Monday, June 30, 2008

X: I saw this poem on net; thought i'd share it with you.


I said goodbye to church ceilings
and never thought I’d return,
until I met you.*

Y: :) and how would you write it?

X: The poem is already perfect, but let me try

I bade farewell
to the mosque cleric
and never thought i'd return
until i met you
and called him to bind us together
with the divine words

Y: Hahaha!

* The poem is by Noah the Great, taken from his blog:
[Shepherd Book prepares a meal as he absentmindedly addresses River.]

Book: What are we up to, sweetheart?
River: Fixing your Bible.
Book: I, um… What?

[Pan over to River, who works on a book with pens, brushes, and loose pages.]

River: Bible's broken. Contradictions, false logistics… doesn't make sense.
Book: No, no. You - you can't...
River: So we'll integrate non-progressional evolution theory with God's creation of Eden. Eleven inherent metaphoric parallels already there. Eleven. Important number. Prime number. One goes into the house of eleven eleven times, but always comes out one. Noah's ark is a problem.
Book: Really?
River: We'll have to call it "early quantum state phenomenon". Only way to fit 5,000 species of mammals on the same boat. . .
Book: River, you don't… fix the Bible.
River: It's broken. It doesn't make sense.
Book: It's not about… making sense. It's about believing in something. And letting that belief be real enough to change your life. It's about faith. You don't fix faith, River. It fixes you.

Firefly, Episode # 107

Saturday, June 28, 2008

"The flaws in the grand-passion of Alleluia Cone and Gibreel Farishta were as follows: her secret fear of her secret desire, that is, love; -- owing to which she was wont to retreat from, even hit violently out at, the very person whose devotion she sought most; -- and the deeper the intimacy, the harder she kicked; -- so that the other, having been brought to a place of absolute trust, and having lowered all his defences, received the full force of the blow, and was devastated."

Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses
by M. Awais Aftab

You always gave me
Those chocolate filled candies
Whenever we met
Until you became one youself
As you melted in the warm embrace
And filled us with a caramel sweetness

Thursday, June 26, 2008

For years, i was a nerd ... well, almost a nerd; the only thing i lacked was a pair of glasses, which would have completed my image of a full-blown geek. After i joined the medical college, i figured i have had enough of the theeta life, and so i shedded this 'nerdiness' off me, and it was then that the universe in all its humour decided to give me a pair of glasses. Well, call it a vestigial remnant of my nerdy evolutionary past, or perhaps it is a sort of sign from fate that i can't really exorcise the geeky ghost that resides in me. Anyway, all these speculations aside, geek or no geek, i think the glasses look good, and so it is a change that i welcome.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

When i went to vote in the Old Ravians Union elections, i met an FSc teacher of mine, Sir Ejaz Awan, who met me with great enthusiasm. After the salam dua he said, "Suna hay Awais KE jaa ker bara sharariti hogya hay!" [Laughs] I also laughed and replied, "Jee Sir, bus thora thora sa sharariti hogya hon."
I had my successful motorcycle ride today! :D I don't have a motorcycle, nor do i plan to buy one, but i felt that i should know how to drive one, so when Hasnain came to visit me on his bike, he told me the basics and i gave it a try, and succeeded. It was fun. :) Though Hasnain missed his chance to take the hilarious picture of my dangling legs as i started the motorcycle and my feet struggled to find the support to place the foot on!

Monday, June 23, 2008

* The meaning of life, i.e. the meaning of the world, we can call God.

* To believe in God means to see that the facts of the world are not the end of the matter.To believe in God means to see that life has a meaning.

Ludwig Wittgenstein, Notebooks

Sunday, June 22, 2008

X: Perhaps in the end it doesn't matter how much you love someone, but rather how much happiness or pain that love brings.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Tina Modotti: I don't believe in marriage. [crowd laughs] No, I really don't. Let me be clear about that. I think at worst it's a hostile political act, a way for small-minded men to keep women in the house and out of the way, wrapped up in the guise of tradition and conservative religious nonsense. At best, it's a happy delusion - these two people who truly love each other and have no idea how truly miserable they're about to make each other. But, but, when two people know that, and they decide with eyes wide open to face each other and get married anyway, then I don't think it's conservative or delusional. I think it's radical and courageous and very romantic.


