Choice


Grief is a most peculiar thing; we’re so helpless in the face of it. It’s like a window that will simply open of its own accord. The room grows cold, and we can do nothing but shiver. But it opens a little less each time, and a little less; and one day we wonder what has become of it.

Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha

You don’t feel like talking to me. No problem.

I don’t mind. Not really. Not anymore.

It’s your life; you’re free to choose who you talk to.Or not talk to. I, on the other hand, don’t seem to have a choice in this matter. And so, I can only grieve.

Because if I had to, I wouldn’t make this choice. Unless I had a damn good reason. Maybe even not then.

Little by little, though, I realize I do have a choice: not waiting around on you.

Works for me. I don’t have time to be miserable any way.

Dear Friend


Dear S,

Here’s the letter that  I should have “written”…

I just counted. I’ve known you for around twelve years now. Half our lives. Feels like forever, though.

When I look back to how we became friends, I would have to give a lot of credit to fate. Your birthday came at the perfect time. And if you hadn’t fallen ill and required my help in catching up, we might not have jump-started this friendship.

You became a part of my life at a time when it wasn’t at its best. When I had just been handed some new challenges and things weren’t easy. But of course you didn’t know that. Yet, in your own special way, you made it better. And easier.

Hence, in retrospect, I’m very grateful for deciding not to change my section, even if the first reason was that I’d rather have Mrs. Wallace as my English teacher.

I’m sure you remember Mrs. Wallace. She isn’t an easy person to forget and the main reason isn’t that she gave us both a hard time. She just made sure that even twelve years later (and more, hopefully), we’d still be friends.

I can’t believe that in about a week, you will be embarking on a new phase in your life. That you’d be married soon and going far, far away. Or that you’re the first one of us to bite the dust. That we’ve finally reached this point in our lives. That you’d go from a Ms. to a Mrs.

It’s only an addition of an “r”, I suppose but I still can’t wrap my head around it. Because I still feel like we’re two awkward teenagers just plowing through our lives…

Being loud. Being obnoxious. Talking for hours over the phone after spending the whole day together at school. Knowing each and every detail of how we spent the day. Knowing every extended member of each other’s families. Exchanging notes during lecture. Stopping at the canteen for samosas on the way to transporting class books from the basement to the top floor. Visiting your dad for junk-food money. Being the victim of teacher politics and still holding strong. Eating mountains of that strawberry toffee that I can’t remember the name of. Arguing over stupid things. Crying at the end of the Murree trip together. Making up for everything with a simple hug. Random walk to Masoom’s every other day. Studying over the phone with your brother.

There’s so so much more! Even after we left school and weren’t together everyday, you were there for me.

But most of all, what I remember is how you made me a better person. How you helped me communicate better and open up to people. How I tried so many new things with you around.

I don’t know how you put up with this presumptuous nerd all these years. But maybe, it’s because I was your presumptuous nerd.

Because no one else would hold my cold, dead hand during lecture to try to warm it up and make me feel less shivery.

I less than 3 you, S!

Yours,

Today and always…

My Year In Review


It’s that time again.

The time for review and reflection. The time to look back, at all the good and the bad, and “resolve” to do better…

For me, only in retrospect though, 2012 was a good year; better than 2011 in many ways.

I am still naive in many regards. I still let my hot head rule my words. I still wear my heart on my sleeve. I still worry too much and over-think everything.

Despite everything, I feel I have grown. Both up and out of my shell. A bit.

2012 was the year in which I managed to perform a very essential duty due a Muslim. I rarely blog about religion – thoughts, beliefs, opinions, practices, etc – but it was both a time with family and with God that I cherish. This was one experience that I won’t ever forget in my entire life, and I pray to God that there isn’t a point in my remaining life that this happens. Though it wasn’t easy, if I could go back, I would do it all over again.

The year also marked important career decisions. I once again tasted the thrill – and hardships! – of job search and the application & interview process. Now, I’ve finally settled down at (my current) work, quitting one internship and an earlier job in the course of the last twelve months. Having gotten the hang of operations, there are many moments where I really enjoy my “hidden” power and influence. Overall, I am just really thankful that all these opportunities did come my way.

