The picture is a bit fuzzy. The camera zooms onto a piece of paper. I am in class 3. It is a class test. Masculine and Feminine. I have all the right answers. All except one. The pencil hovers against Dog. I watch myself write Bitch and then with what I imagine, infact KNOW to be embarrassment, rub it out furiously.

I write Doggy.

I knew that was the wrong answer. I knew I was ruining my perfect score and a chance at free ice cream. I knew the teacher knew that I knew the right answer.

But I also knew it was a bad word. I did not want to be the boy who was known to know bad words-later on in boarding school I would long to be that boy.

Safe.

I’ve had enough. I fast forward through the rest of the reel.  Hasan Abdal versus Aitchison College. I took one step over too many before threading the pass through to Shahid Nadeem, our forward. By the time he took the shot, the whistle had been blown..offside.

Our soccer final against the 2003 batch at LUMS, I hesitated before shooting goal wards.

 Safe.

We lost.

The soccer match at the Civil Services Academy. I decided not to take the penalty kick I had won for our team. I reasoned that I was too pumped up and would blast it over the goal post.  I delegated authority to our centre back.

Safe.

  He blasted it over the goal post.

We lost. By a landslide.

Then a long blur of files and notes and letters..Ah my life as a government officer…Safe..?

Wait a minute. I can imagine the little guy operating the projector pause and look down at the lone viewer of this depressingly safe movie.

What’s that?  He says with a raspy accent.

There’s been some massive editing in this reel! It’s the little voice, for once he’s on my side.

And I realize he is right. So what if I’ve taken the occasional safer route? That should not define me just as me busting my knee in a soccer match against GIKI should make me a risk taker.  We are more than the sum of our parts. A moment should not and does not define us, even though at times it is much easier to look for simpler answers. We live in a complex society that places untold burdens in the form of expectations and responsibilities on us. Situations shape our decisions and actions. But it is not who we are.

We all love Afridi because deep down we can relate to Misbah.  When the chips fall down both fight. While one charges headlong into enemy ranks with both guns blazing. The other provides a covering fire.  One cannot live without the other…*metaphorically*

All we need to achieve whatever we want is already inside us. Choosing which plan of action to take at the precise moment is a judgment call.

But one that should not define us.

If Federer chooses to stay back on his second serve instead of coming to the net that does not mean he cannot serve and volley or is safe.

Strategy should not be confused with ideology.

Which is why I am always stumped with first impressions and explaining myself in three words and personal statements and all that we are made to do.

Ain’t Life a Doggy?

As the color retreated from my face and I floated back into my body, I could hear the last words of this friend of a friend echoing inside my head.

Safe.

That was uncalled for.

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..and that’s the way the cookie crumbles

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I sometimes wonder which scenarios scarier; to lose someone or something you cannot imagine living without or to be constantly in fear of losing.

So much so that each living moment becomes full of trepidation and fear.

Like a kid waking up at night and raiding the cookie jar, always in fear of being caught. He has no option but to gobble up the sweet treats so fast that he is unable to cherish  their taste.

 Sometimes i wonder if all this period that we call life is nothing but a continuous chain in which people have been coming and going forever.

We fit in for a brief period with our lives. Our life in turn, is a collection of random, fleeting experiences that are composed of stolen moments.

…blink and miss them.

It would be a tragedy if it were all to end suddenly and all that we’re left with are tiny crumbs of experiences and incidents that passed by too fast for us to savor them.

.. take your time with that cookie…worst case scenario  you still have a memory to cherish.

Imran Khan – An emotionally compromised view.

Mohammad Ali Bandial:

couldnt have said it better myself! GO KHAN!!

Originally posted on Pakistani Society:

imran khan

Let me state this for the record that I have never met Imran Khan. The closest I have ever come to him is at a Jalsa where I was possibly in the last line. Yet, when I saw the news of his fall today it sent shivers down my spine. The feeling was considerably close to what I feel when I am worried for my loved ones. And I could distinctly tell that feeling because I have experienced it in life – the moment when food suddenly feels unneeded, plans fall apart, hope diminishes and you get a feeling of utter helplessness. These are the times when you look up to the sky, and just pray, and try to avoid “those” dreadful thoughts from coming into your head. Yes, you know which thoughts I am referring to. The ones you consistently avoid thinking about – regardless of the fact that…

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A path with a heart

 

Anything is one of a million paths.

Therefore you must always keep in mind that a path is only a path.

If you feel you should not follow it you must not stay with it under any conditions.

To have such clarity you must lead a disciplined life.

Only then will you know that any path is only a path and there is no affront to oneself or to others in dropping it,if that is what your heart tells you to do.

But your decision to keep on the path or to leave it must be free of fear or ambition.

I warn you.

Look at every path closely and deliberately.Try it as many times as you think necessary.

This question is one that only a very old man asks.

Does this path have a heart?All paths are the same,they lead nowhere.They are paths going through the bush or into the bush.

In my own life I could say I have traversed long long paths but I am not anywhere.Ask yourself,does this path have a heart?If it does the path is good,if it doesn’t it is of no use.

Both paths lead nowhere but one has a heart and the other doesn’t.

One makes for a joyful journey and as long as you follow it you are one with it.The other will make you curse your life.One makes you strong,the other weakens you.

Before you embark on any path ask the question,does this path have a heart?

If the answer is no,you will know it and then you must choose another path.

The trouble is that nobody asks the question.And when a man finally realizes that he has taken a path without a heart the path is ready to kill him.

At that point very few men can stop to deliberate and leave the path.A path without a heart is never enjoyable.You have to work hard even to take it.On the other hand,a path with heart is easy.It does not make you work at liking it.

I have told you that to choose a path you must be free from fear and ambition.

The desire to learn is not ambition.It is our lot as men to want to know.

The path without a heart will turn against men and destroy them.

It does not take much to die and to seek death is to seek nothing.

For me there is only traveling on the paths that have a heart.On any path that may have a heart.There I travel,and the only worthwhile challenge for me is to traverse its full length.

And there I travel looking,looking, breathlessly!

~ Carlos Castaneda ~