Cooking,

December 28th, 2014

It is cooking somewhere. And very well. I hope it doesn't get burnt.

Cooking is no less than an art. That is why a lot of people fail to do it. I am among those people too. You cross a tiny line and the things burns. That is exactly why cooking is an art. A lot of people might end up in kitchen after reading the word cooking but cooking is a broad term. Just like all the plans you cook. I'm sure that a lot of plans end up in burning.

One By One,

July 22nd, 2014

People are strange.

It is a pain to let go of something one creates. But there is a new world after the pain,there must be. Haven't all the greatest religions talked about a world after this world and a life after this life. If the pain is a happening, the afterward is a happening to exist later. People are strange. Their egos have risen taller than the skies and their grudges growing deeper than the oceans. Why can't they let their love grow too? I wonder. They claim to love their children but they don't. The creation a man does with his hands is like his children. Every word I write is like a child to me. My own child. My own children. I love each one of them. And no father likes to murder his children. I cannot kill my children. All children stay sane till they are with me. Once they touch the eyes of people and enter the minds of readers, they transform into serpents. Every word I write becomes a rope. But even after this, I cannot kill what is mine. This love keeps me bound. If the children come no more, the world would go deserted. And people I ask to write don't understand it. People are strange. 

R.I.P.,

July 4th, 2014

"Yes, this is another post about a girl."

We meet people in our lives and they leave an impression on us. From the teacher I hated to the neighbor whose dog attacked me, nearly everyone whom I met left an image in my mind. That is the footprint. A very harsh reality is that even after living in the cities with ever growing human population and a subsequent natural interaction humans, I met more humans I thought were humans but were actually pigs. Two legged, sophisticated, urban, educated pigs. They had bank accounts, families and drove cars. At times when I look in the mirror, I see an animal. But I won't write which one that is. Some women made me fall in love with women while some girls made me hate girls. The girls who made me love girls remained either too elder or too young making me realize that I was sent to this world at a very wrong time. However the girls who made me hate girls were very mostly equivalent. Sadly a few exes fell in the second list. But even if asked today, they will blame me for pushing them even though they jumped on their own. The good list on the other hand has ladies for whom respect and love is eternal. Some teachers, neighbors, a an elder relative of a school mate, a number of aunties fill this list. But as the years progress, the percentage of the living members of that list is decreasing. It fills my heart with a deep sorrow to write that another member is no more. She lost her eleven years of battle with cancer some hours ago. It is a sad moment. May her soul find peace. May the world hereafter be heaven for her. Amen.

Kaali Billi,

(Original title 'It never heals')

June 5th, 2014
The window across the room is open. The only light that fills the room is that is pouring in from the window. It is the yellow muddy light from the lamps that keep a very tiny percentage of stray dogs and street criminals off the city streets. No man is safe as far as he is in Karachi. A dark road in another city can never be as scary as the dim lit night street in Karachi. The phones silent. Their screens face down. The music is off. These moments of solace are few and cherished and that is exactly why I am able to pen down the thoughts that are knocking on the inner tables of the head. I recall some words which were once said to me. They are still vivid and fresh. A few years ago, in a younger stage of university life, I was standing at the entrance of my university when a girl who was notoriously called a black cat for bringing bad luck encountered me. And I was expecting then that something bad will surely happen. Thought something bad did happen but it wasn't instant. I kept finding her crossing my path again and again. These crosses were most frequent in the exams. Every time I thought of something bad to happen but none ever happened. It made me grow sympathetic for her and for the stigma of being unlucky which somehow got associated with her. Kaali Billi never brought me any bad luck. That is what I believed. But eventually something came out of the crossing paths. A monster way bigger than the black cat but I wonder why I could not see that coming.

And Counting,

May 22nd, 2014
"I uploaded my 60001st picture just before writing this post."
My first camera was not a digital one. But the first image I took is still in my mind as fresh as it was at the click of the button. From that day to today the chain of this loved action is alive. The pictures of today are equally important as the one that marked the beginning. The cameras changed, the methods changed yet the desire to keep all the memories saved kept increasing day by day. My parents had no trouble of saving my photos when I was a child. They shot the pictures and then used to develop them into prints which have survived the horrors and joys of time over the years and I scanned them to have them saved for time to come even when people would forget the persons in the photos and just laugh of the dress codes we have today. Every newer generation makes a mock of the ones gone by and wonders how orthodox the early beings were. But I don't find myself that comfort of life which the early ones had. They didn't find the trouble of seeing, remembering, commenting, taking, saving, archiving pictures at a speed and volume we are facing. I remember the pain I faced in moving the eleven thousand pictures from my iPhone to PC and then to archives. It wasn't easy. Every picture we take even if that be of a stone or a dog has its value increased with time. I look at a picture from the day one at university and I miss that time. It is an expanding universe. Hence establishing the flow organized and mannered asks attention and input.