In this regard, there are also lots of new people who have come my way. Some really nice ones. And some old ones have secured an even more permanent position in my (scarred) heart. Their presence through the best and lowest of times, their patience through my blubbering, and their ability to give me perspective is highly appreciated.

A shout-out to finally acquiring a smart phone (though still not smart enough to use it, it turns out) and applications like Whatsapp & Viber.

There was only a normal amount of reading and a minimal amount of writing, except here on the blog. Maybe 2013 would be the lucky year?

I did find some new favorite bands and musicians though: Mumford & Sons, Florence & the Machine and Of Monsters & Men. And it is just a coincidence that all of these have words starting with ‘M’. Promise!

At the same time, 2012 was also the year when I had my first major accident, after having a driving career of seven years. Mostly, my own fault. It was scary and I learned how fear makes a person scream. Yet, I was once again very ‘lucky’ since I wasn’t hurt and only the car was damaged. And that I didn’t have any passengers. Phew!

2012, in retrospect, in one word: lucky.

Cheers to that and hoping that this one would be a good one as well!

Dream Scream


I opened my mouth to scream, both as a warning and in fear but nothing came out.

It was fun for a while but then the scene changed. Drastically. My friend was in danger and there seemed to be nothing I could do about it. Except open my mouth to scream, but nothing would come out.

It was a hoarse whisper at most. No one could hear me. Trying to talk didn’t work. My heart was pounding in my throat and didn’t let me talk. My friend was in danger and I couldn’t even say a word.

At the same time, I was painfully aware that it was only a dream. Only a dream, I told my dream-self. It is only a dream.

Yet the fear was real; very real and very solid. All I managed to do was to run about. I couldn’t scream to call anyone’s attention to my friend’s plight. Or mine…

I did eventually wake up. I just couldn’t scream.

Mind Your Business


It’s other people’s ‘job’ to know they need you. All you need to know what is your due. And try to keep an upper hand. 

A simple philosophy. Yet, how do you do that? How do you keep an “upper hand”?

That’s not too complicated either, according to one point of view. Only a spin on the mind over matter philosophy. The human brain is part of the human body. Hence, it is entirely in the human’s control. All a person needs to do is harness the power. 

The human brain might mostly have a mind of its own. But you only need to take control of it to start doing wonders! Even if only up to the level of not having a miserable day?

Hey, it’s a start!

Sunday Special: “Nothing”


That’s right. Just a normal, typical Sunday.

Except for the weather.

A weak sun. Lots of clouds. And a cold wind.

A cold, chilly wind that sends shivers up your spine. And then down.

Add a visit to an old beloved place. A conversation with a random stranger. A cup of hot tea and some reading out in the open. Learning a little about yourself. Learning lots more about the people in your life. Freezing hands. A pink nose. Some texting. Lots of reassurances. You feel miserable. You feel elated.

And the normal, typical Sunday becomes one you remember…!

Me Too!


I was there, too!

The first meeting. That really interesting conversation. A quick bite before class. Chilling at the end of the long day. The late-night walks. The inappropriate jokes. Cramming in the library. The non-study sessions. Pouring out your heart. Explaining all the things in your head, without giving too much away, and knowing we still got it. Complete randomness. The panic attacks. The gossip sessions. The staring into space. The heated arguments. Changing the world, one discussion at a time. And more…

Or maybe there’s a perfectly good reason why I’m the only one who remembers this: a case of falsememoriginitis.

Better go take my meds now.

Gems


Some days, a face is all the catharsis you need.

You barely feature in their life. You might not have seen each other in a really long time. Or been in touch properly. Or talked lately.

But none of that matters. It doesn’t matter that you meet for a couple of hours after a really long time. It doesn’t matter that you are in a group situation. It doesn’t matter what you do when you get together. It doesn’t matter what you talk about.

