Category: Through my lens

Of learning and unlearning

It’s been a long time since I wrote some prose. 2016 starts tomorrow and I find myself thinking how bygone memories start amalgamating into one big chunk. Recording memories helps to separate that chunk in your head. Moreover, writing about my memories has always made them even more special.

Hence, this blog-post comes about as I wish to jot down how different this year has been– just like all other years.

So here is what 2015 brought forth and I hope it continues to be this way:

  • Self-discovery: I learnt that doing what you’ve always wanted to do brings with it freedom like you’ve never experienced before. It enables you, strengthens you and you start forgetting to notice what others think about you. This is because you are doing what you want.
  • Family: I realized how my family is my backbone, my safety net, my audience and my lifeline. Without it, I would have been a self-centred, complaining potato.
  • Friends: It absolutely isn’t necessary to have an ever-expanding social circle, or thousands of pictures, or numerous get-togethers. Treasuring the few loyal friends that you have, who you can call/message any time of the day will always be there for you. It is equally and perhaps even more necessary to be there for them. See what you can do for them instead. And yes, true friends don’t take account of what/when/where you did something, because they know who you really are – with all your flaws.
  • Fitness: I started this year with a lot of fitness goals, and having almost failed to accomplish any, what I can say is – there is no age for you to start thinking about your fitness and health. Everyday should have time devoted for some sort of physical activity. It makes you happier and makes you feel better about yourself. It certainly releases a lot of emotions and negative energy inside you.
  • Critical thinking: In the beginning of 2014, I would never have thought that 2015 would have led me to choose the career path I have taken. However, the entire field of social sciences and liberal arts has taught me innumerable things(for the lack of a better word), and not just citations, research and creating bibliographies. I have realized how and why the human race is where it is today, and more than that – how it is important to have a thirst for knowledge inside you and to always believe that you still know nothing.
  • Religion: This is a follow-up from the above point. I used to think of my own religion and of religion itself from a very narrow point of view. Looking at how religions have evolved and the philosophical thought around their elements, has made me realize how profound my own religion is.
  • Gratitude: 2015 has indeed taught me to be grateful of what I have and even of what God has chosen to keep away from me. He always has His reasons and 2015 has given me this crucial lesson.

And with that, I’ll end with Walt Whitman’s ‘On The Beach At Night Alone’:

On the beach at night alone,

As the old mother sways her to and fro singing her husky song,

As I watch the bright stars shining, I think a thought of the clef of the universes and of the future.

 

A vast similitude interlocks all,

All spheres, grown, ungrown, small, large, suns, moons, planets,

All distances of place however wide,

All distances of time, all inanimate forms,

All souls, all living bodies though they be ever so different, or in different worlds,

All gaseous, watery, vegetable, mineral processes, the fishes, the brutes,

All nations, colors, barbarisms, civilizations, languages,

All identities that have existed or may exist on this globe, or any globe,

All lives and deaths, all of the past, present, future,

This vast similitude spans them, and always has spann’d,

And shall forever span them and compactly hold and enclose them.

 

Revolution

fast away,

into the dark night,

drive away,

out of the world,

of fears, and tears,

trials, and errors,

never come back.

Come back,

only for the solace of a bygone world,

where you could catch love,

like the breeze catches dust,

blow it into your face.

We are done, I say,

with the same beginnings,

the same paragraphs in open newspapers,

the monotonous softness of headlines.

I want the revolutions, the activism,

of a bygone era,

where every life,

other than your own,

mattered.

What if…

Last night, there were some resounding gunshots as I lay down to sleep. I grew anxious but after they stopped, my anxiety died down, realising that they must have been fired at a wedding celebration. It was this dying anxiety and my own indifference which made me think of so many what ifs.

What if I was a child at the Peshawar massacre and those gunshots were coming from next door? I could only wait for myself to go through the same fate as my friends.

What if I was a child in the Gaza conflict zone and those gunshots were coming from outside my house? They could be aimed at anyone who I knew.

What if I was a child living in a Lyari district where there are gang-wars going on daily? And those gunshots were right there in my vicinity, threatening to pierce the walls or windows any moment?

These very thoughts made me shudder. In the silence of the night, I could do nothing but ponder on my own state as a rather indifferent person. What efforts had I made to perhaps offer them atleast a word of condolence?

The silence of a winter’s night then grew upon me when the echo of the gunshots had died away. The same thoughts returned.

What if I was one of those girls captured by Boko Haram and the silence was that of being enslaved and captured in an unknown place? I can only imagine the distress of the parents who have lost their daughters.

What if I was an IDP who had fled from her beautiful valley and the silence was that of the empty night outside my tent where paths led to unknown places?

Every thought led to the same conclusion like a maze, what have I done to lessen such misery uptil now? My conscience pricked back at every thought – nothing.