Pictures keep flowing in from multiple sources, the phones being the biggest players. As screen sizes and megapixels have increased the computer's hard drives are getting smaller for the need. Every year has added two hard drives in the collection and every time I promised to upload all of them to an off-shore archive. But thanks to Pakistan's pathetic internet service providers the upload speeds are one of the worst. I remained way behind in uploading all the data. But it didn't break my spirits. Recently Flickr alloted a terabyte of free space to all its users. So slowly I keep pouring all the pictures into one of the target cloud. After this I intend to opt for another service just in case Yahoo decides to axe Flickr in future. Every image and every video can never be equally interesting or important. But even a little thing of now at a later time becomes a piece of nostalgia. I still have an attachment to Flickr itself. Years ago a friend told me about a wonderful site named Flickr that allows users to upload and share images. I had a phone that took very low resolution pictures so I decided to give a try at Flickr. It was cool by that time. But that cool was short lived because it allowed only the recent 200 images to be seen by people. One could keep uploading way more but the latest 200 were the ones that stayed publicly visible. Or you opt for a paid plan which I couldn't due to equally worse banks in Pakistan who don't put the customers first. Madarchod banks like UBL and HBL. After joining a university, I did finally upgraded my Flickr account. But that was too late. Many new kids were on the block then including Instagram and Facebook. Another reason why the joy was short lived was that Flickr killed the subscription model and gave everyone a terabyte of space to upload images. Years ago, Flickr was undoubtedly the best photo sharing service in the world. No one could beat it. Now, no more. Even now Flickr is still a place which is a great resource for people who love photography. It can be a blessing for someone who just has a lot of images scattered around hard drives and machines and wants to pool them at a single place. Flickr still has an atmosphere that none of the social giants like Facebook and Instagram can provide. There are millions of pictures, all organized by names, titles, tags. What else would any art lover want. And for archiving which happens to be my interest, it is a great free one terabyte space.Cameras are not just the pictures. It is about the memories. Time that can never come back. So why not freeze the moment and save what you have frozen. I uploaded my sixty thousandth image to Flickr some minutes ago. But even saving all data in an organized way demands attention. Patience, time and good upload speeds are necessary ingredients.

Some days ago I was messaged a picture of a cousin who just started going to school. His mother called me and asked me how to save the little angel's pictures which keep increasing at alarming rate. I feel relieved in helping her save the precious memories then. He would be a man in some years and then each picture would be a priceless treasure. Flickr isn't perfect. It has its flaws. But it is one useful place for saving all the memories at least as dump. This dump will surely be a mine of gems after a a couple of more years. I still visit my archives of such gems and in those moments of solace I fly back in time to do fooleries once again.

Flickr_logo.jpg

Two Alphabets,

May 14th, 2018

"A whole universe can fit into two tiny alphabets."
The result is out. I didn't make any announcements on Facebook or Twitter. People who mattered were informed using more traditional media. It reminded me of those too who updated 5% doctor after the result of the first semester and then at every subsequent result, this percentage in their status updates increased. They all had the traditional stuff in their updates which thanked their family and friends after their success. As blood is thicker than evidence so getting proven who deserves most of the gratitude comes out in the end. It is always the family and then the friends. In between are the loved ones too. In my case a flirty heart added a handful loved ones too. And damn some really did stick in. The exams weren't hard, they weren't easy either. Some points were like punches in the heart. Some were plain Dejavu. Every exam got it's intense moments. It is always better to keep them documented and relive if one feels a wave of sadism rising in him. These exams were like an irritating house wife who keeps nagging in anything I did. But after three months of our relationship I miss her. It is because of her death that last night I slept (exam)-worry free state. One less worry to sleep off to. It is always the last breath of a man which sets him free. A sleep from which one cannot wake up is the surest peaceful sleep. But I know the angels would ask me namaz parhi and then I won't be able to wake up from that sleep. Now this thought started an anxiety on its own. Many words have lost their beauty over time in our culture. But I still seek their beauty. The poetry books still don't collect dust on my shelf. I value words as much as I always had. This word containing two alphabets a "D" and an "R" killed many colors loved by an art lover. I earned a white coat of my own. The legend has it that everyone passes in the exams. It isn't true. Some folks didn't. No one even asked who they were. I did. Because many didn't ask about me when I couldn't. What difference would it set apart between me and them if I had done the same. My sincere prayers go out to one such friend who still has an uphill battle not just because of exams, but because of an immediate family member being at the fourth stage of a cancer.

