Scratch or Clink?

What is in the scratch of a pencil is not in the blink of a cursor.

  I came up with these words about a few months ago. I thought I’d share them with you. Tell me what you think about it because I think no matter how advance this world gets, the sound of a pencil scraping in silence will always be more captivating than the keys clinking. I should probably tell you what we call it in Urdu-my native language. The sound a pencil makes when you write something, its called Sareer-e-Khama. (Thanks to my 11th grade Urdu teacher.)

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Passion (in 7 sentences)

One of the best things I’ve read in a while. ❤

David Snape and Friends - The place to show off your hidden talents

Pride in yourself to be the very best person you can.
Achieving life long ambitions after loads of sweat and hard work.
Successfully conquered your greatest fears and enemies.
Sacrificing the things you love to drive forward.
Imagining what it feels like to be top of the world.
Operating your mind and body to stay focused and true.
Never has this passion become so immediate, it’s worth it.

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‘There is no freedom without boundaries’

‘I was once told that the surest aid to the writing of a book was a piece of cobbler’s wax on my chair. I certainly believe in the cobbler’s wax much more than the inspiration.’-Anthony Trollope.

For those of you who are reading this for the love of this title, let me enlighten you with the fact that it’s just an inspiration.
I heard these words while attending my English class. My teacher couldn’t have uttered them on the right time. We talked about inspiration that day-just when I needed it. Actually, not entirely inspiration but whatever it was, it was enough to drive me to an epiphany.
It was the first time I heard about Anthony Trollope. Needless to say, I was absolutely intrigued by the writing skills of this prolific writer, may it be just a few lines I had read. Becoming a writer takes probably what it took him. While explaining why he never had a writer’s block, Anthony expressed his disregard about the way people wait for inspiration. Considering myself for instance, I gave in to write this morning. I have always been excited about writing in the morning-rush hour for the school children and working adults. But that’s also when I hear the birds chirp, leaves rustle and my mind talk. Isn’t that enough of an inspiration? Apparently, yes. People think a writer is all about broken mirrors and colorless horizons, I wouldn’t infer it that way because even while the birds chirp and the leaves flutter, I don’t know what I’m about to write next. I wouldn’t know what I am going to write unless I sit and stare at the paper. I haven’t written since the day I saw sunlight falling on some water droplets because that is my latest piece until this one gets posted. Does that mean I did not have enough of anything to write about? I saw the boy making mischief in classroom, the girl crying over her broken engagement, others being too insensitive to care. But my mind seemed to have been waiting for inspiration. If that’s not anything to write about, I wonder what is.


So that’s what it has come to-obliviousness. Perhaps I have been too oblivious to my own mind talking lately. Had not my teacher said those words, would not have the keys beneath my fingertips been jittering right now? I certainly don’t think so. It was probably my mind that heard itself talking and here it is, producing words I never knew were hiding within its walls. When it comes to writing, I think it’s the mind that’s stubborn. I think all we need to do is pay heed to our mind and the words battling within are soon going to rest on the paper.

SMOKELOVE

He stood there. An unfathomable desire crept through him. He realized it was the first time in days that he had felt his own lips curve. He felt his smile widen and the dimple on his left cheek deepen. It was a lusty morning. This was the right time. Late dawn was generous. He felt the light weight in his pocket and then… trembled. No, he wouldn’t smoke today. But he was craving it, ever so sorely. The clouds gave a thunderous howl and there he was, under the pouring rain. He ran as fast as he could to save the tiny rolls from getting spoilt.
Heart pounding in the chest, feet thumping on the damp earth, he ran until the pavement took a turn. Something-he would never know what-stopped him.
A soft laugh sounded in the distance and he was immediately drawn to something too uncalled for, something that a heart of a tempted lover had no place to welcome. Had he not moved forward, he wouldn’t have known the source of that pleasant noise. Someone with a pair of spry eyes scrutinized something in the distant; body lying aimlessly on the grass, hands raised high, and palms facing the sky. He grew impatient or perhaps impatiently curious?
The meadow was entirely at the mercy of those persistent water droplets. What was it that had propelled her out of her comfortable bed that morning?
It was not until a drop of water fell on one of her eyelids that he heard the sweet laughter again. His pockets immediately began to droop. With an alarming gasp, he turned out the demolished box of his pleasure. The music stopped interrupting his thoughts and he wondered why. He met her probing glance as he raised his eyelids which now lazily blinked. Indolence turned into aggression when she smirked at him and thought he might explode when her eyes turned back to gaze at what seemed to be so indulging.
Time passed and for a momentary lull he thought he saw lightening falling on her. Was such a thing possible? The thought was maddening. He felt his feet hooked to the ground. Was it also possible to experience such treachery and look on? Perhaps, it was. And this was confirmed when it struck him how utterly intrigued she was with the way sunlight turned those harmful water droplets into beautiful electric sparks that ever so tenderly fell on her. Had he really been running from such a pleasurable experience?
He never sheltered his tiny mates again, never carried even one of them.

