Each year towards the end of the spring semester, seniors huddle in front of the iconic, immemorial academic block at LUMS. Each year, the academic block witnessed something surreal. Students, having evaded each other’s gaze for a good part of four years, now come together, eye to eye, shoulder to shoulder and look up towards the sky. They want to get a picture taken. The camera man stands and signals on the second floor of the PDC, and almost instantly, the chantings begin. It’s a countdown. Ten…nine…eight…and just like that, the picture fails to capture the nostalgia, the depression, the ecstasy, the gloom and other innumerable feelings that hundreds of people are going through or have gone through, together. These people are all joined in unison by the colour they are celebrating. For the years they went to the same university together, they enjoyed the liberty of not dressing up in uniforms. After all, university is not like school. It is something much more special. These colours – blue, white, yellow, red, green, orange, purple and some more – are uniforms they wish they never wore. For four years, they wanted out. The sleepy 8:00 AMs, the exhausting evening classes and all-consuming stress of examinations and grading instruments: my people thought they would have it better once they leave. No heed is paid to accumulating suggestions from the batches above them repeatedly saying that good-byes are not so exciting once you come closer to them, even if they are beautiful. Why would a freshman, a sophomore or a junior occupy his mind with the end-of-days festivities? It would not make sense. Anticipation cannot do justice to the moment felt in time, and every batch lets that moment come to it at the time it is due. Today, as I look around my peers all dressed in the same colour, much like a uniform, I understand that the time has finally arrived. If you look closer, the eyes reflect a weariness, a gloom that the rest of the body is oblivious to. It has not been stirred just yet. The good-byes are dormant but they will be ceremoniously performed, and that realization is starting to dawn upon everyone.
The ‘I need Feminism’ campaign at LUMS has propelled me to think about a lot of things that I feel are wrong or inappropriate in our society. No, they do not pertain to the status of women in Pakistan, or anything that has to do with what feminism stands for, but it is about the way a certain ideology is being propagated in a medium.
Unsung thoughts, I would like to call them. With music slipping through to your ears as you enjoy the comfort of laying back in bed, earphones on, and just silently thinking and evaluating life, never ignore the grandeur of this moment; it is significant.
Often in our lives comes a point where we need an escape. There is just too much going on, and while caught in this robust flow one tends to feel a little nostalgic even over the little peculiarities that he or she once enjoyed in a relatively static moment of life. I would call that robust flow of events ‘college’. I would categorise my escape to be this very blog, because its been quite some time that I’ve actually written something, about anything.
I really don’t know what I’m going to talk about, but I’ll keep writing till this post morphs into something worth reading, and hopefully by then you’ll be there to read it through as well. But really, this isn’t for you. This is for me. This is my escape, and even though it sometime bothers me that no one would read my post, this insecurity won’t last long and this won’t matter for long. This is my space, my escape and that’s about it.
In two days, a new equilibrium will be established. People of Pakistan have decided and are ready to cast their vote for a better Pakistan.
One thing is for sure; no matter who you’re voting for, your intentions are clean. All of us want to see a better, brighter Pakistan. All of us, however, have our own opinion on how that goal could be achieved and this is where the divide settles in.
Before I go on and announce my own political inclinations, I would urge you all to at-least cast your vote. Even if you do not believe that a vote possesses its hyped worth, still cast it. If you do not support any of the political parties, then instead of wasting your vote by sleeping all day, just visit your polling booth and cancel your vote.
Second grade – and I can’t utter a word. Something trickles down my forehead – sweat? Rain? Blood? I can’t tell – though my brain tells me I must be imagining it, my heart knows otherwise. For surely I must be bleeding – surely this is a river crimson flowing from my skull, a scarlet lake gathering on the ground, a pool carrying within it all the dirt and filth of a liar’s sin – surely I must now suffer a slow and agonising death, all the dark penury of Adam, for having lied to my own parents?
Fear is my companion, the only one I can trust to stay. Isn’t it fear I feel every time I look into my mother’s eyes and tell her – falsely, cheerily – that I have done well, better than anyone, in my exams? Isn’t it fear that makes my muscles limp, my legs loathe to move, my heart racing every time my father asks me genially how my day has gone? Fear lurks in corners, creeps with the shadows, looks out of paintings with eyes that laugh at my burning shame – because I have lied, and it knew, and I knew, and it knew I knew it. And I cannot stop: this is the worst part, the thing that makes my lies almost gruesome, blasphemous, a slight against all that is good and great and noble. Each time I utter a lie, it hovers above me, a dark, heavy cloud that diseases the air – and I go on uttering it, because once spoken I cannot dare retract it; because I am not a bright student, have never been a great student, and I – only seven, at the time – have not the courage to hurt them with the truth. Did I have a choice? An excuse? Only that I was a prisoner to love; only that I was a slave to fear. I went on nearly failing my exams, and I went on telling them I had done well, hating myself each time I did.
