He thought up an idea. He made a plan to achieve it. There were obstacles in his path and he had to overcome them one by one, sometimes using fair, at other times unfair means. He stepped on a number of toes on his way, encountered many failures but never gave up. He made friends of people who agreed with his cause and enemies of those who opposed him. He loved things that supported his struggle and hated those that were bad for it. He ignored all the voices that criticized him and went on, unrelenting, with his held up high.

And he succeeded in the end. Only now, he does not think it was such a good idea to start with!!!

I don’t really remember it, but I’ve heard there was a time when gold was the standard currency of the world. Now it’s the dollar. The dollar which is just paper that pretends to be of value……and how well does it pretend!

I don’t really remember it, but I’ve heard there was a time when warriors, men of courage, men of dignity were known, revered and admired by the people. Now it’s the actors. The actors who just pretend to be warriors, men of courage, men of dignity……and their respect depends on how well they pretend.

I don’t really remember it, but I’ve heard there was a time when people listened to, believed in and followed the teachings of prophets, sages, walis. Now they listen to, believe in and emulate rock stars. Rock stars who just pretend to be singing lyrics that are prophetic, wise and truthful…..and the admiration they get depends on how well they pretend.

I’m not really sure but I’ve heard that people today complain that they don’t see any purity in the world. I’m not surprised at this. I’m just surprised at anyone expecting any different.

“Shuntoo have you never felt depressed, dejected, down?”

“Maybe, but I don’t remember it.”

“How can you be so insensitive?”

“Insensitive?”

“Yes. Don’t you see the wars, crimes, poverty, and disease everywhere?”

“No, I don’t see it everywhere. I also see the peace, smiles, health and prosperity.”

“But don’t you ever feel that there are so many things you cannot do anything about, things that could be so much better?”

“I am the master of my own universe, bachhay! Whenever I want, I can smile, laugh, hum a favorite tune, swing to a music, go for a walk, scream at the top of my voice.”

“And that’s all the freedom you require?”

“For now, it is enough. I will think about what I don’t have, once I am bored of doing all this.”

“Hmmm!”

“Try it. Trust me.”

Meaning of Life

Have you ever felt that your life does not have any purpose? You have? So have I. And then I realized that the fault does not lie with life. It lies with me. It is my responsibility to give my life meaning; and if I have not been able to do that satisfactorily, I thank God that I still have some life left. I can still make it meaningful. So, you have four choices. Keep looking for a meaning, keep waiting for the meaning to reveal itself, keep trying to give meaning to life, or do all three; that is, keep trying to make your existence meaningful while keeping an eye out for the truth to reveal itself. Take your pick.

Teenagers

Have you ever noticed how some teenagers have the exact same expression and exact same posture in every single one of their photographs? Even their heads are tilted at the same angle, the number of teeth visible in their smiles is also exactly the same, in short, one will be really worried if asked to find five differences between their faces in any two photographs.

I noticed this just a couple of days ago and I was impressed. I believe these kids must have spent hours making faces and trying various expressions in front of the mirror before they finally decided which one made them look the best. And then they must have practiced really hard to make sure they could give that look in front of the camera, that exact same look. What dedication!

With young boys and girls who can exhibit such clarity of purpose, hard work, determination and finally, excellent execution, I feel so relaxed and hopeful about the future of this country.

A few days after my accident

A few days after my accident, I suddenly woke up in the middle of the night. I guess any other person would have woken up with a jerk, but with all my body paralyzed and my head, the only part I could move, pinned with huge weights drilled into my skull, I was in no position to do anything with a jerk.

Anyway I woke up to a pitch dark room. I could not see anything. I could not move a muscle or feel a thing. I could not hear a sound. I was not allowed to eat or drink anything. And my throat was so dry that I could not speak a word or produce a sound either. As for breathing, in hindsight, I guess I must have been breathing, but at that time, I was not sure. So, I simply lay there and wondered if I was alive. Because what does it mean to be alive anyway? Doesn’t it mean being able to see, hear, speak, feel, move, and eat? Plants are alive too but then, at least they are growing, getting nutrition, reproducing and according to some scientists, even feeling. I was not doing any of these things, or at least I wasn’t conscious of any of them.