It is undoubtedly a moment of sheer happiness for parents, loved ones and friends. I am thankful to everyone who matters. And the ones I informed myself do matter even today. Some matter and I couldn't tell them. They live beyond the wall of their silence. I am thankful to them all who made this happen, one way or the other and I pray that MAY THE FORCE BE STRONG WITH THEM, today, tomorrow and always. .

Dr. Aamir Bilal

13931437159_653974abbd_z.jpg

Law of Jungle,

May 12th, 2014
"He introduced me to writing on the internet."
All of the friends are not equally talented even though being possessing the equal volume of potential. They are talented but each being wonderful in his or her own domain and it takes time to catch a glimpse of that talent. That is why a hijabi from the academy shone bright even from behind her tight veil. Some years back when people who had access to a PC were handful, finding someone who had blogged dedicatedly and remained up to date with all the modern evils of that time was nothing but rarity. He was a rarity. Junaid was the one who told me what a blog is for the very first time. He wrote his poetry on his blog. His parents wanted him to be a doctor and he wanted to be a poet. Still he was so talented that he ended up in a medical college where he stayed for an year after which he abandoned it without telling his family of course. After applying for a scholarship and went to the US for academic pursuits in English Literature and Arts. After some years he came back and joined the Department of English at BZU where he stood out of the crowd of stale thoughts. But with that sprung some enemies who wanted the same university's decade old system unchanged. Sadly enough this stand-off of ideologies made him a target of a particular religious/political group. His talents kept shining and he rose but only to fall in the evil Pakistani society.

One day I got to know the news of his arrest.


I knew that he was facing some real resistance from a group but I had no idea that it could be so intense and life threatening. He laughed off that confession of being targeted in the university in those ten seconds during my last ever phone call with him. He said nothing else. For the last one year there had been no activity on his Facebook nor ever his phone gets powered on. Now all the events start to make sense. He is in prison and phones don't work in prison unless you are a political leader. Junaid is neither. He was just a harmless lecturer who loved poetry and was arrested under serious charges of blasphemy in the Qila of Islam. I started digging the internet and found out that he was liked because of his progressive and logical ways which provoked fanatic hard liner mullahs so they fabricated a story about Junaid and triggered a series of events to get rid of him. They implanted fake material which later on "proved" him of the charges against him. of being a blasphemer and of making derogatory remarks against the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the Wives of Prophet. The Junaid I knew would never do such a thing. It is a possibility that someone derails to the extent of any limits but had he deteriorated, he would never have shown excellence in any system, here or abroad. The internet forums say the same about Junaid that he could never be what the mullahs were portraying him to be. Some mullah wanted to have Junaid kicked out the English department and that cost Junaid his peace of life, his career, his respect and his very life because he was too talented to be removed from his seat the fair way. At the moment no lawyer is ready to take that case and fight for him. One lawyer did. He was shot five bullets two days ago. I called a friend who lived in Junaid's neighborhood. He told me that Junaid's mother is under constant sedatives. His family is living under serious threats. People circulated pamphlets celebrating the killing of such a lawyer who allegedly fought for a blasphemer. How easy it is in Pakistan to get rid of your enemy. All you need a fake Facebook id and a picture of your enemy. Then follow these steps.
1. Create a fake ID on Facebook.
2. Upload some details including a picture.
3. Join a liberal forum.
4. Write posts against holy figures until you start feeling things getting stirred.
That is it. The same happened in Junaid's case. Not even a single penny spent. Junaid's loyal friends and fellows have cried and marched for his release. But the enemy is sitting behind a beard and claims to be true protector of Islam. Why don't they just carry their arms and go to Syria or other war zones and prove to be a man. It is very easy to be a soldier on Facebook. At the time of this writing Junaid is behind bars. I pray that he be released and continues spreading wisdom and knowledge which he was good at.

Twelve,

May 9th, 2014
Marriage kills love. That is what Dad always says. He also says that a good doctor has a bad handwriting. I came across a contradictory case. Love bloomed into marriage and he had a good handwriting. Even though having all what a man can wish for, he didn't know what fate had written on the next pages of life for him. Life is always a story we cannot avoid to read. The mystery unfolds itself. It's joys and and pains are always a surprise. The same book unfolded on him.

Doctor And Human,

May 9th, 2014
Doctor. Human. These are different words. They have different meanings.

Doctor number one. Good Doctor. Bad Human.

