Dear God

Dear God,

Quadriplegia, autonomic dysreflexia, sepsis, malaria, chronic bronchitis, bed sores and only you can tell how many more. You know that I currently suffer from more ailments that a common person can pronounce. Just during the past one month I have been rushed to the hospital twice in critical condition, I have had three episodes where my body almost gave up and I even saw the proverbial white light that is supposed to be the harbinger of entry into the other world, my blood pressure has dropped to 50/20 and risen to 200/140. My family members are on the verge of nervous breakdowns. I regularly lose consciousness, get breathless by the simple act of speaking, see my body temperature rise to extreme highs and drop to unbelievable lows. Only you know the amount of medicine that is injected into my veins, put into my mouth and applied on my body on a daily basis. I am beginning to forget what it feels like to have no pain anywhere in the body.

And yet… yet I am not complaining. I live on, I keep smiling, my faith does not waver, I refuse to lose hope, I am a survivor. You know I am doing my best.

But… Dear God, I know you don’t give anyone more than he can take, I know you wouldn’t let me break, you wouldn’t let my belief shake, but if it isn’t too much to ask, I really really need a break!

Life is fatal

Is there a specific moment when one realizes that s/he is going to die? I guess there is; in fact there are many such moments, because once the inevitability of death has been recognized, a whole system denial springs into action in one’s brain trying to undo the realization, trying to forget once again what it has unintentionally remembered.

Sometimes the brain succeeds; only to stumble upon the reality again at some future time. I have seen people survive cancer, terrible car wrecks, even falls from multiple stories; what I have never seen people survive is life. Life is the most fatal of all diseases. Once you are born, you are doomed to die sooner or later. So I have stopped my brain from trying to forger death. I have decided to always remember that I am going to die. And this decision has freed up my brain; liberated it. And with this newfound freedom, I try to make sure that I don’t spend a single moment without realizing that I am alive.

Do all of us sooner or later realize that we are going to die? Yes. Do all of us eventually realize that we are alive? No. It is tragic but true. So many die without ever knowing that they were alive.

Shuntoo: Zinda Bhaag

“Hey! I was just looking at the list of Oscar nominees for this year. Where is Zinda Bhaag?”

Shuntoo just scoffed and continued to concentrate on the book in his hand.

“How can it be? We had everyone bragging about its nomination for Oscars and respectable NGOs claimed that it had been nominated at its screenings. Where is it?”

“It wasn’t nominated.” Shuntoo said putting the book aside and looking straight at me. He lit a Marlboro and continued, “it wasn’t nominated. It wasn’t even shortlisted. And all the claims that were made in the past three months were bull-crap, since the nominations weren’t even announced till last night.”

“But…”

“Pakistanis are not the most talented people in the world.” Shuntoo continued.

“Wha…..”

“We are not so lucky to be at that stage.” He took a long puff of his cigarette. “We are worse than that. We live in a retarded idiot’s paradise. We believe in things that don’t exist to make ourselves feel better. We won’t appreciate the fact that movies like ZInda Bhaag, Bol and Waar show that with some effort we could make movies that could win an Oscar. No, we would rather believe that a movie already got that nomination and then feel all proud. We won’t say that with some effort we could become the best nation in the world. We would rather believe that we already are the best. We wouldn’t focus on how, with some effort, we could be better human beings. We would rather believe that we already are perfect human beings and spend our life trying to convince others.”

“So….”

“So we prefer to make asses of ourselves than to make an effort.”

“And….”

“And it’s hilarious.” He started laughing and the conversation ended.

Happy Birthday

When I am weak and need strength; when I feel lost and need a guide; when I am confused and need to find some sense in life; when I am scared and want reassurance; when I am alone and need company; when I am sad and need to smile; when I am about give up and need encouragement; when I am close to falling and need support; even when I am having a great day and need nothing more than a partner to share it with; in all these times I find you and it is always enough.

Happy Birthday Zehra! My strength, my guide, my sense in life, my reassurance, my company, my smile, my encouragement, my support, my partner! May you live a long and blessed life.

Pakistan Idol

What if it was somehow possible for Bushra Ansaari, Ali Azmat and Hadiqa Kayani to audition for Pakistan Idol in front of the same three judges? Would they have been selected? I think not.

It would be fun to imagine what the reactions of the judges might have been if Ali Azmat had come and sang Pappu Yaar in front of them. Initially the three judges would have made those wide-eyed faces showing that they were having trouble believing what this guy was singing. And then they might have said this,

Bushra Ansari: Hai, kitni mushkil mein tha ye bacchha. Aap ko bohat log tang kartey hain lagta hai. Allah aap ko sehat de. Aur iss ka hairstyle to dekho. Iss tarah ke tainday ke saath to Pappu yaar tang karey ga na!

Ali Azmat: Mera khayal hai aap khud apney aap ko ziada tang kar rahey thay. Aap ki body movements aur shaklain daikh ke to mein darr gaya. Beta ye gaana aap ke liye nahi. Saaf nazar aa raha hai ke iss se aap ko bohat takleef hoti hai.