How a Walk Prompted Me into Writing

The water sprinkles

The roar of a nearby car engine did nothing to break my reverie.

As I walked down the muddy track, I was motivated, inspired and determined. It was a fine walk. I, absentmindedly, went on. I don’t take music to my walks. My voice is my music. Know why? Because I write as I walk. The fragments of everything that I see around me, I write.

It wasn’t always like this. It started when I took the initiative. Minutes passed while walking and suddenly, out of the blue, I could hear my own voice. I spoke about the soft wind that made no effort to move the dark leaves on a distant tree. I spoke about the cars that went by. And then, the wind finally blew away that little girl’s hair. I got more to speak about. It went on…

If you are reading this, chances are, you are on a quest to find your muse back. Are you afraid of scratching the tip of your pencil on the forlorn paper? Don’t be. You might just end up scratching your head instead. Writing is a lark that prompts you to say something when you hear it’s song. Writing is not a beast that you ought to run away from.

If you wait today, make sure you do that every single day of your life. Sometimes you got to break the queue and take what you want. Or you might just end up heading back for home when everyone else has had their fair share. No, we don’t want that for you. There are two reasons you don’t write today: you’re probably in love with the tap of the keys as you write or you are dead scared to read what you write. Remember: A crooked road always seems better than a no road. You need somewhere to begin with!

Look around you, write about that woman on the bench-perhaps she’s waiting for someone? Perhaps she’s only pondering over her past? Oh, look! The gardener is watering the soft morning grass! What do you see? See how the splashes of the water wreck the mud. The sprinkles sparkle against the early sun. How do I put it? There is beauty but no one to admire it.

I am ready to bleed against the paper. Are you?

Are you afraid of your skill?

One of my friends is an amazing artist and below is a drawing she  made for an art competition at:

facebook.com/748652288506492/photos/a.836750566363330.1073741829.748652288506492/836750779696642/?type=1&theater

Can any of you interpret?

It doesn’t matter how you interpret something.Each of one us is different. If you are the seeds of a watermelon, I might be the hard crust. It’s different, really. All that matters is that we welcome the difference.

Good things under a stupid title

If it is possible for someone to feel stupid and awesome at the same time, I am feeling it.

I don’t know how to explain. I will try nonetheless.

A few days ago, I learned about an online competition that was going to end on the midnight of 7th, December, 2014.

I was very excited; partly because I am fond of writing. Too much fond. And partly because poetry has never been my thing. I decided to participate, nevertheless. Days went by and I completely lost the track of time until tonight. Around 11:20 pm, it struck me that I had 40 minutes left to devise a killer poetry out of whatever passion I claimed I had in me. Almost 7-8 minutes passed while running to my room and looking everywhere for my laptop. I ran through the competition details and read ’30 lines maximum’. Yes, that’s where my stupidity enters the scene. If sweating is possible in winters, I was probably at it. I unfolded the piece of paper on which I had hastily scribbled a six-line poetry in the afternoon. Dread filled me when I realized I had two blunt pathways to choose: continuing the poetry and spend the next few minutes in utter misery trying to force the words out of me or shutting the laptop and welcome the cosy embrace of my bed. I had to decide and it had to be QUICK.

Every instinct told me I won’t make it. As hard as it has always been for me to make decisions, the same instincts pushed me to start typing- not necessarily a masterpiece but anything that could keep me going.

Absolutely bewildered-for the ideas had stopped coming by now and I had to fix those lonely six lines that stared back at me, demanding- I did what I do best. I chilled out. Haha well, not exactly. But I messaged that one friend of mine who is never afraid of finding flaws in me. Needless to say, she is also very annoyed at my tendency for writing romantic pieces every so often.

