Thursday, February 25, 2010

I tried, I really tried

This weeks post was supposed to be about something else, but something else didn't turn out the way I wanted it to. Lately I haven't been able to write the way I usually do. The only way to describe how I write my post is that its completely fluid. I tap away at the keyboard and thoughts turn into words almost instantly. It's all about what I'm feeling at the moment. I haven't felt like myself for quite some time and I don't think thats going to change anytime soon. Writing for this blog seems almost a chore where once it was something that I used to enjoy and look forward too. If you don't believe me ask Sara Q. how much I used to bug her about making her weekly post. This time around, I was struggling to get the words out. I'd spend minutes just staring at the screen, trying to remember what I had to write or trying to remember If I had anything to write at all. What I did manage to type down made no sense at all. It just didn't feel like me and so I just deleted the damn thing.

That brings us to this post. I have no plan for it. I'm just writing whats coming into my head. The reason is that I just want to get this mess out of my mind so that I can move on to the next post. Don't worry, this is not going to be diary or journal entry, though I think some introspection may come into play. We're not going to get into my emotions here. I'll see a psychiatrist for that. Lately, due to the multitude of challenges (read problems) that keep piling on the pressure on me I seem to have become this bitter, vengeful and rage fueled individual (I'm listening to death metal for gods sake. I don't even like metal). Or if you prefer it Sara Q's way, an angry young man. This state of mind comes with the side effect of me always being on edge, ready to explode at any moment. This doesn't really come with any advantages. Unless of course you consider scaring your co-workers and getting on virtually every seniors bad side an advantage.

I won't get into what it is that has got me so worked up, after all, this is not a diary. Actually, I don't know what I'm getting at. Unplanned post remember?

Here's something that I want to ask all of you though (I'm hoping "All of you" is more than the two followers we have as of right now), do you really know where you are in life right now? You have a plan right? You measure how far you've come and how far you have to go by this plan. Did you ever consider what you would do if this plan didn't work out? Or whether this plan is grounded in reality? You follow this plan because it promises some reward at the end. How would you feel if you put in all the hard work, went through all the pain and jumped through all the hoops that were set up for you only to be told that there is no reward?

The point that I'm trying to bring to light is not the one you may be thinking about.

You see, you have to sit down and realize that we are adults now. Now I know you think you're an adult but I'll stop you right there. You think wrong. Once again, we are adults now. Why? Because now we make the decisions. The choice as to where our life goes is up to us. If, again, you think you know all this, you're wrong. You see, we do have the choice, but what we don't know are the consequences. Having the power to choose means that we are blind to the knowledge of what the wrong choice is and what the right choice is. The choices will be made right now but the effects will show five years from now, or ten years from now or throughout our lives. It is only in the future that we will know if our choice was right or wrong. By the way, by "we" I mean those born slightly north or south of 1987.

My plan got royally...... you know. But as the animal inside is slowing down, a certain form of twisted clarity is seeping in. I'm beginning to see what the situation is. Sure, one path is closed but what I have now is opportunity. An opportunity to pick a different direction. So now I stand surrounded by choices, with no idea which one is the right one. This sort of leads into the second point, plans change, roadblocks pop out from nowhere. But at the same time, there is usually a fork in the road. Be prepared to deal with life. There are things that school, college and books can't and didn't teach us. Luckily I like to learn the hard way, I can't speak for anyone else though.

This has to be my worst post to date. At least its out of the way now.

Till the next (hopefully better) post,

Talha A. B.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Organised chaos!

This entry was actually supposed to be light and comedic. Instead it’s something else. Can’t specify because don’t know the direction myself. One thing I know though: it’ll be a little shorter this time. Yes, we who are famous for word waterfalls can sometimes be lost for words too. It is when there is too much going about our brains, so much that expressing it in words would result in an overlap. But then again that IS my state of mind now; organized chaos!

