Enter: Freedom; Leave: Respect – A Rant

We all hear stories of how our parents and grandparents and the people around them, and people in general, of older times were ‘better’ to each other, there was respect, and equality.

Why isn’t it so anymore?

With the rise of consumerism, and with people gaining consciousness of the amount of freedom each person can exert to their liking, how do you control such a revolution, so it isn’t damaging in the long run for the same people.

How does one person lose grip of their conscience.

With freedom, one could say, people start behaving in certain ways. And since not everyone is mentally and emotionally mature, they will use their freedom in a negative and damaging way, for themselves and others.

With consumerism, then, people starting sizing each other up by the amount of wealth they had accumulated or what kind of things that person has regardless, in most cases, of what the person is actually like. This is also why people get tired of city life, since everything revolves around money there. Like, a month in Islamabad, Pakistan, is so stressful that I genuinely cannot wait to go back to my country-house. Starting from dawn to dusk, people are running around trying to earn more and more money, much more than they need.

With consumerism spreading all over the world, all our wants have taken a hundred-fold rise and we just cant stop. Ad campaigns, businesses, business schools, even scientists now are creating things that will somehow sell. Everything is about money, and that sure as hell is tiring and pathetic.

I know so many people who are so rich that it’s mind-boggling, but what has become of them as people? Have they become some supreme human beings? Do they know more about this universe? Are they trying to fix things? Do they know of the purpose of life? Are they searching for it?

Honestly, we have many reasons now not to respect other people. But we know, that respecting others is very important for many reasons  – one of them could be that it makes that person feel good. We also know that some people actually do deserve it, and some dont. So what do we base our respect on?

Let me quote Quran here, and you shouldn’t have a problem with it even if you aren’t Muslim because one should respect each other:

A good action and a bad action are not the same. Repel the bad with something better and, if there is enmity between you and someone else, he will be like a bosom friend.” (Quran, chapter 41, verse 34)

And on other religions:

“…If God had willed, He would have made you all in one nation and one religion), but that He (God) left you in different religions to compete in good deeds and society benefits. The return of all of you is to God; then He (God) will inform you about that in which you differ” (Quran, Chapter 5, Verse 48)

And:

“Those who spend (freely), whether in prosperity, or in adversity; who restrain anger, and pardon (all) men; for Allah loves those who do good.   (The Noble Quran, 3:134)”


And:

“And when they hear vain talk, they turn away therefrom and say: ‘To us our deeds, and to you yours; peace be to you: we seek not the ignorant.’   (The Noble Quran, 28:55)”

And there are many other verses on how to treat others. But it all comes down to character and if one is aware.

You may even have noticed how in America now they are very much encouraging people to stop using these ‘formalities’ since they are inefficient and a thing of the slower nations and of the past. They think if you want to grow faster and get to the point quicker, then Mr/Mrs./Ms. wont do, you must say Tom, John, Kate, and just directly say their name. Life is too short.

Is life too short for these pleasurable formalities that do nothing but make others feel good and valued? Most of internet hate will go out the window if we start respecting each other on the basis of merit and character. 

Honestly, and personally, I am sick and tired of having to point out basic things like how to eat and how to walk so that it doesn’t pain the eyes or the ears. Just because we are ‘free’ individuals does not mean you can slurp, and be obnoxious. It is very annoying, and I am very sure you feel the same way when others do it. And there are many many other examples to add here, by the by.

This is more of a rant, and I apologize if it was offensive in any way, even the writing. More on this loverly topic later. Peace.
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Knowing

Shuttling between two areas can have its advantages and disadvantages. When I was eleven years old my father thought it better to take me and my sister to our village, Baffa (more of a town now, really). We have been living there since then. People in Baffa ask us if we like it better there or in Islamabad, and so do people in Islamabad. There are market places there, as there are in the Capital. People in the village don’t have a purpose, nor do people in the city.

Initially it would confuse us; we would see money and material success in the city, and then we would go back to the village and realize how people in both the places are so very similar. Neither did we become backward by living in the village, nor did we succumb to becoming [the new] modern in the city. Then, what really sets people apart? What, in reality, makes a person?

Of course, as a result both me and my sister feel as if we don’t belong in either of the places, but that is more because we would rather not belong instead of us being incapable. We have friends in the village (Pushtun, by the way), we have friend in this country’s capital, and in many places other than our country alone. We could communicate and relate to everyone as if they were one and the same; we become culture-less. No culture in the world tied us to their beliefs. We had male friends, young friends, and old friends in addition the socially accepted ones and the non.

Why? How?