All humans are not doctors. And all the doctors are not human. A friend had training under a doctor who is the sole reason why this writing exists. Two events made these words which you are reading right now into existence. It was October last year. Summer was not just over yet and it was still unbearable to sit peacefully in the ward with twenty people. I was one of them. The teacher was a big tharki. That in plain words would be a mixture of a pervert, sadist and an unjust person. In order to clarify this just imagine that man who would hate boys for coming early to the class and would shout on them to leave him at peace at such an early hour. But when a girl would walk in, the greed was obvious in his eyes. And that is exactly what that teacher did. He hated the presence of boys. And was heels over head for the opposite gender. One day in the last week of the rotation, a girl was sitting with him in his office after the ward time was over. We as a group of three boys were taking pictures for a art little project when we reached his office. We had not expected to find his office lights on. But when one of us opened the door, what we saw was disturbing and haunting. We closed the door, ran away. We thought something bad would come from that teacher but luckily we were all saved. One day I accidentally cut myself while having a shave. The hurt healed but under the skin a mass developed. It was hardly a millimeter in size but it kept me worried. I had recently read about malignant disorders of men and my mind was not letting me sleep in peace. I reached college way earlier the next morning. I wanted to tell that teacher about this mass. My worry was genuine. I expected him to be on arrive on the right time. But to my surprise even at seven in the morning, he was in his office that time with a nurse who coincidentally was very pretty. He got angry and made me wait an hour. But by that time the class started and I had to wait the whole day to tell him about that sub-epithelial mass. Around three in the afternoon, I went to him and told him about the mass. He looked at me absolutely void of any emotions and said: "Get a blood test done. It might be cancer." It was no music to my ears. I did thank him, picked up my bag and left the room. I was not thinking straight so I went to the chairperson of Medicine. Luckily he was in his office. He examined me. And asked him to be careful about my shave. There was nothing to worry about. In the next few days that mass healed. But those words of that tharki still echo in my mind. In another instance we were having a rotation in the outpatients and a middle age woman came to the hospital. To her hard luck she came to the OPD on the day tharki had the duty. He asked one of his favorite students to examine the patient and note the findings which she did. At one point she felt a mass in the lower left armpit and told the teacher about it. Tharki asked about the possibilities and she started telling all the possible differentials she could think of. But he wanted to listen something. At one moment he got a bit irritated and said "...cancer nahin bola tum ne.... cancer bhe to ho sakta hai is aurat ko..." The patient was listening, obviously. And after hearing that she started crying. We were shocked. Tharki just walked away to a seat and started talking to the girls of junior year. He is a good doctor. There is no doubt about it. A patient just tells him the symptoms and tharki just comes to a diagnosis. But when it comes to the respect for women and patients, he is not a good human. Who knows he might already be God's favorite but as people we saw his mistreatment of patients. No one from our class liked him. Except for some girls. Demons exist on both sides. We later came to know that Tharki got married two years ago and is now divorced. When we heard about it we made all the possible differentials on why he got divorced in the first place. We made a hundred differentials. But our favorite one states that on his nuptial night Tharki found out that his wife has the same organ like him and it was longer than his. So he divorced her out of anger. Funny maybe but it might be true. After all sometimes our favorite jokes become our worst nightmares.


Doctor number two. Good doctor. Good Human.

In that same ward there is a doctor who insulted the shit out of me the first day I went to the ward. I was late and a joke just stretched a bit beyond beyond limit. The teacher got angry and I was asked to shut up. After the ward ended he enjoyed a cigarette with us boys. He has won the "Best Teacher" and "Most Favorite Teacher" five times in a row. Boy he got a fan following in every year. He is cool for his age. And really a teacher who made those stressful days very normal. Along his lessons on academic topics, he kept talking about life and manners with patients. Some of his words are like the brightest that lead the way.

Doctor number three. Bad doctor. Bad Human.

Me, Aamir Bilal.

Credits:
Special thanks to Muslim Noorani for the worderful quote.
"There is a difference between a good human and a good doctor." which was inspiration for the words here.

