2.20.2017

your bans / our can's

when I was a kid, my interest in politics was unbelievably great; almost passionate. things didn't work out, though. I ended up becoming a political atheist. I still am. but there are a few things I just cannot stop ~loving~ about politics and those who handle politicians. One of them is the creativity behind slogans/signs/etc etc etc etc.
whenever we'd have a new political person elected for a seat, in my country, the rivals would start making weird insults about them. half of them would be funny and some of them would be absolutely plain. Like, srsly plain, no fun at all.
The very very basic one is: GO *insert politician's name here* GO

currently, this one is going strong for our prime minister. But like everyone, it indeed is unlikely to be ever ~rlly~ noticed seriously from his side. So we're all out of harm's way here.

But there comes another currently. This slogan was used FOR a service I love the most. And half of the nation joined it, in a very very good way.
Maybe I have said it before yet I will say that again. Policy makers are probably guided by the sound of gold coins rather than the screaming pleas of the people of their nation. A few weeks ago, a cab service called careem was banned because the cute policy makers thought so. AND WE LOST OUR SHIZ. and by we, I definitely mean a lot of people who couldn't just stop using careem just because the government thought so. There were some issues, like boring adults' even boring tax talks or something, but it appeared as if they were taking something away from us. OH NO.
Well, not only we (the keyboard warriors) started tweet wars basically to ourselves and to those who did that, even careem service based their campaign on this heated situation.

They designed GO CAREEM GO advertisements in different Pakistani cities., which was a sarcastic response to the political system PLUS it was dual dimensional. At first hand, they were mocking like we mock politicians *GO XYZ GO* and then, it was also all inspirational and encouraging like when you want someone to go on, you'd say *GO XYZ GO* (totally not in biased hateful political manner).
There are very few advertisements that catch public attention (I'm the public) and this one totes stole the show. I made an unsent text version JUST for this situation *muhahaha*
But on a rather serious note, I was out on the streets of Karachi, sitting in my careem cab and wondering why did the cute policy makers had to pick something that helps thousands of people each day? Things that belong to offices and officials shouldn't come out of their fancy little cozy-dim-lit rooms to poke in the eye of the public. Nopez.

When the ban talk was happening, I wasn't in town. And when I returned, everything was sorted. So can you guess what I did next? BOOKED US A CAB AND LEFT FOR THE DOWNTOWN FOR CAFE HOPPING; in a city that shines bright with nostalgia and where all of the long-forgotten faces of my memory come alive.
Cheers to all the services that make life a tad easier than they are, people who do the same, and cities that feel like home. They do matter.
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2.16.2017

the power of believing

I remember my mother once told me there was no power greater than that of believing. If you believed in something, it was real; even if it didn't appear like that for the rest of the world. I trusted it.
Topping the list of things I FIRMLY believe in, is the religion. I don't see it as a certain lifestyle among a specific group of people but a whole different thing, a way of survival, a way of acceptance, a way of understanding.
I was born in a family that didn't only practice their religion but also shaped their lives around it, with ancestors who immigrated from countries to countries over centuries to keep their beliefs alive and protected. There was a power in believing, strong enough to survive the worst, beautiful enough to endure everything that prevented them from believing. 
Flash forward to this decade, I am somehow baffled how religion was twisted into political baits and personal agendas to fuel the fire that didn't only burn those at the stack, alive, but it also created smoke that blurred the view of everyone who ever tried looking past the window of the house of a religion.

I'm a Muslim, following Islam; a belief that was the first thing spoken to my ear when I was born. But after that, it was a decision I made when I was growing up. And the only thing that saved me from going insane when everything in my life was crashing down to turn into ashes. Religion didn't only give me the shelter of self-acceptance but also the way of how I wanted to live my life that lacked the rules I had been searching for.
But the thing about beliefs is that they cannot be easily talked about. It is turned and twisted under the subject of 'preaching' and before you know it, there are screams coming from people with colorless skin and stone-like eyes, blaming you out loud with profanity that would claim you didn't actually talk about your belief, you tried LURING them out of their tracks, out of the things THEY believe in. So the door closes and then, there's no going back to the building with the air that possesses the words you spoke out of affection for something you believe in.

