Anxiety

It’s that time of the year again. Summer. Sweat.

And anxiety.

I went to sleep really late last night — half one, or maybe later. Seven thirty I was up again, that weird feeling in my legs back again. The feeling I call anxiety. Oh well, getting up in the mornings is quite refreshing, yes? No. I spent the entire day wasting time. Plugging in my earphones, listening to nothing, wandering from this room to that. I didn’t even clean today, which is unusual. However, I did wash my part of the dishes. But that’s pretty much it.

There’s nothing I did today which would make me proud of myself, or even satisfied. I don’t know why I’m like this. I haven’t been reading as much as I’d like to, I haven’t been exercising, but most importantly, I haven’t been writing. Two weeks I spent in heavenly bliss, each day so inspiring I could’ve written fourteen books, but I was too tired. And now, I’m back home, washing dishes to fill up time, and I’m not writing? If I don’t write then I will forget, if I forget it will be as if I never lived, and that will take me back to depression. Not as a relapse as in the mental disease, but the seasonal uninspired me that visits twice a year.

Anxiety. Of what? Perhaps it is time for me to face it, and I do need an audience, so hear me out. Anxiety of the future. Someone told me not to think of the rest of my life, but just set small goals like five year plans. This, although wise, has triggered off another train of anxiety. What if, after five years, I am as now, a nobody? What if I never accomplish anything in my life? What if I never achieve the one thing I want most in life — influence? As stupid as this might sound, I want to change the way things are. My country has been through a lot, and we are trying to improve the “international image” but let’s face it. Things are far from ideal. We have a long way to go.

As I write this, the ex-prime minister of my country is being arrested at Allama Iqbal international airport. Can you see my point? A thing you should know about Pakistanis — we’re always on the roads. If we’re celebrating, the roads are blocked. If we’re mourning, we are on the roads. If we’re protesting, you get me. The mobile networks have been switched off. The entire nation is glued to the T.V. screens, where no transmission of the arrest is being shown. But we’re still watching, hearing the anchors say the same things over and over again. My country is in chaos. Security personnel everywhere, trying to prevent trouble, trying to keep the peace. There are protestors still, I can see the roads on the tv as I write this, but at least it is contained.

Two blasts have been recorded so far. One in Peshawar, leaving 30 dead, one in Balochistan, leaving 70 dead. I’m not particularly an Imran Khan fan, but something he said has stayed with me. Something along the lines of an increase in terrorist activities every time Nawaz Shareef is in trouble. 100 people in two (or maybe three?) days? 100 is, for us, just a number. A number so meaningless nobody is talking about it. Mubashir Luqman’s saying there’s approximately 7-8 thousand people in protest. Well, I’m glad. We prayed and prayed for this man to face the consequences of his actions. And perhaps this is it? Who’s to know.

What does the future hold? A question that might just give me a nervous breakdown at some point. I could tear my hair out, and not just metaphorically.

What does the future hold? The corrupt prime minister has been flown to Rawalpindi to jail, along with his daughter. So what now? With elections so close, I really do not know. Who can say? But please, please, dear God, make it something good, my people could use a break. Perhaps you’d like an insider view of what it is being Pakistani, in real life? I could give you one.

What does the future hold? For me, I mean. What will I do? A little girl asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I couldn’t answer. All I could think of was my dream of becoming a dictator, but could I really say that to her? I’ve tried talking about this with multiple people, but so far nobody can take me seriously. Lol. Perks of being me.

But now? What does the future hold? Will I make another mistake? Will I regret my choices (provided I get round to making them) for the rest of my life? Will this blog grow? Will people read this far? Who is to know.

Dear God, the world is messed up. My country, which is all I have, is messed up. Life is messed up. So please, please, show us all a way. Give us a miracle. A Quaid-e-Azam-Allama-Iqbal-type miracle.

If I’ve bored you, I apologise. But perhaps you will be excited to know that the Rock in the River went to the River with the Rocks? Not the river that inspired this blog, but any river is love. I’ll come back soon, I hope. But for now, send  me (and my country and the world) a prayer! We must not lose our optimism for the future!

In urdu we say, “Umeed par duniya qaim hai.” The world exists on hope.

I’m off to make some tea, before my mum takes off her chappal (I joke). Who knows, if all else fails, I might just open a dhabba! (Please we all know I make the best chai)

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A CATastrophic Meowsing on Life

I sat in the moonlight today for about five minutes. As cliched as it is, sometimes I like to just sit outside and think nothing. The absolute worst thing that can happen in a time like this is that some human decides to join me. Or calls me.

But that’s not the point. The point was today. It was rather therapeutic, as always, but five minutes is a short time. The reason I went outside was to look for a red sock. But then I saw the clear night and decided to stay a little longer.

There was nothing fresh about the outside. It is hot. The air smelled stale and horrible, perhaps because the kitchen door was a few feet away and right outside it lay a bag full of very garlicky garlic. And it was too early in the night to be peaceful. The azaans for the night prayer, isha, had ended and the men had come back from the Masjid. You could hear people talking and shouting– tv or otherwise– how delightful it was to live in these flats. And of course, that one kid who was always crying. Always.

