Flickr

November 5th, 2018 / 4:08 AM

After twelve years of love, the old flame still keeps burning. The sting of nostalgia and everything associated with it is always hard to give up. Like an old city where a person has lived keeps calling him. Again. And again. And yet again. The old city of Flickr.

I still remember the time when sharing a picture was more of a problem. It was a bigger problem than taking a picture and transferring it to your computer was. that is why more genius people started thinking of a cure and came up with a wonderful service called Flickr. The solution was remarkable but the only shortcoming that I faced with it was the number of images that I could share with someone else was limited to 200. But even that did not stop me from uploading the images as I knew that all the images were safe. At least I intended to get a paid subscription in the later years when I can happily enjoy all the pictures that I have uploaded to the service. Many detailed articles on the Internet talk about how Yahoo purchased a vehicle and then destroyed it eventually selling it to Verizon after a data breach. But even Verizon could not contain the fallout and the fiasco led to people leaving Flickr. The love for photography has not died, at least not yet. That’s the reason why I was hopeful when Smugmug bought Flickr in 2018. They have recently paid attention to all those free hoarders which we can find in almost any community and any service who are there only to pollute the beautiful walled gardens. Just look at what they have done to Facebook Twitter and Instagram. These were really good places just like mountain towns. Now the crowd has destroyed them. The same crowd found free enterprise-grade storage of 1 Terabyte on Flickr. They were the people who were least bothered about community interactions in photography. They just wanted a place where they can store their photographs and delete them from the computer and save some space. I remember once a property broker came to the hospital. When I asked him where he lived, he told of an average neighborhood just to keep his low profile from all the extortionists. A colleague added, “Why is that posh town so expensive?” The broker replied, “The taps don’t push out milk in that area. The price exists just to keep the filthy poor out.” To this day I remember his ideology. Free is what made Facebook filthy, Android filthy, Twitter filthy, Instagram filthy. You will never find Bahria Town filthy, DHA filthy, Cantonment filthy, etc. Flickr was great. Then the free-minded settlers moved in. This recent price tag push will kick them out just to let those who care about photos stay.

It is a good move in the long run. Technology giants like Google, Amazon, and Facebook or even Microsoft should introduce a bundled service that packs some services under one roof. Only if there existed such a service that had a section for all the tweet-like statuses being streamed and a blog section for longer blog posts, a photo drive where all photographs one has ever taken are saved (in their original quality) along with those cherished screenshots and a video drive where all the videos are safely backed up. Those who care about their data would move to this amazing town instantly. The service would be more ideal if a personal domain could be linked to it. It is quite possible and eventually, someone is going to make this dream a reality.

Flickr may start looking like a posh neighborhood in the future. But that is what I fear too. I seek peace and harmony that was destroyed by free hoarders. My experiences are riddled with dust collected from the surroundings from Saddar Town and Walton Colony to Nishat Colony and Old Anarkali that if life moves me to a palace, I might leave the fancier walls when everyone else falls asleep, sneak out, take a ride to that part of the old city, sneak into my old home and fall off to a peaceful sleep on the cold concrete floor.

Aamir Bilal

 (Zafar Gorakhpuri) (Zafar Gorakhpuri)

راستے جس طرف بلاتے ہیں

ہم اسی سمت چلتے جاتے ہیں

روز جاتے ہیں اپنے خوابوں تک

روز چپ چاپ لوٹ آتے ہیں

اڑتے پھرتے ہیں جو خس و خاشاک

یہ کوئی داستاں سناتے ہیں

یہ محبت بھی ایک نیکی ہے

اس کو دریا میں ڈال آتے ہیں

یاد کے اس کھنڈر میں اکثر ہم

اپنے دل کا سراغ پاتے ہیں

شام سے جل رہے ہیں بے مصرف

ان چراغوں کو اب بجھاتے ہیں

چڑیل | The Witch

October 8th, 2018 / 4:49 PM

I came across a book while roaming the old bazaar. A book about witches, or better, a book on the subject of witches. The subject has existed in almost every culture, religion, and region though the ideas, beliefs, myths, and ideologies about evil under the guise of a woman differ. Even the one I was born and raised in has a lot to say about this fascinating subject. From folk tales, dramas, contemporary literature, modern writings to informal gossip, proverbs, urban myths, and those evening warnings dadi used to say when we kids wanted to go to the neighborhood park, she existed.

