Saturday, September 26, 2009

Refusing to turn 28

I'm supposed to turn 28 years old this December. But I think I'm going to refuse and stay 27 another year or so. I have my own reasons to hold my ground or my 27yrs of age by neck and not let it go for next couple of years. Few reasons which I can make public are:

Number 9 is my lucky number. 2-7=9 OOO that’s a wrong calculation. Ye smartass I was just waking you up, people tend to fall asleep as soon as they are done reading my first paragraph.

Now Concentrate…

You see by the time my Father turned 28 he was in a great job for 5 years, a beautiful wife (mmm atleast his wife thought so), a nice home, 1 1/2 kids (I was still inside) and a Bike to take his family for rides. I, on the other hand, have none of those things. I might have been able to pull off the bike or maybe a car if I would have cared enough for taking some driving lesson but I found it easier to sit at back and do the back seat driving. There is one thing I will have at 28 that my Father did not and that is staying with your parents and eating home cooked food. Yes, all the more reason to stay 27 and not get rebuked by people.

Once you turn 28 you can no longer use the excuse that 'you are young and in your 20's' when explaining why you do dumb things. Once you turn 28 they start saying he is in his LATE 20’s or nearing 30’s and then if you do stupid stuff you are just immature and irresponsible. Actions that at 27 are met with laughs and giggles will then be met with eye rolling and looks of disgust. People who loved hanging out with you when you were 27 and still 'young' will now shun your company because you are too 'childish'. I can't speak for anyone else but I personally plan on engaging in lots more dumbness and I don't want to be looked down upon for it just because I crossed some imaginary age marker.

I am getting married shortly and I don’t want people to think in the direction where the hoarding says “Old Groom”. I want them to feel and say young couple most importantly Young Groom.

I don't feel I am nearing 30. I don't think your age should legally change until you feel that age. It just seems stupid that just because 365 days have passed I am no longer allowed to be in my mid-twenties. I don't feel a day over 24, ok maybe 26 fine at times I feel I am 40 but that’s a very hush hush and private feeling. Sure I'm starting to get a few more aches and pains in a few places and maybe I don't have the strength and stamina that I used to, but that could just be from hard living. It has nothing to do with the number 2 or the number 8.

2 years from 28 if counted stupidly correct you turn 30 and ten years after you turn 30 you turn 40 and I'm in no condition to deal with that kind of pressure right now...

Keeping it honest and simple this time, I sum up my reasons here. Hopefully, I will inspire others who read this Blog to take up this cause and refuse to be bullied into premature aging as well. If we all stand together we can put an end to this insane and outdated practice once and for all. We will be able to form a world where people are as old as they want to be and no older. We will be The Ageless, The Forever Young, The Ones Who Never Became Senior Citizens. Then again, I'm young and in my mid twenties, what do I know...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

First Letter To Uncle Sam - Saadat Hasan Manto

About Saadat Hasan Manto:

Saadat Hasan Manto, the most widely read and most controversial short story writer in Urdu, was born on May 11, 1912 at Sambrala in Punjab’s Ludhiana district. In a literary, journalistic, radio scripting and film-writing career spread over more than two decades, he produced 22 collections of short stories, one novel, five collections of radio plays, three collections of essays, two collections of personal sketches, and many scripts for films. He was tried for obscenity half a dozen times, thrice before and thrice after independence. Manto’s greatest work was produced in the last seven years of his life, a time of great financial and emotional hardship for him. He died several months short of his 43rd birthday in January 1955 in Lahore.

-- * --

31 Laxmi Mansions,
Hall Road, Lahore

16 December 1951

Dear Uncle,


This letter comes to you from your Pakistani nephew whom you do not know, nor does anyone else in your land of seven freedoms.

You should know why my country, sliced away from India, came into being and gained independence, which is why I am taking the liberty of writing to you. Like my country, I too have become independent and in exactly the same way. Uncle, I will not labour the point since an all-knowing seer like you can well imagine the freedom a bird whose wings have been clipped can enjoy.

My name is Saadat Hasan Manto and I was born in a place that is now in India. My mother is buried there. My father is buried there my first-born is also resting in that bit of earth. However, that place is no longer my country. My country now is Pakistan which I had only seen five or six times before as a British subject.

I used to be the All India’s Great Short Story Writer. Now I am Pakistan’s Great Short Story Writer. Several collections of my stories have been published and the people respect me. In undivided India, I was tried thrice, in Pakistan so far once. But then Pakistan is still young.

