Fake it!

‘Faking it’ is one of the most prominent and evolving trends these days, especially in our part of the world.

We are born with an inferiority complex of being a part of the third world and a superiority complex of being a Muslim. Our religion and our ideals are two opposite and strong forces pulling us in different directions. Since we can’t really be pulled in one direction, we stay in the middle and we fake it.

We all are fakes. Majority of you would think I have made a very bold statement. But if I tell you that the pop concept of presenting yourself by exaggerating your strengths and hiding your weaknesses is also a part of ‘faking it’, some of you may consider giving it a second thought?

We all invest years to learn techniques of impression management in professional and personal life both. Whether it’s a job interview or a date, the norm is to exaggerate your plus points and disowning your weaknesses to the extent you could. Most of us would advocate there’s nothing wrong in doing so; it rather is a tactful technique that would most likely get you a job or probably appeal your date as well. But there is a huge difference in highlighting your strengths and exaggerating them, not spoken about your weaknesses and disowning them.

Who we are at home is always very different from who we are at workplace or with friends. We may appear very sophisticated while eating with colleagues; making use of all the right cutlery but at homes we don’t mind dipping our fingers in food. I am not asking you not to feel at ease while at home, but giving an eye to someone who can’t hold the fork right is definitely not appropriate then.

I understand the fake accents, courteous words, classy dressing as an effort to keep up with others, but what I don’t understand is forgetting at all in public that there’s a different part of us back at our homes. I understand the exaggerated attributes as one’s desire to appeal to employers or opposite gender but I don’t understand the need to stick to it when exposed, the need to adhere to it even if the other gender is uncomfortable about it. I may even understand hiding the reality for good but I don’t understand faking it...

I know most of you would say what good it would be if you don’t fake it, some one who can, would perhaps replace you, showing up himself as more competent. But I would rather take the pain of telling my interviewer that I haven't been involved in this task directly but am open to learning it. I would rather enjoy telling in public that they would find me in un-ironed clothes back at home.

Because what I appear to my self is more important than what I appear to others.

1342 hours
Tuesday 28 April 2009

Published in Daily Mail on 26 August 2009

Insanity is in my genes - Episode IV

They say there is a child in all of us. But I don’t get to see it in most of the grown ups.

Children know what true passion is. One should learn the best way to live from them. Have you ever happened to observe children playing? When they want something they would do anything to get that. You would find it really hard to make them understand the constraints or limits in achieving what they want. They simply won’t buy it. They would pursue their wants without even thinking how much time it is taking them, even if they’re tired and haven’t eaten anything since hours, you cannot really convince them to abandon.

They are also very open about expressing their emotions and would tell you in the most direct manner what they want or feel. They would outburst into laughter even on silly things and would breakdown into loud cries, not afraid of being the centre of attention. You would tell them to behave but they don’t seem to understand that behaving is actually a better option than what they do.

We all did this when as kids. But as we grew up, we learnt to keep away our feelings, to hide what we want. We learnt to behave. Because someone told us while we were growing up that we cannot get everything we want…The biggest lie of the world! We actually get all what we want, if we don’t we get something even better than that but impatient being a human we more often don’t wait to see better things coming up our way and end up telling our selves we’re not supposed to get everything we want.

There’s nothing in this world like losing. What we think as losing are only lessons and diverters that lead us to somewhere better than what we thought for ourselves. But we usually quit trying at all because of the fear of losing.

What keeps us from expressing our emotions? Fear of others, what the other person would think about it? We won’t be ourselves just because we’re afraid of the reaction of other people. We would do what they like and won’t do what they don’t like. Why do we give our control in the hands of others?

We were supposed to grow up with time, but we actually get worse than we were in childhood. We lost our natural instincts to be ourselves. Insanity it is, indeed.

