June 28, 2015 § 1 Comment
میں نے ہوا سے جنگ میں، اپنی شکست میں
یہ جانا کہ کیسی آگ میری خاکستر میں ہے
March 17, 2014 § 2 Comments
Cross-posted from Medium
Every day you walk up to the clock, count the ticks and go to work. Every day, you pause by the hearth for a few quite moments, wondering when was the last time you ever sat by, doing nothing and catching with yourself, your thoughts. When was the last time you had a moment to contemplate how so much, so quickly, passed by without offering any hint of comprehension. You whir by the office, the home, the friends, family perhaps, days, nights, hours, minutes — all gone, all never to be, a soft, sweet nostalgia and absolutely no recollection of a life that is slipping by. When every routine is so exactly etched and defined that after a few years, it become a habit, then a necessity — and you can’t rub it off, living under its crunching permanence for the rest of your life. Whatever happened to the times of careless joy, a hopeless glee, the overpowering, breath-taking optimism, the bright, vivid colors and stupefying promises of the infinite — the infinite and everything, with bright delight and endlessness.
We ran and danced in the high-school playgrounds, telling each other that the world was to be had and the outside, on the other side of the wall, is the Garden of Eden. We were so intoxicated in a certain moment of promised permanence that it killed us. And then we were reborn in an adult world where everything was some sort of a weight, placed on top of your chest and heaving you down. You try to run and gallop back to the lands of promise, to the open air which no longer offers relief, to the desperate recollection of a bright memory that has faded, to the shards of rainbows and a dim, dim hum of a train gone by. It has gone by. And the dust has settled. The new sky is our only sky and the new air the only to breathe. We have to pick up the keys and whir up the cars and mow through the lawns of our lives. Endlessly. Restlessly. Even the dreams are impaired in their once promises, wild, wild fantasies and the tearful affirmations of a magical, impossible world.
So every hour, we do our routines, say our goodbyes, announce our welcomes, call upon others, have dinners, feign walks in the nights. Then one day, we pause by the hearth and for a few quite moments, wondering when was the last time we ever sat by, doing nothing and catching with ourselves our thoughts, we sit down.
February 16, 2014 § Leave a comment
Cross-posted from my Medium account
Something canine and inhuman in nature rises from the surface of my thoughts to the touch of my flesh. It is intense and hidden, crawling under my bones with a lingering scowl. I can feel the blood in my veins trickle faster, slow down and then run in brief bursts of spasms, so much so that I can see unearthly, inhuman things with open eyes. It’s been four days in this hell hole and perhaps the dingy ceilings and old, grey walls are bearing down on me.
I attempt to walk up and down my room and subside the unusual agitation. But it is as if the movement catalyzes all that I’m trying to rid. It is binding my being with another soul, a more menacing, unrestrained individual who is not me. But then, deep inside the pools of our own darkness, we each have a ghost that is not us and yet, is within us. Perhaps the ghosts are rising to the surface in these ungodly circumstances when I am stuck in an alien place amid an incessant torrent of rain and stormy winds.
I will get back out and about soon, I’m sure. As soon as the sun is out and the day is clear, I will have time to reflect and clear the brown mist that is slowly clouding my memories. I sit down on the bed, bring out my journal and try to pen down a few incoherent lines. My hand shakes uncontrollably, so much so that when I finally resign the attempt, there is nothing but a few monstrous incongruencies on the blank paper. That sums my comprehensions at this moment, all as baffled as the utter unintelligibleness of my writing. The brown mist rises like an angry whirlwind on a hot, summer day and brings with it pangs of fury. And then the itching starts. It begins from the knee-caps, dim and rhythmic with a hellish premonition of an eternal quality, and gradually spreads in circles. I rub my legs, scratch the torso and then I claw my head. I claw my head so hard that it feels like my scalp is going to explode and a plasma mass of itching fluid will flow out.
Before I cut myself open to calm the maddening frenzy, it subsides. The pain and the restlessness are not so bad as their unpredictability. It’s the ninth day now, the weather has cleared but I fear the shadows. I fear the clear day and the sun that denudes me so bare that I can’t stand the thought of walking out. I want to stay here, inside, among these safe walls and the damp room. Last night, I thought I saw someone roaming around the halls. I went looking but then there was so much noise and darkness, and a strange tapping sound that aroused a pain that I’ve never known before.
It began in my eyes, deep within, so deep that I could feel only the fringes of its origins. And then it seized my being in so sharp an agony that I banged on the stone walls and hit my head with the glassware. The wounds and concussions are bad but there is no salvation to be had.
There was blood and bared teeth in the ceiling. They gleamed like sentinels of another hell, in another life, another world. I saw my daughter clasped to the door, weeping, and my wife bent on the flowers in the window. They were weeping and looked old and worn-out. The plastic knobs on the doors melted when they touched it and then they started laughing like maniacs. Their smiles turned into snarls and they bit me, bit me on the eyes and in the arms, under the nape of my neck at the back. It all hurt and itched when the laborious night whiled away in tortures untold and inexplicable. I have come to bear with this, the nightmares and the daymares, and their endless worsening.