The government of the British considered my writings pornographic. My own government has the same opinion. The government of the British let me off but I do not expect my own government to do so. A lower court sentenced me to three months hard labour and a Rs. 300 fine. My appeal to the higher court won me an acquittal but my government believes that justice has not been done and so it has now filed an appeal in the High Court, praying that the judgment acquitting me be quashed and I be punished. We will have to see what the high Court decides.

My country is not your country which I regret. If the High Court were to punish me, there is no newspaper in my country that would print my picture or the details of all my trial.

My country is poor. It has no art paper, nor proper printing presses. I am living evidence of this poverty. You will not believe it, uncle, but despite being the author of twenty-two books, I do not have my own house to live in. and you will be astonished to know that I have no means of getting myself from one place to the other. I neither have a Packard nor a Dodge; I do not even have a used car.

If I need to go somewhere, I rent a bike. If a piece of mine appears in a newspaper and I earn twenty to twenty-five rupees at the rate of seven rupees a column, I hire a tonga and go buy locally distilled whiskey. Had this whiskey been distilled in your country, you would have destroyed that distillery with an atom bomb because it is the sort of stuff guaranteed to send its user to kingdom come within one year.

But I am disgressing. All I really wanted to do was to convey my good wishes to brother Erskine Caldwell. You will no doubt recall that you tried him for his novel ‘God’s Little Acre’ on the same charge that I have faced here: pornography.

Believe me, uncle, when I hear that this novel was tried on an obscenity charge in the land of seven freedoms, I was extremely surprised. In your country, after all, everything is divested of its outer covering so that it can be displayed in the show window, be it fresh fruit or woman, machine or animal, book or calendar. You are the king of bare things so I am at a loss to understand, uncle, why you tried brother Erskine Caldwell.

Had it not been for my quick reading of the court judgment I would have drunk myself to death by downing large quantities of our locally distilled whiskey because of the shock I received when I came to know of the Caldwell case. In a way, it was unfortunate that my country missed an opportunity to rid itself of a man like me, but then had I croaked, I would not have been writing to you, uncle. I am dutiful by nature. I love my country. In a few days, by the Grace of God I will die and if I do not kill myself, I will die anyway because where flour sells at the price at which it sells here, only a shamefaced person can complete his ordained time on earth.

So, I read the Caldwell judgment and decided not to drink myself to death with large quantities of the local hooch. Uncle, out there in your country, everything has an artificial facade but the judge who acquitted brother Erskine was certainly without such facade if this judge- I’m sorry I don’t know his name- is alive, kindly convey my respectful regards to him.

The last lines of his judgment point to the intellectual reach of his mind. He writes: “I personally feel that if such books were suppressed, it would create an unnecessary sense of curiosity among people which could induce them to seek salaciousness, though that is not the purpose of this book. I am absolutely certain that the author has chosen to write truthfully about a certain segment of American society. It is my opinion that truth is always consistent with literature and should be so declared.”

That is what I told the court that sentenced me, but it went ahead anyway and gave me three months in prison with hard labour and a fine of three hundred rupees. My judge thought that truth and literature should be kept far apart. Everyone has his opinion.

I am ready to serve my three-month term but this fine of three hundred rupees I am unable to pay. Uncle, you do not know that I am poor. Hard work I am used to, but money I am unused to. I am about thirty-nine and all my life I have worked hard. Just think about it. Despite being such a famous writer, I have no Packard.

I am poor because my country is poor. Two meals a day I can somehow manage but many of my brothers are not so fortunate.

My country is poor. But why is it ignorant? I am sure, uncle, you know why because you and your brother John Bull together are a subject I do not want to touch because it will not be exactly music to your ears. Since I write to you as a respectful youngster, I should remain that way from start to finish.

You will certainly ask me out of astonishment why my country is poor when it boasts of so many Packards, Buicks, and Max Factor cosmetics. That is indeed so, uncle, but I will not answer your question because if you look into your heart, you will find the answer (unless you have had your heart taken out by one of your brilliant surgeons.)

That section of my country’s population which rides in Packards and Buicks is really not of my country. Where poor people like me and those even poorer live, that is my country.

There are bitter things, but there is a shortage of sugar here otherwise I would have coated my words appropriately. But what of it! Recently, I read Evelyn Waugh’s book ‘The Loved One’. He of course comes from the country of your friends. Believe me, I was so impressed by that book that I sat down to write to you.

