Not so famous last words

1. What’s the worst that could happen?

2. Don’t be ridiculous. Of course it is edible.

3. Look Ma! No hands.

4. Doc! Are you sure this procedure is safe?

5. Hurray! We killed all the bastards!

6. Honey! Guess what speed we’re going at.

7. Yes, yes! Harder, harder!

8. Is that your husband?

9. It takes guts to do this, Losers!

10. Son! Watch…….and Learn!

What my accident has taught me

On the 22nd of May, 1991, exactly 22 years ago, I took a leap of faith…..into water that was shallower than I had imagined….and was paralyzed for life. The doctors thought that I would not survive, that I would not even make it to the hospital. Logically, the odds that I would die were huge.

Now, looking back, I think I did die. The miracle is that I was re-born; as a completely different individual. Just because of that little moment when I jumped, I was made to look at life in a completely different light. I had to go through tough times; I still am going through them, maybe now more than ever before. But, due to that incident, I discovered

1. The presence of God;

2. That so many people love me and care for me;

3. That no tragedy or accident is large enough to end your life; as long as you are still able to breathe and think, the possibilities in life are endless;

4. That life is too short for what one can achieve in it; I can do so much on a wheelchair that my life will probably end before I have achieved even half of it; so there is no use complaining of what you don’t have and what you can’t do, just concentrating on what you do have and what you can do makes you realize that you are blessed;

5. That so many people out there spend their life complaining and I can do a lot to motivate them to transform from complainers to achievers;

6. That problems are never too big, sometimes we are too small;

7. That nothing is impossible;

8. That a life spent trying to go beyond elastic limit, is the only life worth spending;

9. That people who take their destiny in their own hands succeed, and those who wait for others or fate to come and change their life, keep waiting; and

10. That life is good.

Sometimes I wonder if I would have realized all these things if I had not had that accident. Sometimes I wonder if the accident was the best thing that ever happened to me. Sometimes I wonder if we would ever learn to appreciate life and not wait for accidents to come and teach us.

About Improvements

Main purpose of life is improvement. All disagreements occur on the definition and interpretation of this improvement.

There are two main types of improvements

(i) Improvement in what you are; and

(ii) Improvement in what you have.

Understanding the difference between the two is essential to get a clear perspective on life. One also needs to understand the distinction between actually improving and giving the impression of improving.

If one is actually improving, it is not necessary that he will also give the impression of improving. Also, if one is giving the impression of improving, it is not necessary that he is actually improving. The two can co-occur; it is just not necessary that they do.

If one bases his conclusion of whether he is improving and to what extent primarily on the approval / reaction of those around him, he faces the risk of confusing impression of improvement with actual improvement. Thus, making views of others the sole or primary criteria could result in illusions of improvement that could halt actual improvement (for lack of effort) and also cause much frustration as the real fruits of improvement are not gained despite all indicators showing its presence.

Such a perspective also reduces all improvement to the second type mentioned above, i.e. improvement in what you have. This causes multiple problems including

(a) Temporariness;

(b) Involvement of multiple factors beyond one’s control;

(c) Frustration caused by an initial misunderstanding of the essence of something one possesses or wants to possess;

(d) Insecurity;

(e) Dissatisfaction on what one has, especially when compared to what others have or appear to have;

(f) A sense of injustice;

(g) Jealousy;

(h) Paranoia;

(i) Anxiety;

(j) Depression.

Conversely, improvement in or struggle for improvement in what you are protects from most, if not all, of the above maladies. However, before embarking on a journey towards improvement in what one is, one needs to understand what he is at the start. Without knowing where you are, a journey towards any destination is difficult to plan.

One way to evaluate yourself is based on a general principle that whatever you do, you do it because you feel it benefits you in some way. So maybe you are what you do. Ask yourself what benefit you expected to derive from something you did or said. Analyze yourself in an unbiased manner. Be truthful. And start from where you are to higher places. Good Luck!

Ten reasons why I want change

The political parties that have ruled the country for so long

1. Are centered on one personality and there is absolutely no chance of anyone else becoming the leader / president / chairperson until that personality is alive.

2. Mainly consist of individuals who are either the same old politicians that have been destroying this country or new ones who are so unknown that one fears if they would be even worse.

3. Have numerous factions / groups within them that make one wonder about their ability to do anything positive since they can’t even get along with each other.

