8.25.2016

Visual Storytelling

A recent research about social media enlightened me how people preferred more video content rather than long philosophical posts. It didn't strike as surprising since I, myself, would enjoy visual content more than scrolling through long paragraphs. Perhaps it's human nature or something. Yus.

Then one day, while I was shooting a video for my youtube channel, I randomly made a video of the sky to just save a serene scenery. But when I went back to edit the videos, that sky clip stood out somehow (though it was like 4 seconds long). I couldn't include it in my channel video but I wanted to do something with it. Next day, I went out to make more clips.

My original plan was to just shoot them and add some light music from an editor and start posting them. However, that social media report had me like, 'instead of writing, let's add all the words in the background of these videos'. Thus, my friends, the journey of visual storytelling started for me.

I have made a few of them so far & here are some of my favorites:

visual storytelling: change
I was attending a social event at one of my favorite places in the old city when I made this vid. It was raining that day and it felt so so good to be there. It had been a while since I attended an event like that where all of my fave faces were present. That change was really refreshing so whilst leaving the hotel, I fetched a few moments to put together a visual storytelling piece.

visual storytelling: life's what we make it
AH! This was the start of it all. I am a firm believer of DIY (do all of your shizz yourself) and it includes life, too # YAS. Nothing changes or progress if you don't want to. You can cry for days and sit in self-pity to think how messed up life is. Or you can cry and sit in self-pity and keep doing your work and think how messed up life is. Ya, same situations but here only the additional work will help. My godfather used to say 'insaan pyara nahi hota, kam pyara hota hay' (translation: a human isn't that important; his work is).

visual storytelling: 'living well is the best revenge'
'living well is the best revenge' has been one hella influential quote in my life. It's not just a phrase; it's more like a philosophy. There were a lot of timeS when I wanted to burn all the bridges I had built and go back to the cave of oblivion but the idea of keep pushing myself to live well just because I had to, for the sake of so many incomplete plans and dreams, really kept me alive. I often replay this vid 'cause, ya know, some things hit home.

visual storytelling: poetry 'YOU'
I used an old poem YOU to bring it to life with some visuals. It's one of my old faves and picking clips for it felt like adding something to the still state of words, which was surprisingly good.

Visual storytelling has certainly given me a way to make words alive. And I couldn't be happier about it.

You can follow me on Instagram for exclusive storytelling vids xoxo not gossip girl
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8.21.2016

19 feat. Turquoise Hair

I turned 19 on 16th August 2016.

Phew!
I have always thought of 19 as a difficult phase. It's exactly when you're in the middle of transiting to a (supposed) adult but the teen in you won't let go; a very difficult phase indeed. The evening before my birthday, I turned off my phone, struggling to keep it shut until next day so I wouldn't have to talk about the dilemma 19th year of life was bringing along.
It didn't take long before I turned it on again to check my Instagram notifications, cried my heart out in front of my twin sister, then went over to my friend's house to pick her up so we could have that 12 AM gosh-yerrrr-burrrthday moment.

I guess I will never stop worrying about the age that's coming, reminiscing about the ages that have gone, things that could have been done, things that should not have happened. The list of should have's and could have's are endless; the numbers I would have to live are going to be pretty limited. So I might as well forget that they exist.
I turned 19 and it didn't feel like anything. I didn't turn around in a halo to have an unexpected transformation. Fairy godmother didn't visit me with magical presents. I also didn't find a secret letter telling me about an ancient family secret to digging it up and realize my ancestors ruled a really cool city that I might inherit. A clock ticked and dragged me to the last teenage year.

After everything jumbling up in my mind, I am settling with reality. The reality is that 19 years of my life have gone and I have yet to do a lot of things. Things my mother would be proud of. Things that I can tell my grandchildren about. Out of everything I would tell them, one is totally going to be about my hair color history.
I have had dyed hair for almost three years now. Started from maroon-ish red to bright red, I just got a hair cut and dyed them turquoise for the big 19th chapter of life. My main inspiration was Kylie Jenner circa 2014 because

1) I love Kylie Jenner
2) turquoise short hair look so dope anyways

I hope my grandchildren would think they looked cool. Because I think they look cool.
Long story short, I am 19 years old with turquoise hair and a lot of gifts to open because apparently, some people were really happy that I am alive and breathing and made it this far so they bought me things. I really like people.

