The Waiting Game

It was to be the perfect farewell.

I had the best heading in my mind for how I would write about it;

The Seven Year Bitch

It was going to be catchy, it was going to be poignant. And it would be killing two birds with one stone. I was getting out of a job that I knew was killing me, day by day, minute by minute. And I was getting out of it via the love of my life, writing.

And then I hesitated.

And another year passed.

The Eight Year eye-sore?

I didn’t quite feel the same pull. Let’s give it some more time, it’ll come to me.

And another year passed.

The Nine Year niggle?

When did the job go from becoming a bitch to just a niggle?! At which point had I finally given in to the inevitability of my fate? Was it when I ordered the second plate of oily samosa chat and wiped the stain off of the file which my senior had sent back with some minor (read: hair-tearing) corrections? Or was it the day I found myself finishing a sentence with the words, ‘For your kind approval, please?’ at home?

Whatever it was one thing had become certain, my mind had grown tired of dillydallying and decided on my behalf that I wasn’t going anywhere and so had thrown away its jeans and designer shirts and instead had let the gut hang out in the sarkari baboo suit. I was now institutionalized. No question about it

I am no longer the twenty year old who had the world at his feet. I have responsibilities now that prevent me from taking spur-of-the-moment decisions. And the cold hard facts are that after almost a decade in government service I am still not sure as to what additional capacities I have which would appear promising to a potential employer. The bureaucracy is a glorified post office and the best officers, the ‘shining stars’ are those who are able to ‘network’, move the letter quickly along. And that’s pretty much it, from what I have seen so far. But I could be wrong. I want to be wrong. That is perhaps the only reason why something holds me back. Maybe I am being myopic in my skepticism.

This too shall pass. And maybe I just have to ‘pay my dues’ until one day it will all come together. I can always quit, nobody’s holding a gun to my head.

And so another year passes.

The Ten Year Trauma?

Ice breaker

where did the years go

You spend all your time on this earth searching some meaning in life. And then one day, you find that all this time, life has been staring back at you.
Waiting for you to break the ice.
Sometimes, in fact almost always, all it takes is the first step.
Writings comes easily to me. Like all our other gifts that we are born with, I never really appreciated the joy of writing. Oh I knew I could work my way around a lengthy thesis; get a passable grade on almost zero preparation based solely on my ability to bullshit my way with words. But it’s only with the knowledge of one’s own mortality that one starts taking a more focused interest in one’s inventory.
For me writing enhances a world that otherwise I feel I’m not suited for. I mean it’s not like I feel I am from another planet and ET phone home and all that. It’s just that there are people who are great conversationalist and then there are people like me. We’d rather sit back, observe people, and notice their idiosyncrasies, their quirks.
And of course put in a word now and then, because let’s face it; otherwise we’re just coming across as creeps. I have found that the ability to write helps me become a more functional version of myself. It compliments my other faculties-as in I see more, I empathize more- and in the process, completes me. Countless have been the times when I have found myself in a situation and imagining how I would write that down on paper. I have decided that I will start writing again. The decision isn’t new, I have taken it countless times. Each time, something or the other, usually laziness on my own part, compels me to give up the habit.
I don’t know what I will write about, but I will not let my love for expression be burdened by expectations. For now I will just let my mind wander and my hands gallop on the keyboard as wild horses.
It will come to me..whenever it will.
No hurry.

You tell me..

What defines a person?
How can you spot one in a crowd of millions?
Is it something that can be seen in his looks?
The way he walks and talks?
Is it hereditary?
A real man, or woman is one who is who he is not because but in spite of his appearance. Behind the talk, underneath the muscles and within the blood and bones there is a piece that refuses to yield. Something that only grows stronger and harder the more pressure you put it under.
Mark Twain once said, ‘The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why’.
I believe that there is a third day, although not so much a single day as it is the period from the moment one realizes ones reason for being born to his/ her death. It is the period spent in trying to bridge the gap between one’s self-actualization and actual perceived self. How near or far these two points are by the time the fat lady sings, well that’s something worth finding out about isn’t it?
You may not have the legs to tear up the race track
Or the arms to rip a cross court forehand
Or the ability to see ten steps ahead of the present
Does that make the task that much harder? Probably
Or the odds stacked against you that much higher? Definitely
But should that stop you from reaching for what you want?
…You tell me

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 ~

 

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 ….