Sunday, August 31, 2008

Brooke: George Bernard Shaw once wrote: There are two tragedies in life. One is to lose your heart`s desire. The other is to gain it. Clearly, Shaw had his heart broken once or twice.
Mouth: So Mr.Shaw thinks that getting your heart`s desire is a tragedy? I say he`s wrong. I mean, clearly Shaw never kissed Erica Marsh.
Nathan: As far as I concerned, Shaw was a punk. `Cause you know what? Tragedies happen. What are you gonna do, give up? Quit? No, I realize now that when your heart breaks, you got to fight like hell to make sure your still alive. Because you are. And that pain you feel? That's life. The confusion and fear? That's there to remind you, that somewhere out there is something better, and that something is worth fighting for.
Haley: This year I got everything I wanted and everything I wished for. But in a way, I lost even more.
Lucas: Shaw was right. As we strain to gasp the things we desire the things we think will make our lives better: money, popularity, fame...we ignore what truly matters ... the simple things... like friendship, family, love. The things we probably already had.
Peyton: Yes, losing your heart`s desire is tragic. But gaining your heart`s desire? That`s all you can hope for. This year I wished for immerse myself in someone else and to wake a heart long afraid to feel. My wish was granted. And if having that is tragic, then give me that tragedy. Because I wouldn`t give it back for the world.

One Tree Hill, Episode # 2.22

Thursday, August 28, 2008

'On my second visit after twelve years, she didn't show herself. She did succeed, however, in so magically endowing me with her presence that i was certain of being, somehow, continually under her watch... Knowing this, i also imagined i was continually able to see her. Thus was i better able to understand Ibn Arabi's notion that love is the ability to make the invisible visible and the desire always to feel the invisible in one's midst.'

Orhan Pamuk, My Name is Red

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Today i bought the most expensive book that i have ever bought in my life. I had been thinking about the book for like a month now; it was my dream birthday-gift thing, but it was too expensive for anyone to buy it for me. I was uncertain about it; it seemed kind of odd to pay such an awful lot of money for one book... but then, the book was too irresistible. And i couldn't just shake it off my mind, and even though i knew that a person in my economic condition shouldn't be buying such costly stuff, but in the end, i bought it anyway... cause its certainly a book worth having. As Saad said to me, it's the sort of book that would pass in inheritence to my kids and probably their kids too. So, my coming generations, your grand-daddy just made a valuable addition to your book collection!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Zia-ul-Haq's thoughts as he roams around, having sneaked away from his bodyguards:

"When he had covered about half a mile without seeing a single person, a strange feeling began to set in: what if he was ruling a country without any inhabitants? What it it was a ghost country? What if there was really nobody out there? What if all the statistics from the census that said one hundred and thirty million people lived in the country, fifty-two percent women, forty-eight percent men, ninety-eight percent Muslim, was all simply the work of some over-efficient bureaucrats? What if everybody has migrated somewhere else and he was ruling a country where nobody lived except his ary, his bureaucrats and his bodyguards?"

Mohammed Hanif, A Case of Exploding Mangoes

Saturday, August 23, 2008

'The Lovers' by René Magritte. A painting that left me speechless!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

She looks like the real thing
She tastes like the real thing
My fake plastic love

Her green plastic watering can
For her fake Chinese rubber plant
In the fake plastic earth

She lives with a broken man
A cracked polystyrene man
Who just crumbles and burns

She looks like the real thing
She tastes like the real thing
My fake plastic love

[lines taken from lyrics of 'Fake Plastic Trees' by Radiohead]

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ok, Kurri, here goes your Tag. These are 8 peculiar things about me...

1) I use a variety of coloured highlighters on my books, so that they look very colourful... 'rangeen mizaj' my friends call me.

2) I like Mahmood Khan (His music, that is. Ever heard some raspy, grave voice on a music channel? It was probably him singing. You can listen to his songs here; my favourite is 'Raat aur Din')

3) I often talk to myself.

4) I have a bad sense of wardrobe... i recently wore joggers with shalwar kameez :S

5) I don't like talking on the phone for very long... as a friend once said, 'I cry after talking to you on the phone... you are that bad on it!'

6) I have a brown streak on my right thumb nail. ['my mean streak' :)]

7) I was a big fan of 'Earth Final Conflict'. (Yeah, that sci-fi tv series of aliens with egg-shaped heads.)

8) I don't like soup, and i don't like Maggi noodles (or Knor noodles, for that matter!)

I pass on the Tag to

Monday, August 18, 2008

Augustine: I blamed God. I hated Him for ruining my life, but then I realized something. You can’t be angry with God and not believe in him at the same time. No one can. Not even you, Dr. House.

