Precious Possessions of Life

June 29, 2014

By Hasaan Khawar

After driving for almost 30 minutes through the maze of roads, traffic congestion and long lines of cars – much of it attributed to the famous Metro Bus project of Islamabad – I finally reached my yoga class and parked my car outside. The yoga class is quite an experience, about which I’ll probably write at some point later. I locked the car and opened the trunk to get my gym bag so that I can change and grab my towel. To my utter disappointment and shock, the bag wasn’t there. Knowing fully well that Shahid, my domestic aide, had forgotten to put the bag in, I still called him to vent out my frustration. The poor guy fumbled over the phone as I inquired. Sense prevailed and I wasn’t really harsh.

Generally I consider myself quite polite to the help, unintentionally bestowing greatness on myself. I realized though that this cloak of kindness stays till the time, they don’t make a mistake and the moment something goes wrong , I’m annoyed and go on and on.

Shahid is a twenty something, an illiterate kid hailing from Southern Punjab, who came to me when we shifted to our new house in Lahore in 2009, initially as a temporary employee and then stayed back. His whole family has been working with us in some capacity or the other. Shahid now rightfully claims that I can’t go on a single day without him. Probably he is right.

I sometimes think what are some of the other things that I can’t go on without for a single day? My laptop may be, cigars, music perhaps and my workouts. Being part of this celebrated list, in the tiny fiefdom of my life, Shahid claims a central spot, ensuring everything is there ‘on time in full’ – a term I learned quickly in my encounters with the corporate world – making life a seamless process for me. And then he does one mistake and I’m ticked off.

The slick Mac Air does throw an error at me every once in a while, or an occasional cigar would not have as smooth a smoke as it should be. But I’m rarely that quick in putting the responsibility on them. May be it’s time, I acknowledge that Shahid’s service and loyalty is of far greater value than the aroma of a Cuban cigar, the melodies of my favorite music or may be the super-efficiency of my notebook.

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The Pull of Life

June 24, 2014

By Hasaan Khawar

As soon as the chauffeur pulled the car on the Ring Road, the car started cruising on the smooth carpeted road. The chilling air of the airconditioner started to relax my body, slowly taking away the effects of scorching heat of Lahore. I reclined my seat to a comfortable position, closed my eyes and my mind started to wander away. Lahore always had a special place in my heart – the city of my family and friends, a silent witness to my past and present and a gracious host – the pull has never diluted. I thought of my mother who just treated me with a special cup of tea and a bowl of neatly sliced cubes of honey sweet mangoes from Multan. The taste of those mangoes was still in my mouth and the car had not even entered the Motorway, when my mind drifted further and the thoughts of Islamabad started to trickle down in my mind – my plans for the evening and the following week;
my work and beyond work occupations; and my fondness for weekend hikes up the Margallas. This is when it suddenly struck me that travelling between two cities is also somewhat like the game I used to play decades ago. I would toss a piece of metal between the two magnets. The pull of one magnet kept on prevailing till the point, where the piece had drifted too much towards the other. That is when the pull of the other magnet would take over and would attract the metal towards it in a flash. Islamabad and Lahore both have their own attractions for me and just like that metallic piece I seamlessly move from one field to the other. I considered myself lucky to have this pull from both sides that keep me going. Isn’t this what life is all about?

Thursdays

June 5, 2014

By Hasaan Khawar

Thursdays mean so many different things to different people. While most of us start to gear up for the weekend, making plans to catch up with friends and family, those of us who are compulsive workaholics, start to get jitters on how they are going to survive without their fiefdom of work. Productivity gurus would anxiously look at their ‘to do’ list to see what’s left over, while procrastinators would take a sigh of relief. Teenagers, who otherwise would welcome the end of school on weekends, would be dreading two days to spend with parents, after five days of unsupervised relaxation in summer vacations. The faithful would start to look forward to their weekly prayers, while those with worldly pursuits would start counting their treasures. The lucky ones with a life of purpose must be looking at their week with pride of fulfillment, while the rest would look at it as ‘just another week’ passing by. The optimists would be all set to welcome the start of a new week and the pessimists would be gripped by fears of unknown. Up in the sky, the founders of Gregorian calendar must be feeling proud, how their arbitrary division of time is touching millions of ordinary mortals, while we continue to slowly inch towards the Friday!