I’m sitting in a very ideal position for creativity to flow; surrounded by orange and blue and a quite eye pleasing view outside. It was here, almost a dozen years ago that I came out one morning and exclaimed I’d seen a UFO. See what I mean by creativity and imagination gone berserk. But honestly I DID see something. Anyway, paranormal activities will be discussed some other day. I type as the rest of the family is contemplating where they would like to go to eat fish tonight. As an afterthought; my damn result is coming out tomorrow; around 10 am our time! (The air has changed).

I’m always in denial of the coming out of the result. Avoiding discussions and queries from family and friends about how I did in exams. But finally, one day before it’s as if I have no where to run. It’s on Facebook, it’s on my mobile inbox. It is always on a damn Monday which means weekend pep talks. Every time I run into my parents it’s “so what do you think, you’ll get through right?” My days of living in denial and blissful ignorance are over. I have to face the music. Whatever I put in the oven 2 months ago finally needs to get out and get devoured by the world. And yes that works both ways; it’ll get devoured even if it is totally crappy. I mean half of Islamabad knows it’s coming out and somehow they have supposed that as these were the 2 final papers I’m probably done with education (I’m not). So I should either find a job or find a guy! :S

I have always had a different approach to results. I mean if they suck it’s my fault I get it. But I’m not going to punish myself just because I screwed up. Bad things happen and they happen to everyone. Some people take it really bad; moping around, not touching their food, thinking it’s a sin to laugh out loud or watch TV or knock the life out the computer. I’m not saying I have never been to the dark side because I have. (I think I’m having an ‘emo’ day today :P)

It was somewhere in A’ Levels I guess and I assure you that was an ordeal that temporarily took the life out of me. Not because I wanted to, but because I thought I was expected to. After that experience I realized that just like we need to govern our happiness, the same is with sadness or anger. It is only on that person how he is supposed to mourn. And besides after all that my sadness deposit box took a heavy fall and was non repairable so I just chucked it. Anger is actually a better option. When used in a controlled amount it gets the frenzy out; a minute later your blood cools down and you actually think of a more rational next step. I’m glad though that it was a high school result that made me realise this rather than something bigger and worse. Also that heavy rock music can act as a better brain stimulant than slow and soft numbers.

This seems like an ideal place and situation to share my secret mind weapon; because technically I think more people should learn to use it. It is called the expelling/siphoning of a bad though from the mind. All those who are familiar with Harry Potter must remember how the wizard folk touched the wand to their heads and siphoned off their memories. That’s what you have to do. When something bad happens you can do one of the following: mourn or make it right. If suppose that you don’t have the “making right” authority then you probably won’t get anything out of thinking about it over and over again. Do NOT misinterpret though, this is not a lecture on insensitivity, it’s just an adjustment of the brain dials. You can try the ‘all is well’ theory told of in the “3 idiots” if you like; does seem effective.

The human brain is a chamber. Imagine this transparent cubicle inside the chamber. Totally secure and soundproof. This is where all unpleasant and torturous thoughts should go. They’re locked so you can’t hear them and they won’t bug you from time to time or control your activities. However, you can SEE them which means you haven’t forgotten and you’ll get back to them. The lesson here is not to run from problems, face them but not in a destructive way that you end up destroying your own self. This box is where I trap unpleasant thoughts or memories, only so they don’t roam my brain and suffocate my neurons. It works for all; results, fights with friends or siblings, unfairness of the world, suicide bombings, etc. etc. Call it a hair fall defense too :P (One of the many secrets of Sara Q’s enviable hair:D)

This entry is very journal like I think. And yeah it’s not short, probably because I’m rambling here. It started with result anxiety, had a bit of tragedy in the middle and ends with self-proclaimed philosophy and tried and tested methods. Anyway whatever happens tomorrow I know the direction I have to take. It does not depend on my result because I’m making it happen anyway. Might as well get some beauty sleep before the bomb drops though. Don’t be surprised, this is my own version of pessimistic optimism, need to see both sides of the coin. If you’re prepared it leaves a more decent mark.