House, Episode # 105

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Deb: How did we become so broken?
Keith: We fell in love, and at some point, the people we love forgot to love us back.

Episode # 122

Jimmy James: You can drive at sixteen, go to war at eighteen, you can drink at twenty-one and retire at sixty-five, so how old do you have to be…before your love…is real?

Episode # 202

Friday, August 15, 2008

The results of the 2008 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest have been released! For those unaware, this contest is sponsored by the English Department of San José State University in San Jose, California and its purpose is to "to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels"; i.e. to write a horrible opening line of an imaginary novel. The contest is named after Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton, who opened his novel Paul Clifford with the words "It was a dark and stormy night." A line that has been used by authors (the less-creative ones) ever since.

Here are some interesting entries from the 2008 contest:

Winner: Theirs was a New York love, a checkered taxi ride burning rubber, and like the city their passion was open 24/7, steam rising from their bodies like slick streets exhaling warm, moist, white breath through manhole covers stamped "Forged by DeLaney Bros., Piscataway, N.J."

Garrison Spik

Runner-Up: Hmm . . ." thought Abigail as she gazed languidly from the veranda past the bright white patio to the cerulean sea beyond, where dolphins played and seagulls sang, where splashing surf sounded like the tintinnabulation of a thousand tiny bells, where great gray whales bellowed and the sunlight sparkled off the myriad of sequins on the flyfish's bow ties, "time to get my meds checked.

Andrew Bowers

Winner: Adventure

Leopold looked up at the arrow piercing the skin of the dirigible with a sort of wondrous dismay -- the wheezy shriek was just the sort of sound he always imagined a baby moose being beaten with a pair of accordions might make.

Winner: Fantasy Fiction

"Toads of glory, slugs of joy," sang Groin the dwarf as he trotted jovially down the path before a great dragon ate him because the author knew that this story was a train wreck after he typed the first few words.

Runner-Up: Historical Fiction

Our tale takes place one century before the reign of Alboin, the Lombard king who would one day conquer most of Italy and who would end up being murdered by his own wife (quite rightfully, I'd say, since Alboin made a drinking cup out of her daddy's skull and forced her to drink from it), when our little Sonnebert was seven years old.

Runner-Up: Romance

Like a mechanic who forgets to wipe his hands on a shop rag and then goes home, hugs his wife, and gets a grease stain on her favorite sweater - love touches you, and marks you forever.

Winner: Science Fiction

Timothy Hanson, Commander of the 43rd Space Regiment in the 52nd Battalion on board the USAOPAC (United Space Alliance Of Planets Attack Carrier) and second in command to Admiral L. R. Morris of the USAOP Space Command, awoke early for breakfast.

Runner-Up: Science Fiction

Lightning flashed from the blue-black sky of this alien world and shattered the engines of the spaceship, destroying Reninger's last chance of escaping and reminding him of the time his sister returned from New York with the tips of her hair dyed blue, except for the part about the lightning and the spaceship.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Secret
by Jaun Elia
Translated by Awais Aftab

You will discover me lost, when you arrive;
There is nothing but dreams in my solitude
You seek to decorate my room;
There is nothing but books there

These books have done me much wrong;
There is a secret in them, a mind infested with which
Can never hear the tidings of a happy ending;
Can never find comfort in life

See the urdu text here.

X: Why are you doing this?
Y: Because i don't want to wake up ten years from now and realize that my whole life is just an extension of the lives of the people around me; i want to live my own life... i am not going to a be an actor playing out a script offered to me by anyone, whoever it might be.
X: You are very selfish, you know that.
Y: Yeah, much more selfish than all the people trying to manipulate my life and live their own dreams and plans and moralities through me!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Zeb and Haniya on what their song in Darri, Farsi and Pushto is all about

Like any other song in a different language, an exact literal definition isn’t possible. So the band members tell Images what they think translates closest to the song’s meaning in English.

Part one, translated from Darri/Farsi:

Paimana bideh ki khumaar astam;
Bring me the glass so I may lose myself;

Man aashiq-e chashm-e mast-e-yarastam;
I am in love with my beloved’s intoxicating eyes;

Bideh, bideh, ki khumaar astam;
Bring (the glass), bring (the glass), so I may lose myself;

Part two, translated from Pushto:

Dilgeer garzama labela taana;
You have captured my heart and I wander aimlessly without you;

Khabar me waakhla, raasha jaanana;
My love come/return, and see the state I’m in;

Khabar me waakhla, raasha jaanana;
My love come/return, and see the state I’m in;

Tarso ba garzay te bela mana?
How long will you wander without me?