I told her I had to write something about a boy and make him seem strong by the end of the poetry. She told me the only end coming to her mind was suicide. And I told her I had something else in my mind. I had almost turned my poetry into a romantic piece when she read those six lines and told me it was the ‘perfect setting’ for a boy who had been abused as a child.

As much as is poetry not my thing, contemplating action or suspense in my writings is not either. And as if I was reading a book and desperate to know what picture would the end paint, I went on. I kept writing until I had written 27 lines. I glanced at the clock to see the amount of treasure I was left with.

4 minutes to be exact.


I typed, struck, examined and deleted…until finally I was done.

Featured Image

31 lines.

I just skimmed through it one last time as the clocked barked 11:59 pm. In a few seconds the form was filled, and submitted with feelings of stupidity, accomplishment and what not! For it was while filling the form that I realized the details said ‘5 lines minimum’ and ’30 lines maximum’!

And I realized it had not been so bad after all. In about 20 minutes I wrote a completely different genre- something so unlike all my past written pieces; something I never imagined I could do. I felt sweet. And even more when my  friend told me it was ‘one of my bests’ (though I am not sure how she would have responded had I told her the lame title I came up with). Considering how rarely she praises things that have anything to do with me, I certainly felt wonderful. It was a glorious triumph. I found I do not care so much about who wins the competition now. I found I am much more interested to uncover everything else I am capable of.

Robert A.Heinlein once said, ‘Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.’

Dear Sir, forgive me if I am not exactly aware of who you are or were, but never indeed!

Picture source: A blog I’m very fond of:  https://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/79658252/

The Forty Rules of Shams of Tabriz

I came across these while I was reading The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak. Needless to say, the book was very inspiring and I thought it would feel good to collect these-even though you can find these all around the internet- to keep reading them in the times to come.

***

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.

Rule 2

The path to the Truth is a labour of the heart, not of the head. Make your heart your primary guide! Not your mind. Meet, challenge and ultimately prevail over your nafs with your heart. Knowing your ego will lead you to the knowledge of God.

Rule 3

You can study God through everything and everyone in the universe, because God is not confined in a mosque, synagogue or church. But if you are still in need of knowing where exactly His abode is, there is only one place to look for him: in the heart of a true lover.

Rule 4

Intellect and love are made of different materials. Intellect ties people in knots and risks nothing, but love dissolves all tangles and risks everything. Intellect is always cautious and advices, ‘Beware too much ecstasy’, whereas love says, ‘Oh, never mind! Take the plunge!’ Intellect does not easily break down, whereas love can effortlessly reduce itself to rubble. But treasures are hidden among ruins. A broken heart hides treasures.

Rule 5

Most of problems of the world stem from linguistic mistakes and simple misunderstanding. Don’t ever take words at face value. When you step into the zone of love, language, as we know it becomes obsolete. That which cannot be put into words can only be grasped through silence.

Rule 6

Loneliness and solitude are two different things. When you are lonely, it is easy to delude yourself into believing that you are on the right path. Solitude is better for us, as it means being alone without feeling lonely. But eventually it is the best to find a person who will be your mirror. Remember only in another person’s heart can you truly see yourself and the presence of God within you.

Rule 7

Whatever happens in your life, no matter how troubling things might seem, do not enter the neighbourhood of despair. Even when all doors remain closed, God will open up a new path only for you. Be thankful! It is easy to be thankful when all is well. A Sufi is thankful not only for what he has been given but also for all that he has been denied.

Rule 8

Patience does not mean to passively endure. It means to look at the end of a process. What does patience mean? It means to look at the thorn and see the rose, to look at the night and see the dawn. Impatience means to be shortsighted as to not be able to see the outcome. The lovers of God never run out of patience, for they know that time is needed for the crescent moon to become full.

Rule 9

East, west, south, or north makes little difference. No matter what your destination, just be sure to make every journey a journey within. If you travel within, you’ll travel the whole wide world and beyond.

Rule 10

The midwife knows that when there is no pain, the way for the baby cannot be opened and the mother cannot give birth. Likewise, for a new self to be born, hardship is necessary. Just as clay needs to go through intense heat to become strong, Love can only be perfected in pain.

Rule 11

The quest for love changes user. There is no seeker among those who search for love who has not matured on the way. The moment you start looking for love, you start to change within and without.