Room # 309 - (short story),

May 8th, 2014
"It is a real room"
My exams are over. The insomniac days had ended, I would miss their bland flavor. I am stepping out after days. I guess my life is not adventurous at all. At least not yet. On the day of last exam, after the exam was over, I went to the administration department of my college to submit an application. Like usual the staff made me wait for an hour before I could be entertained. I don't understand why they use this word when all all my interactions with the staff are painful argument. Even in my remotest fantasies there doesn't exist anyone from college staff. I always wanted to see one lady from my college to dance but I cannot say who. Any dance would do but I would prefer a pole dance or maybe a lap-dance. Imagining is no sin. Some fantasies just need to be ignited in the moments of isolation and this is not that moment.
After submitting my paper, I moved to a side and sat on a row of chairs which serve as a tiny waiting area. This waiting room torture is the invention of Pakistani system and no one in the world can do it better that us. I decided to listen to some music to kill the time. Then I though to discover the place and take some photographs instead. I mean who would have inner shots of waiting rooms of the college? So I should. I stood up and started taking the pictures. The slow day had another advantage as many clerks were no where to be seen. I reached the stairs which were at the end of the aisle and climbed them to reach third floor. It was deserted. I was still snapping as much shots as I could. I reached a room which was not locked. Out of sheer curiosity I tried opening it and it opened. There was ample light inside. There were stacks of files everywhere. Not even a single chair or table was in that room. There was nothing written on the files except for numbers and a circle around them. I picked up a file and read that. It gripped all my attention.

SomeOne,

May 8th, 2014
"Write about me."
"What?"
"Something... Anything."
"Okay."

I came home after the last exam and my mind was still running. After the chores, I decided to get some sleep and shut the mind to let it cool down. Some uninterrupted sleep for long was wanted. But the momentum of thoughts and questions didn't let that happen. So I decided to type something. There were so many things I had to type, some even scribbled on paper. I recalled a conversation that happened during the exams. Hence this writing exists. There is someone whom I had the above encounter long before the exams. Someone I had this dialogue exchanged with. I will keep using this word instead of any name or a pronoun. The word someone is gender-less keeps the theme anonymous too. Even if I use alias or a nickname, some people start digging things here and there. So better here is about Someone. I met Someone online and unlike typical stories, I was found instead of finding the Someone. Over time I was coming out of a troubled relationship when Someone acted like a catalyst and sped up the things. A relationship that was surely going to be a bigger regret in the later years to come. Someone made that die in three months instead of years. This is a quality of the black cat which brings bad luck but no. Someone is not a black cat, neither black nor a cat.
After leaving Facebook, I was very active on Twitter for some years before eventually leaving it as well. I found Someone here or should I say Someone found me here. I feel age influenced my thinking and my view about life. But age didn't effect Someone and Someone never matured.
There is a girl in my class I never liked from the first day. She got everything a girl should have to attract a man including reasonable curves to give any boy many sleepless nights but she always gave a feeling of a bad-thing-about-to-happen. In five years at the college she proved every feeling of mine true. In the second last semester I got to know that the girl of my class is a real cousin to that someone. It was no less than a shock. The rabbit hole was deeper.

How Soon,

May 4th, 2014

Exams are keeping me occupied and that is exactly why I am unable to post anything new. Like all exams and pains of life, they would end too. Random thoughts and words live on paper these days. It reminds me of the diaries that I have and my years old commitment to get them digitized. It always takes time to finish them from fragments to polished end. I have found a dictation application. I hope that saves me some time.

Becoming A Mullah,

April 8th, 2014
"I hate Mullahs. I don't like Mullahs."
Don't take me wrong. It's a pure feeling of my heart and it's based on reasons. The list can be longer but long things are boring. Not always though. This post comes into being because of a recent encounter with a really irritating Mullah who loves sins in all flavors yet he lives behind a beard mask like most Mullahs are. Mullahs never remained in my good books at any stage of life. None of my friends was a mullah including the bearded ones. That applies to those amazing ladies too who had huge and awesome facial hair. Over the years, I developed some serious allergy to them. It is not receding in any way. I believe in Allah. I believe in Prophet Muhammad. I believe in being a human. This belief is stronger than any other excuse to kill-other-human-of-other-sect and mullahs are so good at following this ideology. One fellow in my class stopped talking to me in third year when he asked me to stop talking to a Ahmadi classmate. A simple no to the fanatic Mullah inside that class mate created a tall wall and we never talked even to this day. I am happy it happened. And regret that why it didn't occur earlier. Porn and cartoons remained a favorite time killer. My age to watch the porn is over. It bores me now. However I can watch my favorite cartoons all day long for the rest of my life and never get bored. My cable operator is influenced by mullah syndrome. One day I discovered a religious channel which to my amazement showed the mullahs dancing and preaching killing of people of other sects. When I see Tom chasing Jerry or Jerry irritating Tom, I wonder who follows which sect.
Only once in life I found myself getting pulled to mullahs. It made me question my sanity. It gave me intense insomnia for some days. It was the last of the days of school life. I had some questions in my mind regarding time, heaven, fate, destiny, death, aliens and God. The teacher of the religious studies instead of answering them, sent me to a mullah. He wanted me to throw my questions at someone trained to tackle them and then scare my science loving mind. Winters were ending. It was around five in the evening when I went to designated place. I was a bit scared as I had some unsettling feelings at the back of my head. While standing at the door, I opened my notebook and looked at the questions that I had prepared. I was lost reading them when someone opened the door. I still remember that moment very well. The energy of that moment was matchless. That moment was penetrating and unforgettable. A person with no genes to code for the beard and curves that made my mouth dry opened the door and asked me in the sweetest imaginable way. I can't remember what I was asked. Because I don't know myself. I was stunned. I was lost. It was mullah's daughter. Years and a dozen girls in the life later, I can still remember that moment in all its vividness. It was that moment when my heart screamed with all its might to leave the world and bury those stupid questions and become a mullah and grow a beard and make a lot of kids. That never happened though but it's a memory unshaken. Whenever I see a mullah my dirty mind starts postulating all the reasons why a mullah became a mullah in the first place. Nothing is without a reason. Definitely they would have had a reason too. They had their reason. I had mine. Mine had curves though.