22:07 hours
Tuesday 31 March 2009

This article was published in The Pakistan Times on Sunday 21 June 2009 (http://www.pakistantimes.net/pt/detail.php?newsId=1723)

Insanity is in my genes - Episoe III

The past is over and gone and the future is not yet here, it’s not guaranteed. Then why do we spend most of our lives repenting on our past and worrying about future, crucifying ourselves between the two of them. Sounds insane?

The key is to enjoy the scenes at the driveway instead of giving the steering in the hands of your past and future concerns that would keep crashing you at blind spots.

We can’t undo our past sufferings and repentances but what we can do is to learn from our mistakes and use these learning to improve our present lives. It is also pointless to be anxious about future as we would always be able to cope with it with the same weapons and justifications that guard us against present.

There’s a universal law of attraction, ‘whatever we think about mostly we attract that in our life’. When we spent most of our time thinking about our past unpleasant experiences, we keep attracting those unpleasant things all over again.

It is not the failure that makes us lose, it is the fear of failure that does. Our fears and concerns about our future based on our past hinder us to achieve our goals. When we spent too much time fearing about what may go wrong, it will go wrong – the law of attraction.

Do your best to follow your hearts and then surrender in front of the Highest Power, the caring hand in which is the command of us all. Figure out what do you want and do not insist on how it should occur for you. Stay happy and let the universe figure out for you all the ‘hows’. What you want will more often come from the least expected place. This is the beauty of life.

Life is the present moment we are living in. It is the moment that if passed, would never come back again. This moment has in it whatever it takes to keep us happy. So stop driving insane and take the steering in your hands. Count the blessings you have today and enjoy the present moment – That’s life.

The caravan of life shall always pass
Beware that is fresh as sweet young grass
Let’s not worry about what tomorrow will amass
Fill my cup again, this night will pass, alas.

Rubiat of Omer Khayyam


2315 hours

Saturday 14 March 2009

Published in Daily Mail on 12 August 2009


Insanity is in my genes - Episode II

Politics was never my favourite discussion. In fact, it is something I always felt reluctant to talk about. The reason wasn’t that I am not interested in current affairs. It was because I always fear reactions of people on topics related to politics or affairs of this country. For some reason, you get a strange kind of harshness in people when they talk about this country, its politics and current affairs. They are just not themselves.

Broadly you can come across three types of people when it comes to political discussions:

The first is the concerned type. They seem really concerned about this country and current affairs. Sometimes they’ll get you in hot arguments. Even if you’re not confronting them, they will get confronted themselves; and if you will, they’ll get even more confronted and will get you confronted as well. But you’re never sure what will come out of this hot argument except of the heat that will vanish the moment they’ll walk out of door.

You would also find a type of people who’re just made to speak and to be listened. They’re born leaders, as people would tell them. Because they sound really good, even if you’re not sure you’re quite getting what they’re saying. They talk about the higher purpose of life, something that is far higher than you your self and anything thing else that you think is important to you.

Then there are some people who’ll tell you they don’t give a damn about this country and whatever is happening in it. But if you look at the tone with which they say it, you’ll know how much damn they’re giving about it, in fact, far more than they were supposed to. This is the disappointed type. There was a time they loved this country and wanted everything to be alright but then something made them lose or they got better things to worry about. They’ll convince you to lose hope, or you can go to hell for all they care. But the funny part is they won’t let you live at peace in the hell as well and will keep poking you there from time to time.

Sometime back, hot arguments used to get me boiled, leaders would get me stupefied and disappointed people would make me horrified. So much that I was puzzled who I am actually, aggressive, stupid, selfish, coward, hypocrite or just a Pakistani (to be warned some people also use this title when they mean swearing)? Who was I?

It wasn’t long time back when I realised the reason I get so much affected by these types was that I have a reflection of them in me. There was one thing common between them and me… Insanity!

We can waste all our time in arguing, defending one party, one policy or one point of view. We can get even more insane, convinced that we haven’t done anything for this country, go to a demonstration against government and get beaten up or made to run away by security. Or we can just sit back and relax over a cup of tea, switching news channels covering the violence. But what we won’t do is to realise that countries are made up of people and to make it the way we want we need to do very simple things, not with others but to ourselves.