[Taken from Dawn Images 10th August 08 issue]

Friday, August 8, 2008

And so, another birthday has gone by. In many ways, this was the best one i have ever had in my life, because i have never felt so loved before. With each passing year, one begins to wonder: what is this life all about? And i have troubled by this question long enough, but the previous year of my life has shown me a lot of things, of what matters to me, and what i really want and need in my life. For a long time, i believed like Maslow that self-actualization was at the top of the 'hierarchy of needs', but now, it seems to me there is nothing like 'love and belonging', and if there is anything that is worth living for, it is that.

Abraham Maslow's 'hierarchy of needs'

What i felt today, it was said by one of the characters in One Tree Hill:

'I know you’re searching for things, Lucas. And I hope with all my heart that you find the answers to your questions. But the answers that you’re looking for are closer than you think. They’re in your heart. And in the hearts of those who love you.'

The answers were indeed closer than i had thought.

My gratitude to all the people who made this day so beautiful and special for me.

Among the famous poets, i share my birthday with Sara Teasdale, a poet who is also among my favourites. Last year i posted a poem by her on the blog on my birthday, and i'll continue the tradition this year too :) Here is one of her poems that i really like.

The Ghost
by Sara Teasdale

I went back to the clanging city,
I went back where my old loves stayed,
But my heart was full of my new love's glory,
My eyes were laughing and unafraid.

I met one who had loved me madly
And told his love for all to hear --
But we talked of a thousand things together,
The past was buried too deep to fear.

I met the other, whose love was given
With never a kiss and scarcely a word --
Oh, it was then the terror took me
Of words unuttered that breathed and stirred.

Oh, love that lives its life with laughter
Or love that lives its life with tears
Can die -- but love that is never spoken
Goes like a ghost through the winding years. . . .

I went back to the clanging city,
I went back where my old loves stayed,
My heart was full of my new love's glory, --
But my eyes were suddenly afraid.

Retrieved from ""

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The morality of humans has grown through the centuries, apparently for the better (or so it seems to me, and i don't have any way of proving it, since ethics lacks a strictly logical foundation). What led to this change from a society in which slavery was acceptible to a modern day society in which people are fighting for animal rights? The explanation that comes to my mind is: an increase in empathy. The growth of morality is a result of the increased sense of empathy among people, an empathy which springs from knowledge and awareness, which stimulates a sense of association. Empathy is the ability to understand what another person is going through, what he is feeling and thinking. It is as Heinz Kohut defined it: "the capacity to think and feel oneself into the inner life of another person.

When slavery was acceptable, the aristocrats didn't think of the slaves as they thought of themselves; they never mentally placed themselves in the position of slaves, and when they started to do so, they realized that slaves were human too, like them; they began to empathize, and when a sufficient number of people gained this awareness and began to empathize, slavery became unacceptable and inhuman. Similarly, racism. White people thought of black people as someone different, and it was only when they learned to empathize, to realize that they were people like them, that racism began to decline. This also explains the rise of feminism: men had been treating women as 'the other', and when they became to empathize, they realized that women should have rights equal to men. And now, these days, people are becoming empathetic to animals, mentally projecting themselves in their place, and hence fighting for their rights. In today's world of so-called 'Clash of Civilizations', empathy is of crucial value; we need it to understand that we are all humans, we need it to avoid another holocaust from happening.

Empathy, that is the key to morality, to being good. Inculcating a sense of duty in people is not enough to make them good. A sense of duty as such is like an empty shell; that shell should be filled up by empathy... the world would be a much better place if we can learn to do that.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Some voiceovers that come at the end of episodes from One Tree Hill, the tv series i am hooked to these days:

* There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune but omitted, and the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat and we must take the current when it serves or lose the ventures before us. (Julius Caesar)

Ep # 101

* Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not quite, the not yet, and the not at all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists. It is real. It is possible. It is yours. (Ayn Rand)

Ep # 102

* E.E. Cummings once wrote: To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing it's best, night and day, to make you everybody else, means to fight the hardest battle, which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting.

Ep # 103

* John Steinbeck once wrote “It seems to me that if you or I must choose between two courses of thought or action, we should remember our dying and try so to live for our death brings no pleasure on the world."

Ep # 105

Friday, August 1, 2008

An article i had written for Saad Javed about our friendship, and published in Us magazine.

A Tale of Two Friends
From a speech Arundathi Roy gave entitled 'Come September'

The only dream worth having, I told her, is to dream that you will live while you're alive and die only when you're dead.
"Which means exactly what", she said, looking a little annoyed.
I tried to explain, but didn't do a very good job of it because sometimes I need to write to think. So I wrote it down for her on a paper napkin and this is what I wrote:

To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget.

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