A few people were standing right around the corner. As laws of nature do not change, so light doesn’t bend around the corners, there was no way I could have seen them before I crossed it. I had to reach there, take that path with the corner in its existence and come to know about their existence at the corner.
Life is not a straight path. It is full of these bends and corners, some more cherished than the others. A law of nature that we come to eventually is our inability to escape these corners, no matter how we want or try to avoid them. There is a turn where you are to meet your best friend, a corner where love would show you its glimpse, an edge traveling beyond which is possible only if you could dodge your enemies who await there just to ambush you.
As we cannot form a list of people we haven’t known or met, we can do the opposite and make a list of all those we know and want to meet or don’t want to meet. One of the faces from those who stood at the corner brought up the feeling of “just avoid and walk on” as it bore resemblance to someone on one of those lists. A turn is unavoidable but a being is. These turns unfold according to our desires in the imaginary scenarios that keep happening in a loop in our heads. There, life becomes a straight path with no kinks and no kinky ones to avoid. But hey, whom will you avoid crossing after reading this turn?
Are you awake? Yes, because that’s what your mind is conditioned to believe in. Obviously how else are you able to read this if otherwise. This learning is exactly why dreams feel real until they break. Yet, for all human, wise and health reasons one needs to drift off once a day or the whole balance would come crumbling down. Right before sleep is about to take us away, something holds us to stay awake and be in this world for a bit longer. Ever wondered what it is? A sin we cannot go back in time and undo? A memory of a cherished moment we want to live for at least once before all connections to this life break? A knock of the conscience? An old desire that still convinces you that it is achievable still? Half forgotten names of people, books and movies that even modern internet search engines have failed to answer to? A desire to reset everything and everyone in life? A craving that collides head on with the rules of society, faith, morality and humanity? An old grudge that still burns strong? Is it the dupatta that entwined with your shirt buttons that day that you still feel exerting its pull? Is it the spell cast by an enemy? Is it the growth of the reason the coroner would put on your death certificate eventually? Is it the realization that nothing you thought is yours is really? Is it the pain that you cannot find any familiar face in the city you call home? Is it the pain that friends have all disappeared? Is it the fear of dying or living? What is it Aamir babu?
No two worshippers get the same reward even when performing the same ritual in the same amount. No two lovers get the same return even when loving the same focus with the same intensity. No two readers would come to the same meanings when reading the same lines. I don’t know what meanings would you draw after reading these words. Just like you don’t know mine. Or do you?
Is love in the air? Maybe. Or perhaps it isn’t. All elements including that of air and the others have been known to carry this emotion. Time, as ruthless as it can be, transforms the shade and the intensity of it making it invisible at certain turns pushing mortals to believe that it might have ended. These mortals then conclude that there is no love in the air. Some who were lucky enough to gather a following decided to summon it up on one day for expressing or for escape but they overlooked the fact that it’s one of those things that can never be bound to a moment. An entire life seems to be too little for it, let alone a day that comes every year. It is not just the air that has carried it. Ghalib mentions the faces of love that gave meaning to life vanishing into the earth. Time proves him timeless and right. There would always be love in and on earth. And as one version of the story goes, there lived two energies in a place called paradise who were madly in love with each other. The balance was disturbed when a third one was introduced resulting in the fire getting expelled. It was love that could not be ended. So the fire carried it along seeking vengeance. Rest assured, if you carry any or all of the elements, it’s already there contaminating the remotest ends of your soul and your life. But hey, just don’t buy flowers today, they are selling them at inflated rates.
گھر کا مالک گھر میں رہتا ہے. لیکن دل کا مالک دل میں نہیں رہتا. اس کے گھومنے کی عادت اسے خون کی طرح گردش میں رکھتی ہے. جب وہ آنکھوں تک پہنچتا ہے تو ہر جگہ دکھائی دینے لگتا ہے، ہر چہرے میں اپنی مماثلت بناتا ہے. بادل بھی اس کے زیر اثر ہو جاتے ہیں تب ہی تو ان میں بھی وہی نظر آتا ہے. جب گردش کرتا کانوں تک پہنچتا ہے تو کانوں میں بھی اور گانوں میں بھی اسی کی آواز سنائی دیتی ہے. سڑک پر دل افسردہ کر دینے والا ٹریفک کا شور بھی غائب ہو جاتا ہے. کچھ سنائی دیتا ہے تو صرف اس کی آواز جس میں سب آوازیں گم ہو چکی ہوتی ہیں. گردش اسے زبان تک ضرور لے جاتی ہے لیکن دنیا کو بھی نظر نہ آ جائے، وہ الفاظ کا لبادہ اوڑھ لیتا ہے. باتوں کے جادو کو جان وہی تو دیتا ہے. پھر دوڑتا ہوا پھیپڑوں میں سانس بن جاتا ہے تو جگر میں جان. اس کا روٹھ جانا بھوک بھی مٹا دیتا ہے. اور بھی اعضاء ہیں جہاں قدم رکھتے وہ ہر اس جذبے کو بھڑکتا ہے جس کے لیے قدرت نے وہ اعضاء بنائے. واپس دل تک پہنچنے سے پہلے وہ دماغ اور ذہن تک لازمی آتا ہے.اس کے ذہن میں آنے کی وجہ سے تو یہ الفاظ بھی پیدا ہوئے. میں اکیلا تو نہیں جس نے اس کے بارے میں کچھ لکھا. بازار بھرے پڑے ہیں ان کتابوں سے جو اس کے ذہن تک پہنچنے کے بعد تخلیق ہوئیں. آخر وہ دل تک واپس آ ہی جاتا ہے اور بنا دستک اندر بھی داخل ہو جاتا ہے. مالک جو ٹھہرا. میں کونے میں بیٹھا یہ تماشا دیکھتا رہتا ہوں.