(Photo by Luca D'ambra)

dsc257r8.jpg

Prayers Of A Dying Soul,

April 6th 2014

Some months ago a friend and I were called to the thalassemia care center in the Civil Hospital, Karachi. They were making a documentary and wanted some suggestions from us. We are not creatives, we are just fools who would do something for free imagining us to be film-makers. The subject was thalassemia, obviously. The short documentary showed the patients suffering from the ailment and how they were silently waiting for their death. Death is undoubtedly the ultimate reality of life. No one escaped it and no one can ever do so. Many giants including Google are trying to find ways to prolong human life until they find a cure to death. We went to some of the wards and talked to the patients. Finally we found a little boy who was wise for his age and could answer questions that we had made for our documentary. He was very confident for an eight year old. Poor old boy. I still remember his name and that little conversation that we had that day with him.
"Whats your name son?"
"Ahmed Raza"
"Do you know why you are here."
"Yes, because I am ill."
We saw his detailed report. It was the last of his battles with the disease and the doctors had already told his parents that he won't be living long enough to see his teenage years. Our film took three days to make. It was more like an awareness project to be shown at other medical colleges. Even though I was the inactive member of that three member team yet I had a good first hand experience about thalassemia. While editing the film, we had to do a sound over for the narration which was his prayers he asks God. As a human and as a child he had in his heart dreams and wishes. The smart fellow gave us his prayer in written. We improved the language and grammar mistakes. His words still keep echoing in my mind.

I see such faces every day. I was not able to contact him after that day. The contact his father gave us doesn't exist any more. I wonder where the little hero would be. Prayers go out for that soul and many souls like him. We are so blessed that we are blinded by our blessings and we don't see what we enjoy for free which some unfortunate ones have to fight for for on each day of their lives.
Aamir Bilal

Blurred Zones,

March 11th, 2014
What we have accepted as real already is the only reality we are willing to live in happily. But suppose all those Unicorns, Aliens, Trolls and Mermaids are real. Like for real real. As real as the pain and the agony we all believe to be real. But living and growing up with concepts we already have shall only make us more vulnerable to accept some preexisting beliefs. One would never believe in unicorns unless he is flexible enough to at least listen to the existence of unicorns. The belief shall come later and only if one is willing to alter the belief of real. Imagine a man who has never believed in ghosts and one day he receives a letter telling him that he himself is a ghost but was raised by humans and since his childhood his mind has been fed with the idea that he he is a human. That can twist many foundations of our reality including religion. But religion changes flavor as we cross neighborhood, provinces and countries. At least in Pakistan questioning anything about religion or something that is related to religion provokes mullahs which can create more troubles. In this country it is a a very volatile topic many avoid to talk about. So assume all religions are right, all Gods are real, all faith-related figures are true, the religion is excluded out of this discussion. Growing up in an environment where one can never question the authority of superiors, our society has seen a decline in morality and class over the years. Students can never question the teacher, children can never question parents and elders, and one can never question the strangeness in his religion or bearded mullah Faith is not a personal matter in our country where everyone wants to be a protector of someone's religious beliefs instead of his own.
Our dreams and desires craft our personalities. The thoughts alter flesh, bone and blood directly and indirectly. Hence extremely twisted desires can make a man a pervert and great visions might make him a leader with a cult following. But these visions and dreams also lay the stones for our concepts. The religiously fanatic mullahs I just talked above have never seen God just like I have never seen unicorns. But all that matters is that belief in whatever we want to believe. And imagination can take a man anywhere. That is exactly what happened with some religious scholars who claim to have talked to God, met with him in person, had coffee and cucumber sandwich and then came to Pakistan to fool masses. Yes, I also danced with a mermaid and drove her home on a unicorn and had steamy sex. Our realities are merged with our beliefs to a frightening level. The very same imagination is what made philosophers, poets, writers including Meer, Ghalib, Iqbal, Faiz and Faraz. What would have they written if they had not dreamed? What colors would be in their words had they not imagined. They did that on purpose. Just like a mullah does a killing on purpose. Our dreams can drive us to our limits. Then we go insane. Sanity would never make a man philosopher or poet or a writer. The inner artist needs an obsession out of his dreams. He becomes an artist when he is willing to bring that fantasy and reality closer. There is a gate between his fiction and the reality or the reality he thinks and believe is real. Pure art comes into being when he willing to blur the lines separating the both. Unicorns will be real only when you are willing to accept. Otherwise no one has ever seen God.
Aamir Bilal