Vices that I love!

March 29, 2014

By Hasaan Khawar

Be modest about your virtues and take pride in your vices, because consciousness of the former makes you vulnerable while mindfulness of latter gives you strength.

Chess, Poker or Blackjack?

March 25, 2014

By Hasaan Khawar

Some of us see life as a game of chess, carefully thinking through each move and believing that we are the masters of our own destinies. The smart ones though are playing poker – a bit of luck, a bit of lies and knowing when to fold. Yet smarter are the ones, who are playing Blackjack, playing with the odds, while counting cards. But the smartest are those, who realize soon enough that whatever it is, its just a game. They make the most of it, before its is over!

The Timeless Art

March 23, 2014

By Hasaan Khawar

That night I learned an invaluable lesson, sitting in a cosy restaurant, looking out the window and gazing at the moving traffic on the streets of Belfast. Language is not the only mean of communication. Its rather the most primitive. Only rarely do the words gel together in a perfect order to create a beautiful combination. Then there are colours and brush strokes, which sometimes blend together and cast their spell on the blank canvass. And also there are melodies, mesmerising us at times, as if we have been cast in stone since centuries. But the masterpieces are not to be found in books, paintings or symphonies. They are created through brush of time with colours of passion on the timeless canvass of our mind to create a true masterpiece. Dust of time then covers this precious treasure and its brightness fades away. Sometimes though, when we are talking a walk in the corridors of past, we take a close look, cherish the art in the hope of reliving that very moment and try to preserve it as a prized possession.

Cat’s Wisdom

March 22, 2014

By Hasaan Khawar

I asked the cat: “How come I get one life and you somehow have nine? You must be playing it very safe after all.” With a confident smile, the cat said: “It’s not about playing safe. I have never been afraid of climbing heights and taking risky jumps. But what’s kept me going is the faith that whatever I’ll do, I’ll somehow always land on my feet!”

Nature doesn’t warn!

March 17, 2014

By Hasaan Khawar

Sometimes I feel that its a bit cruel on nature’s part not to give us any warning – any sign whatsoever that its all about to end. Only if it would, we’d have the chance to say our goodbyes, to get to know our friends’ parting wishes, to have a closure to our relationships, to have a heart-to-heart with our near and dear ones, one last time. But then I think nature is all wise and benevolent. How can it be so cruel? May be by not giving us this chance, it wants us to never lose touch with our loved ones, never to give closures so as to make our relationships immortal, to make sure that we always know our friends’ wishes whether they are parting or not and to make us have a heart-to-heart, every once in a while, no matter how far we are physically. May be nature wants us to always stay in touch, with people we care for.

Strength is not essentially arrogance!

March 16, 2014

By Hasaan Khawar

Walking up the trail, I tripped off a small rock, protruding from one of the steps, which have been created through footsteps of thousands of visitors hiking through these mountainous paths over the years. Probably these steps even preceded the Islamabad history and marked the ways of travellers from small villages across the mountains, hundreds of years ago. This little shock brought a brief pause to my journey and I sat down to catch my breath. The rock was still lying there and seems to tell me a story. After a few moments of getting acquainted and initial hesitation of meeting a stranger, the stone overcame its shyness. Looking into my eyes, it said, ‘nature made me strong enough to endure the footsteps of hikers everyday, but see where it has put me to rest, under people’s shoes to support their journey. This is where I meant to be. Carry on with your voyage, my friend, but always remember my parting words. Humility does not mean pliability and strength is not essentially arrogance!”