The fact that they are willing to see your face, spend some time with you, hold a conversation with you, not look or sound repulsed, laugh at your stupid jokes…

Well, it just proves that they are absolute gems, and without even being aware of the fact, they help you. And they make up for all the people who – to put it politely – don’t or for whom you just don’t seem to exist (anymore, suddenly).

A thousand friggin’ times over.

“So give me hope in the darkness that I will see the light.”

~Ghosts That We Knew by Mumford & Sons

And you just know that it is going to be alright. It won’t be easy but it would be alright.

Advice On Advice


Today, I gave advice to a friend. Not the first time, either for dispensing advice or for advising this particular friend.

But it got me thinking. It was funny how coherent I sounded. And calm. Collected. So wise. Balanced. Logical. One thought flowed from the previous flawlessly. It all made perfect sense.

Stop thinking about the past. Move on. Stop obsessing over the past. Comparisons need to end. What has happened has happened. Don’t lose faith. Keep believing and you’ll get there. There will be a point in her life when none of this would matter. Stop wasting time and be more productive. Be strong and harness the power inside you.

And so on… (Damn. I should have recorded that phone call!)

Tooting my horn aside, I have to wonder: when did I get so coherent? Or calm or collected or wise or balanced or even logical for that matter? When did I start dishing out advice as if I had all of life and it’s difficult questions figured out?

Because I’m not and I haven’t!

Faced with any “trouble”, I would have exactly been the opposite of all these. The simplest of things, I over-think. Faced with a difficult situation, I easily lose sleep. I barely move on, remembering each and every detail and impression and what was said and what was not said. I obsess over things in the past. Comparisons never seem to end. I find it near impossible to let bygones be bygones. I lose faith easily, especially in myself. The one constant wish is for none of this to ever matter and yet, it does. I waste time rather than being efficient and focused and I give up. Very, very easily.

So why on earth am I trying to sound like I have all the answers? How on earth do I sound like I have all the answers?

I suspect it’s all about perspective.

Someone from the outside, a third person, telling you something that you almost always already know. Someone reaffirming what you already thought. Perhaps with a slightly different approach and in a slightly different way that gets the ball rolling. And helps you make that leap of faith that you were missing.

And of course, this is easier to do for someone else than for yourself. Hence, the whole calm, collected, wise and logical aspect.

But what we should remember is that everyone and anyone can give you good, practical advise. Everyone and anyone will give you good, practical advise. The only thought that counts, whether wrong or right, is your own.

Giving yourself a different perspective is one of the hardest things to do but that is the only kind that matters, at the end of the day.

My advice to you: the choice must always be yours.

Madcap March


The month of March is so over. And I can’t even recall where it went. Such a (non) happening month it was.

But what do you expect get from a month which begins with you pouring cold water in your cup and then wonder why the teabag doesn’t appear to be working and the powder-milk looks weird?

Spring. Loadshedding. The weird start to summer where you’re hot one minute and shivering the next.

This month marked one year to when the ‘normal’ circumstances of my life changed. I am surprised I survived this long.

It was a hectic month overall. Being new while being not-so-new is not easy. Trying to have a social life: impossible. Assuming someone wants to see your face.

It was also a month of establishing new friendships. Finding common ground and the poles-apart aspects, both of which make it better. And so, the people I got to hang out with daily never failed to amuse me and make my day just a little better. Hoping this continues.

It was also the time for mood swings. Not that I see them ending in the near future. But those of the past month were a little too swingy.

But there was recovery and healing too. And discovery. And doing some things for the betterment in the long run.

Gave up on a few things. Continued to hold tightly onto others.

Ultimate lethargy at one end. Complete restlessness at the other.

And, turns out, March wasn’t really meant for blogging.

But I. I shall “march” on! Come to think of it, I did so well at it that I “marched” all the way into April.

Said Ian McKellen: “If I was on a march at the moment I would be saying to everyone: ‘Be honest with each other. Admit there are limitless possibilities in relationships, and love as many people as you can in whatever way you want, and get rid of your inhibitions, and we’ll all be happy.”

Cheers!