But even all this is not the point of this writing. There came by a cat. Sniffed the old bowl, found nothing. Looked at me but probably realised my non-cat-friendly nature. I kept looking over my shoulder to see if it wasn’t getting too close. You see, there was this other one called Rani that my sister had befriended, and she was faaaar too clingy. Always trying to rub against my back as I sat on the floor. And I would always push it away.

But this cat, this was the Egyptian. We called it that once, and the name kinda stuck. This cat was different because it never even cared what we did. I could stroke its back and it wouldn’t matter to her. I could ignore her and it wouldn’t matter. It could be starving, dying but it wouldn’t matter. Eventually I stopped looking. Then I realised I couldn’t hear it anymore. I turned around and what do I see? It was sitting beside me in complete silence, careful not to touch me but still as close as possible. When it saw me looking, she started licking herself. And it felt nice.

It was nice to have her by. It felt like this unspoken bond formed by the sheer force of my overactive imagination. A quiet sitting together. Two souls, conflicted in themselves, finally resonating with another mortal and this universe. I wish all cats could be like her. And all humans too.

She comes by every now and then. Sometimes I don’t see her for months. But I rather like it — the presence of either one of us has no effect on the other. We can see each other and not be emotionally attached. It’s quite liberating to have a like minded cat stroll by every once in a while.

Oh, you thought this was an intellectual piece? I beg your forgiveness. I really must stop rambling. I say, where did my meds go again?

Tales of a Sunset

As we were leaving Islamabad, it was almost maghrib. I had been dreading the long journey ahead. Tedious hours of just sitting in a car! Drivers everywhere, travelling, travelers, stressed about their destinations. The road between Islamabad and the M-2 was still under construction. For a split second, my gaze wandered to the sky. The split second turned into aeons. It was a watercolour painting. A perfectly blended painting; yellow gradually fading to pale yellow, pale yellow turning to a forget-me-not blue. Red streaks across where the clouds were closest to the sun, reflecting fury and rage. Grey streaks above the red, where the clouds were impermeable to the ferocity of the sun. A tiny silver crescent just beginning to peek out shyly.

Amongst angry drivers and big machines drilling away noisily, there was a calm. Amongst the chaos that is found on these roads on a Sunday night (as people return after the weekend), there was a sort of serenity spread out on the world. For a moment, I forgot my stress. Everything that had made me so tense this weekend, and that everyone had told me to let go of, I now realised was worthless. I “lived in the moment”, as my sister had been telling me to. Traveling never brought out the best in me, but today nature itself brought me relief. My face relaxed. Although there was no one I had to convey my joy to, although all this was just a feeling in the very depths of my heart, a tiny smile took over. Since winter departed two days ago, and spring had not yet entirely come, the trees were still dried up, leafless, lifeless. Perfect against the backdrop of the sky, a postcard.

We were now on the motorway. The red streaks were fading away as the blue slowly took over. Here, trees lined both sides of the road. The trees had leaves. Green fields spread out for miles on every side. It like was one of those expensive paintings one would expect to see in a huge victorian mansion. It was getting dark. The sky was always the hero. Trees silhouetted against a sky so intricate. Sometimes a hill came, sometimes a huge rock outlined against the sky, all seeking attention, all failing against a sky so beautiful.

Every second looking out of a moving car changed the scenery. Every second the sky and the fields and the silhouetted trees made a new masterpiece. Every second it showed the craftsmanship of the One behind it.

It was Him. Allah. He was the Artist. He was the Art.

The shy crescent now shone quite boldly. The red disappeared entirely, the wrath of the sun wrapped up by the gentle blue of the night. In the distance I could now see lights; villages and small towns located at intervals. Eventually the light blue turned to a rich, royal blue which had no place for yellows and oranges. Only the silver of the moon or the distant stars could conquer a sky so overpowering.

It was strange to think of this sky. The same sky shone over refugees, over starving, diseased children, over mourning mothers, over depressed and oppressed people. The same sky shone over crime, hate, injustice and intolerance. And yet, it was this same sky that painted a picture for me, for my peace, stretching for miles and miles across. It was this same sky that inspired poetry.

And I rested my head against the window; once again worries returning to my tired head, dreading all that was to come, the night clouding my thinking and wrapping around my head.

Slumber

It was the only day of the week where she knew she could sleep with the gas heater on. Not because this was a weekly suicidal ritual that she religiously performed, but because she knew there would be someone to turn it off.

Tonight, she was tired. With lights turned off and the blaring noise of the television in the next room, she was aware that she only had a few hours to sleep. Come, sleep, come. Come before the night has faded and trials afresh await my doom. Come.

It came, but in slow, unsure steps. Like the carbon monoxide that slowly filled up the room as she awaited her half death. Perhaps it was not sleep, but this gas, which slowly suffocated her to slumber as she thought of the exact time required by the gas to fill up this room and deprive her of air. How odd.

