Rule # 1-A Reflection

This! 🙂

“…If God brings to mind mostly fear and blame, it means there is too much fear and blame welled inside us. If we see God as full of love and compassion, so are we.” -Shams of Tabriz

A Little Something by Arsh Azim

Rule # 1

How we see God is a direct reflection of how we see ourselves. If God brings to mind mostly fear and blame, it means there is too much fear and blame welled inside us. If we see God as full of love and compassion, so are we.”

-The Forty Rules of Love

Aspiration: When we see ourselves with hope, delight and pleasure, we’ll find the world admiring us with hope, delight and pleasure. And that’s how we depict God. We’re the mirror to another person and the image we create in the world we’re living in is the picture of what God has sent us with to show the world. The more positive we see in ourselves and in the world, the better we attract. The more faith we have, the better we reflect Him. Loving God means loving own self! 🙂

Love seeks thy heart

See, it’s kind.

Seek…

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The Superficiality of It All

Thoughts somewhat collide here.

That Paki Blog

Sometimes I just wonder if going through all of it is worth it. This whole internet life, social networking, posting pictures of your life online, It’s just not my thing. Not anymore, at least. Yes, there was a time when I would go up and post pictures on my instagram just because it was the “cool” thing to do, but I just don’t think it’s worth it anymore. As bloggers, we sometimes believe that life on the internet is what’ll make go forth, make a name and leave a mark. Which is true, considering it is the era of the wireless life we all live, but there’s just something about it that’s like trying to catch a fistful of air that you know you never can. All it does is leave a vacuum, if you manage to catch air.

See, I have been thinking a lot lately and I feel…

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Never from my mind will its memories thwart

(An edited version was published in US Magazine, The News International on  January 24, 2014. Link: http://magazine.thenews.com.pk/mag/arc_detail_article.asp?id=7103 )

‘I remember the day when I first came here

And smelt the sweet Abbottabad air

The trees and ground covered with snow

Gave us indeed a brilliant show

To me the place seemed like a dream

And far ran a lonesome stream

The wind hissed as if welcoming us

The pine swayed creating a lot of fuss

And the tiny cuckoo sang it away

A song very melodious and gay

I adored the place from the first sight

And was happy that my coming here was right

And eight good years here passed very soon

And we leave you perhaps on a sunny noon

Oh Abbottabad we are leaving you now

To your natural beauty do I bow

Perhaps your winds sound will never reach my ear

My gift for you is a few sad tears

I bid you farewell with a heavy heart

Never from my mind will your memories thwart’

― Major James Abbott (British Officer in Colonial India, also known as, ‘Founder of Abbotabad’)

 

It was an autumn when I first saw it. Its beauty uniquely seductive, the landscape enthraling, pine trees with honey coloured, crisp leaves and fascinating sky so clear it could have easily been mistaken for any European town. This was the Orush Valley. The hub of the Hazara province movement. The city surrounded by the Sarban Hills …Abbotabad. If there’s any place I can aptly refer to as my second home, it’d be Abbotabad beyond doubt. Eversince bidding farewell to it, the automatic alarm clock in my central nervous system has been prompting me to write about this city and I, ever so lazy, have been putting it on the ‘snooze’ button. So, with due apologies to its residents and without further ado, I present to you dear readers Abbotabad, as I saw it…

The small town

It is heartening to see that in a world infested with consumerist thinking, there still exist places which remain unintoxicated from the plague of modern day razzmatazz. The city has a hamletesque vibe to it. For starters, you won’t be able to see brand concious ladies wavering about the streets or fighting over a designer lawn suit which would be horrendously expensive. But do not be misguided; this doesn’t in any way indicate that the Surban Valley faces a dearth of fahionistas; those interested in all things HSY or Khaadi, just drive to the federal capital which is a 110 kilometers away.

I want it all

Abbotabad stands out because of its distinctive nature in (almost) every aspect of life. It is neither Murree nor is it Swat. It does not aspire to be become Karachi yet does not want to remain confined in its own womb of slumber. It wants to be the next-big-thing, however, it wants to hold on to the intrinsic values which are the basis of its foundation. This is the city that wants it all.

Of peace and of pain

Harmony and peace is all what our battered nation desires now. The citizens of Abbotabad are lucky in this regard; they don’t share the fear of leaving home in the morning and never returning back. And probably this is the reason its citizens felt more helpless than ever when on April 12, 2010 some streaks of blood were painted on the white fabric of its peaceful history. The movement for a separate province which spurred some years back has lightened down a bit but the memories of that day, will take some time to wear off. Personally,  I had never expected Abbotabad to turn to violence and pain, but then again, what makes a city human, if not for a little pain?