Who wants to be sad? Nobody. Happiness or even the illusion of it are driving energies of life. That is one explanation of why everyone adores money. We can buy the path to happiness at least. Yet, not a single soul has walked on earth including the first beings whose hearts were devoid of sorrow. Our sorrows give shape to what we consider happiness. A man with no son and only daughters in the subcontinent has a different definition of happiness than a man who has only sons. Happiness is a guest that stays inside our souls and eventually departs. Sorrows are long staying tenants we want to kick out at times. Yesterday, I had a talk with Baba that branched out to the afterlife and the ideas of Paradise and Hell. In his definition, sorrow and shock can never enter paradise. The heart of Paradise dweller is devoid of these feelings. The idea has allured men. On the opposite, it saddened me and brought another tenant to live in. How can I kick someone now who has lived a life at a place and has called it his own? How can I evict a tenant who has lived longer than any friend has? These sorrows have grown strong than those claimed to love. Can you kick an old friend out? Would you?
How often do we record our conversations? There exist laws in different geographies that don’t allow this while in others they require to inform all the participants in a call about being recorded. iOS users don’t enjoy this perk in the first place as Apple, being what it has become, does not allow recording phone calls in the first place. Workarounds for this do exist, however. The rescue teams rush to the site of a plane crash and try to find the plane’s black box and survivors alike. In earlier days, diagnostics including the plane’s altitude, remaining distance, and fuel were recorded on a thin metal plate inside the black box. With time things have gone digital. More than a hundred diagnostics about an aircraft are being recorded including voice recordings from inside the cockpit. All of this helps to understand the events leading to the disaster and also to avoid such tragedies in the future. Our phones are very much like these black boxes. They hold secrets to our lives and their secrets. Yet, only a very tiny segment of users thinks to record their conversations. Texts and letters have a longer half-life than voice and video calls. These calls become a memory as soon as they end. Still that feeling of listening to a call that happened ten years ago or seeing a video call from that time brings back a flood of emotions that can never be explained. Are we wise enough to document every call we make, every video conversation we give life to, every text, and every chat we breathe into our phones?
A drama titled CALLS is a story with every episode about a different person that is narrated through their recordings. It triggered this writing. I am neither wise enough nor brave enough to record everything. Still documenting is what brought knowledge to our hearts and we would not be honest until we document our lives and fill a black box for those who come after us. Just make sure it is big enough to hold all loved ones and all grudges together.
A YouTube video about a bird that mimics more than two dozen sounds has amassed millions of views. People are amazed at the skills of the bird as for many, it is pure delight. For others, its either cute or funny. A tiny bird making strange sounds and scaring grownups on their camping trips sounds funny indeed. Not for me though. I came across the video through recommendations and I could barely finish it. The bird knows the sounds of a motorized chainsaw. Not even a single person in the comments felt the feelings of horror that I felt. Who taught the bird to make those sounds? The first logical explanation is quite obvious. It heard the sounds and learned. That means it heard the chainsaw. Someone destroyed its habitat with a chainsaw perhaps. What looks like a love song in that video might very well be a curse the bird kept sending upon those that destroyed its home and loved ones perhaps. Would you sing something sweet for those who burn your house down and murder your family? Or a curse would be rational followed by more rational steps of revenge?
Afghanistan. A bad neighbor? A thankless country? Maybe both. Maybe not. Griefs deform our minds forever and that land has suffered from grief. That too for a very long time. It has distorted the minds, permanently. It would take a long time to heal any, if that ever becomes a possibility. The same actors that were ousted are in power again. Those actors had supporters on this side of the porous border as well. When a superpower invaded those supporters went into hiding but now they too are out in the open. I came across a mass of those cheering supporters online. In the 80’s when the bad and thankless neighbor celebrated the kicking out of another superpower, a crowd of supporters existed even then. History, which loves to repeat itself, knows that the stash of human-killing weapons these superpowers leave behind when running away eventually end up in places where they shouldn’t. That is exactly how unregistered Soviet weapons ended up on the streets of Karachi and contributed to the creation of evils of street crime, target killings and political assassinations. Some of those who celebrated in the 80’s lost loved ones later at the hands of the weapons left behind. Their reason to live ended. There are fools who are rejoicing now not knowing that years later this laughter might be paid with a heavy price – the price of heavy funerals. History repeats itself. Only the fools don’t ever want to learn from it.