All that has been said above applies to all tragedies tragic enough to promise a sleepless night or a sunless day. So knock yourself out. Wish me luck!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Re: Sound advice..?

It's been a while since I made my last post, which was actually quite short and cryptic. The song was nice though wasn't it?

Anyway, I've been neglecting my duties as co-author for quite some time due to the numerous bullets I've been dodging as of late. Finally though I have some time to make a post and I thought I'd start easy and riff off Sara Q's post. Hey, at least I'm not getting "inspired" the way Pakistani and Indian filmmakers do. Due to the amount of bullet dodging I've been doing lately I'm not in the same state of mind that I usually am, so don't expect my post to have that signature flair. But hey, I'm awesome so it doesn't matter.

Reading through the "useful advice" that Sara Q. collected from various sources (Honestly, what do you read?) I could not believe what the so called experts told their dear readers. I can't say I was surprised though, after all, I learned a long time ago that we humans are born with the talent of stretching the limit of stupidity.

So here we go. This is my attempt to answer the questions of these perplexed individuals, along with a few words to the "experts".

Dear Aunty: My husband is my problem. He’s glued to the TV 24/7. It’s like the silly, rusty, old, big bellied telly is more attractive than I am. He doesn’t listen; he doesn't care what I say. He only gets up for bathroom breaks. It’s driving me crazy. Please help!

Aunty: Darling, I know exactly where that’s coming from. Its sad how something as small as a bathroom can create a tiff b/w two individuals so much in love. My heart swells at your concern for your husband’s entertainment. Maybe you can surprise him with a nice flat screen plasma. What’s money without love right. It’s no wonder he needs to go to the bathroom all the time. That TV is a bore. With a new hot one you can have the bathroom for hours because that guy won’t budge and he’ll adore you for the present! Talk about 2-in-1 right?

To the troubled wife:

You're the wife damn it. Throw a tantrum or something. He's supposed to give you attention so you're well within your rights. Ask your friends what to do about this situation and see what they have to say. I thought you ladies love to moan and complain about your not-so-better half? Just have a fight like normal couples do and KICK HIS A**. One night of sleeping on the couch will set the man straight. Just make sure you snatch the TV remote first.

To the "Aunty":

I'm sure your teachers must have said this to you a lot but I'll refresh your memory anyway, READ THE DAMN QUESTION YOU IDIOT.

Dear Aunty: I have a cousin who visits often, usually bringing her kids in tow. They are the most rowdy bunch ever. They run around the house like wild animals with my precious cookie jar. It’s not about the cookies; it’s how they and the rest of the goodies end up in the weirdest places, half digested or thrown up! I usually go along because I don’t want to upset my cousin who’s really touchy about her spoilt brats. But now I’m having second thoughts. Please tell me how to get the message through without hurting her feelings.

Aunty: Listen up girl! Those kids are going down! Let me also add that food is important even if you don’t think so. Too many people tag along their kids so they don’t have to feed them afterwards. Listen carefully; whenever that family gatecrashes take 2 sleeping pills per kid and grind and mix them in their juice. They’ll drop like logs and don’t worry it’s not dangerous. (Try xanax; it’s the best). Or you can do another thing; press down on the side of the necks, right where the jugular vein passes. It’s an old police trick; they’ll be knocked out for 30 minutes. Pronto! One child free zone.

To the perplexed cousin:

It's like this. Your house, your rules. You can get the message across to your cousin in one of two ways. The first method requires that you both sit down with a cup of tea in hand and then you proceed to tell your cousin that her kids are just a tiny bit troublesome and you would be ever so grateful if they didn't leave a food trail like Hansel and Gretel all over the house because then you would have to become an evil witch.

The second way requires that the next time your cousin comes over with kids in tow, send the maid away and hand your cousin a dustpan and a broom. Then, tell her to get to work. Hopefully, the back pain that she will suffer afterwards will serve as a reminder to keep the brats in check.