And the life goes on.
but what made me write all these words was the urge to clean the mess up that was left inside me. Words tangled with confusion, emotions that demand hope, and a nameless whisper that promises to help with the right thing; it indeed is a mess.
Ever since the Muslim ban started flashing on the news, I wasn't only surprised but also a bit confused. A country claiming to be the master of human rights was throwing away people who were the part of their land, just because they believed in things that the rest of the people didn't approve of. It has been easier for the lot of fancy suits sitting in delicately decorated houses to label people with a sticker in the uppercase letter, neon lights sparkling off it that says 'terrorist'.
The political side of this ban is a bit too much for me to handle. I could only pray for those affected and hope to see things turning better at the very same rate they started collapsing down in millions of pieces that were tainted in the colors of misery and uncertainty.
You can label a person with as many tags as you want, press as many words on their skins till it starts losing its color, or burn the grounds where the building of their beliefs stands; what you can't do it is to make them stop believing. 
I am a normal human being who doesn't understand what world think-tanks are up to, what I do know is that peace lies in my favorite two ayaahs' from holy Quran and I can pray two raka'ahs to ask for whatever in the world I want, knowing it will be fulfilled. This is what believing is for me, in its the most beautiful form.


Believing, as religious as it goes, works differently for each of us. What isn't different is how we invest our emotions in it to become a better human being, who isn't sent to the earth for making others' lives far more miserable than they already are. You could be from any religion and as pious as the religious books state, but if the kindness doesn't dwell in your heart and the urge to make things better doesn't burn your soul, I really wonder what is the use of it all.

I hope you find peace in what you believe and it makes you do the right thing ~


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2.11.2017

poetry: you are to live (suicide prevention piece)

the sky tore itself apart
and the sun burned itself down
just so you could see another day
and now that this galaxy 
full of bright stars
is keeping you alive
how dare you not
understand this unusual unheard love
you are to live
for the loves you don't know
and yes
you are to live

some things in life only seem real when they happen as closely as home. and god, they do hurt. Hurt enough to find a solution or an antidote, just to prevent them.
growing up, I was not sure how I felt about suicide. It IS horrible, sad in fact, and totally soul crushing. The idea of someone being suicidal leaves me all numb and my brain stops sending me signals for actions, leaving me with an abyss of silence. I can't move and certainly, cannot think. I never knew how could I even talk about something like suicide, that could take a person, a living breathing soul whose laughter had shared the chords of my laughter somewhere in our lives, away from this alive vivid world.
There is a difference between death and suicide; a stark one. Death occurs and suicide is performed. And a performance of leaving everything, from pieces of beautiful dreams to breathing humans beans, it can't be that easy, it can't be that painless.
I wouldn't even have thought about it if ~this~ thing hadn't happened. And ~this~ thing is, putting it the easy way, someone REAL close to my heart, talked about attempting suicide. The situation's totally in control (as for now), but it shook me to the core. I grew up in a family where no one would even talk about it. My family, being practicing Muslims, we believe that those who take their own lives will not enter Jannah (heaven), as per Islamic rules. I grew up believing it and will die believing it. The idea of suicide wasn't only the pain of leaving one life behind, it was also the pain of showing up at the day of judgment and knowing you had failed already.

Suicide has been a taboo for me, I still cannot think about it. Not that I ever saw it happening around me or someone close to me ever did. But from the very start, it has always sounded like a possibility that could take away something precious from me. I am talking about it today because it punched me hard in the face, to remind me that the possibility of it exists, that it is around me even when I don't know it does and that it could take away anyone anytime and I wouldn't be able to do anything about it.
So I am talking about it. I have written this poetry piece specifically for this. Living is hard, yes. At some points in my life, I just didn't want to wake up anymore, I didn't want to exist anymore. More or less, I COULD have wished to be not alive anymore. But I just couldn't bring myself to think of S word that would ruin me, not only in this world and also in the other-world I work so hard to save some virtues for.
Here is this piece and it's not enough, I know. But this is all I could offer. I have nothing but words and I am putting them out there. I'm sorry if life hasn't been easy, I hope it becomes, soon. I hope things work out and you get to be wherever you want to be, with whatever you want to have, with whoever you want it to be. I hope I hope I hope.
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