I was always convinced of the individual genius found in your part of the world but after reading this book, I have become a fan of his for life. What a performance, I say! Some truly vibrant people do indeed live out there.

Evelyn Waugh tells us that in your California, the dead can be beautified and there are large organizations that undertake the task. No matter how unattractive the dear departed in life, after death he can be given the look desired. There are forms you fill where you are asked to indicate your preference. The excellence of the finished product is guaranteed. The dead can be beautified to the extent desired, as long as you pay the price. There are experts who can perform this delicate task to perfection. The jaw of the loved one can be operated upon and a beatific smile implanted on the face. The eyes can be lit up and the forehead can be made to appear luminous. And all this work is done so marvelously that it can befool the two angles who are assigned to do a reckoning once a person is in the grave.

Uncle, by God you people are matchless.

One had heard of the living being operated on and beautified with the help of plastic surgery- there was much talk of it here- but one had not heard that the death can be beautified as well.

Recently one of your citizens was here and some friends introduced me to him. By then I had read brother Evelyn Waugh’s book and I read an Urdu couplet to your countryman that he did not follow. However, the fact is, uncle, that we have so distorted our faces that they have become unrecognizable, even to us. And there we have you who can even make the dead look more beautiful than they ever were in life. The truth is that only you have a right to live on this earth: the rest of us are wasting our time.

Our great Urdu poet Ghalib wrote about a hundred years ago:

If disgrace after death was to be my fate,
I should have met my end through drowning
It would have spared me a funeral and no headstone would have marked my last resting place

Ghalib was not afraid of being disgraced while he was alive because from beginning to the end that remained his lot. What he feared was disgrace after death. He was a graceful man and not only was he afraid of what would happen after he died, he was certain what would happen to him after he was gone. And that is why he expressed a wish to meet his end through drowning so that he should neither have funeral nor grave.

How I wish he had been born in your country. He would have been carried to his grave with great fanfare and over his resting place a skyscraper would have been built. Or were his own wish to be granted, his dead body would have been placed in a pool of glass and people would have gone to view it as they go to a zoo.

Brother Evelyn Waugh writes that not only are there in your country establishments that can beautify dead humans but dead animals as well. If a dog loses its tail in an accident, he can have a new one.

Whatever physical defects the dead one had in life are duly repaired after death. He is then buried ceremoniously and floral wreaths are placed on his grave. Every year on the pet’s death anniversary, a card is sent to the owner with an inscription that reads something like this: In paradise, your Tammy (or Jeffie) is wagging his tail (or his ears) while thinking of you.

What it adds up to is that your dogs are better off than us. Die here today, you are forgotten tomorrow. If someone in the family dies, it is a disaster for those left behind who often can be heard wailing, “why did the wretch die? I should’ve gone instead.” The truth is, uncle that we neither know how to live nor how to die.

I heard of one of your citizens who wasn’t sure what sort of funeral he would be given, so he staged a grand “funeral” for himself while he was very much alive. He deserved that certainly because he had lived a stylish and opulent life where nothing happened unless he wished it to. He wanted to rule out the possibility of things not being done right at his funeral; as such, he was justified in personally observing his last rites while alive. What happens after death is neither here nor there.

I have just seen the new issue of ‘Life’ (5 November 1951, international edition) and learnt of the most instructive facet of American life. Spread across two pages is an account of the funeral of the greatest gangster of your country. I saw a picture of Willie Moretti (may his soul rest in peace) and his magnificent home which he had recently sold for $55,000. I also viewed his five-acre estate where he wanted to live in peace, anyway from the distractions of the world. There was also a pictures of his $5,000 casket and his funeral procession made up of seventy-five cars. God is my witness; it brought tears to my eyes.

May there be dust in my mouth, but in case you were to die, may you have a grander farewell than Willie Moretti. This is the ardent prayer of a poor Pakistani writer who doesn’t even have a cycle to ride on. May I beg you that like the more farsighted ones in your country, you should make arrangements to witness your funeral while you are alive. You can’t leave it to others; they can always make mistakes, being fallible. It is possible that your physical appearance may not receive the attention it deserves after you have passed away. It is also possible that you may already have witnessed your funeral by the time this letter reaches you. I say this because you are not only wiser, you are also my uncle.

Convey my good wishes to brother Erskine Caldwell and to the judge who acquitted him of the pornography charge. If I have caused you offense, I beg your forgiveness. With the utmost respect,

Your poor nephew,

Saadat Hasan Manto,
Resident of Pakistan
(This letter could not be mailed because of lack of postage.)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

To Mrs. Ashraf...with Love - Love Sayings

I love her and that's the beginning of everything.
-- F. Scott Fitzgerald
…Asshole stole my line but not my girl and thank god for that.