Rule 12

There are more fake gurus and false teachers in this world than the number of stars in the visible universe. Don’t confuse power-driven, self-centered people with true mentors. A genuine spiritual master will not direct your attention to himself or herself and will not expect absolute obedience or utter admiration from you, but instead will help you to appreciate and admire your inner self. True mentors are as transparent as glass. They let the light of God pass through them.

Rule 13

Try not to resist the changes, which come your way. Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?

Rule 14

God is busy with the completion of your work, both outwardly and inwardly. He is fully occupied with you. Every human being is a work in progress that is slowly but inexorably moving toward perfection. We are each an unfinished work of art both waiting and striving to be completed. God deals with each of us separately because humanity is fine art of skilled penmanship where every single dot is equally important for the entire picture.

Rule 15

It’s easy to love a perfect God, unblemished and infallible that He is. What is far more difficult is to love fellow human being with all their imperfections and defects. Remember, one can only know what one is capable of loving. There is no wisdom without love. Unless we learn to love God’s creation, we can neither truly love nor truly know God.

Rule 16

Real faith is the one inside. The rest simply washes off. There is only one type of dirt that cannot be cleansed with pure water, and that is the stain of hatred and bigotry contaminating the soul. You can purify your body through abstinence and fasting, but only love will purify your heart.

Rule 17

The whole universe is contained within a single human being-you. Everything that you see around, including the things that you might not be fond of and even the people you despise or abhor, is present within you in varying degrees. Therefore, do not look for Sheitan outside yourself either. The devil is not an extraordinary force that attacks from without. It is an ordinary voice within. If you set to know yourself fully, facing with honesty and hardness.

Rule 18

If you want to change the ways others treat you, you should first change the way you treat yourself, fully and sincerely, there is no way you can be loved. Once you achieve that stage, however, be thankful for every thorn that others might throw at you. It is a sign that you will soon be showered in roses.

Rule 19

Fret not where the road will take you. Instead concentrate on the first step. That is the hardest part and that is what you are responsible for. Once you take that step let everything do what it naturally does and the rest will follow. Don’t go with the flow. Be the flow.

Rule 20

We were all created in His image, and yet we were each created different and unique. No two people are alike. No hearts beat to the same rhythm. If God had wanted everyone to be the same, He would have made it so. Therefore, disrespecting differences and imposing your thoughts on others is an amount to disrespecting God’s holy scheme.

Rule 21

When a true lover of God goes into a tavern, the tavern becomes his chamber of prayer, but when a wine bibber goes into the same chamber, it becomes his tavern. In everything we do, it is our hearts that make the difference, not our outer appearance. Sufis do not judge other people on how they look or who they are. When a Sufi stares at someone, he keeps both eyes closed instead opens a third eye – the eye that sees the inner realm.

Rule 22

Life is a temporary loan and this world is nothing but a sketchy imitation of Reality. Only children would mistake a toy for the real thing. And yet human beings either become infatuated with the toy or disrespectfully break it and throw it aside. In this life stay away from all kinds of extremities, for they will destroy your inner balance. Sufis do not go to extremes. A Sufi always remains mild and moderate.

Rule 23

The human being has a unique place among God’s creation. “I breathed into him of My Spirit,” God says. Each and every one of us without exception is designed to be God’s delegate on earth. Ask yourself, just how often do you behave like a delegate, if you ever do so? Remember, it fells upon each of us to discover the divine spirit inside and live by it.

Rule 24

Hell is in the here and now. So is heaven. Quit worrying about hell or dreaming about heaven, as they are both present inside this very moment. Every time we fall in love, we ascend to heaven. Every time we hate, envy or fight someone we tumble straight into the fires of hell.

Rule 25

Each and every reader comprehends the Holy Qur’an on a different level of tandem with the depth of his understanding. There are four levels of insight. The first level is the outer meaning and it is the one that the majority of the people are content with. Next is the Batin – the inner level. Third, there is the inner of the inner. And the fourth level is so deep it cannot be put into words and is therefore bound to remain indescribable.

Rule 26

The universe is one being. Everything and everyone is interconnected through an invisible web of stories. Whether we are aware of it or not, we are all in a silent conversation. Do no harm. Practice compassion. And do not gossip behind anyone’s back – not even a seemingly innocent remark! The words that come out of our mouths do not vanish but are perpetually stored in infinite space and they will come back to us in due time. One man’s pain will hurt us all. One man’s joy will make everyone smile.

