The Burgers are extra- spicy

dharna

Let us for a moment, talk like the arm chair analysts that we are and not like the Pulitzer prize winners we pretend to be.
Let us for a moment ignore the precedents it would have set and the precedents for it already extant.
Let us make an effort to differentiate between de-politicising a situation and dehumanising it.
Let us fade out the coloured lines. Forget red, blue, green. Let us revert back to black and white.
Let us all take a collective step back .
Exhale.
Let me tell you of an incident that happened to me, many years from now.
When I was thirteen I got a room of my own for the first time. It was the high point of my existence till then. I was the master of my domain. The king of my castle.
The only thorn in my crown being the other occupant, my two year old brother.
In retrospect it shouldn’t have bothered me. How much space could a two-foot child take? I practically owned the place, as depicted by the posters of my idols adorning three fourths of the room. The only exception being the corner occupied by my kid brother in his crib. For all practical purposes he was a guest in my home.
And yet it rankled me.
As long as he stayed within the confines of his crib, I could tolerate him, for a while. But my mother, astute policy maker that she had shown herself to be over the years, had given me the room with a proviso. The room was mine, provided I kept the other occupant, satisfied.
In plain terms, the room was not mine by right, it was a trust, made on an understanding with all of its occupants, that I would not usurp their rights. All fine and dandy when they were just words that I excitedly kept nodding my head to.
Something had to give.
When my brother started crawling, nobody had been happier than I . Of course that had all been before he took up residence in my den. Suddenly nothing two feet from the floor was safe from his tiny hands.
I tried keeping him barricaded in the middle of the room with obstacles that he couldn’t climb over.
In time he learnt to crawl around them. Things came to a head when he managed to crawl under my study table, the seat of my throne, the Kings Landing to my seven kingdoms.
All attempts to drag him out from under there were met with loud wails and hysterical sobs that brought immediate response from my mother.
I had arrived at a deadlock. Force would only give temporary respite. I might get my room back but for how long?
Mother would not let the wails of her youngest go unheard. And once she intervened the decision would no longer be in my hands.
I summoned a meeting of the elders.
My two sisters had also been given a separate room and my action would no doubt affect them too. So it was only fair that I discuss the current dilemma with them.
The two sat impassively as I presented my case; the study area was sacrosanct, if I let my brother enter it, I would be setting precedents with disastrous consequences. Pretty soon he’d be roaming all over the place.
So? They inquired.
But that must never happen.
Why? They inquired.
I owned the room he should limit himself to the crib! I bellowed.
Owned?! They inquired.
Fine, I shared it with him, I huffed.
And? They inquired.
It was a trust shown in us by our parents and we were both equal parties to that trust, I mumbled.
So is the room yours by right? This was getting annoying.
No, but I was the majority by size and I couldn’t give in to the whims of a smaller party, that would show me as a weakling, I sputtered. He’s a mummy-daddy weakling! I earned this room!
And a show of strength against this mummy-daddy baby will prove your strength? They asked, what’s the worst you can do? Lock him in his crib? Once he has endured your worst do you think you will ever be able to use it again without mother finding out? And how much longer after that will you be able to hold sway over the room? On the other hand, what if you let him roam around? He tears your posters? Stick them a bit higher where he can’t reach.
Let him crawl wherever he wants to, how long do you think will he stay there? What’s the worst that can happen? He can’t possibly take over the room. Most probably he will grow tired and bored. You will still have the aura of being bigger without having to show your superiority and he will continue to look up to you for guidance and support. On the other hand if you choose to show him who’s boss, mother will have no choice but to interfere. She will take away our privileges of being responsible adults and you will have wasted, in a moment of arrogance and high handedness, our years of obedience and diligence which led us to our freedom.
It was an eloquent response, I had to agree, albeit to myself, but I wasn’t ready to cave in yet.
He will always be a mama’s boy won’t he? Calling for her help to get his way.
Weren’t we all, at one stage or another? She smiled.
Yeah but not anymore, this is mothers way of keeping us in check, my tongue was running ahead of my mind now.
And that’s bad because?
Because I’m too old to take directions and instructions anymore! It’s my room I’ll do what I want there, I can’t let mother question me everytime he complains to her! I was losing the argument, I could feel it the balance shifting.
My elder sister stood up, grabbed my younger sisters finger, sighed and said, do what you will but know this, I will not be a part of this, it will define who you are for the rest of your life, you will not have gained anything and your strength will forever be exposed .
With that the two walked off into the sunset of their room.
In the course of time, I learnt to ignore the odd torn book or spilled milk. To say I was happy would be an understatement , I was happy with the status quo prior to the onset of the crawling. But now I realised that change cannot be stopped. You have to roll with the punches and hope to remain standing at the end of it all.
That is strength.
The source of power lies in never having to use it.
I never again had a problem with my brother , who in time has come to be my greatest supporter and defender.

Wish you were there…

‘Pity the beautiful,
the dolls, and the dishes,
the babes with daddies
granting their wishes.’
‘Pity the beautiful’ by Dana Gioia

Who doesn’t love the weekend?

It’s the only thing that keeps us going through the monotony that is the long tedious hours sitting in a cubicle, following the rat race that life has become for most of us. But we know why we do it.
For the little ones. Our pride and joy.

From the moment those little fingers wrapped around your hand, you made a  promise to yourself to go through all kinds of personal hell to make sure that they never have to walk in the sun. And if that means sacrificing your Sunday morning for a day in the park, that doesn’t seem to be too demanding.