But I was alive. Without doing any of these things, I was alive. And now I know the answer to the question I asked earlier. What does it mean to be alive anyway? Doesn’t it mean being able to see, hear, speak, feel, move, and eat? The answer is NO. It does not mean this. A person who is not doing any of these can still be alive. And someone who is performing all these acts is not necessarily alive, in the real human sense of the word, though he may biologically be included in the biota.

I was alive in that dark quiet hospital room. I was alive without being able to move, feel, eat, drink or move. I was alive because I could think. I was alive because I was wondering whether I was alive or not. I was alive because I was trying to figure out what the hell to do. I was alive because I was trying to gain some perspective. I was alive because I was trying not to get scared. I was alive because I was trying not to cry. I was alive because I was trying to think.

I WAS ALIVE BECAUSE I WAS TRYING.

And that’s what I have learnt. Life means trying. To do something is God’s job. We can only try. Even for those of you, who do not believe in God, let me explain that every single act of yours is governed by so many different variables that are completely beyond your control that believe me……all you can do is try. To try is to live.

Anyone who realizes and is thankful for all the resources he has and plans to use them in the best possible manner is trying. Conversely everyone who keeps whining about the resources he does not have and blaming his fate or luck or the society or the man in the moon for that, is merely crying.

Now for those who are in the habit of crying, I have no sympathy, or any words of advice. I am only concerned about those who are trying, or trying to try, or trying to try to try. For you, I have my whole life, all my experiences, all that I have learnt. Because its these kind of people who teach me a new lesson everyday and I owe them. So, my first advice to you is, learn to distinguish between the triers and the criers. Learn from the former and avoid the latter. In my opinion, life is a cycle. You try, if you fail, you try harder, if you succeed, you try for something better and so on. Make sure that when you die, you are trying for the next step not waiting for the next miracle.

I was alive because I was trying

A few days after my accident, I suddenly woke up in the middle of the night. I guess any other person would have woken up with a jerk, but with all my body paralyzed and my head, the only part I could move, pinned with huge weights drilled into my skull, I was in no position to do anything with a jerk.

Anyway I woke up to a pitch dark room. I could not see anything. I could not move a muscle or feel a thing. I could not hear a sound. I was not allowed to eat or drink anything. And my throat was so dry that I could not speak a word or produce a sound either. As for breathing, in hindsight, I guess I must have been breathing, but at that time, I was not sure. So, I simply lay there and wondered if I was alive. Because what does it mean to be alive anyway? Doesn’t it mean being able to see, hear, speak, feel, move, and eat? Plants are alive too but then, at least they are growing, getting nutrition, reproducing and according to some scientists, even feeling. I was not doing any of these things, or at least I wasn’t conscious of any of them.

But I was alive. Without doing any of these things, I was alive. And now I know the answer to the question I asked earlier. What does it mean to be alive anyway? Doesn’t it mean being able to see, hear, speak, feel, move, and eat? The answer is NO. It does not mean this. A person who is not doing any of these can still be alive. And someone who is performing all these acts is not necessarily alive, in the real human sense of the word, though he may biologically be included in the biota.

I was alive in that dark quiet hospital room. I was alive without being able to move, feel, eat, drink or move. I was alive because I could think. I was alive because I was wondering whether I was alive or not. I was alive because I was trying to figure out what the hell to do. I was alive because I was trying to gain some perspective. I was alive because I was trying not to get scared. I was alive because I was trying not to cry. I was alive because I was trying to think.

I WAS ALIVE BECAUSE I WAS TRYING.

And that’s what I have learnt. Life means trying. To do something is God’s job. We can only try. Even for those of you, who do not believe in God, let me explain that every single act of yours is governed by so many different variables that are completely beyond your control that believe me……all you can do is try. To try is to live.

Anyone who realizes and is thankful for all the resources he has and plans to use them in the best possible manner is trying. Conversely everyone who keeps whining about the resources he does not have and blaming his fate or luck or the society or the man in the moon for that, is merely crying.