Quantum Mechanics
by M. Awais Aftab

The world is a theatre
Of a million dances
Of atoms and molecules
Of orbits and orbitals
Of 'like repels like'
In the balance of forces
So that in a lovers' sweet kiss
The lips never meet
And all that happens
Is the repulsion of a zillion electrons

* The picture shows the X-ray of a kiss. [Taken from this webpage: ]

Thursday, June 19, 2008

X: You are so good at writing about emotions, you can even write about things without feeling them, and now i no longer know what to believe... it all sounds fake now, even if it is true, even if you really mean it.
"I don't know what's worse: the gloating of female chastity or the bloating of male conceit."

Uzma Aslam Khan, The Geometry of God

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

How can it be
You're asking me
To feel the things you never show

BackStreet Boys, Show me the meaning

Monday, June 16, 2008

Just like a person's own voice doesn't sound as loud to him as it really is; just like a person singing a song in his bathroom believes it to be more musicial than it really is, there is some mechanism at work by which a joke sounds more funny to the person who is narrating it than it really is!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Nadeem F. Paracha has written an excellent article in Dawn Magazine on the how evangelism that is flooding the media these days in Pakistan has become just another market ploy: a form of capitalist marketing. It is a must read. You can read it here.
From all the countless discussions that i have had in my life, there is one conclusion that distinctly emerges: a heated argument does not convince anyone, no matter how rational or logical it may be. There is something about anger that shuts off the rational part of your mind; prevents you from accepting what is right, even when the logical part of you knows that it is right. A person only accepts an argument, is only willing to change his mind, when he is cool and calm. And this state may be difficult to achieve, particularly if the issue becomes a matter of ego, and accepting an argument is seen as a way of losing one's pride. There are very few people who can rise above their vanity to accept an opposing argument or admit that they are wrong.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Not Today
by M. Awais Aftab

Their first walk together
In the rain
Magic drizzling from the sky
"Write me a poem"
Came the coy request
"Not today, dear
For i want to be a lover alone
And to live this moment
Without consuming it into poetry
And to love you
Amind these divine drops
Without words

Friday, June 13, 2008

The One Step
By M. Awais Aftab

Being in love is like being caught up in a ferocious whirlpool; you drift along with the waves: disoriented, lost and out of control. All you experience is the anxiety, the confusion and the panic of the moment. And yet, it has an addictive touch to it. It makes you believe as if you are really enjoying all this pain. There is nothing as bitter in retrospect as a broken heart. I am not even sure how it actually started; the memories are blurred. All I know is that despite all the potential social stigma a middle class girl from a bourgeoisie family like me could come to face, I found myself helplessly and madly in love. As I recall my past, I ask myself, whether what I did was right or wrong but there is nothing but silence for an answer.

As my unfortunate fate decreed, the ending of my tale was to be of far more interest than the actual story itself. And indeed, what would I tell if I were asked to narrate my account? For it was nothing but a stereotypical relationship; you will find it in every digest, every soap and every movie. It seems to me as if there is but one love affair which repeats itself mercilessly and endlessly in every person of the world. An eternal recurrence: the same roses, the same moon-fetching-and-star-breaking promises, the same poetry, and the same dedications of songs. You find it nauseatingly romantic? Perhaps it is, but all I know is that once you are into it, there is no turning back.
It was that misty winter evening in the park which woke me up from this foolish dream. Just as I saw his perturbed face, I knew that life was taking a turn. Just as when a river changes its course, it turns forests into deserts and wastelands into cities. Love too has such a power.
"I'm sorry," he said with a helpless expression, "My parents have refused to even consider you. I'm getting engaged to my cousin within this week." He lowered his gaze, as if he didn't have the courage to meet my eyes. Was it out of shame? Or pity? Or perhaps he was laughing in his heart, amused at what a fool he had made of me.
I was too dazed to answer. Silence was the immediate refuge. I kept staring at him in a shock. So, it's happened. How I had thoughtlessly dismissed the notion before that our love would not bloom, that it would not happen to us. The reality is eager to devour all such dreams, and it doesn't stay to explain itself. I don't know what he took my silence for, because suddenly, looking up, he said with a beaming optimism, "But we can still be friends!"
And this was the moment when the pain and trauma of the situation hit me. My emotions come out like a burst of hissing gas from a geyser. "What?" I stepped forward angrily and slapped him on the face. "You cheat and swindler! Who do you think I am? No, it is not all right! No, we cannot be friends! Relationships are not like clothes that can be taken off and changed at your whims and desires!" I stood there, breathing deeply and boring my eyes into him. How repulsive he looked standing there in disgrace. How could I have fallen in love with him? The subsequent silence was punctuated with loud inhalations and exhalations, ticking like a clock, serving to remind how much time had passed away.