As I grew up, so did that churail (چڑیل). She has lost that horrifying makeover from my earliest perceptions. Maybe those perceptions came into existence from all that was spoken about her. No more exist her hard reptilian skin or her beastly nails. The glowing white or black-hole dark eyes are gone too. She doesn’t levitate in the air or walk on the ground with those inverted feet of hers. The horrifying mask of her has fallen. Out has come to the appearance I had never expected. Organic. Staple. And normal. Like any other non-witch being. Only a master with the skill and experience might be able to spot her. The fools of men would never be able to do so, even with a thousand eyes. Perhaps that is the reason why she mixes herself so well in the crowd and ordinary mortals fail to spot her truer self.

Not all definitions one starts believing in exist in the dictionary. Not all ideas one follows are taught at a school. The experience is, after all, the best teacher. It is that very same experience that helped craft definitions for hard and impossible to define concepts including those of life, death, love, divine, and the witch. Out from the hideous and centuries-old reptilian skin has come a normal and organic witch who looks like any other woman one would come across. In her definition, she has been to the universities and beyond. She has a social media presence that she uses, very aptly, for two of the most nefarious purposes – propaganda and stalking. Beyond her apparent modernist ideologies exists a centuries-old soul, if the soul has something to do with her. Her beliefs do not bend with the fevers of the present era. Men of the modern age would not stand a moment before her ancient powers.

Two of the short stories in my book are inspired by this topic. This number does not do justice as the number of witches that helped define her is higher. I know this because at least a few of them would surely read these words. Yes, this is for your eyes. You are the witch for you know what lives under your skin better than any mortal ever can. A few of the witches were kind enough. They didn’t suck blood even after biting. None of them had inverted feet even when some had feet that incited the foot fetish and helped it evolve to new heights. I always wondered what if one day she reveals her true nature and her feet bend backward, would my fetish stay the same or disappear? What if her horrendous scary skin was not what she removed but the skin was something she just wore on to mix among her human preys? A few witches kept saying that men are dogs. I am not sure of others but had I been one, I would have seen her true self. I was told dogs see what humans cannot. Maybe the inner dog found a bone in this book bazaar. I look forward to a new definition this book might help craft.

Aamir Bilal

HEREDITARY

August 10th, 2018 / 4:33 PM
Two years is too long to wait for a movie. I have waited for this movie to be released from the day I heard about its story. Some months ago a staff member from TheVerge was invited to the screening of the film. He along others gave pretty good reviews about it. It’s class could not be doubted after I came to know that A24 bought its rights to the distribution. I wanted the studio to release it as soon as they could but they kept me waiting. I knew that the movie would never be released in Pakistan as cinemas here are a home to classless movies.

The theme of the movie is horror. Horror itself is a wide spectrum especially in the movies. Found footage, monsters, cults, vampires, zombies, psychological horror, etc. All the reviews of the movie up to that point were from the people who were at the screening and they all agreed that the movie is as mind bending and twisted as another horror movie GET OUT. 

I found a pretty decent yet pirated version of the film through a Reddit post but the movie was dubbed in Russian. So I downloaded that sick print which was in English too and then using my average skill of video editing, I layered the English audio track on top of that good Russian print. I could not wait any longer. And I watched HEREDITARY. There is no doubt that movie is one mind bending film. People are really reaching new heights in the genre of horror and this movie proves it. 

