Sunday, July 25, 2010

My Soul Has No Price.

He stood in a line, uncomfortable. Stuck between two near men. He looked around trying to judge his competition. The other two seemed content, comfortable and confident. He shifted his weight, wiped the sweat from his temples; generally a confident arrogant pompous young man, he seemed anything but that at the moment. The pretty boy in front of him fiddled with his coat pockets and pulled out a cigarette, he turned and asked him and the other boy if they had a light on them. They both replied in negative. Non smokers the pretty boy thought, he gave them a smirk and in his head concluded that only real men smoke. He fiddled again in his pocket and after an effort that seemed to last hours produced a lighter from his pockets. He lit up his cigarette and breathed a sigh of relief. The boy in the middle realized he was going to smoke away the tension, he relaxed a little seeking relief in the fact that he wasn't the only one tensed. The pretty boy finally took his first puff and smoked it away while gazing into the distance. It seemed like he was living somewhere far from this place and you could almost be fooled in thinking that this man was a thinker, a soulful thinker. He looked at the pretty boy again, he hadn't thought of him as a thinker. Quite the contrary he thought something was wrong with his eyes, not in vision vise terms but there was something off about them, he just couldn't put his finger down on as to what exactly.

He turned to the one behind him in the line, for the sake of comfort lets call him Daddy's Boy. He though seemed confident on the exterior but a closer look made you realize he was anything but confident. DB(Daddy's Boy) kept on muttering to himself in English, made you slightly uncomfortable. What was DB doing he thought, was he praying ? turning to the lord at this moment of need ? No no, he wasn't praying the mutterings didn't sound like prayers rather they sounded like an interview. Oh so he was pre-planning his interview. Oh DB what a foolish strategy that would be he thought and out came his arrogance yet again. This was the real him. He slouched to his right side and ran a hand through his hair, he was a done deal for this he thought. If nothing works he'll just charm them; this thought came from his flawed opinion of himself. In his own head he was quite the charmer, but sadly only in his own head.

All of a sudden, the air smelt different. No no that can't be right he thought, it was just his head playing games with him. But this smell was really familiar ... it was almost like someone was smoking weed. He took a loud audible sniff to make sure that it wasn't his head playing games. The pretty boy upon hearing the sniff turned and said want a hit ? And extended his joint to both of them. He was yet again declined by both of them and he again met them with the same smirk that said pathetic losers. Pretty boy was smoking up before an important interview he thought , surely this border lined on craziness or was it a mechanism of relaxing himself ? In all honesty it wasn't a method to soothe anything, it spoke volumes about PB. He was always like that, slightly on the edge. He rarely cared about what people will think about him and today was no different. Though did get a lot more weirder when PB decided to sing ghazals out loud. Was it because he was high, no no it couldn't have acted this fast or could it have? He was trying to come to some conclusion of sorts with regards to PB's behavior when it all came to a sudden halt. PB threw the half smoked joint on the ground and just walked off. Leaving the two behind slightly dazed. But if you asked anyone who knew PB, this was to be expected. He always was about himself and never about others. He was a self indulgent young angry man who at the end of the day couldn't care less about responsibility or anything serious. You could bet that he was the type of person who could spend his entire day in front of the mirror.Only one thing was of importance to him, his own desires. These few lines sort of summed him perfectly.

With Pretty Boy out of the picture he realized that the competition was lessened and his odds had definitely risen. But his momentary happiness was shot down by the brute reality, he was the next in line for the interview. He suddenly became very uneasy and felt suffocated in his formal wear. The collar of his dress shirt tighten around his neck, he unbuttoned it to give him breathing space but surprisingly or not so surprisingly it didn't help at all. The breathing problems continued and these problems were to increase ten folds.

He turned to see if DB could tell that he was a nervous wreck but DB seemed preoccupied with his phone and looked almost as panicky as he was if not any more. Who was he calling he thought. Maybe a friend to ask something or his girl so that she could wish her luck or maybe his mom for prayers ? All these questions were answered when DB said " Hello dad." Ah he was talking to his dad, must be seeking advice. DB gave him a suspicious look and lowered his voice. Something didn't seem right, what was DB up to, judging from his discomfort and lowered voice it was obviously that he was up to no good. He strained to catch DB's words and when he overheard him saying " At an interview... Please take care of it for me", his worst fears came true. DB was using his daddy's authority and power to get an underhanded advantage. He gave him a stone cold stare and felt like punching him. It took much restrain not to harm him and only once again in his life will he show so much restrain but that's a story for another time. DB seemed more confident after the phone call, he was smiling with his shiny bright white teeth showing off in all their glory. Oh how i would like to knock those teeth out he thought, he was so angry that he forgot about anxiety and everything that came with it.