To the possible former junkie/Mel Gibson wannabe:

Oh.... My.... GOD. What the hell is wrong you? You should not be allowed to have kids. Sleeping pills? Honestly? Oh, and in case you do have kids I suggest that you deposit them at the nearest circus so that they have a chance to have a normal life.

Dear Aunty: I’m new in town and called over a few classmates to my place to hangout and socialize. While I was away getting some snacks, my PC was running and everyone was messing around with it. Somehow they activated videoconferencing and ended up recording everything they were doing. The vision and sound wasn’t good quality but enough to let me know that it was all badmouthing and rude gestures about to me. I felt really bad. Should I confront them or simply ignore the whole thing?

Aunty: My tech consultants advise that you should get a decent webcam, maybe up to 5 mega pixels if not more. If not, check whether your resolution is on ‘high definition’. Also, your microphone might be losing it. Maybe it needs replacement or cleaning. You do both and next time you’ll get a crystal clear image and sound. I know how you feel hon; you teenage boys want the best in technology all the time. Call ‘em all another time and see the results for yourself. Good luck!

To the kid:

Confront them. Do you really think you can just ignore this and still be friends? You won't have any respect form them and they clearly don't have much respect for you. So again, confront them. If they are your friends, they will understand that feelings were hurt and apologies should follow. If they don't understand your feelings, then they're not friends, they're parasites. Dump them and find a new crowd to hang with.

To the computer whiz:

My tech consultants advise me that you're an idiot. Tell me, what are the requirements to become an advice columnist? Is extraordinary stupidity included in the job specification? Wait a sec, you're not the same moron that gave advice to the wife competing with the TV are you?

Dear Aunty: My husband and I are an average looking couple, living in a very modest way. We’re quite content with life. However, this new neighbour moved in and she came to pay a visit. I noticed how instantly she and my husband clicked. I mean she’s all young, chic and drives some sports car while my hubby is a bum with a 1988 Honda. What’s the connection? My husband has been comparing me with her all weekend. I feel very insecure. Please help me prevent a disaster!

Aunty: Girl, it’s time you put an end to those modest ways because seriously where are they taking you. Break the piggy bank and buy your hubby some decent stuff. You’re obviously not good enough for him so why try. Become the ultimate date planner. Rent a nice car; they have an hourly rate so won’t cost much. Lets prevent the disaster; the disaster that would take place if you don’t hurry. I mean things go bad he still has you right but doesn’t hurt to try! Cheers!

To the insecure wife:

Find the girl a young, chic boy with a Ferrari. End of story. Though I must admit, Sara Q. is better suited to answer this query.

To the car salesman:

Damn it, your job is just to read a letter and respond. How can you screw that up? I hate repeating myself, READ THE DAMN QUESTION YOU IDIOT. The lady has a big problem. Her husband is comparing her to a younger model (pun, couldn't resist) and it's biting into her confidence. Help your fellow female out.

Dear Aunty: My farewell party is this weekend which I’m really excited about. My mom got me these clothes; they’re wonderful; all pink and yellow. Anyway sadly I failed on a test and am supposed to get it signed by my parents before the weekend. There is no way my folks would let me go after seeing that test. Tell me how to negotiate, please!!

Aunty: First of all; dump that dress. That combo is so last year. I saw your address; your place is close to this new boutique. Check that out instead. OK, about the signature: listen carefully. Get hold of your parents’ bank statement and trace that signature on a tracing paper. Next, put the tracing paper on your test paper and trace it down. A mould will appear. Shade that area with a pencil. The groove will become prominent so carefully trace that area with a pen. Wait for it to dry and then run an eraser over the whole thing to erase the pencil shading. Voila! One faked sign and one hot dress!! What will you kids do without me!