Now for those who are in the habit of crying, I have no sympathy, or any words of advice. I am only concerned about those who are trying, or trying to try, or trying to try to try. For you, I have my whole life, all my experiences, all that I have learnt. Because its these kind of people who teach me a new lesson everyday and I owe them. So, my first advice to you is, learn to distinguish between the triers and the criers. Learn from the former and avoid the latter. In my opinion, life is a cycle. You try, if you fail, you try harder, if you succeed, you try for something better and so on. Make sure that when you die, you are trying for the next step not waiting for the next miracle.

LIAR LIAR

Let’s admit it; there are situations when we just do not possess the courage required to tell the truth. In such situations we regularly choose to lie instead of facing the consequences of truth. Given the sad but true fact that few, if any, of us are above such small weaknesses, I can give such liars a break and not blame them too much. But what about the lies we regularly tell and which serve no serious purpose at all.

1. Someone expecting us calls and asks how long we will be. If we think it’ll take us half an hour to get there, we instinctively say “Fifteen minutes!” ignoring the fact that had we been 45 minutes away, we would have just as easily said “Half an hour!” Are we just making the other person feel better this way?

2. When the host asks us if we want to have dinner, we reply “No! I am not hungry” or
“No ! I just ate” even if we have not eaten anything for hours and would love a meal. Is this some sort of courtesy?

3. A call wakes us up in the middle of a satisfying nap and the caller asks “I hope I did not disturb you!” and we conveniently reply “No, not at all” when we feel like killing the person. Are we being polite?

4. In various professional situations, we shamelessly promise stuff like “I will give it my 110%!” Of course we know what we promising is mathematically impossible. Are we exhibiting our sincerity?

5. When a caller asks us “Pehchana!” we say “Yes! Of course!” just hoping that a few more words from him would help us recognize the voice. Are we showing our intimacy with the person?

6. We go to a funeral or a Qul etc, and habitually say “bara afsos hua!” even if we hardly knew the deceased and weren’t even sure he was alive till now. Are we following some custom?

7. We meet someone for the first time and even if he or she fails to leave any impression whatsoever on us, we say “Pleased to meet you!” Are we being civilized?

8. When someone criticizes a third person, we feel this uncontrollable urge to tell him that that fault does not lie in us, even when we are pretty sure of the opposite. Are we trying to avoid being insecure?

9. When a classic and critically acclaimed book or movie is under discussion, we make it a point to stress how much we liked it, even if we hated it or completely failed to see the point of the whole thing. Are we being cultured?

10. And lastly, when our spouse or partner says “I love you!” we almost always respond with “I love you too!” without thinking, without even knowing what the phrase exactly means and even if what we feel at that time is anything but love. Are we being romantic?

I don’t know but I feel the answer to all ten questions above is the same. No! We are lying, we are just being liars.

This is what we call Facebook!

Imagine a girl entering a room with more than 300 people in it and shouting “I feel sad!” and then making a sad face. And while everyone sees her, some ignore while others start asking her what’s wrong. Her sadness becomes all important but in a matter of minutes someone else shouts a quote by Waldo Emerson and a lot of people go and tell him that they liked it before going on to congratulate another person who shouts that he loves his wife. This goes on and on and people keep hearing the shouting or shouting themselves. That’s what we call facebook.

I imagined the world to be an examination hall

I imagined the world to be an examination hall and life to be a test. I looked around and I saw people

1. Who find the questions to be really easy but don’t even attempt to answer them spending the whole time celebrating how easy the test is.

2. Who find the questions to be too hard and don’t even attempt to answer them spending the whole time complaining that the test is out of course.

3. Who don’t even care about the questions on the test and are too busy making sure that their chair, table and environment are perfect.

4. Who are not bothered about their test. They are more concerned about how the other candidates are doing and keep complaining about how the others have it better.

5. Who spend most of their time trying to make sure that the others fail without thinking that the others’ failure would not mean their own success.

6. Who spend most of their time trying to copy others without realizing that everyone has a different question paper.

7. Who are so concerned about how much time they and their friends and relatives would get for the test that they completely ignore the test itself, thus making whatever amount of time they have, fruitless.

8. Who keep trying to pretend that they have the best seat in the hall and don’t realize that it does not matter the least.

9. Who keep trying to pretend that they know all the answer and don’t realize that its what they write that matters, not what they make the other candidates believe.

10. Who quietly attempt the questions, with the belief that it is not their answers that will be graded but the effort they put in.