Knowledge, my friend, the key to all this is knowledge. I know, its a very cliche concept, and most of you have heard it more than once in your life. Some of you might even have been drilled to believe it. But it remains to be a fact – I am a living example.

Somehow, knowing the hows and whys of things gives you a depth in your personality which can come no other way, no m

Shuttling between two areas can have its advantages and disadvantages. When I was eleven years old my father thought it better to take me and my sister to our village, Baffa (more of a town now, really). We have been living there since then. People in Baffa ask us if we like it better there or in Islamabad, and so do people in Islamabad. There are market places there, as there are in the Capital. People in the village don’t have a purpose, nor do people in the city.

Initially it would confuse us; we would see money and material success in the city, and then we would go back to the village and realize how people in both the places are so very similar. Neither did we become backward by living in the village, nor did we succumb to becoming [the new] modern in the city. Then, what really sets people apart? What, in reality, makes a person?

Of course, as a result both me and my sister feel as if we don’t belong in either of the places, but that is more because we would rather not belong instead of us being incapable. We have friends in the village (Pushtun, by the way), we have friend in this country’s capital, and in many places other than our country alone. We could communicate and relate to everyone as if they were one and the same; we become culture-less. No culture in the world tied us to their beliefs. We had male friends, young friends, and old friends in addition the socially accepted ones and the non.

Why? How?

Knowledge, my friend, the key to all this is knowledge. I know, its a very cliche concept, and most of you have heard it more than once in your life. Some of you might even have been drilled to believe it. But it remains to be a fact – I am a living example.

Somehow, knowing the hows and whys of things gives you a depth in your personality which can come no other way, no matter what you do. It brings you great joys too.

The same village has so many girls going to American universities on scholarships that even I was pleasantly surprised that people value knowledge enough to send their well-protected and looked after young girls to strange lands.

Whenever I, personally, have ventured out to learn something or gain knowledge of any kind, whether its reading a Wikipedia page on feminists, or Mozart’s symphonies, I have always, always found joy and satisfaction in it. And the best part? It will never end. So, conclusively, we must all learn and strive to becoming better as our minds gain consciousness of ourselves and our surroundings. Only knowledge can set you apart from others, and the effect it has on your personality. Wouldn’t hurt to try, now, would it?

 

Uncertain Courses

It has come to my sentimental notice that my life is to change course soon. I have no idea what the course is, and am absolutely terrified to find out eventually; the anticipation of it is genuinely overwhelming, but nonetheless, like the good Muslim girl that I am, I shall pay no heed to something that might change me completely and take it in stride. Totally.

For weeks now, dreams (literally) of change and instability have been entertaining me at nights. Falling from stairs (which means instability and insecurity… No sh*t, Sherlock!), and travelling in cars are like second nature to my subconscious. But what my fear is of the unknown – which is of everyone’s, I know. I could draw a million likely changes that my life could take, and where I would lead it from there. Life can be so random that you can literally, literally expect anything. And that is freaky.

On a side note, there is another very important and likely possibility that is worth mentioning since it probably is attracting millions of people, consciously or not: the need for your soul to be on the straight and right path. If you, like me , believe in an afterlife, and that the only thing we will take from here with us is our personality’s imprint on our souls, then you want to bloody concentrate on having the best imprint out there so you end up with a good start-up for your next, and very much real, life ahead.

It could be that our souls are yearning for some purpose in life, to have a goal, an aim for our minds to work towards. Be it going to the moon, or finding a cure for the common cold, we all need a purpose. We all have questions regarding the reason of our existence the minute we enter gain consciousness of the raw world, usually during our teens, if not earlier. Now it solely depends on the human being what shape it wants to give to these thoughts. Wont blame you if you decide to ignore them and carry on with your everyday life, thinking its too much of a hassle to look for a meaning behind all this; millions have done it before you, and millions will do after, no biggie. Or is it?

Right now, there are many things I would like to adapt into my person and bring about some tangible changes, as well as in my personal being. But what if this change, which I keep dreaming of and my subconscious – or soul, if you may – keeps warning me about is too great, too far-reached for me. What if cowardice takes place; what if the change is so minor that I don’t even notice it, and hence, don’t get a chance to foster it. The fact that our souls are like proofs, and somewhat windows, to the life beyond is freaky, and especially unnecessary right now since all I can think of, and worry about, is the sodded change of direction my life is to take — that is if we were take dreams as seriously as that — which may or may not even take place soon, or at all for that matter!