I saw myself in the mirror this morning. I couldn’t see anything but twisted shapes and sounds in a dirty film of silver. It was as if I had dissolved into thin air, and then frozen there in an indefinite shape and that’s what I carried about when I walked.
And I feel wet. All the time. Something keeps falling on my shirt and my chin and my hands. It’s slippery, wet and it keeps the pain permanent. My vision is discolored I suppose, for the twos and threes and the doors and the windows are green and wet. There are no days or nights. The universe throbs and aches in a tormenting rhythm, always and forever. It never stops, never ceases, even when I close my eyes and whisper in dim, drooling nothings.
There was rain today, again. I felt like a satan in hell, hung from the toes of my feet in a world of agony. It was torrential horror, pelt after pelt of fear, incomprehensible fearful pain, shards dug through my skin and impaling my soul on a hundred thousand blades. What are the grey structures which surround me? The sounds of breathing are so unfamiliar and I am almost just born. It is the theater of the devils, dancing devils which wrap all around and over me and my pain sears through every pore on my skin and under. There is no salvation and there is no end. It’s the promise of excruciating tearings from limb to limb, over and over again, always happening within and never without. Without, only wetness remains. On my yellow fingers and the black finger-nails. They lied when they said the sinful shall go to fire. They are liars who need to be burnt alive and killed with a knife through their guts and their heads split with my bare hands. This shall go on. This must not go on. Forgive me. Help me. Save me from this butchery of my soul. But nothing can restore my how’s and what’s now. It’s all gone now. Brown mist and salivating madness. A puzzling, prodding madness.
December 31, 2013 § 2 Comments
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 21,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 8 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
December 30, 2013 § 1 Comment
At the next table sat three tensely mute men. Each was slouched behind a set of five high-held cards, looking intently into them as if the sheer power of their gaze may melt and redo the fortunes subscribed on the cheap plastic. Subsequently, one of them lazily threw down a Hearts’ four and prompted a slow game. The hopelessness of his manner was countered by the apprehension of one and the sudden joviality of the other, both of whom proceeded to contribute their Hearts and then shifted the stakes to the Diamonds. Upon every new round, the emotions on their faces registered vivid changes. They would go from struck to livid to joyous to ebullient, dead-mute and struck in a matter of a few rounds.
It was the sum total of their inconsistent lives, packaged and shipped in a pack of 52 cards manufactured by the U.S. Card Games Inc. The workers at the factory had specially stamped their fates into the cards, leaving tiny, empty slots to be filled with cartridges of misfortune. So here they were, fervently beckoned to their misery by shifting their small money among themselves. The whole point of their wins and losses was so insignificant that it eradicated the very sense of accomplishment of victory or grief of defeat and all was uniform and equal. The dealer, the winner and the loser forged into one grand spectacle of sheer human disillusionment.
They didn’t mind the stale food or the cold tea. Even the waiter pitied them and resigned on his right to pick loose change from the dim gloom of their pockets. After the 16th game, a number of distinct rubs and smudges on the backs of multiple cards and some restless sighs, the gaunt fellow to the right shuffled the cards into a neat block and pushed it back into the packet. ‘So long’ was the final declaration of a conversation who’s sole premise and total remainder was ‘Hello’ and then the three split into the dark night outside.
November 4, 2013 § 4 Comments
It carried an unnaturalness that could have been commissioned and supplanted by nature alone. It fit, somehow and perfectly. It felt complete, as if all the pieces and bits and colors had come together in exactly the correct proportion to build a rugged beauty that would look the same through day and night, through endless times and at all turns of the sun and the moon. It was greatness ingrained through every particle of a simple facade and exalted to a godly fashion. He could relate to it effortlessly, without the need for a deliberation or a strain for a reason or an excuse to like it. It was an eternal act of self-appreciation.
November 1, 2013 § 4 Comments
‘I was thinking of people who say that happiness is impossible on earth. Look how hard they all try to find joy in life. Look how they struggle for it. Why should any living creature exist in pain? By what conceivable right can anyone demand that a human being exist for anything but his own joy? Every one of them wants it. Every part of him wants it. But they never find it. I wonder why. They whine and say they don’t understand the meaning of life. There’s a particular kind of people that I despise. Those who seek some sort of a higher purpose or ‘universal goal,’ who don’t know what they live for, who moan that they must ‘find themselves.’ You hear it all around us. That seems to be the official bromide of our century. Every book you open. Every drooling self-confession. It seems to be the noble thing to confess. I’d think it would be the most shameful one.’
– ‘The Fountainhead’ by Ayn Rand