"You disgust me," I said finally and walked away.

A friend of mine had once said that there is just a distance of one step between love and hate, just a multiplication by negative one. Now I knew what it meant.

[Published in Us Magazine today]

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I went to Gun Smoke today, a restaurant on the M.M. Alam road that i had heard about often but never had a chance to visit before. The atmosphere was certainly upto its reputation: the wild-wild-west ambience, the cow-boy feel, cowboy movie posters pasted on the walls, peanut shells and remnants cluttered on the floor and even present in between the pages of the menu, music of the same theme in the background. The food was also good, especially the french fries, albeit very over-priced. Only the waiters were not upto the expectations. They were all dressed in cowboy hats and suits, but they were supposed to be rude and assertive, as i had heard, and as also the menu warned "Beware of the waiters". The waiters we encountered were far from being rude and bold; they appeared rather dumb-witted to me. One of the waiters surely did slam the water-glasses on the table, but even that was done in a rather timid way. But i suppose a little gentility doesn't harm, and it sounds really odd to my mother that people go and pay to be spoken rudely to. Lolz.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The disadvantage of having large eyes is that everyone thinks you are staring at them, even when you are barely looking.

Monday, June 9, 2008

I recently ended the Season 4 of the TV series "The 4400" and it has been a really interesting and illuminating series to watch. 4400 people, who have been missing since various times, as far back as 1946, suddenly appear in a ball of light in the present day world. None of them has aged, none of them remembers anything, some have returned with new abilities, and one woman is pregnant. The story follows these 4400 people.

Apart from the 'X-files-ish' and 'X-men-ish' touch that the story-line had, what was distinct about this series, for me at least, was that it depicts how a whole religious movement can be born, and how it can rise; how the psychologies of individuals can lead to the emergence of a religion on a large scale, and how this religion can provide unity and identity to a group of people desperately in need of it. After watching this, it is not difficult for me to visualize how religions like Christianity and Islam could have evolved. So, if you are the sort of person who has an interest in Sci-Fi, Thriller and History of religions, go for the series.

(This is Jordan Collier. I didn't like his character much in Season 1 and 2, but in 3 and 4, he is awesome. This character has all it takes to be the founder of a new religion: charisma, power, intelligence, and most importantly, followers.)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

In an outrageous move against the rights of particular religious sects in Pakistan, the Punjab Medical College in Faisalabad has expelled all its Ahmedi students, which according to the Dawn newspaper are 23 in number, while various other sources say the number to be 15. They have been accused of preaching the Ahmedi religion in the university. Earlier, many students of the PMC had arranged a protest against the Ahmedi students, asking for their expulsion. I find this whole event highly distasteful, abominable and unjust, and nothing short of mass religious persecution. This has to be condemned on all levels. The PMC has made a very bad decision by giving in to the demands of the paranoid religious fanatics bent upon persecution of the Ahmedi sect. Are we heading towards Islamic Fascism? Is this what we want Pakistan to be? This is a shameful violition of basic human rights. The students were not even given a chance to plead their case. The new PPP Government has to take action and reinstate the expelled students. And it is also the duty of all international governments and agencies working against religious extremism to put pressure on the Pakistani government to do something about it.
"But surely for everything you have to love you have to pay some price."

Agatha Christie

Friday, June 6, 2008

Suspended in the space between desire and fulfillment, there is a certain type of joy that perhaps only a poet can understand. It is like a tug at the strings of your heart, and you oscillate there in a sweet torment, hanging from a fine thread of hope.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

This is the cover of the birthday card that i gave to my brother yesterday, and he seriously believes that this figure resembles me. *eyes rolling* This is what i get in return for giving a nice birthday card! Humph!