In this life, the unknown, and the [unquestionable] fear of it are somethings that everyone has to deal with everyday. Hell, we don’t even know if we are going to sleep through the night without any doubts of physical insecurities. Day in and day out the only thing we have under our control is our own decisions, whose reactions and effects are still unknown to us. Even if you worry every second of every day, all your life, you will still never ever know what is not known to you at the time. It will reveal itself in time – maybe even posthumously – depending on many, many things of which most will also be unknown to you. But that insecurity that something might go wrong, the unshakable feeling that you might not be successful, maybe your decision was not correct, will feed on your insides with no solutions or answers to replace that information retrieving void in the decision-making part of your brain. So you will always be functioning with some [very much] variable factors of the situation unknown to you, maybe even during the decision is in effect; it could also be that you never, in the duration of your life, earn awareness of the millions of events that had taken place (in total) when it came to the decision of that one single, maybe even small, question.

Enter faith, religion, and other, worthy beliefs.

General Ramblings & Some Independence

 

Surrounded by a society that does not care what they made this country for, today, I feel nothing but a powerful will to make the best out of my life and let nothing stand in the way to my doing something right with it and hopefully taking some people along.

Ignorance is a disease – contagious and ever-spreading. It’s easy to succumb to being lazy: lazy about life, the truth, your surroundings, relations with people, great thoughts and ideas etc. It has a cure, like most deluding diseases, but people might not want to embrace it as a sickness.. yet. Finding a purpose in life leads many a man to be great, or many a great man to go astray. Either way, everyone admires and appreciates both’s efforts since they are suffering from what everyone else is suffering from: not having a purpose in life, wondering if there is actually a Creator, then why has he abandoned us?, thinking they will never be satisfied with anything, which is fairly true, without knowing the ultimate answer to the question: where did we come from? Who created us? Who is He? Or are we on our own.

But the real question is: why are human beings asking these questions instead of looking and searching?

Some dont want to believe in a God at all, some have too much pride to let the go in search for something that might not exist, some are in denial, some dont want to disillude themselves by believing that there is a world beyond and greater than this, some are unfortunately ignorant, some are not meant to find the answers because they have not a positive intention, but all feel lost and abandoned.

But the one’s who genuinely want to believe find the answer in everything that surrounds them. There is a God, whether you like it or not, and there is a day of judgement, whether you like it or not.

I personally believe truly in the Quran to be God’s word. So were all the other three books, but they have been tampered with over the years. An Indian philosopher came up with the conclusion that the Quran is locked by the time table of the number 19. Everything is divisible by it and hence, if it is changed, the entire structure will fall.

As a mere example to act as proof:

And we sent down from the sky water (rain) in (due) measure, and we gave it lodging in the earth, and verily, we are Able to take it away. – Sûrat Al-Mu’minûn- verse 18

Its a scientifically known fact that when planet Earth was initially made there was no water on it. It has come later and never has its quantity increased or decreased.

And He it is Who has created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon, each in an orbit floating. – Surat Al-Anbiya’ (The Prophets):33

No secret there.

Not trying to be a fascist here, sorry if I seem to be behaving like one, but in order to believe something you have to go all the way, there’s no middle ground where you can merge two thoughts. They have to be separate, and you have to be sincere to one.

Please dont take offence. These are all personal views that I genuinely believe in. If you dont agree then you can let me know why, but it isnt meant to force.

What do you think about people’s behavior towards finding a purpose to life?

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The universe… Oh, man, the universe. Where do I begin! The stars, galaxies, planets, systems, everything – they are so, so beautiful. And all for us.

Our galaxy: The Milky Way

Can you imagine a Creator, whoever he is, creating all that just for us to play in it (discovering it, obviously)? Most scientists, who are not stuck in denial or pride, agree that all this is not just a natural occurrence, it has all been created. And the fact that we have an ozone layer is proof (if you want it to be). If it were not for the ozone layer protecting Earth’s surface’s direct contact with the Sun, we would all die within days and this Earth would have no life, whatsoever.

The ozone layer is sort of unnatural. It almost seems as a later added sunscreen so the planet can live in a moderate weather which is supportive to life. No other planet has such a screen. We know that water didnt exist on the planet, now the ozone layer? The Earth was probably an uninhabitable round ball of lava covered with mud and mountain pegging the earth to stay in place, as mentioned in the Quran.

Moving on.. Yesterday I stepped out of the house into the lawn since Cherie, my cat, wanted to attend to some private business on the sand and she doesnt like to go it alone. Anyway, so when I was waiting for her to free herself from it, my eyes just rested on the house and then I lifted them to the sky.

What my mind registered made me teary.

There was a blanket of inky blue-black sky stretched over wherever my eyes could reach, dotted with brilliant twinkling, glittery stars. It was a proper fairy tale, and left me speechless for many a minute till I ran in to call Dad and make him see what I saw.