Rule 27

Whatever you speak, good or evil, will somehow come back to you. Therefore, if there is someone who harbours ill thoughts about you, saying similarly bad things about him will only make matters worse. You will be locked in a vicious circle of malevolent energy. Instead for forty days and nights say and think nice things about that person. Everything will be different at the end of 40 days, because you will be different inside.

Rule 28

The past is an interpretation. The future is on illusion. The world does not more through time as if it were a straight line, proceeding from the past to the future. Instead time moves through and within us, in endless spirals. Eternity does not mean infinite time, but simply timelessness. If you want to experience eternal illumination, put the past and the future out of your mind and remain within the present moment.

Rule 29

Destiny doesn’t mean that your life has been strictly predetermined. Therefore, to live everything to the fate and to not actively contribute to the music of the universe is a sign of sheer ignorance. The music of the universe is all pervading and it is composed on 40 different levels. Your destiny is the level where you play your tune. You might not change your instrument but how well to play is entirely in your hands.

Rule 30

The true Sufi is such that even when he is unjustly accused, attacked and condemned from all sides, he patiently endures, uttering not a sing bad word about any of his critics. A Sufi never apportions blame. How can there be opponents or rivals or even “others” when there is no “self” in the first place? How can there be anyone to blame when there is only One?

Rule 31

If you want to strengthen your faith, you will need to soften inside. For your faith to be rock solid, your heart needs to be as soft as a feather. Through an illness, accident, loss or fright, one way or another, we are all faced with incidents that teach us how to become less selfish and judgmental and more compassionate and generous. Yet some of us learn the lesson and manage to become milder, while some others end up becoming even harsher than before…

Rule 32

Nothing should stand between you and God. No imams, priests, rabbits or any other custodians of moral or religious leadership. Not spiritual masters and not even your faith. Believe in your values and your rules, but never lord them over others. If you keep breaking other people’s hearts, whatever religious duty you perform is no good. Stay away from all sorts of idolatry, for they will blur your vision. Let God and only God be your guide. Learn the Truth, my friend, but be careful not to make a fetish out of your truths.

Rule 33

While everyone in this world strives to get somewhere and become someone, only to leave it all behind after death, you aim for the supreme stage of nothingness. Live this life as light and empty as the number zero. We are no different from a pot. It is not the decorations outside but the emptiness inside that holds us straight. Just like that, it is not what we aspire to achieve but the consciousness of nothingness that keeps us going.

Rule 34

Submission does not mean being weak or passive. It leads to neither fatalism nor capitulation. Just the opposite. True power resides in submission a power that comes within. Those who submit to the divine essence of life will live in unperturbed tranquillity and peace even the whole wide world goes through turbulence after turbulence.

Rule 35

In this world, it is not similarities or regularities that take us a step forward, but blunt opposites. And all the opposites in the universe are present within each and every one of us. Therefore the believer needs to meet the unbeliever residing within. And the nonbeliever should get to know the silent faithful in him. Until the day one reaches the stage of Insane-I Kamil, the perfect human being, faith is a gradual process and one that necessitates its seeming opposite: disbelief.

Rule 36

This world is erected upon the principle of reciprocity. Neither a drop of kindness nor a speck of evil will remain unreciprocated. For not the plots, deceptions, or tricks of other people. If somebody is setting a trap, remember, so is God. He is the biggest plotter. Not even a leaf stirs outside God’s knowledge. Simply and fully believe in that. Whatever God does, He does it beautifully.

Rule 37

God is a meticulous dock maker. So precise is His order that everything on earth happens in its own time. Neither a minute late nor a minute early. And for everyone without exception, the clock works accurately. For each there is a time to love and a time to die.

Rule 38

It is never too late to ask yourself, “Am I ready to change the life I am living? Am I ready to change within?” Even if a single day in your life is the same as the day before, it surely is a pity. At every moment and with each new breath, one should be renewed and renewed again. There is only one-way to be born into a new life: to die before death.

Rule 39

While the part change, the whole always remains the same. For every thief who departs this world, a new one is born. And every descent person who passes away is replaced by a new one. In this way not only does nothing remain the same but also nothing ever really changes. For every Sufi who dies, another is born somewhere.

Rule 40

A life without love is of no account. Don’t ask yourself what kind of love you should seek, spiritual or material, divine or mundane, Eastern or Western. Divisions only lead to more divisions. Love has no labels, no definitions. It is what it is, pure and simple. Love is the water of life. And a lover is a soul of fire! The universe turns differently when fire loves water.