4. Make such tall claims in their campaigns that it is extremely improbable, if not impossible, that any human can achieve them.

5. Use derogatory language in their election campaign with slogans that are solely focused on making some other person / party look bad.

6. Cry foul whenever they lose elections and act as if some hidden power is always conspiring against them.

7. Try to prove that their failures were immaterial and inconsequential.

8. Exaggerate their successes beyond imagination.

9. Try to create an impression that they are the only ones serious about improving the condition of the people while all other parties / individuals are just in politics on some vile agenda.

10. Keep harping on about their past successes even if they have no relevance with the issues that face the country now.

And I am still waiting for change

Have you ever imagined what it’s like to lay in bed for more than four months without any idea when you would be able to sit again? No? I’ll tell you what it’s like; because that’s the situation I am in.

It makes you realize what a great blessing it is to be able to sit. It makes you realize what a wonderful thing it is to be able to look at the TV straight. It makes you wonder why you didn’t realize the blessing of being able to sit, until you were not allowed to do that anymore.

It makes you notice the patterns and details of your ceiling. It makes you notice that your fan needs to be cleaned. It makes you notice how rarely you looked upwards when you had the option not to.

It also makes you ashamed of the fact that you were not thankful enough when you could stand until you couldn’t….and then you weren’t thankful enough for being able to sit until you couldn’t……and now you aren’t thankful enough for being able to do everything that you can.

And most of all, it makes you realize that lying down all day long is not that bad a thing after all. It makes you wonder if anything is that bad a thing after all.

It makes you wonder what all the fuss is about.

Maybe….not being able to sit makes you wiser.

Sometimes words elude you. You feel like you have so much to say but don’t have the words to say it. Maybe, such a state of mind is not that bad. Because language and words are only useful for saying stuff that has the same meaning for everyone. For feelings, emotions, and thoughts that are yours alone, things that you experience inside your soul, things that cannot be shared without losing their essence; there are no words.

So, I think without words, I feel without giving those feelings a name, I float in a wordless, timeless, and limitless ocean that cannot be described. And I hope to drown and then re-emerge with a clarity that does not need words, which cannot and does not want to be shared.

I supported PTI and I am delighted that

1. We had the largest turnout in recent history and Pakistanis finally seem to have realized the importance of their votes. That is true democracy.

2. PTI managed to form the government in one province in its first attempt. The people of KP have rejected their old rulers and have given Khan’s team a chance to show what they can do. That is true democracy.

3. There is a fresh trend where social media has been extensively used for politics and a lot of awareness has been spread through it, making people who were completely disinterested in elections come out in large number in support of their favorite candidates. That is true democracy.

4. PTI gave a tough fight even in the constituencies where they couldn’t win. The people opted to vote for change in huge numbers and gave a tough fight to the experienced politicians. That is true democracy.

5. PML-N leaders gave a victory speech where they pledged to forget past animosities and work for the country and PTI congratulated the winning party and pledged to do their bit in the next five years. That is true democracy.

I just hope that PTI supporters realize that

6. This is a victory. Our dreams might not have been fulfilled, but we must learn to accept reality with courage and not be sore losers.

7. Governing a troubled province like KP is going to be a big challenge and Khan would need all the support he will need. This is the time to step up a gear and start anew.

8. Social media is a double-edged sword. We must show that we are the Naya Pakistan, which is decent, civilized, educated and dignified even in defeat.

9. PTI was no.2 in most of the constituencies and needs to form a reformist opposition that focuses on constructive criticism.

10. This is the time to unite. We cannot make this a provincial or class war. Pakistanis need to unite and work for the country.

No whining and no gloating.

Democracy

This time, it’s different; different in so many ways, and all positive. For one, this time, I am going to vote. And so are so many others, who have never felt the need to be a part of this process before. And all credit goes to Khan. Not only has he been able bring out his own supporters in large numbers, he has also forced those in favor of other parties to take the elections seriously, if only to avoid the arrival of the metaphorical Tsunami. Whatever the background, it is heartening to see that we are on our way to becoming a true democracy.

But before we start congratulating ourselves, let’s not forget that we are on our way. We are not there yet. And the first milestone on that path is tomorrow. I would just like to make a few suggestions on the eve of elections. Here is my wish-list.

