Roadside Buddha

 

060What is the meaning of life?
How is one to attain happiness?
These are the type of introspective questions that are bound to pop up in one’s head from time.
I am no exception. Both in terms of thinking about life as well as in coming up empty handed.
Travelling by bus during the afternoon as the sun is a sullen red ball about to dip over the horizon, is perhaps the best time to indulge in actions lazy cousin; introspection.
And you just have to get a window seat or else all is lost.
As the bus meanders through the city and makes its way to the countryside the sea of humanity starts petering out until you catch a weathered old man reclining on a rickety charpoy puffing on a hookah, surrounded by his meager wheat field. A toddler crawls at his feet, probably grandson. There’s a look in the kids eyes that sparkles in anticipation of the stories that he will listen over a crackling fire under a starry sky.
In the background smoke rises from a mud house. A muscular and younger version of the old man carries a pail of milk to the open kitchen.
As the bus passes this scene I lock eyes with the old man. He nods.
I nod.
Is his life easier, more comfortable than mine? Not likely.
Is he happier than me? Perhaps, yes.
Would I trade places with him? Absolutely not.
What did I just see in those few seconds? Happiness? Maybe, sure why not.
Contentment? Absolutely.
And there it is. The meaning of life is what one chooses to make it. Happiness is not a path that one stumbles upon or finds through the sayings of a sage. In all probability these sages lived lives which were harder and troubled than we can imagine. But they learned to savor the few fleeting moments of happiness in between the troubled seas of life.
And so it is my friend. Happiness is cherishing those fifteen early morning minutes spent with your child before heading off for work. The meaning of life is fleeting. It changes as you change. Don’t beat yourself too much about it. Just find your source of happiness and hold on to it. Life will find its meaning accordingly.

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Blink before you peak

where did the years go

Where did the years go?
One day you wake up and realize you are closer to 40 than to 30 and the sinking feeling in the pit of your love-handled-surrounded stomach lets you know that the net balance of those years is showing a deficit. You have nothing of significance to show for the decade since you stepped out of college, full of promise, hopes and dreams.
Now what?
Is it too late?
Should one give up? Reconcile with fate and trudge on towards that ‘elixir’ we have been spoon fed on; pension?
Don’t kid yourself, you know the answer. You always did. You were aware from the first day of the creeping vine of complacency as it twinned itself around your ankles and immobilized you one muscle at a time.
You are being fed, just enough to ensure that you can still nod when spoken to and sign your approval if and when required.
And that’s about it..
As the years go by, your body and mind develops a taste for this feed. Those organs that do not adapt to this sort of nourishment are atrophied and fall away by the wayside. Foremost among these is creativity and independence of thought. Once you find yourself starting every sentence with a ‘Sir if I may’ and ending with a ‘you are absolutely right Sir’, it is time to burn all your childhood photographs, for that person is gone, lost.
So, is there hope? Animals raised in captivity are not always able to survive once they are released in the wild. It all boils down to who you are and who you were before putting on the collar. You already know the answer to that, it is not important. What matters is what you are willing to live with. Freedom with the chances of being your own boss and enduring bleak days of famine and rejection, or servitude with a steady feed of bare essentials and an assurance of being put down humanely once your use is over. So which one is it?
You already know the answer.

A poppy flower

Something so soothing and yet poignant about this poem that I came across, thought I’d share it with you guys…

Enjoy!


In a desert, once, on a hunt did I find,

With a radiant smile, a flower so fair;

Sadly, I approached and sighed, “Ah! Of my kind

Are you too – a hapless flower from a beloved’s hair.

Frail fingers wouldn’t take you to a soft face so close,

Nor would you be kissed by lips delicate and rose.”

With a silent smile the flower replied, “Don’t lose heart!

This desert I wouldn’t give up for the gardens of Iran,

A solitary I am here while legions are there,

Amidst this cursed soil I stand apart.

In this gray desert, a flamboyant flame of divine light am I,

Beauty’s silent song, a miracle from the sky.

In your garden, there are thousands of flowers like me –

A nameless droplet in a nameless sea.

You too, in your desert, don’t feel forlorn,

To behold you at last shall come a sore.

Ghani Khan.

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 ….

The man called Noon

Image

Sherry Sherry..heheh that NEVER failed to crack you up, remember?
Ok, so i have been meaning doing to do this for a while now. But how do you say good bye to someone you have’nt even gotten over saying hello to, you know what i mean?
How does one, i still cant fathom the words for what i want to say-the mere thought is so unbelievable- and yet, there is no escaping it anymore…How does one bid farewell to somebody they literally carried in their arms?
But i guess, that, is the essence of life, blink and you miss it.
They say that your life flashes before your eyes before you are about die.
I have always treated that with a fair sprinkling of salt and skepticism. But just this once, i would like, with all my heart to believe that ‘old-wives tale’.
I hope you did see all your life sherry, because i would like to believe that i was in it, maybe for a few brief split seconds. But you gotta agree, man were those seconds great, right?
I may not have been there at the end- yes im still pissed off at you for leaving without a formal goodbye, us seniors get some priority after all:P-but i was definitely there at the beginning..You used to get exasperated of the countless times i used to remind you about how i used to give you rides on my cycle when i couldnt even ride it myself..How i taught you all the cool things i used to learn? Shooting competitions with my Daisy BB gun, boxing matches, cricket matches, football matches..i was tough on you but you never backed down man…
And before i knew it, you were the one teaching me stuff. Like the time you made me drive my foxy all the way from LUMS to your house without stopping, because i hadnt as yet learned how to stop the car once id started:P
And how about that time i got into a fight during the soccer match at LUMS and in the wild melee that followed i found you and Taaz also throwing punches:P I didnt even know you were there…
You were the ultimate ‘playa’ and we used to make fun of you for it..’shahrukh’ ..’chandu’..’nauman puttar’..i still cant believe how little you were when you managed saadia’s shadi while i was away..all the driving..the dances, the arrangements…you were our family’s go-to-guy!!!
Hehe you used to hit on girls bigger than you in LUMS and i used to be in awe of you! And how about our late night drives and movies and talks and just hanging out? Now who do you expect me to do all that with?
You were going to teach me so much more man, i was still being the macho self to tell you how much i love you. I know that you knew that i did, but still, im still mad at you for this ..once again you have left us all speechless with just how wonderful you were, and stupid for not appreciating you enough.
But enough of the crying and nostalgia! This ones for my brother, the Shaheed..lets celebrate your glory just the way you lived your life, with a BIG smile and an even bigger heart…
Do look down upon us from time to time jigger, it gets kinda gloomy at times and i could use your company. You have left big boots to fill brother, pray that i live up to be worthy enough of being your cousin…and big brother…