Stopping myself to give a horn to the car in front of me as the green light turns on, buying a pen for my personal use instead of using my office’s stationary, have the sympathy of stopping to dispose the dead body of a crushed cat on road, or finding a bin to throw the wrapper instead of rolling down my cars windows and throwing that on road. What we need are ethics, the strength and willingness to do the right thing. And this can only be done at the individual level first.
1855 hours
12 March 2009
Published in Daily Mail: http://dailymailnews.com/0110/16/Editorial_Column/DMArticle.php

Insanity is in my genes – Episode I

Once upon a time, there was a wicked magician who hated a king of a far off kingdom for a good reason. As part of his enmity, he casted a spell over a common well from where all his subjects used to drink water, so that anyone who drinks from that well gets insane. The number kept multiplying everyday and in no time all his subjects were insane.

The king, upon hearing the rumours, issued an order in the kingdom that no one shall drink water from that well. When his subjects heard of the order they said the well is absolutely fantastic instead the king is talking non-sense and has probably gone insane.

Soon there were protests against the king and all his court men also turned against him, taking him and his wife as insane. The king had no option but to resign from throne. Just then the queen asked him ‘let us drink water from that well' and when they did, they also became insane. They started talking non sense like all their subjects.

His subjects thought the king has recovered from his insanity and can now get back to his throne again. And the king ruled happily ever after.

Fairytales are not always fantasy, far from reality. If we notice, we may see a lot of fairytales stuff happening in our real lives. Insanity is not ‘an abnormal state of mind’ it is rather ‘just a different state of mind relative to majority of people’.

Confused? Try something different that the majority doesn’t do and then see how this majority will end up calling you insane. All our lives, we don’t try things that are different and non conventional just because of the fear of others, because others think it is inappropriate. We follow traditions and customs just because everybody else is following that whether these customs seems to fit in our mind or not. We would fear to raise our voice against the things we think inappropriate, just because others are silent and submissive to it. We live the dreams of others, instead of living our own dreams, our own life.

Every man on this earth is a unique creation that would never come in to being again in this world. He has within him all what it takes to achieve the purpose for which he is sent into this world, the purpose that he and only he could achieve. Why do we then want to lose our uniqueness and get lost in the commonness of the crowd?

I really envy those living in the mental houses; they don’t care about raising their voices, about the surroundings, manners, traditions or customs because all these things don’t seem to fit in their minds. They just do what they feel like, what they think is appropriate. We call them insane but in fact we all are insane, the only difference is that they do what they think is right.

(The fairytale in my article is a story narrated in my words from book 'Veronika decides to die' by paulo Coehlo, 1999)

0235 hours
16 March 2009
*Published in Pakistan Times on 10 May 2009 http://www.pakistantimes.net/pt/detail.php?newsId=481*

The Whirling Dervishes of Konya

I’ve been always attracted to the dance of Whirling Dervishes of Konya, and found it very mysterious up until the time I learnt about the background behind their custom. After that I found this concept very practical. (The image above: Whirling Dervish - painted by me)

Whirling Dervishes are a Sufi order founded by the followers of Rumi in Konya, present-day Turkey. They are known as the Whirling Dervishes due to their famous practice of whirling as remembrance of Allah. The dervishes wear a white gown, symbol of death, a wide black cloak that symbolizes the grave and a high brown cap that symbolizes the tombstone.

Their dance represents the spiritual journey of man through mind and love, to the ‘Perfect state’. Turning towards the truth, the dervish grows through love, deserts his ego, finds the truth and arrives at the ‘Perfect state’. The ‘perfect state’ means that the truth has rectified the entire life of the follower and now he will live his life for others.

I find this concept of spiritual journey quite interesting and useful. I think the path of every spiritual journey or learning starts from love. When we love a thing or a person, we are in fact on our way to an adventurous journey that leaves us with a bundle of lessons to learn and help us to develop.

