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Waking Up Alone These Days

I miss the annoying Guns N’ Roses’ song bellowing out of my cell phone in the morning around 7. It’s my mom calling me. She worries I may just skip my class that’s due to begin at 8. I have to possibly iron my clothes, get on that green shitter attached to my room, bathe, brush my teeth, comb my hair, wear clothes and attempt all the mundane things that makes me no different from any other college going boy in this country. Dilawar will honk my ass off a little late as usual so I do not check the clock and frolic with unwelcome panic. Let the hot shower run and let me dream about knocking down opponents inside an octagon fighting pit. Choking necks and cashing cheques is alluringly hypnotic. There’s always something to shake me back into the real world as soon as I craftily – in my mind – bend down and grab the lead leg of my opponent, lift it up and trip the other leg. Awais, you can’t even stand straight in front of a fucking dog, so shut the fuck up. I wonder how many fighters think about jiu jitsu while sneaking in a few streams here and there and pretend to shy away from it as if it were a crime scene. The mirror appears foggy now, so I bend forward a little and wipe it clean. I swear tomatoes aren’t as red as the shapely round distortion in the space time continuum visible in that mirror. Weren’t long, hot showers good for sinking self-esteems? Are those long hours of aiming mindlessly and shifting weight in the swimming pool and of tolerating filthy, smelly guys in the gym worth anything at all? Time is now beginning to creep in, so I pick my toothbrush and crusade against stinking gums and chewy leftovers. After a ritualistic re-entry into the shower, I think twice about rolling the knobs and then just go with it.

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About Today

Sorry if you got the wrong idea – but there is nothing special about today, and perhaps that is the reason why I want to give it all my thought. Why is it that all the moments that we remember in our lives are exhilarating, and full of emotions? Why do we only associate with happiest of memories, or the worst of miseries? Where is the in-between?  Continue reading

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Obsession

After countless nights of reading, writing, memorising and struggling, you have arrived today at the top college in your country. This college is also one of the world’s best, and simply an association with an institution like this are ten points on your semi-constructed resumé. Your self-esteem has never been higher, and as you enter the gates of the college-bubble, an invitation is swiftly delivered to you, brazened in an artistic envelope, that a party for the freshmen awaits your presence tonight. The word around is, that people who attend these parties have an impeccable academic record, with achievements to pale anyone stacked against them. These people, you hear, are also aesthetically beautiful with an exceptional taste in fashion. So, if you are to attend this party, what questions do you think you’ll encounter from your peers?

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Happiness

There is nothing more profound, yet misunderstood as much as “happiness”. I would not go on and claim that “over the centuries people have wondered about the secret formula to achieve happiness”, but there are in-fact, a few interesting anecdotes that I have managed to come across by going back in history – very recently – that speak volumes about what happiness really means. The reason why I elected to go back into the times, perhaps the times of the Greeks as you would later discover, is because they had not the means of wealth, technology, education, opportunities and accessibility that a layman today would be exposed to. Their analogies are ‘sweet’ and apt to their times, and even if there are no complications of the present world to influence their understandings about the important aspects in life, the explanations afforded are equally applicable to those times, as well as times that we live in. To find what “happiness” meant then, would truly be of moment.

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A New Narrative

It seems to me that every developing country has a similar story about the priorities it has for arts and humanities. A lot of people in Pakistan, for instance, disregard any career associated with art as “thoughtless” and “suicidal”. Sure, the market is a little tough. Artists aren’t exactly in great demand. Its the engineer and the doctor, the computer scientist and any other type of scientist that inspire great respect amongst the individuals in our society. If you want a shot at getting rich, don’t waste your time with art. Art is for losers. Go to a science school, graduate with flying colours and you may have your chance. There is still no guarantee, however, for you see, the market isn’t changing so much. My experience in taking courses from the School of Science and Engineering (SSE) at LUMS has been brilliant. I have dared to dream, aspire, and all that jargon the school promises. More importantly, I have felt the yearning for creativity and art to be completely side-lined, as there is always a desire to produce the next big app, product, start up and all the other ways to “truly make a mark”, as they say. This is the place that tells me, “hey, you can be rich”, and to be honest, I see all other motivations pale in front of this tantrum.

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Education, Life

“I need objectivity”

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.

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