What a gift. What a marvelous, poetic and romantic gift.

Click to zoom.

We don’t appreciate it enough. Honestly.

AND STOP USING SPRAYS IF YOU WANT TO SAVE THIS PLANET, MAN! (AMONG OTHER DAMAGING STUFF).

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SISTER! 

AND HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY, PAKISTAN, AND MY LOVELY, FELLOW COUNTRY MEN!

A LOVELY YEAR AWAITS. 

 

Life Stories: The Swap

At the moment, we have two people working to help maintain this house. A housekeeper and a guard. The guard is the housekeeper’s father, white beard and the like, but really nice. The housekeeper’s daughter used to work for us as well, who is now 16 and about to get married and is pretty happy.

The housekeeper, Shaheena, is not happy in her marriage. Although her husband is really nice, as a person, but pretty selfish. For example, he does work, labour work usually, but all the money he earns he spends on himself, giving the family close to nothing out of that. So, naturally the wife had to start working in other people’s homes and even involved one of her daughters into it, but she didnt realise that that daughter will get spoiled and start having affairs around.

In any case, Shaheena, when 16 herself, went through an unfortunate event, some 22 years back. Her mother had passed away when she was really young, and he father couldnt keep around 4 kids all by himself, so he decided he needed to marry. His ex-wife’s brother’s daughter seemed pretty good, also raising 4 kids on her own, she was also a good woman. Now here, this woman’s father asked Shaheena’s father that in order to marry their daughter, he would have to marry Shaheena to their son, aka the single woman’s brother. Shaheena’s father agreed. The women were swapped, leaving Shaheena very unhappy till now.

When Shaheena was telling me this story, she was sad, you could see it in her eyes, but pride would not let her demand sympathy, instead she hid her pain by cracking jokes, about how now her father was technically her cousin’s husband.

This isnt unknown in the Pathan culture, we take marriages the union of two people irrespective of relation, except of siblings.

Now she is educating her kids. Shazeenay, the 16 year old is getting married and very happy about it. My dad promised to employ her husband in a more permanent position and well paid. Her father is content.

And even after all this, Shaheena is thankful to Allah, and grateful for whatever she has and has had.

This short story is not fictitious at all, rather a documentation. 

But the point is, are all the girls who are victim to such unfair treatment at such an early age happy and grateful for what they have? Even if they do end up happy, does it mean its fair? Certainly not. 

Spread the word. In Pakistan surprisingly this phenomenon is not as wide-spread as some other countries. I would know living in a Pathan village. 

When people say that Islam encourages such behavior, I don’t blame them for thinking so. The image that Muslims have spread across the world concerning themselves and Islam will induce emotions and thoughts like that. Our people say, oh don’t look at us, look at our idea! Right, isn’t one’s idea supposed to represent him, and vice versa?

Islam does not support marrying underage girls. Maulvis might, the messed up ones. 

Bitter Twitter

The micro-blogging site, Twitter, has been blocked and taken from all the users, well, use. Government officials claim that there was a blasphemous topic being discussed, on the site, regarding Muhammad PBUH. Which hurts me, too, mind you, but that does not mean we mess around with people’s freedom of speech and the decision of visiting/not visiting that site. Naturally, they contacted Twitter’s administration to bring it down, to which Twitter’s people comfortably replied that they “cannot stop any individual doing anything of this nature on the website”. Great. What does our government do? Of course, block the blasphemous website which supports freedom of speech: how dare they!

So that’s done and dusted, what next? They are not sure how long will they keep it blocked, either. I, personally, have proxy software (which I am sure most of my Pakistani fellows are using at the moment), but put to no good use. Somehow, even that does not respond where Twitter is concerned. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have done a good job (but you can use Twitter from your mobile devices) or simply the proxy recognizes you’re from Pakistan Even though the reports claim that they have simply blocked access of Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi and Multan, mainly PTCL’s internet connection; where does Baffa, Mansehra come in the mixture, where I am right now? I wonder.

They also say that this step was taken on the behalf of the masses, who were taking this issue seriously (and emotionally). How about the other chunk of people that are on Twitter and, also, believe in freedom of speech? They must suffer, yes.

This move could be completely political, as well. Pakistan Tehreeq-e-Insaaf, the key element of the coming elections, is at the heart of this action. The topic is related to Islam, making it a sensitive one over the masses, and a suitable tool to be used. By doing this they will gain the trust of sensitive Muslims, since obviously PTA has their best interest at heart. Playing with public sentiments is not a new thing at all to get better poll ratings for so-and-so political party. Hell, even Obama is taking a shot at it!