Sometimes we find ourselves in a challenging environment. When we see anything inspiring in others or anything new that we didn’t know before, our existing believes and thoughts are challenged. Friction is in human nature. We resist changes. We usually pull our defenses on, whenever we see a challenging person around and resist change to the extent we can.

Having difficult and challenging people around, is not a disadvantage, it rather is an advantage. Challenging people and environment always develop us. You may have noticed, at workplace as well, often one of the major hurdles that stop us from learning and progressing is usually our ego. Our ego deserves to be deserted when it comes to learning something. When you find your self saying ‘I know it better’ in front of a person of outstanding merit, you are actually depriving your self of a chance of developing.

Imitating the people who are successful in achieving the things we aim for, is a key to success. ‘I measure what's going on, and I adapt to it. I try to get my ego out of the way. The market is smarter than I am so I bend’ - Martin Zweig, a successful and influential American investment advisor quotes.

Even at your personal life and relationships, if you want to be happy, then you should go beyond your ego, your internal dialogue. Make a decision to turn down your need to control, the need to be approved, and the need to judge. Those are the three major things the ego is doing all the time. It's good to be aware of them every time they arise.

Another concept that I love about the whirling dervishes is when a dervish reaches to the perfect state - he will live his life for other human beings. Apart from Sufism, living your life for others is the best practice I ever came across. In our lives we experience a great deal of joy and often suffer a great deal. But our joys can only be real if we look upon our lives as a service and have some kind of objective in life, outside ourselves.

As we give of our time, talents and resources to tend the needs of the sick, offer food to the hungry and teach the dependent to stand on their own, we enrich ourselves spiritually in true sense. When we concern ourselves with other people, we live our lives to the fullest and feel truly alive.


1705 hours

Saturday 11 October 2008

*published in The Pakistan Times on 8 May 2009 http://www.pakistantimes.net/pt/detail.php?newsId=449*

Just scribbling…

Some people say you love once in your life. Some believe in love at first sight, others don’t. Some people put demarcations of ‘real love’ and ‘just love’. Some believe love is the other name of sacrifice, love is unconditional, and love is all you have to give while some would also believe giving too much would kill the love. We all love, yet it is the most misunderstood topic. Why is that so? Something that is human nature should be as simple as our need to breathe and to eat.

Have you ever experienced when you feel drawn towards someone or something, you move towards its direction and if it moves away, you get more drawn towards it? Sounds familiar? We all experience that and a lot of us end up taking our longing for that thing or person as love. But the funny part is that we hardly know, it’s not the object of our affection but our own longing that is keeping us engaged, making us fall in what we are calling love.

Have you ever wondered why do the things you love most in your life, tend to get away? Who moves them? Who makes you follow them and end up somewhere? If you look carefully at the path you had followed you would find the answer as well. Every person and every thing you think you’d ever loved in your life has changed you in a certain way, has taught you a certain thing, has made you developed into a person you are today. People and objects were there to grab your finger and take you from one point to another.

It seems to me, we all have some sort of hooks in us and love is the rope. And then, there is Someone, in whose hand is my rope, Someone Who is truly wise and superior. Who knows exactly where He’s leading me to. Grateful yet or not, but everybody realises this at some point in their lives. Every single man on earth is sent with a purpose, a destiny to achieve and our loves are the ropes that pull us towards it.

Wednesday 11 March 2009
0010 hours

Somewhere in this world, there’s a place for me

At times I yearn, while the curtains are down
And the cast of this interesting play, waiting to perform
I stealthily walk out of stage, without making a sound
And slip under my eternal bed, in a furrow under ground
A shelter to rest, a piece of land of my own
That shelters me from the sun & its heat around
And as the rain pours down...
The fragrance of mud on my grave soaks down
This odour, this soil is where I belong.

2315 hours
Tuesday 24 March 2009