Few week back Mrs. Ashraf wrote some twisted line about love on my facebook which takes hell lot of patience to read the entire length of it and worse remember it because I know she is gonna ask if I read it and if I did what did I decipher…contemplate and what am I gonna do about it.

Usually when I am in doubt, I tend to make a fool of myself. Not saying I don’t when I am not in doubt but on second thoughts there is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So the great Ashraf brain says, what the hell. Anyway I tried being equally philosophical about love and rattle my brain to find some witty saying then came my favorite task …Google Search… nothing fits the bill. She will sniff it out from a mile its not my words…not my thoughts nor I believe in that saying. Well that’s the bad side of marrying someone who knows you inside out.

Do you want me to tell you something really subversive? Love is everything it's cracked up to be. That's why people are so cynical about it. . . It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don't risk anything, you risk even more.

I believe in the saying Love comes when manipulation stops…

It’s the time when you think more about the other person than about his or her reactions to you… When you dare to reveal yourself fully… When you dare to be vulnerable. It’s the time when you allow them or they know you inside out… what thing can shatter you to pieces. You are honest and barely romantic. When you tell them their departure from your life won’t kill you but you will forever be colleting remaining pieces life.

God knows it was not easy… vast geographical distance brings lot of cultural, language and religion boundaries but like the say “Two people are connected at the heart, and it doesn't matter what you do, or who you are or where you live; there are no boundaries or barriers if two people are destined to be together.” It all started with a dream to build a happy life for myself. A Selfish dream just for yourself… when you are truly in love you realize in dreams and in love there are no impossibilities. However insignificant and small you are world is your turf.

Once in awhile, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale.

So I say if you are living a fairytale… man you are in love...provided you have an ordinary life like mine… a life where you can't stop loving or wanting to love your partner because you know it’s right and it's the best thing in the world for you(till it becomes the second best). On ground reality when you're in a relationship and its good, even if nothing else in your life is right, you feel like your whole world is complete.

Falling in love in this kind of isn't going to be easy... anger... tears... jealousy… every single drop of it weighing mountain on your chest but it's when you still want to be together despite it all at any cost. It’s the pain of her absence which hurts you above all and deep down you know everything in your life and around you will fall into place which she takes her designated space which you have reserved in your life.

When you smiled you had my undivided attention. When you laughed you had my urge to laugh with you. When you cried you had my urge to hold you. When you said you loved me, you had my heart forever.

You keep on thinking of ways to amuse her and most of the time it falls flat but still you don’t stop trying Oh you become creative. What gift you can ever give to your heartbeat mmm maybe healthy dietary habit and quit smoking. The one gift you will surely crave to give every moment of your life is the ability to see themselves as you see them, so they could see how truly special they are…

And people will ask you what the hell is wrong with you… don’t worry its nothing she can’t fix.

What’s my pick in all the love sayings I ever came across… “I believe in a kind of love that brings sailors home from the sea…”

Friday, September 4, 2009

Miss Dove and Mr. Bat – Love Story?

It didn’t happen in the past, so don’t mind me not starting with Once there was.... There is this Huge tree really big... home for millions of birds... different species different colors... tree is so huge that a bird from one side of the tree may never come across a bird from the other side ever... so many birds and insects that tree is alive at any given moment, you can hear calls of so many species of birds every second of every day...100s of eagles live on the top... thinking the tree is theirs.. There is a colony of millions of parrots, crows, woodpeckers etc etc...

And then there is a colony of Bats and White dove also...

Bat you will think is common ye sure but white dove is also common if you go to their colony... but this Dove is unique... although she lived in her colony but was always interested in seeing different parts of the tree especially the part where the Crows had their colony.

One fine day, she came back from her daily chore in the evening and was about to settle down on a secluded branch when she saw a bird hanging upside down. It was time for our Mr. Bat to wake up for his night work. At first Miss Dove was bit apprehensive it was getting dark and she has not seen anything hanging upside down something so dark and hairy. She thought maybe he is Jerk trying to get a bottom top view of her chastity. What a jerk to meet at the end of her day. Well she was not completely wrong this Bat was a jerk ...not a unique jerk but a jerk alrite... he was inspired by the spiders he used to see hanging upside down daily... Spiders who work hard on spinning an artistic web to trap those ignorant insects...
Back to the evening when our Miss Dove and Mr Bat saw each other first time. Bat was smitten with love. He has not seen anything so fair... so elegant... so charming. That night when all the other birds slept and only owls and Bats like him roamed the tree he just sat their seeing his Lady Love sleeping.