To the honor student:

The word here is "negotiation". Despite what you may think, parents are an understanding bunch. Get the test signed and put on those puppy dog eyes. Lay out your terms, which are to get to the farewell and know that some sacrifices will have to be made such as but not limited to being grounded after the farewell, lower allowance and possibly tuitions.

To the con-artist:

What will they do without you, you ask? Well here's a thought, they'll grow up to be honest responsible human beings. You know, the opposite of you.

Dear Aunty: I’m currently engaged to a very rich guy my parents chose for me. He’s not bad but he doesn’t really care for my choices or opinions at all. Recently I started chatting on msn messenger with this guy I don’t know. He is so down to earth, honest and understanding. He even told me he couldn’t come online everyday as he couldn’t really afford it. I’ve still not seen his picture but maybe I don’t need to. I’m caught up in the middle and don’t know what to do; I think I’m falling for him. Help me!

Aunty: Girl you are totally insane. You are putting a future of money and a lavish lifestyle on the line for whom? Some guy who can’t use a computer two days in a row. To top it all you haven’t even seen him. For all you know he might look like Danny Devito. Eventually both of you will starve. THEN I’ll ask you how much you want to go down the ‘earth’ for him. He has probably got the oldest version of msn. Urgh! Who needs love when you got money money money!! Silly goose.

To the girl:

Right. People like you really tick me off. To be more accurate, girls like you. You're in love with the idea of love. I guess its not your fault given all the junk bollywood and star plus are infecting you with. Listen up, chances are you are stereotyping. If the guy is rich he's probably a villain looking for a trophy wife right? He's probably spends all day in some dark office planning world conquest petting his white kitty. Wrong. Consider this. Maybe he's just shy. Rich people can be insecure too you know. Have you really talked to him? I mean like REALLY talked to him? Do you care for his opinions? Have a nice long chat, share your concerns. I'm sure he doesn't want to spend his life with a girl who doesn't want him. Breaking the engagement is not as bad as breaking a marriage. Oh, and conversely, who says the poor guy will be innocent and loyal as a puppy? Maybe he's a con artist after your money? Marriage is a big decision. Couples have big fights over the smallest of issues and money is no small issue. Lastly, THE INTERNET? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? THE INTERNET?

To the matchmaker:

Please get a different job. Please. Please. PLEASE.

Dear Aunty: My brother is suffering from a dangerous form of obsession. He supports Arsenal and has never missed a match no matter what the time, place or event. He didn’t even attend our parents’ 25th anniversary dinner because he had to watch football. He takes it too seriously and so becomes edgy if his team loses. Should we be worried? Should we see some expert?

Aunty: Do me a favour and give him a good kick up his rear. Why the hell is he going through so much effort for a team that hardly made the top 10 last year. Show him some statistics. He needs to change loyalties. Tell him to try Chelsea or Man City instead (if he’s only interested in the Euro champion that is). Oh and try to be a little understanding from now on.

To the troubled sibling:

I think you need to have one of those intervention things. I've never actually had to hold one of those or be subjected to one of them so I have no idea. But hey, it's the age of google. Look it up. Also, maybe use another obsession to ween him off of this one. And you should see an expert about this. This obsession is quite unhealthy. Sports are supposed to be a healthy activity. The way he's behaving is clearly not healthy.

To the football junkie:

I think you'd be better off writing for the sports section. This is clearly not your game (pun again! Woohoo!).

Till the next post,
Talha A. B.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hey child, stay wild....

I’m a regular viewer of “gossip girl” these days; a show that gives a complete insight into ‘the scandalous lives of Manhattan’s elite’. It makes me think how easily a group of people can spend money as if its water. Oh wait! We can’t even play with water these days. Anyway, back to the elite; add in lack of a moral compass or integrity, infidelity, backstabbing and slander. Now that IS a bundle of vices.