If you're wondering about birthday celebrations, my twin sister and I celebrated with our friends. Then we celebrated again on the weekend (because the 16 fell on a frickin' Tuesday) with our book club anniversary that's same as our birthday, then just today, a family gathering turned into another birthday party with legit cake and lots of small cousins around. Just as I told you, I really like people.

Last thing I really wanted to add to this I-am-so-19 post; it's a note to myself and probably to anyone who might need it: I hope you learn to be kinder than ever before. Because kindness is what mother talked about, kindness is what people will remember you for, and kindness is the only thing you would need to make your life easier I hope you learn to be kind.

How do you celebrate your birthday?
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8.16.2016

The Game of Dowry

I grew up following traditions. The traditions that were laid by South Asian culture, religion, and the society I am a part of. I always knew when they were right and also when they were wrong. Yes, no society or culture in the world is flawless. I realized, when I wondered upon my traditions, that some of them were horribly wrong.
One of the very disturbing culture terms is dowry. If you're unaware of this, it's basically a term used for the items that a woman brings with her to her marital house when she's married. A lot of people confuse it with Meher (an Islamic term that declares the amount of money groom pays or promise to pay to the bride in future; it's usually a minimal amount often set by religious terms). But Dowry is something else.

Dowry could be a beautiful concept. Like, parents or relatives giving gifts to the bride so she would start a new life with the blessings of her family. However, after all these years and modifications implicated by the society, it has become a nightmare for a lot of families.
My first introduction to dowry was years ago. I wouldn't wonder if the little girls in my family must already be aware of it because it's everywhere; the talk of dowry rules houses, gossips, and of course family gatherings. My grandmother used to tell how she would leave her gold in my name so I would wear it after I get married. It was a wonderful thing to hear because I was in love with her jewellery collection and the idea of getting it to myself was overwhelming. Now, it seems like she might have thought I would rule my house with her gold. She isn't it this world anymore and I just turned 19 today and not getting married anytime soon, it crosses my mind many times how could pieces of gold help me in life?!? The dilemma of South Asian females.
What's so nightmare-ish about the dowry?

The demands. The judgements. The unwholeness.

A lot of people would demand dowry when they're asking for a girl's hand. Doesn't it look like a joke when someone's asking for the most precious thing aka a daughter from parents BUT with conditions? Dowry isn't a joke and it isn't cheap.
When a society starts valuing a woman's worth by the color of her skin, the amount in her bank account, and the items she brought in dowry, that's where the downfall starts.
I have heard a lot of stories about girls turning into women with silver in their hair and the reason was that the groom's family was demanding for a dowry that was way too much for bride's family. The other matches for the girl weren't as good as proposed groom and the only way was either to pay or pray. Those who chose the former paid quite a big price such as a life of debt and those who chose the latter suffered another decade of pain.

The problem isn't unsolvable. All we need is the first step.

The first step is saying no to dowry, or to any term that's destroying the beauty of our culture with contaminated terms, or what-so-ever hurting people in any way. The first step is the kindness. The first step is wiseness.

I don't know how dowry works in different parts of the world. What I know it is all I see in Pakistan and similar cultures. If you have something similar in your culture, please let me know. If you have any questions regarding this post, feel free to ask and I will make sure to answer with as precise facts as possible.
Here's a visual storytelling video I recently did:


*this post is inspired by Orient Pakistan's #RishtonMeinInnovation TVC. This campaign has been a heart warming and revolutionary one and I can't wait to see similar campaigns rising up to eliminate all the faulty parts our culture has been bearing in the name of 'traditions'.



(this TVC is in Urdu. If you can't understand it, let me know and I'll have it translated for you  <3)
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