Hadiqa: Oonchay notes mein ja ke aap ki awaaz badal see jati hai. Aur mujhay star quality nazar nahi aayee. Aap bas apni Ammi ke saamney gaya karein. Balkey wo bhee na he gaya karein.

After listening to Hadiqa sing

Bushra: Style hai bacchi ka! Gaana waana to nahi aata lekin style poora hai. Aap modeling mein behtar chal sakti ho.

Ali Azmat: Aap ko bohat mehnat ki zaroorat hai. Moonh ziada khul jaata hai lekin sur koi nahi nikalta. Meri taraf se to No.

Hadiqa: I like your personality. But ye singing competition hai. Aap ko bohat mehnat ki zaroorat hai.

On Bushra Ansari

Bushra: Kitni cute hai ye. Itni pyaari. Gaana bas theek hai, par bohat he cute larki hai. Kya adayein hain.

Ali: Aap ki apni awaaz, aap ka apna style nazar nahi aa raha. You seem to be copying others. Apni koi shanakht nahi hai.

Hadiqa: I like your smile but aap ko bohat grooming chahiye. I don’t think you are suited for Pakistan Idol.

Shuntoo: Criticism

“Though I didn’t give much importance to your criticism bachhay, I think a little dose of truth won’t hurt here. The concept of not hurting someone’s feelings has been misused too much. I don’t lie just to save someone’s feelings from being hurt. If a person asks me whether I like him or not, I’ll tell him the truth. Remember! Your words and actions are like tools. Don’t hit someone in the face with your hammer. Bit if someone keeps hitting his face on your hammer, don’t give it much thought. In fact you might be perfectly justified in laughing at him.” Shuntoo

2013 & Me

As the sun set for the last time in 2013, I decided to look back at the kind of year I had.

1.       I began in high spirits. JANUARY saw me planning to form a new company with some of my friends. I was excited at the prospect but also a little anxious. I didn’t know if it was a good idea and wasn’t sure what the future held. I was nervous.

2.       FEBRUARY cured all my tensions, anxieties and fears about the company; just like that. My health deteriorated and I was advised complete bed rest by the doctors. All my previous problems vanished along with all my previous plans. But obviously this had its negatives. I did not know what to do, and had no idea how or when I would be able to get up again.

3.       In MARCH this problem was gone as well. I was not as confused as I had been. The doctors told me that I was not getting up any time soon. The certainty was great. Now, I knew where I stood and I could plan the future fairly certain that I was going to stay in bed for quite a while. But obviously this was not enough. I still had the problem of what to do. I knew I wasn’t getting up soon but I wanted to know how or when I could get up.

4.       APRIL solved that problem. I was told that I needed to get surgery and only then would I be able to sit again. The clarity was wonderful. However there was a downside. I hate surgeries especially when I am the one being operated on. And I was scared.

5.       MAY took care of the fear. When I decided that the surgery was not possible in Pakistan, I had the much bigger problem of how to arrange my surgery in UK. The amount of money required was huge and I had no way to arrange it. And then there were all kinds of other issues. So my fear of surgery was forgotten. Obviously it was replaced with other, bigger concerns; most of all, where to get the money from.

6.       JUNE brought with it all the money I needed, and that too from a source I could not have imagined in my wildest dreams. My problems were solved. But there was a downside. Now I had the problem of arranging my trip. And that was a task that looked huge at that time.

7.       JULY reduced the enormity of the task as one after another of the issues kept getting resolved. And by the end of the month, I was ready to fly. Now my mind was struck with anxiety again. I wondered how hard it would be in the UK.

8.       AUGUST saw me land in the UK and I had the time of my life. The hospital was great, the staff and doctors thoroughly professional, and spending all day in the midst of pretty goris was not the worst of it. However, there still was the issue of the surgery and my old fears and anxieties of March were back.

9.       SEPTEMBER put an end to all the anxiety again as the doctors told me that I would not need surgery after all. That I would be back to my healthy self soon. I was excited. I even started writing a novel. The concern now was that my stay was being prolonged and some new complications were raising their ugly heads. With time, money and patience running out, I did not like the situation.

10.   OCTOBER resolved the issue as I finished my novel and flew back to Pakistan feeling better than I had felt all year. I was allowed to sit for a few hours a day and then see how things went. I was positive about my chances but still a little scared about how soon I would be back to sitting for as long as I wanted.

11.   NOVEMBER was great. My sitting time kept getting longer and longer until I was almost back to where I was in January. I felt a deep satisfaction. And my old concerns were back now. What to do with my life? Should I start thinking about the company again? Or try to get my book published? Or something else? It was taxing on the mind.

12.   DECEMBER proved up to the task as all the other months had. It erased all the concerns of the previous month. My health deteriorated again and now I am again on bed. Complete bed rest and I have no idea how or when I would get up. But I am not bothered. I know there is JANUARY just around the corner.

2013 has taught me that there are always troubles but they are always resolved and then always replaced by new troubles which are in turn resolved and replaced by still new ones. That’s life. It’s how you handle the troubles and what you achieve despite them that counts. I can’t wait for 2014 and what it will bring. Bring it on!