I’ve nothing against the rich; it’s just that it’s obvious you need money to fool around. Having said that I admit there are many ethical exemptions. Anyway, I replaced Manhattan's elite with Islamabad's to see whether the city given the adjective of “dead” could possibly have a dark side. Well, apparently it does; kids gone wild, trafficking of illegal objects (read drugs), alcoholism and outrageous after dark parties.

I started racking my brains for any fishy activity either witnessed or passed on by word of mouth through credible channels. Little did I know that I’d run into it 5 minutes later. As I took a left from my street I almost ran into an SUV that had suddenly stopped next to a Honda. Within a split second the SUV guy made the transfer of a huge bottle wrapped in black polythene to the other car. In broad daylight! Talk about flexible work hours.

Sadly, this was not the first time. There is this mysterious Chinese restaurant a street away from mine that actually acts like a harbour to such activities. The police have tried to raid it many a time but somehow those good-for-nothings always get away with it.

A lot of kids from several institutions have started a tradition of making their appearance at school events all stoned. They’re just falling down all over the place and have no recollection the morning after. A friend of mine confided how he tended to this guy who got so drunk that he might not have lived had speedy counter actions not been taken. It still boils my blood to think of a certain underground band that was called to perform at my high school. As soon as the lights went down the band took out those flashy metal flasks and downed the contents as if there was no tomorrow. Even today, the day I’m writing this I was told by my parents how the boy in the car next to theirs was helping himself to cocaine.

This just might also be a small part of wild after parties. A few acquaintances of mine have stood witnesses to such activities and then made quick and embarrassing escapes; or if not, waited to eat the food they paid for and then made a run for it. To say that the public was smoking and drinking is a minuscule of what they were actually doing. Picture a sleazy music video of some rapper complete with a club scenario, flashing lights and grotesque body movements. A lot of other stuff goes on but then again let’s not get an “R” rating here. However, you are free to use your own imagination :P

Oh by the way, if you ever happen to accompany your mother to boutiques or designers and see skimpy outfits hanging as if the most usual thing in the world don’t think it’s going to go to waste. I assure you they are put to the best use (music video once again). That might be a good thing as a big bundle of money is being paid for a scanty amount of fabric. Good for the textile industry I’d say!

Then there’s street racing. Ever since the first “Fast and the Furious” came out it sort of became a new rave. Extremely modified yet unfit for racing vehicles are used in the process. What my dear racers don’t get is that the magic is in the tires and not the shiny alloyed RIMS; also that a cool music system and flame art have no technical relation with racing. You can actually sell one of these vehicles and feed all the homeless the country has to offer. To be honest I think I can hear something going on right now; courtesy of the close proximity between a certain flyover and my window. A fair share of ugly accidents has followed these shenanigans many a time. (Sigh!). The folly of youth!

I remember the first time I discovered the existence of such a class. It was many years ago at a dinner with family in a restaurant. In came half a dozen couples. Unfortunately we were the only ones there and those guys were particularly vocal about everything considered indecent in decent society. Add in chain smoking and public displays of affection. My innocent little mind wondered what kind of parents raised such a pack. My mom told me that the parents were probably no different; to them this is right, this is how life should be. Talk about family values. We never went back to that restaurant although I’m sure it was just a horrible coincidence.

So yes everyone, Islamabad is definitely alive but in this context, for all the wrong reasons. They all shout out loud about how much the youth is important especially in the current socio-political situation but here the youth is going through an identity crisis themselves (think Mick Jagger meets Marilyn Monroe). I’ll repeat my disclaimer; this goes for only a number of individuals though sadly that number is still big. The same number contains intelligence and resources that are invaluable but alas so SO wasted. I mean they’d rather solve a dispute with cash or influence rather than getting sweaty and physical.

All that can be said is: Farewell you night riders/ party animals. You have never contributed and you probably never will. Your activities bring along shock and sadness but I guess an outrageous and unconcerned division of society is required to make the rest of us very concerned and responsible. However, your mysterious yet senseless lives do make us want to probe from time to time but until the next investigatory session, SHIRLEY Holmes is signing off :)