Showing posts from July, 2008

To Mere Fiction...

Often when i am talking about human psychology, about how people can behave in so-and-so ways, i suddenly realize that most of my ideas about human behaviour spring from fiction... my understanding of psychology is not so much about real-life characters than it is about fictional characters. And then the vital question comes up in my mind: how much of it is valid? To what degree do fictional characters portray the psychology of real people? And if most of my insights are about these fictional characters, then can they be applied in real life? And these thoughts leave me helpless and troubled, as i feel the whole world around me, my past, my present, my future, is an artificially self-created reality, which is crumbling down to nothingness, to mere fiction...


Liz: But what if were like incredibly, incredibly complicated? GrandMa Claudia: Well, one thing I can tell you....if it isn't complicated, he probably isn't a soul mate. Roswell, Episode # 104


X: If i told you that i am an alien and not from this world, what would your response be? Y: I'd say that i had been suspecting it for some time now!

Understanding the world

'We should not pretend to understand the world only by the intellect; we apprehend it just as much by feeling. Therefore, the judgment of the intellect is, at best, only the half of truth, and must, if it be honest, also come to an understanding of its inadequacy.' Carl Jung

Red and Blue

The image shows the cosmic microwave background fluctuations. The cosmic microwave background radiation is a remnant of the Big Bang and the fluctuations are the imprint of density contrast in the early universe. I sort of imagine a similar map of the people around me, the society in which i happen to live. Since the velocity of a wave depends on the density of the medium, the different density areas show the different velocities with which a gossip moves from one mouth to the next. The red regions, the 'hot' ones, are the group of people where the speed of gossip is the highest, and everyone knows everything the minute it is practically uttered. It is the 'no privacy', 'snoopy noses', 'get humiliated' and 'have a laugh' zone. The blue regions are the groups of people where the speed of gossip travel is minumum, and the word of mouth takes quite some time to reach there. Their "current affairs" is what the red regions consider "an

The Chain of Emotions

Yoda: 'Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering. I sense much fear in you.' Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace I watched this movie a long time ago, and this quote has always been with me since then, reminding me of the transition of emotions and feelings, and how one leads to another. How aggression springs from insecurity, or how a superiority complex actually masks an inferiority complex, how people can try to push away the people they feel attracted to, how a resentment against someone for a thing gone wrong is one's attempt to contain the pain of being responsible. There are so many chains of emotions, running and intersecting in so many ways, and it's not always possible to sort them out. And that's why i remain uncertain about people, because while others take the actions of people at face value, i am always aware that so many different emotions can be brewing behind the thing-as-it-appears-to-

The bluest eyes in Texas

The lonesome Texas sun was setting low And in the rearview mirror I watched it go I can still see the wind in her golden hair I close my eyes for a moment, I'm still here The bluest eyes in Texas Are haunting me tonight Like the stars that fill The midnight sky Her memory fills my mind For every heart you break You pay the price But I can't forget the tears In her blue eyes (Where did I go wrong) Did I wait too long Or can I make it right The bluest eyes in Texas (the bluest eyes) Are haunting me tonight Nina Person, Nathan Larson (OST Boys Don't Cry)


Effusion M. Awais Aftab Your bitter words poke Tiny holes in my heart And immense though the love maybe It would ultimately effuse away

Faubourg Saint-Denis (True)

See this brilliant short film 'Faubourg Saint-Denis' (originally came out as ' True ') by the director Tom Tykwer. It is included in the short film project Paris, je t'aime . Read this after watching the film (Spoiler): In case you didn't understand what happened, the film shows the young, blind man who mistakenly believes that his girlfriend, an actress, is breaking up with him on the telephone while she is just rehearsing a dialogue. And in a split second, he reflects on all the time he has the spent with her, and the growth and the seeming decline of their relationship, and in the end when he says "I see you" what he means to say is that he has realized that he has been ignoring her and has not been giving the proper attention that she deserves, and now suddenly at the prospect of her breaking-up, he can 'see' how valuable she is to him.