The Songs Are Beings,

March 7th, 2014
Some days ago my phone landed in a friend's hand and she flipped through all the music tracks on my phone and only one line came out of her.
"Aamir? All Punjabi?"
She was hasty in making that statement. There were some Pakistani, a few English and a handful Arabic on the playlist too but she was right. Somewhat. The collection was very organic. Old-school, desi, folk, rap, funky, house etc. There is something about the music that no other medium has. Afterwards her question provoked many thoughts. Then I wrote down a few.
Music keeps reminding us of something all the time. It can be a moment, it can be persons and even moments with the persons. As a man grows up he thickens the layer around him which hides his wishes, his cravings, his perversions and his inner self from the curious and un-understanding eyes of others. Music and poetry are the beauties of humanity. It amazes me how magically some words and sounds make us fly back in time. I picked up the phone while writing this and this time the songs didn't read as just songs. I saw faces instead of them. Every song is a person and every person is a song.

Gift,

February 15th, 2014
I came across different meanings of this word and it kept me quite confused. From a positive meaning to a very evil one, this word kept changing its soul like the governments of a country facing civil wars and revolutions. I concluded the following.

1. We can't buy presents for ourselves.
We can earn them. Long story short, we have to have friends and loved ones who can send and receive presents. God is the only one who blesses us whether we accept him or not. It reminds me of an episode of the comedy show Mr.Bean in which he buys some post cards and mails them to himself. It looks funny at first but as life shows how ugly it can be we start realizing the deeper meanings. The best friend a man can have is his own self. All other relations fade over the life except for parents. Their love lasts beyond the concept of life. He is very lucky and blessed who has a some honest friends. Everyone is blessed equally.

2. Manners and Gestures.
Gifts and presents are good etiquette. Like other expressions of music and poetry, gifts are expressive even if you don't know how to wrap them which I myself didn't know up to a certain age. A good intention got over looked in those days. Then I learnt how to wrap present.

3. Price of a Gift
There are two realities when it comes to the price of a gift. First, a present has some material value. It can be a rose plucked from a garden for free and it can be a ruby in a platinum ring encrusted with diamonds which has some material value and is obviously not free. So on a material scale it can be free or cheap or expensive or extremely expensive. Second, a gift is simply priceless. I once went to the Wahga Border, Lahore and after the ceremony, an Indian Sikh handed me a rose from the other side of the gate which I still have. I don't know who he was but that rose is a gift and is a priceless thing I have. However I came across a literally bitch of a girl who earns herself precious gifts in exchange of some other gift boys want.

4.Gifts can be extorted as per need.
Some years ago I had a relationship and it was like any other relations. Some hopes, some promises and some lies followed by a breakup. But there existed a game of manipulation which I got to understand in the last days of the relationship. It was always one sided flow of gifts. Nothing came back. Even what boys want start to come when I had already found another refuge. From the surface it looked as if things were working but deeply they weren't. It was more like a very sophisticated extortion. A friend was kind enough to advice after I told her the one sided flow of things in the relationship. She added the following line, "Boys are no fools yet they get fooled. It is not the girl who fools them. It is their own greed and dedication. Even if a boy falls in love with a goat, he puts himself in a state to be fooled by a goat. Hope for an honest other end of the relation whether a girl or a goat" To the boys who might read this, if gifts keep flowing in one direction only, just bail out. Fall out of love, immediately.