As time flew by... soon bat found himself an outcast... he didn’t have a job... hanging upside down daily and doing nothing he started getting into dark mood swings the only thing good happening was those few hours when his lady love will come back in the evening and they will chat a bit before she went to sleep. He started living for those few hours of evening. Slowly our Miss Dove also fell in love and one fine day just chatting and joking they realized they love each other a lot.
They decided to get married.

A Bat getting married with a Dove!!! That caused a huge uproar in the Bat aswell as the Dove colony. Everyone had a something to say... ahh its just infatuation... this marriage will never work out... remember that dove who married a crow; her life was so pathetic later... you can’t marry a Dove she will never understand our Bat culture...

They decided they will not give much importance to what others say but will trust each other and follow their heart and prove everyone wrong. Things worked fine for some period... it was more than fine it was heavenly... but slowly things started to change. Bat was back in doing job and making arrangement for his future life with the Dove but still somewhere it was not as rosy and beautiful as it was in the start. Bat became very demanding. He won’t compromise on anything but would expect the Dove to change. Dove was scared of hanging upside down like him but Bat just won’t help her or support her. Dove promised she will never eat grains again like she did all her life but will eat those insects what he and his family eat but still Bat will demand more.

Everyday became a pain for Dove she wanted their marriage to happen, she was in love she said; like she was never before and she knew Bat loved her the most, but his attitude was killing her. She was soon to leave her colony of Dove and come to the Colony of Bat and live with his people all hanging upside down and eating insects and having different custom and way of living and she was very scared but Bat was immune. Bat was not that bad I guess he wanted to give her the best of life, he wanted to work hard... very hard and get everything settled for his lady love. They loved each other the most but still it was not 100%.

What is missing?
What should Dove do? And most importantly what should Bat be doing?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Mom Vs Wife

Here’s a sticky situation that many of you may deal with…of course once you are married or on the verge of getting married.

Mom vs. Wife is the epic saga that has plagued many families and put the husband-sons in the most ultimate “damned if you do” situations. I really feel for my brothers, but I would be lying if I didn’t say that I think the wife comes in at a grave disadvantage especially if the mom is still below 60 and loud in saying and clear in hearing. Not only does the wife have to compete with the mother-in-law for the husband-son’s love and time, but she has to do so with kindness and understanding. I mean really, sons and mothers…forget about it. That is a bond that when it is strong, is virtually unbreakable.

We guys take pride in being called Mamma’s boy till the wife walks in and wants to change the world upside down, most hit with this tsunami is mama dear.

And so my friends, the power struggle begins.

The quest for ultimate supremacy is on. Who takes top spot on husband-son’s priority list? Basically, who’s number 1? On one hand, you have the woman who actually gave life to your husband, clothed, and fed him for years. On the other hand, you have the woman he has picked to be his life mate and bear his children. She has left her family, comfort everything to walk side by side in all your triumphs and tragedies. It’s not so simple.

Hmmm…Don’t think I have the answer, because I don’t. I know some people will have very strong views about this topic based on what they’ve gone through individually but honestly I don’t have any answer, because the moment you start seeking an answer it means you are ready to give a pound of your flesh to someone and I am not ready to do that. Be it my mom or my wife.

Stupidity sometime lies at our end as well when we start comparing Mom with wife or more often seeing wife from a mother’s prism. Get real guys, your mom is 50+ fat and flabby and probably she is not ashamed of farting in front of you she calls its natural cause. You don’t want your wife to be like your Mom, your Mom is best handled by your Dad. Don’t try to change it.

At times we guys also have the tendency of declaring our parents dead before they actually are. That’s not being wife lover that’s being stupid... no one can cook as good as your mom irrespective of how bad a cook she is... you are used to her kind of extra oil extra fat food. Don’t think your wife will take all those shit what your mom is capable of taking she thinks your shitty attitude is her by product.

Life is not Boat in a storm situation and you got to save either your mom or your wife, I think my mom and my future wife is too smart to present such situation in front of me because both of them know if that’s the case I am going to abandon both of them and swim to a brand new girl on the shore... So I say when its Mom Vs Wife take time out and discuss with your GF!!