'Every isolated passion is, in isolation, insane; sanity may be defined as a synthesis of insanities. Every dominant passion generates a dominant fear, the fear of its non-fulfilment. Every dominant fear generates a nightmare, sometimes in the form of explicit and concious fanaticism, sometimes in a paralysing timidity, sometimes in an unconscious or subconscious terror which finds expression only in dreams. The man who wishes to preserve sanity in a dangerous world should summon in his own mind a parlament of fears, in which each in turn is voted absurd by all the others.' Bertrand Russell, Nightmares of Eminent Persons

The Whisper

The Whisper M. Awais Aftab Falling in the quicksand Of your arms There is no escape, 'Don't ever leave me' You whisper in my ears As if i have a choice In the matter

The Moment of Disillusionment

I recently watched the movie 'Love in the time of cholera' based on the novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It was a good movie, a nicely made adaption, but the key to appreciating the story is understanding the moment of disillusionment; the moment when Fermina becomes convinced that her love for Florentino is an illusion. This scene is the key to the whole story, and it is precisely this scene to which the movie miserably failed to do justice. Here is a YouTube video which shows several scenes from the movie. The second scene is about the disillusionment. Watch the clip, and compare it with the excerpt from the book. Behind her, so close to her ear that only she could hear it in the tumult, she heard his voice: “This is not the place for a crowned goddess.” She turned her head and saw, a hand’s breadth from her eyes, those other glacial eyes, that livid face, those lips petrified with fear, just as she had seen them in the crowd at Midnight Mass the first time he was so close to

The Perfect Recipe

The Perfect Recipe by M. Awais Aftab You were a frozen soul Waiting to be thawed And i was a fiery heart Had burnt many who touched me So God brought us together In his perfect recipe Of steamy love

Rushdie wins Best of Booker for 2nd time

Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children has emerged as the winner of the Best of the Booker Prize for the 2nd time on Booker's 40th anniversary. Midnight's Children originally got the Booker in 1981, and was then selected as the Best of the Booker in 1993. This time, 6 books were short-listed for the prize: Pat Barker's The Ghost Road Peter Carey's Oscar and Lucinda JM Coetzee's Disgrace JG Farrell's The Siege of Krishnapur Nadine Gordimer's The Conservationist Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children The winner was selected by a public poll, with Midnight's Children coming out as the winner, having received 36% of the votes. For details, see:

Poets and Poetry

A Poet The day You flip through all the Thesaureses and dictionaries And still can't find the word You need That is when you'd become A poet Poetry What is poetry But prose gone astray Like a wild, beating heart In love Fibrillating, arrhythmic by M. Awais Aftab


X: Love is a complicated thing. Y: Love isn't complicated; people are complicated.

A Journey Through Modern Philosophy

As many of my friends would know, i have been working on a philosophy book for quite some time now. I had plans of getting it published, but such attempts are turning out to be problematic and fruitless, since philosophy lacks a reading audience in Pakistan (in fact, in most countries) and publishers aren't very interested. So, i thought the best way to showcase my work to the world would be internet, and i have uploaded the whole text on a website. The URL is: It's a history of modern philosophy, a summary of the ideas of the modern philosophers, from Descartes to Derrida. You are most welcome to visit, and comment. I hope you enjoy the book.

The Fries

X: At first i thought that you are like the sauce with the french fries; you make life so much more tasty, but then i realized, you aren't just the sauce, you are also the oil in which these fries are cooked, and without you, my life is just like eating boiled potatoes.

Smoke Cubist Female

Smoke Cubist Female by mattrobinsonphoto On deviantART

A Pair of Black Holes

A Pair of Black Holes By M. Awais Aftab I understood what black holes are When i saw your eyes A gravity so intense That no mortal vision can escape From being ensnared Two circles of singularity Where space and time come to an end And i find myself hovering On the event horizon of love Like a moth around a flame

The Satanic Verses

Finally, after having the novel (actually printed on paper from an online text, since the book as such is banned in Pakistan and not available in market) for more than one and a half year, i have completed the book, and known what all the fuss was about. When i started reading it previously, i got stuck in the middle and left it, until the novel called out to me again the previous week, and i picked it, started anew and read it to the last page. How do i feel? Disappointed, i guess. Compared to Midnight's Children , The Satanic Verses is a pale echo of Rushdie's talent. On the whole, i found the novel unremarkable, and the narration dragged awfully at many places. But there were also passages that were remarkable, splinters of diamonds floating in muddy water, and it was this that saved the book from being a reader's waste of time. So what is the novel basically about? It is the story of two Indian men, Gibreel Farishta and Saladin Chamcha, who after the explosion of a hij