Saad Haroon Show takes you to a parellel Universe (Not in a good way)

I had been looking forward to this evening for a while now and I had planned to enjoy my heart out. But the reality was it that after every few minutes, my brain took me off for a flight.

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The show had its moments no doubt, but after a few minutes I felt like I was drifting away. I was realizing that I am at a very long place, or at least in a place that has nothing to do with Pakistan. The jokes, if had been stated anywhere else in the city, would have resulted in a public lynching. But here we were all sitting together in this auditorium, with all these amazing sponsors and amazingly burger kids and with no worry about being possibly attacked by anyone.

I am a liberal person, but at a point, it got to a place where even I thought that okay this is too much. This is going beyond a certain level. I dont know if I am making any sense here, but I think what struck me the most that day was the distinction that each area and each class can bring to what is acceptable and what is not.

 

The 40 Rules of Love: Rule 2

The Idea behind this series of “The 40 rules of Love :Rule #” is to explore the idea of Love which has been given in this book of Elif Safak. I will be taking up one rule at a time, as I continue to read the books and then explore from my own perspective. It is for me an experiment in Love, Belief, Spirituality and Faith. Lets see where it lands me! 

The path to the Truth is a labour of the heart, not of the head. Make your heart your primary guide! Not your mind. Meet, challenge and ultimately prevail over your nafs with your heart. Knowing your self will lead you to the knowledge of God.

“The path to the Truth is the labour of the heart”…… How is that possible was my first remark! I mean if you want to understand the truth then you need to think with your brain so that you can conclude the right from the wrong, right?

But then I noticed the capital ‘T’ in the word ‘Truth’ which more or less implies God, in the Islamic tradition. And then it seemed to make sense the statement…. If I need to find God, which one can hardly understand from their rationale thoughts (How can you believe in something when you can’t see, hear, feel or touch something), I need to think and listen to my emotional side. And it is that love for the Truth (I think) that will make me get over my nafs or my desires. But how does “Knowing your self will lead you to the knowledge of God”? Has it got to do with the first rule? Maybe so, for this is how it seems to me!

The thing for me is that I am a person who believes in morality, although that is independent of religion! I think one needs to do what is good in regards to other human beings no matter whether you believe in a religion or a God or not! But do I really use my brain for it or my heart?

I don’t know what I am saying here. This is just something that I can’t understand!

The 40 Rules of Love: Rule 1

The Idea behind this series of “The 40 rules of Love :Rule #” is to explore the idea of Love which has been given in this book of Elif Safak. I will be taking up one rule at a time, as I continue to read the books and then explore from my own perspective. It is for me an experiment in Love, Belief, Spirituality and Faith. Lets see where it lands me! 

Only recently, did I started reading the book which already seems to have become a big sensation in the world over. The book ofcourse is as you would have guessed if you are at all interested in books is “The 40 Rules of Love” by Elif Shafak.

The book from the main description of the topic explores nothing new. It appears – SO FAR – to be a cliche love story about Rumi and Tabriz. Now, this is where I always get stuck!

Have we become so cynical about love that we refuse to see it as anything other than the physical pleasure of two bodies?

The love story of Tabriz and Rumi has always raised enough suspicion in me to take their love as so much more than the spiritual crap that is thrown in at us. How is it that one can talk about someone with so much intensity and not cross certain boundaries? How is it that the height of your passion is a man who is with you and you don’t get close enough!

Anyways, the book begins, a story about Ella and her life which seems to have taken toll on the more important aspects that should be the part of one’s life, , like Love, Romance, etc. She has taken up this job as a Manuscript analyst or whatever, and she is posed with the first rule of Love, which is,

How we see God is a direct reflection of how we see ourselves. If God brings to mind mostly fear and blame, it means there is too much fear and blame welled inside us. If we see God as full of love and compassion, so are we.

How do I see God? Do I see God? I have never been a person who has had a strong belief,my belief seems to come and go! My faith has been explained by different people in different people, a few have claimed that I am a Closet Believer, others have said that I  am upset with God for hurting me and that is why I refuse to accept him. The second statement has seem to hit home, it has at moments seemed to knock the wind out of me.

So does that really mean that I am upset with Him? I can never really be sure about this. I remember a time when I used to have so much faith in Him, but then came a time, when I started feeling that it is all too easy! Having someone up above looking down at you and at your actions and just like that one day, there will be a good and bad, and heaven and hell! It all seemed so easy! So am I really upset with Him? My question has always been where was He, when I was going through all of the shit I was going through, where was He? What was He so busy with that he didn’t come to my help?

Forget the question about whether I believe in him or not for a minute, but if this is how I see God, then does that mean that I think of him as a being who sits back and let things happen to others? He lets us go through the hurt and the pain and let us make our own mistakes and learn and let go and learn to depend on ourselves?

Lets take this question the other way round! How do I see myself? I see myself as family oriented, Independent, Love my career, passionate, Want to prove myself, I think I have a bigger purpose in life, I am curious, stubborn, wandering spirit, and more than that, I am a human, who has limits. I like to find my own way, I like getting lost, because I think you can find so much more about something when you are lost, I want to know everything about everything, I want to touch and feel and see everything! Is that how God is? Family Oriented, Independent, Loving his work, passionate, With a bigger purpose, Curious, Stubborn?

If He is like that, then we might get along pretty well!

A few thoughts on Jashn-e-Faiz

Getting any major event done in the city of Karachi nowadays is a big deal, but to be able to get an event done without the banner of MQM, is a feat of a different dimension altogether.

Overall, getting so many people together in the name of Literature is a big deal and on that ground the event was a total success. But I am sure, that much has been written about this since yesterday. I am here to share that I felt yesterday on a personal level.