P.S. Waisay there might be a grain of truth in what he says, particularly about the eye brows. Lolz.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

My interview has been published by The Pakistani Spectator, who are doing a series of interviews of notable bloggers from Pakistani blogosphere.
You can see it at:
Any comments are most welcome. And my gratitude to The Pakistani Spectator.

Interview with Blogger Awais Aftab
By The Pakistani Spectator

Please also send us a brief bio of yourself, and your blog url.

I am Awais Aftab, a medical student in King Edward Medical University, and in the 20 years that i have spent in this world i have mainly occupied myself with issues of love, literature and philosophy, creating my own moral values while antagonizing many prevalent in our society. That’s me.

The url of my blog is

Could you tell us what made you decide to blog, and what was the inspiration behind it?

Since adolescence I have always had things to say, ideas i wanted to share, opinions i wanted to express, and i had ambitions of influencing other people. You can say that i had this arrogant subconscious belief that the world has something to gain from my insights. Lolz. One day i suddenly realized what was missing in my life: a blog! And so i made one. But it took a long time to get it started and to find regular readers. But once the flow started, the blog became an addiction, or as one of my readers said, it became my ‘baby’.

What do you think sets Your blog apart from other blogs?

I don’t think there is any such distinctive thing about it apart from the particular set of thoughts and tastes that i possess and that i express on the blog. My blog is about the particular way i see life, and everything from my own personal thoughts to the literary extracts i post reveals that.

Do you feel that you continue to grow in your writing the longer you write? Why is that important to you?

Yes, i do feel that, and its a good thing, to evolve, and to grow. I can see my progress through the posts of my blog.

What do you do in order to keep up your communication with other bloggers?

I have subscribed to around a dozen blogs that i regularly visit, and when i read a post that i like, i comment on it. That’s my primary way of communication.

If you could choose one characteristic you have that brought you success in life, what would it be?

I think i’d choose steadfastness. Don’t give up, keep doing your work, have faith in yourself and eventually you’ll get the desired results.

What was the happiest and gloomiest moment of your life?

I have been the happiest in love and i have also been the gloomiest in love.

Urdu Blogs have got huge potential, when do you think they will really take on the online horizon in Pakistan?

I believe that despite their great value, the potential of Urdu blogs nevertheless remains limited as compared to English ones. First, not everyone is not adept at writing in Urdu font on net, and then only readers from or related to Pakistan would be able to understand it. If you use Roman script, a lot of people aren’t very comfortable with reading Roman script, myself included. I find it too much energy consuming. So, i think the potential is pretty limited. The Urdu blogs about poetry and ghazals happen to be the most popular among Urdu blogs, and they can offer something which an English blog surely can’t.

If you could pick a travel destination, anywhere in the world, with no worries about how it’s paid for - what would your top 3 choices be?

Paris, Athens, Vienna

What is your favorite book and why?

I find such a question almost impossible to answer. Maybe i can answer it in a rather fragmented way. Among my favourite novels, Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children comes somewhere near the top. It made quite an impression on my mind when i read it. In non-fiction, Bertrand Russell’s Marriage and Morals and Albert Camus’s The Myth of Sisyphus rank quite high.

What is your favorite meal, dress, and sport?

Meal… umm, daal chawal almost always works. :)
Dress and sport, don’t have any favourites.

What’s the first thing you notice about a person (whether you know them or not)?

Behaviour… arrogant, humble, friendly?

Whose Future is more bright in Pakistan; English blogs or Urdu Blogs?

English blogs, i have little doubt abt that.

How Pakistani bloggers can benefit from blogs financially?

At this stage, i don’t think Pakistani bloggers can earn much from blogs. Maybe a rare one or two can earn significant amount, but the rest can only fantasize.

Do you think Pakistani bloggers tend to remain somewhat self-centered and really don’t go out of their shells? Is it the oriental style of blogging, or they are still unsure about it?

Most personal blogs happen to be very self-centered… a blog is a very good way of releasing your trapped narcissitic energy! I wouldn’t put the blame on the Oriental style, but rather on the very nature of blogging.

Is it true that who has a successful blog has an awful lot of time on their hands?