The slumber now surrounded her like the stars that never shone in her sky anymore. She was losing herself, and she was aware. A conscious unconsciousness. Collateral beauty. Her eyes gently closed as the warm orange rays lit up the room to a comfortable resting place. A comfortable last resting place, as they would’ve said later.

Who was to know if this was a half death, or slumber in eternity?

Life update.

It’s a battle keeping up with these word prompts. A battle with time. And my mind.

I have so much to study. And I want to read more, too. And I have to think about what I’m going to do with my life. Also, I’ve set unrealistic goals for the weekend (again) which shall go unfulfilled (again) and that shall leave me annoyed. It’s not my fault I only get one day off.

The mind has been whispering. Doubts, fears.

The mind is uneasy. Everyday is another battle. To keep that balance between thinking and not think.

I want to exercise. Mind, soul and body. I want to get up earlier and be productive. But that is not possible.

I want a change of routine. I want this endless road to bend. I want something that would excite me, something that would inspire. My words have been kind to me. Never do they leave the mind. I have been neglecting them, I know. They have been starting to get quite difficult of late. They, too, want a change of expression. Rebellious, ungrateful. They never even realise how much I do for them. However, I in turn must not be ungrateful. They are a blessing, they could be taken away any time. I must cherish them.

I can’t wait for the fog. Glorious, vague vapours encompassing everything and anything, without discrimination.

It is another battle to see the same people every day, to disagree on the same things, to put up with the same ignorance and backwardness and still be nice. Apart from family, and that too only the most direct relations, how much sooner one tires of human company than of anything else. Cats, independent, detached creatures, infinitely cleverer than us (Though only metaphorically).

It is also a battle to be good. Evil tempts you. No matter how much one tries to purify one’s heart, it will always remain contaminated. No matter how much you try, you have been too infected. It is a battle to be kind. Especially those who don’t deserve it. But God knows you’re a monster inside, and if you start classifying and judging people, He could call you out on it.

It’s a battle to be.

How sweet would it be to not be?


Writing prompt: https://zoyakubra.wordpress.com/2017/09/23/october-writing-challenge/

P.S. Do you think my blog has become a little too dull and dark lately? Do you even enjoy? I’d love to know!

Of Traveling and Thoughts.

Entering Lahore after a long journey, Lahore welcomes you on the Mall Road with a big "Welcome to Lahore" sign, right next to the University of Vetenary Sciences, the first major landmark on the Mall. This is also the saddest part of the journey out of Lahore, as after that the Lahore City ends. However, when we left Lahore this time, we didn't take the Mall Road. We were on it, and we saw the High Court, the GPO, GC university, the town hall to name a few of the classic buildings. But then we went on another road, so I never saw the "Goodbye" sign opposite the Vet University. If we had, we would then have found ourselves in Shahdara, which although is not part of the Lahore city, but part of the District Lahore. After that comes the river Ravi, or what is left of it anyway. The Ravi is a rather historic river but is now dried up. In fact, in an old mazmoon I had read, the writer had declared the Punjab (Punj meaning five and aab meaning water i.e. Land of The Five Waters or Rivers) as having only four and a half rivers, meaning the Ravi was only half a river. If he had been alive now, he would have declared Ravi to be a canal instead of a river. (Or a collection of puddles)
Nevertheless, that is not why I had decided to write. As you may have guessed, I am travelling. And leaving Lahore is so hard! No matter where I may live, my heart shall forever be here, in this city. I have been reading a book on Lahore which is a little boring to read, but it is full of information and has only increased my love for the city.
However, our journey does not end at Lahore. We are going North, so hopefully the weather will be nice! I need a break from this heat and humidity!
Traveling is not an issue for me. But all those hours in a car, with my little brother!! I had had a nice breakfast in the morning just so I wouldn't have to eat during the journey, because that makes me feel sick. And just as we left Lahore, the brother decided to have some crisps. And the packet was opened. The smell filled the air. Already, I had been trying to not think about the air in the car and how everyone was breathing in this limited space. But then the smell!! Every breath I took seemed to take the smell inside, all the way into my gut where my breakfast lay ready to come out via anti peristaltic movements. However, I survived. Then came the chewing. Endless chewing with an open mouth: the one thing I cannot stand. I tried to tell him once but he ignored me. Never mind, I told myself. Think of something else. And now he put the packet away and started biting his nails!! The other thing I absolutely cannot stand! However, I could not loose my cool. If I did, the journey would be ruined, and I didn't want that to happen.
At this point I decided to check where exactly was Chitral Gol National Park because that is also a place I would like to visit someday. However, my mobile internet was not working. Perfect! This network never failed to disappoint me. At this point I decided to update my dear readers (that's you) with my current situation. And that's about it.
Another thing I don't like about trips like these is the inevitability of the need of the bathroom by the human body. Anyways. I might do a "Hey There! Pt. 2" while I'm in the car. Or I might not. The Motorway is the most boring road in this country!
Wish me luck. Remember me in your duas.
Until next time,
Rab Rakhan.