I have a confession – one that isn’t so dodgy or isn’t as surprising as one would expect – but no matter, it still is a confession, which makes it exciting. I have lived for eighteen years now, and I do not know how to drive. There you go, the inflated balloon has now flown past you with such a demeanour that it doesn’t even deserve a second thought, but whatever. I modestly know how to code, I modestly know how to solve calculus problems and I can even cook the hardest things on the menu, but I have not learned the art of manoeuvring the modern vehicle.
To every confession, there is an underlining story often ignored. The story actually forms the gist of that confession; makes it exciting and gossipy as it should be. Why is it ignored, then? Simple. You don’t question about the ingredients of a Lindt chocolate that you enjoy – you merely consume it, revelling in it’s seemingly everlasting taste that can lift moods. I can safely assume that you are all smart enough to recognise the potency of this analogy, so may be I won’t draw the connection to an obvious point; not by the words at-least.
Very recently, I re-started gym to shed off the enormous amount of fat stuffed inside of my body. I am happy to report that I have been able to reform myself into a decent shape once again, but as you know, fat is that lying-around-the-corner curse. Despite all my efforts, I still feel that I need new jeans. I hope you do not doze off to all the insignificant things that you were doing just right now because the idea embedded in this post, which I shall reveal as soon as you affirm your intentions to read this post, is kind of…interesting, and to top it off, it starts off from a hunt for some new jeans.
Marred by a boring experience on Facebook, I made it a target to take my banter onto the famous micro-blogging haven, Twitter. This was not the only reason behind joining Twitter. There were many other simple ones, too, but eventually they all coalesce back to the gist that suggests that a change is needed; Facebook is now static. The communicative interface is turning old by the minute, and even though improvements pour in, such as the introduction of the Timeline and Graphic search, it really doesn’t add anything to the element of ‘connectivity.’
Twitter, on the other hand, is a concept that might have just blossomed due to the emergence of Facebook, utilising all the things that Facebook lacked and locked down a particular niche which had a taste for blogging, but really wasn’t determined to do it the way it is supposed to be done; via a blogging website. That is okay, I suppose. Seriously, as long as you get to share things on your mind, in short excerpts, it makes it all the more interesting and encouraging for any reader to read.
So when finally Twitter started to generate some excitement amongst the ‘hippies’, it grew. There you go – being hippie isn’t so bad after all. These people are responsible for making things like Twitter a success. They tend to appreciate the effort and the potential behind such a grasping social network. In short, may be they realised that Twitter was a new way to get their message across. Fair enough. But there is a very strange, uncanny behavioural similarity between celebrities and these hippies, which sometimes gets me wondering if they’re the same. You see, all my life I have been under the illusion that somehow if man was given enough power to generate a massive following, like a cult, he would not be mired by the paltry details of life lived by a street man. Somehow, that power must be strong enough to infiltrate and corrupt ‘normal’ thoughts and seep into the action of the celebrity’s daily life. To some degree, I was right. Given the enormous amount of attention these people are afforded, no wonder do they come out and tweet things that really concerns no one but themselves. Narcissistic fools. If the media talks about them so much, haven’t they heard enough already? No, they haven’t. They still want to talk about themselves. Furthermore, what I find perplexing is the religious following of ‘sermons’ that celebrities often ‘preach’ on Twitter. For me, all of the condolences, estimations, analogies and intellectual discourse seems a little forced. Trying to get the limelight back on themselves when the conditions prevailing steal the show. Perhaps it’s natural by then, you know. All of that toxic attention does lead to withdrawal difficulties when taken away.
I am lost on words. Possibly because sometimes a shock is deep enough to rattle you off your perch. The unfortunate part is that the matters then slip away from your clutches, onto the mercy of someone else. When that happens, you burn from inside. You feel hollow, empty…lost. You feel this way as long as your brain can think and recall all the good times. Those good times slap you back in the face. It’s like enduring a with-drawl period after drugs.
This is the time when you have everything to give, but nothing to receive. One day, I’ll drain. One day, I won’t have the strength to continue this. As much I want to keep that day at bay, I feel that it will come, sooner or later. But that day doesn’t worry me anymore. Everyday, the with-drawl symptom’s intensity increases. I feel increasingly hollow as each day now passes.
I remember that day when I was sick and I begged my parents to not send me to school. They thought what most parents suspect at first; they thought I was putting up a fluke. They didn’t listen to my demands that day. I was forced to go. Now, I’m thrusted into a position that makes me feel horrible beyond my imagination. And there is no one who I can share this with. No one who would believe me.
You know, friends are there to console and listen to you. But no one really cares. It’s natural, too. Why would they care when they’re having a good time with their lives? Why would someone vicariously march through the desolate plains of someone else when they have their own gardens to stroll on. So this ineptitude at communicating doesn’t really count when you know there is no one to receive what you want to send.
Even after the day that I wouldn’t be able to give away anything, it will leave a deep scar. Just like the scars on my face that sometimes remind me of what I could’ve been without them. Adding another scar to the collection doesn’t seem significant, but it is. Every scar has it’s own story to tell, and the one that is now etching it’s way into me right now is the deepest of them all.
But all is not lost.
There is still hope. I can try to stop all of this. Repair the damage. And I’m trying. I’m trying.