5. Perverts and Foxes
There are perverts. There are foxes. Then there are perverted foxes. I know one personally. She has good looks. But nothing else was good about her beside her looks. She got involved in a boy for God-knows-what reasons and broke up. That boy was friends with another girl and he gifted something to that other girl. The material price of the gift became a subject of debate after that good looking greedy girl came to know about it. I saw them fight. The girl said, "You(boys) try to buy your friend with the gift. I know why you gifted her that expensive gift. Just because you can sleep with her!" God save me from perverted foxes. I can live with perverts and foxes but not with perverted foxes. There are many in my college already.

I got a gift on this Valentine's day from a person who never stops sending me gifts. He knows my tastes and his presents always are a surprise. I love you Dad. Fathers are the best gift of life.

Fears Don't Let Us Sleep,

January 23, 2014
We all have faced this word more than once. We all have been living with it. In fact, we are raised along our fears. Like a shadow that stays with us throughout our lives like a best friend, our fears live with us, deep in our hearts. And I have heard old people say that a man can lie to anyone but not to himself. We deny to others in an effort to prove ourselves brave enough that we have no fears but when we are all by ourselves sitting in a silent corner, the door opens and we look at our fears walk in and sit next to us. We cannot run away from them. Some of such monsters never live beyond our childhood while others live to be as old as the person himself. Imagine what fears would a nine year old have? Maybe about his homework or about a class test. A couple of months later he would have different fears. As the age progresses, these monsters become more ferocious and they take a longer time to die, a lifetime in some cases. One of the persons I respect a lot is a mentor who passed away some years ago. He had three daughters out of whom he was overly attached to the youngest. Fate brought more than expected twists and troubles in her married life. I remember until she got married, my mentor remained worried about getting her married and after she started her life with a worthless man who was not a caring husband, the fears of my mentor transformed into a hideous from. This transformation increased the number of trips he made to his cardiologist but that demon of fears lived till the last day of his life. It only died when he died.

All of the men have the fear demons in them which don't let them sleep. After a boy leaves his mother's lap and grows up, he tries to find solace in many laps including those of his girlfriends and wives. But those demons still find him. He sleeps to his fears, he wakes up to his fears. When his other half finds him distracted enough, she complains of him being changed. But no one knows what creature makes him stay awake all night when everyone else had fallen asleep. Every night his fear sits right next to his bed in the shape of a disfigured man with frightening smile and scary eyes. The next morning when he wakes up, that horrible man is gone. But the fear is back when he steps into the bathroom and finds him in the mirror looking back at him. And that is the start of every day. Sleep, which many poets have called the perfect refuge lasts only for a few hours. After that wherever a man goes, his fears go along. And this cycle repeats, day after day until there are no more days left with him. With successes that come in life, some fears get killed. And after they do, the next morning he finds a new one in their place. The heart is like a world where all these monsters live. The mind gives them form and shape from the subconscious. At least that is one matter where the heart and the mind work in perfect collaboration. And before he can even apprehend, he is old. But the monsters don't stop. They are not meant to be stopped. They never stop. One day the monster waits for him however but he never wakes up. That day he walks away from all his monsters to a place where no monster can go.

Aamir Bilal

It Ends Here,

January 9th, 2014
I feel I have changed from what I had been when I stepped in this college. Five years is a long time and time has the magic to change people. That is exactly what it had done to me. Days changed to weeks and months and then years. There was a charm in these years of learning. Friends, foes, love, hate along mysteries and politics kept the dates on the calendar changing from one to the next. I see the pictures of people from the days of the first semester. What innocence they had and then out came the hideous monsters. My heart feels that the people didn't change. They had a mask which got removed over time. A pure heart got polluted over time by treacherous cheaters and liars. Now I have moved all worthy friends to my mind where things still work fine. These are the friends that have never changed. They remained the same. Or maybe still there is time for their masks to be removed.
Meeting some people is the biggest happiness I enjoyed here. Meeting some people is the biggest regret I suffered here as well. But we like to relive moments from the past. Ghalib said the same "Dil dhoondta hai phir wohi fursat k raat din." But Ghalib was not a dowite. Had he been one, he would not have wished that. Only if life gave me a time machine. Then I go back in the time and stop myself from meeting those beautiful monsters. I regret wasting my time on people who never deserved that in the first place. But someone told me that every magic has an age, and so does every lie. The lies ended. So did the magic. That makes me quote Ghalib again when he says that the gone days of youth look like a dream. I am not old yet but yes, it looks like a dream. A part of it was nightmare too. These five years were like a dream that will craft the realities of tomorrow. I made very few friends. And parting from few friends is a perk. Parting from many is a pain. And no one likes pain. Me included.

Aamir Bilal