1. I hope that every single voter in Pakistan gets out to cast his/her vote. We have been idle and indifferent for too long. We need to prove that we are a responsible nation and have learnt our lessons. The silly ideas that a single person’s vote doesn’t matter is a thing of the past now. Single persons make a nation and every one of them counts.

2. As a truly civilized nation, we also have to exhibit tolerance. We are free to vote for whoever we believe is the best for our country. But so is every other voter. No one is perfect and the capacity to endure difference of opinion is the most fundamental quality of a dignified and mature nation.

3. Each one of us has to feel personally responsible to ensure that the voting process is peaceful. That is the biggest test. We have to respect each other and stay calm and composed under all circumstances. Any violence or even misbehavior on anyone’s part can destroy the whole process.

4. When the results start coming in, we must face them properly. If our party or candidate is beaten, accept it with an open heart. And if our party or candidate wins, realize that it is the beginning of an even greater responsibility. No whining and no gloating.

5. Most importantly, let’s not treat the elections like we treat Ramazan. We are all pious and nice for a month, the mosques are filled, but as soon as Ramazan is over, we revert to our ways and wait for the next Ramazan. We must realize that in a democratic nation, the people are the government and we have to keep a check on our representatives for the next five years.

6. Lastly, we must ensure that the democratic process keeps moving. Let’s support whoever comes to power in everything good they do, and criticize whatever bad policies they come up with. But let’s promise never to wish or work for a quick fall of the government.
Good Luck! And may our nation keep moving forward and never look back.

Imran Khan

Forget about who will win the majority in the next elections. Vote for whichever party or candidate you feel like. Let’s stop the politics for a while.

I want to take a moment to salute one man; a man who fell from a lifter on Tuesday and the whole nation rose in alarm. People from all walks of life, no matter which party they support, or in which country they currently reside, all Pakistanis held their breath and prayed for the Captain. I saw Pakistan unite as a nation.

People crying for him, looks of bewilderment on faces, a fear that they were losing someone too dear to them, Pakistanis in foreign lands praying for him, the scenes were enough to give anyone goose bumps.

And then came his statement from a hospital bed. A person with three broken vertebrae telling the nation “I have done all I could. Now you have to decide.” And that “the people have to exert full force on May 11 to change their lives.” The captain is one of the few Greats Pakistan has produced. And any doubts in anyone’s mind should have evaporated after seeing the events of Tuesday. His faith, confidence, will, stamina and courage are the stuff of legends. And it is heartening to see that we, as a nation, acknowledge that. We can have differences of opinion, we can argue about the credentials of all political parties including the PTI, but when it comes to recognizing a great, we know how to give respect, love and recognition.

The fall and its aftermath gave Imran a chance to show his guts and share his vision with the whole country, as everything came to a halt in Pakistan and when he spoke on a news channel, all were listening. It also gave the people a chance to show him that regardless of whether they support his political party or not, they regard him as the son of Pakistan, and a son to be proud of.

Elections

It is wonderful to see out nation finally getting serious about elections. Thanks largely to the charisma of Khan, a number of groups including women and the educated classes are getting ready to cast their votes. It is refreshing. But I feel a little apprehensive too. I hope we all realize that

1. Every citizen of Pakistan has the right to vote for the candidate or party he likes. Just because someone is voting for a party or person you hate, does not give you the right to question his intelligence or assume that he is a rotten individual.

2. Every person and party is a combination of positives and negatives. So attempting to prove that the one you support is an angel and all the others have sold their souls to the devil is pretty lame and would always land you in an unending, senseless argument.

3. The most important thing at this juncture is that elections do take place and any government that comes to power completes its term. For the first time in our history we have had two consecutive governments that have completed five years in office, we must continue this trend, or we may never get such an opportunity.

4. There are a number of forces bent upon sabotaging the electoral process, we have to take a stand against them and support democracy; our support for any particular party is secondary.

5. Our responsibility does not end with the election results. As a democratic nation, we the people are the true rulers of Pakistan. We have to keep a check on the government and ensure that it works efficiently.

6. We must also ensure that the opposition plays its role and provides constructive criticism of government policies. An opposition that only badmouths the government in an attempt to quicken its downfall is extremely dangerous.

I hope that we mature as a nation quickly and avoid silly, illogical battles that have plagued us for so long.