The movie is about a family who has recently lost their grandmother. Their days of mourning  extend when the tragedy strikes them again, sooner than anyone expects, including the viewer. As the film proceeds an observer starts to realize that everything is not what it seems to be in the first place. A nasty unseen evil exists which can be felt but not seen. So far this is the best horror movie I have seen in 2018. I really wish that by now there must’ve existed a far better version of the film. Anybody who loves the genre of horror should stop doing whatever they are and should watch this film. Immediately.

A24 did not disappoint. Like always.

Twice the same crop

August 5th, 2018 / 10:09 PM

A man in my neighborhood just divorced his wife. That is not a new thing. It’s not the first time somebody has divorced his wife and certainly it’s not the last time either. The term divorce and the whole dilemma that surrounds it is our social stigma. People are happily accepting bigger monsters yet this word frightens many. It is not just the act that is scary. The repercussions are what go deeper. When one faces a similar situation they don’t want anybody else to talk about it as it pertains to them. But when they listen about someone else getting divorced, this talk becomes a favourite topic for them. It itself is the evil polarity that will destroy the society in the end. Polarity will kill as many as global warming would. 

My next door neighbour is a very polite and a humble man. I’ve not heard any negative air about him which partly is because he does not interfere in the works of either the union or anybody else in the neighborhood. He limits to himself. That is why when I heard that he had divorced his wife after a night of long, loud and scary arguments which started after midnight, I took some time to believe in what the people were talking about. The very next day when I was going for work, I saw that man with a burqa clad woman. Right at the entrance of the building, two old ladies were whispering something to each other and pointing towards my neighbour. I knew that it could not be something good or positive. Obviously the biggest monster in our society is not the vampire who can walk on walls and can suck all the blood out of you in a minute. The biggest monster is not the one who becomes a wolf when the first ray of moonlight hits him. It is not even that unstable mind who would pick up a gun and without a second thought kill the innocents. You guessed it right! It is that man who divorces his wife even if the bridge of the marriage started to collapse at the end of the wife. At the time of this writing, I came to know that he divorced his wife for another woman. 
Nothing new. 
It happens. It can happen. 
That is how humans are. Nobody likes to eat the same thing at dinner for the rest of his life. But my neighbour’s new dinner came from the same restaurant. He married the sister of his wife. The size of the monster grew in the eyes of the society when the people came to know that both of his wives are living in the same apartment and he has not formally divorced the first wife before marrying the second one. It is a twisted society perhaps. I was hungry at the start of day and decided to eat something fancy. However at this moment I am feeling that no restaurant can serve me good. I would skip dinner.  
 

Waves

August 1st, 2018 / 05:51 PM

They don’t understand the waves that reach the shores.

They don’t understand the songs they carry.

They don’t understand the things they speak.

They don’t.

Reset Button

August 2nd, 2018 / 3:30 PM

Everyone at old age wants to become young again. There is a price of being young. The price of experiencing the same things including troubles and pain and learning from these experiences. After realizing the actual price of starting life over again, many might not want to press the reset button. It is not easy to give everything up and face the same tortures and the same monsters for another time. Nobody wants to die twice just to be in the same heaven.
Changing one’s primary method of communication to a newer bridge is not comfortable. It surely has the same price. Without a doubt, the advantage is as enormous as the hardship. I waited for almost 15 minutes in the hall before this realization hit me. I gave up the idea of creating a new Rome. I can live with the monster but I don’t have both the stamina and the courage to get a new number again and start the communication of life from the beginning. I cannot press the reset button. I guess that’s why a lot of men do not develop the same spark once they get married. The newer attractions live only in the cages of flings and attractions. They opt for such comforting and easier adventures instead of falling into a pit that has fewer chances of coming out ever again. So let’s not press that button. Let’s never press that button.


Never. 