In any case, Pakistan is not the first country to be behaving this strongly towards actions rooted in Twitter’s millions of ‘followers’ who come from all sorts of cultures, religions and general backgrounds. Having said that, of course there are going to be extremists and prejudiced people on it, as well, so that obviously needed some curbing; too much freedom is never healthy, anyway. In the beginning of this year, though, Twitter had officially announced that they could and will block/remove tweets and account-holders if the said person’s/concerned tweet’s country’s government was to deem it inappropriate or simply may complain (if Twitter did not block/remove the person/tweet): twitter encourages countrymen to go haywire where the country’s acceptable actions and unacceptable actions’ boundaries clash, and making it apparent that the nation would be ‘all right’ with anything, even if they did not agree with it. Of course that is not so, and if anyone thought that it was is living 200 years ahead of time where countries let their people be.

But, alas, there’s another oddity: Twitter, after only 5 months of stating that they would respond to government’s requests/notifications affirmatively, suddenly decided that it was not going to help Pakistan. Why not? Twitter gets an estimated 730 million hits a month on average. Yes, it’s crazy but true. They have even experienced a recent spike, going up to 760 million (and onwards). We are definitely not a large percentage missing, but still we are missing, and I doubt Twitter’s too happy about it.

Sure, Twitter’s really fun and addictive, and, if not thousands, then hundreds of Pakistanis will have a bad day because of the blockage, but that’s not the only reason why this action was wrong. Even though Twitter contradicted itself by not responding to our governments requests, they do have a point: human freedom is one thing that America said it would work for, and they have, its bad effects are besides the point right now. Freedom of thought, speech and action is the essential ingredient for a human being, and his damned right. Taking away Twitter like that is clearly stating that they dont care for our freedom, which is very, very unfair. Being an ‘Islamic’ Republic of Pakistan, how can they not know that Quran is based on fairness?

Let’s see where we are headed. Perhaps, short and sweet ‘Pakistan’ would do?

Love Versus The World

Life is full of highs and lows, positives and negative, sureties and chances. When we enter this world, we are gifted a beautifully wrapped package of uncertainties and the enormous realization of the unknown. And sometimes, fear of both those sensations is thrown in for the sensitive and faint hearted. The audaciously awkward moment, when the fact that you are all alone in this world, hits you, that is when you realize how insignificant and helpless you are, and how much exactly you would love to believe in a God watching over us, individually.

If it were not for the family system, we would not have a society, whatsoever. We would all be individuals trying to go on living in our own ways and finding out the goods and bads, rights and wrongs and every other thing that society or our families teach us in the usual way. Nothing would be the same if that were the case; I wouldn’t be the person I am. But since we are very much animals, it makes sense that someone takes care of us in our first twenty, and most important, years; important because they will decide what kind of people we will be in the future. First physical, then emotional, and by the end of it, mental development and its later maturity is very important.

There is no denying that the logical and sentimental importance of emotions, and thoughts, to a human being are equally alike, inconsiderate of the order in which (for the time being). If I were to hurt someone, not only would that person have emotions and thoughts in the very instant, but even I, of the moment when I did, would not completely be inconsiderate of the reasons and actions that lead me to hurting the person.

This brings me to what I actually wanted to discuss.

This was one of the many, very usual evenings where I pay the bathroom a visit to brush my teeth for the night, and, also, usually having the same infuriating carriage to my being (slightly lopsided and somewhat dreamy). Nights like these are reserved for philosophical thoughts and psychological understanding of humans, in general, which are slowly but surely carried out. Having an outlook of a somewhat routine, my mind comfortably shifts gears from emotional outbursts to logical thinking, and then to sentimental, mental isolation (that my family needs to start treating as physical isolation as well, out of respect). It is always sparked by one of two things: some man/woman acts in a way that strips any – and all – concepts of love and selflessness from my mind, and/or something overwhelms me and, more often than not, confuses me even.

The question that has been bothering me so is why is it so hard to express your love for someone? Be it your mother, sibling, father or even best friend. Why do I not need to will myself to get angry but still will myself to hug or kiss someone to let them know that I’m not made of stone. If only telepathy was really common we would not have to go through the pains of physically expressing our love/care for someone. Even words can come under physicality, by the by, since they do have a physical presence in this very much physical world. Since love and kindness are very important things, why havent human beings advanced in it’s understanding, which would have lead to other ways of expressing it. I know making breakfast for someone even can be taken as an example, but it should have advanced till now.

I know there are many ways to express what you feel, but it shouldn’t only be limited to physical expression – we aren’t animals, right?