If you managed to get out of bed on Sunday the 6th of May and made your way to Gravity Hill in F-9 park, you would not have been wrong in mistaking the scene  before you for a typical family picnic. The picture fit the description perfectly. There were all the little children, dressed in their Sunday best, playing games, listening to songs, reading, doing all the stuff a normal family would do. And yet, something did not add up despite large trays of smiley faced home-baked cupcakes and goodies from the fellows, delicious picnic food from our generous friends Thali and all the outdoor games.

For one, the grownups looking after the kids, monitoring them, playing along were too young to be their parents. But if you took a closer look at the little ones, you would have noticed a maturity beyond their years. You would have felt the calluses on those hardened baby hands. You would have seen the steely resolve in those tiny souls even in a game of relay race or Frisbee. And yet, there was no meaness or jealousy that is present even in children when it comes to sharing their precious toys. And that alone, should have made it clear..for these were no ordinary children.

These were street children. We also call them ‘under-privileged’ sometimes.

Their whole life has been one big struggle against fate and the world from the moment they were born. For most, childhood ended the moment they opened their eyes to a world without doting parents or all the luxuries that money could buy. Most of these young kids had to learn a trade to earn a livelihood for their families while they should still be playing.
But instead of toys they were handed rags and clothes to clean, merchandise to sell and trash to pick to earn for their family.
However, for one day, they were children again.

This picnic was the culmination of a long and fruitful relationship that the grown ups have had with these less fortunate kids. Inspite of all the hardships these young souls have had to face so early on in their lives, they have taught important lessons in life to even their seniors.
As the sun set on Gravity Hill that Sunday evening, I saw the children transform right before my eyes. Without a word or being told to, they silently helped their elders and each other, clean up the place and pack up the picnic stuff.
There were no groans or complaints or pleadings for five more minutes or one more round of games. They knew that life did not afford them such luxuries. Life was all about these little moments of bliss. And they had learned to savor them, with no regrets.

Instead, they welcomed each moment with a smile and a spring in their step, for after having seen life from rock bottom they knew that their dreams and aspirations were the only wings they would ever have to lift them up.As I waved goodbye to the kids, I wondered if we were teaching the kids about life or was it the other way around.

More fun yellow pictures: http://blog.lettucebeekids.org/gallery/twice-on-gravity-hill/

Life’s a road trip, no need to ask for directions, just enjoy!

It truly is, even though it might not appear so sometimes. But amidst all the lying, deceit and disappointments, there are moments that need to be cherished like a bright little flower bursting through the cracks in a hard sun backed earth..It is these little things that make living worth it.

For as long as I can remember (read : ever since i started listening to songs) I found something so timeless in Baz Luhrmann‘s ‘Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)’. As i grew older and, hopefully, wiser, I started paying more and more attention to the words behind the song, and it was as if i could finally make sense out of the chaos going all around. Without fail, its been one of my most reliable feel good strategy. The original text that the song uses is from an article published in the Chicago Tribune by Mary Schmich titled ‘Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young’…(how true..:P )

To me personally, the words sound like  a sorta personal narrative and makes me go back into the past and hover over different times and places that i have so far seen in my journey through life. And its not such a bad journey, ofcourse there have been the occasional bumps and flat tyres but then who hasn’t been there? Isn’t  that part of the fun in a road trip? That’s what life is, just one big road trip..And its best traveled with the music blaring full blast and the wind blowing in your hair…

So….without further ado, here it is, hope it cheers you up too. * I’ve added images because they help me in letting the message sink in better and relaxes me..*

“Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it.

The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience.

I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth.

me and farooq tahir at the annual wah gardens picnic at hasanabdal 1995..siiigh good times

Oh, never mind.

You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded….

But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked.

How ya doin :p

You are not as fat as you imagine.

carrying a bit of summer holidays fat

Don’t worry about the future.

Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum.

The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

theres actually a logical story behind that too as long as you’re unaware of my driving prowess

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Sing.

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Floss.

Don’t waste your time on jealousy.

Sometimes you’re ahead,

sometimes you’re behind.

The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.

atleast thats what i told myself …

Remember compliments you receive.

Forget the insults.

If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters.

Throw away your old bank statements.

Stretch.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life.

The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives.

Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.

interesting is a judgement call though in this case..

Get plenty of calcium.

Be kind to your knees.

You’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry..

maybe you won’t….

Maybe you’ll have children..

technically my niece but thats only a minor technicality:P

maybe you won’t….

Maybe you’ll divorce at 40..

maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary.

just in case, you should know how its done

Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much,

or berate yourself either…

Your choices are half chance…

So are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body….

Use it every way you can…

Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it…

It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

close competition with Blue thunder though, tht baby was a tank…miss you thunder

Dance..

in my defense, those were craaazy times..

even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions.. even if you don’t follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines…

They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents…

You never know when they’ll be gone for good.

Be nice to your siblings…

it might not seem like it here but i AM a nice brother, i think i am..i must be …

They’re your best link to your past

and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go…

but with a precious few you should hold on…

 

Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle…

because the older you get…. the more you need the people who knew you when you were young…

i get by with a lil help from my friends, Aurangzeb wing 42nd entry

Live in New York City once…(how about lahore?)

but leave before it makes you hard…

Live in Northern California once..(thats definitely Islamambad)

but leave before it makes you soft….

Travel…

Accept certain inalienable truths:

Prices will rise…

Politicians will philander.

You, too, will get old….

Abba at Cadet College Hasan Abdal , i went to the same college and sat in the same seats 30 years later

And when you do..

you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble …and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you….

Maybe you have a trust fund…

Maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse….

But you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy…

but be patient with those who supply it….

Advice is a form of nostalgia…

Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal..

wiping it off..

painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

siiiiiiiighhhhh ….