Mausam Rangeeley Suhaney

When I mentioned about Abbotabad neither being like Murree nor Swat, I wasn’t being poetic. I actually meant it. Unlike its contempraries, this valley doesn’t experience harsh winters and thus, those residing here are spared the agony of bursting pipes and unwanted frostbites. The summers aren’t that hot too which is the reason the city faces an influx of tourists in summers (there’s another reason which has recently become an excuse for all sorts of conspiracy theorists to visit it but let’s just focus on the weather, shall we?).

The Suzuki Brigade

For a person who hails from the hustling bustling plains of Punjab, where rickshaws probably outnumber humans (no kidding), not being able to locate a single rickshaw in Abbotabad was a bittersweet experience. A part of me was relieved at not having to hear the awful noise of rickshaws whizzing here and there on roads yet a part of me missed those awful vehicles sorely. So if there were no rickshaws in Abbotabad, how does the common man commute daily? The answer: Suzukis. Hoards of them. Either these or ‘dabbagarris’ are found in every nook and corner of the city’s streets. Wherever you want to go, whenever you want to go; they are at your service. Oh and their drivers will keep you thoroughly entertained by providing you free Hindko music. A word of caution though: If you are waiting in your car at a u-turn along with a Suzuki driver, please have mercy on yourselves and your children and DON’T stand in between him and the road-you will pay a heavy price if you don’t comply.

The mosque, the pakorras and everything in between

Perhaps the only ‘historical’ landmark in the city and which the locals are very proud of, is Ilyasi Mosque. It isn’t Badhsahi Mosque or the Faisal Mosque but its individuality lies in its tranquility. Two things which have brought this mosque fame are the spring water on which the mosque is built (and which is said to have healing powers) and the pakorras which have become synonymous with the mosque’s identity.  Treat yourselves to these mouthwatering, spicy and cholestrol loaded delicacies if you get a chance to. If however, you’re one of those weight conscious, cholestrol obsessed people who won’t try them even if a million will tell you to do so, then I’d advise you to go hiking on the hill behind the mosque; I bet by the time you reach the top of the hill and come back, you’ll be vying for the first bite of those same cholesterol-laddened pakkoras you were refusing to try earlier on. Some other sites which are famous are the Shimla Hills, Thandiani and Harnoi. Furthermore, Nathiagali is a stone’s throw away.

Of H2O and snow

When the Abbotabadis get tired of eating-out or hiking, they hop in their jeeps (stereotyped much?) and head out to the place where they trust fun is guaranteed; Harnoi. Harnoi is a small suburban village present in the outskirts of Abbotabad which is famous for a rivulet that flows by. People are seen having the times of their lives at Harnoi with barbeque and other food items accompanying them. Come winters and this burning devotion to water, changes shape. Yes I am talking about snowfall. True, thanks to folks down there in the plains who are  cutting trees at the very moment this article is being typed, the rate of snowfall has substantially decreased but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t snow altogether. The snow is awaited and when Mother Nature finally decides to bestow upon the city a sparkle of those white ice-cold balls, Abbotabad and her residents are ecstatic. One of the best memories of my school life is indeed the time we were giving our maths test and it started snowing unexpectedly. Next thing, we were all out of our seats completely forgetting about the important maths quiz and roaming around the school with snow falling on our heads. Some of us were worried we might get frostbite and die of pneumonia but did that stop us from ditching the maths test? Ah, no.

PMA. Name says it all

I know what you’re thinking and I advise you to abstain from speaking ill of the military who couldn’t locate You-Know-Who in their backyard. So where were we? Ah, yes. The Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul is situated in this city. Every year, tourists from around the country visit this historical academy to witness the grand passing out parades held here. The trance enducing parades, handsome cadets (!) and the general aura of the academy is enough a reason to throw off your blankets, get up and pay a visit. Those who are ardent Alpha Bravo Charlie fans should take cue.

Of Hallians, Moderns and others

One element which strikes chords as soon as you enter the city is the number of educational institutes there. If you see the number of schools in Abbotabad you’d think Pakistan is not facing an education crisis at all. And among all these institutions the one which has earned the highest degree of respect is, the grandiose Army Burnhall School and College. Rich in history and heritage it has produced outstanding indivduals eversince its inception. Its alumni includes Prof Dr Akbar S. Ahmed ( who went on to produce the movie, ‘Jinnah’) and Chaudry Nisar Ali Khan (our current Interior Minister) among many others. Then there’s Ayub Medical College and numerous others sprung across the city. Now this is a place that yearns to learn and unearth.

No visa restriction :p

Perhaps the most beneficial thing about  Abbotabad is the fact that it’s ours. No one can stop you from going there and you can stay there as long as you want to without the fear of being looked down upon as someone inferior, because you’re not somewhere in the First World country as some secondary citizen. You’re in your country, amongst your own people.