He was determined now to win this and only for the sake to wipe that confident broad smile of DB and to show him talent and hard work can overcome anything. A look of desire and determination overtook his face, this was the game face he talked about to everyone when they said he was the self appointed jester of the group. He buttoned up his collar and stood dead straight for the first time since he had arrived here. If this was a Japanese anime you could imagine motivating music playing in the background and him, obviously being the hero, delivering a speech that spoke about his clan values, his worth ethic and his sad childhood. Then jumping in the air and kicking every bad guy's ass before touching the ground. But sadly this wasn't an anime, this was the real world. And the real world is a bitch, that too one with a cruel heart. Determination and hard work takes you far indeed but money can buy anything in this world as was to he find out.

A lady walked out of door right in front of them. He thought she was going to call him for the interview, he quickly recapped his 3 strengths and 3 weaknesses. But what she said took both him and DB completely off guard. She announced out loud that the position that was up for grabs has been filled and they weren't required anymore. But how he wondered, no one gave an interview. He even questioned the lady she just said a good enough candidate came and got it hence the rest of the interviews were not necessary and hurried back in before she could be quizzed again. He hung his head in shame, he was disappointed and broken. DB was equally shocked he was talking on the phone again, presumably with his dad. He kept on shouting on the phone obviously he was as displeased as him. They both were so close but in the end even a millimeter seemed too far. Rumor has it the person selected barely made it through from university, didn't have the necessary interview skills or test skills but what was of importance was the fact that he had a dad well placed in the government. And what was of more importance was the fact that they choose him, he may have loved them or it was his dream thing, but a union is only possible if both parties agree.

It made him doubt himself. He looked into the mirror and thought, was there something wrong with me ?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Bullet Proof

Button your lip and don't let the shield slip. Take a fresh grip of your bullet proof mask. He hummed along to the tune of "Paranoid Eyes" while shaving. After splashing his now clean shaven face with water, he looked in the mirror thinking which face to go with today. He turned towards his right a shelf of human face masks lay there, arranged nicely with little tags on them. He picked one up, the label read "Lost in thought", maybe today he should go with that. Everyone will think he's worried or has something on his mind, might make for a good conversation or two, who knows the hot co-worker he always wanted to talk might just ask him whats on his mind. He put it back in its place, it wasn't that mask's day. How about the "Happy Go Lucky" mask he thought as he carefully examined the fine details of the mask. His favorite, you could forget the problems of your life and just smile around no one can see beyond that happy face, but what happens when your problems catch up with you ? No no not even this one he concluded and put it back in its place. His eyes set on one and immediately he knew this one was it, he took off the tag and put it on. One final look of the mirror; perfect he thought, and he walked out of the washroom with a tag reading " Angry" on the ground. So what was his real face everyone wondered, who was he in real life. Legend has it that no one knew the real him or for that matter what he even looked like but me i am believer, i think someone made that dreaded journey and actually found out who he was. For the rest of the world he was a happy go lucky guy. Pity they couldn't look beyond that paper thin mask.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Ideal Modus Operandi

Today, I'm not angry or pissed off. Today I don't write to vent ( or maybe i do ) and today i definitely won't be sarcastic ( pronounced sarcostique by a friend of mine). I won't bullet through this one, this piece would deserve my time. It will be by far the sanest piece of writing i ever write and it definitely won't be a figment of my imagination cause it did happen and i was witness/actor in it.

My brother and I were going to drop him off to a friend's place he was Lahore bound. As the car wheels rolled and my brother insisted on singing Soul sister out loud and being behind the wheel, our path was stumbled upon by a blind man standing on the edge of the road. Our collective first thoughts were he wants to cross the road and we should help him. The car was brought to a halt i stepped out of the car and walked up to the old blind man, I told him its fine I'll cross the road with him and it'll be okay. Only to have my assumption shattered,he asked me where i was headed as he had to go to some GCC Lab in F-7. Call me any less human or make me insensitive my reaction was oh no he's asking for a lift and given the situation these days i was slightly uneasy. I immediately hated myself for being uneasy and i pushed the thought away, the poor guy was blind he needed help and what an insensitive fuck i was being. I told him, give me a minute let me ask my brother where we are headed, because i was pretty sure we were headed in the opposite direction. I told my brother he wanted a lift to F-7 and asked him where we were headed. He simply said it doesn't matter jack where we are going, bring the man to the car.

As guided the old man to the car, he rained down every possible good wish on me and my family. He kept doing it in the car till my brother insisted that he please stop and it was enough and we were actually going that way (which i later found out was a massive lie) and it wasn't a bother for us. The old man said a brilliant line which i must write down before i forget it. He thanked God for making him blind because people like us were his eyes, we made up for the lack of sight.