So the concert begins, but let us all remember people, that this is all happening in the name of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, so a bit of respect is in order. But sadly, it was not to be found.

At the Concert, held under the banner of Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Chanting of all sorts, disrespectful in nature mostly was the norm of the day, and it has to be said that mostly it was happening from the people I thought would least do it. Most of them were people I go to University with, so therefore it was sad on so many levels for me.

Later in the night, some people decided that it is just okay to take off your shoes hold it in your hands and then wave them around.. the idea sickened me to my core, and a lot of screaming and angry protest had to bring them down.

Is it just that so many years of being confined to no entertainment has made us lose our sense of how to behave in these places? Or do we really think that this is all okay?

Food for thought !

My reviews on the 9th Hamza Alavi Lecture

Yes yes I know, I have been throughly ignoring this blog for a while no, and I apologize to my blog immensely for that. But I am back now.. with hopes of not abandoning my baby ever again.

So what the hell is the 9th Hamza Alavi Memorial Lecture? Well Hamza Alavi was sort of the grandfather of the communist in Pakistan, and has worked immensely (seems like this is the word for today) towards the cause. he has a lots of books to his credits and had been a true activist for the cause that he believed in.And every year these lectures are held in his memory.

I am working with Arif Hasan nowadays, and he was invited as a Speaker to this lecture. I am not going to tell you how I felt or my reviews about it. Instead I am copying here my notes that i wrote that day before and during the lecture (no I don’t own a laptop to carry around with me, I still depend on the old technologies of a paper and pen.. and you know what, they work just fine. Thank you very much)

There are only two groups of people who are most aware of the city happenings and issues in this city (Karachi). one is this group of almost extinct diehard communist enthusiast and the other is the Lakson tobacco Building. The first group despite being knowledgable lacks some of the most basic polite attitudes – being on time, turning off your cell phone during the program, give respect to your guest, etc.

The last time I was here, I had fallen asleep. Arif Sahab however has promised me that this time it wont be the case. so far so true.

The introduction of Hamza Alavi and Arif Sahab is presented so “that the students can be made aware of these personalities”. There were 7 of us only. Arif Sahab looks burdened under his own list of achievements. He had  claimed he would knock off the socks of this communist. I am dying to see what would happen !

He shared how he met Hamza Alavi – I knew this introduction… I was worried that it would end up insulting the selective group of people.

Program was supposed to start at 5,… people are still entering 6. we are so confident of our own incapability of system. Continue reading

Lolita: My Beloved!

Since the moment I turned the first page, I have been completely captivated by the thoughts of Lolita. I feel in love with Humbert on that night in the “slender leaved mimosa groove” where he and Annabel shared a few moments of young innocent love. It was from this point on that I kept saying to myself that “No this man can not be a Child Molester. A man with such a sense of love just can’t be.”

Then came that day when he was to meet Lolita, and it was then that I was completly split. I asked people around what they thought of it. Most of them simply went on to define it as “an expression of love”. But I couldn’t agree with that. For me to agree with that, would have meant to validate the sins that people commited against me.

Despite all the love that Humbert might have for Lolita, in the very end for me, he is a molester who took advantage of a little girl. For some reason, I kept finding glimpes of known emotions. For some reason, I kept finding signs that were all too fimiliar.

I think it was in the account, after Humbert had visited Dolores Schiller, that I truly understood and connected with her and her feelings. How she just lies there with “her grave, gray eyes more vacant than ever”. Had Lolita written a memoir, she must have mentioned how in that moment she – defeated – just lied there, her body presented for whom ever. She would have written about how she had to understand to take advantage of what she had, to make a life for herself, she must have written about the helplessness that one has to go through every single day. She must have written about the distrust that seems to become a part of your life after such incidents. About how a simple act of love takes so much effort from your part. Is this why she never got interested in boys? Is this why she found this stuff over rated? Is this why she took pity on a guy and married him? Did she ever get free from her past? How I wish Vladimir Nabokov could have written a memoir about her!

Strength and determination: An interview by Varda Nisar

Raees Fatima

Raees Fatima: Continuing with her crusade

There are very few people in this world who know what is their calling, and it is in these rare people that we find a determination that doesn’t stop them ever from doing what they think right. Raees Fatima is one of them. Her love for Urdu is still strong and growing. Not only is she a well-known educationist but also a columnist and an author of six books in Urdu.

Getting her early education from Karachi, it wasn’t by chance that she fell upon this great love for Urdu. “I always knew that I wanted to be an Urdu professor, as I had always been interested in writing. Since an early age, I was exposed to Urdu literature and reading. I was always writing for my college newspapers and that love is still strong.”

Her education career covers almost four decades and she has left her mark in many of the colleges of Karachi, which include Jamia Millia, Saudabad College, where she taught for 12 years to then finally retire from Nazimabad College.

“I have never been able to deal with the corruption that exists so blatantly in our education system. I retired early because I could never lie about my age as many of my colleagues had done. Many of my older colleagues are still teaching at that college.”

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many things about the system which she was a part of that greatly agitate her. “When you construct a building and its basic structure is weak, you can never expect the building to stand on its own for long. That is the tragedy of our education system.”

She shows her displeasure on not only the coaching system that seems to be booming in the country but also the cheating mafia. “It is such a different situation now. Even a matriculate during my father’s time could speak better English and Urdu but now the education standards have stooped so low that you can’t expect the same from even a college student.”

Strongly against the coaching system, she says that she has always built a case against this latest trend. “Most of the professors don’t even bother teaching in the colleges anymore and I have seen that happening myself. They would be guaranteeing positions for the students that are taking classes in their college. How can we expect the system to work when this is the footing that we are building for the future of our youth.” Continue reading