Baar baar dekho, hazar baar dekho

Abbotabad leaves an impact on your souls long after you’ve left it. The city lingers in your thoughts, plays with your reminiscences and plucks your memory. It shines in your recollections like an iridescent diamond. It is here where you first feel the tantalizing and playful tremors of joviality in your hearts; of being part of nature’s best kept secrets. It is here where you’ll want to move in if you’re in need of a break. When you’ll be sad the trees on Shimla Hills will listen to your story, when you’ll be happy the birds will sing along with you and when you’ll be leaving it, they’d all chant you farewell with a heavy heart, wanting you to come back but wishing you good luck nonetheless. The irony of it all is…you’ve never really left.

Of Bangladesh and what’s really important

(Written in response to the Quader Mulla execution and our inane,and overtly obsessive reaction towards the incident)

Ask me for my personal opinion about the Quader Molla execution and I’ll tell you this: It doesn’t seem right, morally or ethically to hang a 65 year old man. Why? Because it doesn’t look humane that a man who can’t even walk himself and has to use a wheelchair for the purpose is executed. A simple life sentence (along with a 15-year sentence to be served in addition to the time he has been imprisoned since his arrest; as per the original verdict) would have served the purpose. It looks as if the Awami League is more interested in vengeance, revenge, settling scores and personal vendetta than in its already feeble democracy and the country’s stability.

However, I also feel that we in Pakistan are making a hoopla out of this whole incident.

Yes, his execution and our history have a connection; but the thread joining the two is far too weak and almost invisible. This thread is like those wounded organs which if not amputated in time, intoxicate the whole body. On similar grounds its better for us to mind our own business. When we in 1971 couldn’t help safeguard the Bengalis’ rights, we have no right to interfere in their personal affairs now. Yes, the international community has time and again expressed their reservations regarding the transparency of the trial procedure. Everyone’s giving their analyses on the situation in Bangladesh. What we need to understand right now, however, is that there’s a difference between the relationship of the international community and Bangladesh and ‘our’ relationship with Bangladesh. Ours is not a shared history of sunshine, rainbows and flowers. Instead it is a mutual history marred by mistrust, deceit and bloodshed.

Its funny how we have been taught in our history books that it was our neighboring country who was the major architect of what happened in ’71. There are some ‘other’ factors duly mentioned in our books too, but really who bothers paying attention to them when we can all just forget our mistakes and point our fingers towards someone else, right? I do believe that there were some ‘foreign’ hands which assisted in the disintegration of our country back then but I also believe that we now only remember that one contributing factor and have forgotten the rest. And perhaps this is the reason we’re so aptly pointing out with alacrity that what happened with Molla shouldn’t have taken place.

What we basically need to understand is the difference between what’s important and what’s not.

What is not important is us condemning Molla’s hanging and taking out processions against it. Why? Because given our past, we really don’t have a say in whatever’s happening in the country and even if we do say something, you really think the Bengalis would care? We should accept the fact that Bangladesh is now a separate country and we have never given the Benaglis a chance to rebuild their trust on us.

What is important and what we really need to worry about is Baluchistan. The level of intolerance and ignorance among our people towards the plight of the Balochis is disturbing and aggravating on so many levels. It should be our prime reason to worry about; instead we are fretting over something which happened some 1119.61 miles away. Any nation would want to evaluate where it went wrong (again) if they had a Balochistan-like situation at hand. But us? Oh no we’re the special lot. We only repent over things when they are gone; just like our dear Bangladesh here.

My target here is not to impose fences over someone’s thoughts or ideas about one particular incident. My objective is to make the reader understand that what’s done is done and how serious our reservations regarding the executions may be, the officials in Bangladesh won’t pay heed to our requests and our demands. They have their own people to listen to and own decisions to make. Whatever decision they make in their country, whether right or wrong, is their headache- not ours. No matter how hard it is to digest this bitter fact, it’s merely the truth and it’ll be better if we all accept it.

What we should pay attention to, is our own country for once. For how can we expect other nations to take us seriously when we aren’t ourselves strong and keen in resolving our own issues? Our own land is burning and we’re still paying attention to issues which we can’t resolve. We’ve all heard about the mistrust piling up in the people of Balochistan against their fellow countrymen, we’ve all heard about the Missing Persons case, we’ve all heard about how important a province it is for the country and lastly we’ve all heard time and again how ‘hidden’ forces are trying to snatch it away from us.

So if we’ve all heard about it, what did we ‘do’ about it? That my friend is the point you need to ponder upon. Not some hanging taking place in another country whose residents don’t really appreciate your concerns or reservations about how fairly the trials went. If you don’t want ’71 to happen again (and I’m sure you don’t) then each one of us in our capacity should promote this notion among our Baloch brothers and sisters that we are one.

It’s time to decide what’s really important; the past which is long gone or the future which is in our hands?

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