Not an awful lot of time, but a certain amount of time is required. A blog demands time, attention and energy, and if you can’t give it, it probably wouldn’t get successful.

What do you think where the Pakistani blogosphere is right now?

Its growing and evolving exponentially. Everyday another Pakistani internet user discovers a bloggist inside of him. The trend is picking up.

Who are your top five favourite bloggers in Pakistan?

I’ll just mention one… the blog 'Writing for Life' [] by Raajii, a blog that i have read and admired since i started writing on blogspot.

Have you ever become stunned by the uniqueness of any blogger in Pakistani blogosphere?

Stunned? No, i don’t think so.
One blog did stun me, but it was not from Pakistani blogosphere. It was an art blog, ‘Travelling with the Ghost’ [], i was really stunned by its selection of Art.

What is the future of blogging in Pakistan?

Its great. Its really great. The youth are finding a voice of their own, a way of sharing their life, and the future is pregnant with all sorts of potentials. Lets just wait and see.

You have also got a blogging life, how has it directly affected both your personal and professional life?

The affect on my personal life has been remarkable. The blog has made me more bold about the expression of my views and beliefs, so that now i don’t hide myself but rather expect people to respect me for my views. Many times people don’t do that, but the blog has simultaneously given me the confidence to be somewhat indifferent to that. People read my blog, and derive all sorts of things about me that are not true. Some people visit my blog just to spy on my personal life, to discover something that would be the subject of gossips. But then, there are others who read my blog and feel delighted in finding someone who thinks like them, and so my blog also acts a magnet to attract like-minded people, many of whom have become my great friends.The influence on my professional life has been insignificant.

What are your future plans?

About the blog? Haven’t really thought about it in the long-term, but i’ll make the necessary changes as the blogs grows with time. About my personal life, i plan to complete MBBS, go abroad, get settled with the person i love, and try to make a name in literature and philosophy. But i guess it sounds more like a dream than a plan. :)

Any Message you want to give to the readers of The Pakistani Spectator?

Umm… A good life is one that is inspired by love and guided by reason. Live your own life, and don’t enforce your own moralities on other people.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The painter M. F. Husain has long been the subject of a controversy regarding his nude depictions of Hindu gods but most particularly Bharat mata in his painting Mother India. However, recently the Dehli High Court has finally declared verdict in favour of the artist, a laudable decision that shall be of momentous significance in the history of art in the subcontinent. The judgement issued by Justice Kishan Kaul quoted Pablo Picasso, an interesting choice since M. F. Husain is referred to as the "Picasso of India". The quote says: “Art is never chaste. It must be forbidden to ignorant innocents, never allowed into contact with those not sufficiently prepared. Yes, art is dangerous. Where it is chaste, it is not art.”

However, what stimulated me to write this post was an article on the M. F. Husain controversy in the Dawn Gallery (May 31, 2008), and despite their support for M. F. Husain it seems that the gallery is trying to do exactly what Picasso had disapproved of: they are trying to make art 'chaste'. The picture of the painting Mother India that Gallery published with the article has been censored to remove the breasts and the genitalia of the nude figure. So much for bold artistic support!

Actual painting

Painting published in Dawn Gallery
Don't eyes appear more beautiful when they are looking back at you? It is not just a deviation of a few angles that does the trick... rather, a direct gaze triggers something in your mind, adds a whole new quality to the beauty. To make a rather unromantic analogy (sorry guys), many detergents contain substances that create a certain 'glow' in the clothes when ultraviolet rays strike them. It doesn't add any colour, or it doesn't increase the whiteness, but it adds a different quality to the whiteness. A reciprocated gaze also adds something to the beauty, a 'glow' if you wish to speak of it that way, but it certainly involves a lot more of 'electromagnetism' than UV Rays have!
What makes someone valuable to you? Many things can be said in answer, but aside from the intrinsic qualities of that person, it is the memory of shared experiences that makes him/her precious. The times you have spent together, things you have done, all the laughters and sorrows you have shared, the problems you have solved with each other's helps, and all the long hours that you have talked and chatted and poured your heart out... all this creates a bond, and this bond is what makes someone special to you.

You say to me that i'll find someone better than you. No, i won't, i can't... because all the moments of my life that i have shared with you, i have done with no one else, and that makes you special. No one can beat that.

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