The search for the relatively unknown GCC labs began, just to keep the conversation happening the blind man kept on asking things from us. Upon reaching Jinnah Super and after asking a few people we were told that GCC labs doesn't exist in F-7 and no one had a clue. The blind man insisted that we stopped the car and went to some shop and asked. Though this made both of us very uneasy, we started to feel like something was out of place and didn't make sense. After inquiring from several shop i got the same answer from everyone, the shop doesn't exist sir jee. I rushed back to the car, hoping to find it in one piece, hoping to find my brother alive etc. A lot of things were rushing through my head as i ran back to the car, though to much relief everything was the way i left it. Fuck my untrustworthy-ness my mind screamed, i felt sick from the inside, disgusted by myself. I sat in the car and told the old man that the labs didn't exist and if he had a paper from the labs or anything it'll help massively. To our amazement/surprise he pulled out a report collection slip from his pocket. I took the slip from him i found out two things that massively disturbed me. Firstly, the labs were in F-10, far off from F-7, and secondly the test happened in Sargodha. What was this man doing here with no money and no one to take care of him ?

The journey to F-10 started, i kept of trying to push my thoughts to a side but i couldn't despite all my concerted efforts, i came back to the same questions. What was this man doing here? What was his name ( yes we hadn't bothered asking his name) ? Whose report was this? How did he get here ? With no money and no one to take care of him how did he expect to reach his destination? Its like he was reading my thoughts, he spoke of how despite no money etc he had faith that he'll reach because of his Namaz and his kind Lord. Wow, talk about having blind faith in your Lord was my first thought, maybe he knew about more things than me or maybe he was more religious than i was ( i am no bench mark though in all honesty) were the following thoughts. As we traveled to F-10 he kept on trying to give us road directions, which made me believe that he's been here before. This jigsaw was missing quite a few pieces and it didn't make sense at all.

As we neared our destination, i decided to tell my thoughts to fuck off, which after quite a struggle they did. Upon reaching the labs, I guided the man to the diagnostic center. At the entrance he told me i should go as he can take it from here and we've been kind enough and my brother was getting late (which was becoming kinda obviously from the numerous calls he was getting during our drive). I insisted that it was not a big deal and I'll help him out. Both of us were stopped at the entrance by a security guard who asked us may i add rudely that what we wanted. The old man told him that he wanted to collect a report and told him the story of us giving him a lift etc. He said that he had told me to go as he can handle it himself from here. He was replied by a very mocking smile and tone from the guard who said how will he hand it from here he'll fall down the stairs and shit. I so wanted to wipe that mocking smile of the guard's face. He ticked me off to a level I've not been ticked off in many years. But i somehow decided not to create a scene. I asked him where we had to go and after receiving his short answer i got to work. I was soon joined by my brother at the collecting point of the lab. The old man asked us to leave as we were getting late. He insisted for a long time, and after a long talk my brother threw in the towel. As we bade him farewell, I was left with just two thoughts, 1.Fuck this world for the lack of time and the busy schedules we have and 2.How much I hate this world. I inquired my brother as to why he threw in the towel and didn't drop the man back home ? He replied in something that sums up this entire piece of bull shit. He said in an ideal world he would have waited for the guy to pick up his report and then dropped him off. But this world isn't the ideal world its a bitch. He was already very late as people were waiting for him so that they could leave for some wedding in Lahore and he wasn't very comfortable with the idea of just me in the car with the old man. He said call me any less human or call me cruel but this world has shaped us in a way where we are like this, insecure.

Today I end on a note, which a usual emo 16 year old would end any written piece. Fuck this world, fuck our lives and fuck this whole messed up system.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

William Wallace, Freedom and Pakistan.

Freedom. Ah its a miracle. Being free is one of the greatest attributes we have. I remember watching Brave heart. William Wallace giving his men that speech, giving his life, his goals, his dreams and everything for that idea of a free life. Because no more will we be ruled by the Brits they cried, before charging to meet the English in war. When my country was created there were no speeches. There was no war, swords, horses or William Wallace. But i guess the spirit was the same, the enemy was the same and the goal was the same, as Wallace put it aptly " Freeedooommmmmmm". Yes thats what our ancestors yearned for and gave their lives for.

Free Pakistan. A dream come true for a million people. A goal for which millions bled, millions suffered. But it was all worth it the reward was sweet. Us, free citizens of a free country. Free to live our lives. Free to speak our mind. Free to choose our religion,scratch that actually free to choose our sects? Religion what a massive problem it was for us, the Indians wouldn't let us practice our religion. They would persecute us, throw pigs in front of us and kill us for being Muslims. Now no one will do that, they'll be no more killings on religion. We'll all be safe when we pray in our mosques ? Free to surf the internet, check mail and google? Free to decide our leaders ? We aren't bound by any chains? We don't have mafias running our land. We live our lives just the way we want them. We have a bright future, we aren't crumbling apart and we don't live our lives on false hopes...

Dear Oxford, when you define freedom in your next edition of the Oxford dictionary. In the example of that definition please use " Living in Pakistan".