First of July

July 1st, 2018 / 4:24 AM
It’s someone’s birthday. Every day is someone’s birthday. So is today. We spent a good time together. A golden time perhaps. Only if that could be re-lived. I cannot overlook a question. Will any of us forget and forgive if we relive it? I fail to reach any answer when I realize that I have not forgotten anything even today. It is being very unwise of me. A fool here. I have no idea of the other side. If anyone comes to see my end, they will find my side of the bridge intact. Maybe the other end is intact too. Yet the bridge fell. It is another question that keeps peaceful sleep and harmony at bay. We once talked about life and the afterlife and decided that the one who outlives the other should tell the next generation of ours about how many years we stayed in each other’s lives. I believe that silence is not absence. It never is. Has God ever talked to us? Yet when we pray, we believe that he is there. This example does not apply to those who don’t believe in a God. The number of years we talked is now less than the number of years we haven’t. I wish the wiser of us was more wiser. It is the first of July. I wish happiness for the other end of the bridge, even if it has fallen. 

 

WESTWORLD – 2

June 24th, 2018 / 4:00 AM

WestWorld’s season two comes to an end. But as it has become a successful franchise, the producers will keep skimming profit from making sequels and spinoffs. The first season Made me watch the very first movie from which the season was inspired in the first. I found the plot of the first season very similar to the original movie which had pretty lame special effects as compared to the modern time. Everybody was talking about the second season but it was not released in a way Netflix releases its Originals. All the episodes were not released on the first day which is why I was waiting for the day when the last episode gets aired and then I can watch the entire season peacefully without any breaks. 

A good idea when always leave some marks on your mind even when you don’t want any.
The similarity shown in the drama with that of religious preachings and what effect religion and Society has on the life of a person cannot be missed once you start thinking about the analogy  shown in the drama. Higher intelligent beings create a park for their own dark fantasies which they cannot satisfy easily in their everyday world. To populate that park they create inferior mechanical beings which are posted to play their own roles following repeated narratives. From ancient Greece to the Pharaohs and from the ancient recorded religions to the modern interpretations of Christianity and Islam, the two major religions in the modern day world, this similarity cannot be overlooked. Movies have talked about it, stories exist about it and now another drama which I was waiting for to end also exists about it. Some higher intelligent beings created humans but to keep a check on humans and to keep them human in the first place they introduced the concept of death. So no matter how intelligent or rich you are, in the end you die. No matter how good or bad you are, your life has an end. No matter how famous and how wanted you are, you cannot escape death. Never!

I recently came across the quotation which states that death was introduced by God to keep men from not becoming God. This triggers another that whether the first person to crack the mystery of death and to live beyond the phenomenon of death was a mere mortal who achieved eternal life and became God. But even then that does not give him the superpowers need for creating the entire universe.

There has always existed a curiosity in men from all eras about knowing the creator. Westworld makes you think about the creation of man. A similarity between those Hosts who are merely toys for the satisfaction of those who created them is a scream.  What if the person who is writing this is a toy and the person who is reading it is another and we are just following a story line created by the creator. Then we die and the next day we wake up again with no memory of who we were in our previous lives. I hope this thought and this idea pollutes your mind for the time to come and the creator doesn’t reset you before the next role. 

بھولی باتیں

June 8th, 2018 / 02:42 AM 

اپنی ڈائری میں لکھی ہوئی کچھ باتیں دوبارہ پڑھیں تو بہت حیرت ہوئی. مجھے کچھ یاد نہیں کہ یہ سب میں نے کب لکھا .لیکن جوں جوں ایک ایک لفظ میری آنکھوں کے سامنے سے گزرا ہر پرانی چیزتازہ ہوگی. لوگوں کی کی ہوئی مہربانیاں بھی. اور دوستوں کی کی ہوئی نا انصافیاں بھی . نہ جانے میں نے یہ سب کب لکھا . اتنی پرانی باتیں پڑھ کر لگتا ہے کہ شاید وہ کوئی دوسری زندگی تھی. لیکن میں تو تب بھی میں ہی تھا